Wednesday, July 18 , 2018, 11:26 pm | Fair 65º

Your Health
A Noozhawk partnership with Cottage Health

Cottage Doctor to Sign Copies of His Book, ‘Surviving Kidney Disease’

Dr. Michael Fisher, Cottage Hospital’s co-medical director of acute dialysis since 1984, will sign copies of his book, Surviving Kidney Disease: True Stories of Love, Courage, Hope, and Heroism, 3-5 p.m. Saturday, June 9, at Tecolote Book Shop in Montecito’s Upper Village, 1470 East Valley Road.

“Nearly 30 million Americans suffer from some sort of progressive kidney disease, yet it’s a disease we don’t hear much about, nor do most of us think about our kidneys until they break down,” Dr. Fisher notes said.

“Diabetes is the No. 1 cause of kidney disease, and diabetes is of course very responsive to diet,” he said.

“Stress is another factor that takes a toll on our kidneys,” he said. “Chronic stress, now experienced in our society in epidemic proportions, can weaken the immune system over time, unmask latent diabetes and worsen hypertension, all leading to kidney disease and even kidney failure.

“Then patients have to submit to dialysis, or wait for a suitable kidney donation. That in itself can be debilitating — knowing that one’s life is beyond one’s control, dependent upon the generosity of a donor who might even be a stranger.”

Yet kidney disease is treatable and, in many cases, preventable, as Dr. Fisher’s book makes clear.

In addition to offering a primer on preventing and dealing with kidney disease, Dr. Fisher tells stories of people who overcame a variety of kidney ailments that at the time appeared insurmountable.

He said he was inspired to tell their stories because, collectively: “They are a metaphor for how the human spirit can soar when disaster of any type appears, whether it’s cancer, loss of a spouse or child, divorce — or catastrophic floods and wildfires, as our community has recently experienced.

“When there is hope and love, people have the capacity to rise above even the most daunting situations.”

Published this spring, Surviving Kidney Disease: True Stories of Love, Courage, Hope, and Heroism is unique in including several chapters in Spanish, as well as English, because Dr. Fisher wants to include Spanish-speakers in its lifesaving information.

The book has received positive reviews from readers and other healthcare practitioners.

Dr. Gabor Maté, author of When The Body Says No: Exploring the Stress/Disease Connection, wrote:

“Michael Fisher’s book is the work of a rare sort of specialist — a physician who treats not organs but human beings, who sees disease and health not in narrowly physiological terms but as manifestations of the mind/body unity long taught by ancient wisdom and eloquently proven by modern science.

“Written with a welcome combination of expertise, passion and humanity, this volume will be a valuable guide to living and thriving with kidney disease for patients, their families and their clinicians — indeed, for anyone interested in the prevention of renal disease.”

Lori Hartwell, founder and president of the Renal Support Network, said, “From his own serious illness, Dr. Michael Fisher emerged an inspiring communicator whose passion for patient care far exceeds the norm.

“This book captures not only the hope, grit and courage it takes to overcome kidney disease, but illuminates a path to prevention and wellness that can help forestall or prevent a range of infirmities. I strongly recommend it for patients and caregivers alike.”

Surviving Kidney Disease: True Stories of Love, Courage, Hope, and Heroism is available at, and on Amazon.

Dr. Fisher received his medical degree from State Medical University of New York in Syracuse in 1968 and completed his nephrology fellowship at UCLA in 1972.

As co-medical director of acute dialysis at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital since 1984, he has conducted 131 teaching lectures at the hospital on topics that include management of malignant hypertension, renal management of toxic shock syndrome, and NSAID drug-induced renal failure.

Dr. Fisher describes two events that shaped his career. As a Peace Corps volunteer to Bolivia, he learned “how much we all have in common. People want to live healthy lives and they want the same for their loved ones.

“Most importantly, it was clear to me that having loved ones around during surgery or sickness was powerful medicine.”

Then, in 2013, Dr. Fisher was diagnosed with lung cancer. He writes, “Walking in the slippers of my patients allowed me to more fully understand the challenges they faced and the courage they found to overcome them.

“I realized that I had been in the presence of heroes, my patients, and I was determined to get well and to write a book to tell their remarkable stories as way of honoring them.

“My hope is that such a book will inspire all who face major life challenges to find their own inner fiery spirit and to succeed in overcoming adversity,” he said.

— Leslee Goodman for Dr. Michael Fisher.


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