Chasing Zebras: A Memoir of Genetics, Mental Health and Writing
November 23, 2021
280 pages | ISBN 978-1-989496-41-1
When Margaret Nowaczyk immigrated to Canada with her family from Poland she was determined to be Canadian, whatever that meant, and she was equally determined to be a doctor. Arriving as a teen with an English vocabulary deeply influenced by the few English books she had, including Somerset Maugham's The Painted Veil, Margaret made her way through medical school at the University of Toronto, followed by residencies at Toronto's SickKids until she settled in at McMaster University Hospital as a clinical geneticist. From leaving Communist Poland to enduring the demands of medical school, through living with a long undiagnosed mental illness to discovering the fascinating field of genetics, plunging into the pressures of prenatal diagnosis and finally finding the tools of writing and of narrative medicine, Margaret shares a journey that is both inspiring and harrowing. This is a story of constant effort, of growth, of tragedy and of triumph, and most of all, of the importance of openness. In the end, Dr. Nowaczyk invites us all to see that "life is precious and fragile and wondrous and full of mistakes." And to keep trying.
About the Author
Born in Poland, Margaret Nowaczyk is a pediatric clinical geneticist and a professor at McMaster University and DeGroote School of Medicine. Her short stories and essays have appeared in Canadian, Polish and American literary magazines and anthologies. She lives in Hamilton, ON, with her husband and two sons.