Sunday, 13 October 2013

Happy Thanksgiving 2013

From Canada: Happy Thanksgiving, once again.  A time to count your blessings and lucky stars, eat turkey, ham, or whatever your family prefers, and to tolerate your family as you are all herded into the same livingroom/kitchen for the day. :)

I send my best wishes to one and all along with a few of my many reasons to be thankful:
  • I have two healthy, wonderful children
  • I have a great husband (the type that lets his wife sleep in and gets up with the baby and toddler)
  • I am close to my family
  • I have a roof over my head and food in the cupboards
  • I am in a country where hearing I had cancer was not a death sentence because I may not have been able to afford the treatments
  • I may be physically disabled, but I still have some abilities
  • I have good friends that love me for who I am
  • I am alive (f**k you, cancer!)
So enjoy your weekend, supper, and life! 

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Mentally Surviving Cancer

Anyone that has found out they have cancer knows that not only are you going to be fighting the cancer in your body, but you will also be fighting a mental battle.  There will be a lot of thoughts and ways you view yourself that will threaten to bring you to a state of unbalance, anger, and depression.  Here's some thoughts from me to help with the post diagnosis time of your life:

Forgive yourself for having cancer.
I know this seems like a silly thing to say but one of the first things most think about, after the shock of the fact they have cancer, is to question "Why?".   No matter if it is genetic, something you encountered in your past, because you turned left and not right as the moon rose in the night sky, you are not being punished, you are not being singled out, you are not at fault.  Sometimes "bad" things just happen.  And, it may be hard to see now, but there is a chance that you will find a lot good throughout the experience.

Find the sexy in your new body.
A lot of treatments can lead to scars, indents in your body, or missing parts.  This was deemed necessary by your counsel of doctors/physicians, but that doesn't make the end result any less hard to live with.  Your body has been altered.  You are not the "you" that you had come to see day in and day out for all the previous days of your life.  As an adult you may find that you feel less attractive, you are scared to show this part of you, and your reflection is an ever present reminder of being diagnosed.  You may need a lot of time and solitude to find the acceptance you need to see that scar as a victory, see that missing piece of you as part of life and not a damnation.  If you already have a partner, talk with them about how your new body makes you feel.  If you do not have a partner, you must come to your own conclusion to when you want to tell prospective loved ones of your journey.  Fear of rejection is something we encounter whenever we share something intimate, like having (had) cancer.  Just remember if they cannot accept that part of your life, they don't deserve you.  No matter what love yourself and treat yourself with respect, don't accept anything less from someone else.

Cut the stress ties.
You have enough on your mind, if someone or something is only a source of stress, sever the connection.  Some will be so kind as to cut the ties themselves, making you feel abandoned.  It hurts to admit it, but some people are only fair-weather friends and do not care for you as deeply as you care for them.  This is almost more difficult to deal with than your sexual identity and the blame that you place on yourself for having cancer.  You need companionship, it helps with fighting the feeling of isolation you may encounter.  Having people berate, belittle, abuse you will not help you, even if you did not have cancer.  Hold those that love you close, say goodbye to those that cannot find it in themselves to cherish you.

Take a Cancer Vacation.
You may say this is a ridiculous notion but hear me out. Your mind needs a break, it needs down time, just like your body needs a rest between treatments.  So, either during the before mentioned breaks or after treatment is completed, take a vacation from your cancer, even if only for a day.  Find some friends that you can party with that know you just need a day to be you and not the cancer patient.  Run away by yourself for a relaxing time, lock yourself in a spa and forget about hospitals for a day.  Hide away with the family in a hotel and just enjoy each other with no IV's, surgeons, or cancer ribbons in sight.  Try to take as much time as you can, but at least get 24 hours under your belt to help rejuvenate your mind.

Find someone you can talk cancer to.
Doctors do not count here (unless the are survivors themselves).  Find someone that has (had) cancer and can relate to your situation.  They may not have (had) the same cancer, they may have (had) the same type but different treatments, it doesn't matter.  You need someone that can fully understand you.  Someone that understands what it feels like to have cancer put their life on hold.  You may find someone outside of an organization, or you may seek out a support group.  There's also organizations that hold retreats and conferences like Young Adult Cancer Canada.  Seek out a "cancer buddy".  Not only will your mental state benefit from this but it will give your loved ones a break from constant cancer talk.  They love you but need a break from cancer, too.

Get a pro.
When it comes down to it, you are going through a mentally straining situation.  Find a social worker or psychologist that can make sure your mental health is going in the right direction.  *This is not being weak*, this is being smart.  Friends and family are great, cancer buddies can give you advice, but when it comes down to it, you need someone that is a professional and has experience helping those going through cancer.  If you are having financial difficulties, these people may have groups/resources to help in that manner, or know who does. Many cancer centres have a list of social workers that are covered through insurance (and in Canada by your provincial health coverage).

