Monday, December 23, 2013

Ironies :)

It's almost Christmas time.....a time to reflect upon our blessings but also our sorrows.   It is a time that is also as sad as it is happy.....but that is what Christmas is about.....its about finding ourselves in the stable, in awe, but also in surprise, and perhaps in sadness.   It is a time when the blessings we reflect on maybe weren't always blessings and the sorrows we cried over weren't really so bad.   It's a time of ironies!!!

I have been thinking about the ironies in my own life.    I have survived this illness long past what anyone would have thought, and yet I still keep hoping my life will continue.    Especially now that I am to be a Grandmother.   Who would have thought!     But, this new life has been the answer to a very old prayer......I have carried with me the fear of leaving her alone....and now she won't be.   No matter what happens she will have me with her in her own children.   I have lived long enough to see that I will continue to live in my grandchildren.    The irony is that this knowledge, this event has brought another fear....what if I don't get to see this child grown up.   It makes me realize that in the end we are never totally satisfied with how our lives evolve.   There is always something more we wish for, hope for , dream of.    And that in itself is wonderful.   We are really a people of hope at our dreams are realized we dream new ones.

I am rambling but it does all have a purpose.   I have never been so happy and at the same time I haven't felt so yukky physically  in a long time.     My stomach is not agreeing with anything....imagine at Christmas time losing weight ....that in itself is an oxymoron !    My hernia has re opened (as was expected I might add) and makes me uncomfortable at the best of times.   My gall bladder is not accepting any kind of even though the cancer is good the irony is that I am suffering the normal ailments of the aged.     Another irony....I did want to grow old :)

This feeling of physical distress makes me fearful that perhaps as the happy event looms closer....what if I didn't make it.?  What if by some irony I die before my beautiful grandchild is born.
I know it's 'stinking thinking' but I am good at that sometimes.     Wouldn't that be the biggest irony of all....not really.   My biggest fear in all these years has not been about my has always been about leaving my daughter alone.   I regret so often that I didn't choose to have other children, at least then she would have someone to grieve with, reminisce with, laugh with.....but then another irony hits me.....they might not have even liked each other and been estranged!....I remember thinking at 25 I had to get married so I wouldn't be single at 35 ....guess what I was single at 35!

We spend enormous amounts of time trying to control, package our lives into perfect little boxes, only to have them ripped open and repackaged in a different way.    Looking back though, I think my package was a lot more boring than the package that I actually got to open.   My life has been full of ups and downs but in the end it has been a life worth living.  It has been full of people, love, laughter and some tears and sadness....but it has been a dynamic, wonderful life.   

As I approach Christmas I give thanks for the life I have .......I give thanks especially for the gift of the last 12 years.    Who would have predicted that I would be here to write about a grandchild let alone be here (hopefully ) to welcome them in to the world.   And if I am not, I know that all in all I live on in my children and now my grandchildren....and my one prayer that I have held up to my God for the past 12 years has been answered.....she is not alone He has chosen to shine His face on her in her boyfriend, his family and now their family .....I am a very BLESSED woman....

Merry Christmas to all ...........and God's will a blessed New Year!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Its been almost three months, not quite but almost.   I imagine anyone who was following my journey has either decided that it ended, or they have taken to driving down another road.    Well, no it didn`t end, not by a long shot but it did hit a bit of a dead end for a time.   I sort of hit a wall and for a time didn`t really feel like doing much of anything, let alone writing about how I was feeling.   I am not the type to write when things get messy.  I realize that now.   I like to keep things on a lighter note so in many ways I don`t open myself up when things are not going my way.  

So a quick synopsis of what has transpired in my life over the past almost three months.   I arrived home from PEI to find that I had to stay put because of medical issues.  When I say `stay put` I mean I have to live here not somewhere else for the remainder of my life because my best chance of survival is to stay close to the best medical providers that my disease has.   And that is here in SW Ontario for me.   So that made me have to rethink everything I had been thinking.......even if I didn`t want to move telling me I can`t gets my back up......I know `control freak` mentality!

In the end I made some very big decisions and that is why I haven`t been on line.   I decided to buy a summer place....somewhere near water so that although I can`t move to the East Coast I can at least spend time near the water (albeit fresh water).   Have to throw salt up into the wind so that I can close my eyes and pretend I am at the ocean....but all in all its really not so bad......

So, then I decided if I wasn`t going to be here in the summer I didn`t need a very big space to live in during the winters.   That meant downsizing.   I had intended to do that over the period of about a year....maybe by next Spring but sometimes the universe has different plans.   I am learning that I have to be very careful what I put out there because it seems God hears me and then puts it in place.
Next thing I know I have a wonderful one bedroom apartment but I have to move immediately.   Well, I am there now.

So in a matter of less than two months, I come home, buy a trailer, and move to an apartment.   To say I am a little tired, a bit confused, and forever trying to get rid of things is an understatement.

My health through all this has been fine.   I think maybe I am cured but I haven`t been able to actually stop long enough to find out.   I forgot to go to my appointment in November so next week we will see.  I know I haven`t been cured but somehow all this effort, moving, and shaking seems to contradict the idea of one being sick........

Well, I am back.  I will be more attentive to my writing now that I can find a place to sit and actually write.   And my next blog will tell you more about my journey over the past few months.....not all of it good and some of it even better than good.......

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

New Adventures during traditional times!!!

Today is Back to School day which for me for a number of years was an exciting day.  I would be getting ready the week before and then the night before I would hardly be able to sleep so excited about seeing all the new students, and the especially the returning students with all their stories from the summer.    That ended 12 years ago!!!  

At the time I didn't realize how permanent that would be.  I was diagnosed on the very last day of the school year 2011, had two surgeries, started my chemo on July 20 and figured I would be back to school in September.  Of course, all those around me just smiled and nodded knowing well enough that I had to figure things out myself.   Well September came and I returned albeit for about 4 days and then decided perhaps I should wait till January.   Then January came and I thought perhaps it would be far better for everyone if I just started in the 2002/03 school year....I mean come on I would certainly be back to 'normal' by then.   As I write this today, I have the presence of mind to see the humour in all this, but I must admit no one said that I couldn't do it.   That should have clued me in immediately.  One thing I have figured out over the last few years is that the less dissent I receive about my plans the more out of reach they probably are !!!!!!

Well its 2013 and I am still not back.   The difference is that I don't feel sad, or unhappy.  I have come to accept my new life and have no desire to go back and try again and again.    Those were the days of major denial, longing for the return of what was.  Not accepting the changes that cancer can have on your life, and I mean life because I am still here.    Many new and wonderful things have happened over the years.  New experiences, lots of new people and especially a new acceptance to how my life has unfolded.

Now my last post I did say that some things were still difficult.  That is still so, but it is like that in life in general.   We can't always have want we want in life, but if we look really hard we most often get exactly what we need even if we don't think so till we look back.    I mentioned that a window had opened for me recently, as I watched a door slam.    Although I am going to need surgery eventually, I am not going to have it immediately.  Because it will be difficult and tricky, it has been decided that I should wait till it is absolutely necessary.  Until then I will continue along.....with one major difference.   I now will have a getaway right here in SW Ontario.   If I can't go East then I decided I would find water, wind and wonderful new people somewhere close by.   Well, I did!   I am now the proud owner of a stationary 5th wheel trailer in a wonderful campground only an hour away from my home....Yippee.   So I may not always get my way, but God has always seen fit to make sure that my life is full of good things, lots of blessings and surprises.   The God of Surprises has given me what I wanted and needed just not exactly the way I had envisioned.   I have often said that if you want God to give you something better send specs, otherwise you never know how God will interpret your needs.

