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Little Fluffy Clouds

Sometimes you think your week is going to start out one way, then it takes a sharp turn and leads you on an entirely different path. Sometimes the day wakes you up full of promise and hope, then tucks you in at night, numb and devoid of feeling. Sometimes you plan to write a light-hearted post on the age-old question of "how to find more time", and instead find yourself with a heavy heart, cursing time, and grieving the loss of one of your dearest friends. So you decide to write about that instead.  Today is that day. This is that post. Her name was Alice.  She was alive on a Wednesday. She died on a Thursday. I cried with disbelief for many days leading up to that day, and with unbridled sadness every day since. This was not the script that had been written for this leading lady. There were many more pages in her book, beautiful blank canvases full of imagery, ready to be captured. Her life had more volumes than the treasured  Livraria Lello  in Porto, and it was more breath
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Ten Things I Hate to Admit about Cancer

This week was a milestone - my 10th Cancerversary, a term some use to reference the anniversary of either diagnosis (my case), or the end of active treatment. I felt called to resurrect my blog, begin writing again, and set in motion a plan to write my first book. While there have been many constants, my perspective on cancer has changed in many ways since those early months when everything was a big, black hole. What does reflecting on a decade of living post-cancer reveal? Here are ten things I hate to admit about cancer: 1. Chemo was worth it While active treatment was no walk in the park, I navigated the initial chemo bombs far better than the post-rads fallout years. My aggressive treatment plan brought late side effects (heard of late-COVID? similar), many of which remain to this day. I remember being connected with a breast cancer survivor when I was preparing to return to work. Impatient and overwhelmed by brain fog and the inability to remember common words or to multi-task, I


Ten steps I climbed to the hospital door, Ten hallways I walked late at night. Ten strangers I passed on the MRI floor, Ten faces that mirrored my fright. Ten minutes I waited alone in the room, Ten pages I turned without reading.  Ten tears that transported my feelings of doom, Ten sighs that my heart was still beating.  Ten voices I heard, when there was but one, Ten tones that deafened my ears. Ten seconds I counted, then wanted to run, Ten pauses that silenced my fears. Ten breaths I took as I ventured away, Ten thoughts that entered my mind. Ten days I pondered, just what they would say, Ten reasons I feared they would find.   Ten months of treatment to help me survive, Ten fingers and toes to discover.  Ten years celebrating being alive, Ten birthdays of being her mother.

On Death and Dying Young

I've shelved this topic for far too long. It was too difficult to acknowledge, too absurd to believe yet too real to ignore, and so I procrastinated. Last summer, in the span of 3 short months, two young women from our Ottawa breast cancer network were taken from us, along with two of my former colleagues - remarkable women, professionals and human beings, who were snatched away by terminal illnesses. We said goodbye to Sarah , 30. Simona , 36. Shelly , 48. Linda , 58. The finality of death was never more apparent than it was in the summer of 2018.  Enter 2019. Metastatic breast cancer rears its ugly head again, and takes two more young women from our ever-growing Ottawa network. Monica , 43. Katie , 35. And then came Wednesday, the day when our little sisterhood fell apart. We lost Danielle , and this shook us to the core. Dani was our no-nonsense fighter. Our champion. Our comedian. She was kind, bold and fearless. She was a mother of two young boys. She was 42.  I


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 pi


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 f

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 ha