Less is More: Anthony Marco PAB2010

One of the many highlights of the fab PAB2011 experience was the wit, wisdom and warmth of Anthony Marco.

While we await publication of the PAB2011 sessions, please enjoy his thought-provoking and experiential jolt from PAB2010, A Word is Worth a Thousand Pictures (a PAB2010 JOLT! by Anthony Marco).

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More words, wisdom and wide, wide smiles thanks to Anthony, here.

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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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A Long-Overdue Apology

It hit me during Bif Naked’s un-freakin-believably honest, poignant and entertaining address at the conference last weekend.
And it hit me hard (thanks to you).

With a dramatic roll of her eyes, Bif described how breast cancer had saddled her with the pieces-picking-upping of her inconsolable family and friends. And the survivor crowd gave a massive been-there roar.

With all the whining that I did about inappropriate reactions, complete collapse (well, even the slightest tearing up) was a possible reaction that had never crossed my mind.

I blasted the world with my news as soon as I got it. By email, SMS, twitter, blogs, newsletter, gchat and in person, I shot my message out with faith that the returning vibes would get me through it.

Not a single adult cried. Not even Mark.

And, no matter how scary things got, my close friends and family always shrugged my worries off. And I guess I followed suit.

I realize now, it was not because they didn’t care. It was because they did.

So thank you, my beautiful friends and family, for shielding me from concern.
And please accept my sincere apology for not appreciating it sooner.

Mystery Loves Company

I’m just back from Body, Mind, Spirit: The Canadian Breast Cancer Network’s National Conference for Young Women Living with Breast Canceralmost 48 hours solid of education and encouragement with 340 breast cancer survivors from every province and territory across Canada.

What a gift.

I left the conference with 14 pages of handwritten notes, a stack of books and brochures, and my brain abuzz.

The speakers and workshops were first class, the food was free, the facilities fitting.

And above all of this were the women.

340 women on journeys just like mine.
The lump-finding. The bad news. The pokes, prods and zaps.
The baldness. The isolation. The decisions.
The uncertainty. The losses, the triumphs and lingering impacts.
The crazy mood swings. The shockingly thoughtless comments.

Young families side swiped. With meals to be made and dishes to be done.

I’m back home. But I’m not alone.

Here’s a tiny sampling of my learnings:

  • Newfoundlanders rock. Thanks to Yvonne Jones for reminding me.
  • Cancer cultivates compassion. Thanks to Joy Smith.
  • I need to start each day with lemon water, add ginger to my daily matcha, and remember to eat 2 brazil nuts, 2-4 tablespoons of flax meal, some rosemary and 1 teaspoon of tumeric each day. Thanks to Dr. Natasha Zajmalowski.
  • Love heals. Death and recurrence do not equate to failure. Thanks to Dr. Rob Rutledge.
  • I won’t rule survivor advocacy out of my distant future. Thanks to Ryan Clarke.
  • It’s about time I explored Venus Envy. Thanks to Dr. Sally Kydd.
  • I can do my own lymphatic massage. Thanks to Anna Kennedy and Pamela Hammond.
  • Even a sexy, hilarious, intelligent, compassionate, super down-to-earth rock star feels stupid and isolated when she gets hit by breast cancer. Thanks to Bif Naked.
  • Sleep’s much more important than supplements and therapies. Thanks to Christine Maria Gross.
  • Your honesty reflects your intelligence. Thanks to Carol Anne Cole.

Massive thank yous to 340 strong young women from coast to coast to coast and to the inspiring survivors who put the conference together and shared their wisdom. And thank you to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation for the scholarship that made this enriching experience mine.

I can’t wait for next year!

Don’t take my word for it….Conference talk around the web:

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

— 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?

Reboot You

PAB2010 was an unforgettable weekend.

Thought-provoking sessions, amazing food and, most importantly, passionate, intelligent, interesting, friendly, fabulous people.

If you’re creative, online or off, you’ll want to catch the full schedule of sessions as they are rolled out at PABconf.com.

In the meantime, I can’t help sharing Sylvain Grand’maison‘s 5-minute Jolt, below.

Cancer crashed and auto-rebooted my life. Wiping out my routines, habits and friendships and leaving me with a fresh, if physically diminished, slate.

And the opportunity to start anew.

As Sylvain suggests, below, we can reboot our lives any time.
And we’re better off for it.

