TMI

This time last year, my right breast was huge.

I didn’t think much of it, as the imbalance first occurred during my five years of constant breast-feeding (including 8 months of breastfeeding both of our little ones).

As this CT scan image makes obvious, my right breast became the smaller of the two following my surgeries last fall.

I was told that radiation would make it even smaller — and I’m pretty sure it did.

In the past few of weeks, though, that right breast has ballooned right up to its pre-surgery size. Despite my chemo-induced menopause and my estrogen-gobbling tamoxifen.

And I’m scared. Scared enough to have cancer-dreams (of which I’d had almost none). Scared enough to bump my mammogram and ultrasound up to Tuesday and beg my oncologist for speedy viewing and reporting of my results.

Tuesday, September 7, will be Luba’s first day back to school and I’m certainly hoping to enjoy these last few free-range days.

Still, Tuesday (and the day I get my happy, happy results!) can’t get here fast enough.

Happiness Is…

A Successful Shopping Spree.

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.

Soul Supplements

Last month, I invited you to join me in my effort to raise money for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation by sponsoring me here.

In the few weeks since, your generous gifts of financial support for cancer research and moral support for our little family have infused all four of us with gratitude and with joy.

Along with your donations of close to $4000, I’ve even received the following juicy little notes of encouragement that feed my soul:

Andrea, I don’t find the right words to describe how much I admire you for the way you have managed to go through the battle with cancer, and for what you are doing right now… I wish you all the best!!
— Ana-Maria

Go, Andrea!!! You inspire me. Cheers.
— Mare

Kudos to you Andrea for all that you have been through and for remaining strong, as well as, giving others hope. Have a great run!
— Pam

xooxoxoxo
— Sheree

Wow.. Andrea you are a true inspiration.. Bravo!
— Snookie & Norman

Best of luck on the run & your battle!
— Kaveh

Thinking of you and sending warmest wishes!
— Corinne

Best wishes Andrea for good health and happiness
— Linda

You continue to inspire, Andrea!
— Sue

Stay healthy
— Mitch

You’re such an inspiration, Andrea–good luck!
— Zetta

We all believe in you, Andrea. thank you for this opportunity. go, go, go, girl! thank you for your love of children’s books.
— Jan

Run fast. Wobble a bit. Laugh at funny things.
— Chris

Congratulations! If you’re looking to build a posse to run with on the big day, let me know.
— Tanya

Go Andrea Go!
— Bob

Never, for one moment, doubt the possibilities that lie ahead. Count us among the many that stand behind you.
— Tania

Good luck, Andrea!
— Paul

You go, Andrea!
— Hugh

Go Andrea!
— Diane

I wish you all the best and hoping for a speedy recovery.
— Cathy

For Andrea, lots of good thoughts and encouragement for your run!
— Diane

Go, Andrea! You have our thoughts and best wishes.
— Stephanie & Mark

Made in support of Andrea’s and my grandmother’s, Marion Morris, cancer battles.
— Denise

You inspire us Andrea.
— Clare

Go Andrea!
— Barb

With you all the way! We know that you will make it on all accounts!
Rhoda & Bert

Sending lots of love
— Barbara

You are amazing
— Andree & Greg

Andrea, I can only imagine what the last 9 months has been like for you. What’s obvious from your blog is you’ve faced it with strength & optimism! I’m glad your treatment is over & I hope you stay cancer free. Have a great summer with your girls. Good luck with the run.
— Joanne

It is awesome that you are doing this, Andrea!
— Jay

You are awesome Andrea!! xoxoxo
— Mary

We wish you the best!
— Joan

All that is yours by Divine Right is now released and reaches you in a perfect way under Grace.
— Ebony

Andrea -you are an inspiration!
— Stacey

Dear Andrea, wish you all the very best in life. Great initiative in running for breast cancer awareness and raising money for the Foundation.
— Sriram

Have followed your journey and am so proud of you and Mark.
— Rich

With wishes for a sustained recovery and a lifetime of productive years.
— Carol

Go Andrea, go! We applaud your efforts and thank you for running to raise funds and awareness. Love to you.
— Jenny

Thank you!

What wonders will the remaining 40 days of sponsorship bring?

Incredible. I’m Having an Incredible Year

On August 24, 2009, I turned 44.

Twin digit years being lucky, I slipped into this one with humble hopes for undefined improvements.

Within a week, I’d found that lump.

It’s tough to fathom the changes that followed.

And the improvements.

I could have done without the terror, the discomfort and the physical and financial diminishments. But the net gain this year has truly been incredible.

This year I learned that life is short. That I am strong. That people are good. That my supporters are many.

And the importance of practicing joy.

This twin digit year leaves me a better, stronger, happier me.

I am immensely grateful to Mark, to Lucy, to Bayla and to everyone whose words, smiles, meals, notes, playdates, care and thoughtful actions helped create this incredible year.

And I am thrilled that I will have a chance to say some thank yous in person this Saturday as we celebrate life, good health and good, good friends. I can’t wait.

p.s. Does anyone other than Mark, Mary, Jay, Caroline and myself laugh out loud at these Arrested Development titles, I wonder?

Tossing Timid

“Fish eating’s like anything else in life, Elijah. If you go at it ‘specting something bad to happen, all you gunn do is draw that bad thing to you. You caint be timid ’bout nothing you do, you got to go at it like you ‘specting good things to come out of it. If I’s to worry bout bones choking me, it’d happen every time I et fish. Ain’t nothing further from my mind”

Elijah of Buxton. Christopher Paul Curtis. Scholastic Press. 2007.

Thank you

Last month, I invited you to join me in my effort to raise money for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation by sponsoring me here.

In the 3 weeks since, you’ve raised over $3000!

Huge, huge thank yous to:

Bob Ledrew
Tanya Snook
Robert McCarty
Richard Christie
Chris Brogan
Tom Tentoglou
Mary Lee Hahn
The Gupta/Gustyn Family
Andrew Quayle
Glen McGregor
Carla Howatt
Anne Wiltshire
Jan Annino
Zetta Elliot
Mitch Joel
Sue Murphy
Carolyn Dittburner
Linda Corsini
Corinne Demas
Kaveh Adel
Heather Jopling
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
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

You rock!!

What generosity will the remaining 56 days of sponsorship bring?

Digging Up Me

Lucy is turning eleven and craves her own bedroom.

Long gone is my era of sewing for hours each day.

The result is our family’s summer project: transforming my personal haven into Lucy’s own room.

Digging through my much loved creative space, tightly packed with hastily stashed pockets of my personal, family and professional history, has drenched me with memories. And with tears.

Artwork, receipts, cards, letters and scrawls. Job offers, lab notes, smiling babies I barely recall. Relics from my roaring twenties. Glimpses of eleven years of juggling parenting, career, creativity and me.

Loads of it purged.

I’m thrilled for Lucy. She’ll love her new room.

I just need to remember that this personal archeology is not about wrapping up me.

It’s about eliminating clutter. Clearing out cobwebs. Letting go. And celebrating the beautiful young ladies our girls are becoming.

It’s about life. And there’s lots more to come.

Wow!

Last week, I invited you to join me in my effort to raise money for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation by sponsoring me here.

In the 8 days since, you’ve raised over $2000!

Huge, huge thank yous to:

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
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

You rock!!

What generosity will the remaining 68 days of sponsorship bring?

Happiness Is…

Reconnecting.

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.

Lucky me.