Everybody has a book in them, or so it's said. But it's something else again getting it onto the page and to a place where it might be shared.

I have been writing since I was a young child. Always, my dream was to see my name on the spine of a book. Books gave me life, a dream to live by. Through their portals I could escape so easily into other worlds. Books also saved my life ... yes, really!

This is the story of my books and my journey as an author, including a very personal view of my journey through Life. I hope it will inspire and give hope to writers and readers young and old.

Getting published can be a waiting game. It's hard .. and getting harder. But then sometimes it can happen in an unexpected way and suddenly, we truly are living our dream. And we realise that it isn't after all the winning that is important, but the journey that is ours along the way.

I would love to hear from anyone who connects with what is written here. A signed copy of any of my books is available. You have only to write and ask:

Monday 11 February 2019


Cosmos, source unknown


It has become an ugly word for a disease which can fester and grow like an unseen enemy, often snatching away life before a person has properly realised it's there, or then again, a short time after. Alternatively, it can linger, insidiously growing and spreading for years until an unexpected diagnosis makes it known.

This morning, on the BBC, it was announced that one in every two people will experience some form of Cancer during their lifetime.

Latest statistics produced by Cancer Research UK show the following:

  • There are more than 360,000 new cancer cases in the UK every year, that's nearly 990 every day (2013-2015).
  • In males in the UK, there were around 183,000 new cancer cases in 2015.
  • In females in the UK, there were around 177,000 new cancer cases in 2015.
  • Every two minutes someone in the UK is diagnosed with cancer.
  • Breast, prostate, lung and bowel cancers together accounted for over half (53%) of all new cancer cases in the UK in 2015.
  • Each year more than a third (36%) of all cancer cases in the UK are diagnosed in people aged 75 and over (2013-2015).
  • Incidence rates for all cancers combined in the UK are highest in people aged 85 to 89 (2013-2015).
Cancer Research UK

The most common type of Cancer is Breast Cancer.

I've been living with Breast Cancer for at least two years, but then again, I knew before I was diagnosed. I wasn't shocked or surprised. The disease isn't new to my family. One year after my mother died of Cancer in 1996, (in her case not Breast Cancer); I was taken to hospital for an operation, suffering the same symptoms. A large growth was discovered on top of my womb. At the time, specialists decided it wasn't cancerous and nothing further was done. Meanwhile, others survived, or died after a relatively short space of time. So I was prepared to the extent I knew what it would mean, and my decision was already made when I said 'No' to treatment. I'd seen the side-effects of Radiotherapy and Chemo and made up my mind then that I couldn't spend the time I had left recovering from one bout of treatment or operation only to have to go through the whole thing again and again and again. 

Everyone has a choice.

This is possibly the only time I took control without someone insisting on doing it for me ... choosing QUALITY rather than QUANTITY of Life!!

I'm not afraid of Death.

Pencil drawing when I was a small child
Copyright: Janine Harrington
As a child, attending hospital two and three times a week, the choice was always with my parents, and despite wandering around like one of the walking dead following each visit, clearly traumatised, going through the motions, living on auto-pilot, there was no-one who said: 'No' on my behalf, suspecting something was wrong. It wasn't until I was fourteen years old, when the good, kind, caring specialist died, leaving me in the care of the abusive one, that I finally found the courage to act for myself and go on strike.

Nothing and no-one could persuade me to return to that hospital again!

By then, I had other challenges in life taking up my energies ... school bullies, teachers colluding with an abusive one placing me more and more in his care. 'No' wasn't an option. I didn't have a voice, or at least if I did, it wasn't listened to, investigated or understood. I was ignored. I became the invisible one, a shadow that people passed by without acknowledging the truth. When school was done, I had a toxic relationship which morphed into violence, and I became an endangered species. To understand why I stayed means understanding and knowing what it means to be 'Controlled', to live in a 'Mindset' of someone else's making, living by someone else's rules; not knowing who to trust, to tell, where to go, how to free myself of the invisible chains wrapped so tight around me they sucked the breath from my body. I was also living with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and for the first time, Death became an option.

But then, somehow, Life always found a way of slipping through. It carried me like a swollen river, around the boulders and seeming barriers, dipping into valleys, and on, following the journey of the waters of Life, filling my days with the Dream of one day finding the person I was always meant to be.

