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Sunflowers

If you've ever cowered beneath the behemoth head of a sunflower, this post is for you. If you like fashion, this post is also for you. If you enjoy watching cat bloopers, this post is definitely not for you, but you're here now so you may as well just read on!

I was invited to be a guest writer on my friend Colleen Kanna's blog, "Keeping Abreast". It was an easy yes as Colleen is an amazing person with whom I feel a special connection. Like me, Colleen faced breast cancer as a young woman and mother. She has channelled her experience, insight and creativity into designing her own line of bamboo-knit adaptive clothing (woot!) which meets the needs of young women touched by cancer – functional (i.e. zippered) while fashionable and feminine. I wish I’d had these during my recovery. 

I encourage everyone to check out all of the beautiful pieces she has created at coKANna Designs, and if you've hung on this far and are still keen on reading my latest piece of writin…
Recent posts

Frozen

My current cancer treatment, a teeny pill taken daily to stop recurrence, is sucking the life out of my bones. I've been putting off dealing with this inconvenient side effect, frozen by fear and doubt. But it's time to stop putting it on ice. We have a plan to thwart its path of destruction, and tomorrow I am turning up the heat and it is going down. Way down.

Let me back up just a bit and fill you in on what's been going on, and why I am heading back to the Cancer Centre tomorrow.
In March I met with my medical oncologist for my five-year post treatment follow up - FIVE YEARS out of active treatment! How strange to think that I no longer require regular follow up by the Cancer Centre. She explained that care would now be transferred to my family physician, and that I was in charge of following my care plan, a personalized holy grail put together by the Wellness Beyond Cancer program which lays out all of my treatments, surgeries and diagnostics to date, and flags when I sh…

Thankful for another school year

This morning was as glum as they come. While tomorrow we will be celebrating the first of many days of summer ahead, this morning the air was rife with mixed emotions - those of celebration, of sadness, and of impending farewells. It was the last day of school, and no amount of Canada-themed spirit day hype or paraphernalia was going to mask that. 
I couldn't quite wrap my head around my children's thinking, I mean, summer holidays were about to begin! It was only after I left them at school and walked back home that I realized I had forgotten what it's like to be in my kids' shoes on this joyous day. 
I remember the celebratory cheers at the final bell and the rushing out of school to the tune of 'no more homework' and 'swimming pools here we come!" But as I carefully thought back to my fourth grader's face at the breakfast table, I dug deeper and started remembering all of the other bigger thoughts that came with this day. The joy at having found t…

FIVE

Wishes do come true. But only if you make them happen. 
It was late evening on March 21, 2012. I was standing on my front porch, surrounded by the chill night air, and listening to the melting creek bed whispering notes of spring. I had just left the hospital and my MRI and there was nothing to do now but wait, and live in this moment. 
I stared up at our second storey windows. Inside, my children slept soundly, oblivious to the turmoil in their mother's mind. I turned my head to the baby's window. She stirred. There would be no nursing tonight, the MRI's contrast agent coursing through me had nixed that. At 15 days old, she was already getting used to my not being around. I wondered if this was to become a pattern. Would I be there to hear her first words, to see her first steps, and to watch her enter kindergarten? I was angry and determined to do away with most, if not all of these unknowns. I didn't know how I would do it, but I was going to give it my all.
Of course,…

Time to Choose

Today, I caught myself making excuses for not writing. Again. So I will now attempt (and hopefully succeed) in proving myself wrong, thereby throwing all previously held misconceptions on what I can actually get done in an evening out the window. Here goes...
A lovely colleague stopped me in the hall today to let me know she'd enjoyed reading my most recent post, and suggested that I should continue writing. I was taken aback, and of course, deeply thankful for the compliment, but at the same time, I was reminded of the fact that writing for me is a luxury, to which I devote very little time. I'm a mom first, a professional second, and I leave writing for the rare occasions when I have enough time and energy left over to make a proper attempt. I believe I uttered a heartfelt thank you, followed by a series of excuses that began with, "I love writing but I wish I could find time to write more often", and, "perhaps if I wrote through the night." I walked awa…

Faith

We were just a few days into December when my 9-year-old came home from school demanding an explanation as to why our family couldn't have an Elf-on-the-Shelf. Now I'd had this discussion in previous years, but it was clear to me that he wasn't going to let it go so I had to choose my words quickly and carefully. I was reminded of his favourite holiday film, The Polar Express, in which a little boy comes to believe in Santa, and that magic stays with him into adulthood, unlike his friends and sister, for whom the magic disappears. That was it, I had my retort.
"First off, remind me how this elf works. How exactly does he move about?" to which he replied, "First you must name the elf. Then it comes to life and starts doing all of these crazy and fun things at night" - I interrupted, "So you have to name him and believe in him for the magic to work?" "Yes, that's right". I could almost see the finish line. "Oh dear...well here&…

Shake the Disease

Here is a plea
From my heart to you
Nobody knows me
As well as you do
You know how hard it is for me
To shake the disease
That takes hold of my tongue
In situations like these
Understand me...understand me...

"Shake the Disease"
Writer: Martin Gore. Copyright: EMI Music Publishing Ltd.

Oh, Martin Gore, you are so wise. Little did I know that his lyrics, which pulled at my heart strings as a tween, would be so relevant 30 years later. This is a love song for the ages. You don't need to have a lover to relate to this song, in fact, it resonates more if you haven't yet found your true love. And not only does it describe one person's angst at wanting to be loved and understood, but how strongly our drive is to express ourselves with the right words at the right time.

The song has special meaning for me, as it is quite literally a disease that has shaken my ability to express myself.

If you've read any of my previous posts you already know that cancer treatment …