Life Update and a Weekly Wrap-Up!

Weekly Wrap up SQUARE copyrighted

It has been ages since I was blogging regularly and I can’t even remember the last time I posted a proper update. I have honoured my commitments to blog tours so they are the only things I’ve posted since early in the summer. I do want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has continued to read my blog, and to comment even when I’ve not been around, it really does mean a lot to me.

So some of you will know that a year ago I took the decision to start reducing my pain meds. I’d been on incredibly strong meds since before my diagnosis but my pain levels have remained high despite the meds. So I did a lot of research and the general consensus in the medical profession seemed to be that painkillers don’t really work for people with chronic pain like mine. I discussed things with my doctor and I started a reduction plan. It has been a rough year as every time I reduced I had a period of feeling very unwell with pain throughout my body but it would eventually settle again. A few weeks ago I finally got completely off my long-acting pain medication, which was a big achievement. I was still taking the short-acting morphine though so that was the next thing to tackle. I was meant to wean myself off it but I decided to go cold turkey. It was hell. It was worse than I was expecting, and I’d planned for it to be awful! My husband is a huge support to me and he got me through it. I’m now almost six weeks down the line and while I still don’t feel great, I do feel like my body is very gradually beginning to adjust. I am on a lower level pain medication now but I’m continuing to utilise all the things I’ve learnt in the last two years and hope that in time I can reduce these meds too. I will be in pain for the rest of my life because it’s just the nature of the damage done in my neck and spine but I really want to see if I can find a way to live with the pain rather than taking loads of painkillers.

As you can probably imagine, for a lot of the summer and into autumn my reading has tapered off quite a lot. I haven’t been able to concentrate very well, plus I’ve had a lot of headaches etc. This past week I treated myself to a book I’ve been so keen to read and I devoured it, and that made me happier than I can even put into words. My reading mojo feels like it’s on its way back as I’ve read quite a few books this week so I’m really hoping that this trend continues!

Now I’m reading closer to my normal level again I’ve felt like I want to get back to blogging but it’s been such a long, and unplanned for, break that I haven’t felt like I could just start. So I’m writing this weekly wrap-up and life update as a way of letting you all know what’s been happening with me and a way of just feeling my way back into the blogging world!



So without further ado, here are the books I’ve finished reading this week:

Lily Alone by Vivien Brown

I got a review copy of this from NetGalley but also discovered the audio version on my subscription service so I part read and part listened to this. This book wasn’t exactly what I was expecting it to be but I flew through it because it had me engrossed from the very first chapter. I will write a full review of this on my blog soon.

Queer: A Graphic History by Meg-John Barker

I’m sorry to say that I didn’t really get on with this book, which is a shame because I was really keen to read it. I think the cover makes it seem like this is more of a graphic novel than it is, and also it doesn’t make it clear that this is a brief overview of queer theory. I’ve already studied queer theory as part of my degree so there was nothing new for me in here, but I’m not sure I’d even recommend it to someone who wanted to know more as it all felt very dry and it skimmed over lots of things and gave very little detail in my opinion.

Good as You: From Prejudice to Pride – 30 Years of Gay Britain by Paul Flynn

This is a book that I’ve wanted ever since I first heard it of it earlier this year and I finally treated myself to the lovely hardback this week. I’m so happy to say that this book is brilliant, I loved every minute that I spent reading this. This is a great non-fiction book because it’s informative but written in such an easy-to-read style. This is the book that I flew through over a couple of days… I highly recommend this one!

I Heart Forever by Lindsey Kelk

I love the I Heart… books so when I saw a new one was coming out I was super excited to read it. I picked this up at a perfect time when I just needed a light-hearted read and I found I just couldn’t put it down. I read an ARC so I will be reviewing this one on my blog soon.

Blue Nights by Joan Didion

I’ve wanted to read this book for ages and it caught my eye on my bookshelf this week. I read it two sittings and found it to be such an open and honest exploration of her love for her daughter and grief at her loss. This is one of those books that I will re-read, and it’s certainly one that will stay with me.



This is what I’m currently reading:

Anything You Do Say by Gillian McAllister

This book is so good! I love the way it’s a take on the sliding doors idea and takes the reader through two alternate realities of happened next in the aftermath of a terrible incident after a night out. I’ve been racing through this book because I just don’t want to put it down, and I’m so keen to find out how it will all turn out in the end.

Trust Me by Zosia Wand

I was thrilled to be sent a copy of this novel to review as it’s one I was aware of and was looking forward to reading. I’m really enjoying it so far and can’t wait to read more.

Where Love Begins by Judith Hermann

This is one of those books that I don’t really know what to say about it. When I’m reading it it has me engaged and wanting to know more but when I put it down the plot drifts away from me. I am enjoying it though and am keen to see where it’s going.