Eas Fors Waterfall, Isle of Mull
copyright: Janine Harrington

What has this to do with Cancer?


In my 66th year, it is the prognosis of a terminal illness that totally alters my perception on Life.

When we're awake, we see what we need to see, but when we're asleep, we see what is really there! Our fears, our thoughts, our emotions usually hidden in a place deep inside, appear in our dreams. We remember. Memories are filled with Life. With Hope. With Dreams. Things we should have made more of, cherished when they came. In our Past, we had all the Time in the world ... a yesterday, a today, a tomorrow, and a future. Now, we are reminded over and over and over that our Time cannot come again. Everything we are, ever knew and can be flips and turns, pulling inside out and outside in. Suddenly, the diagnosis of Cancer comes to mean we're near the end. We don't know how much time we have left. No-one knows. No-one can say. But it is in that time, we must work faster, longer, harder, to get everything done before our Time runs out ... and we're gone.

When we have less time than everyone else, it matters more, and we must ensure that every moment counts!

It means for us, adapting to a world we can no longer take for granted.

The child swinging back and forth, on her swing in the garden of her childhood home, hands resting lightly on the built-in wooden beads in the frame that surrounds her, gazes up at the skies, watching fluffy white clouds pass gently by. This child was me once upon a daydream, right there among my first memories, the spool of Life-thread filled with so much she treasured and needed to do. Yes, the thread could unexpectedly break. But in her mind's eye she liked to believe it would go on forever ... with a 'Happy Ever After' ending and the Prince of her Dreams right there at her side.

But then, Dreams don't always turn out the way we want them to be ... that's certainly true for me!

My book, published on 11 January this year entitled: 'Always Believe! - A Personal Journey of Faith' is a book unlike any I have written before. There was a very real sense of urgency about writing it. I needed to finish it before my life's end. It is my Legacy, offering meaning to the Life already gone. If it can help even one person, then I will feel I've accomplished something vital. It became such a powerful book to write I never wanted to place that final full-stop. But then it had to come. As I hold a copy of that book in my hands now, it feels good to know I have shared on a level I hope everyone will understand, and many more identify.

Sunset over Mull, copyright: Janine Harrington

This is now the End Game, and I'm trying to do it right.

Cancer overrides everything else in Life once you've been diagnosed and it becomes a constant Companion, the Reality you're left to live with. I wondered, as I approached Christmas, whether this was my final one ... in which case, I needed it to be Special, spent with those I love most. Is this my last New Year? My final birthday in July? There are Kindred Spirits who live a distance, in other countries, will I ever get to see them again? It means adjusting Life accordingly, never knowing when it might creep up to Final Days. I take high levels of Morphine as pain medication, and my chronic arthritis where bone builds on bone meshes with the Cancer making it impossible to know what pain belongs where. I have no treatment. I chose to put my Life in God's Hands. Faith has always been the strongest part about me. It is a Living Faith. In His Time I know He will take me Home. Until then, I continue putting my Life in order ... writing letters, saying things I should have said before, trying to make it easier for those I love after I am gone. There is always yesterday and the memories it brings ... and today. But no tomorrow. No chance to make plans. To have dreams. To look forward to a better, more positive, brighter future.

Unexpectedly, my soul fills with words needing to come through. They are like raindrops reaching for an open window. I create a portal and they flood the virgin page. Only when the waterfall stops do I pause to read, wondering from whence they came, who set them in my mind and for whom are they intended. But then, they are what they are ... and it is through them I discover more words and memories, pictures and paradoxes hidden in unexpected places:

Gazing heavenwards
I count the stars
each one representing 
a day in the life I have left.

They grow dimmer, fewer ...
but no-one really knows.

I feel a vibrating swirl of energy,
the warmth, their glow
as wine flows
from bottle to glass
... and as the glass empties
Life is ebbing away fast.

Yet ...
wide are the Heavens,
deep is the ocean,
and beyond, on the farthest shore,
there can be no pain,
no regret, no remorse,
no suffering, or betrayal any more.

All things are possible!

Miracles CAN and DO happen!!

I know because ...
I have Lived.
I have Loved.


There is yet another journey waiting to begin,
Another Life to live.

How long is Forever?

I'll let you know ... if I can!