Monday, 31 December 2012

Light the World

If I asked of everyone to light a candle for all those taken from me because of cancer all their homes would shine quite brightly.  The flicker would help remind us all that life is a delicate balance of feeding desires, fulling needs, and too much of either can cause it to snuff out.  The speed at which it descended the wick would depend on the quality of the life, the care put into creating it, but anything could arise and break the finest made candle.  That wouldn't make the warmth that it caused any less real, and it would not make the joy it brought any less meaningful.

But, instead of lighting a wick in your home, instead of digging out the matches, I ask of you to please ignite a flame within your heart.  Please try to bring warmth with your words and your thoughts.  Make the kindness flow through your veins and radiate from your actions.  Bring joy to your surroundings with every beat of your heart.  Honour those that could not make their heart beat any longer, but their light shone the brightest despite their conditions.  Bring love to your behaviours and make the world shine every day.

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year

I hope everyone had a couple blessings come their way this Christmas season.  I wish for all of you the joy of the season and that the happiness you feel lasts year round.  May your health improve, may your mind expand, may your heart be filled, and may your passions fulfilled.

The world needs kindness and love, I hope that you will be a beacon of this in the New Year.

Lots of love:
Julie aka Silverlupus

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Take a moment to remember

"In war, there are no unwounded soldiers." -Jose Narosky
Lest we forget

Monday, 5 November 2012

YACC Survivor Conference 2012

Hullo one and all.  I have been slightly absent as I dealt with life these past few months.  I wanted to thank all those that helped me raise the funds to come to Conference.  Getting to talk and share with these few people that understand exactly my predicament because they have been through a lot of the same issues is simply intoxicating.  You go from feeling as though you are the rare mythical creature on display for the world to see, to feeling like you found your herd, your flock, your school, your pack, your pride.

I am reflecting and thinking of all the great connects that were worked on here.  The new connections with those I have never met before, the nurturing of the connections previously started, and the reminiscing of those connections lost over the year.

I cannot find the words to describe what being at YACC's Conferences is like.  This is something that a few of us discussed.  All I can do is share some feelings that come with the time we get to spend together: acceptance, love, admiration, loyalty, connectivity, joy, sorrow, exuberance, peace.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

The Face of Breast Cancer

The face of breast cancer is not pink ribbons and newly pink items. It's women of all ages losing their hair, their breasts, their ovaries, their independence, their self image, and sometimes their lives. Support those programs to help patients, survivors, and supporters
age: 29

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

All In Who You Know

The old adage is as true as there is water in the seas: it is all in who you know.  Some may think I am referring to financial or business success, but I am not.  What about your mental and physical well-being?  When it comes down to it, if you are surrounded by people that love, respect, admire your inner traits, and truly care for you, you will have a better outlook of yourself.  If your friends are always there when you need them, always willing to listen to you and offer sincere advise to help better you with no ulterior motives, then would you not find your soul nurtured?

When it comes down to it, you have so many that are out there with only their interests in mind.  These are the people that are gone the second you need help, but on your doorstep the moment they are in crisis.  They belittle you, call you down, criticize, neglect, and sometimes physically hurt you.  You cannot expect to have a healthy attitude or even maintain your physical health if you are surrounded by this sort of companion.

A great example of rising above your surroundings was shown to me last week when I met Eric Crookshank, former captain of the Halifax Rainmen at BCANS.  His talk was entitled “Perseverance  Through  Adversity”.  My mind started calculate all the hardships he had endured and still succeeded in becoming a great person.  Yes, he is a great business man, but I mean he is a genuinely wonderful soul.  As he told his story he would reference his best friends and his mother, they had become great strengths to him.  They were a focused beam of light that showed him that he had the potential to be better, through his facets, they showed him the rainbow of opportunities and support.  It was not his friends that created his success, but they were his boosters, his patrons.  They would help lift each other up, not try to hold each other down.

I find myself looking at my equations and finding that I have not had the right mix of support.  I have stumbled many times with giving my friendship and love to those that were out to pull me down.  I am thankful to see that some that I thought would not want me have smiled and openly accepted me.  Some have started to express nothing but admiration for my qualities.  These are the people we all need.  These are the ones we need to know.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Trying to get to SC2012

Goodday readers.  I have been trying to raise the money to get to Young Adult Cancer Canada's Survivor Conference (it's November 1-5th in Toronto, this year).  I've been running a bottle drive and tried promoting my artwork.  There is a secure website to send donations, as well.  If you can spare $5, $10, $20 or more, I'm trying to cover the cost of my travel expenses, that's all.  Well, I say "that's all" but the cost of a flight is pretty daunting when you have extremely limited funds.  Anyways, the link to the website is HERE, just follow these instructions to ensure that your donation goes to helping me get to conference:

You need to search Young Adult Cancer Canada first and select their page. Next you enter the donation amount and choose my name (Julie Michaud) in the drop-down menu box. Please help me afford going to this.  I get to meet other young adults going through cancer and there are workshops and guests that help us with the issues we face.

Thank you for all you guys do for me.

