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Saturday, 18 June 2011

Getting Away With It...

One of my favourite authors is Julie Cohen whose books reflect her personality - warm, wacky and with a deep underlying concern for the emotional issues we all have to face.

Her latest novel, Getting Away With It, is the story of identical twins, one good, one bad, whose lives collide when their mother devlops a life-changing illness.

Written through the eyes of Lisa, a former stuntwoman in LA, it is set in the fictional English village of Stoneguard,where privacy is a word no-one understands. As Lisa takes on her sister's life, including her devastatingly handsome boyfriend, things get very complicated.

Getting Away With it is out now in paperback. A fun, sexy and thought-provoking read.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Thanks to Radio Lancashire...

My daughter, Amy, and I were interviewed on Radio Lancashire last night about the day she almost died from E.coli.  Nine years ago when she was 25, Amy suffered a serious complication of the deadly bacterium, called HUS, (Haemolytic Uraemic Syndrome) which causes toxins in the blood to attack the heart, lungs and kidneys.

I felt quite emotional listening to her talk to the interviewer yesterday. The  husky voice  has become her trademark after  weeks spent  with a tracheostomy helping her to breathe. Amy was one of the lucky ones.

When she left the Intensive Care Unit of the Royal Preston Hospital she donated a cd player inscribed with the words 'Thank you for my Life.'   I think that says it all...

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

My daughter beat the deadly E.coli...

One of the hardest features I've ever had to write concerned my then 25-year-old daughter, Amy, who almost died from food poisoning in 2002.  Reading about the latest E.coli outbreak in Germany brings it all back to me.

Amy had just started a new job as a teaching assistant in Lancaster, when she rang and asked if she could come home for the weekend.  Surprised, as she had recently found herself a flat, her Dad and I said yes and awaited her arrival.  She didn't make it.

After further frantic calls saying she was  violently sick and unable to walk, we collected her from Lancaster. Within 24 hours she was in Blackpool Victoria Hospital with acute kidney failure. She was transferred to the Intensive Care Unit of the Royal Preston Hospital where she remained for the next six months.

Amy had HUS (Haemolytic Uraemic Syndrome), a deadly complication of E.coli that usually affects young children. It caused major organ failure from which she was not expected to recover. As a vegetarian she had not eaten contaminted beef which, at the time, was thought to be the major culprit.

Against all the odds, Amy eventually came out of the coma, unable to walk or speak, and unaware of what had happened to her.  The school in Lancaster kept her job open for her and, almost a year to the day, she returned to work, to an amazing welcome.

Today she is happy and healthy and  engaged to be married.  Her story is a wonderful testament to the doctors at Preston who told us that her case was so rare, they didn't know how to treat it.

My heart goes out to the families in Germany.

You can read a version of Amy's story on the HUSH under testimonies.