Cover Image: I've Seen the End of You

I've Seen the End of You

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As a brain surgeon, Dr. Warren stares death in the face on a regular basis. As a man of faith, how can he continue to find God among all the terminal diagnoses? Readers experience part of Dr. Warren's story and those of some of his patients as well. We all handle tragic news differently. An excellent read.
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I've Seen the End of You is a heart-wrenching and powerful account of a neurosurgeon's journey to find a balance between faith and doubt. It is a story about the faith he has known and the doubts that emerged through war, disease, and the sorrow of a personal loss. It is a well-written memoir-type book that is easy to read in the sense of understanding the text. Yet, it was often emotional and thought-provoking. I had to pause numerous times to ponder what my responses would be to the people and situations written about in the book--what my response to God would be if I found myself in similar difficulties. The author, a professed fellow-sufferer of grief and loss, shares with readers his heartfelt struggle to reconcile a loving God with destructive injuries of war, non-survivable cancer, and dying children. That reconciliation is a difficult, almost insurmountable, task and yet Dr. Warren has done a masterful job of helping the reader understand the importance of having faith. And that faith is not one that keeps us from the inevitable problems of the world, but one that shifts our focus from the problem to the promise of the One who cannot lie--the One who is there, at work even in our darkest hours. 
Despite the author's honest doubts and questions, I found the book to be faith-filled and inspiring as he shares his ultimate recognition that faith 'is being able to look for hope even when it seems impossible to find.' He brings encouragement to those who need to know that hope can bring us to a place of shelter where the devastating things in life cannot destroy us.
I received a complimentary uncorrected copy of the book from Waterbrook Publishers and was not required to write a review. The opinions are my own.
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I've Seen the End of You is that rarest of books--memoir and philosophy and everyday life and hard decisions integrated into one powerful story. W. Lee Warren has shared heart wrenching, intelligent, and compassionate stories about the people he has worked with as a neurosurgeon--at the very end and the ultimate limit of a person's life.  He is the person you want to lead the team, to be your friend and guide through challenging, through baffling, through the toughest decisions you will ever have to make. Warren's calm, reasonable, and creative self shines through every story.  Like I said, he's the guy you want on your side -- and to write books that bring you into his life, his mind, his heart.
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What do you do with a tumour that has a 100% fatality rate? How do we cope with situations where there is no more hope for survival? Hope is one of the most cherished and necessary virtues for life. With hope, we can still grind through life. Without hope, it is a completely different story. He writes his experiences with patients, family, and loved ones with regard to life, faith, doubt, pain, gratitude, and hope. In a book that reads like a personal memoir, author and neurosurgeon, Dr Lee Warren shows us what he had learned from the experiences of people nearing death and losing hopes for survival. Many things he thought he knew, only to be humbled to realize that there are still many things he did not know. He shares these experiences in this personal revelation of faith, doubt, despair, and hope. The key question throughout the book is the very question the author wrote to Philip Yancey: "How can I pray for my patients when I already know how God is going to answer?" This is with regard to the type of brain cancer called "Glioblastoma Multiforme" (GBM), where from his medical experience has 100% fatality rate. For Warren, it is also a question of faith. "What happens when our messy lives mess with what we think we believe?"


Written in three parts, Part One details his journey through diagnosing the disease, understanding the impact, dealing with symptoms, and questions pertaining to end-of-life caregiving scenarios. He asks questions like the necessity of prayer; how to care for the terminally ill; making sense of brain-dead patients; how to give hope in hopeless situations; etc. Apart from dealing with the anguish and grief surrounding the terrible medical conditions and consequences, he learns about faith and the reasons for prayer. One precious insight is how he sees prayer as ceding control to God alone, instead of bending His way to conform with what we want. Not all answers to prayers must be yes. God must be free to say anything He wants to say. We cannot chain God up or hold him to some kind of ransom. He uses the example of a fellow surgeon who was so fixated on an inner tumour but failed to notice the bleeding happening on the outer skin. Likewise, we cannot be so focused on our own needs that we fail to see God's bigger picture. Even for patients with GBM, hopelessness need not have the final say. Faith extends further into the afterlife, into a dimension that present life cannot comprehend. Here, medical science know-how that focuses on getting better grapples with the reality of getting worse. Part Two is a tough personal section about the "difficult dark."  We read about the author's son, Mitchell's difficult last years. This is a major reason for the author to write this book: to help himself cope with loss. It is hoped that his story would help those who are also going through hard times like loss. From observing the grief of others, Warren ends up having to go through grief himself. This gives him multiple angles to look at death and dying. The title of this book comes from the moment when the author was looking himself in the mirror as he wrestles with faith and doubt. Part Three is essentially about seeing faith break through the barriers of pain and loss. Warren writes: "The best way to change your mind about difficult circumstances is somehow to find solid ground for your feet even when life sweeps the foundation from underneath you."

