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

Happiness Is..

Bold Steps.

I was completely honoured to be selected to read a WeCanRebuildHer.com post at Blog Out Loud Ottawa, last night.

This reading followed an extremely low week for me and I had barely scraped myself together enough to attend the event, let alone participate.

I’m immensely grateful to the many friends and magical powers that got me through this week of self-inflicted torment.

And I’m grateful to Lynn and the BOLO gang for including me in this fabulous evening.

Wishing you health and happiness.
Andrea
xo



More Happiness here.

Andrea Posted by Andrea June 15, 2012

June 15, 2012 at 1:43 pm.

8 comments

Blendered. Again.

School started this morning.

Lucy and Bayla were thrilled. Mark was melancholy.

And I was chopped, tossed and tongue-tied by the schoolyard full of parents.

Stepping into that sea of smiling excitement knocked me flat.

I can’t think. I can’t smile. I don’t know where to look. Where to stand. My brain goes blank. I say stupid things.
It feels like I’m in a blender.

There were great friends in that crowd. And faces that maim me at the best of times. Both bowled me.

Sure, it’s all in my head. And I should probably ground myself, breath, repeat some mantra. But it takes me by surprise. I’m suddenly whirling and sputtering. And blank.

But I survived.

And today’s the first day of my first school year as a free-all-day mom.
I’ve got bon-bons to eat.
I’d better get to it.



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, 2011

September 6, 2011 at 11:03 am.

4 comments

First Person, First Class

As our enjoyable BOLO evening ended, last week, my friend Laurie and I sprang to our feet, hoping to dash to the exit before throngs of bloggers clogged our path.

But the packed room was gridlocked.

I shrugged. This would to take a while.

But Laurie was dauntless. She raised her eyebrows, smirked and assured me that her “pointy elbows” would whisk us across that floor.

And they did. In a flash we were strolling down Preston — me admiring her finesse. “You’re amazing,” I said, “I stand invisible for ages trying to squeeze through crowds.”

“Oh, me too,” Laurie chirped, “I can only do that for someone else.”

Far. Too. Familiar.

In the wise words of my friend Janice, “Good God woman … Be even kinder to yourself, as you have to live with you.”

Two tier service just disgusts me yet I foist it daily on myself.
So, I’m trying to stop.

Thanks to both women for the reminders.
I must be worth first class self-service — judging by the company I keep.



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 13, 2011

July 13, 2011 at 10:10 am.

2 comments

Oh BOLO Me-o ♫

I had no idea this event existed.

Thanks to my friend, Laurie, I’ll be there.

I hope you will too.

BLOG OUT LOUD 2011
WHERE: The Prescott, 379 Preston Street, at Preston and Beech
WHEN: Thursday, July 7, 2011 from 7pm to 10pm
WHO: 20+ bloggers reading their favourite post from the past year; plus several photo bloggers displaying their art
WHO’S INVITED: Anyone who likes to hear good writing.



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 June 30, 2011

June 30, 2011 at 3:59 pm.

2 comments

Digesting PAB

For the 53 hours since PAB ended, I’ve been squeezing my brain, hoping to shrink the PAB2011 experience down to a blog-post-sized blurb.

My mind, my chest, my eyes are still swelling with swirling ideas and images. Huge laughs, huge smiles, huge buzzing, tingling emotions. Huge gratitude for the privilege of belonging.

This morning, as we attended Lucy’s grade 6 graduation, I realized that the stilted, tension-filled ickiness of that sweltering gym, thick with twelve years of inter-parental encounters, was the anti-PAB. And that helped boil the weekend down to its core…

PAB gets me. It lets me be me when I’m there. And seems to do the same for us all.
PAB’s about expressing, not impressing.
It’s about connecting and creating and stretching and sharing.

It’s a slingshot into life.

Thanks to everybody for the photos (and for the weekend, of course).

More PAB 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 June 28, 2011

June 28, 2011 at 5:00 pm.

10 comments

Happiness Is…

Genuine, generous, creative, talented, inspiring, fun-loving PABsters.

What a wonderful weekend. Huge thanks to everyone who made it so.

Photo credit Martin Jones.



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 June 26, 2011

June 26, 2011 at 4:32 pm.

1 comment

Gratitude vs Self-Loathing: Still Wrestling

Thank you, John, for inviting me into your beautiful Women and Classic Cameras series, for your kind words, and for the opportunity to step up to big fears.



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 June 19, 2011

June 19, 2011 at 9:36 am.

1 comment

Happiness Is…

Taking Bold Steps.

More than once, I walked home crying.
But I made it through my first ever dance class.

And I’m absolutely thrilled that I did.

Related Links:



More Happiness here.

Andrea Posted by Andrea June 17, 2011

June 17, 2011 at 10:22 am.

8 comments

Healing Humiliation: Wise Words from Julien Smith

I’ve been planning my PAB2011 Jolt. But I’m choking.

Luckily, I remembered this sanity-saving advice from Julien Smith.

Here’s a tiny taste….

Do things that you consider embarrassing.

You must try this. Find your internal filters and break them, one at a time. Notice how society, like an ocean, smoothes over the waves you make, until what you do gets eliminated, or becomes the status quo. Work with this.

