If I could give this book 6 stars I would. It’s intelligent, thought-provoking and moving whilst being hilariously funny but my favourite thing about Where’d You Go Bernadette? is the unusual way the story is told. Through the paper trail of emails, faxes, letters, notes and Bernadette’s daughters opinions on the paper trail – all of which lead to Bernadette going missing.
I think that it is quite rare that you find a book that is a piece of good literary fictions as well as gripping and funny. It says so much about the way we live now, rising questions like, what is privacy and what crosses the line during a time when so much about everyone is so readily available? Brings up so many questions, I think it would make a fabulous book club book.
I so enjoyed this book, I just wish it had been double the length.
Fun, emotional, heartbreaking and inspiring – just your standard Thursday night!
I was so excited a few weeks ago to receive an invitation to Bowel Cancer UK’s Summer Reception and the event was finally held on Thursday evening. Held at the Royal College of General Practitioners on an amazing roof-terrace in London there was a mixture of researchers, medical practitioners, supporters, writers, survivors, I’m sure many more interesting people and my husband and I.
I must admit to not knowing what to expect but it was wonderful, interesting but also emotional. Speaking with other people who have, like me, been directly effected by Bowel Cancer and people who work tirelessly improving everything from patients survival rates and quality of life to government policy and social awareness – and basically STOP Bowel Cancer, it brought a number of experiences back to life.
My highlight was listening to speeches from both a research scientist and Deborah Alsina who gave us a flavour of what is going on behind the scene at Bowel Cancer UK…
Bowel Cancer UK export the need for research with their Gaps Analysis Project. It is not just one disease but could be as many as 7 or 8.
Money from Bowel Cancer UK bring the best in the UK to fight this particular cancer and designing new approaches such as personalised medicine.
Exciting science that can have a real impact. Understanding the illness is key to improving the outcome for patients.
As amazing as everything they are doing is, it also reminds you just how much still needs to be done.
Bowel Cancer remains the second most common cause of cancer death in the UK. However if you are diagnosed early – within Stage 1 – your chances of survival are 90% that’s why ongoing research, developments and symptoms awareness (so you can get an early diagnosis) are so vital.
Then great news is that you can now become a Friend of Bowel Cancer UK to ensure this work continues. Sign up here and you can give a couple of quid a month and continue the fantastic work Bowel Cancer UK do. I’m so grateful.
Well that was NOT part of the plan when my family and I decided to go on a dream family holiday to Mauritius!
My husband and I worked, saved and planned for months. We were so excited to finally be going and once there, it was as close to paradise as I could have hoped. We were all having the perfect time – until…
Enjoying our holiday before…
Enjoying our holiday before…
A few days in I started to feel unwell. There was a medical centre on site and a nurse gave me some rehydration sachets. I did keep saying that it felt more like a bladder infection but it was considered dehydration. I know that with a colostomy dehydration is an extreme issue, so I was furious with myself that I had become dehydrated. But the sachets didn’t help, in fact when I tried to drink one, I instantly threw it back up again – sexy!
Back to the medical center where it was agreed – it was a bladder and possibly now a kidney infection as well but not to worry, oral antibiotics and you should feel better in a day or two. Sorted.
Not so. By the next day I was convulsing, vomiting and had a temperature of 40c. The medical team sent me straight to hospital. I can’t lie, the journey to hospital was petrifying. It was an hour and a half away. I had to go by taxi on my own because it was too far for an ambulance to come and Husband had to stay with the kids. I had no idea what to expect when I got there – a posh private clinic, or like something off an episode of panorama. The hospital was fine, basic, but fine and the staff were really wonderful.
Arriving at hospital I was delirious and writhing in pain. The doctors wouldn’t give me any medication until they ran tests, sorted my insurance and had my passport so the next hour was pretty awful and involved a lot of tears as I played the worlds smallest violin to myself.
Quick side note: I couldn’t be admitted until my insurance was sorted and they took my passport as a guarantee of payment which I didn’t have with me, the nurse seemed to think couldn’t be admitted (more crying/violin playing) until thankfully someone was able to come and help me be admitted without my passport. There was security on all the doors so no one can leave and they only removed the drip and cannula once the bill has been paid. I understand why, but I really was reminded how lucky I am to live in a country with a National Health Service. It might not be perfect but at least you never have to fear being turned away from a hospital like I nearly was, or worry about paying the bill – that truly is amazing. But anyway – back to the story…
I was diagnosed with a chronic bladder, kidney and blood infections – septicaemia. It was the septicaemia that was causing the convulsing and fitting. I had non-stop drips running for three days with antibiotics, liquid and painkillers. Honestly I can’t explain how ill I was.
The only other time I have felt that bad was when I was having chemo and a junior doctor gave me the wrong amount of morphine and I overdosed.
Because the hospital was so far from the hotel, it wasn’t easy for my family to visit so I spent most of the three days I was in there contemplating being severely ill again. Obviously it’s not like my cancer was back but being hooked up to machines day and night, having numerous scans and tests – it all felt far too familiar and took me back to an emotionally dark place.
As there was a medical centre at my hotel, my consultant (after quite a lot of negotiation) agreed to let me convalesce in the hotel with the medical team supporting me. I couldn’t get out of bed and was on a lot of medication but who cares… I was back and with my family for the last few days of holiday.
The day I was released I saw a blog post from Consciously Healthy which seemed to sum up just how I was feeling. The author Emma was reflecting on how after a long recovery, she stopped giving her mind, body and soul the attention it deserved, till eventually her body gave-way again. This was exactly how felt. I know I didn’t have cancer again and my life is full of people and things that I love, but slowly my life had returned to crazy busy with little down time and having septicaemia made me realise it was time to have a little rethink!