My Thoughts
Reading this book reminds me of Dr Paul Brand and Philip Yancey's book about pain, leprosy, and faith. What Brand and Yancey did for leprosy, Lee Warren does for GBM, or a form of terminal brain cancer. It is not an easy book to write, for it involves lots of personal struggle and pain. Doctors may have the medical knowledge and techniques to help patients. Yet, there are many things still beyond human control. Terminal illness is something that hits people from nowhere. When that happens, most do not know how to react or to feel. The author of this book has experienced both from the doctor's angle as well as a personal perspective. In a way, being able to write this book brings a lot of personal healing to Warren, especially after losing his son. While attempting to help patients and their families dealing with GBM situations, Warren has also helped readers understand the complexities not only of the disease but also the human emotions throughout.

I appreciate Warren's manner of writing this book. He helps us see the effects of GBM by describing what the disease, its devastating effects, and the ethical dilemmas that came with it. Looking at it from a faith angle, he does not provide easy answers. Neither does he try to come up with a theology to justify God. Instead, he shares with us his personal enigmas and struggles in an open and honest manner. This reminds me that in situations where there seems to be no physical hope, we can still turn to prayer. We are reminded that we are often not the masters of our own destinies. We can decide, but how our decisions will pan out in the future is beyond our control. If there is one Bible verse that aptly summarizes Warren's thoughts, it would be Mark 9:24, where the father of a child cried out: "Lord, I believe, help my unbelief." I think this book holds together faith, doubt, and hope tightly together in the hope that one day, all things and answers will be revealed.

Author Dr Lee Warren is a neurosurgeon, inventor, war veteran, and writer. He works at the Wyoming Medical Center.

Rating: 4.5 stars of 5.

conrade
This book has been provided courtesy of Waterbrook Press and NetGalley without requiring a positive review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.
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Where to even begin? I had this book in my TBR pile for a while and kept putting it off, what a mistake that was. This was a truly unforgettable book. Honest, thought provoking, heart breaking, gut wrenching and down right cruel at times but left me feeling lighter and with a much more positive outlook.

I suppose this is when I state that I am a staunch atheist. I've always been very strong with my feelings and almost dismissive of those with faith. This book truly opened my eyes. Whilst I am definitely still atheist, this has allowed me a deeper understanding of faith and what it means to people. Dr Lee Warren has written his journey of belief, faith and doubt so eloquently and without the "preachy-ness" you may find in similar novels. 

I've Seen the End of You has the perfect mix of self reflection and stories of other other patients and their journeys navigating life, death, belief and faith. You will find yourself laughing one minute and crying your heart out the next. 

Read this book, you won't regret it!
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I loved this book! It worked through the struggle of knowing bad things happen versus a belief in a kind, caring God. As a neurosurgeon, the author all too frequently encounters the dark side of this when having patients who die or who have incurable brain cancers. As he proceeds along his faith journey, a traumatic experience his his life helps him see how God is present in even the darkest of times in our lives.  A wonderful, at times heart-rending, book.
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AMAZING. Absolutely loved this book. The first part of the book of the book focuses on his patient's suffering and how he can be honest with them, without leaving them hopeless, when he is fairly confident he knows what the effects of GBM will result in (each time a patient has a new diagnosis of GBM, he thinks "I've seen the end of you"). The book then proceeds to a tragedy in Dr Warren's life and how he wrestled with his faith during that time. I really enjoyed his open and honest writing and hearing about his connections to each patient he chose to write about.
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Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for this advanced readers copy. This book, however did not hold my attention and I found myself not wanting to pick it up to read it
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Warren, a Neurological Surgeon, brings together bits and pieces of stories regarding his patients, along with his own personal struggles.

Many of the patients in this book face a rare cancerous tumor which develops in the brain. Glioblastomas come with a hopeless prognosis. Yet, many people continue to have faith and turn to prayer.

Dr. Warren, who is also a Christian, believes strongly in prayer as well. But he faces some conflicting thoughts, since he deals with death and statistics daily. He knows God can heal, but when he realizes the outcome of cancer, especially glioblastoma, he struggles with the reality and faith.