Friday, 17 August 2012

Hard Lessons Learned

One of the toughest things I've had to deal with in life, even before cancer, was discovering the true self of a friend.  I have lost those that I considered to be good people and good friends once their facade dissipated, revealing an ugly side.  A side that you did not conceive that person being capable of.  And, as I've found in many situations, it is not until you step back and re-evaluate the friendship that you find the truth of the matter: they were never hiding their arrogance, pretentiousness, or vaingloriousness, you just favoured their good traits, turning a blind eye to their malevolence.

On Facebook, many people friend anyone that they know, or think they know.  This has some with thousands of "friends".  Others only friend the people they truly wish to keep in contact with, they tend to only have a couple dozen to a couple hundred at most.  On Facebook, blocking people has seemed to turn away from keeping unwanted eyes away from your daily life, to the act of if someone does not agree with everything you think is right then you block them.

For some, it is no skin off their back to have the delete/block button at the ready.  They have the power to take someone out of their life in an instant.  The internet is full of safeguards, if you make a mistake or simply change your mind you can "undo" your act.  They can leave with a comment of "I wish you would die" or "You deserve to die (or have cancer)" and think they were fully in the right to give you that sentence.  At times I wonder if they simply belittle the act of losing someone to death?  They are gone.  You may have them in your mind, think of them often, and reflect on good times, but that person is no longer there for those that do love them.  Are we becoming a generation that thinks it is okay to be so malevolent?

No, as a generation I cannot see that being the norm.  Many people still care for others, even strangers, and many try to be good people.  The fact is that some still believe the world revolves around them because they cannot see passed their eyes.  They do not understand that the world owes them nothing, but they owe the world to be the best human they can be.

I came to the conclusion today after having someone I've known for 16 years turn from a friend to a fiend, attacking one of my friends and wishing them death, that we need to accept that we cannot always predict what a person truly thinks of you.  You may think of them as good, but they may only be using you when you are useful to their endeavours.  Leaving me to come up with this epiphany:
"If someone blocks you because of their pretentiousness, did you lose a friend or weed out an antagonist? Either way, you discover they were not who you thought they were and you are better off without them."

The only one that lost the friendship was I, it was my mistake in seeing only the good and not acknowledging the enmity.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Who am I?

I ask "who am I?"

Am I the cancer that invaded my tissues or organs?  Am I the lost amongst the statistics?  Am I the forgotten in the sea of sponsoring corporations?  Am I the one that forfeited their claim to a healthy life?  Am I the astray because I have fallen?  Am I the dismembered or disfigured?  Am I the broken dreams?  Am I the shortened sight?  Am I the pain?  The torture?  The sorrow?  The loneliness?

I am the one that cries because of my strength.  I am the one that faced death and did not give in.  I am the confident because I must be.  I am the defier, I am the stubborn.  I am the unstoppable, even if death wins.  I am the courageous because I will not yield.  I am the caring because I have lost.  I am the victor because I am powerful.

I will be weak, I will be strong.  I will bend, but I will not break.  I will risk, for that is how reward is found.  I will be vulnerable, I will be benevolent.  I will stumble, but I will rise.

Who am I?  I am what and who I let myself be.  I am me.  And, I am unstoppable.

Monday, 13 August 2012

Bright Lights

It is in the darkest of hours that the smallest light shines its brightest. - Me (Julie Michaud)

It is something that many have heard said differently, but it remains true.  It is when the world seems the most bleak that we can acknowledge the tiniest form of good.  When you know someone is having a bad day, week, month, or more, you don't need to do a grandiose gesture to cheer them up.  Something as simple as buying them a coffee or tea, showing up to invite them out for a drive or walk, sending a handwritten letter to them, or sending them a movie night out coupon can be just the spark they need to remember that people do care about them.

Obviously this all depends on the person and your own financial situation.  A parent cannot always drop everything and go for a drive.  A patient cannot always have a coffee or go for a night out.  There are so many little things that can brighten a person's outlook on life for you to choose from.  Simply evaluate what you know would mean something to the person.  Would a surprise bouquet of flowers, maybe their favorite species, help give them a reason to smile?  Perhaps a half dozen cupcakes could perk their spirits.

What I do not recommend is what a lot of people tend to do.  Do not belittle their strife.  You may have had a similar experience, draw on that as a way to know how to help them, do not mock how they are reacting to it.  Offer valid advice, not criticism.  It may have taken a lot of courage to express how the person is feeling.  Critiquing has it's place but not when trying to help someone out of the darkness.  If you honestly cannot relate, don't.  Just be there for them in any way you can.  Do not use the phrase "I could never handle what you're going through", you mean well but that phrase is so infuriating to most (I bet they have heard it non-stop already), so try to keep that one under wraps.

Best phrase "how can I help you?" and mean it.  If they say they need help piecing their life together, help them find the professional help they need.  If they need one hour to themselves, help them figure a way to get that time.  If they just need you to sit there and hear them bleed their heart out, get comfy and let them do it.