Good Night and Good Riddance: How Thirty-Five Years of John Peel Helped to Shape Modern Life by David Cavanagh

I’ve had this on my TBR for a little while now but I was keen to pick it up after listening to some of the highlights of John Peel’s radio shows during Radio 1’s recent 50th birthday weekend. I loved listening to John Peel over the years and still miss discovering new music via his recommendations. This book is a look at some of his shows and his relationship to the music and the artists. It’s easy to dip in and out of, but it’s also easy to lose and hour or two of time as you read and reminisce. I definitely recommend this one!

Aches and Gains: A Comprehensive Guide to Overcoming Your Pain by Paul L. Christo

This is a non-fiction book about the different types of pain, and various conditions that cause pain; plus a look at the range of treatment options available. I’m finding it interesting, in particular where it relates to my own conditions. I’m reading an ARC so I will be reviewing this once I’ve finished reading it.



As you may remember I decided to track my TBR on my blog this year and have been showing the sums of how my TBR has increased or decreased over the course of this year. I’ve recently got rid of a stack of books and am in the process of sorting through my kindle books so my TBR numbers are a bit all over the place just now and I’ve lost track of it a bit.ย I do want to continue with following the state of my TBR but I’ve decided to put this to one side for the rest of this year and will start it again in 2018.


How has your week (or even the last few months) been for you? Have you read any good books recently? I’d love to catch up so please feel free to leave a link to your latest wrap-up in the comments below.


57 thoughts on “Life Update and a Weekly Wrap-Up!

  1. Well done for reducing your medications so much – it can’t have been easy! Take your time, feel your best, read as much as you can, review and blog as often as you like. We’ll be here…

    • Thank you. It’s been a very rough couple of months but I’m starting to feel more human again now. It was worth it though, I didn’t like being on such strong meds. Hopefully I’ll be around more but I’m still taking a day at a time. Hope you’re okay. x

  2. I can’t imagine how hard it has been for you to reduce your meds, what a brave lady! To tackle that must have been hell. I so hope that you are feeling a little better and seeing some light and thanks so much for sharing the books above, one or two are now on my TBR list. Big hugs and happy reading xx

    • Thank you so much. It’s been really tough but I think it helped that I made the decision to do it as it meant I’ve been focused on the end goal. It’s good to be off those meds now and I’m starting to feel a bit more human again. I’m glad you found some new books to add to your TBR from my post, that’s always nice to know and I hope you enjoy the ones you chose. Happy reading to you too xx

  3. So good to see, Hayley! I can’t even begin to imagine what you’ve gone through but massive congratulations for sticking to your plan. Sending you lots of gentle hugs! xx

  4. Wow, well done you! I’m sure it will all pay off in the long run. It’s nice to have reading blogging as a distraction when you need it, don’t worry about how often you post. I hope you enjoy your next reads.

  5. Good to see you back on your blog Hayley. Sending gentle hugs and I hope you can find a coping level between your meds and the pain. x

      • Sorry for the delay, just catching up after a hospital session! I hope you are further out the other side now. One day at a time ๐Ÿ™‚
        Bad scan results for me but I will bounce back when I have got my head around it! Take care lovely xx

    • Thanks so much. It’s been so hard but I really wanted to get off those meds and that kept me focused. Now I have to adapt and to learn to live with the pain, which is difficult but I want to try. I’m glad to be back reading again though as it’d been a while, and to be blogging too. How are you? I hope you’re as okay as possible. xx

  6. I’m so impressed with what you’ve done, Hayley! It must have been just awful! I hope you’ll soon get to the point where you feel more like yourself,and more stable. It looks as though you’ve gotten backto reading some great books, and I’m happy for you. Lovely to see you here again.

  7. So glad you got your ‘mojo’ back. Now, if only I could find mine…
    Five books per week is impressive! I only read three on a good week.
    Will be adding “Anything you do say” to my TBR.

    • Thank you. It’s been months since I could read at my normal speed and I’ve missed my books so much. It’s nice to be back reading again. I don’t normally read as much as I have the last week or so but I’ve flown through these books. I hope your reading mojo is back very soon.
      Anything You Do Say is brilliant, I definitely recommend it.

  8. I am amazed at how you’ve reduced your medication and dealt with the pain issues. Despite all of the struggle, you still read a lot of books this week. I’m impressed.

    I want to read Didion’s Blue Nights and McAllister’s Anything You Do Say. Thanks for sharing.


    • Last week was the first time my concentration felt good enough to really read so I took advantage of that. ๐Ÿ™‚ The last few months have been awful and not being able to read made it so much harder but I’m getting there now.
      Blue Nights is a brilliant book – it’s really staying with me.

