Bangers and Mash is no ordinary life story – it’s a tourist’s guide to cancer treatment in pictures. “Being treated for cancer is like being in a foreign country” is how author Keith Hern puts it, “and what you really need is a guidebook.”
Early on in Keith’s battle against throat cancer he began to keep a diary but, being a photographer, Keith’s diary is in pictures as well as words. Recruiting amused nurses and tolerant radiographers to hold the camera, Keith’s book de-mystifies cancer treatment and chronicles every step of the way back to health.
Not always a comfortable read, Bangers and Mash is fast-paced and completely compelling. Most importantly, is intended to help patients and their families understand “what they are in for.”
The book is titled after the first solid food Keith was able to eat after 4 months’ of chemo and radio therapy.
The big lesson is that it’s not all bad. The book doesn’t pull any punches, but you do learn how it is possible to live through the treatment and get on with your life. Keith being Keith, he tends to do it with a smile, so those pictures are very reassuring. Bangers and Mash has already been widely circulated through the nursing staff at the Royal Marsden hospital where Keith was treated, is one of the best-selling books in the hospital’s bookshop and Macmillan cancer support have bought a dozen for their researchers.
In the book, the food-and-wine-loving photographer tells us with honesty and humour exactly what it s like. From the grim reality of chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments to unexpected moments of real warmth and kindness from friends old and new, the fight to survive is vividly described. With the help of an NLP coach, Keith challenges the cancer head-on and emerges triumphant into a new, more colourful world.
A powerfully uplifting read, the book has been endosed by TV chef Nigella Lawson who said, “I admire Keith Hern’s spirit and his honesty.”
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