Last year I was in chemo at Christmas.
This year we’ve made up for it in celebration and spirit already.
Wishing your family and mine a happy, healthy December.
A year ago today was my second cancer surgery (complete axillary lymph node removal).
I wish I’d known, going into those surgeries, that my right arm and upper body would be permanently damaged. And I sure wish I’d known to try breaking that scar tissue up right away.
But something else I didn’t know, back then, was whether I’d be here today.
I’m grateful that I am.
And for my resilient family, our working limbs, our healthy bodies and our joy.
One year ago today, was my first cancer surgery.
Today, that’s all a distant blur.
I’m strong. I’m healthy. I’m happy.
And I plan to stay that way for a good long time.
Lucky, lucky me.
Celebrating life with good, good friends.
(to enlarge, click image twice — or view details here)
I had dreamed last year, while planning our Quebec City getaway, of discovering some funky new hand-made winter clothes.
My diagnosis hit just days before our trip.
As I wandered that gorgeous city, barely daring to notice its inspiring art and creatively concocted clothing, I was pretty sure my shopping days were done.
But they weren’t!
I’m happy to report that, yesterday, Lucy and I spent the entire day in the Byward Market — and boy did we have fun.
We shopped like there was no a tomorrow.
And even though I’ll never look like this gorgeous gal, I decided it was now or never for those funky arm thingies I adore.
My much anticipated birthday present to myself arrived this morning.
Five huge trays of microgreens: Wheat grass, kale, mizuna and pea shoots.
We did a long giddy happy dance, shoved our mouths full of sprouts and sang happy birthday as we swigged some freshly squeezed juice.
Huge thanks to Butterfly Sky Farms. Mmmmmmmm.
We trekked up to Parliament Hill last night to take in this year’s Sound and Light show.
Was I ever glad we did.
What an outrageously awe-inspiring feast of creativity, culture, history and high tech wizardry.
If you are in Ottawa this summer, go.
It’s free. It’s on every night ’til September 12. And it’ll make your spirit soar.
We’ll be there as often as my chemo’d foot will take me.
Carefree, relaxing, restorative family time, loads of space and fresh air.
Massive Thank Yous to
Jen, Karen, Jim
and all the good, good people at CottageDreams.org
Sharing this journey online has rewarded me with opportunities to connect with friends and relatives from the distant past.
Living this journey has rewarded me with the courage to face old fears, step beyond the comfort of keystrokes and into real-time, face-to-face encounters.
My life is so much richer as a result.
And it’s getting easier.
It’s a month, today, since my final radiation treatment.
In these four glorious weeks, I’ve been living it up and lollygagging with good friends and good family.
I’ve grown some eyelashes and some hair.
I’ve stepped up to the scariness of public speaking.
I’ve coasted obliviously through a significant earthquake.
I’ve enjoyed schedule-free summer days with Lucy and Bayla.
I’m now two weeks into my five years of hormone therapy and — touch wood — its been blissfully imperceptible.
My white blood count is still low (I had a good cry over that news this morning). And various muscles and joints are still struggling with the effects of chemo.
But I feel like myself again — only better, stronger and happier. Really.
I am the rebuilt me.
And, with every thought and every choice, I’m working to stay that way.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
In my pre-motherhood life, I cycled across Canada, coast to coast. I cycled through Tuscany, across Newfoundland and Labrador and along the Icefields Parkway, from Jasper to Banff. I cycled in Arizona, the Gulf Islands and in cycling mobs from the Rideau Lakes Tour and Le Tour Nortel to Le Tour de l”Île de Montréal.
Cycling was a challenge and a rush and a close-up, whole body adventure.
But some of my fondest cycling moments have been early morning commutes, pitch dark rides home after drinks with Jay, and chilly autumn spins with Luba.
Until yesterday, I thought those days were done.
Between my chemo-induced balance issues and my aching muscles and bones, I was afraid to try.
Yesterday, with visions of celebratory post-radiation margaritas dancing in my head, I hauled out my neglected bike, pumped up the tires and gave it a go.
It was indescribably heavenly.
Happiness is cycling. Here’s hoping there’s lots and lots and lots more.
Just days before that lump jumped to centre stage, Mark presented me with this birthday card.
Its message so maddeningly trite but true.
Since then, life has seemed a series of countdowns. To surgeries, celebrations and ends of various treatments.
Escaping to the I Can Do It! Conference this weekend reminded me of the importance of choosing :
Above all, it reminded me that every breath can be a chance to start fresh.
I think I’ll take a few.