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

Happiness Is…

Closing the oncologist chapter.

This morning, I unexpectedly graduated from my oncologist’s practice. Time to update AboutMe:

ExplorerWife. Mother. Yogini. Friend.





Stumbling and fumbling, but getting back up.

Surviving and Thriving.
And intending to continue doing so.

More Happiness here.

Andrea Posted by Andrea May 29, 2013

May 29, 2013 at 12:14 pm.



A rallying cry from the reluctant hero of Zorgamazoo:

Now, sometimes you lose and sometimes you win,
but my Pop always told me: You never give in!
And if he were here now, I know what he’d say:
Morty, my son, when you’re caught in a fray,

or your travels are tough and the going is rough,
or you’re up to your neck in the slippery stuff,
or say some old robots are on the attack,
then I tell you, my son: You start fighting back!.

Zorgamazoo, by Robert Paul Weston
RazorBill, 2008.

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More Borrowed Words here.

Andrea Posted by Andrea March 26, 2011

March 26, 2011 at 11:09 am.

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Ooooh! Look at all these Parts!

When Mark lost his job last month, a friend grinned,
“When one door closes, another opens…
Sometimes, 17 others open.”

And it’s been true.
Possibilities have been popping up ever since.

Possible new paths for Mark.
And, surprisingly, hints of possible new paths for me.

Just hints, at this point. Vague invitations that may mean crossroads ahead.

But, several of them.

Open doors (even hints of open doors) are deliciously scary.

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 March 11, 2011

March 11, 2011 at 8:22 am.


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.

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 February 2, 2011

February 2, 2011 at 7:21 am.

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Dusting off a Dream

A wise woman reminded me, everything starts with a thought.

This was my thought today. All day.

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 January 4, 2011

January 4, 2011 at 8:57 pm.


Fine-tuning Our Futures

In December 2008, we created our first family vision boards: cruising through magazines, cutting and pasting our wishes and dreams, creating colourful collages to help keep us focused on what really counted.

My wishes at that time centred mostly on good health, happiness, peace, podcasting, prosperity, recreation, renewal and exercise. On many a beautiful day, glances at that board reminded me to choose x-country skiing or cycling with Lucy and Bayla, over vegging or chores.

We didn’t create vision boards in 2009.
When we pulled out our magazines this weekend to create our September 2010 Vision Boards, I was stunned to see the clippings that hadn’t made that 2008 cut: a huge, red “Be Brave”; an innocent-looking “Ready for Anything”.

Little did I know.

Our collages are dependent, of course, on what we can find and clip. Images of affection, creativity and peace were tougher to find this year. And the colours this round are decidedly cooler.

But glancing at the two versions, I can’t help noticing: where the last one whispered, this year’s screams.

Health, healing, harmony, life, love, ease, peace, prosperity, exercise and joy.

Envisioning lots of it for all of us. For many years to come.

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, 2010

September 6, 2010 at 4:59 pm.

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Meeting Adversity Well

Adversity isn’t an obstacle that we need to get around in order to resume living our life.
It’s part of our life.

Our responsibility is not simply shielding those we care for from adversity
but preparing them to meet it well.

– Aimee Mullins

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More about Aimee Mullins here, here and here.

More Borrowed Words here.

Andrea Posted by Andrea June 6, 2010

June 6, 2010 at 1:59 pm.

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From the Mouth of Bayla #16: impossible’s impossible

Saturday, March 27, 2010 at 7:00 am, 5 monk caught fire. Later that day, some friends of the fire victims delivered a flyer: MISSING CAT FROM FIRE. Sixteen days later, they found the cat, hiding in the basement of the house. He had survived the 8-hour blaze and the house being demolished. As they say, “cats have nine lives.”

Bayla (Now 9!) is the youngest member of the Clan Ross-Blevis. You can read more from Bayla here.

Bayla Posted by Bayla April 17, 2010

April 17, 2010 at 9:57 am.

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The Supporter Experience #3: Applause

Today was Andrea’s second chemotherapy session. As always, she was a champ. I sometimes wonder how I would fair in the same situation.

Today, as I watched Andrea’s medicine bags drain I clued in to a celebratory atmosphere just opposite where we were sitting. It was a gathering of nurses making a happy fuss over someone as they were disconnecting all of the tubes; disconnecting for the last time as it turns out. Then there was a procession of nurses clapping and hooting as they followed the patient down the hallway of clinic for what will hopefully be their last visit there.

My focus for chemotherapy is to keep our heads down and power through. If we can keep Andrea healthy, she can remain on schedule and we can listen to the nurses cheer her on as we leave the chemo clinic for the last time on April 2.

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 January 8, 2010

January 8, 2010 at 10:52 pm.