Be the light in the darkness.  Be the hope in despair.  Be the strength in their weakness.  Be their friend in the void.  Angels don't all have wings, most just have an open heart and kindness flowing from them.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Adventures in Reconstruction: Deconstruction

I've had the pleasure of being stuck in the QEII hospital for 5 days.  My incision on the cancer side gave way...  For the second time (see previous blog Scalpel, Suture,.. Glue).  Unfortunately this happened on Saturday so I had to endure the long weekend in the hospital until my doctor came back on Tuesday.  I was sitting in my hospital bed with an open wound (roughly 2cm x 5cm) from Saturday to Tuesday afternoon.  Sufficed to say, the Uniboob has returned.  The reconstruction has failed.

I did get to keep the implant, more of a momento/show-and-tell than anything else.  Now for me to decide on if I want the latis dorsi or the DIEP for my next move.  The decision is not one I take lightly and as they removed the implant due to exposure, I have three months before anything can be done anyways.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Scalpel, Suture,.. Glue

So my adventures in reconstruction continue.  Last night at 1:30a my right "breast" (that's the cancer side for any newbies) decided to start leaking.  Yeah!  Luckily it was just seroma, no signs of infection, so the resident plastic surgeon at the hospital just told me to cover it with gauze and get in to see my plastic surgeon in the morning asap, she'd let them know I was coming.

My hubby and I got about 5 hours sleep and trudged into the hospital.  Thankfully they were moving well today, we got in to the room in about half an hour and saw the assistant surgeon in a couple minutes, my surgeon was only about a half hour after that.  Long story short, the radiation didn't help the healing of this incision, seroma filled behind it and it pushed through a weak spot that was really thin skin.  The fix?  Cut the incision and re-suture.

They were prompt enough to keep me in until they could move me to the "minor procedures" room and set me up for the immediate slice and stitch.  It's local anesthetic (honestly, I have no nerves there anymore so I didn't even feel the needle for the anesthetic), then scalpel, cut it back carefully (remember my implant is behind this skin), and sew me back up.  For added benefit, he had the nurse find some glue (like Superglue, only "surgical" grade, by the looks of the container HA!) and slather that over top of the new incision.  Some fashionable steri-strips to finish it off and I'm thanked for being a great patient, come back in two weeks!

I swear my breast didn't like the idea of being cut cold turkey from the hospital visits, so it acted up.  Bloody stubborn breast!

If this finally heals proper then I will be waiting 6 months to see how everything looks.  The cancer side is smaller, the radiation did make that side not stretch proper.  I like to explain it to people that the left side is like spandex and the right side is like denim, one stretched fine, the other doesn't have a lot of give.  If I really don't like the end result, there's lots of options.  I'm just not out of the woods yet.  Sooooo To be continued...

Friday, 13 July 2012

YACC Survivor Conference 2012 - let the fun begin!

YACC is having their Survivor Conference in Toronto this year and I have been accepted to attend!  I just need to raise the money for my travel expenses, YACC covers everything else.  This is an event where young adults from across the country get to meet and share experiences, have some fun, and fight the feeling of isolation that many of us battle.  I started an event on Facebook, a bottle drive, to go from now till late October to help me raise funds.  There may be a Climb fundraiser again, I'll keep everyone posted!  I appreciate all the support and help everyone sends my way.  I never would have been able to attend any of the events if it wasn't for the generosity of those that donated what they could afford.

For more info on YACC and the conference please click the above links.  If you'd like to help with the bottle drive and are in the HRM please CLICK HERE to join the Facebook event.

Monday, 9 July 2012

Simon's Cat

Here's one of a series of videos that helps to cheer me up.  Any cat lover can relate to Simon's Cat.

This one is called "Double Trouble", enjoy!

Saturday, 7 July 2012

It's a mental thing

Surgery was completed.  They had some issues, my muscles didn't want to co-operate so they had to be more forceful.  Therefore, I was in more pain than the average person.  Healing was followed by a great dose of idiocy on the part of my husband's work, but it got sorted out enough to cause only a minor hiccup in the healing process.

Things discovered in these past two weeks include a couple items that I am not too happy to admit.  I am very much self conscious of my image.  The surgery, although a success, was not something to close the book on my journey to seem more female.  The "breasts" do not match and one is much smaller than the other...  Not to mention that it also does not have any form of shape of a breast.  All this has entered my mind and caused me to feel like no matter what, my body will never look anything close to what I once had.  Perhaps it was childish to think that I could appear as I once did, a fairytale ending to the painful journey, but it was a hope from the start.  I need to start accepting that I will have a very different body.  I will not have what I once did, I will be different in appearance.

Another thing I'm noticing, I am coming to loathe hearing people talk about how much the are helping those with breast cancer by running a marathon.  I have met so many people that will never be touched by the funds being funneled into these high-profile walks.  The money will go to advertising, maybe some to research, perhaps there will even be a fraction of a percentage that goes to a support group somewhere in a large city.  If you want to raise money for the organization, that's fine, but don't think you're going to make me all fuzzy because you tell me how much you support that annual run.

