Bernadine Bishop – ‘Unexpected Lessons in Love’


For my birthday I received the above book, which may be of interest to some of my followers. Not often do we read a novel where the protagonist and her friend each have a colostomy. In this case (and in mine), as a result of cancer.

The main character, Cecilia, is based on the personal experience of the author and I first heard about it on Woman’s Hour, Radio 4 in January, when she was discussing the book with Jenni Murray. You should be able to find the interview here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01pp98c

The interview really is worth listening to (not least for the author’s mellifluous voice) and it gives an insight into the life of an ostomate, living with cancer – and its consequences.

 

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willosworld

Born in Liverpool at the end of WW2, but raised in Skelmersdale. I first studied art in Southport from 1960-63 and worked in graphic design till I married. In December 1969 I moved to Zambia with my husband and two young children. There I taught art in the local girls school, illustrated for the National Correspondence College and did all sorts of other artwork, paid and unpaid. In 1978 I divorced and remarried in the summer of 1980. In 1985 I became ill and the following year cancer was diagnosed. There was no treatment available in Zambia and so I had to go to the UK. After recovering from a radium needle implant I went back to Zambia, but 18 months later the cancer recurred and it was off to the UK again for radical surgery. This time I realised I must stay in the UK where treatment was available, so I never returned to Zambia nor my husband. A few months later I applied for a degree course, but two years later the disease metastasised and I spent most of my final year in and out of hospital. It’s been a long hard road, but I’m still plodding on and it is now 24 years since my last cancer treatment. Because of my experience of cancer and surviving against the odds, I try and help others cope with their devastating diagnosis and prognosis.

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