A November to Remember by Taryn McKeiver
|A November to Remember by Taryn McKeiver
|Reviewer: Elaine Dingsdale
|Summary: Open, candid, witty and amusing Taryn shares the intimate details of her illness, both in physical and emotional terms. She's very down to earth concerning the numerous procedures to which she was submitted and the rigour of the treatments she had to endure. Recommended.
|Date: March 2006
|Publisher: Burrow Publishing
This book charts the arduous, heartbreaking and inspiring journey of a young and vibrant mother of five, as she shares her experiences of battling the cruellest of diseases - cancer. In Taryn's case, doubly cruel, as she was affected by a cancer which is more usual in the elderly population - bowel cancer.
Open, candid, witty and amusing Taryn shares the intimate details of her illness, both in physical and emotional terms. She's very down to earth concerning the numerous procedures to which she was submitted and the rigour of the treatments she had to endure.
She's also very open about how this impacted on her family life, her feelings of fear, and anger-and her determination to survive. The latter earns her particular admiration, as by her own admission, she's a deeply private person. Indeed, the minimum number of people/acquaintances/friends/family, were told of the problems which were besetting her. The glimpses into her love for her family, were moving in the extreme, and her determination to survive in order to see her children thrive and grow were riveting to watch. As a reader, I felt privileged to be party to some of Taryn's greatest fears.
Alongside Taryn's emotional and physical jorney, we share her frustrations at the house renovating project upon which the family had embarked shortly prior to Taryn's illness. These episodes would actually merit a further book in their own right! I'm sure any of us who have undertaken house renovation-even on a smaller scale than this mammoth task-will immediately empathise and recognise some familiar scenarios. I was simply astonished that anyone undergoing this level of treatment could continue with such a time consuming project, and it's again testament to Taryn's determination and focus, that the book ends as the project is drawing to a close. But, as I said, these scenes would make a worthy book in their own right (if she ever gets a spare minute to write it, that is!)
I did however feel that the strength of the book came from the physical effect of her illness and the surgery and treatments she had to endure over the course of several years. While much more prosaic, these chapters gave a real insight into the horror and fears which cancer engenders in the patient. It also gave a very moving picture of the determination and dedication of the oncology staff and surgical teams. Mr Toomey is now one of my heroes too!
Overall I feel this book will appeal mainly to those with a marked interest in cancer, either as a patient, a former patient, or a member of a family of a patient. Personally, I'm at present undergoing treatment for metastatic cancer, and as a patient, much of what Taryn said, echoed my feelings quite accurately. I feel too that health professionals would gain a useful insight from this work. So, although it may have quite a limited 'market', I believe that it will resonate deeply with a very diverse audience.
To Taryn, her wonderful husband Chris, her delightful children, and all those who hold this very special girl close in their hearts - thank you for sharing your journey with us. If anyone deserves the rest of their lives to be filled with happiness, then you do. Best wishes for a future filled with good health and happiness (oh, and no more mice…..!)
I'd like to thank Taryn for sending a copy to The Bookbag.
A less-happy read about a cancer patient is Swimming in a Sea of Death by David Rieff.
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You can read more book reviews or buy A November to Remember by Taryn McKeiver at Amazon.com.
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