I am hoping to one day feel more accepting of the many different feelings and awarenesses that I am experiencing.  I know this will be a long journey, but I will travel it.  I will try to find more understanding within myself, and perhaps understand and accept the things that I am enduring.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012


My surgery to get the permanent implants is in two days.  To say I'm nervous is an understatement.  This surgery will be in a different hospital than the last, I lost a dear friend in the exact same hospital last winter, and I'm also nervous because this is pretty much it.

If the implants look odd, there won't be too much that can be done about it, other than ask for another type of reconstruction.  I don't want to snip and tuck any other areas of my body so this, in my mind, is the only option.  I'm also biting my nails because the prophylactic side isn't smooth like the cancer side.  I'm nervous it won't flatten out and need more surgery to repair it.

Trying to stay positive, this is almost the end of the journey to look normal again.  I will have two lumps on my chest and there won't be ports on my ribs.  I'll have the "tear drop" shaped implant and it is the "gummi" silicone (if you were to slice it, it does not move because it is the same consistency as a gummi bear.  Yes, I Silverlupus will have gummi boobs!

Another positive, my husband was landed again to ensure he could be here for my surgery and help care for our son.  And once this is all behind us, if there are no other hiccups, he and I will be going on the first "us" vacation in four years.  I need a break.  I need a week where I'm not thinking about doctor's appointments, diapers, or bills.  Just hubby n me time.

I hope to be posting more frequently soon.  Bare will me, folks.  And wish me well.

Monday, 28 May 2012

Quote for May

"Haters are cold and small, like ice cubes. Nice people are warm and bright, like sunshine. Ice cubes out number the sunshine? Not a problem." - Tarol Hunt, creator and artist of Goblins

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Article on the positive side of Breast Reconstruction

WebMD Article, click here

I have to say though, that the implants vs tissue is completely personal choice and those that want one and are forced to go with the other will never be as satisfied as one that got there primary desire.  I'm very happy that I was able to go with expander/implants so far. :)

Monday, 14 May 2012

A quick look inside my head

People seem confused as to why those that have been affected by cancer say that they will always have that "monkey on their back".  Well there's a lot that we deal with before even approaching cancer diagnosis.  So I'm going to give you an idea of the thoughts that pass through my head in about a minute.  Enjoy:

  • Will this reconstruction work?
  • Why is there a burning feeling at the port?
  • Will this pain in my chest go away soon?  Is it just the muscles being cranky like the doctor said?
  • Why couldn't that driver have paid attention so I didn't have these injuries now?
  • Will my shoulder and back ever be normal again?
  • Why won't my doctors condone me trying medicinal marijuana? I've tried every other frigging drug they gave me to put in my body
  • Is my son going to be affected by having a mom with breast cancer in his first years of life? Will this cause some form of scarring I can't do a thing to prevent?
  • Is that ache a sign the cancer didn't get fully contained?
  • Will my husband have to sail despite my condition?  Anything can change if there is a war.
  • Why can't people be more supportive of military families instead of berating them for saying they wish their significant other wasn't going to need to leave them for their job.
  • Will we have enough money even though I cannot work anymore from my injuries?
  • Will I ever get a settlement for my injuries?
  • Dammit >_< my back is killing me
  • Stupid arm, stop having nerve pain.
  • Will I be able to walk normally today?
  • What if there's a complication from the surgery to replace the expanders with the implants?
  • Should I not try to get any more saline put in the expanders?
  • I wish I saw my friends more often.
  • I miss a lot of friends that seem to not think I'm important.  Just because I'm not important to them it didn't mean they weren't important to me back then.
  • Will the cancer come back?  Will I get a new form of cancer?
  • Will my son have me throughout his life?
  • I wish I had more support close by but I'm thankful for the support I do have
  • I'm getting hungry...
  • I know I'm forgetting to do something I was supposed to...
  • What if I can't stay this strong for much longer?
  • Why can't my ribs stop hurting?
  • Bloody back...
  • What's that song?  I like it...
  • Wish I could find a close place with Karaoke
  • I miss going out dancing... blah!
  • I hope my son has a lot more opportunities than I had
Well, that's enough for now.  Hope you had a great weekend!

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Monday, 23 April 2012

Benefits to Having Cancer - Part One

This list will vary depending on treatment but in a nutshell"

You never get an eyelash in your eye.

Your "bad hair days" disappear.

Other go out and pay to consume items that make them nauseated and dizzy, you got the health care system covering your tab!

You get to try out that "Brazilian" without the ouch.  Oo-la-la!

The money you save on razors, shampoo, and conditioner is astounding.

Hearing people complain about sunburns brings a giggle to your breath every time.

Posting "Chemo Patient Inside" is a great deterrent for solicitors.

You now have guilt to help you get that last piece of cheesecake - "Did I tell you about that last chemo treatment I had?  Are you going to eat that?"

Saying "I have/had cancer" shuts up pretty much everyone.

You find out there IS a Cancer Card...  And you learn how to pull it!


More to come, off to bed for now!  Nites!