Well, I think God knew what I needed, and I am happy with the result.   So although life doesn't always work out the way we think it should, it does work out pretty well in the I am off to the trailer for the 5 weeks I have left of the season....will send pics when I can :)

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Finding a window after the door closes!!!!

Well, if there is anyone still reading this, and I wouldn't be surprised if so because I have been very negligent in writing.   If truth be told, I have been avoiding writing because I don't like to write the negative things that happen with cancer.   I try really hard all the time to find the positive side to life despite a cancer diagnosis but lately that has been difficult.

I had the best summer ever and didn't really feel, think, or even at times admit that I had a serious disease.  It was good for the psyche and I would suggest that everyone should take a vacation from life in the real world and find a place to be.....just be....nothing else, no one else!    But, one must be ready to come back and those times can be hard.   Not impossible, but certainly energy reducing and smack between the eye difficult.  So, I am back and think I have found my equilibrium....sort of :)

After arriving home I had a doctor's appointment.  I was flying high and had all these neat ideas of how I was going to spend the remainder of my life......NOT GOING TO HAPPEN.   The shitty thing about cancer, or any serious disease, is that you end up being at the mercy of the medical system .   I fortunately have an amazing medical support team which is wonderful but also it connects me even more.    Meaning not everything is within my control in life....and anyone who knows me knows that I like to be in control.   Well, cancer has definitely taken that away.    When I expressed my thoughts to my doctor he dashed them to the ground with a stone......but nicely!!!!

I think in many ways I go to my denial place ( read first few blogs for the stages) when I want to do things like most "normal" people.    Then he tells me the ugly details of my situation and I hit the ground way to hard and feel like screaming.   So, my plans have been dashed.........

It looks like I will need to have surgery again, but it will be a very delicate one and a long and difficult one. Chances of complications etc.   So, I have to be close at hand to these places rather than running around the world escaping from reality.    That news knocked me off my feet for a number of days......and then I decided to rethink my situation and as the old sayings goes "when given lemons, make lemonade" so that is what I am in the process of doing.   I am figuring out how to deal with the fact that I must remain close at hand and still enjoy the things I like, like wind, and water, and really fun company.

I know that in life one doesn't always get to go through the door one wants....but no matter what, I don't have to stay stuck in any place for long.....there is always a window that is open from which I can fly........I found my window and am squeezing through (its a rather narrow one) and getting ready to fly off on a new adventure despite the fact that I am chained to my present circumstances......

Will keep you posted on how the flight is..........

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Reality Check ........

So I made it back.   Phew....long drive but some interesting visits and stops along the way which helped to slow the journey back to reality.   Didn't see one accident either way till about a half hour from home and then there were three in a row.    Figure it was the universes way of jolting me back into the pace and chaos of this particular part of the world.  (Minor accidents)   But I have arrived and reality has set in......the cats don't like each other anymore, and the dog is not impressed either to have to share me with other four legged creatures.  So I am trying to unpack and get myself organized while I referee the animals back in normalcy.    I guess if it isn't the children who bring you quickly back to the real world, the animals will do it.  

Other than that small glitch, it has been fun returning in many ways.   I must say there is something to be said for 'being missed'.   I had a friend bring me flowers, another corn on the cob and tomatoes, and a third more fresh veggies and an invitation to dinner.  And then finally an invitation to a jewellery party where I got lots of hugs!!!!  And that was just within a few hours of arriving home!!!!   Nothing feels better than knowing you are loved and missed.

So happy to see my daughter and believe that she has matured and grown up both physically and emotionally since I left.   She actually is 'all grown up ' as they say but for some reason I think I finally saw her this time as a young woman and not my little girl.....maybe coming over in her own car helped that image along.   

Well Thursday brings the medical reality back so I will prepare for that over the next day or so.   It always seems to bring such emotional feelings of ill at ease no matter how often you go.   The only difference I feel right now though is that I seem to have more energy to deal with it.    Not doing much for a couple of months can do that for you........

More pictures from PEI to reflect on ........

I wonder how many bottles where used in the making of these bottled buildings.....those are the important things I had to think about during my time away.......very reflective moments.
These are pictures from the Bottle Houses in Cape Egmont PEI......worth a trip there if you have the time....the gardens are amazing too!!!!


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Holidays.....from illness!!

Well it is time to begin to write again.  I took a little hiatus this summer from not only writing but from all and every thing related to or about my medical issues.   I went on a "medical holiday' and I must say that it was the best thing I have done in years.

Not only did I not write one word on my blog....I don't think I even spoke, thought or dreamt about cancer for the past two or more months.    Tomorrow I begin my trek back to the real world and decided that perhaps I should ease my way back into the word of medicine and reality.  Next week I go back to the oncologist and so I am preparing myself for the feeling that comes with those regular visits.

I must say I have not been so relaxed as I have been the past few months.   I have felt like a new person and would suggest to anyone dealing with a chronic illness that taking a holiday from it may be the way to deal with it in a more effective, peaceful and even in many ways accepting fashion.   Now the key to this type of holiday is to go somewhere where no one knows you have a serious illness.   Then you don't have to deal with those 'puppy' dog eyes of very well intentioned people who ask 'and how are you doing' but you know that they are not just casually asking.....what they are saying is the cancer back?   are you having treatments?   I have spent two months not having one person I have encountered ask me that was refreshing to say the least.  

So, tomorrow I head back and will be thrilled to see friends, glad to sleep in my own bed, but will take the mantle of illness back on with some reluctance............but I am probably stronger and more able to handle whatever may come my way in the coming weeks and months......

Peace and serenity have been my constant companions.........but even more so now that I am rested and rejuvenated.....

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Spring.....hopefullness in nature and in life!!!!!

Spring is here!

 I can hear the birds singing, the windows are open, and soon the grass will need to be cut.   Waited all winter for this and finally I can sit outside and have my coffee.   This has got to be the best time of year.   It reminds me that everything comes back to life after its long winter sleep.  So do  our lives.   After a long and sometimes dark past few months, I am feeling like I have emerged from a dark tunnel back into the light.   My energy levels are on the rise, and my mood in general is better.    I don't know if it is a healing of the grief or if its because spring has that ability to make everything seem more alive and hopeful.

Today, as I sat outside with my coffee, I noticed a woman going by in a motorized wheel chair walking her very large Rotty.   It reminded me of a friend who does the same thing with her dog, the name escaping me but also large....a Mountain something?  Why my neighbour needs a wheelchair is unknown but isn't it wonderful that in this day and age, people who have limitations can still be as active and do such wonderful things such as walk the dog.   This Rotty runs along side at a good clip and they go round and round and round the block.   One day I will have to walk across the field and introduce myself!!!!!   My girlfriend needs her wheelchair because she has had both her legs amputated, the reasons being a whole other story.   She uses the wheelchair for the outside activities and scoots around the inside on her custom made skateboard.   She is amazing and makes me realize the human spirit, when allowed to soar, has enormous capacity to move forward and be optimistic.   At the moment she has been slowed down by another operation, but I know given time she will be up and about living her life and enjoying all her children and grandchildren.    It would be really interesting to talk to her grandchildren because they probably don't even know that she has limitations.   She is more active, has more energy, and does more than most grandmas I know.

