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

A Fresh Chapter

Happy New Year! We've begun a fresh chapter: The Something Of Our Ways. Hope to see you there...

 

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 9, 2012

January 9, 2012 at 3:48 pm.

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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.

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On Happy Endings

Towards the end of my treatment, last year, we rescued Sylvester. A sweet little abandoned duckling. He died the next day. And our hearts all broke. Last week, Lucy and Bayla were honoured with the opportunity to help nurture Bernadette. A sweet tiny abandoned kitten. She too passed away. Our heart break was worse yet. Lucy and Bayla have had to grow up fast. They've heard more than their share of sad stories. And, thanks to our history, the sad ones hit hard. Will they keep risking compassion? I hope so. Time to re-read Tuck... “Everything's a wheel, turning and turning, never stopping. The frogs is part of it, and the bugs, and the fish, and the wood thrush, too. And people. But never the same ones. Always coming in new, always growing and changing, and always moving on. That's the way it's supposed to be. That's the way it is....” “You can't have living without dying. So you can't call it living, what we got. We just are, we just be, like rocks beside the road.”Natalie Babbitt, Tuck Everlasting

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 October 3, 2011

October 3, 2011 at 2:25 pm.

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Happiness Is…

Jack Layton.
Look what the postman just delivered. A cozy, upbeat reminder of our dearly missed Jack. Straight from his beloved T.O. Peace.... Love.... Jack Layton. Perfect. Thank you, Kingi. Thank you, Jack.

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More Happiness here.

Andrea Posted by Andrea September 29, 2011

September 29, 2011 at 11:05 am.

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Happiness Is…

Eighteen intensity-packed days condensed down to 2 minutes of feel-goodness. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CszHU8dOB4M Thank you, Mark!

More Happiness here.

Andrea Posted by Andrea September 26, 2011

September 26, 2011 at 8:41 am.

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Happiness Is…

Weekly evenings with Jay.
A lot's gone on in the past twelve years. Hopes and upheaval. Disappointments. Triumphs. In work, relationships, parenting and health. And through it all, there's been a weekly evening with Jay. Sanity. Sage advice. Laughter. Perspective. Whatever the week brings, my evening with Jay makes it better. Those evenings make me better. I think sometimes about our 18-years-younger selves. Saying our first hellos. With 7,550 km and ten provinces of cycling ahead of us. And all we never dreamed about those next 18 years. And I think of the years ahead of us now. The venting and celebrating of our sixty-something selves. And that makes me smile. Thank you, Jay. And thank you, Mark, for making those evenings possible. All these years.

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More Happiness here.

Andrea Posted by Andrea September 23, 2011

September 23, 2011 at 12:38 pm.

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Kickin Cousins

It's August 29, 1982. Five days after my sweet-17. Relatives drop in and I'm sent to the local orchard to pick up some apples. It's a 4km drive. My 12 year old cousin, Susie, joins me for the ride. We pick up the apples. Then, since we're so close, I drive us down to the Rideau Locks. Park the car. Hop out and show my little cousin around. But what's that? A rusty little Civic is floating in the water. The rusty little Civic that I just parked. Out of gear. On a slope. Facing the water.

My first full-scale failure. A crowd. A boat. A tractor. A rope. Susie's mechanic-Dad gets it running. I squeeze out the seats. Cover them in blankets. Gussy myself up and pick up my hunky ex-boyfriend for our planned boat-cruise party date. That's forgiveness. That's resilience. Twenty-nine years later -- To. The. Day. -- I learned that my long-lost cousin Susie and I are both breast cancer survivors. Good thing we're resilient. We're going to be fine.

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 5, 2011

September 5, 2011 at 1:18 am.

9 comments

On with the old. In with the new.

Here's where it all began. Where Mark and I met for our very first date. That history-making, mega-foamy latté. I snuck in the back door. De-toqueing and de-snowing myself, unseen. Mark faced away. Tall, wiry, and newly goateed. There was a table here, then. Several tables. It was Vittoria Trattoria and I'd been lining up regularly for breakfast, coffee and pesto pasta since long before the tables had arrived. Collecting memories of the twenty-something me. In the fifteen and a half years since that first date, we've enjoyed breakfasts, desserts, lattés -- and then burgers, bruschettas and goblets of wine -- here. I've tipped baby Bayla upside down to dislodge solids. We've celebrated report cards with Luba. We've been silly with friends. It's where we rang in Mark's forties. Today it sits empty. Awaiting rebirth. And we're watching. Just like that twenty-something me, peeking past the papered windows, exactly twenty years ago. Hoping its rebuilt self is friendly, affordable and fabulous. We've got lots more great memories to make. We'd love to make some here.

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 24, 2011

July 24, 2011 at 7:22 pm.