Sometimes you gotta laugh


Thursday, 19 April 2012

Non-patented drug may be the cure for most cancers

This video is surfacing on a lot of people's walls/timelines on Facebook.  Give it a watch and see what you think. CLICK HERE

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Pink Spring for Breast Cancer Action NS

A quick shout out to BCANS, Breast Cancer Action Nova Scotia, as they are hosting Pink Spring on April 28th from 6 till 9pm.  This is a fundraiser to help BCANS continue to help women as they are diagnosed with breast cancer, help educate girls and young women on how to examine themselves as well as know the signs of cancer, and helps fund the Pink Panthers support group.  Pink Spring is a dinner and auction event, they will have a wide variety of items in three different auctions: flower pot (deposit tickets in pots of items you want to win), silent auction, and live auction.  Items are being placed on their website (link below) as they are processed.  There is also the Grand Prize: the draw for two round trip tickets anywhere Westjet flies, tickets are only $20 each.

Tickets for the gala are only $75/pp and are available through BCANS.  Either visit their website by clicking HERE or call (902) 465-2685, Visa and MC accepted, to purchase event tickets or tickets for the Westjet draw.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012


How does one maintain your "self" when you feel so torn?

I know this feeling I'm having is not helped by the feeling of "dragging" myself along my life since I was diagnosed with breast cancer.  As soon as someone is told they have cancer, your life, your plans, your dreams go on hold, health and treatment take priority.  But being slung into a world of chemo, surgeries, radiation, and whatever else they think is required to destroy the cancer can cause you to be sucked into a vortex that is not easy to crawl out of.

Life gives you more obstacles as it goes.  We learn to duck and weave, we jump hurtles, we bounce back from blows, and continue on our journey.  For some, cancer becomes a yoke, that even if it is lifted, you find yourself far behind your original path, or in completely unfamiliar territory.

My lament?  I have a self that is not realized and it's starting to cloud me.  I am slowly gaining my confidence and abilities to be the mother/wife that I was pre-cancer.  I need to realize that some friends are never going to be more than "someone I once knew" (that's one of the hardest for me).  There is a self that I know took to the sidelines long ago because I needed more time.  I needed more focus on things like income, housework, and life's winding paths.  It is something I have been trying to rekindle, trying to find a way to weave it back into its past potential.  It is my artist self.  I feel more like "Julie" when I'm an artist.  I don't feel like I am in a void, I feel purpose, I feel whole.

I get a moment every once and a while to let it out, but it's not like it once was.  It's not the intensity it used to be.  I need to find that balance that allows me to be all parts of me: mother, wife, cancer dominater, and the Julie formerly known as artist.  My only hope and wish is that once some things are behind me, the reconstruction, some personal things within my life are resolved, I will find answers as to how to find this new balance.  Perhaps my focus will be easier to master once I feel my cancer chapter is more finalized.  Here's hoping...

Friday, 6 April 2012

"I thought it was over?"

Something many people who have never had cancer seem to not realize is that even after treatments are done, the person that had cancer is never going to be the same.  Never.  We have faced death in the eye, a good amount of us made him blink first, and some of us had to learn to live with his hand on our shoulder.  No matter which category the person falls in, they can never go back to their "pre-cancer" life.  Even if the scars fade, even if the hair grows back, even if our plastic surgeons do immaculate work at recreating our bodies, we will forever be scarred in our hearts and minds.

I'm not saying that the person that had cancer is a trainwreck.  I'm saying, don't expect your friend, family member, or spouse to dust themselves off and say, "Well, back to what I was doing before diagnosis."  After coming to terms with the fact that you had something so deadly in your body, after resolving to get through all the treatments that poisoned the cancer as well as yourself, after getting the okay to resume normal activities, you will have a person that has been through a traumatic experience.  Fear of reoccurance will forever be in the back corner of their mind.  Every pain and ache that so many can brush off will be a jolt of terror.

Your life is changed, whether you like it or not, after having a cancer diagnosis.  Some can use this as the opportunity to better themselves as a person, they can become more confident in what they need to do.  Others can feel washed out with the tide, bobbing in the sea and trying to figure out if they should swim for the closest shore or the nearest boat.  But is that shore a mirage?  Is that boat sinking?  Some people find their circle of friends shrinks in some ways and grows in others.  Those that say they would stand by your side no matter what are called on their oath.  Unfortunately, sometimes the ones you were depending on to help you are the first to pull the rug out from under you.  Some friends that you didn't think would want to be near you are the ones that step up and help you to be at ease with your journey.  Some people will just fade away...

Where am I going with this blog post?  Don't be surprised if you are greeted with blank stares if you say to a person, "So what are you going to do now that you're back to normal?" or "Why do you need that, your cancer is gone?" (When referring to support or other treatments like plastic surgery once the cancer seems to be fully removed/eradicated).  Just because we made it through the treatment phase or have the cancer "under control" it doesn't mean we're jumping back into our old routines, as much as we may wish we could.  That's one of the dark sides of surviving through cancer, you are never going to have your life the way it was before.  For some, however, it can turn out to be the best wake up call they ever received.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Cancer Barbie is in production

A reliable source gave me this, it was on their TV the other night.  If the people demand something long enough and are persistent the higher ups do listen... eventually lol.