While I’m a person who could never work in the health care industry, I’ve always been fascinated by it, and love the chance to learn. This book may not appeal to all, but I loved it. And honestly, I can’t imagine it not appealing to most.

Each patient’s story is told in quite a bit of detail, complete with lots of medical jargon. But I enjoyed the learning aspect. Yet, more important than medical information, were the stories of struggles. How each patient and the doctor deals with the possibility of death. Some are spared for a time, some taken.

The patient stories were very enlightening. As well as Warren’s faith and struggles. No doubt struggles most of us have faced. But there are also thoughts given by Warren that we may not have considered.

Warren includes many interesting things that have molded him into the physician he is. One being that he follows through with not only medical care of his patients, but emotional. He also involves his wife in his concerns and they pray together.

But he still deals with self-doubt and lack of understanding at times. There are prayers answered, but not in the way Warren had expected. I’m thinking of one family who experienced the death of a loved one during a very routine surgery (if there can ever be a surgery considered routine). Later the family met with him and shared some enlightening information.

This is an engaging memoir and the writing is captivating. According to Dr. Warren, he hopes the book will help people through their journey of prayer, faith, doubt, and loss.

I know it has me.

My thanks to #NetGalley and #Waterbrook for the ARC of #IveSeenTheEndOfYou This book review is only my opinion.

What Concerned Me
Fair warning to the squeamish (description of operations) or those who get depressed easily. The patient’s stories can be sad, of course, yet there is an uplifting quality that far outweighs the grief and sadness.

What I Liked Most
Faith and prayer can be extremely confusing. Through examples, Warren gives his thoughts regarding these issues.

Excellent lessons and thoughts to consider. It may not be for everyone but read other reviews. Then decide.
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I received an ARC of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 

Heartbreaking memoir about a physician, his military career, his subsequent practice, and the death of his beloved son.   His story is inspirational, and his commitment to Christianity is admirable.
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** spoiler alert ** W. Lee Warren is a neurosurgeon, and a very good one. A man who has saved thousands of lives and one, who due to the nature of the work he does, routinely battles one of the most deadly brain cancers known to man, Glioblastoma Multiforme. 100 % fatal. GBM kills, all the time.

He is also a Christian who believes in the supreme power of God and of His faithfulness to His children. Dr. Warren arises early each day to pray and study scriptures, prays often with his wife and children, and always prays for and sometimes with his patients and their families.

In this memoir, open, raw, gritty, heartwarming and heartbreaking, we are privy to Dr. Warren's struggles with trying to reconcile what he believes through his faith and what he knows as a scientist. God is good all the time vs GBM kills all the time. We see his pain, his doubts, his longing to believe unquestionably, unwaveringly. His desire to give his patients hope when, scientifically, he knows there is none. What a tough, tough job!

In the course of the book, the reader comes to know several of Warren's GBM patients, and hears and sees the interactions Dr. Warren has with his patients and their families. We learn that patients who believe in a power greater than themselves tend to do better medically during the course of their disease than those who don't, even though the outcome might be the same. We see how different people and families deal with this horrible diagnosis and the disease; one which can give hope through brief respites at times, and then come back, bigger, bolder, deadlier than ever. We see how God can use this circumstance to change people, and how seeming coincidences uncovered the GBM, so that surgery could buy a patient and family a bit more time together.

I admire Dr. Warren, as a good and decent man, and as a neurologist. His job is not an easy one. He could easily wall himself off to protect himself from the pain that dealing with GBM on a routine basis must cause, but he doesn't. He is there for his patients with his skills, and with his human warmth. At times when things must be said and understood and plans made, at times when there are no words. 

My older brother died of a GBM. I only wish, we had had someone like Dr. Warren with us during his fight against, and ultimate loss to this disease. It would have been such a comfort!

I highly recommend this book for several reasons - first, so people understand that God accepts doubt and pain; that God doesn't lie; that He is with us always in whatever the circumstance, comforting us, perhaps even helping us to grow. Second, because it shows the true impact on the doctors of dealing with not only with using their skills and knowledge against the diseases they fight, but with trying to provide to us all the other things we look to them for - hope, understanding, comfort, help. 

Many thanks to Dr. Warren for writing this book, and to NetGalley and Waterbrook for allowing me to read an ARC of the book in exchange for an unbiased review. Opinions expressed here are my own.
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Thank you to WaterBrook & Multnomah, and NetGalley, for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

This is a very personal look at life - and the end of life - by a neurosurgeon. Many of the patients he deals with, and whose stories he tells, are afflicted with a particularly virulent type of brain cancer and the title refers to the almost foregone conclusion he reaches when he is confronted with evidence of the disease when setting his diagnosis. 

