Sunday, November 24, 2013

ALONE TOGETHER



Mike & I - Bethel, Maine-Summer 2009
Some days I was so, so tired.  And you know that when you are tired you get cranky and start feeling really disconnected from the people around you and all the positive things going on in your life.  The focus often switches to the negative and everything looks worse than it is and you start feeling so alone.  Then all of a sudden something happens that snaps you back.

I remember one day near the beginning of hockey season when I was feeling like that.  However, there was no way I was going to stay home and rest when one of my kids had a hockey game.  We were sitting in the arena and I saw this pretty young woman walk by.  She was wearing jeans, gorgeous boots and a pink down vest over a sweater.  She had on a pink and white Nike cap and she looked really stylish.  Like she had just walked out of a magazine.

Tasza & I - Montmercy Falls, QC-Summer 2013
However, I also noticed that she had no hair.  Actually it was the thinning, falling out kind of hair that I recognized as all too familiar.  She was walking with her daughter and probably had a son on the ice.  That was me a year ago.  I wanted to go to her to talk to her and tell her that I was her last year.  I wanted her to know that I made it through and look at me now.  I wanted to hug her and tell her that as hard as it might seem that she’ll get through it.  I wanted to tell her that each day might seem like an eternity but the year would go by fast.  I wanted to tell her daughter that her Mom was going to be okay and if they all stuck together they’d come out on the other side stronger and closer than ever.  But I couldn’t say a word.  I just stared at her and my legs wouldn’t move.  I couldn’t bring myself to walk towards her.
Alex & I - Percé Rock, QC-Summer 2010

I kept thinking what if someone came to me a year ago and said all of those things to me?  Would I have been happy about it and encouraged or would I have pushed them away and thought “who the hell are you to tell me anything?  You don’t know me or my family or what we are going through.”  I mean really I don’t even know if she had breast cancer.  It could have been chemo for any other kind of cancer.  I just assumed it was breast cancer.  Anyway, I never said anything but then again maybe it is better I didn't.


I guess in the end it made me feel like I had some experience to share.  I felt that I had been through the wringer and could now talk about it to others.  It also made me realize that I was not alone and that none of us that go through this horrible experience are alone.  There are way too many of us.

Alone Together - Fall Out Boy


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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

PAUSE FOR PLAYLIST #3

 Well here we are at post #94 already!  I am really enjoying being a part of the blogosphere and I especially like the comments that I get from people I know and those I have yet to meet.  We are now at the point in my journey where I have completed the chemo, bilateral mastectomy, radiation and the hysterectomy.  That is quite a lot of stuff in a short time.  Sometimes I still have a hard time believing that all of this actually happened.

With our friends at the 60s, 70s & 80s  Disco Dance Night - Embrun 2012
 As I have been doing since the first post, all of my blog post titles are actually song names.  Searching for the right title is fun because I find myself listening to a wide variety of songs that I haven’t heard in ages or that I might be hearing for the first time.  There is something about a song that might remind you of a certain person, or a time in your life or a place you have visited.  Music is simply special.  It can make you laugh or cry or simply to just feel something.  Sometimes it makes you drive too fast and sometimes it makes you slow right down.

Today I am taking a break from the story and making a third playlist of the last 30 song titles I have used.  As I said for the first playlists 1 and 2, every journey needs music.  A road trip is synonymous with music from 8 tracks to cassettes to CDs to iPod and Bluetooth.  I love music.  All kinds of music. 

Anyway, here is a recap of the last 30 song titles for you.  Please enjoy!