I'm curious to see the demo of her.  I was never one to play with Barbies but having them make an actual Cancer Barbie doll with wigs and scarves for her head I think is a good step in the right direction.  I wonder if they'll make her look normal or if she will be drained from her chemo >_>

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Help Create a Film

Help support this film if you can, please. My friends are working on "Valleys", it is about young adults and our journey after finding out we are diagnosed with cancer. They have 15 days to raise $14,000
CLICK HERE  for more information on the project and to donate.  Thank you so much!

Friday, 23 March 2012

Freed From Captivity - Adventures in Reconstruction

I've been in the hospital since Saturday afternoon.  On St Patty's day I forgot to where green, so my left breast (the new mastectomy) decided to ooze green to make me more festive!  I had an infection, the breast turned red, I was in extreme sudden pain, and the smell was not that of roses... EW...

I was attached to an IV and given antibiotics and fluid (I had not been able to eat in 24 hours).  They forbade me from food after midnight because if I didn't show signs of responding to the antibiotics I was going under the knife the immediately Sunday.  I honestly didn't care about the restriction, I still didn't want to eat.  As days came, the word was constantly, "Well, we'll see how you look tomorrow."  Translation: you're stuck here for now because we don't know what to do with you.  The infection could have been localized to only the incision, or it could have ventured into the breast and caused the seroma to be infected, itself.  YEAH!

Did I mention they don't have internet at QEII?  At least not unless you're a Bell client.  Yeah, that makes sense -_-

I was fortunate enough that my phone had Facebook on it so I could not be 100% cut off from my friends.  My husband's work let him have time off so he could visit me as he pleased and care for our son.  Plus I had several friends visit and bring me movies, books, crosswords, and treats.  I literally had a basket of homemade goodies.  I told that friend she should have worn red so I could start calling her Lil Red Riding Hood - haha!

Long story short, the incision is no longer oozing, it appears closed, the breast is still reddish, but not resembling a stoplight any longer, and my blood pressure is back to normal (it had been 78/49).  I was freed with oral antibiotics and a doctor's appointment for next week.  Now to catch up on missing a week's worth of emails/articles/internet reading/mommy time.  The last is my most missed <3

Friday, 16 March 2012


A friend introduced me to a free animating site.  I did some experimenting and came up with this.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Recovering - Reconstruction tips part 1

I am recovering from my surgery on Feb 21st.  I was finally able to get my reconstruction process started.  I found it amusing that the surgery was exactly one year and one week after my original mastectomy.  For those that do not know, I had the second breast removed (my choice) and opted for implant expanders to be placed in both sides of my chest.

They put 180cc of fluid in each of the expanders, I looked like I had A cup breasts for the first few days.  That was the most cleavage I've had in over a year lol.  Since I did have a mastectomy on the left side, however, it started to fill the new void with fluid (seroma), causing the new mastectomy side to fill out to about a D/DD cup over only a couple days.  This is not fluid in the expander, just in the area that used to have breast tissue.  Over time my body should re-absorb it and be only the size of the expander, once more.  There was some increase in size on the right side (the side that had cancer last year).  I looked like I had a full B cup on that side.  This is good news as I see it.  The skin looks like it could easily hold a B cup and I hope to get somewhere close to an oversized C cup or perhaps a D cup.  (Remember, I was once a DD cup).

The issue is that since I was forced into radiation treatments, my skin and the surrounding area may not stretch properly.  I'm discovering that for most that it does not work with the implant expander starts moving up the chest wall, not pushing out properly because of the lack of elasticity in the skin.  For some people it works, others it does not.

A couple of tips I would like to pass on to those that may just be entering their journey with cancer and hope for reconstruction someday:

1. Sign up for reconstruction the second you discuss surgeries, whether it's mastectomy or lumpectomy.  It is better to sign up and after a while decide to not get it than to decide to get it after a couple months/years of deliberating and now need to wait several more years for your consult.

2. Research all the reconstruction techniques that your surgeons can perform.  Some can do the more extensive surgeries like DIEP and TRAM, even the GAP.  But most every reconstruction surgeon can do the implants/expanders.  Talk with them about what you want and what they recommend.

3. Even if your surgeon says their opinion is that a surgery you prefer may not work, discuss the chances of it working.  If the failure still gives you options afterwards, do what you are comfortable with.  Remember 1% chance is greater than 0%!!

4. If you happen to get expanders and the optional mastectomy like I did, make sure you keep a close eye on your bandaging.  If it starts to loosen, and for some reason nurses seem to forget how to secure dressing around a chest sudden (because they can...), get some help to tighten it up.  A loose dressing can cause the pain to increase exponentially.  Ask for more tape to take home so you can secure it again if it loosens too early.

5. Be prepared to ask for help.  It's hard.  I hate it.  But you need to let your body focus on healing.  Ask your caregiver (husband, friend, family member) to get you things, like that cup of tea that you want, to answer the phone for you, to help you lift yourself from the awkward chair.  You do need to get back into routines, but there's no harm in asking for help in the first few days/weeks.  Just make sure you are trying to be as active as your body will permit.  If your body is limiting some areas, work on your stretches and make small goals that are realistic.  *Do not push yourself too far too early*

That's it for now.  I labeled this "part 1" because I know there will be more. :)

Friday, 2 March 2012

Shave for the Brave Halifax - Sponsoring

Please donate to help support Michael Michaud or James Harding who will be shaving at Shave for the Brave at Halifax Shopping Centre April 14th 1pm. Go to, look up either of them up and donate online, or call YACC to donate over the phone. One is my hubby and the other is one of my nephews.  They are both shaving their heads for the Shave for the Brave Halifax.  Thanks for your support!

