Haematemesis by Henry G Sheppard

Haematemesis by Henry G Sheppard

‘Like it was that simple.  It wasn’t.’

Fighting leukaemia is not easy.  Chemotherapy is not fun, and nor are most of the medical procedures associated with it.  Henry Sheppard has been through chemotherapy twice, and in this short (106 page) book he sets out his experiences.  It’s a journey full of personal indignities, which Henry Sheppard leavens with humour.

‘It must be tough for a mechanic to have to tell people that, although you worked hard on their car, it was now only fit to be towed to the dump.’

After a period of remission from leukaemia, Henry Sheppard learns it has returned.  Another battle needs to be fought (and hopefully won).  In setting out the ordeals he has to face, which include the bureaucracy of medical treatment as well as the painful and invasive treatments themselves, it is clear that Henry hasn’t lost his sense of humour.

No aspect of treatment for cancer is enjoyable, but the thought of life after ‘getting through it’ is enough motivation for many sufferers.  It’s not something to look forward to, it is something to endure.  And, as in so many other aspects of life, humour can make it all that little bit more bearable.

Read Henry Sheppard’s book.  It personalises what can be a daunting and lonely trip.  And, although I’ve never been in any hospital in Adelaide, I’m sure I recognise some of these characters.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith

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