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

March Forth

I’ve been in a weird place, lately.

Somewhere where I don’t know where I am.

I’ve fallen off my anti-cancer wagons. And then beaten myself up, accordingly.

I’ve slipped into my pre-c self-loathing. And then beaten myself up, accordingly.

I’ve tried and succeeded. I’ve tried and failed.
I’ve floundered.

But we’re alive, healthy and happy. March break is just around the corner. Mark’s employment story looks bright.

And the canal is still open — and perfect. March fourth.

March forth.



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 4, 2011

March 4, 2011 at 8:12 am.

6 comments

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.



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 27, 2011

January 27, 2011 at 7:29 pm.

5 comments

Preventative Compassion

In minus a million sunshine on the gloriously glassy canal, two Rideau Canal Skate Patrolers took time out, today, to patiently teach a newcomer to skate.

Not much makes me happier than a frosty afternoon on our fantastic skateway.

That did.



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 23, 2011

January 23, 2011 at 11:08 pm.

7 comments

Posts I Didn’t Write

My new-found respect for sleep means my waking hours are (unevenly) divided between parenting and working.

And that writing and reading and sewing and building and lots of other projects are put off to another day. A cancer-free day, thanks to all that sleep.

So, here are the blog posts I didn’t write this week. Thoughts that have been swirling in the crevices between earning cash and being mom:

  • On Doing-For and Doing-With
  • The Canal is My Small Town
  • Sometimes I Just Like to Think Ma Thoughts
  • Just Like Nothing Happened

And here are some thought-provoking posts, thankfully, someone else did write:



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 14, 2011

January 14, 2011 at 8:10 am.

6 comments

Happiness Is…

First skate of the season.

Related Posts:



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 8, 2011

January 8, 2011 at 9:44 pm.

2 comments

We Interrupt This Program

Ok. Maybe I’m getting bored of chemo or forgetting how absolutely lucky I am that I’m not throwing up or laying in bed moaning — but this round seems very different.

Digestive distress or no, the chemo cravings (for pizza, chinese food, big sloppy burgers) are just out of the park. Nauseating images of the chemo-pod (bleh!), the styrofoam cup of ice-chips (bleh!), the food I eat on chemo-days (bleh!) are just absolutely haunting me. And, though I’m continuing my daily walks, jog/skate and excercise, I’m feeling weak and dizzy.

Right now I seriously feel so loopy I shouldn’t even be allowed to blog.

But the sun is shining and the canal is open, so I’m heading out for a skate.

This might not be the best idea…

p.s. Dear reader in Don Mills, ON: Sorry you haven’t had a lot of luck searching here for “Josie”, “Josephine Ross”, “Keith”, “In-laws”, “Keith Ross”,”grandparents”, “Andrea’s father”, “my father”, “my mother”, “parents” etc.  This p.s. will give you some search results though!



Andrea Posted by Andrea February 2, 2010

February 2, 2010 at 1:55 pm.

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Breaking the Rules

Have I mentioned that I love the canal?

As I walk and jog at its edge each day, it rarely fails to share a story.

Tales of hopeful preparations and thwarted plans. Spunky students risking shortcuts. Rogue skaters and mysteries.

Today’s tale totally tickled me:

I definitely need to start breaking some rules.

ps. this is a raccoon, in case it’s tough to tell from the tiny photo, who should not only be obeying the Keep Off signs, but should be hibernating!



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 28, 2010

January 28, 2010 at 11:22 am.

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Frozen Forgiveness

There are tonnes of things I love about living in Ottawa, and the Rideau Canal Skateway is number one, hands down.

In twenty-four winters of hopes dashed or bettered, I have never had a harsh word for the skateway.

Even when I went through to my thigh in ice-cold water (which is what I deserved for skating out of bounds).

Even when I sprained my thumb and had to forgo my very first xc-ski race (which is what I should have expected when skating with a brain-injured friend — twice my size).

Even when it melts and freezes and melts and freezes, when it’s bumpy, or crowded, or narrow, or short or when snow-covered cracks threaten to send me flying.

I absolutely always excuse it. I fiercely defend it. I’m unconditionally grateful when it’s open. I focus only on what’s good.

If only forgiveness were always so easy.



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 24, 2010

January 24, 2010 at 6:19 am.

4 comments

Escape from Sudden Valley

Recovery from chemo2 has been miles better than chemo1. Correcting my inadvertently doubled steroid prescription allowed me to sleep the nights immediately following my infusion and to skip the hangover that kept me moaning on the couch days 5, 6 and 7 last time round.

Still, late Tuesday afternoon, I fell into a Sudden Valley of self-pity.

Maybe it was the lurking nausea that makes me gasp at smells, repetition and gross thoughts of all kinds; the accumulating isolation and detachment from normal, happy, healthy life; or the banning of all my favourite treats.

Whatever the reason, I fell fairly hard and spent most of two days in a smile-free limbo that included two temper tantrums, relentless grimacing and the frenzied consumption of a family-sized bag of Miss Vickie’s Salt & Vinegar chips.

And then they opened the Rideau Canal Skateway.

No sugar, no caffeine, no alcohol, no germs. Just the swish, swish of strong legs on blades on ice.

And life is good again.



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 14, 2010

January 14, 2010 at 11:48 am.

6 comments