I’ll Be Home for Christmas (Rascal Flatts)
Private Eyes (Hall & Oates)
Carry On (Fun)
My Next Thirty Years (Tim McGraw)
Ain’t No Mountain High Enough (Diana Ross)
Brave (Josh Groban)
Outside My Window (Sarah Buxton with Jedd Hughes)
Ring My Bell (Anita Ward)
My Funny Valentine (Frank Sinatra)
I Will Walk 500 Miles (The Proclaimers)
Sign of A Victory (R.Kelly)
Next To Me (Emeli Sandé)
Celebration (Kool & the Gang)
Poor Poor Pitiful Me (Linda Ronstadt)
I Wanna Be Sedated (The Ramones)
Blurred Lines (Robin Thicke)
Alone Again (Alyssa Reid)
Handle With Care (Travelling Wilburys)
Pink Houses (John Mellencamp)
Quiet Your Mind (Zac Brown Band)
Mirrors (Justin Timberlake)
Radioactive (Imagine Dragons)
Freeze Frame (J. Geils Band)
This is How We Do It (Montell Jordan)
Good Vibrations (Marky Mark & the Funky Bunch)
Life is a Highway (Tom Cochrane)
Raise Your Glass (Pink)
Man I Feel Like a Woman (Shania Twain)
Waiting on theWorld to Change (John Mayer)
I Will Survive (Gloria Gaynor)


Tasza & I at Mamma Mia - Ottawa 2011
 I really hope that you are enjoying my blog and that you might be learning something or gaining some perspective as to what others experience after a breast cancer diagnosis.  Please don’t be shy to leave a comment or ask a question or just say hi!  Even song suggestions would be most welcome!

Thanks to you all for your support and for continuing to read and share my story.


Alex in the Talenmania Show (he is way up top with the guitars) - Embrun 2012

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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

I WILL SURVIVE

Pink the Rink Tournament - Etobicoke, ON - October 2013 (see note below)
Sitting there in the doctor’s office that day I started wondering what was going to happen next?  I was done with all the treatments and surgeries.  I knew I was going to have appointments every three months on a rotation between the medical oncologist, the radiation oncologist, and my family doctor.  I would also have bone density tests at least once a year.  The doctors were going to ensure that I got tested when necessary with chest x-rays or whatever else was needed.  I knew that I was in the system and would be watched for any chance of cancer recurrence.  That was not going to happen.  Knock on wood.

Grouse Mountain Hiking Trail, BC - Summer 2011
Now the next and most bothersome question that was buzzing around in my brain was this:  “When can I officially say that I am cancer-free?”  The doctor’s answer was NOW.  She said I can say it now.  I am cancer-free.  She said that everything I had done since the mastectomy were all steps in my goal to use every means possible to eradicate the chance of future cancer.  That’s pretty amazing.  I have to say it again.  I AM CANCER-FREE!!!  That day was October 17, 2007.  A date to remember.

After I left the doctor’s office I called Mike once I got to the car to tell him and he congratulated me but didn’t seem to be as excited as I thought he might.  In fact I wasn’t really as excited about the great news as I thought I would be either.  I think I just needed some time for it to really sink in.  I mean we had been going non-stop for over a year on this journey to get rid of this cancer and now that I could finally say “I no longer have cancer” it was just all of a sudden an abrupt turn of events.  Don’t get me wrong because I was ecstatic.  Just kind of overwhelmed and shell-shocked I think.

Mike & I - Little Current, ON - Summer 2013
I guess Mike was too because later that night when he was driving to Montreal he called me to say that he finally had some time to think about this news and digest it a bit and it had kind of just hit him.  He wanted to tell me how relieved he was and how proud he was of me for fighting so hard to get rid of it.  When I told the kids they had big smiles on their faces and Alex said that I should go and ring the victory bell.  I decided to wait until Mike got back from Montreal so we could ring it together.



I Will Survive - Gloria Gaynor



Special Note:  Words cannot express how much it meant to me to see this photo posted on facebook and instagram.  We love the hockey community! This absolutely brought me to tears. Happy tears. A team in my daughter's league was at the Pink the Rink tournament in Etobicoke, Ontario in October 2013 and were showing their support.  Thanks to all of our friends at RSL Midget AA!!

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