I'm sure there's lots of other ideas and methods to help.  Try to remember to take it one step at a time, one chemo at a time, one treatment at a time.  You are still yourself, you are not your cancer.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Disappearing Act

I have not dropped off the face of the earth.  I had a baby.  My daughter was born early July and is doing great.  I have been suffering my injuries from the MVI from years ago, and my new addition soaks up what time and energy I have left.  I hope to be back to posting more frequently soon, I'm back to getting more treatments for my pain that were not available while I was pregnant.  Until then I shall leave you with this:

“When the chips are down, you are alone, and loneliness can be terrifying. Fortunately, I've always had a chum I could call. And I love to be alone. It doesn't bother me one bit. I’m my own company.” -Audrey Hepburn

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Fear Rant Part 1

The following is one of my Facebook statuses that I was recommended to share more publicly.  **Language warning, there is some swearing**

"If I see ONE more fucking post about how Angelina Jolie's "public stunt" or "fear based decision" is going to just cause panic in perfectly healthy people I'm going to fucking snap! Of course fear was a fucking factor! We're talking about cancer, not a stuffed nose and itchy eyes!! She saw her mother go through the treatments, she got news that she carries a mutated gene that has been proven over the years to increase your chances of getting certain cancers substantially!

I think more people are pissed off that she's doing this in the public eye, well guess what? People are uneducated in the ways of cancer until it's too late. People are scared. People know that there's only so much control one has over their body and cells. Perfectly healthy people, people that went to extremes like, people that followed vegan lifestyles, people that exercised every day, can still get diagnosed with cancer! Cancer is like the Honey Badger: it doesn't give a fuck!

If someone finds out that medically they are a high risk of getting something and there's a procedure to make that risk drop substantially, get your head out of your ass and support them, whether they decide to go with the procedure or NOT!

It's their life, their choice, and you have no say unless they personally ask you for your option!

 And in case you have never seen the "Honey Badger" video:

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Preventative Surgery

As many have heard by now, Angelina Jolie has had prophylactic breast mastectomies (and reconstruction) after discovering she carries the BRCA1 gene.  This, to me, is great news in that she has openly admitted that anyone can carry the gene, she is still in the young adult category and is admitting to being at risk of cancer, but above all else, she is encouraging people that if they have the option to have surgery to lessen their risk of cancer they should feel no judgement or guilt for doing so.

Choosing to have preventative surgery is not new to the medical field.  It is a personal choice and I ask everyone to not belittle someone's beliefs for either choosing to have it or to not have it.

The following is an exerpt from's "The Juice":

Angelina Jolie, known for being fiercely private, has made a very personal disclosure.
The Oscar-winning actress reveals in an emotional op-ed for the New York Times that she underwent a double mastectomy earlier this year after a blood test showed she was genetically susceptible to cancer.

"The truth is I carry a 'faulty' gene, BRCA1, which sharply increases my risk of developing breast cancer and ovarian cancer," she writes. "Once I knew that this was my reality, I decided to be proactive and to minimize the risk as much I could. I made a decision to have a preventive double mastectomy."

The 37-year-old mother of six says her decision was triggered in part by the death of her mother, Marcheline Bertrand, who passed away from cancer at the age of 56. 

Over the course of three months, beginning in February and ending in late April, Jolie went through a series of medical procedures to have her breasts removed and then reconstructed. And her fiancé, Brad Pitt, stood by her side every step of the way.

"I am fortunate to have a partner, Brad Pitt, who is so loving and supportive," says Jolie. "Brad was at the Pink Lotus Breast Center, where I was treated, for every minute of the surgeries. We managed to find moments to laugh together. We knew this was the right thing to do for our family and that it would bring us closer. And it has."

Though she managed to keep the procedures under wraps, she says that she wanted to come forward now "because I hope that other women can benefit from my experience."

Jolie -- who says her chance of developing breast cancer has dropped "from 87 percent to under 5 percent" -- encourages any woman who is considering taking such a major step in safeguarding their health to discuss their risk factors with doctors as well as their options.

"On a personal note, I do not feel any less of a woman," she says. "I feel empowered that I made a strong choice that in no way diminishes my femininity."

"Life comes with many challenges," she concludes. "The ones that should not scare us are the ones we can take on and take control of."

image care of

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

The Purpose of Life

“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

The Art of Happiness

Why is it that I am at my most content when I am painting or creating something for someone?  I love to paint and draw, create images on the computer, etc, and I'm trying very hard to get time to do this once more.  Injuries do not always allow me the luxury of sitting in one area long enough to complete a work like I once could.  This is a slight deterrent for me.  But I am trying.  My son seems to love creating as much as I do, he insisted on "helping mommy paint" so I grabbed a blank canvas, gave him a paint brush, and my only assistance was pouring the paint out so he could get it on his brush.  At one point he even turned to me (he was sitting on my lap), and said, "Mommy, you lay down, I paint, now."  This was his way of telling me he was going to paint on his own, with no assistance.  I asked if I could still pour out the paint, and that, he said, was okay.  He's only 3 years old.  He was extremely proud of his painting once it was complete.  As was I.