So today, I had a nice reminder of how fortunate we are to live in a time when we can still participate in life even if all our body parts aren't working up to snuff.    There was a time when illness meant a life of complete isolation, afraid that any kind of activity would only hasten the problem.  Today, we know that positive energy, lots of stimulation, and a world that doesn't have a definite idea of what 'normal' constitutes has allowed us all to live out our potential in what ever way life as deemed necessary.  

So, I will go off to work this evening to my dream job at the yarn shop.   Another surprise!   It took me having to be diagnosed with cancer, forced to leave my full time job, to find the job that I would have never imagined I would have,   selling yarn to knitters........oh my life is so blessed!!!!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Young Carers ........

Last night while listening to CBC I heard the most interesting story.  It actually made me sad to hear it and it reminded me of a similar time in my own journey with cancer.

The topic was on young carers or to translate, children who are care givers to their parents because of illness.   I had never heard the term and was fascinated by the idea that it has become so prevalent that we have even coined a term to define the situation.   Essentially  it was the story of a young single mother who became ill very suddenly, and her children had to take care of her and the household needs during a very scary and unpredictable time.    It lasted for years.   When I was listening, my first inclination was that the mother was 'expecting' her children to look after her instead of receiving community care.   I was wrong!    She was receiving multitudes of help from PSW's and the like, but that didn't cover the whole gamut of things that needed to be done.   Her daughter was in grade 9, cooking meals, doing laundry and looking after her younger brother in addition to the personal care of her mother such as dressing, feeding, toileting etc.   One of the people that came in once a week to do house work, actually complained to the mother that her children were not doing 'enough' .   Why couldn't they clean their rooms, do their laundry, etc.   Can you believe it?   A teacher told her daughter that she was 'using her mother's illness' to get out of doing homework and handing things in on time.   So not only was it overwhelming for her daughter, she didn't even feel supported by the healthy adults in her life!!!!!   (I pray that was not the experience of my own daughter)

While listening to this and getting past my initial judgemental attitude I realized that I was defensive because it reminded me of what my life had been like when I got sick.  I like to think that I protected my young daughter from this part of the illness but in reality I know that she was expected to do more than the average child her age....if nothing but the worry of when she was at school and I was at home.   As I listened to the young girl speak of her experiences it was sad to think that in many ways my daughter too had to grown up literally over night.   When I was first diagnosed we looked into getting some housekeeping help but were told that my daughter was considered 'too old' and was able to look after herself and the house.  I was upset about this but when you are barely able to shit and shower you can't take on the community access bureaucracy too.   So we muddled through.  The young daughter's , description of how she felt, where she felt that she got support and where she didn't made me understand more fully what my own daughter had gone through.

Not all of it was bad.   The young woman did say that she was happy that she could be of help to her mother during this time and that she felt proud of what she had done and how she had grown up to appreciate things more because of it.   Yet, there were still scars!  My own daughter and I have often talked about how different things would have been and the things that we wouldn't wish differently because of how close we are because of that experience.   Yet, it saddens me to think of how it affected her life and impacted her teenage years.

Illness affects more than just the patient.    Illness disrupts lives in many ways and more so when there is only one adult in the household to look after things.   When that person becomes ill the tasks fall to the children in the home.  One of the fears the mother on the radio expressed was that she was afraid that if she tried to get too much help that perhaps it would be determined that the children should be removed from the home.   OMG, when I heard that my heart went out to her.   That is one thing that never ever occurred to me.   I am so glad I was obviously naive enough that I never thought that might happened.   This woman had worked in mental health as a social worker, so her fears were not unfounded.  

It was very enlightening to hear this documentary.   It was also difficult and sad to hear it.  I don't think I ever really thought that my daughter was a 'young carer'' but in reality she was.   Especially on those nights when her mom (me) was so sick I couldn't even get out of bed or fend for myself.   She was alone looking after that must have been  frightening and scary for a young girl of twelve.    Thank God we made it through that time and seemed to have come out the other end, a little scarred but blessed to appreciate each other every day! :)

Monday, April 22, 2013 did you see that?????

Have you ever thought about what your life would have been like if something major had not taken place to direct it the way it has.   I do!   It is something that I have often thought of , especially since I was diagnosed with cancer.    It is sort of a 'what if' but not in a way of mourning that loss, just in a way of thinking what would have been different.   Most times I can't really find anything of any great regret as although I would not wish this journey, I have learnt to accept it and what it has brought to my life.   What I find most interesting is how other people seem to have thought there life would be different if I hadn't gotten sick.    I will relate a funny story about that.

As I have mentioned in previous posts I have a daughter who was quite young when I became sick.  At this point she has lived with the cloud of cancer over her mother's head as long she lived without it.  Recently, she told me about how she feels she missed out on things as a teenagers because of my illness.  I had often thought of this and felt a little sad because of it, but it wasn't exactly in the same line of thinking as she.    One of the things that she felt she missed out on was the 'hanging out' with friends.   She related to me that many of her friends had hung out at the mall or downtown and that she was never able to do that because of my illness.    I looked at her and said "you think that is the reason you were never allowed to hang out on street corners and in malls?"    I began to laugh and said "if that makes you feel better about that loss, you keep thinking it, but even if I had been well you wouldn't have 'hung out' aimlessly anywhere!!!!!"

The look on her face was priceless.   All these years she had blamed my illness and so was content to believe that her teenage years had been less than her friends because of it.    I didn't get any of the blame!    I often say that the teenage years with her were much calmer and relaxed than most of my friends, and now I know why.    She thought the differences in ability to do things was because of the cancer, not because her mother wouldn't allow it.     It is always interesting to see how someone else thinks about a situation.   Who would have thought that cancer was my 'out' to the terrible teenage years you hear about.   

So, when looking back to see how my life may have turned out without cancer, this is one situation which I can actually say I am glad that I didn't have to go through fighting and screaming about "everyone else can do it" with my teenager.    It is always good to reflect, but it is always good to ask others their just might be surprised how they saw a similar situation!!!!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Today.....all we really have!

I will attempt to write today, but my hands are freezing.   Although the weather is much warmer than it has been, this winter seems like it will never end.    Going to Florida in March was very nice but I think it makes it that much harder to endure the remainder of winter here in Canada.   Although, the weather wasn't extremely warm down all becomes relative when you come from the Great White North!!!!    The temperatures were in the 60's and 70's F and I went to the pool everyday.  Some days I was the only one there, or at least the only one in the pool.  I thought the pool was warmer than the air considering it was 86 degrees F.   In the end, a good time was had, the drive back was uneventful (the way you like drives) and it was a nice break from the monotony of snow and cold.

I haven't really felt like writing much since I returned.  I found that I was not nearly as tired when I was down South and feel that perhaps some of the tiredness is more due to a lack of purpose and action.   What I think is I might be 'bored'.   I hate that word and I don't use it lightly but while I was away I didn't feel nearly as lethargic and weary as I had during the months previous.    I had things to do, I went for walks, I swam, I knit, I read.   This lead me to reflect that perhaps I need to keep busy at home in a similar way.   Thus, I have been too busy to write!!!!!  

