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

Hmmmm

I would have much preferred to be the subject of the “Instant Stress Relief!” or “Make Good Sex Great” article.

But whatever.

Prevention Magazine. October 2011. Pages 94-95.



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 September 8, 2011

September 8, 2011 at 1:55 pm.

5 comments

Blendered. Again.

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.



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 September 6, 2011

September 6, 2011 at 11:03 am.

4 comments

Extreme Vacationing

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.
(oh my)
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.



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 September 3, 2011

September 3, 2011 at 7:13 pm.

6 comments

Attention. Here and Now.

“The ego believes that through negativity it can manipulate reality and get what it wants. It believes that through it, it can attract a desirable condition or dissolve an undesirable one…

..whenever you are unhappy, there is the unconscious belief that the unhappiness “buys” you what you want. If [you] did not believe that unhappiness works, why would you create it?

The fact is, of course, that negativity does not work. Instead of attracting a desirable condition, it stops one from arising. Instead of dissolving an undesirable condition, it keeps it in place….

But as long as negativity is there, use it. Use it as a kind of signal that reminds you to be more present.”

– Eckhart Tolle, “The Power of Now“.



More Borrowed Words here.

Andrea Posted by Andrea August 9, 2011

August 9, 2011 at 7:51 am.

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Your Story Deserves to be Bold — My PAB2011 Jolt

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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 26, 2011

July 26, 2011 at 8:06 am.

4 comments

Practicing Safe Wrecks

Fear of failure and regret have tortured me my whole life.

The first strangulates me, lest I do something stupid.
The second beats me ruthlessly each time I do stupid things.

Lately, I’ve been lowering my standards. Practicing accidental failure.

Turns out sloppily slipping into failure is the easy part.

The real trick is skipping the resulting regret, disappointment, embarrassment and frustration.
The not beating myself up.

Luckily, I’m giving myself loads and loads of opportunities to practice.



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, 2011

July 5, 2011 at 8:58 am.

2 comments

Oh BOLO Me-o ♫

I had no idea this event existed.

Thanks to my friend, Laurie, I’ll be there.

I hope you will too.

BLOG OUT LOUD 2011
WHERE: The Prescott, 379 Preston Street, at Preston and Beech
WHEN: Thursday, July 7, 2011 from 7pm to 10pm
WHO: 20+ bloggers reading their favourite post from the past year; plus several photo bloggers displaying their art
WHO’S INVITED: Anyone who likes to hear good writing.



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 3:59 pm.

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.

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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

Happiness Is…

A 21-month attagirl from oncology.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.



More Happiness here.

Andrea Posted by Andrea June 29, 2011

June 29, 2011 at 12:09 pm.

6 comments

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.

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More Happiness here.

Andrea Posted by Andrea June 17, 2011

June 17, 2011 at 10:22 am.

8 comments

Healing Humiliation: Wise Words from Julien Smith

I’ve been planning my PAB2011 Jolt. But I’m choking.

Luckily, I remembered this sanity-saving advice from Julien Smith.

Here’s a tiny taste….

Do things that you consider embarrassing.

You must try this. Find your internal filters and break them, one at a time. Notice how society, like an ocean, smoothes over the waves you make, until what you do gets eliminated, or becomes the status quo. Work with this.

Julien Smith, The Complete Guide to Not Giving a Fuck

If my Jolt is a flop. I’ll handle it.

Eeep.



More Borrowed Words here.

Andrea Posted by Andrea June 8, 2011

June 8, 2011 at 8:59 pm.

4 comments

Baby Steps

Yesterday was the end of term dance recital at our local community centre. What a fabulous show.

Hundreds of talented young people filled with energy, confidence, excitement and joy.

Even my belly dancing class troupe performed.
Did I join them? No.
Did I drop out of the class? Yes.

And yet watching that 90 minutes of dance just thrilled me.
My timid tip-toeing into dance has opened life up.

My burlesque is bashful. My belly dancing, a flop.
But I’m trying. And, although what I hoped would be an introductory class turned out to be a seasoned troupe, I’m undeterred.

I’ve signed up for five new dance classes.

I may never make it into a recital. But, you know, I’m really hoping I do.
And that’s definitely a whole new me.

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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 6, 2011

June 6, 2011 at 1:25 pm.

11 comments

Ease

I don’t dream of flying, fulfillment or fame.

Even my life-long boat, plane and elevator disaster dreams are almost always preempted, these last few years, by the horrid-family-problem theme.

But last night I had an absolutely, extremely, wonderfully atypical dream.

I dreamed the path I was walking was littered with bills. So many bills, here and there, that I began to leave most of them, stooping only to snag the curled and crumpled red fifties.

I didn’t feel greedy. Or guilty. Or even thrilled.

I felt lucky.
Tickled.

And I awoke feeling good.

It was so out of character, I just had to ask google:

A dream of finding money suggests that the dreamer is becoming aware of their intrinsic value to themselves and others, from a spiritual, rather than a material perspective. It can also indicate a recent success or imminent achievement in their waking life in which their self worth is visibly manifested. Often this dream indicates that the dreamer possesses special artistic or creative abilities that they are in the process of becoming aware of…

Dream Message
You are worth more than you think you are, and should not feel reticent about taking the chance to prove your value to yourself and others. As you become more aware of your own self worth, you will become more confident at exploring opportunities in your waking life that are to your advantage.

(Ian Wallace, Finding Money)

I’m glad I checked.

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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 1, 2011

June 1, 2011 at 11:53 am.

9 comments