Like many people who love to read, I have stacks, and shelves, of books I want to read. When I got my TNBC (triple negative breast cancer) diagnosis, I had visions of me lying in bed, propped up by countless pillows, a cup of tea on the nightstand, Clover and the cats lounging on and around me, as I read my way through those books. Between chemo and surgery and radiation, it became very clear that reading anything longer than a magazine article, and I mean a short one, was not going to happen. Chemo made me feel artificial and achy and foggy, surgery made sitting up and holding a book uncomfortable for anything more than 20 minutes. Concentration is poor, my body aches, and I just don’t care about people in books. It takes too much effort. Just like so many things. And I used to love reading my books in bed, and if I lie down now it’s 95 per cent certain I will be asleep within minutes.
Enter Netflix, streaming TV series and movies to your TV, computer and even the phone. Netflix has become my go-to hobby, pastime, babysitter, amphetamine, sleeping pill, best friend, you name it. Eight seasons of House M.D. had 176 episodes, which is approximately 7,920 minutes, or 132 hours of viewing nirvana. After almost every episode I also read a review and medical analysis written by Dr. Scott over at Polite Dissent—we agree that House was the best medical series EVER. If I hadn’t had cancer and been sentenced to the life of a hermit, I would never have had the chance to watch it.
I’m on a roll. I haven’t been completing many things these days, but I think I can pull a list together. Here is what I have consumed as a cancer hermit:
Luther, from the BBC, a psychological police/crime drama, starring the gorgeous Idris Elba. Three seasons; 14 episodes.
Fringe, a sci-fi, parallel universe, time-jumping, paranormal series that fills a bit of the void left by X-Files. Lead is female (Anna Torv! yay!) as FBI agent, with Joshua Jackson as her right-hand man and John Noble as an LSD-dropping scientist. Five seasons; 100 episodes.
House of Cards, political thrills drama starring Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright that got 13 Emmy nominations. Netflix original. Two seasons and a third in the works; 26 episodes.
Boss, super-dark political drama starring Kelsey Grammar as the mayor of Chicago as dementia with Lewy bodies begins to take over his body and his life. Only two seasons, which is a crying shame; 18 episodes.
Orange is the New Black, everybody knows this one. I’m halfway through the second season; 18 episodes so far.
The Fall, British detective drama (BBC) with lots of murders and fabulous accents, starring
Agent Scully Gillian Anderson. Only one season thus far, but a second season is in the works; five episodes.
The Killing, very dark, crime drama, based on the original Danish production, features intricate weaving of plots and personalities. Best lead actors of any show. Three seasons, and eagerly anticipating season four, available August 1 (or 5, I can’t remember); 36 episodes.
Damages, legal drama with huge arcs, adore Glenn Close and Rose Byrne. Five seasons, 59 episodes.
Canterbury’s Law, courtroom drama starring Julianna Margulies, whom I would watch acting in just about anything. It was a warm-up to watching The Good Wife, see below. One season; just six episodes.
The Good Wife, courtroom, legal and political drama starring Julianna Margulies, Matt Czuchry and Christopher Noth (whom I have adored since the first-ever Law and Order in 1990). Four seasons; 113 episodes
Shameless, Brit comedy import about a drunk dad and his eight kids and how they basically bring each other up. Four seasons; 33 episodes.
Dexter, super bloody, murder-an-episode set in Florida with C. Michael Hall playing a psychopathic forensics tech who kills the criminals he feels have eluded their true punishments for bad deeds. Sometimes too predictable. Seven seasons; I’ve watched 36 so far.
The Guardian, legal drama and social work meet as Simon Baker (swoon!), corporate lawyer who likes coke way too much, is forced to rack up 1,500 hours of community service as an ad litem. Three seasons; 67 episodes.
Lie to Me, behavioural psychology meets crime drama starring Tim Roth and Kelli Williams. Three seasons; 48 episodes.
Homeland, American political drama, starring Claire Danes, the CIA, the Marines, Al Qaeda. Two seasons; 24 episodes.
Numbers, a crime-solving pair of brothers who rely on mathematics to solve EVERY case! I make my son watch this one to show him the pure beauty of math. He got 100% in a summer school math test = TV is good for your grades. Six seasons; 119 episodes.
United States of Tara, a comedy/drama about a mum with dissociative identity disorder (Toni Collette), her husband (John Corbett) and their family. I don’t know anyone with this disorder, so I can’t vouch for how on the mark it was with the psychiatry, but I could have watched another season or two. Three seasons; 36 episodes.
And I am watching Wallander, starring Sir Kenneth Branagh, a fabulous BBC Scotland project that is adapted from Swedish novels, and filmed in Sweden, Three seasons; I’m on the last of 12 episodes, and an episode is an hour and a half long—lots of time for character development.
So you know I have to do what I’m going to do now. Add them all up.
946 episodes. Roughly 135 episodes a month, which is four and a half episodes a day. And I cook and clean and do laundry and sweep and fold clothes while Netflix streams on, keeping the little voices in my head how I like them—overpowered.
Filed under: breast cancer, chemo side effects, Things I Love, triple negative breast cancer | Tagged: book review, chemo side effects, excuses, laundry, Netflix, television, triple negative breast cancer | 2 Comments »