The events on Monday at the Boston Marathon though gave me reason to pause.  Life is so precious and so unpredictable.    We worry about so many things that we think we can control and then something like that happens and we realize that we have no control.   Who would have thought that attending a run might be a dangerous endeavour ?   Especially the parents of an eight year old boy.  My heart goes out to everyone affected that day, but that particular little boy sits heavy on my heart.
At least the fear I have comes from a disease, not some act of terrorism that randomly kills and maims innocents.    Such a cowardly and evil act!    I just sit and count my blessings that my daughter is alive and well TODAY!   That's all we have in the    Love those around you T|ODA|Y.    Plan for tomorrow but LIVE for today.     I learnt that lesson many years ago but I still must remind myself of it constantly.

Yesterday, something happened that allowed me to remind another of that exact fact.  It was actually funny but in many ways jarred her a little.    A friend and I were having dinner and talking about illness and people who had died from different things.   She started to say how heart disease seemed to be so prevalent in her family and that she figured that if she continued in a similar vein as her relatives  she would live only to about 75......she looked at me and said..."that means I only have about 16 years left of life" which I replied "or you could die tomorrow".   She just stared at me and then said "oh that's a nice thought".    I said yea but its true.  You are worrying about having 16 years to live....think about it we all only have today.       It was a very stark reality but in the end she said  "you know that makes me feel much better" and we both had a good laugh.

So live today, love today, hug someone today, and hope that tomorrow you can do the same.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Family Obligations :)

Well spring is here....or at least that is what the calendar claims.   If I look outside it certainly doesn't look like spring to me.    Snow, cold, gray......oh I 'do love Canada'....must keep saying this!!!!

One of the advantages of not working anymore is that periodically I can do humanitarian actions for other people.  The free time has allowed me to be able to help out family and friends with their daily tasks.    Tomorrow I will do that again.   I am travelling to Florida in order to help a family member drive back to Canada.   Oh, what a difficult life I live....dedicated to others!!!!!

So in the midst of this bleary winter, I get a to sun, heat and swimming.....  I am looking forward to it in many ways because I have found this winter exceptionally difficult.  I think the past year has taken a toll on me and I need to regroup, revive, and re-evaluate and what better way to do that than sitting by the pool reading.   I do not apologize for my windfall....and I know I am not expected to.   

So my next post might be from Florida, or it might not be till I get back........

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Thanks .......:))

This is a bit of an unusual missive but I felt it needed to be written.

Over the past two years and four months I have been blessed to share this journey with many many people.   People I have never met and yet are interested in what I am thinking and feeling.  People who I know but also know that I am not the most forthcoming with how I feel in person.  I like to keep things positive and upbeat because whatever I am doing I want to enjoy it. ....also early on I found the 'puppy dog' eyes I would get from some people absolutely drove me crazy.    It is not that I don't want to share my true feelings it is just when I am out and about I want to have fun and not be focusing on my illness.  I learnt that from my daughter ......there are times w hen you just have to feel that the illness is not a part of the package.....a respite from reality while living in reality!!!!

Anyways as usual I digress.......what I wanted to say here is that I appreciate everyone who reads my blog and I love to read the comments too.    I don't usually respond to comments mainly due to the fact that once I have written the blog I am usually past the feelings that I have expressed.   It is very cathartic for me.....I am in the moment and then I can move to the next moment.  Also, I am often so humbled by the words of wisdom, support, care and compassion that so many have offered, I am at a loss for words (yes really!!!!) most times.

So thank you....thank you for your humanity in allowing me to share a journey that is not always easy, I don't believe to be a blessing, but has certainly brought many blessings into my life.....and this has been one of them......what did we do before the Internet.   I have been privileged to have so many people from so many lands share in my story.....that to me is the miracle that I am living.....

So please feel free to follow me publicly or privately, comment or not, but send me positive energy into the universe and I too will send it back multiple times again......

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Courage vs. Fear

A few days ago I went shopping for a gift for friends who celebrated 50 years of marriage.   I wanted to get them something that would resonate with them and so I went to the Catholic Book Store which is not one of my usual shopping venues.   I did find something appropriate , but I also found something for myself as well.   At the time I don't think I realized the significance of it, I just knew that it jumped out at me and I had to pick it up.   It is a beautiful coffee mug, a Wedgwood blue (my favorite colour), and perfect size and shape for a GOOD cup of coffee....all the things I believe necessary when buying a coffee mug! :) 

It had one other characteristic....a beautiful quote about courage.   Courage has been one of the words that many people have  used to describe me and I have never really felt completely comfortable with that description.   I have always believed that courage implied a could do something or you couldn't do wasn't something you had when you had no choice.  Cancer was never a choice in my life.   I didn't have the choice of being healthy and chose to be sick...I didn't have the choice of death and chose is something that happened to me.   So for me there was nothing courageous about it.   The quote on the mug says:  "Courage is not the absence of fear, but the presence of faith"
OK.   That definition makes sense to me.   So I bought the mug......end of story right?

No, not at all.   It has been churning in my mind ever since I bought it.   Why?   Why did I feel the need to buy it....I am not normally an impulse buyer, unless it concerns yarn, so why did I feel without even a hesitation to pick it up and buy it.   I have used it everyday since.....and read the quote each time, thinking Yes that is what I believe.   Then I realized it...........I have been afraid lately for the first time in years.    Fear is not something I like to acknowledge, and it is really not something I like to talk about.    But lately my life has been ruled by  fear......the events of last August have left me in a state of fear.......

From the very beginning of this journey, I have never really felt that there wasn't anything I couldn't handle.   I would do what was necessary but I also wasn't going to change much about how I lived my life.   I remember early on, when I would plan a trip many people would say "what if you get sick when you are away, what will happen" and I would shake my head and say, "what if I don't get sick".  I really believed that I wasn't suppose to live my life in the world of 'what if's'.   That is exactly what I have been doing since August.   I think the events of last August which were so out of my control have made me feel very vulnerable.   A state I don't think I ever really considered myself to be.

First going home to visit my mom for two weeks....even though she was in the hospital it never occurred to me that she would die.   It never occurred to me that this would be my last visit with her.  That did throw me for a loop I admit.....but then to end up in hospital and have to have surgery I think was just too much for my psyche.    The worst case scenario had mother died and I got sick while away, and it was very very scary.   I remember being absolutely terrified just before the surgery, something I had never before felt.   When the nurse was rolling me into the OR I asked her if people were usually afraid and I will never forget what she said "usually when it's their first time, but not as scared when they have been through it before"....I looked at her and said, "well this isn't my first rodeo and I am absolutely terrified"....she took my hand and said "I will hold your hand until you go to sleep"....

When I woke up I remember being so relieved!   But I will never forget how frightened I was.  I had never felt that way before.   In many ways I think it was because my daughter wasn't there this time.  It was like I might not get a chance to say good - bye, give her all the advice I need to, make sure she understood I loved her ......    Yet I survived and am still here but the fear has yet to subside.

I think this has come home to roost lately because I am going to go away for the first time since last August.   I am having the what ifs, and I am not used to them.    I will be fine, and I will still go away....I am not one to miss a trip.   Maybe, the mug was God's way of reminding me that although I don't think of myself as courageous, that maybe this new way of looking at courage will give me some.

So, I might be afraid but I must remind myself I also have much faith.....and it will see me through!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Fatigue!!!!! YUK

It has been sometime since I felt the urge to write.  I go through these moments where I think maybe I don't need to blog anymore and try and continue my journey without venting, writing, or just letting things out.  It isn't a good thing, but like anything we all come to a point where we believe we are doing better than we think.   Isn't this why some people go off their medication because they think that they are cured and don't need it?   Well in many ways that is how it works with me and blogging.