Julien Smith, The Complete Guide to Not Giving a Fuck

If my Jolt is a flop. I’ll handle it.

Eeep.



More Borrowed Words here.

Andrea Posted by Andrea June 8, 2011

June 8, 2011 at 8:59 pm.

4 comments

Baby Steps

Yesterday was the end of term dance recital at our local community centre. What a fabulous show.

Hundreds of talented young people filled with energy, confidence, excitement and joy.

Even my belly dancing class troupe performed.
Did I join them? No.
Did I drop out of the class? Yes.

And yet watching that 90 minutes of dance just thrilled me.
My timid tip-toeing into dance has opened life up.

My burlesque is bashful. My belly dancing, a flop.
But I’m trying. And, although what I hoped would be an introductory class turned out to be a seasoned troupe, I’m undeterred.

I’ve signed up for five new dance classes.

I may never make it into a recital. But, you know, I’m really hoping I do.
And that’s definitely a whole new me.

Related Links:



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 June 6, 2011

June 6, 2011 at 1:25 pm.

11 comments

Happiness Is…

Evolving.

On April 14, 2011, after 25 years of full-time employment and with no new position in the works, I quit my job.

That evening, I tiptoed timidly into the world of dance. Burlesque, unbelievably. Then celebrated with red wine, Mark and our good friend, Laura.

In the six weeks since then, I’ve turned down a full-time systems analyst position, booked our long-dreamed-of cross-Canada train trip, joined the speaker roster for PAB2011, contributed daily to Mark’s new company and endured ten grueling hours of choreographed belly dancing.

Sure, I’ve continued to torture myself with self-doubt, -criticism and -loathing.
But I’m better, stronger, happier than I was.

I’m alive.
And I’m evolving.



More Happiness here.

Andrea Posted by Andrea May 27, 2011

May 27, 2011 at 5:37 pm.

28 comments

You Have High Self-Esteem, Right?

My weaknesses, my wrinkles, my weight, waste and wussiness.

My inner-critic’s bounced right back to full-time abuse.

It’s powerful. It’s persistent.
But it’s no match for my gratitude.

Those bullying thoughts bombard me.
As they always have.
But I bash each one. Because I’m glad to be here.

I’m alive. I’m healthy.
And, bit by bit, that inner-critic’s going down.



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 29, 2011

January 29, 2011 at 7:54 am.

8 comments

Order Some Joy

“What do you want?” Sarah asks me.

What do I want?

I want more. I want to crash out of this invisible armor I’m trapped in – to tear away the shackles and freefall, delirious and wild. I want to plummet naked into a velvet ocean at midnight and roll in the ecstasy of the waves. I want to peel back my layers and hold my raw wounds up to the sun for healing.

I want to slice through these suffocating wrappings and grab onto CORE ME – whoever that is – and never let her go; make her into the real me, the only me, for some to love and some not to love .. . and I want to not so painfully care who does and who doesn’t.

I want to feel, taste, devour it all – no filters, no censors, no gatekeeper telling me what is rightfully mine to take and what isn’t. I want rapture at the top of a mountain under a full moon. I want to absorb me, embrace me, the light and the dark, the glorious and the hideous, and cherish it all and laugh at it all forever.

Sarah’s back. “So what do you want?” she asks.

What do I want? “Caprese salad and a cup of pasta fagioul.”

We close our menus and clink our chiantis…


Juicy Joy – 7 Simple Steps to Your Glorious, Gutsy Self. Lisa McCourt. (This book is not yet published. You can snag a sneak peek by signing up for Lisa’s newsletter, here.)





More Borrowed Words here.

Andrea Posted by Andrea August 31, 2010

August 31, 2010 at 9:15 am.

1 comment

Happiness Is…

Reconnecting.

Sharing this journey online has rewarded me with opportunities to connect with friends and relatives from the distant past.

Living this journey has rewarded me with the courage to face old fears, step beyond the comfort of keystrokes and into real-time, face-to-face encounters.

My life is so much richer as a result.

And it’s getting easier.

Lucky me.



More Happiness here.

Andrea Posted by Andrea July 26, 2010

July 26, 2010 at 5:17 pm.

5 comments

♫ Mr. F

The last six to eight years have been some of the best of my life — so far.

I’ve been a mom to two fabulous toddlers, preschoolers, school-agers and then awesome eight and ten year old girls.

I’ve made, maintained and enjoyed great friendships, hosted and participated in terrifically silly get-togethers, contributed generously to the world of children’s literature and literacy, thoroughly enjoyed four PABs, two PCTOs, one KidLitCon and the online and offline social media scene, and revelled in a whole slew of creative projects.

I’ve taken risks. I’ve grown. I’ve been more truly me than my crazy twenty-something years allowed.

And all the while, that cancer grew.

So, as the end of chemo inches into sight and I nervously ponder my re-integration, I remind myself that I’m not actually an alien among the healthy.

In fact, aside from the effects of the treatments themselves, I’m physically healthier now than I’ve been in six to eight years.

Ignorance was bliss.

But booting cancer and moving on is bound to be better.



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 5, 2010

March 5, 2010 at 5:38 am.

4 comments