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Happiness Is…

Past, Present and Future Fun.

Can't wait!!! Landscape photos thanks to ecstaticistBugMan50 and naserke.

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More Happiness here.

Andrea Posted by Andrea July 21, 2011

July 21, 2011 at 4:36 pm.

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A Top Notch Tenning

The weekend Lucy turned ten, I found that lump. Fully dressed, amidst Lucy's festivities, some tingling vibration drew my fingers. And there it was. With a puff of cold steam, a new world was born. Today, Bayla turned ten. Twenty-two months later. Today was a good day. Lucy and Bayla spent most of it on their own together, being tweens: browsing their favourite shops, doing each others' nails, exploring Bayla's new DSI, painting pottery, strolling down to DQ to split a Blizzard. And we ended the day with the end of Harry P. In 3D. Today I did a lot of thinking back ten years. And back two years. And looking ahead. Looking forward to many happy years of great memories behind and ahead for us all. And feeling very, very grateful.

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 16, 2011

July 16, 2011 at 10:30 pm.

5 comments

And now for those last few cobwebs…

"The first thing to remember is this: as long as you make an identity for yourself out of the pain, you cannot become free of it. As long as part of your sense of self is invested in your emotional pain, you will unconsciously resist or sabotage every attempt that you make to heal that pain. ...because you want to keep yourself intact, and the pain has become an essential part of you... [The pain] is the living past in you, and if you identify with it, you identify with the past.

A victim identity is the belief that the past is more powerful than the present, which is the opposite of the of the truth. ..The truth is that the only power there is, is contained within this moment."

-- Eckhart Tolle, "The Power of Now".

More forgiveness musings here.



More Borrowed Words here.

Andrea Posted by Andrea July 11, 2011

July 11, 2011 at 7:49 am.

1 comment

Familiar Rings

Our wedding ring revamp began with a visit to Zeal Metal in May, 2009. We'd chop up and combine our three wedding rings into a fresh, funky set of two. Disorganization delayed the decision until October 2009. The weekend before my diagnosis, we decided: If the news was good, we'd go ahead with the revamp. Otherwise, we'd shelve it. Following my diagnosis, October 2009, we came up with a third option. If treatment went well, we'd revamp our three rings into a set of four. For Lucy, Bayla, Mark and myself. To commemorate. To celebrate. More than two years later, the project is still in progress. Here are some visuals from along the way...
June 17, 2009 Initial Design. The diamond is part of the plan.
March 19, 2011 Ready for remake. Sans diamond (my teeny diamond disappeared on December 8, 2010).
March 31, 2011 Spinner ring stamping options. Lucy chose North-South-East-West. Mark chose tilted. Bayla and I chose spiralling.
May 16, 2011 In progress.
June 10, 2011 All four rings are done! And beautiful!
July 2, 2011 Back where they belong. Huge thanks to Nicole Horlor of Zeal Metal.

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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 10, 2011

July 10, 2011 at 2:13 pm.

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An Accidental Time Capsule

In fall 2009, during the stressful 6-week wait for diagnosis of that lump, I turned my back on our beloved podcast, Just One More Book. Weeks later, Bob Goyetche and I discussed that decision, for the Canadian Podcast Buffet. It was hours after my biopsy. Mark was out of town. With all the PAB2011 captured-story excitement this week, that interview bobbed to my mind's surface. And I took the time to listen to that 15 minute chat. Wondering how we endured the 6 week wait. How I did that interview. And how we possibly got from there to here. I'm glad those moments were captured. I'm glad I thought to listen. Life's odd. In a good way. If you'd like to listen too, the interview is at the 18 minute mark of episode 147 of CPB. Photo AttributionNoncommercialShare Alike Some rights reserved by Bruce Murray (The Zedcast)

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 1, 2011

July 1, 2011 at 7:41 am.

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Up here, Michael.

In October 2009, I was desperate to have both breasts removed. Thanks to my insistent surgeon, I didn't. They're small. They're lopsided. There are scars on both. But they're here. And so am I. Lucky me.

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 May 20, 2011

May 20, 2011 at 3:18 pm.

1 comment

Forget Regrets. Enjoy the Wondrousness.

The world, indeed the whole universe, is a beautiful, astonishing, wondrous place. There is always more to find out. I don't look back and regret anything, and I hope my family can find a way to do the same.

-- Derek K. Miller (June 30, 1969 - May 3, 2011) Thank you, Derek, for your strength, your humour, your wisdom and your authenticity. Thinking of you, Airdrie, Lauren and Marina. Wishing you healing and many years of happiness and good health. Love, Andrea

More Borrowed Words here.

Andrea Posted by Andrea May 4, 2011

May 4, 2011 at 12:52 pm.

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