Then something happens and I am reminded that I am not completely healthy and the world is not exactly as I would like it to be.   This weekend was one of those times.   I had an extremely busy weekend, with lots of positive events.   The only thing is that for the entire weekend, I struggled to keep my energy up in order that I could participate in them.   Not everything I wanted to do got done but it was still a busy busy time.  I made it too most events, but the whole time I knew that I was going to be exhausted after...worrying if I would be able to do the next.  Trying to figure out how much I could do and still enjoy myself and still have energy to do the next thing.   I am not very good at saying no, and of course love a good party!!!   The fallout came in the end though.   I hit a wall last night and was reminded of when I was on chemo and I would go until I literally fell down.  You would think that after almost twelve years I had figured this part of my character out ...but no....and also.....

You would think since it has been over six years since my last round of chemo that I would feel normal again.   The fact that I have a tumour growing may be one reason why I can't get energy when I need it.   Well when I hit the wall it all came flying back, the fatigue, the sore muscles, the headaches everything.   I went to bed early last night, slept fitfully all night, and then spent the day in bed trying to get some sleep. I was right back at the beginning of when cancer hit!  Twenty-four hours of doing absolutely nothing and I am just beginning to feel human again.  I hate this.   I know this isn't getting old.....I would have to be 80 to feel this way.   My mother only started to feel like this in her mid-eighties and even then she was able to read when she went to bed.   I couldn't even do that last night.   I hate the fatigue, it is such a reminder of my cancer.   Fatigue really is the biggest symptom of cancer.    The cancer just sucks the energy right out of you and leaves you feeling empty and limp.

So I have been reminded of two things.   One I am really not healthy in a normal way, and secondly I still need to have a venue to vent my frustrations....alas I will be continuing to blog!!!!!! as for the first one.....still on a learning curve there :)

Friday, February 15, 2013

No news.......good news! news is good news.   Well there is really nothing new to report.   Tests proved to be good...the nasty beast is growing but still is not infringing on anything so the doctor wants us to 'stay the course'.   It is my decision ultimately because the turmour is operable but I for one am not interested in doing surgery again so close to the last one....August 2012.    If I don't have to it will be better in the long run to let the last incision heal and mend before cutting into it again!!!! always a bit of an oxymoron :)

As for the nausea, well we still aren't sure what's up with that.   As the doctor says the only thing we do know is that there is very little to no chance that the cancer is causing it.    He even says that there is no evidence of any blockage, adhesion etc that could be the cause.   In addition he checked the head CT scan....brain is there but nothing else!!!! :)   Essentially, it is a mystery still to be solved....but by my GP not my specialist.   OMG I never envisioned a life so involved with our medical community.....thank goodness I live in Canada and have no worries about cost....and as far as I have experienced I have had nothing but good care, timely and with compassion....I would probably be a great 'poster girl' for universal health care.

It is amazing how one's psychological health improves when you realize that the symptoms that you are experiencing are not serious or life threatening.   It is difficult at times to deal with anything new because one immediately thinks it might be something sinister....but alas.....this time I am just normally being annoyed by something that at this point is not diagnosed but also not cancer related.....yea I can deal with that. 

I want to thank everyone for all your support and prayers at this time.   I am not one to easily express what is actually going on in my life and the positive responses always surprise me.    This blog has allowed me the opportunity to be honest about what is going on without having to look into the faces of those I care about and see their concern for me.   I am not good at that , although that may surprise many who know me, plus in many ways that count I am a private person.   The one thing that I have learnt over the past couple of years is that when we are honest about our trials and troubles, there is a world of love and support out there........I have been blessed with this knowledge many times over.

So.....on Valentine's Day I have found that I am those known and unknown and that has been my blessing on this day.......Happy Love Day to everyone and blessing too!!!!!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

See what tomorrow brings????

Just a quick post.   Tomorrow I go to the doctor and usually I hate these appointments.   I am actually looking forward to it because I have been feeling so lousy.   I don't think there will be any earth shattering decisions made but I think it is time to have a talk about what the future (near future) holds.   

My fatigue has really started to take its toll and the damn nausea is not going away.    Also, really bad pain in the side of  my head but I think that is from clenching my jaw so tight at night that I am having muscle spasms.   It is an indication that I am more stressed that even I admit to......

So here we go again........maybe!!!!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Snow and Memories!

Quiet snowy winter days.    Well winter has arrived finally and I don't mind.   I guess when you live in Canada there is an expectation that it will be cold, snowy and brisk (love that word) for a period of time.   When it doesn't come, it is a little disconcerting!!!   The snow storm on Friday was just like the "old days" with lots of snow, blowing and no plows out!!!!!!  Later in the evening I had the chance to walk out and it was wonderful.  The crisp air, the clear sky and the snow up to my shins reminded me of when I was young.   We would dress up in our snow pants, scarves (we were allowed to wear them then) and double up on our mitts, grab our toboggans (wooden and waxed) and meet up with friends to go tobogganing on the golf course hill.   I am sure there would be numerous liability issues today....

Off we would go, and slide and climb for hours.   It would be 10 p.m. before I would fall in the door, rosy cheeked and exhausted.   Mom would take my soaking mitts off and take my hands in hers and blow her breath on them to warm them.   The fingers would be white on the tips and they would burn at first but it always felt good.  Then she would make a pot of tea and sit in the kitchen and listen to all the stories and mishaps that had happened.    Memories are so good to have.......especially when I have been missing my Mom and Dad so much lately.    So snowstorms bring back a time and a place that I will carry in my heart forever!!!!  We had so much fun in those days.....outside, fresh air, and no adults around!!!!!

Like life, a beautiful time once the storm has passed....glorious sunrise and frosted trees...the earth is fresh and new to greet another day.

As for health....well things are what they are.    Sleeping is still allusive but I seem to make up for it by not doing much the next day.   Last night was brutal so didn't do much today...not even Church....imagine that.    Wanted to go for a long  walk, but even the dog wasn't interested in going out.....she walked to the end of the walkway and turned no  walk for me.
Have been cooking up some new recipes from my Mom's old ones and so that has made the house smell good and my belly feel full.    Meds seem to be working relatively well, as long as I remember in the morning to take my always takes me a little while to get used to taking new pills.
I did find an new show to watch and think that I am going to become addicted to it.    It's a British show called Downton Abbey.   Got the first season and watched it all day today....loved it.   I don't have t.v so I will have to get the other seasons as they come out.    It's been a long time since I found something so interesting to watch and with such good actors ......suggest it to everyone.   I think I will have to get the movie that it was made from called Gosford Park.

Well that is all she wrote today........

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Difficult Days.......

Well this is not going to be a good post.  I usually try hard to find some positive little spin on things, and I am often successful.   Today, I don't seem to have that ability.   Maybe not sleeping very well last night has something to do with it.   

Lately, I haven't been feeling my best and have been to the doctor to see what we can do.   I have had this nausea for weeks and it is driving me crazy.   It wakes me up in the night and lasts all day.   Sort of like morning sickness with out the pregnancy!!!!!   So last week went to the GP and she prescribed something.   Saturday, I realized that I wasn't having my nausea and was thrilled.   Well it's BACK!

