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It's Not Just Coronavirus - I've Got Cancer

2020 isn't turning out to be anyone's year, is it?

Back in January, I thought I would be one of the few people cursing the end of 2019. I was diagnosed with Stage 3 Inflammatory Breast Cancer - an aggressive type of cancer that, in the past, has had a very poor five-year survival rate. It is often misdiagnosed and is the breast cancer that hurts. (Never listen to people who say cancer isn't painful.) It requires chemotherapy to render it operable.

Fast-forward a few fraught months and I am two-thirds of the way through my initial stage of treatment. I am living with the hell of TCHP chemo, which includes a rather unpleasant drug derived from a yew tree.

I've been shielding from coronavirus since March 11 - only leaving my home for hospital appointments. It's scary and, sometimes, boring. I've taken up all sorts of new hobbies to pass the time, including diamond painting and drawing.

In between, I have spent goodness knows how many hours washing individual items of shopping, neat-bleaching door handles and taps and, generally, trying to protect myself from COVID-19.

I have also used this time to compile a box set of my favourite crime fiction projects. The result is the 95,000-word Lay Them To Rest, available now from Amazon in both digital and paperback formats. It features three complete novellas and is a great introduction to my work.

Get in quick - I've got some free vouchers to give away for the Kindle version in the UK. If you are interested, don't be shy - get in touch.

Suffice to say, chemotherapy is no walk in the park. Aside from severe sleep deprivation, I have tingling down my legs, a sore mouth and a few other side-effects you honestly wouldn't want to read about.

I miss cuddling my granddaughter, going for walks and eating out. Actually, I miss just being 'me'. The virus has added an extra layer of blackness to everything, don't you think?

During the crisis, I have taken strength from other cancer sufferers in online groups, my contacts on social media and a burning desire to call out any official body that has failed the public during the pandemic. Do you know, nurses at the hospital where I am being treated are not regularly tested for the virus? Oh, and they are exempt from travel quarantine rules! You can see where things are going to go wrong this winter.

Further information about Lay Them To Rest is available on the homepage of this website.