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Shave for the Brave Halifax!!

Okay all you Haligonians!  Shave for the Brave is coming to Halifax Shopping Centre for April 14th, 1pm.  So, get your SHAVE ON!  Take the plung and shave your head (or cut off 10+" off your lovely locks), collecting donations for YACC or become a head hunter and find people to cut their hair!  This is to help support Young Adult Cancer Canada!  They bring young adults that have experienced having cancer across Canada together.  This is such a big help, guys!  I cannot put into words what YACC has meant to me since I found last year.  Please spread the word and contact YACC on the Shave for the Brave site to sign up, or contact me and I'll get you in the right direction! xoxo

Here's a LINK to the Facebook event

Monday, 27 February 2012

Please vote for the Kittehs!

This is a vote for the woman that is running "Purple Cat located in Bedford N. S.", a foster home for neglected cats in HRM. I know everyone has their reasons for wanting this, I know we could use it too, like many of my friends that have entered, but this isn't just for a family, this is for animals that have been left for dead. PLEASE find it in your heart to vote for them. Thank you

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Getting more breasty

I had my reconstruction surgery last Tuesday.  I opted for having another mastectomy and two expanders put in place.  This means that over time the doctor will put saline solution in my expanders (that are placed in my chest under the skin and muscle) and slowly stretch the area until it can hold the preferred size of implants that will be my new breasts.  Down side - because I did have 25 rounds of radiation on my right chest there is a chance that I will not be able to stretch that side due to the skin being damaged during the treatment.  There is still a chance I can do this procedure and not have any excessive complications.  And to add help with the healing, Tarol and Danielle from Goblins Comic (an awesome read, if you're not reading it, start now!) sent me Big Ears, a paladin from the comic.  He is by my side to help me on my journey. :)

Here's a pic of me with Ears close to an hour after the surgery
I may look drugged because I most definitely was!  And yes, that is the blanket of adorable evil from Looking for Group ;)

Monday, 20 February 2012

Interview with BCANS

I was interviewed by BCANS (Breast Cancer Action Nova Scotia) and the article is now up on their site.  If you'd like to get an idea of my story please feel free to CLICK HERE.  I talk about how I came to discover the lump, the areas of my life it started to affect, and how BCANS and YACC helped me.  It's a lot to cover.  I'm starting to think I should do a page totally dedicated to the journey on my blog here.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Great music - Chad Hatcher

This is a case of hidden treasure.  Classified started being recognized as a great musician a while back and the funny thing is at the same time one musician that had actually made a single with Classified has yet to become truly mainstream.  Chad Hatcher is a Haligonian (from Halifax, Nova Scotia) that is bursting with talent.  I'm quite surprised that he hasn't been noticed in the sea of music.  His work holds so much emotion and thought, Chad's work is a masterpiece, every song speaks volumes.

Amazingly enough, Chad has released a 7 track, FREE album.  Please go to this site CLICK HERE and give his music a go.  Like I said, it is free to download and enjoy.  Believe me, enjoy you will!

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Lil Black Cloud

In the five minutes I get to steal for myself I figured it was about time I finally posted something newer.  New month started and I just haven't been able to post.  It makes me feel lazy.  I guess I can't fully feel that way when I'm trying to understand why my back injuries are flared up like fireworks on Canada Day, and my son was severely ill last weekend.  Also have started up a Young Adult group in NS for those of us dealing or that dealt with cancer.  As far as I can tell it's the first one in Halifax.  Search Young Adults in NS & Cancer (YANSCancer) on Facebook if you'd like to join...  There's my self plug for now.

My five minutes are already being cut short so I'll try to type quick:

I don't know if the mood is coming across but there's been something looming over me lately and I wish it would f@** off.  I've been trying to move ahead in life and I feel like someone has a voodoo doll of me in their closet that they wrapped in duct tape to keep me from being able to progress.  Just when things seem to finally be coming into place a wrench is being conveniently thrown at the gears, bouncing off, and smacking me in the forehead.  I try to remain optimistic and "cheery" only to discover that annoying black cloud is still hovering over me saying "I dare you to smile".  And if I do smile, it unleashes the snow/sleet/rain/etc to make sure I land square on my butt.