The descriptions of testing, diagnosis, and treatment of the disease are fascinating. The author's struggle with faith, not so much. Although I can understand and accept that the author is grappling with questions that are existential for him, and his personal belief in God, I found the constant references to his faith too preachy. I also felt it could have done with a bit more stringent editing, in parts the author kept circling and repeating himself, rather than getting to the point.

However, regardless of where we stand spiritually, this book reminds us that no one is immortal, and that the end is sometimes much sooner than we would like.
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I'VE SEEN THE END OF YOU:  A NEUROSURGEON'S LOOK AT FAITH,, DOUBT,  AND THE THINMGS WE THINK WE KNOW.
BY W LEE WARREN

THIS NON FICTION ACCOUNT HAD SOME VERY INTERESTING INSIGHTS INTO HOW PEOPLE DIFFER IN THEIR ATTITUDES TOWARDS GOD, IF IN FACT THEY BELIEVE IN HIM, HOW SOME PEOPLE GRAPPLE WITH FAITH OR DOUBT WHEN FACING DEATH THEMSELVES OR THAT OF A LOVED ONE.  W. LEE WARREN IS A NEUROSURGEON WHO FOR MOST OF THIS BOOK TALKS ABOUT DIFFERENT CASES  HE HAS TREATED HIS PATIENTS WITH GLIOBLASTOMA MULTIFORME, WHICH IS A BRAIN TUMOR THAT HAS A FATALITY RATE OF ALMOST 100 PERCENT.  HIM AND HIS SECOND WIFE HAD THEIR OWN MEDICAL PRACTICE , BUT MOST OF THE CASES HE WOULD OPERATE ON FROM THE EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT AND MOST OF THE CASE HISTORIES HE RECOUNTS IS GETTING CALLED IN EITHER BY A COLLEAGUE AND THE PATIENT WOULD HAVE A GLIOBLASTOMA MULTIFORME.  THIS DOCTOR WHO IS TRAINED IN MEDICINE BY THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD SEEMED TO BELIEVE IN GOD BECAUSE HE WOULD PRAY WITH SOME OF HIS PATIENTS.  HE WOULD ALSO OFTEN THINK TO HIMSELF THE TITLE OF THIS BOOK, "I'VE SEEN THE END OF YOU.

THIS DOCTOR WOULD LOOK AT HIS PATIENTS BRAIN SCANS FROM MRI'S AND VIEW THE GLIOBLASTOMA AND HE KNEW AFTER REMOVING IT THAT IT WOULD GROW BACK AND THAT IS WHEN HE WOULD SAY TO HIMSELF, I'VE SEEN THE END OF YOU.  FOR MOST OF THE BOOK WHICH WAS WRITTEN IN SHORT CHAPTERS WITH QUOTES FROM FAMOUS PHILOSOPHERS OR BIBLICAL VERSES  IT WAS FASCINATING BUT SAD TO READ ABOUT HIS PATIENTS DYING.  WHEN THIS DOCTOR HAS A LIFE CHANGING EVENT---ONE THAT IS EVERY PARENTS WORSE NIGHTMARE  HE STRUGGLES WITH HIS FAITH AND HE WRITES ABOUT HIS STRUGGLES HONESTLY..  IN THE END THIS BOOK WAS INSPIRING AND I AM GLAD THAT I READ IT.  IT CAME DURING A GOOD TIME IN MY LIFE SO I AM DEFINITELY GOING TO READ IT AGAIN.  THOSE WHO ARE AGNOSTIC OR DON'T BELIEVE IN GOD PROBABLY WOULDN'T LIKE IT.  FOR THOSE WHO DO BELIEVE IN GOD OR UNSURE WOULD FIND THIS IS ACCESSIBLE READING AND INTERESTING.

Thank you to Net Galley, W Lee Warren and Waterbrook of Penguin Random House for providing me with my ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions are my own.
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I've Seen the End of You is a very challenging read, as the author, a neurosurgeon, wrestles with his Christian faith  as he diagnoses and treats patients, most of whom in the book face glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). GBMs are uniformly fatal, and fatal quickly. Reading about his patients was incredibly difficult. It's a good memoir, but be prepared for feeling both lucky and nervous.

