Scrapbooking Sting

I received a note, today:

Thank you for registering for the Creative Art for Self-Expression Workshop at the Body, Mind, Spirit: National Conference for Young Women Living with Breast Cancer.  This workshop will offer an opportunity to process and share the multiplicity of concerns and responses to living with breast cancer.

…I encourage you to bring photocopies of photographs of people, places and things that are significant to you.  The pictures can be of things you love, loath, learn from or look forward to. There will be an opportunity to include these images and feelings in your art-making process.

Jadzia Romaniec
Canadian Breast Cancer Network

I was thrilled and terrified. That loath made me sweat.

Then I realised: I loath no one.

I harbour hurt from four failed family relationships.
And, having zero contact with this famous four, mucky memories are my only foes.

Booyah!

The workshop’s kicking butt and I’m not even there yet.

Now, do I bring those four faces to Toronto, or no….?

Relief

A good portion of the last three weeks I’ve spent fending off terror. Battling my brain away from fabricated scenes of brutally big, bad news.

Thanks to two marble-sized lymph nodes and a slew of spin-off concerns.

This morning was my three-month oncology appointment. My oncologist poked in all the scary places and pronounced All is well.

What relief.

Rising from the imaginary-dead every couple of months sure makes it easy to keep appreciating my beautiful, beautiful life.

Now to start trusting my body again. It’s got me this far, and done a fine job of it. It’ll fare even better when my worry-war is won.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.
It’s a beautiful life.

Thanksgiving, 2010-style

Last Thanksgiving came just days after Andrea’s diagnosis. We went to Quebec City for a family vacation, two months in the making. While we weren’t our usual jovial selves (under the circumstances), being away from home pulled us sufficiently out of our routine that we were able to lose ourselves for brief moments, forgetting about the road that lay ahead — moments like when we were on a tour of the Citadel, the Musée de la civilizations and at that great fondu place for lunch (whatever it’s called).

There’s so much to be thankful for this year, much of it has already been expressed here. Obvious things like our great support network, the amazing health care system, Andrea’s strength and attitude and ESPECIALLY good health. All of these combined to make this a particularly momentus Thanksgiving. Of course, the fact that I didn’t ruin the turkey was a huge relief, as well.

Last night during our Thanksgiving dinner, I reached beyond our usual thanks to acknowledge my work colleagues for their support and mentorship. I’m lucky to work with amazingly smart, talented and creative people — incredible strategic thinkers, all of whom I’ve learned from since joining Fleishman-Hillard 10 months ago. I wish them and their families the kind of connected Thanksgiving we enjoyed as a family this year.

Body, Mind, Spirit 2010: National Conference for Young Women Living thru Breast Cancer

Thanks to the Canadian Breast Cancer Network and the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, I’ll be spending the last weekend of October at Body, Mind, Spirit 2010: National Conference for Young Women Living with through Breast Cancer.

This gathering of young breast cancer survivors, researchers, medical professionals, support organizations and decision makers from across Canada offers workshops on advocacy, alternative therapies, creative expression, yoga, medical research, sexuality and psychosocial issues of young women after breast cancer as well as belly dancing, good food and more.

I’m nervous and excited — and completely grateful to have received a scholarship to attend (and to Laurie for letting me know about it).

Will I see you there?

Thanksgiving – One Year of Survival

Last week — as part of my new risky living — I joined Toastmasters. I was scheduled to present a “thought-for-the-day” at today’s Thanksgiving week meeting. But it was canceled so I’m sharing it here…

A year ago today, as I left a meeting of the EDC Charitable Campaign, I got a call.

It was my doctor telling me “I’m afraid I don’t have good news. It’s cancer.”

I listened. I texted Mark. I scrawled a few notes.
Then I excused myself from the office and walked home.

I thought that was the end. The end of me.

But it wasn’t.
I’m still here. And I’m stronger, happier and more grateful than ever.

None of us knows what tomorrow will bring.
But we do know what we have right now. Our families. Our friends. Our working limbs. Our pain-free, healthy bodies. Our peace. Our freedom. Our homes. Our incomes.

