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.
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.
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:
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!!
Go, Andrea!!! You inspire me. Cheers.
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!
Wow.. Andrea you are a true inspiration.. Bravo!
– Snookie & Norman
Best of luck on the run & your battle!
Thinking of you and sending warmest wishes!
Best wishes Andrea for good health and happiness
You continue to inspire, Andrea!
You’re such an inspiration, Andrea–good luck!
We all believe in you, Andrea. thank you for this opportunity. go, go, go, girl! thank you for your love of children’s books.
Run fast. Wobble a bit. Laugh at funny things.
Congratulations! If you’re looking to build a posse to run with on the big day, let me know.
Go Andrea Go!
Never, for one moment, doubt the possibilities that lie ahead. Count us among the many that stand behind you.
Good luck, Andrea!
You go, Andrea!
I wish you all the best and hoping for a speedy recovery.
For Andrea, lots of good thoughts and encouragement for your run!
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.
You inspire us Andrea.
With you all the way! We know that you will make it on all accounts!
Rhoda & Bert
Sending lots of love
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.
It is awesome that you are doing this, Andrea!
You are awesome Andrea!! xoxoxo
We wish you the best!
All that is yours by Divine Right is now released and reaches you in a perfect way under Grace.
Andrea -you are an inspiration!
Dear Andrea, wish you all the very best in life. Great initiative in running for breast cancer awareness and raising money for the Foundation.
Have followed your journey and am so proud of you and Mark.
With wishes for a sustained recovery and a lifetime of productive years.
Go Andrea, go! We applaud your efforts and thank you for running to raise funds and awareness. Love to you.
What wonders will the remaining 40 days of sponsorship bring?
Andrea Ross was diagnosed with breast cancer October 6, 2009 and intends to survive and thrive. You can read more from Andrea here.
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.
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!