Originally posted on Nicola Bourne: There is a time in every cancer survivors year when a dreaded day (or two…) comes around. They are of course the dreaded check-ups! I remember the first time I had to go back for a check up, pushing back the tears as I arrived the hospital. The familiar sights and…
It was the 4th January 2012 that I was diagnosed with bowel cancer. I remember it like it was yesterday. My dad coming over to watch my 3-month-old daughter and 2-year-old son whilst my husband took me to the hospital for my long-awaited colonoscopy.
I knew instantly that there was a problem, as soon as the consultant began the procedure – the weird looks and awkward silences when I asked what was wrong. The nurse wouldn’t tell me what was happening, saying only that I should wait for the consultant to come and see me. When the consultant finally did come, he said that he wanted my husband present. All of this combined with the feeling in my heart and stomach meant I knew, before the consultant told me. I knew that I had bowel cancer. You can read all about my diagnosis here if you want to know more…
Obviously the first one is Cancer. But I have another big C, in a lot of ways it is a bigger C, certainly to me, so big that I often don’t really speak about it. The other big C is my Colostomy.
For those who don’t know, a Colostomy is when you have part of your large intestine removed and what’s left diverted through the abdomen wall. There are occasions when the procedure can be reversed but not in my case. Truth be told, I struggled with finding out I needed a colostomy more than finding out I had cancer – cancer I could deal with, this I couldn’t. I thought it was the absolute worst thing that could happen to me and I went into a very strange denial, praying it wouldn’t happen right until I woke up from my surgery.
I can’t believe we are already three weeks into the new year. If you love the feeling of a fresh page that can come with a new year, why not settle down with an awesome book about new beginnings and starting over to inspire you in 2017! Here are some of my favourite…
One of the things I love about it is that although it is about new beginnings she doesn’t abandon her whole life to make it happen (despite the name), she discovers a new way to enjoy what she already has – although some much-needed changes are made along the way. A book about fiding your own inner strength and making positive changes.
I have spoken about this book before. It is moving and powerful and you may need some tissues at the ready. The main theme of this book is identity and how much you identity is tied into your family and the people around you, as well as asking the question about if it is possible to ever really ‘start over’ again.
If you haven’t read the book then I am sure you have seen the movie with Julia Roberts (which I equally love). This book is creative non-fiction and Gilbert’s personal experience of the year after her divorce. Its honest and moving and will probably have you wanting to travel the world by the end.
This is a poignant and moving novel – especially in light of the recent inauguration and possible wall building – is about people moving to the United States of America as a way to make a new life and discover their place in the world. Themes of family, identity and what it means to be an ‘American’ wrapped in a story about different forms of love.
A novel to make you questions why people do the things they do.
This is a great book to start the year with. Another non-fiction book in which Ruben decides to start the year making changes to her life to make herself happier. Ruben does a new thing every month with each chapter showing what she does that month so you can try to emulate these ideas. In my case I didn’t follow everything but picked out the parts that I knew would work for me.
Two books by Elizabeth Gilbert on one list – outrageous! But if you write books about making changes and positive living, I guess that’s inevitable on this type of list. I’m such a massive fan of this book, all about living creatively which is clearly completely up my street. You don’t have to be in a creative industry or anything, this book is more about being creative everyday and is a great place to start bringing joy and creativity into your life.
Again, even if you haven’t read the book you may have seen the awesome film. The plot is not a million miles away from Eat, Pray, Love in that its a woman trying to figure out what makes her tick after the loss of her mother and recent divorce. Rather than travelling the world she hikes the Pacific Crest Trail in the USA, spending much time on her own to reflect and think.
Very honest and raw reflective memoir of change.
Please do comment below and let me know if you have read any of the books and what you think of them, and what books you would recommend that are around based around new beginnings or starting over.
Follow this blog to get latest posts and updates straight to your inbox.
If you don’t follow me on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, you may have missed my latest #WritingWednesday vlog so here it is – featuring some of my favourite and most inspirational creative living books.
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.
I am just going to put it out there right now that LJ Ross is a friend of mine but when it comes to book reviews this could be a double-edged sword! When purchasing her debut novel Holy Island I was suddenly faced with an awkward realisation – what if I hate it? Or (possibly even worse) what if it’s just all terribly average and I have absolutely nothing to say about it?
Oh my gosh. I loved it!
It was the perfect blend of mystery, characters and emotions. I loved the language, Ross had a brilliant way of using a select few words to convey something immeasurably powerful. Generally I am not a fan of descriptive scenery but just as Lucy Clarke does in her novels, Ross brings the Holy Island landscape to life, making the Island itself integral to the story and one of the lead characters in…
A lady wrote to me recently praising my positive attitude to having cancer. This lady also went on to say that her son had cancer and that he was in a very negative place and she had tried encouraging him to read my blog to gain a different perspective but that he wasn’t interested and so fearful for the future and asked if I ever felt like that?
I wrote back saying YES!
But her question made me think how important it is to discuss the lowest lows that you go through when dealing with cancer. I have a wonderful friend who stayed so positive throughout her whole treatment. She had breast cancer and has been all clear for years but looking back she says she never allowed herself to think the worst. She felt remaining positive was integral to her getting better and she never allowed negativity to creep in.