I will be writing more about how and ‘if’ the rethink happened in a few days so check back or sign up for part 2…
Are there any times in your life when you have had a rethink? Or any tips for anyone else having a rethink? Please leave a comment and share you stories with us.
Originally posted on Nicola Bourne: I knew that I had cancer. I had a strong inner feeling and I knew. I was experiencing textbook symptoms and had a basic knowledge based on a strong family history – my mother, Grandmother and Great-Grandfather all died from Bowel Cancer at ‘young’ ages. Even so, getting diagnosed was not…
Over the last year I have posted a few blog posts on writing and why I wrote The Fabulous Woman’s Guide Through Cancer, I think my favourite is What Do You Wish You Had Done? It is something I try to keep in my mind, what do I wish I had done and what do I still want to do. It can be so easy to fall into a routine and stop pushing yourself but this post reminds me that no one else is going to make amazing things in my life happen.
And I think we should all ideally not wait for a near death experience to push us into action. We owe it to our future selves to create the life we want.
It never ceases to amaze me, just how many people are effected by cancer; how it comes round and round, time and time again, yet I also know that if I had my cancer ten-years ago, I would not have survived. Now I am 3 years into remission and it is only getting better. More and more of us are surviving even extreme cancer diagnosis’ and I love that my words can help others who are going through similar experiences.
Publishing this book was one of my proudest moments, along with this blog and I really want to send a heartfelt thanks to all of you who have read, commented, reviewed, been involved, anything… Thank you, thank you, thank you.
To anyone who had or had cancer I just want to say…You are so strong, especially on the day’s that you don’t think that you are, the days that you want to give up, those are the days when you are actually the strongest because you keep going. You are going to do things you only dreamt of before. You are going to be even more amazing because at one point you were stripped of all and (if not now, in time) you will rebuild. Give yourself time and be kind to yourself and let the magic of life unfold.
Happy Birthday book x
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I first heard about One Million Lovely Letters about a year ago when a friend sent me the link to the website. I was beyond amazed by the concept – if you feel like you need a hug in an envelope, email Jodi Ann Bickley and she will handwrite you a letter to remind you how awesome you are. See – amazing!
I looked for the website recently because I had a story idea that’s based on a similar concept. When looking, I saw that Jodi Ann Bickley has written a book by the same name which was immediately ordered and quite literally devoured by me.
I think everyone should read this book. It should be on the school syllabus. It should be a staple in everyone’s lives, because it essentially reminds the reader that we all that have a choice to be a cloud or a ray of sunshine in someone else’s day.
Having said that, it’s not all “life is perfect, be positive and everything is completely fabulous all the time.” Jodi is beautifully honest about some pretty brutal emotional and physical difficulties and illnesses that she’s been/going through. About how even when things are starting to go right, she still has personal hurdles to overcome.
This book reminds us that everything is not perfect – it never is – but we still have the option to be kind.
The story itself is captivating but the language used and they way the story is told is equally gorgeous. The author is a poet (by day) and I think it really come across in the beautiful language and Bickley has an amazing way of drawing you in and expressing so much emotion through her words.
This book feeds your soul and is well and truly on my ‘favourite books of all time’ list.
My children (like me) think that getting post is the best thing ever but (again like me) they only get anything around their birthday. About half way through the book, I decided to write my children (ages 6 and 4) letters to remind them how awesome they are. I posted them and they were so excited finding them on the doorstep and even more excited when they realised it was from me. It was so much fun getting to see their little faces as they read how much I love them. They both have them under their pillows now. Such a simple idea but it brought so much joy to all of us. I implore you to do the same. Write a letter to someone and let them know how awesome they are.
If you are feeling inspired by the concept, One Million Lovely Letters is currently collecting letters from all over the globe to go into an exhibition so are asking lovely people to post lovely letters. Here is Jodi Ann explaining all about it…
The novel opens with a bang! Immediately there is a completly unexpected mystery. The story is mainly set against the back drop of the atomic bomb being dropped in Nagasaki, Japan during World War Two, such an interesting period of time that I have rarely read about from this point of view and made a wonderfully and moving setting. Centring on a woman who is reflecting on her life, the decisions she made and how they impacted on her family as a whole. The story moves back and forth in time, through the woman’s memories, her daughters diary and letters written long ago, all of which slowly build a picture that helps solve the questions posed in the first chapter.
From about half way through, I could barely put the book down as the drama and momentum build with all the pieces of information starting to fall together and unraveling in surprising ways. I loved reading about Japan during the second world war, learning so much about the country, customs and history through the beautiful descriptions Copleton includes throughout.
It wasn’t easy writing a book about one of the worst experiences I’ve had to encounter. I remember when writing the section about chemotherapy, I swear I could feel the cannula in my hand and the chemo seeping up my arm. Similarly when writing about the emotional side of cancer, reliving the rollercoaster once again and remembering points I was so low I wanted to give up, I came away from my computer crying.
RomCom isn’t usually my genre of choice, favouring literature, drama and thrillers but as I was going on holiday I thought I go for something more uplifting and I’m so pleased I did.
Most importantly, it was still very well written, very important to me. One of my favourite things was that good and bad things happened throughout the novel rather than that common – something goes wrong, everything turns out alright. I found this a much more interesting read and kept the novel a real page turner.
I thought this was the perfect summer read, very funny and thoroughly enjoyable. So lovely to have something uplifting to read after quite a lot of thrillers recently.
I have never read anything by this author before but have been busy downloading and starting reading everything else she has written I enjoyed it so much.
It’s also only 99p on Kindle at the moment and only £3.49 in paperback, so if you are looking for something interesting, well written, funny and uplifting, get downloading now!