Contested Irrelevance — My PAB2010 Jolt

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Honourable Mentions (Thank you!):

What would I do if I didn’t know I couldn’t?

“But turtles can’t fly,” said the bird.

“They can’t?” said Tudley. “I didn’t know that.”

He looked down at the shocked faces of turtles below.

“Did you know that turtles can’t fly?” he called down.

They all just nodded.

Tudley Didn’t Know by John Himmelman.
Sylvan Dell Publishing

I’m going to start reading this picture book first thing every morning.

Like Water Off a Duck

A tiny survivor entered my life today.

During my daily Gratitude Walk this morning, I spotted a family of ducks: four ducklings and a mom.

One little duck was being ferried around by his mates, his legs limply hanging and his body slightly submerged.

I admired them for a while and moved along.

Not long afterward, the little family caught up to me and hopped up onto the shore. The mother faced the water, calling and calling.

They were one duckling short.

Returning to the original site, I found the injured sibling. Struggling, lopsided in the water, one little mini wing flapping.

And sinking fast.

A passerby declined my request to phone for wildlife help so I stood at the waters edge and hoped the little duck would float into reach.

He did. I scooped him up and carried him home.

(Not the passerby. The duck.)

Our Wild Bird Care Centre helped me make him comfortable while I ran to radiation. He was flopped over to one side, his eyes closed and I didn’t like to leave him.

I hoped the whole way there and back that he’d be alive and revived when I returned.

He was.

I found him sitting in his water dish, eyes open and alert.

Patiently waiting for his drive to the Wild Bird Care Centre.

Sweet little Duck.

Up From The Ashes

Emergency, turbo-powered spirit-lifting:

Every bursted bubble has a glory.
Each abysmal failure makes a point.
Every glowing path that goes astray,
Shows you how to find a better way.

So every time you stumble never grumble.
Next time you’ll bumble even less.
For up from the ashes, up from the ashes, grow the roses of success!

For every big mistake you make be grateful.
That mistake you’ll never make again.
Every shiny dream that fades and dies,
Generates the steam for two more tries.

There’s magic in the wake of a fiasco.
It gives you that chance to second guess.
Then up from the ashes, up from the ashes, grow the roses of success.

Disaster didn’t stymie Louis Pasteur.
Edison took years to see the light.
Alexander Graham knew failure well;
He took a lot of knocks to ring that bell.

So when it gets distressing it’s a blessing.
Onward and upward you must press!
Yes, Yes!
Till up from the ashes, up from the ashes, grow the roses of success.

Up From the Ashes. Robert B. Sherman & Richard M. Sherman. Chitty-Chitty Bang Bang. 1968.

The Warrior Theme

I can’t help sharing again here a sampling of this absolutely overwhelming and magical show of support (we originally posted at our JustOneMoreBook! children’s literature/literacy site). Thank you Mark and Thank you to all the fabulous creative friends who are supporting me! xoxo

The day after I was diagnosed with breast cancer, Mark sent a personal email to every one of the 220 interview guests of Just One More Book!! asking each if they would leave a voice message on our hotline sending me good wishes. Mark’s plan was to create a CD of audio messages I could listen to during recovery from surgery and during my chemotherapy treatments.

The messages started to pour in immediately (Henry Winkler responded first, within minutes). In all, 126 messages came from authors, illustrators, librarians and publishers from around the world (including England, Spain and Israel) and ranged from newcomers to celebrities.

Many of the messages were more than just good wishes. Some people recited poems or sang songs they wrote specially for me. Some related their own experiences with cancer and others offered to speak on the phone anytime I wanted someone to talk to. An overwhelming 75 minutes of audio! Plus, I received a number of packages in the mail — handwritten cards with original artwork, t-shirts, books, CDs and other gifts. I even received two “bionic” candy apples.

In fact, we received so many messages that Mark realized he needed to create a summary audio clip for me so I could get a quick hit of support and energy any time I needed it. The result is an audio collage called The Warrior Theme packaged over Sunshine and Starlight, a fantastic instrumental by Bjork Ostrom.

There are too many names to transcribe and link to from this post. Instead, listen carefully to everyone who so generously contributed, many of whom continued to send kind wishes and check-in messages throughout this challenge to date.

With all these creative beams shining in on us, we’re sure to sail smoothly to a swift, complete and permanant recovery!