We Can Rebuild Her
Better than she was before… Better, Stronger, Happier. A Breast Cancer Journal

Happiness Is..

Bold Steps.

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.
Andrea
xo



More Happiness here.

Andrea Posted by Andrea June 15, 2012

June 15, 2012 at 1:43 pm.

8 comments

Happiness Is…

Surviving and thriving.

That’s us, to the right. Two years ago today.
Moments after sharing the bad news with Luba.

So early in a surreal journey.

Behind that smile, a big part of me thought life was over. All of me hoped it was just beginning.

We headed to Quebec City that week. As planned.  I tossed and turned in the hotel bed, hoping I’d somehow fall asleep before Lucy, Bayla and Mark finished watching “The Corpse Bride”, “Beetlejuice”, “Edward Scissorhands” and “The Nightmare Before Christmas”.

I was awoken, one of those nights, by a ringing thought: This was the beginning of “The Spicy Me”.

Before this ordeal, my aim was to get through life. To make it to some far off end without losing any of the fabulousness I’d stumbled into. New territories and aspirations were reserved for Luba. As a matter of course.

Two years ago today, I opened my eyes.
I became alert. Aware. Present.
Grateful plus.

I started examining. And choosing. And imagining more.

The two years since then have brought trauma and mourning, recovery and joy. I’ve made friends. I’ve taken chances. I’ve explored new territories. I’ve become the Spicy Me.

I’d never choose cancer. I never want it again. For any one.

And I’m supremely grateful for the efflorescing goodness I’ve been treated to since that mind-boggling beginning. Two years ago today.

I’m aspiring to many, many more good years.
By the way.



More Happiness here.

Andrea Posted by Andrea October 6, 2011

October 6, 2011 at 10:29 am.

11 comments

First Person, First Class

As our enjoyable BOLO evening ended, last week, my friend Laurie and I sprang to our feet, hoping to dash to the exit before throngs of bloggers clogged our path.

But the packed room was gridlocked.

I shrugged. This would to take a while.

But Laurie was dauntless. She raised her eyebrows, smirked and assured me that her “pointy elbows” would whisk us across that floor.

And they did. In a flash we were strolling down Preston — me admiring her finesse. “You’re amazing,” I said, “I stand invisible for ages trying to squeeze through crowds.”

“Oh, me too,” Laurie chirped, “I can only do that for someone else.”

Far. Too. Familiar.

In the wise words of my friend Janice, “Good God woman … Be even kinder to yourself, as you have to live with you.”

Two tier service just disgusts me yet I foist it daily on myself.
So, I’m trying to stop.

Thanks to both women for the reminders.
I must be worth first class self-service — judging by the company I keep.



Andrea Ross was diagnosed with breast cancer October 6, 2009 and intends to survive and thrive. You can read more from Andrea here.

Andrea Posted by Andrea July 13, 2011

July 13, 2011 at 10:10 am.

2 comments

Bold. By Default.

One million times I backed out of this jolt.

But having publicly announced and collected input for a 5 minute spiel about standing up to fear, it seemed the embarrassment of backing out might actually dwarf the embarrassment of flopping.

So I did the jolt.

And I’m glad I did.

Because life is better when we take bold steps.

Thanks to Alexa Clark for the jolt photo.

Related Posts:



Andrea Ross was diagnosed with breast cancer October 6, 2009 and intends to survive and thrive. You can read more from Andrea here.

Andrea Posted by Andrea June 30, 2011

June 30, 2011 at 7:26 am.

10 comments

Gratitude vs Self-Loathing: Still Wrestling

Thank you, John, for inviting me into your beautiful Women and Classic Cameras series, for your kind words, and for the opportunity to step up to big fears.



Andrea Ross was diagnosed with breast cancer October 6, 2009 and intends to survive and thrive. You can read more from Andrea here.

Andrea Posted by Andrea June 19, 2011

June 19, 2011 at 9:36 am.

1 comment

Happiness Is…

Taking Bold Steps.

More than once, I walked home crying.
But I made it through my first ever dance class.

And I’m absolutely thrilled that I did.

Related Links:



More Happiness here.

Andrea Posted by Andrea June 17, 2011

June 17, 2011 at 10:22 am.

8 comments

I have dreams, Lindsay. Dreams…

Well, then, Tobias… follow those dreams. Make those dreams happen.

– Tobias Funke, Visiting Ours

Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgment that something is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever but the cautious do not live at all.

The Princess Diaries?



More Borrowed Words here.

Andrea Posted by Andrea February 5, 2011

February 5, 2011 at 7:24 am.

Add a comment

Thank you, 2010

I absolutely adored 2010.
We were healthy, happy and together.
We had loads to celebrate. And we celebrated often.

Yet, reflecting on the year, this morning, I was shocked at its rockiness.

Where reactions and reconnections reigned 2009, 2010 was a year of overcoming obstacles. Of attempted relationship resuscitations. Of some painful — yet freeing — realizations. And relief.

It was a year of adjusting to the new me.
And of testing out the me that has been there all along.

As I reflected on 2009 and looked hopefully toward 2010, I never dreamed of the treat I had in store.

And I have high hopes for 2011.

Thank you, 2010. Welcome, 2011.

Some Zigs and Zags of our 2010:

February 6 (our 11 year wedding anniversary)

Our insurer refuses to honour my critical life and disability insurance claim.

This was a cruel and devastating blow. Not only because they robbed us but after stringing us along for 4 months but because I’d been over-insured for the twenty some years leading up to my leap from Nortel six months before my diagnosis.