Woke up during the night with it and again this morning.  Drugs aren't working.   I feel like crap.   I know that the tumour is growing and that eventually I will have to deal with it...but I never felt sick before.   I had a CT scan two weeks ago for my belly and will find out the results next week....although my GP did look it up and said that the tumour is 6.1 cm x 4 cm now (compared to 3 cm a year ago)...but there is nothing else new.   So it really is positive news.    She did send me for a CT scan on my head though because with the nausea I have been experiencing headaches and that isn't a good thing.  The nausea centre is in the brain so she wants to make sure nothing is going on there.   Metastasis to the brain is extremely rare in my cancer (mind you rare seems to be my middle name) and I don't think there is anything wrong in that way.      I think the headaches are due to the fact that I don't sleep well when feeling sick and so am tired and headachey.   She agreed but said 'better safe than sorry'.

I just want to feel better.  I have absolutely no energy and am almost afraid to take a nap in the afternoon because I wake up and it's night.   Lay down one day at 3 p.m. and woke up at 8 p.m.    A little confused as to whether it was morning or night!!!!   Canada is pretty dark in the early morning :)
So am just trying to get through the day sometimes......Yoga has been helping I must admit.  It is hard to get the energy up to go sometimes.   It's in the evening and its dark, and cold, and sometimes snowy and I have the urge to hunker down and just stay warm and cozy.    BUT, when I go I am so glad because I actually feel better afterwards.   I walk to and from so I get fresh (read very cold) air and it wakes me up and stretches all my  muscles.   The nice part is I usually sleep really well that night too.   Maybe my frustration is that last night I didn't!!!!   Even yoga didn't work. 

Oh well, life sucks sometimes and then we just have to move on.   I am sure there are people in this world that are having a much more difficult day than me.   Maybe I will pray for  them and take the focus off myself.......

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Old Post......New reflections!

The following is a post that I wrote about a year ago.  I thought that it might be worth re posting because it still rings true and I am still amazed at how life evolves in the midst of the events we struggle with......

Simultaneously, a happening in our life that occurs 'at the same time' that can often be overlooked. Last night I realized that this was exactly what happened at the time I was diagnosed with cancer.

When major things happen in our lives we are so focused on them that we miss the other things that may be going on at the same time. I had this amazing revelation and know this is true because after my initial diagnoses I seemed to have gone to a place that just kept me sane enough to deal with what was happening as far as the cancer was concerned. I remember very clearly that one day about six months later I noticed a small donut shop that had always been close to my house was now a diner. I was so surprised and sure that it must have changed over night. No, friends told me its been like that for about six months!!!! There were other moments like that for a few years seems that I just wasn't noticing anything that didn't directly concern my cancer. The brain is an amazing creation and it was probably all I could do to just find my way through my own immediate life than try and assimilate the normal everyday occurrences happening all around.

The reason I write this is that last night I was made aware of another simultaneous event that took place at exactly the same time as my cancer diagnoses, but until now I never made the connection. I have always believed that everything happens for a reason and there are no coincidences. Here is what happened.

Just before June of 2001 when I would find out that I had Ovarian Cancer, a woman came into my life. She started out by offering to help me organize an event at the high school as she was on maternity leave and was coming to the high school in the fall. It was an opportunity for her to re-enter the work arena on a volunteer basis, get her children used to her being out of the house periodically, and meet some of the students she would be teaching in the fall. We became fast friends. Over the past 10 1/2 years our friendship has blossomed into almost a sister relationship and I feel very much a part of her family. Through her I have come to know the most wonderful group of people and they have been the backbone of my support over the years. Each one has brought something into my life, usually initially through their children. Not working and being a little older allowed me to become sort of the universal babysitter for the various couples. These relationships now though are more than what I have ever had with a group of friends. Last night we celebrated our Christmas dinner and there was 20 of us who ate, drank, laughed, talked, hugged and just enjoyed each others company before heading off to celebrated Christmas with our various families. This is the second year that we have done a planned Christmas dinner. We usually meet as a group of women once a month regularly and at this time we allow the men to join us!!!!

Simultaneously, God gave me what I was going to need to deal with my disease, and the new life that it would entail. I have in my life the most wonderful people. The second event that happened not immediately after but because of the situation I found myself in, not being able to work due to my illness, is the knitting group. Now I have friends who mainly live a similar lifestyle as myself with days that include many other things besides going to work. I have a part time job because of the knitting which has allowed me to get to know many more people I again would never have met otherwise. My life as evolved in a way that I would never have imagined, but until now I don't think I ever realized that it was evolving at the 'same time' I was dealing with my disease.

So, what's the moral of this story. I guess when we find ourselves in times of struggle, sadness, and perhaps just overwhelmed by parts of life maybe we should take a minute and see what is going on simultaneously. Our lives are always multi-faceted and we must never ignore the whole picture by being too focused on the parts.

Simultaneously to receiving my cancer diagnoses my life was exploding in blessings that still exist today, as does the cancer.......what an interesting life I have and I wouldn't change it for anything!

Friday, February 1, 2013


So today is February 1st.   It has been a memorable day for the past 24 years due to the fact that I gave birth to my beautiful daughter on January 31 that many years ago.    Amazing how time flies!

I remember 11 years ago, when she turned 13, I thought I might be celebrating my last birthday with her....and here we are 2013.    I have learnt that no matter what we think we know, the one thing we don't know is what is going to happen tomorrow.   Living each day is the best thing we can do.   Worrying about tomorrow or the 'what if'  only takes away from the actual time we do have to live. Being present to the NOW, means that no matter what happens we lived.

  I must admit this way of thinking did not come immediately and still is allusive at times. The main point is that I try and have done so since I was diagnosed.  When we celebrated her birthday so many years ago, I made a decision that presents, gifts and material things were not as important as memories of the day.   That year we went to Toronto and saw the Lion was incredible and I have vivid memories of each thing we did that day......a material gift would have been long gone by now....but the memories are a gift that keeps on giving.  Yesterday was another one of those days.    We had a small party, with balloons ( I hate balloons and never wanted her to have now she is old enough!), good food, great laughs, people who meant alot to us of all ages (the three year old made it really fun).   It is amazing how children can bring out the fun in all of us......even when they turn 24!!!!   So more memories to store for those times when I need a lift. 

The other neat thing is that the whole meal was gluten free.    I made the most amazing lasagna with rice noodles, Cesar salad with gluten free croutons and a home made ice cream cake!   So one of the memories is how good the food tasted (if I do say so myself) and how full I was afterwards :)

So, I shared another birthday and for that I am grateful.   Now if I could just find someone to come in and clean up I could just sit back and relive the memory!!!!!!   

Friday, January 25, 2013

A Journey from Fear to Courage, Despair to Hope ....Part II

This is the continuation of the article I wrote in 2003.......

"One of the interesting insights that I have had writing this article is that I have never been angry at God.  It never occurred to me that God had done this to me.  I remember in Thomistic Philosophy, Fr.  Smith saying that the body is corruptible and therefore disease is part of the human condition.   That kept me in check.  This was not divine retribution for past sins - it was my body breaking down.  My faith and belief in a good and loving God are what sustained me.  Once, when I was having chemotherapy and was falling asleep, I remember saying to a friend,  "God has been so good to me".  A few days later she reminded me of that statement and asked how could I say that when I was fighting such a horrible disease.   I began to share some of the blessings that had come my way since June 27.   God does not cause bad things to happen, but God sure gives us incredible strength to get through them.  In all this time, I have never lost faith.   I have railed at God saying 'why me?', but that lasts only a moment.  I remember the blessings that God has showered on me during this time:  letters and cards, phone calls and visits.  I had eleven priest visit me in hospital over a period of a week.  I kept thinking that the nursing staff was going to think I must be a nun.   My school community carried me on the days that I felt I couldn't go on.  Food was delivered cooked and uncooked.   {My daughter} was driven to activities.  Our lives were allowed to go on in the midst of illness because of the people God had placed in our way long before I became ill.  All of these things were reminders  that God was very much with me.

