Sunday, May 13, 2018


Right at the start of my breast-cancer adventure I ordered two books. One was "The Breast Book" written by Dr. Susan Love. To me it is the Bible of breast cancer and is revised every five years. The second book was "Cancer Made Me a Shallower Person~~A Memoir in Comics" written by Miriam Engelberg."  "Insightful, unflinching and painfully, painfully funny" wrote the Washington Post. Miriam's autobiography by comics takes her from initial breast cancer through metastastic cancer and her writing can make me laugh and cry in the same paragraph. For anyone with any stage of breast cancer I recommend both.

Here it is Mother's Day and  I feel that I am the most blessed mother on earth. How can I not remain positive when I have three amazing children who love me? I cannot say the same for my own relationship with my mother when she was alive so I feel even more fortunate. I was lucky back in my younger days to have had a positive role model. My boyfriend at that time had a mother who taught me so much including a love for life as well as instilling in me, the belief that I am a good and worthwhile person. Parenting is a skill that cannot be taught but when we ourselves receive little or no parenting it is all the more difficult. Again I was fortunate to marry Dick who was a natural father from the start. Now that I know his sister and family so much more, I recognize that they grew up with more warmth and happiness than I. No family is without hidden sides but when one grows up with little or no parenting it is different. 

Back to being a more positive person. I was trying to better define positive and found this:

positive attitude doesn't mean ignoring life's troubles. It just means being an optimist and looking for the good in things, rather than being a pessimist and concentrating on the bad in things. Sometimes your perspective can make all the difference in the world.

I like this and  see how my perspective makes a difference. One of my pharmacists called me this week to discuss a new med but also wanted to tell me how the staff (small group of caring people) love me and my attitude. She said it is like a breath of fresh air when I come in, whether it is for my monthly injections, to pick up prescriptions or to talk through a new drug and its possible effects. There is always coffee if I want it and two easy chairs to sit in while we talk and sometimes one of the two owner's dog is visiting too. How can I not enjoy a visit? 

My whole cancer team appreciates my ability to try new things always with hope. This is not incidental. I have changed both oncologist and pain doctors because I did not feel the way I do~~yes I have incurable cancer but that does not mean that I should be part of a team that lacks hope and humour along with the willingness to go outside the box. Now I do  feel a more positive energy when I enter BCCA.

Day to day activities often include conversation about the lack of use of my right hand and I try to make it upbeat and again this allows for positive exchanges. My daughter says I am a "people person" and she is right. Mary now checks in on her extrovert mom often. Since my fall that required stiches and my black and blue face scared children (sort of a joke) I have wanted and perhaps needed the exchanges.

I was a nurse albeit not for long, but I loved the back and forth of nurse/patient interaction. I hope to become a hospice volunteer and take a course in the fall. Luckily (haha) I will soon experience hospice care from the inside as my pain doctor wants to admit me for up to a week in an attempt to work out a pain regime. The nerve pain has increased and we have tried many levels of pain relief. One possibility is a lidocaine infusion and that definitely needs to be done under supervision at the hospice. We shall see.

This is what my youngest son Andy said on messenger about the lidocaine. "And are you doing the lidocaine infusion? That is pretty awesome and probably very nice to hear! You’re a pretty badass lady mom!"

Through the grapevine I heard that my older son has said." I am his rock." Whether he said or not is not important~~ I believe it to be true.

My friends contain to be supportive and also tell me how positive I am. Sitting here on my deck this morning with a Nespresso coffee (one of the delights of my life) it is almost impossible to say how happy and positive I feel. I am grateful for so much. By July only a few weeks from now, Dick, Steven and Heidi and Maurie will be here having sailed across the Pacific. What a positive for both Dick, our kids and all the crew that helped in the voyage of the Van Kedisi. The catamaran that was our summer cottage as our kids grew up in the Middle East will now be our cottage in British Columbia.  A one-handed deckhand won't be very useful but I will be a very happy and positive member of the sailing team.

I do need to say life is not always happy and rosy and positive. One year ago I was trekking in Nepal with a wonderful group of friends. it is hard now to believe I was able to manage that last trek. Yes I am grateful for it but my heart still hurts knowing that it really is beyond my abilities now to trek in Nepal. My positive spirit has enabled many people to go far beyond their comfort levels trekking in the Himalaya and that has added to my own happiness.

The times that my blood work goes so low that I have to take breaks from the cancer drug that is keeping my tumor at bay can bring me to despair but the support I have from my family and friends always brings me back. Becoming one-handed can frustrate me but also delight me when I find a new way. Typing one-handed or with dictation both come with annoyances but again, I am working it out. 

To all those who say I am a positive person I thank you and today acknowledge it. Cancer has made me a more positve person.

Thank you my friends.

Much love and happiness,


Puffed up with pride was my Laila and her babies. Happy Mothers' Day.

No comments:

Post a Comment