Ruth Picardie was thirty-three when she died, a month after her twins' second birthday and just under a year after she was first diagnosed with breast cancer. For Ruth, a journalist, it seemed natural to write about her illness. She published only seven columns for Observer Life magazine before she became too sick to continue, but her moving, funny and very human account drew a huge response from readers all over England.
Before I Say Goodbye juxtaposes these columns with correspondence from readers, e-mails to her friends, letters to her children and reflections by her husband and her sister. The result is a courageous and moving book, entirely devoid of self-pity, that celebrates the triumph of a brave and wonderful woman's spirit.
With October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I wanted to read and review an appropriate book for the theme, and fortunately this was the book that I chose. I've had this book for quite awhile, wanting to read it, but waiting for the spirit to move me to pluck it off of my shelf.
Ruth's story is not one of bemoaning her predicament. It is the story of her life before and after her horrendous diagnosis; life with her husband and her children, the love of her job, the silliness that is shared between her and her friends, and her crass view of cancer...its intrusion into her life.
Her lump, when first detected by Ruth herself, was determined by her doctors as being a "fibroadenoma", a non-cancerous lump of the breast. Pacified by the diagnosis, Ruth and her husband Matt wiped the worry from their minds. Approximately a year after that diagnosis, the lump began to grow. Ruth returned to her doctor demanding answers. By that time the lump had turned cancerous....a very aggressive type of cancer, which quickly spread to her bones, lungs, liver and brain.
Ruth mentions in her book that she had to demand to be given MRI's and CT Scans to detect the cancer's spread. I can't imagine a doctors careless indifference about listening to a patient in pain. It is scary and surreal that this actually happens.
"Death is a hard concept for adults to grasp too. Through tear-blurred vision, it was easy to imagine that she might suddenly sit up and order a glass of fruit juice or a mug of hot chocolate. It takes not minutes, nor even months, but perhaps years for one to register and accept, at every stratum and substratem of one's being, the loss of a loved one. Even now it feels unreal most of the time. How could it have happened, after all? It wasn't part of the plan."
~After Words by Matt Seaton, pg. 131.
Early detection saves lives! Check your breasts once a month, and get your yearly mammograms. ~Find A Cure~