  9. You are such a strong person to go through those ups and downs with your pain by choosing to decrease your meds. I had a friend with a couple chronic issues, and after she removed herself from a very stressful situation she was able to start decreasing her meds to almost not being on any. I should start tracking my own book situation, but I can’t even begin to think about how much time it would take to track what I have on my Kindle alone.

    • Thank you ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s been really hard but when I put my mind to something I seem to find reserves to push myself through it. It helps that my husband is so supportive, I don’t know that I could have done it on my own.

      I’ve used Goodreads for years now so it helps that all my books are on there and I just add new ones straight away. I don’t think I would know where to start if I had to suddenly figure it all out from scratch. I definitely want to get back to tracking my TBR properly next year but I need to do a major cull of my books first as my print books are taking over the house again (oops!).

  10. Glad to see you back, but take things at a comfortable pace. Brave decision to reduce the meds and can’t have been easy, but hope it makes you feel more in control. Be strong and stick with your plan and happy reading xx

    • Thanks so much ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s been really hard but it felt like the right thing to do. I’m still adapting to how much pain I’m in but I feel like it’s good to not have the side effects of very strong pain meds in my system anymore. It’s good to be back reading again, I’ve really missed books and blogging. How are you? xx

      • Glad to hear things are moving forward – do what’s right for you. I’m OK thanks, first chemo last Friday, bit rough in the evening with nausea though that has been the worst so far. Delighted that district nurses will come in every day to give me my injections as I really didn’t want to do those myself. Otherwise I just feel a bit spaced out, but each day at a time. Enjoy getting back into your reading and blogging xx ๐Ÿ˜˜

    • Thank you. I’m very stubborn once I’ve set my mind to something and I think that’s really helped me keep focused with this. It’s been hard but hopefully worth it.
      I’ve missed reading so it’s good to be back enjoying books again.
      Hope you have a good week too ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. I’m sorry to hear you have been through a very tough time. I hope the book on pain you are reading will help in some way. I have read, “Blue Nights.” She is a wonderful writer.

    I just started reading, “Hiking Through,” by Paul Stutzman. A true story of a man who hikes the Appalatian Trail after his wife dies of cancer. So far, it is very good. Just finished, “Faith Shift,” by Kathy Escobar. It is written by a woman associate minister who was asked to leave her church because she started questioning doctrine. She went out and started her own church. The book is for people who are going through the same thing.

    • Thank you. It’s been really hard but I think it’ll be worth it in the long run.
      It’s good to be back reading again, I’ve missed books and blogging. The books you’re reading sound really interesting, I hope you get out of them what you need to.

    • Thanks so much ๐Ÿ™‚ It has been hell at times – it’s getting a bit better now but I still need to adapt to the pain levels. At least I’m back reading again – I missed my books.
      Hope you’re doing okay and that we can catch up soon xx

  12. Welcome back! As I said in a comment a while back, I was worried when you stopped responding to comments and then stopped blogging but didn’t feel I had the right to ask how you were via any other means. Anyway, I’m glad you’re back and well done for going through such a difficult process. I had trouble coming off some anti-depressants a few years back (not common ones, no one is to see that as reason not to take them!) and that was so hard.

    I really enjoyed “Good as you” as well and reviewed it a little while ago. I’m STILL not on 80% with my Netgalley reviews – argh!

    Happy onward blogging!

    • Thank you. I’ve been very absent from blogging in recent months but hopefully I’ll soon get back in the swing of things. It was really hard coming off the pain meds – the first lot was done slowly over a long time but the second lot I decided to go cold turkey and it was hell. I’m glad I’ve done it but I still need to adapt to how things are now as my pain is still severe a lot of the time.
      Good as You was a great read, I really enjoyed it and it definitely got my reading mojo back. My NetGalley ratio has dropped below 80% so I needed to try and get caught up on some reviews soon. There is always something tempting on there though, isn’t there?

  13. Well done with tackling your pain meds so proactively, so many would see this as too difficult, especially once they started and felt the effects. You are pretty amazing to have persisted through. It’s great to see you wanting to come back to blogging properly aswell, have missed you. xx

    • Thank you. It was really hard but I knew I had to just get on with it, it helps that I’m so determined and stubborn. Now I just need to adapt to living in pain but it’s got to be better than taking such strong meds all the time. I think it’s important to keep re-evaluating health stuff to make sure meds are helping and not just giving loads of side effects. I’ve missed reading and blogging so I’m happy to be back to my books over the last week or two. How are you? xx

      • It’s really good to have you back and I agree about re-evaluating where meds are concerned. I’m not too bad, had a few wobbles recently but I’ve got through them so that’s all good. I’ve cut back with my blog doing less tours to try and have a bit more control over my TBR!

  14. Welcome back. I do admire your strength and your perseverance – and your excellent book choices and reviews. Take care.

  15. Pingback: Weekly Wrap-Up! (22 Oct) | RatherTooFondofBooks

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