October and November have been busy months for me and although we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving I have fond memories of other years when we have. Those spent in New York with family were special days. This day is a reminder too to start the countdown to Christmas!
As some of you know I have just come to the end of radiotherapy treatment but when I was warned about fatigue I had underestimated total exhaustion that has hit me. During the treatment I opted to travel by public transport despite many offers of lifts, option to drive myself or go with my husband. I mainly used the bus, a great people watching opportunity and a chance to read. I managed four books in three weeks despite many interesting chats and meeting people I knew also new people who shared their stories with me. This was before the waiting room for treatment where I met some great people with their own experiences. Supportive, fun, laughter may not be the first words one would think of in an oncology department but they are relevant. Usually patients are given a regular time slot so the same people are often waiting, it becomes a bit like a club. New people were given a chance to settle in, their privacy respected, but quickly became part of the general banter and mutual support. I might have been lucky but without this experience my life would have been difficult at times. The staff too were amazing despite the demands on them including breakdowns of crucial equipment which caused delays. At these times especially the camaraderie and support kicked in, for patients and their relatives. A levelling experience but positive on the whole. Sad at times too of course.
One of my favourite books read during my travels is The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George (translated by Simon Parc). I read it in three days as I fell in love with the main character, Jean Perdu. Jean owns and runs a bookshop on a floating barge on the Seine in Paris. He is known as the “literary apothecary” as he senses which books will best suit and soothe his customers. The story unfolds when he makes a life changing journey down to Provence on his barge. I don’t want to tell you too much and spoil the tale. The book is a love story on several levels but the people he meets and the stories they tell was a sort of a parallel in many ways to my own journey. Not as romantic as a floating bookshop of course but rewarding and life enhancing.
The three other books were Cartes Postal by Victoris Hislop, The Wolf Border by Sarah Hall and Where My Heart Used to Beat by Sebastian Faulks. The first two I really enjoyed but the third one I found challenging at times but finished it! Good luck everyone with your reading, maybe you’ve had some time during the celebrations (unlikely!).