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Feb
18
Mon
2019
9:30 am Monkey Mayhem @ The Beacon
Monkey Mayhem @ The Beacon
Feb 18 @ 9:30 am – 11:30 am
Monkey Mayhem @ The Beacon | England | United Kingdom
Pre-school stay and play session with bouncy castle and ball pit. Buy tickets on the door – no booking required.   Dates Every Monday & Friday (except Bank Holidays). Price £3.70 per child or £5.70[...]
10:00 am Book and DVD Sale @ Burghfield L... @ Burghfield Library
Book and DVD Sale @ Burghfield L... @ Burghfield Library
Feb 18 @ 10:00 am – Feb 23 @ 4:00 pm
Book and DVD Sale @ Burghfield Library @ Burghfield Library
Book and DVD sale  Monday 18 – Saturday 23 February at Burghfield Library, nothing more than £1. For more information, please contact the library. Twitter: https://twitter.com/WBerksLibraries Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/newburylibrary/ http://info.westberks.gov.uk/35189
10:00 am Indoor Bounce & Inflatables for ... @ Swindon MECA
Indoor Bounce & Inflatables for ... @ Swindon MECA
Feb 18 @ 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Indoor Bounce & Inflatables for Halfterm @ Swindon MECA | England | United Kingdom
Monday 18th – Friday 22nd February 2019 10am – 4pm (Daily) UNLIMITED PLAY Bouncy Castles (up to 10yrs) Inflatable Obstacle Course (up to 10yrs) Toddler Soft Play (0-4yrs) 0-6 Months – Free Under 4’s –[...]
10:00 am Monday Rhymetime @ Thatcham Library @ Thatcham Library
Monday Rhymetime @ Thatcham Library @ Thatcham Library
Feb 18 @ 10:00 am – 10:30 am
Monday Rhymetime @ Thatcham Library @ Thatcham Library | England | United Kingdom
Monday Rhymetime at Thatcham Library Rhymetime for under 3’s at Thatcham Library. Every Monday in term time, 10.00-10.20am. For more information, please contact the library. Twitter: https://twitter.com/WBerksLibraries Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/newburylibrary/ http://info.westberks.gov.uk/article/30286
10:00 am Music Mondays, Wantage @ Vale & Downland Museum
Music Mondays, Wantage @ Vale & Downland Museum
Feb 18 @ 10:00 am – 10:30 am
Music Mondays, Wantage @ Vale & Downland Museum | England | United Kingdom
For under 5s – come and join Music Mondays.  Join in with traditional songs and rhymes accompanied by live music. Children must be accompanied by an adult.  Spaces are limited so please book in advance[...]
1:30 pm Duplo Play Sessions @ Theale Lib... @ Theale Library
Duplo Play Sessions @ Theale Lib... @ Theale Library
Feb 18 @ 1:30 pm – 3:00 pm
Duplo Play Sessions @ Theale Library @ Theale Library | Theale | England | United Kingdom
Duplo Play Sessions For toddlers and preschoolers: Mondays, 1.30-3.00pm all year round Wednesdays. 10.45am-12.15pm half-term and holidays An informal session to have fun with Duplo. Younger siblings welcome – we have a few baby toys to[...]
1:45 pm Let’s Talk About the Old Days @ ... @ Theale Library
Let’s Talk About the Old Days @ ... @ Theale Library
Feb 18 @ 1:45 pm – 3:15 pm
Let's Talk About the Old Days @ Theale Library @ Theale Library | Theale | England | United Kingdom
Let’s Talk About the Old Days Regular events for older people – Carers welcome. 3rd Monday each month, starts 19th November. Please call or email ahead if you wish to attend – For more information,[...]
2:00 pm Coffee & Craft @ Pangbourne Library @ Pangbourne Library
Coffee & Craft @ Pangbourne Library @ Pangbourne Library
Feb 18 @ 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Coffee & Craft @ Pangbourne Library @ Pangbourne Library | Pangbourne | England | United Kingdom
Coffee and Craft Every Monday in term time, 2.00-4.00pm at Pangbourne Library. Drop in and bring any craft with you. For more information, please contact the library. http://info.westberks.gov.uk/article/30285 Twitter: https://twitter.com/WBerksLibraries Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/newburylibrary/
2:15 pm Family History Sessions @ Theale... @ Theale Library
Family History Sessions @ Theale... @ Theale Library
Feb 18 @ 2:15 pm – 4:45 pm
Family History Sessions @ Theale Library @ Theale Library | Theale | England | United Kingdom
Family History Sessions Every Monday, 2.20pm-4.45pm at Theale Library. Learn to use Ancestry.com for your personal research. No need to book, just drop in. For more information, please contact the library. http://info.westberks.gov.uk/article/30287 Twitter: https://twitter.com/WBerksLibraries Facebook:[...]
4:00 pm VICI Kitchen! Pancakes and Frenc... @ Vici Academy
VICI Kitchen! Pancakes and Frenc... @ Vici Academy
Feb 18 @ 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm
VICI Kitchen! Pancakes and French - Children Workshop! @ Vici Academy | England | United Kingdom
Learn to make French Crêpes (so practise new vocabulary), then we bake (to learn lots of action verbs), then we cook (just like French Chefs!) and of course, WE EAT (and play French shop!). The fun of the kitchen is also[...]