ARC provided by NetGalley, opinions in my review are my own.
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Wow. This book is so wonderfully crafted. Dr. Warren takes you through his faith journey by way of a series of neurosurgeries in part one. It makes you want to laugh and cry. You get to know a variety of people that Dr. Warren worked with, and each mini-lesson has so much depth. 
In Part 2 he experiences a family crisis that the reader (and he) didn’t see coming. It adds a crucial element and in the end he admits how much it really contributes to finally moving forward with the publishing process on this book. 
In part 3 and the epilogue it wraps up all the struggles he experienced with faith, that other people experienced, and take away lessons.
The entire book is sprinkled with wisdom; from the Bible, other authors, and life lessons. 
If you question faith sometimes, have an interest in neuroscience, or want a great non-fiction read I 100% recommend.

I would’ve read it in less than 24 hours had I not been getting headaches from reading on my phone. (Also don’t recommend headaches when reading about brain tumor/cancer)
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What a wonderful, thought provoking book! It's partly a memoir of a physician and the brain cancers he treats, partly a meditation on faith and how he reconciles his faith with his work. Uplifting and heartbreaking at the same time, it gave me lots to contemplate about what faith really is.
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I don't know why I requested an ARC copy of this book because there are two categories of books that I often avoid: nonfiction and religious genres. I love nonfiction books, but they usually take me a few months to read and I don't enjoy them the way I enjoy reading fiction. 

This book took me less than 3 days. I couldn't sleep because I had to read more. And then once I finished reading it, I would wake up in the middle of the night thinking about it. This book goes over so many topics: outlook on life, faith, loss and grief, anger, and more. I read this book everywhere I had a spare minute so I was basically crying in public for three days. At the gym, at the checkout stand in line, in the parking lot of my son's preschool... this is a sad book, but it is so much more than that.

Dr. W. Lee Warren blends his experience as a combat surgeon, a neurosurgeon, a husband, a father, and a man of faith. As a neurosurgeon, he often has to deal with patients with incurable brain cancer. Much of the book is about his patients- his relationships with them, his sadness and frustration at seeing their brain scans and realizing that he sees their almost inevitable death, and his observations as his patients deal with the news that their time is very limited. Dr. Warren also delves into his own story of personal loss and grief that is heartbreaking and yet hopeful.

This book is suspenseful- in this sense, it was an easy read because I wanted to know what happened next. It was also very thought provoking- we can't know how we would react to the death of a close loved one or the news of terminal cancer unless it happens to us. Yet, this book makes the reader think about it. 
Thank you for writing this, Dr. Warren. This is a much needed book and your story, along with the stories of your patients and your family are important.

Highly recommended to anyone, regardless of whether you are a Christian or not. One of the best, if not the best non-fiction book I've read. Thank you Netgalley and Waterbrook for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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This is a great book!  It is thoughtful and dares to go beyond the current American culture to avoid facing death, for ourselves or another,  at any cost.
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This book made me cry on an airplane! Repeatedly! 

Warren’s life story, both personal and professional, and his push and pull between faith and science, was more complex and deep than I’d anticipated. His experiences as a neurosurgeon, in the war, with his divorce and his remarriage, his beloved blended family, and his unimaginable loss all inform his explorations of doubt, resilience, hope, and joy as related to his faith. Watching his up-and-down, sometimes wonderfully messy self-discovery take shape through this book was a beautiful thing. I wondered if his answers would be too easily reached or too pat, but Warren digs deeply into the realities of doubting his faith, God, his life’s work, and his vision of an afterlife. 

Warren admits when he’s a mess, and instead of simply telling readers how to find their way out of tragedy and keep going, he shows us the zigzag of a route he himself took, admits that there are many opportunities to feel defeated, and bird that it’s easy to understand doubt and rage and disbelief in the face of enormous pain and tragedy.

There was just a little bit of repetition at times, but I read an ARC, so this has likely changed. 

I can think of several people to give this book to immediately upon publication. 

I received an advance copy of this book from WaterBrook and Multnomah and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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I had the privilege of reading an Advance copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 

Never had I read a book that helps our life into perspective. I've Seen the End of You by Dr. W. Lee Warren is a raw and honest look at life through the lens of grief, illness, and faith.  This book depicts the battles and struggles that many of us face. Regardless of where we stand spiritually, this book helps us understand that we are more than one experience. Through this eloquently written piece, we are encouraged to zoom out and look at the whole picture of our pain to better understand who we are and what we may be facing.
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