How have a changed so much as I stated at the beginning?  Well, first and foremost, I don't waste time on trivial matters.   If it isn't life or death, 'it ain't worth worrying about'.  I wake up everyday grateful for another day.  I realize how precious relationships are.  During the early part of my struggle, I would become angry at people who  focused too much on material things.  On an appointment to my oncologist I mentioned this 'not too proudly'.  He gently reminded me that in my situation relationships were the primary concern, but for the rest of the world RRSP's were the primary concern.   I think in many ways I am luckier than most.  I don't know how long I have any more than you do; I just have been reminded more tangibly how precious the time I have is.  I have the ability, and the excuse, to focus on more important intangibles than the rest of you.   Do I think about dying?  All the time!   Do I worry about dying?  Not in the least.  I'm too busy worrying about what I will do later today!!!!!!

Over this past  year, a lot of people have referred to the courage and strength that I have shown.  In some ways I guess that is true, but it is just how I deal with everything.   Don't think I haven't cried myself to sleep, or woken up in the night scared because those things have happened, and continue to happen.   What courage is not, is the absence of fear.   Courage is even when we are frightened we don't allow our fears to control us.   Fear is born out of human weakness, our woundedness.  It is a part of who we are as humans.  It is our faith, and our belief in God, that gives us the strength to over come those fears and live each day with joy.  I never wanted cancer and I would never wish this horrible disease on anyone.   But through it all, I have been reminded of the goodness of God.  Through people, God has shown me I am truly loved.  How many people in their lifetime get to see how much they are loved?  If for no other reason, that has made this journey worthwhile.   I don't know if the old adage, "God never gives you more than you can handle" is true.  I only know that whatever comes our way God walks the journey with us."

As I rewrite this article from 2003, I realize that I have not changed my understanding of life, or my own journey in many ways.   The words I wrote then are still true to me today.   I have had many more years since then and yet I have lived them to the fullest.  I look back and I can't say that I would live my life, or want to live my life any differently.    Cancer is not a blessing, but my life  has been blessed in so many ways, how could I regret where I have come from.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Hard days......many blessings!

Yesterday was one of those days that I call...mixed blessings.   It was very tough, it was reflective, and it was wonderful.

I attended a funeral yesterday of a beautiful woman who was diagnosed last February with cancer.   She had an amazing family.    Six wonderful children and a husband who adored her......needless to say the funeral was a hard one on many levels.   I couldn't help but keep thinking 'this will be me one day'.....hopefully I will have half the adorable grandchildren that she had coming up the aisle.   I think in many ways that  made me realize what kind of a legacy we actually leave this world.    Those children, looking so solemn but also so proud that they are part of this!   My sadness came when I thought that perhaps I won't get to see any of my grandchildren.  I know none of us knows how things will unfold, but the doubts creep in and it makes you realize what it is you really want to strive her daughter said, not success, travel, financial freedom, but to just 'be like my Mom'.....what a true tribute to this woman and who she was.

The second part of the funeral that actually hit me between the eyes was something another of her daughters said.   I have always hated the analogy of cancer being some kind of a war, all of us  battling this war and some surviving and some losing the battle.   I am not a violent person and that language  jumps out as violent and awful.    Well, this young woman put what I have felt for years to words......"some people say my mother lost her battle to cancer, but my faith tells me  that she has broken free of cancer, left it behind, and moved to a better place, cancer didn't win at all".   I can live with those words because I too believe this to be true.   We often pray for healing, but we forget that healing can manifest itself in more ways than 'getting better'.    We can also be healed by dying! is only in dying that we are risen again to new life healed of all those earthly pains, trials and tribulations.  How blessed that this child received such an amazing gift from her mother (and father), the gift of faith......what more can we hope to give our children!

So, as I said in the beginning, my day was a mixed blessing.    I was sad to say good-bye but I also realize that I have much to be grateful for and I can still hold my daughter in my 'earthly' arms and for me that is a blessing that is priceless.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A Journey From Fear to Courage, Despair to Hope.....Part I

The following is an article that I was asked to write for a private publication.   I wrote this in 2003 and recently found it and thought that it is still very relevant for me and how I feel about my diagnosis, disease and life.    The following is an excerpt from that article........

......Nothing in the way I think, the way I am, or the way I do things is the same as it was before June 27, 2001.     On that day I found myself in the emergency department with abdominal pains, fever, and fatigue.   As most of us, I figured they would check me over, tell me it was bug, and send me home.

Unfortunately, that was not what happened.  I checked in at 10:00 a.m and by 4:00 p.m. I was in surgery for what was believed to be an acute appendicitis.  At 7:00 p.m. that evening the surgeon came to see me in my room and delivered the devastating news,  "I'm sorry to tell you this but we found tumours, and I think you have ovarian cancer."

The fear of the "C" word is in all of us.  We get a pain in our head or our groin and often think, "What if it's cancer?".  Well, I can say for myself that the fear was worse than the reality.   When I look back over the past months, I realize that God worked with me through this time exactly where I was.   My diagnosis was done quickly and without time to think.  I realize I work best that way.   Don't give me too much time to think about things because I will drive myself crazy.  Anyone who knows me well knows that I work better under pressure.  In a three week period of time I was diagnosed, had surgery twice, and was into chemotherapy.  I have thanked God many times for accepting me as I am.  I must digress for a moment and mention that through this period I kept telling the doctor that I had planned a trip East for August 5 and I needed to be well enough to go.   Some people thought I was crazy but I needed to focus on the future in order to have a sense of hope for myself, but also for my daughter.  I kept telling her that everything was going to be fine and the best way to make her believe this was to continue our lives as we had planned before my illness.  It wasn't exactly the trip we had planned and it was a difficult time for the two of us but we did, and now we have wonderful memories.  We chuckle about how sick I really was but we both learned that we could overcome our fear and continue our lives as we had before - one day at a time.  It is a lesson that has kept both of us going throughout the past year.   This year we did the trip again - I drove myself - and it was all the sweeter for having done it a year ago!

As I read this again so many years since I wrote it, I smile at how in many ways I was naive about what this disease would mean to my life.   At that point in time I was seeing this as an 'event' in my life to get through and move on.   Well, it changed my life forever yet I still feel that everything I wrote is true....and is still how I live my life.   One day at a time.......otherwise I would have gone out of my mind many times over the years worrying about 'what if' instead of going about my life and making many memories so there will be fewer what ifs when the time does  come to look back on my life and decide if it was worthwhile......from the view today I believe that it has been more than worthwhile.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

New Bike!!!!!!!

So, I have been to yoga twice and love it.   I feel almost taller when I leave, as if my body has stretched a whole inch or so.   I am amazed at how flexible I am and yet I know I have much further to go.   It is awesome.

And my journey into the world, or at least into a better shape, continues.  I visited with a girlfriend this weekend and came home with a 'push bike' as opposed to a speed bike.   It is an old fashioned girls bike, slanted bar, large seat, no gears, back pedal to brake and even a little basket like Dorothy.  I thought I could put my shitzu Bilbo in it and ride around town.......wouldn't that be scary.

