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Addicted to Books & Other Adventures

At the beginning of 2021 (before cancer), I set myself a goal to read 200 books for the new year. This was partly because I spent the pandemic year of 2020 in lockdown like everyone else trying to find things to occupy my time. Reading has always been a severe addiction of mine if addictions can be reading, so it was easy to read more than I expected during our endless lockdowns of 2020 so when the UK went into what looked to be an even longer lockdown in December of 2020, I set myself this goal that in 2021, I'd see if I could reach 200 books.

For years I've used the website, Goodreads, which I've found to be the best resource for finding books, reading others reviews of books and keeping track of everything I've read while also challenging myself to take on reading adventures of my own and watch my friends doing the same. Do you like Goodreads? I have a weakness for science fiction and really enjoy fantasy worlds as my own imagination is a powerful tool in how I work in my art practice so books that fuel this imagination are like gold to me! I've read a significant amount of science fiction over the years and often get to a point where I think I've read all there is to read and then there'll be a hidden gem of a book that will give me hope that there are more treasures to find. Here is my Goodreads profile if you'd like to connect with me: Franceska's Goodreads Page.

The reason I'm sharing my Goodreads page with you is that I'm hoping to find others who also have an interest in science fiction and perhaps after sifting through the books I've read, can suggest books I've not read yet as I'm now at the stage where I fear I've read all the good books and I'm in need of a real adventure that's going to stay with me for weeks!

Reading has been a way to escape into another world for a short while, where I can fully immerse myself in someone else's life and I'm finding that while going through the pain of chemotherapy, this escapism is paramount in my healing journey so I'm literally devouring everything I can get my hands on. Sometimes when it's too difficult to focus on actual books, I resort to Audible which is a wonderful way to ride through chemo side effects while lying down with my eyes closed as I can envision the world I'm listening to and this distraction is almost a therapy in itself and distracts me from the pain.

A while ago, I shared a post with my Amazon wishlist and I must say that I'm still in the process of trying to send personal messages to everyone who generously bought items from my list. Along with my escapes into stories, these unexpected items arriving through the post and helping me relieve headaches, bone pain, nausea and keeping me snacking when eating is hard and helping me stay positive has been the most incredible therapy and I think just the delight of receiving something that I know will help me arrive from a dear friend is in itself a source of healing for me. I feel so loved and so well thought of by so many and it's such an amazing feeling that I'm convinced it's helping me get better. I want to give back to those who have offered such incredible generosity but at the moment I'm not sure how. Once I'm cancer-free and well again, I'm hopeful I can repay everyone in some way for their incredible kindness. So if you are one of those who kindly sent me something from my wishlist, please know that I love you dearly and can't thank you enough!

So this coming week on Wednesday is my chemo day again - 3rd red devil treatment plus I get installed with a PICC line in my arm which will apparently help make life easier in terms of taking blood and giving chemo. It'll stay in my arm until the end of my cancer adventure and each week, I'll have a district nurse arrive to flush out the line (sounds thrilling) so that I don't get any infection. I'm not terribly thrilled about this minor surgery but I'm totally okay with the idea of it as I'd rather not keep getting poked with a needle each time as my veins are now beginning to suffer. I'm still suffering nerve damage from the Watford A&E nurse from several weeks ago after she failed to extract blood from me and caused significant bruising and now nerve damage. I'm hoping my arm heals eventually. I want to get back to having acupuncture treatments as I know this would help me in so many ways!

I managed to convince my medical team to let me have 3 weeks between chemo treatments so that I can heal properly since the side effects are really a struggle so all fingers crossed this 3rd chemo treatment on Wednesday is easier to manage. I'm expecting the 4 days of nausea and exhaustion that follows chemo, followed by the week of bone pain and sore throat and then hopefully the third week of feeling human. This time around, I'm fully prepared with every remedy I could find - I have codeine ready for the bone pain as well as the incredible Chemo Mouthpiece for the mucositis (fingers crossed as this is the first time I'll use it). It feels like preparing for battle!

In some ways, I can't wait to get started with my chemo that follows the red devil as I'm told by man