2007 — 25 July: follow the yellow brick road

Today — this morning — we're off to see the Wizard. That's to say, Mr Chemo, who will be taking a look at Christa's progress to date and doing any needed tinkering with the sets of meds for the next cycle after this week of "rest". I have a taxi booked, and am just ingesting some breakfast while She snoozes quietly for a few more minutes. Gives me a chance for this minor-league "ketchup" with the diary.

Yesterday, by the way, was a Good Day. We both like Good Days...

Today is officially a Good Day

Mr Chemo is delighted to see evidence of tumour shrinkage already, and is now therefore proposing an identical "next cycle" of Chemo with a couple of minor wrinkles set to begin next Wednesday with the next infusion of carboplatin, a blood top-up and some further weekly injection of an impossible to pronounce wonder drug called "EPO" (erythropoietin). He's tentatively planning a total of six such cycles (18 weeks worth, in other words) and then assessing both the status of my Best Girl's health and the possibility of some additional radiotherapy treatment. (They've dug up her records of such treatment back in 1983.) Mrs Insurance Company, meanwhile, re-assures me that all this is covered, and that four to eight such cycles are absolutely "normal" for such cases.

We're both (more than) very pleased, naturally, though we also agree that this is rapidly turning into the oddest set of summer learning experiences we've yet experienced together. "All part of Life's rich tapestry" as dear ol' Dad1 used to say.

Afternoon shut-eye

Is the next, pressing, order of business for today. Just time, though, for this delicious piece by Adrian Tahourdin, reviewing Pierre Bayard's elegant and witty essay on "How to discuss books that one hasn't read" or, in other words, about reading, or not reading, etc from the TLS:

He does not address the fact that most of us have our blind spots where particular authors are concerned, and that many of us do feel oppressed by the thought of the books we haven't quite got round to reading, or wish that we had read years ago and know we now never will. Bayard is not interested in this; instead, he divides the works he mentions into four categories:

Adrian Tahourdin writing in Times Literary Supplement

I had not realised, for example, that Oscar Wilde was the patron saint of non-readers! It reminds me very much of a cartoon by Nick Downes (I presume) from The Spectator that my friend Iris sent me, many years ago. It showed a bookshop in which various piles and shelves bore labels such as "Books you'll often refer to, though never read", "Books you'll flip through periodically", "Books you'll begin to think you have read (but haven't)",2 "Books you really should read but won't" and so on.



1  That and "stay regular" were among his preferred slices of wisdom. There was also "que sera, sera" of course.
2  Definitely my favourite category!