It’s just something the body does when you shake it.

Hooping, it turns out, is perfect post-breast-cancer-treatment therapy. Almost.

It challenges my co-ordination, balance and spatial awareness.
It entirely occupies my mind.

Its frantic, erratic arm movements sneak my damaged limb into places I thought I’d left behind.

It allows me to flail and fail without drawing the attention of the likewise intensely occupied others.

And gives me ample opportunity to tame my uber frustration reflex.

It’s brand new, so there’s no kicking myself for lost progress.
It’s great exercise.
It’s fun.

And it’s my first class with Lucy in 10 years.

But last night I discovered the Almost.
Chemo’d chicks don’t spin.
Or at least they shouldn’t.
I discovered.

It’s easy to forget how disgusting chemo was.
Last night’s hoop-induced nausea was a vivid reminder.
Of how lucky I am to be healthy.
And happy.
And chemo-free.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Getting Lucky

Andrée suggested I post my thoughts on how to have a happy marriage. So here they are:

Be lucky.

Not much of a post, though, so I’ll add:

Find the right person.
Be the right person.
Work together.
Work apart.
Play together.
Play apart.
Create.
And be lucky.

Thank you, Mark, for being the right person.
For finding me.
For our silly and serious projects together.
For the freedom and interest that keeps us working and playing with fabulous friends.
For all we create. And will create.
For our beautiful life.

I love you.

(Happy Valentines Day.)

Lucky Us

Twelve years ago last September, Mark and I chose to start a family.

Twelve years ago tomorrow, we chose to announce that decision.

By gathering 10 friends each, meeting in our favourite restaurant, exchanging wedding vows.

And introducing soon-to-be Lucy.

Today, Lucy and Bayla commemorated that day — and all the smiles and struggles since then — with a day of pampering.

They planned a menu. Ran grocery excursions. Cooked, baked, served and cleaned up afterwards. Leaving us free all day to do as we pleased.

The meal was delicious. The atmosphere, enchanting.

Lucky, lucky us.

This Blog is My Pensieve*

I’ve known narrative therapy was a powerful part of my process.

The bliss of boiling ambient annoyances down to their post-sized bones. The giggly thrill of a perfect AD quote. The satisfaction of a finished work.

But, lately, I’ve realized the purging power of pressing Publish. How swirling worries weaken me ’til I release them to the web.

Right now, a post penned Tuesday sits queued for Mark’s approval. Reminding me that pending posts leave issues bigger than life.

A published post provides perspective. It’s one post in 362 (now 363), sitting sandwiched and small. A story. Or, as Sheree says, one stop in the dot-to-dot that is the constellation of my life.

So, thank you, blog, for your healing perspective.
And thank you, friends, for the reason to write.

*fyi

Everyone’s laughing and riding and cornholing except Buster.

Well, it’s Groundhog Day… again… and that must mean I’m up here in the frozen north, tip-tapping my keyboard and listening, obliviously, to the intermittent vacation plans and reports of family and friends.

I’m typically teflon to travel tales. But this morning – they’re touching something.

Janice rebuilding in New Orleans. Natalie and Mike asanaing in the Costa Rican jungle. Betti, Kathi and countless co-workers counting down sleeps to the sunny south.

I popped back, this morning, to glimpse my 2010 wood-chuck-chucking self and realized: Hey, I’ve escaped  Punxatawney. And I am the woman I wanted.

Now, I’ve got places to go and people to be.

You Have High Self-Esteem, Right?

My weaknesses, my wrinkles, my weight, waste and wussiness.

My inner-critic’s bounced right back to full-time abuse.

It’s powerful. It’s persistent.
But it’s no match for my gratitude.

Those bullying thoughts bombard me.
As they always have.
But I bash each one. Because I’m glad to be here.

I’m alive. I’m healthy.
And, bit by bit, that inner-critic’s going down.

Bellyflop… On Ice

Me, zipping home from work on the perfectly groomed canal.

One skate-sized hollow.
Crack.

Me, on my belly wondering if my knees still work.

It’s been 20+ years, and thousands of kilometres, since I’ve been blades-up on the canal.

And, though my knees are swelling as we speak and I’m bound to be achy tomorrow, it wasn’t nearly as bad as I’d imagined all this time.

Fear of a curious crowd got me right back up, despite the pain and shock. And I skated another 6km.

I’m stronger — and luckier — than I thought.

Thank you, skate gods.

I’m not fit to run a company, and I don’t deserve a fancy phone.

If I were more gutsy, I would have quit my job today.

Actually… if I were more gutsy, I probably wouldn’t have felt like quitting.

Either way, I did get a fancy phone today. Unexpectedly.

So, I’ve got that going for me.

Thanks, Mark.

I guess I’ll go back to work tomorrow, afterall.

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.

Glad I Grabbed That Brownish Area By Its Points

Fifteen years ago today, my dream life began.

It was a Christmas party in the suburbs. Both of us invited by total fluke.

He was a gangly young guy with a patchy beard, a grass green sweater and an ear-to-ear smile.

I was on a first date. But not with him.

I arrived at the party just as he was preparing to leave it.
But he stayed.
We talked.
And he left with my girlfriend’s email address.

Little did I know he’d make — and save — my life.

Lucky, lucky me.

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