Our hair.

Marrianne Williamson said “Joy is what happens when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things are.”

We can call it gratitude or we can call it joy. Whatever we call it, all our moments are better lived when we focus on all the good we have right now.

So let’s.

Wishing you and yours a very happy Thanksgiving.

Thank you

Thank you so much for joining me in my effort to raise money for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation by sponsoring me here.

You donated $6308! and put both me and our No Pink for Profit team among the top ten fundraisers for all of Ottawa-Gatineau (which is pretty good, considering there were more than 9,000 participants).

It couldn’t have been a more gorgeous day.

Thank you for the research you have made possible.
Thank you for the spirits you have raised.
Thank you for the families you have buoyed.
And thank you for all the little girls who may live without breast cancer’s shadow.

My sincere thanks to all of you for your generosity and your moral and financial support:

Sue Breen
Dave Delaney
Simon Chen
Farida Dowler
Tom Merritt
Anne Donnadieu
Deborah Freedman
Victor Ciobanete
Amanda Kelman
Louise Legault-Hatem
Glen McGregor
Carla Howatt
Anne Wiltshire
Jan Annino
Zetta Elliot
Mitch Joel
Sue Murphy
Carolyn Dittburner
Linda Corsini
Corinne Demas
Kaveh Adel
Heather Jopling
Lee Edward Fodi
Snookie & Norman Lomow
Sheree Fitch
Pam Hunter
Anita Neubert
Bob Goyetche
Kevin Chouinard
Evelina Vezarov
Heather Duggan
Mare Swallow
Todd and Christie Bastianon
Ana-Maria Popescu
Lori-Ann, Curtis & Olivia
Laura Bergen
Paul & Sheri Goulet
Kelly Clavette
Todd Tyrtle
Heidi Estrin
Dave Fleet
Eden Spodek
Esmé Codell
Anthony Marco
Angela Misri
Troy Wilson
The Waters Family
Alvina Ling
Katie Davis
Hugh McGuire
Mark Tafoya
Miranda McCurlie
Isabelle Michaud
Liz Murray
Jim Puckalo
Dwayne Melançon
Tamir Israel
Jennifer Johnston
Shari Greenspan
Phenix Dental Clinic Team
Janice Toewes
Sydney Lennie
Eden Spodek
Stephanie Lawrence
Tracy Bialecki
Connie Crosby
John Sparks
Candace Ryan
Morris Johnston
Jeff & Margie Hooper
The Sinanan Family
Carol Grannick
Coreen Corcoran
Rich Cantrell
Patricia Kahn
Sriram Venkatarman
Stacey MacNevin
Ebony Haywood
Joan Buzick
Tanglewood Books
Mary Antolovich
Jay Schmidt
Daniele Rossi
The Bonsall/Small Family
Joanne Lennon
Greg & Andree O’Donnell
Betti Stiff
Cher & Mo Willems
The Giassa/Whammond Family
Whitney and John Hoffman
Barbara Reid-Crysler
Geoffrey Butler
Bert and Rhoda Blevis
Armeda Vanderwoude
Wilf and Barb Clavette
Clare Rogers
Denise Doyen
Garry and Kathi Tysick
Stephanie Calmenson and Mark Goldman
Carol Heyer
Diane Greenseid
Cathy Arneson
Nancy Pevey
Lane Smith and Molly Leach
William Flanagan
Orit Fruchtman
Diane DeGroat
Sally Ito
Hugh Brewster
Paul Zelinsky
Tania Carriere & Gerry Gaetz
Marla Frazee
Bob Ledrew
Tanya Snook
Robert McCarty
Richard Christie
Chris Brogan
Tom Tentoglou
Mary Lee Hahn
The Gupta/Gustyn Family
Andrew Quayle

Be happy and be well.
Love,
Andrea
xo

Have We Done Hair Off Glasses On? (6 months)

And, thanks to chemo-induced menopause, my face is becoming furry!

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