Short post for now.  I hope the next one has more good news than this one.  Wish me luck, I see the shadows creeping in.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Rant about lack of Young Adult Statistics

I'm kinda annoyed right now.  I was searching around on, Canadian Cancer Society, to see if the support group they had requested more information on (one that I created recently for young adults in Nova Scotia with any form of cancer) was posted yet.  While searching I came across Canadian Cancer Statistics 2011... There's practically nothing about young adults!  They talk about 0-19 and 50+.  I found brief, very minor mentions of "those under age 50", one sentence about breast cancer occurrence, and a couple about 30-39.  I makes me angry that they would post all this information on 50+ (practically the entire paper), but barely refer to anyone between 19-49.  I guess I shouldn't act so surprised, at the YACC conference in November 2011 this type of exclusion was brought up, but I thought that as it is a growing concern, and with all the social workers that I contacted about the new support group being so thrilled at the start of a group "that is greatly needed", that we would have had more than a quick half sentence and a sprinkling of statistics.  Young adults may not have the highest numbers in some areas but I think it's our right to know the percentages and statistics that studies find of our specific ages.  I'm going to guess that they never bothered to define our age group or collect information on it to actually use to calculate in the numbers for their other statistics.

Well...  I guess that's going to be the next mission after I get this support group going at full steam.../rant.. for now...

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Quiet on the Eastern front

Hello all, sorry for being a bit distant for the past few weeks.  There's been a lot to do on this side of the screen.  Back appointments (I really wish they'd find something to help that already >_<), getting things squared away with the upcoming reconstruction (yeah!), and of course, just life having it's fun with me lol.

I do hope that everyone is enjoying their January 2012.  I know a lot of people have started sites and Facebook pages to encourage Mattel to actually commission a Cancer Barbie, I've been connected to "help support by clicking like" by many groups.  I see the picture of the Disney Princesses bald circulating a lot lately, as well.  I'm glad people are trying to take a stand in what they believe in.  I am disheartened by those that seem to feel the need to argue all of these efforts and even though I respect the fact that they are fully in their rights to voice their opinion, I guess I prefer the "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all" approach.  Especially with things as sensitive as terminal illnesses.

What I'd like to say to all those that are pushing for the toy industry to help make change, start looking inward first.  There's one song by Michael Jackson that will always get my heart, and that's Man in the Mirror.  It's very true.  If you think that girls feel unpretty (great song by TLC, too!) because they have lost their hair and figure because of their cancer and other illnesses, please start by teaching your daughters, neices, cousins, friends, family that it is okay to not look like the models, the actresses, and the popstars to be beautiful.  Show them that the beauty is the things that make us all different.  Beauty is what makes you smile from your heart, not your image.  We are all beautiful.


Monday, 16 January 2012

Quote for January II

1 Peter 3:13-15 Who will harm you if you are eager to do what is good? But even if you should suffer for doing what is right, how happy you are! Do not be afraid of anyone, and do not worry. But have reverence for Christ in your hearts, and honor him as Lord. (GNT)

Thursday, 12 January 2012


With all the buzz of resolutions in the air, the broken ones, the unattainable ones, the too simple/easy ones, and the realistic ones, I find that the talk coming from most is about what people are giving up this year.  Or at least trying to give up.  I finally made a resolution.  First year in I don't know how long that I really made one that I meant as something to be resolved in the coming calendar year.  But I'm starting to wonder if I should have made one more...

I've been no stranger to trials and tribulations.  From issues as a child: family troubles, bullying, isolation, to adult matters: betrayals, health, and financial issues, I've had my share of problems to deal with.  One thing is, I keep going back, in my mind, wishing I had had the insight to avoid the distress and predicaments that could have circumvented.  As much as I hear and try to believe that none of it was my fault, and there was nothing I could have done about it, I find it difficult to accept that.  I need to, though.  There were signs, there were feelings, and I did not know how to react to them.  I was blinded by hope and trust that should not have been so freely given, but that is how I am.  If you put yourself out there, there are lots of people that would like to take advantage of that.  My soul was mortally wounded by two people in my life, I will forever have those scars.

So what is the point I'm trying to make?  I was thinking that I should have resolved to give something, I'm wondering if I should have made a resolution to try to forgive.  Not just try to find it in my heart and soul to forgive those that so openly hurt and decimated my trust, but to forgive myself for not reacting quick enough to avoid the wounds they brought me.  Forgive myself for being so capable of being blinded to what the person truly was.

Perhaps its better to not be a resolution.  New Years resolutions have a stigmata of being broken 95% of the time.  Maybe this is something I should actually just try to make part of my life.  It will not happen over night, that's for sure.  But maybe in a couple years, or if I'm lucky, several months.  There's no simple "flick a switch" to make my mindset adjust to what I'm trying to achieve, but I think if I can come to terms with my frailty in blind trust, I can start down the path I'm trying to travel on.  All I can do is admit I need to do it, and start to do something about it.

Monday, 9 January 2012

Cancer Barbie Concept

Here's a pic a friend sent me of someone's concept of the Mattel Cancer Barbie that should be created:

Friday, 6 January 2012

Retreat Yourself 2012 East and West

Spots are filling up, make sure you don't miss out on this opportunity to connect with other young adults dealing with cancer!  Apply today!!
This is for Young Adult Cancer Canada's special program called Retreat Yourself.  You get to actually meet other young adults, discuss issues you are facing, and connect with a group that will support you no matter what.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Quote for January

"The crucifixion happened before the resurrection. Sometimes we must first experience extreme pain before freedom and joy." - Mark Brown