Book reviews, Cancer, Non fiction

What Doesn’t Kill You by Rachel Haynes – Book Review


What lies beneath survival is the realization that the end of treatment is not the end of the story.

Rachel Haynes survived cancer not once, but twice.

This is her story about facing treatment, the joy of remission, followed by the heartbreak of relapse and finally, unexpectedly, a cure. Rachel reflects on the messy psychological legacy of survival in all its raw highs and lows, and of her overwhelming urge to finally make sense of a life she never thought she would see. With taboo-breaking humour and honesty, she vividly describes her experience of cancer and the impact it has had on her loved ones alongside a tender description of how life has brought her full circle back to love.

It is a rallying call to wake up to what’s important in life and never give up hope. A quest to uncover what to do when you have a second chance at life.

All profits from the book will be donated to Bowel Cancer UK.



This is a book about hope, family, love and cancer.

Rachel was diagnosed with Bowel Cancer and went through surgery…..lots of surgery, chemo both IV and in tablet form, and this is her story of her traumatic journey.

It’s honest and heartfelt and so very accurate. As a stage 4 cancer host myself I know the constant fear and anxiety of the hospital appointments, treatment, scans and horror of horrors, results days. It really helps to know that others undergoing these ‘regimes’ feel exactly the same.

I loved Rachel’s humour, her family and the odd glass of wine! 

If anyone is about to start any cancer treatment, is currently undergoing or has finished treatment, this really is a must read. It shows there is hope and love in this world and doctors and surgeons really are doing their very best to keep you on this planet as long as they can.  

I would also recommend this for anyone who knows someone with cancer, as it gives an insight into how it feels and what’s behind the ‘I’m fine’ statement…..An emotional, honest and down to earth brilliant read.

Thank you to Ailsa at Watkins Media for the opportunity to read this for free. This is my honest and unbiased review.


You can buy a copy here (All profits go to Bowel Cancer UK):


Book reviews, Cancer, Womens fiction

The Pelican by M Naidoo – Book Review



“Because life is about living…”

Julia has never been one to surrender without a fight, but when she receives a devastating diagnosis, she has a decision to make.

Even after thirty years, she can still see her mother slowly fading away with every dose of chemo, every round of radiation, and every lost shred of hope. No, she won’t do it… not to her family… and not to herself!

Without warning, she packs up her belongings and disappears, leaving behind a life that, by all accounts, had been as perfect as they come, and a distraught family full of questions.

Finding peace in a beach house in Northern California turns out to have its complications though. While only a handful of other residents share the tiny beach community, each one has brought their own baggage and developed their own way of dealing with it. All Julia wants is to be left alone, but that simply does not seem to be an option, especially when there’s a persistent bird that declares her to be his new best friend.

Haunted by the shadows of the past, Julia is struggling to cope with the present. Will she have the strength to do this alone and eventually follow through with her plan? Will her family, divided by mixed reactions to being abandoned, come together to try and track her down? And what is the deal with that pelican of hers?

Only time will tell – and time is the one thing Julia does not have…



Julia finds out she has cancer and decides to keep a promise to herself, made years before when watching her mother struggle through cancer, chemo and ultimately her death.

She decides to disappear, to deal with her own cancer, her mortality, alone. She wants to spare her husband and family the heartache of watching her fade away.

This is an incredibly emotional tale, (which I personally found a difficult read due to my own health….I’m currently undergoing treatment for stage 4 malignant melanoma) and I can fully understand her reasoning, to protect those closest to you, but also to protect yourself……trying to cope with your own emotions is tough enough without having to think of others too at an incredibly difficult time.

A story of utter selflessness with the intent on sparing her family pain and the unhappy memories. Wonderfully emotive writing…… have a box of tissues with you, when you read this..……you’ll need them.

Thank you to Rachel’s Random Resources for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook. This is my honest, unbiased review.


Purchase Links
For duration of tour – The Pelican will be £1.99 on Amazon UK (and US)

Author Bio 

E924E779-51DA-489C-BD87-741349AC95FFBorn and raised in Germany, M.Naidoo lives in Northern California with her husband, two daughters,
and three dogs. One of them, Dusty, a spunky terrier mix, found its way into her debut novel. When she is not in front of her computer, pounding out story lines and characters, she enjoys reading, movies, spending time with her family, and long walks on the beach – her proverbial ‘happy place’. M’s love for the beach and ocean shine through in the vivid descriptions of the coast in The Pelican.


Damn hospital letter – Stage 4 melanoma

Yesterday I received a letter from my oncologist, it was addressed to DWP to support a PIP claim, all good. However, I was just copied in on this letter and to say it was bleak is a bit of an understatement. It says as my disease has progressed in one site ( I have mets in 3 sites at the moment) this will be dealt with locally (surgery). BUT this means unfortunately there is likelihood now of disease progression and my current treatment will be deemed ineffective and stop. As this is my final line of treatment available, the prognosis will be 3 to 6 months. EA8DE317-94FB-487D-B925-A5371A26665A

Now, while I am aware of the ‘limited options ‘ I wasn’t really aware that this is it and if it stops working I have very little time left on this planet. It did put a huge dampener on my day I have to be honest. BUT as the treatment is still working, as my last CT in October showed, the surgery to remove the errant tumours has been done….so I am two lumps down,  I am determined to keep fighting this bastard disease.

So this morning I went for a walk, only a mile round the local,park, but the cold and fresh air has done me the world of good.  I’m still healing from the surgery so didn’t want to go too far, but getting outside has given me time to put all this nonsense in its place and no more doom and gloom for me.








Last week’s (Tuesday) dose of Pembrolizumab, they found the vein the first time this week….30mins, then a 10 min flush….all in all a 2 hour visit…they are so busy in LRI chemo suite….5 nurses to 37 patients. Also on prednisolone due to the polymyalgia cause by the pembro, plus rashes, itches and fatigue….all being managed well though but some days are harder than others. CT due in October to see if the treatment is working….so fingers crossed!