We’re happy and healthy and sharing occasionally at:
Wishing you all the best in 2013.
— Andrea, Mark, Lucy and Bayla
I was completely honoured to be selected to
read a WeCanRebuildHer.com post at Blog Out Loud Ottawa, last night.
This reading followed
an extremely low week for me and I had barely scraped myself together enough to attend the event, let alone participate.
I’m immensely grateful to the many friends and magical powers that got me through this week of self-inflicted torment.
And I’m grateful to Lynn and the BOLO gang for including me in this fabulous evening.
Wishing you health and happiness.
Happy New Year!
We’ve begun a fresh chapter:
The Something Of Our Ways.
Hope to see you there…
My 30day yoga membership expired today.
That might explain my wondering:
Why do so many women react so weirdly to my not-working choice? Spare me the horror and the defensiveness.
How the heck does one perform a breast self-examination without visualizing and bracing for a lump?
And, what’s with all the fakes and flakiness?
I’m off to soak up a slice of this gorgeous sunny day and kick this ridiculous cloud to the curb.
Towards the end of my treatment, last year, we rescued Sylvester. A sweet little abandoned duckling. He died the next day.
And our hearts all broke.
Last week, Lucy and Bayla were honoured with the opportunity to help nurture Bernadette. A sweet tiny abandoned kitten. She too passed away.
Our heart break was worse yet.
Lucy and Bayla have had to grow up fast. They’ve heard more than their share of sad stories. And, thanks to our history, the sad ones hit hard.
Will they keep risking compassion?
I hope so.
Time to re-read Tuck…
“Everything’s a wheel, turning and turning, never stopping. The frogs is part of it, and the bugs, and the fish, and the wood thrush, too. And people. But never the same ones. Always coming in new, always growing and changing, and always moving on. That’s the way it’s supposed to be. That’s the way it is.…”
“You can’t have living without dying. So you can’t call it living, what we got. We just are, we just be, like rocks beside the road.”
― Natalie Babbitt, Tuck Everlasting
When I was diagnosed in October 2009, I was vaguely aware of one woman who had been through the experience before me.
I felt isolated. Targeted. Stupid.
Sadly, I don’t feel alone now.
There are too many of us. And the numbers keep growing.
Most of our moms didn’t walk this path.
I fervently hope that our daughters don’t have to.
This weekend, we’re doing the
Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation’s Run For The Cure.
Feel free to help by sponsoring
Mark, Lucy, Bayla or me.
We fight about clean-up a lot at our place. About keeping the common areas tidy. Participating in household chores.
During after-battle tears, yesterday, Lucy admitted “I know it’s for our own good, Mom. So we’ll know how to clean up.”
Then it hit me, I’d never really explained why we’d rather fight this battle than breeze through the tasks ourselves.
That it’s not about technique. And it’s not just about comfort and justice and self-discipline and space.
It’s about the mind-game.
Facing a mess and knowing we’ll get through it. One tiny bit at a time.
Accepting it’s there. Deciding how to look at it. Making the first move. Occupying our minds while we do it. And following through til it’s done.
Like illness. Like recovery. Like fear.
A year ago yesterday, was my first day back to work.
But yesterday, wasn’t.
Lucky, lucky me.
Before cancer, I led a charmed life. And I knew it.
I was happy. I was healthy. With two delicious daughters. And a vibrant relationship with a hunky, funky, fun-loving man.
We had good jobs. A cozy home. Consuming creative, hobbies. Tonnes of passion. And shared our time with interesting, intelligent, authentic, fun-loving friends.
I had stress. And I did torture myself. But I really did marvel at my miraculous life. And wondered how I’d stumbled into it.
Who’d have guessed it would get even better.
I love my life.
Thank you, Mark.
I would have much preferred to be the subject of the “Instant Stress Relief!” or “Make Good Sex Great” article.
Prevention Magazine. October 2011. Pages 94-95.
School started this morning.
Lucy and Bayla were thrilled. Mark was melancholy.
And I was chopped, tossed and tongue-tied by the schoolyard full of parents.
Stepping into that sea of smiling excitement knocked me flat.
I can’t think. I can’t smile. I don’t know where to look. Where to stand. My brain goes blank. I say stupid things.
It feels like I’m in a blender.
There were great friends in that crowd. And faces that maim me at the best of times. Both bowled me.
Sure, it’s all in my head. And I should probably ground myself, breath, repeat some mantra. But it takes me by surprise. I’m suddenly whirling and sputtering. And blank.
But I survived.
And today’s the first day of my first school year as a free-all-day mom.
I’ve got bon-bons to eat.
I’d better get to it.
It’s August 29, 1982. Five days after my sweet-17.
Relatives drop in and I’m sent to the local orchard to pick up some apples. It’s a 4km drive.
My 12 year old cousin, Susie, joins me for the ride.
We pick up the apples. Then, since we’re so close, I drive us down to the Rideau Locks. Park the car. Hop out and show my little cousin around.
But what’s that? A rusty little Civic is floating in the water.
The rusty little Civic that I just parked. Out of gear. On a slope. Facing the water.
My first full-scale failure.
A crowd. A boat. A tractor. A rope. Susie’s mechanic-Dad gets it running.
I squeeze out the seats. Cover them in blankets. Gussy myself up and pick up my hunky ex-boyfriend for our planned boat-cruise party date.
Twenty-nine years later — To. The. Day. — I learned that
my long-lost cousin Susie and I are both breast cancer survivors.
Good thing we’re resilient.
We’re going to be fine.
Unbelievably, our long-awaited cross-country train trip has come and gone.
What a wild, wild ride.
It was our longest family vacation, to date. And certainly our most intense.
Compared to the hardcore Rocky Mountain hiking, biking and camping of my youth, it was physically a cynch. But boy was it emotionally explosive.
Here’s a random smattering of our two weeks away. You can snag a bigger peek here.
3 days and 3 nights of luxury, relaxation and amazing scenery, Ottawa to Edmonton.
A happy reunion with a long-lost friend.
An afternoon of waves and water slides.
Abrasions, bruises, a broken big toe and minus-one iphone, thanks to a harrowing afternoon on the Pembina River.
Thrilling road-side views of bears, elk, deer, coyotes and mountain goats.
Gorgeous views of mountains and lakes.
Such sadness at the news of Jack Layton.
An afternoon on horseback.
A glacier tour. A boat tour. A gondola tour.
A double-birthday celebration.
A day of badlands, dinosaurs and hoodoos.
An afternoon at the zoo.
An afternoon of heartbreak and hope.
A weekend of walloping western hospitality.
A decadent dinner with long-lost cousins.
A blast of all-consuming news.
A day in the old west.
3 days and 3 nights of luxury, relaxation and amazing scenery, Edmonton to Ottawa.
A happy reunion with Phae and our home sweet home.
Huge thanks to everyone who made this a vacation to remember.
And especially to Janice for beckoning us out, sharing her beautiful province, keeping us safe and enjoying one billion laughs with us through all the ups and downs.