April 1

Chemo ends!

And life begins afresh.

April 22

We are spared the pain of the long-awaited trial and Keith Ross accepts a Section 810 Peace Bond which prohibits him from having any contact with us for a period of 12 months..

Our world has been peaceful since.

May 20 (Mark’s 40th birthday)

The perfect storm of physical, financial, parenting and family challenges bring me to my knees.

Yet we survived.

June 15

Radiation ends.

We did it.

June 21

I take a first bite at my fear of public speaking.

I’m so glad I did. (Photo thanks to Alexa Clark.)

June 16-Sept 13

My first summer with my lovelies since Bayla was a newborn.

The most fabulous summer of relaxing, reading, biking and being with my lovelies.

August 28

Our long, long, long awaited victory celebration.

Wine, munchies and good, good people.
Pure bliss.

September 14

Back to work.

Two more days a week than I had hoped but simply grand to have an income again.

November 25

Port-a-cath gone.

Scary and thrilling.

December 22

We celebrate fifteen fabulous years of Mark Blevis.

Lucky, lucky me.

Thank you, 2010… Let’s all enjoy a happy, healthy 2011.



Andrea Ross was diagnosed with breast cancer October 6, 2009 and intends to survive and thrive. You can read more from Andrea here.

Andrea Posted by Andrea December 31, 2010

December 31, 2010 at 8:44 pm.

8 comments

Order Some Joy

“What do you want?” Sarah asks me.

What do I want?

I want more. I want to crash out of this invisible armor I’m trapped in – to tear away the shackles and freefall, delirious and wild. I want to plummet naked into a velvet ocean at midnight and roll in the ecstasy of the waves. I want to peel back my layers and hold my raw wounds up to the sun for healing.

I want to slice through these suffocating wrappings and grab onto CORE ME – whoever that is – and never let her go; make her into the real me, the only me, for some to love and some not to love .. . and I want to not so painfully care who does and who doesn’t.

I want to feel, taste, devour it all – no filters, no censors, no gatekeeper telling me what is rightfully mine to take and what isn’t. I want rapture at the top of a mountain under a full moon. I want to absorb me, embrace me, the light and the dark, the glorious and the hideous, and cherish it all and laugh at it all forever.

Sarah’s back. “So what do you want?” she asks.

What do I want? “Caprese salad and a cup of pasta fagioul.”

We close our menus and clink our chiantis…


Juicy Joy – 7 Simple Steps to Your Glorious, Gutsy Self. Lisa McCourt. (This book is not yet published. You can snag a sneak peek by signing up for Lisa’s newsletter, here.)





More Borrowed Words here.

Andrea Posted by Andrea August 31, 2010

August 31, 2010 at 9:15 am.

1 comment

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?



Andrea Ross was diagnosed with breast cancer October 6, 2009 and intends to survive and thrive. You can read more from Andrea here.

Andrea Posted by Andrea August 23, 2010

August 23, 2010 at 8:54 am.

23 comments

Contested Irrelevance — My PAB2010 Jolt

Related Posts:

Honourable Mentions (Thank you!):



Andrea Ross was diagnosed with breast cancer October 6, 2009 and intends to survive and thrive. You can read more from Andrea here.

Andrea Posted by Andrea July 5, 2010

July 5, 2010 at 10:27 am.

17 comments

Happiness Is…

A Fresh Start.

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 :

  • flexibility
  • happiness
  • openness to new perspectives and new possibilities
  • self care
  • healthy thoughts and habits

Above all, it reminded me that every breath can be a chance to start fresh.

I think I’ll take a few.



More Happiness here.

Andrea Posted by Andrea June 2, 2010

June 2, 2010 at 6:56 am.

3 comments

Andrea on Electric Sky

Today marks the fifth anniversary of Mark’s fabulous audio documentary program, Electric Sky.

And guess who’s featured.

Me!

What an honour.

You can listen in as I share my thoughts about facing breast cancer here.

Thank you, Mark, for your support, your encouragement and your pride. I love you.



Andrea Ross was diagnosed with breast cancer October 6, 2009 and intends to survive and thrive. You can read more from Andrea here.

Andrea Posted by Andrea May 3, 2010

May 3, 2010 at 4:49 am.

1 comment

This just in…

The spring/summer edition of the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation‘s magazine, Courage, is now available. It features an article Andrea was invited to contribute about the head shaving party we had for her in December (page 24).

If you’re new to this site, having discovered it in Courage, welcome! We hope you make your voice heard by sharing your thoughts and experiences as comments on our blog.

By the way… this isn’t the first time Andrea and our WeCanRebuildHer.com website have been in the news. Andrea contributed to the Ottawa Citizen‘s Miracles on Ice edition of the Saturday Observer (Feb. 6, 2010, section B) with a piece about skating on the Rideau Canal during chemo (page B3).



Mark is primary support, cheerleader and project manager of Andrea's recovery. You can read more from Mark here and on Mark's real blog, MarkBlevis.com.

Mark Posted by Mark April 28, 2010

April 28, 2010 at 8:53 pm.

6 comments

Embolden Opportunities

Let me ask you something.

If someone prays for patience, you think God gives them patience? Or does he give them the opportunity to be patient?

If he prayed for courage, does God give him courage, or does he give him opportunities to be courageous?

If someone prayed for the family to be closer, do you think God zaps them with warm fuzzy feelings, or does he give them opportunities to love each other?

– “God”. Evan Almighty



More Borrowed Words here.

Andrea Posted by Andrea April 25, 2010

April 25, 2010 at 8:28 pm.

2 comments