But this brings me back to my point, because my son told me his painting was for mommy.  He did not create it and feel proud because he had accomplished something, he was proud because he made me a gift.  This is how I feel.  I know many artists berate others for "giving away" their art, and yes I like money, but I love the sense of giving something to others, especially if I created it.  Is it simply from our childhood when a macaroni painting would be accepted from our guardians as though it was a replica of the Mona Lisa?  Is it from when our finger paintings and rough drawings of the imaginings of our heads seemed to overwhelm them like seeing the Northern Lights in person?  I cannot say.

I would love to have enough money, time, and health to simply dive into all the artwork in my head and simply leave it on the intended person's doorstep, hiding in the bushes to see their reaction as they receive it.  That would be enough.  I guess that's why I have a hard time putting a price on my art.  Value of art is never set in a monetary state.  It's in smiles, giggles, and tears.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Benefits to having Cancer: Part Two

You will feel important with your new "entourage".  Only they're not wealthy friends and followers, they're your gp, oncologist, radiation oncologist, surgeon, plastic surgeon, social worker, and as many nurses as the day is long.

Your period will be booted out for an indefinite amount of time.  Thus you will save even more $ with not having to purchase maxi pads or tampons.

If you don't understand medical terms you will rival most doctors by the time you finish treatment.

You feel like a superhero with an alter ego with all the wigs in your repertoire.

The opportunity to have that boob size you always wanted is now courtesy of your health care.  Be as boobilicious as you like!

If you are able to ever have children again, you don't have to worry about lactating and expensive maternity bras!

You can impress all your geek friends with how remarkable your Darth Sidious costume looks! (No makeup required! Just a black cloak)


Monday, 4 February 2013

World Cancer Day

Apparently we now have a World Cancer Day.  Perhaps we've had it all along, but this is the first I've heard of it.  My thoughts?  My heart is so disgusted that we need a day of recognition for this.  I wish it was something that never took parts of my body, my friends' bodies, and worse, my friends.  But as we have Remembrance Day to remember that many have come home shells of themselves or those that have lost their lives to bring you the world you have today, I guess I can understand why some would start a day for cancer.  I am not saying having cancer is in any way truly comparable to what those enlisted must endure, so please no comments on that, it is simply a comparison of why there are days of recognition.

What does one do on World Cancer Day?  How about you hug a loved one and be thankful they are there.  Smile at the way you look in the mirror, for you are here, and don't belittle the "imperfections" society has burned into your psyche.  Laugh at a joke your friend tells you or sends to you online.  Call someone you've not spoken to in a long time.  Schedule a check up with your doctor.  Ask a professional about that spot/lump/odd body function that appeared and you never wanted to bring up.

Send a note saying I miss you to someone that didn't make it.

If cancer is going to have a day to be thought of world wide, don't focus on the cancer, focus on the person dealing with it.

Thursday, 31 January 2013

Unexpected miracles

Friends and family are now aware, but I've experienced a miracle recently.  Despite having 6 rounds of toxic chemotherapy, I am giddily happy to let the interwebs now know that I am pregnant.  I have spoken to my oncologist about this, and they wish me all good wishes.  The fact that the egg could create an embryo means the chemo did not affect my eggs to the point of sterilization and should not cause any side effects.

I know what it is like to be on the other side of the fence, now.  I have friends that cannot have children, and for a while, I was counted among them.  Seeing posts of growing bellies and constant updates of "baby so-and-so" now doing this or that can tear at your sanity.  I was always happy for my friends, but so bitter inside because that was one more thing cancer had taken from me.  I find that I am holding back a lot with posts about the pregnancy out of respect for that feeling.  I do not want to have my friends come to the point of needing to block my posts in their Facebook news feed.  Which, in some cases, was a necessary step to be able to face my own news feed the past two years.

If anyone has questions, I will answer them as best I can, but for the most part I will be limiting my pregnancy posts from this point on.  Thank you for all your support.  And, for those of you out there facing cancer now: there is hope.  Cancer may take a lot, but I hope you always find one thing that you thought it stole from you and can once more claim it as your own.  xoxo

Monday, 21 January 2013

Love is the greatest weapon

I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear. - Martin Luther King, Jr

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

YACC's Retreat Yourself 2013 registration is now open!

If you were diagnosed with any form of cancer between the ages of 18-39 (or there abouts) and are not too far off in that age, still, apply!  There's one in Nova Scotia, Alberta, and British Columbia this year, just click on the province for link's to YACC's site and application information.