Author Vanessa Lafaye

Marlborough author Vanessa Lafaye sadly died on Wednesday 28 February after living with aggressive cancer for several years. It was a privilege to have known her and I recommend everyone read her Living While Dying blog for an honest and humorous insight into her experience, as well as her two novels Summertime and At First Light.

Click here to read an article about Vanessa by Angela Knight, published in the Newbury Weekly News’ OUT & ABOUT magazine Spring 2018.

Introduction from Vanessa’s Living While Dying Blog

I have just learned that the breast cancer which spread to my brain and bones last year has now taken up residence in my lung and liver.  I have had a lot of treatment since my first diagnosis in 2009, and more will follow.

Although the medics have done their best, we can’t say that it’s been a raging success. But I am still here.

And I’m not ready to go, may never be ready, even when it’s time. Nevertheless, this latest news forces me to engage with my death as a real, tangible event, much sooner than I ever expected:  big, scary, and way too close. 

I am not a religious person.  I have no comforting beliefs, no faith to fall back on, nothing to ease the overwhelming, gut-curdling terror of staring into total, unending darkness.  I am a writer.  The one thing I know how to do is communicate with words.

So I’m going to write a diary, like the Bridget Jones of Death, to chart my progress from here until the end of all that is me.  I’ve been inspired by others’ blogs like this in the recent past, because it accomplishes two important things:  it helps the writer to express their thoughts with total frankness, without worrying about upsetting or offending people; and it informs those who are dying, or are caring for someone at the end of their life.

I’ve called it Living While Dying because I’m in the surreal situation of thinking about death every minute of every day, yet trying to live every day to the full.  It makes for some utterly bizarre juxtapositions – like going on a spa break with my oldest friend, to brief her on my Advance Directive (death plan).

There will be profanity.  There will be bodily fluids and other disgusting stuff.  I’m not holding anything back because there is no point in that.  If any of this bothers you, then fuck off and look at pictures of food on Instagram.  If not, then please come with me, stay with me.  Share your stories in the comments. I’d really like to have your company.

So here we go…

Cancer: Metastatic breast
Disease stage: 4, terminal
Type: Triple negative (does not respond to hormone therapy or Herceptin)

Timeline:
2009 – 16 Three breast tumours (2009, 2914, 2016), 1 lumpectomy, 2 mastectomies; 2 courses of chemo; 1 course of radiotherapy
2016 Brain tumour, surgery, radiation to treat 6 more tumours; bone lesion
2016-17  Third course of chemo, scans all clear, chemo stopped
May 2017 3 new brain tumours, treated with radiation; take new drug hoping to prevent any more; infected lymph node collapses left lung
July 2017 Radiotherapy to lymph node, lung re-inflated
Aug 2017 3 new tumours in liver, 2 in lung; chemo started again

Living While Dying Blogs

Part 1: A stalker, not a battle
Part 2: Embrace the suck
Part 3: Here We Go
Part 4: The Power of Love
Part 5: What (Not) to Say
Part 6: A Conversation with My Stalker
Part 7: Fucking Pinktober
Part 8: A Dilemma
Part 9: Restoration
That River in Egypt
Christmas in Cancerland
Part 10: Pain Week
Part 13: About Time: There is Only Now
Part 14: There and Back Again

Vanessa’s Novels

Summertime (2015 Richard & Judy Book Club bestseller)
At First Light (in our opinion, equally good page turner)

 

 

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2 Responses

  1. Dear Vanessa.

    I happened across your blog in Penny Post, and just wanted to say that it really struck a chord with me. My brother lived with prostate cancer for about 5 years until he died in 2016. Everything that you have said is just the sort of thing that he said and had to deal with. But recognising his probable death meant that he focused on making the most of every second and having the loving conversations with family that I will never forget. We realised that had my brother in law died of his heart attack (he was saved by modern surgery) he would have had no opportunity to do the same.

    Really hope things work out well for you.

    Best wishes

    Liz B
    xxx

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