Monday, 6 April 2015

Breathing Out by Karen Hockney

Breathing Out
By Karen Hockney
Published by Urbane Publications (1 November 2014)
ISBN: 978-1-909273-72-6

Publisher's description
'You've got cancer' are not the words you expect to hear when you're a 40-something marathon-running fitness freak who has never even smoked a cigarette.

Karen Hockney's extraordinary battle with breast cancer was different in two ways. First, as an Englishwoman living in the south of France, a stone's throw from Cannes, she suddenly had to contend with language barriers and an unfamiliar health system (albeit an extraordinarily
efficient one).

Secondly, as a leading showbusiness writer who has penned for publications including Hello, The Times and You Magazine, her job was jet-setting around the world to meet some of the most famous celebrities of our time.

How could she cope with facing them sans wig, battling nausea and exhaustion? How would
they react - and was it really possible to go from Cancer to Cannes Film Festival in the space of a few weeks?

A memoir with a difference, Breathing Out is full of practical advice, meticulous research and knowledge garnered from Karen's journey, punctuated by hope, positivity and a smattering of bleak humour.

My verdict
Karen Hockney was fit and healthy, yet at the age of 44 she discovered a lump in her breast that turned out to be cancerous. Breathing Out is the story of her journey, from her initial diagnosis until the end of her treatment. Karen endured almost immediate surgery, followed by chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

This informative, emotional and humorous account demonstrates how a cancer diagnosis has an impact on family, friends and work colleagues. One of the hardest issues for Karen to think about was how to break the news to her two teenage daughters. There were many ups and downs in the year after her diagnosis, but Karen's positive attitude helped her (and her family) to get through such a difficult time.

Cancer is a difficult subject to write about. In her book, Karen passes on her observations about life with cancer and advice on how to get through the different treatments. She also discusses how she changed her diet and lifestyle following a consultation with a Harley Street nutritionist.

Breathing Out isn't a book to 'enjoy', but it's certainly a thought-provoking one. Hopefully, it will help others struck by this terrible disease.

I received an Advance Reader Copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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