A perfectly delightful day

I've had the greatest laziest day. Seriously. It's been awesome. You wanna know why it was awesome? Cause my landlord turned on the heat today. Yay heat! I love heat. I tend to be one of those constantly cold people so heat makes me really, really happy. One of the advantages of my basement dwelling is that the vents are in the ceiling (well, for the most part) so I can sit on my futon directly under a vent and let the heat wash over me.

Can you tell I'm really happy about the heat???

The return of heat into my life gave me an excellent reason to sit on my butt and read. I had to do *something* to enjoy it right?

So I finished two books. In one day. Ok, one of them had been started yesterday but whatever. I finished two books. Can anyone remember the last time I finished two books in a week let alone a day? Cause I sure don't.

Did I mention that I really liked today?

life in the balance marla shapiroFirst I finished Life in the Balance. For some obscene and totally unknown reason amazon.ca and amazon.com (it's not actually available on amazon.com) this is listed as "Inside Out". I've used their little form thingy to suggest that they change the title. Who knows it they will. Anyway, it's the story of Dr. Marla's personal experience with breast cancer. I could honestly write a lot about this, and I really wanted to write about this at BlogHer as I think it's a great book but it's not available outside Canada that I can find. Which makes sense as Dr. Marla is often thought of as "Canada's doctor" (although I did find out in this book that ABC tried to steal her and might have been successful had she not been diagnosed when she was).

The first thing that struck me about this is that although Dr. Marla herself was a doctor she was surprised about the cost of breast cancer treatments. She ended up taking some *very* expensive medications, some which would not be covered by private health insurance. A note for the americans - most of her in hospital procedures would have been covered by our universal health care plan but that plan does not generally cover prescription medications. There was a medication that she was to take a home to help her white blood cell count and that cost her approx. $18000. That would be equivalent to two years of university for me. My mother makes less than that in a whole year. There are programs in place for people who cannot afford it but I cannot imagine how one would deal with the stress of dealing with the paperwork of such things on top of the stress of being sick. Then again, I don't get how people in countries without universal health care pay $500 for a doctor's visit. So I'll shut up about that now.

Something I never thought about, but was made very clear in this book was that it sucks when you a doctor and you are diagnosed with some serious. While anyone would be scared by a breast cancer diagnosis it's got to be a thousand times worse when you know the literature, when you've diagnosed your own patients with breast cancer, and when you've lost patients to breast cancer. Doctors are used to being in control and can make for interesting patients.

I honestly had to laugh at some points of this book. I mean, honestly, how many people do we personally know who are diagnosed with breast cancer and can email Dr. Susan Love and expect her to answer us back (which in this case she does often)? Or have Bonnie Stern (a well know Canadian chef) taxi over gourmet meals to our house? Or whose diagnosis means there has to be a press release? Her world is very different from mine.

At the end of the book there are contributions from other people. Her children and husband each get a chapter to tell their story. Bonnie Stern (she of the taxied meals) added some advice on cooking for friends with cancer and provided some healthly recipes. There was also a section from Dr. Marla's trainer about exercise. Dr. Marla continued to work with her trainer during chemo and her mastectomy and reconstruction surgeries. Some days it was only stretching but it was moving her body and provided her with strength.

If you've seen her documentary not much in this will be a surprise but you get a lot more backstory and learn that Dr. Marla is, in fact, quite human. Which is kinda nice because sometimes she comes off as way too perfect to be believed on TV.

Ok, on to book 2.

cross-country quiltersCross-Country Quilters is the third book in the Elms Creek Quilts series. Sometimes it seems that all I've done for the last two months is read these books but that's only because I've been reading so little. This one isn't about the "core" group of quilters in the first two books. Which was kinda nice because I didn't have to feel like kicking Sarah. Instead this focused on some women who attended a quilting camp at Elms Creek Manor and the year that followed.

It was a nice distraction and a comforting read after reading about breast cancer. Which was all that I really expected it to be.

Now hopefully I can have just as good a reading day tomorrow. Although I need to squeeze in some more cleaning...

I also did some reorganizing on my TBR list today. I'm very happy that I backed it up to a google spreadsheet even if all the formatting did get messed up when I exported it back into excel. I had it store temporarily on my work computer and now I'm afraid it could be eaten. But it's ok because it's all up to date now. Thank you google. (And I did have a slightly out of date one on back up anyway - I backed up the work computer a couple of weeks ago.)

Oh and can I just say how happy I am that hockey is back on Saturday nights? It's really great to read too. I only need to pay attention to it when the crowd and the announcers get loud. ;)