I have been looking for such a bike for awhile.   I have a 21 speed mountain bike but it is just too much bike for what I want to do.    In addition, my daughter has taken it to ride to and from where ever she goes so it probably will never be seen at this house again!!!!!   Anyways so I now have a new bike.   It's even cute.

I saw it in my friend's garage and she said it was her daughter's but she didn't like it.    So, voila, I took it for a test drive.   Somehow I don't remember it being that difficult to ride when I was twelve.  I remember flying around town with my 'push' bike, up and down hills no problem.   Well, I won't be attempting any hills in the near future.....flat ground will be my pathway and not very far.   I was so out of breath after my little test drive I couldn't believe it......a little embarrassed to be honest.   My friend's husband says "how far did you go you are so out of breath".....I was tempted to lie and say 'oh about 2 miles'....but I don't lie well and so the truth came out.....down the driveway!!!!! lol

So another divine attempt to move me in the direction of outside and in shape.   Will keep you posted on how that goes.

On another side, I haven't been feeling the best lately.   I have terrible nausea especially at night.   It has been going on for a few weeks and nothing seems to make it better.....or set it off.    I am tired of waking up at night and feeling awful so I have bitten the bullet and called my doctor.    We begin the dreaded tests again.   Having a cat scan to see what is going on.....never just a belly ache when you have cancer...especially if it last three or four weeks.   I was hoping it was just a virus, and it might be, but it isn't getting better and is worse now than three weeks ago.   Cancer sucks!    Any change and the hackles go up and the worry begins.   I plan on continuing my regime in the meantime, so that if there is absolutely nothing wrong I won't have wasted all that time, and if there is something wrong I will be in better shape to handle what comes.

Well, off to drive down my very short driveway to begin my biking career!!!!!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Moving back into the World.....God's way!!!

I truly believe that there is a force in the universe that gives us the energy, purpose and fortitude to continue the journey we are destined to.   Some may call that force Karma, or a multitude of other names, I choose God.    Mainly, because it means something to me, and it's simple and to the point.

Well, I feel that this force has decided that I have been in my 'own' world long enough and it is time for me to come back out and rejoin the world.   Lately I have been staying pretty low key, and probably sleeping way too much, but at times the soul needs to be replenished and so we cocoon ourselves in order that we can one day  face the rest of the journey.  I have found myself doing this at various times in my life, so I accept it and know that a time will come when I will be ready to move on.  If it was left up to me, and of course I always have a choice, I would probably continue this disconnect for way too long.   The all knowing God is aware of my weaknesses and so God has put the challenge forth  The world has been knocking at my door lately and I can no longer ignore it.   One reason being, that God knows when people come round with kindness and gifts I am  usually not one to refuse.   So today I begin my new found way of being in the world.    I have been given many gifts lately and none of them allow me to sleep.

The first was an incredible gift of a knitting course online.  Now, anyone who knows me even a little bit knows that that is my 'carrot'.    So I am learning something new, which gives me energy.    The second gift was a full out sale on winter boots at a store near my home....within walking distance.    Walking being a quiet resolution I had made between me and God that I would start up again in the New Year.....well my mantra has always been don't tell God your new winter WALKING boots that I could afford.   Hmmmmmm.....I smell a conspiracy!!!    The final clincher was  a neighbour arriving at my door this morning to offer me forever classes in Yoga (she just happens to teach them).    Ok, who told her I love Yoga?   Plus a free one class pass for a friend.   So, I caledl my daughter and said "want to join a yoga class with me this winter"   totally expecting her to say no..... she says 'when do we start'.   So tonight she and I are off to the local Yoga Studio (walking of course) ....which I am personally thrilled about at a number of levels.   It will help facilitate my new desire to walk more, take some of the night pain I experience away, and it means once a week I get daughter time!!!! :)

So, the universe has set in motion my return to the world....and I will choose to follow.  One thing I have learnt over the years, and especially in my journey with cancer, is that the God knows far better than I what I need in my life.   I just wish God didn't know me so well as to set such tempting traps!!!!!!!!

Sunday, January 6, 2013


Have you ever noticed in life that once you learn a new word, hear about a book, or read about something, you seem to continue to hear about it all around you.   Most of us know this experience and we probably have even commented on how that seems to work.

Well, when you have cancer it is a similar situation.....not necessarily one you want either.   Before I was diagnosed, I remember hearing about cancer of course, but I didn't really know alot of people with the disease or know anything at all about it.   Since 2001, it seems that my life is surrounded by this disease, and I know more about it than I ever really wanted to.   I hear things constantly on the radio about cancer, and often specifically Ovarian Cancer.   Until I became sick I only knew one person with this type of cancer and she had dies almost thirty years earlier.   Now, I know numerous women with OVCA, and even more unfortunately that I have buried.   

Not only OVCA seems to be a constant theme but all kinds of cancer.   I don't think a day goes by that someone doesn't tell me about some one they know who is in hospital, has been just diagnosed or has died from this awful disease.   Today is no different.   In the space of one day I have spoken to two people I know that have had to deal with the disease themselves, another who's spouse has just gone through treatment, an another who's father has died.   In addition, two more people who have loved ones fighting the disease, and the outlook is poor. 

I don't usually write about this kind of day, but it has hit me hard.   I guess today was just one of those days where you become overwhelmed and want to crawl into a hole.   I know that probably most people deal with this also, even if you don't have the disease yourself.   Cancer has become almost epidemic, and I am sure that there are very few people who have not been touched in some way by this disease.    It just seems that over the past eleven years, cancer has become more common in my daily life, and I am not meaning my own health.   

Today, while at Mass, I just shock my head and prayed that each of these people will find peace and purpose in whatever journey is ahead for them.   I also, asked God to please give me strength to be there for who ever needs me and also to remember in my prayers all the people with whom I have promised to pray.

Life is not suppose to be comfort seeking.........but rather character building.    I just have to remember that it is in the sorrow and sadness of others that we find our own compassion and love to move out into a world that is hurting.    It reminds me that I am needed, if only for a moment to listen to an other's story.    Thank you God for giving me ears to hear others cry out in has been a grace in my life ...

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

January......a new beginning!

Well the new year has begun and so far my biggest resolution is to remember to write 2013 on my cheques!!!!!....yes I still write cheques b/c I am old and don't like to give up everything old at the same time.  I do have an IPhone and a laptop so I  have entered the 21st century but want to hang onto some of the past too.....I guess you already knew that as I also blog which is a relatively NEW invention!!!!

Did you know that January is named after the goddess, Janus.    She was believed to be able to see both forward and backward.    So she could still see the old year while looking ahead to the new year.   I think that is poignant....we need to reflect on both at this time of year.   Not that we shouldn't do it more often than once a year, but as a species we seem to work better when we set certain time and space aside to mark events and activities.   Isn't that why we celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, celebrations etc.?   We could celebrate 365 days of the year but imagine how tired we would instead we have dates we can justify having a bit more fun, or more reflection than others.....thus January....time to look back on the themes that have been present in the past year and look forward to what they might mean for the coming year....

So I am really seeing a theme over the past few months in my life.  I am reflecting on it and trying to come to some sense of what I am being called to do.    I am not yet prepared to share what that might be but I have started a new regime in my life to help it unfold.

So, a new year, a new outlook, and hopefully continued health in order to develop my new ideas!!!!!

What's new in your life!!!!?????