Thursday, October 29, 2009

I'm OK

A few people have expressed support and concern after some of my recent posts. I just want to let folks know that I am OK. Honest!

Before I had cancer, I had up days and down days. My down days were usually because of something that happened at work, or a disagreement with a friend or family member, or even because they didn’t have double bacon cheeseburgers at McD’s as advertised (there’s a story there…).

That hasn’t changed. However, my down days are more likely to be related to my health, simply because that’s where I’m at right now.

I won’t deny that I’ve felt sadder and more reflective since Sue Hendler’s death, even though I knew it was coming for some time. But overall, I think my spirits are pretty good. I’ve had good results with the current treatment and very few side effects. So please don’t worry (Mom!).

Do you think it’s best to be honest and open about the ‘dark days’ or do you tend to protect others by always trying to appear ‘up’? Please leave a comment and let me know what you think.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A good laugh!

Laughter is therapeutic. If you are feeling under the weather: get lots of rest, drink lots of fluids, and watch this video. Enjoy!

Best dog costumes ever

Friday, October 23, 2009

Why I haven't joined the advanced cancer support group

I don't think I'm ready to join the support group at the cancer clinic for people with advanced cancer.

Here is part of a message I received about next week's meeting:
Our guest this week will be Ron Seguin from the Funeral Home, Hulse Playfair and McGarry.


The one and only time I attended, they talked about hospice care. The group is called Living for Today but my fear is that it's more about dying than living.

While I know that some people in the group might be ready for that information, I'm not.

To use one of my mom's sayings: "mark me down for no!!"

The bureaucracy of life and death

Ontario creates a dead end on the front lines of cancer treatment
By Julie Mason, The Ottawa Citizen, October 18, 2009

Read the story


I started a mediation class last night at Breast Cancer Action. At the end of the evening the instructor had us watch 3 feathers float to the ground, listen to three bells and then write about it.

For some participants the feathers and ringing were symbolic, or reminded them of other experiences they had had in the past. I simply focused on seeing and listening without feeling the need to analyze the experience to death.

I spent so many of my earlier years analyzing my experiences, my relationships, searching for meaning, asking WHY? It feels good just to live in the moment and just BE.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Gray funk, day 2

It’s another gloomy day. Yoga class usually helps, but today’s breathing exercises left me feeling impatient, irritated and cranky.

Maybe I just need a good cry. During the class (while I was supposed to be chanting and breathing through my chakras) I found myself trying to remember how many times I’ve cried in the past year. Aside from the open floodgates of my father’s funeral just over a year ago, there have only been a few.

I remember getting weepy for no reason last Christmas when I was going through chemo and feeling over-tired. The tears came again when I was saying goodbye to my son Adam at the Amsterdam airport in June (airports make me emotional because I always seem to be saying goodbye). Other than a few sniffley moments watching The Time Traveler’s Wife (the part where he met his mother on the train got to me), that’s about it.

Some women can cry and then look like a million bucks afterwards. Not me. My upper and lower lids swell up and look raw enough to be more at home on the ass end of a dog in heat than on my face. They stay like that for about 2 days.

So if I need to have a good cleansing cry (which is where I think this cranky feeling is heading), I’d better make sure it’s worth it. It may be time to bring out the big guns: Out of Africa. I’ve probably watched it 5 or 6 times and have never been able to get through it without what Oprah refers to as ‘the ugly cry’. Not only do I cry at the sad parts, I know the movie so well that I start to cry just before the sad parts, in anticipation.

I may be wearing sun glasses for the next few days…

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Considering that my body is pretty much a ticking time bomb, I surprise myself sometimes by not worrying more than I do. For the most part, I've just carried on living and don't spend too much time thinking about the future.

But I find it harder to push those pesky niggly little thoughts of test results aside on days when the sky is gray, as it is today. I had 2 CT scans last week: 1 of my chest and another of my abdomin. Next week I go for a bone scan.

On days like this I find my mind involuntarily asking questions. Questions like:

. The last several scans have been good, but how long will this last?
. What is the longest anyone has lived with mets to the lungs?
. How long can I manage on long-term-disability before I have to dip into my meager RRSPs?
. Should I plan another trip to Halifax to see the energy healer in Mahone Bay?
. Is crocheting in front of the TV the best use of my time, or is it therapeutic? (It's becoming a bit of an addiction - I'll post pictures later).
. Is the slight ache in my back something to be concerned about? (Probably more from poor posture while crocheting in front of the TV).
. Did the character in One Week die or was he the narrator Campbell Scott as an older man? (I thought I knew the answer but Adam & Tara saw it a different way. Now I have to see it again, which I wanted to do anyway).

While I'm on the subject of questions, here are a few of my answers to the questions asked in the One Week movie trailer:

When you get those rare moments of clarity, those flashes when the universe makes sense, you try desperately to hold on to them. They are the life boats for the darker times, when the vastness of it all, the incomprehensible nature of life is completely illusive. So the question becomes, or should have been all a long...

What would you do if you knew you only had one day, or one week, or one month to live?
While it appears that I have more than one day, one week, or one month (unless I'm hit by the proverbial bus), metastatic cancer has definately made me take yet another hard look at my life. I still hope to chip away at my bucket list, but I find myself just living, without a lot of fanfare, maybe because I never realized before this that living a simple life can be special in it's own way. It's OK to just BE.

What life boat would you grab on to?
The people in the boat with me are more important than the life boat itself. I sometimes wonder what my life would be like without the wonderful friends that have come into my life.

What secret would you tell?
Secrets? I'm pretty much an open book (which is why I'm comforable writing a blog) so there aren't too many secrets to tell.

What band would you see?
The Rolling Stones.

What person would you declare your love to?
That's easy: my son Adam, unconditionally, always and forever. (That sounds so sappy, but if you are a parent, you know where I'm coming from).

What wish would you fulfil?
When I wish on birthday candles or on a star, they are usually wishes that are out of my control: I wish a long and happy life for my son, I wish happiness & good health for my family, I wish for a quick and painless death.

What exotic locale would you fly to for coffee?
Coffee on the side of a mountain in Nepal would be wonderful. Maybe I could fit it into a tour of Cambodia, Laos & Vietnam.

What book would you write?
A book for my future grandchild(ren). I'd call it 'The Story of Amma'.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Read for a Cure

In addition to the article by Laurie Kingston in the Centretown Buzz (mentioned in an earlier post), there is a piece about Read for a Cure written by Alice McClymont and Shirley Griffioen. Scroll down to page 5 in the online version to read the article.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Army of Women

I was at the Pantry in the Glebe several weeks ago and met a young mom (33) with the cutest one year old. She also has breast cancer.

The mom's name is Daiva and she writes a blog at I read through Davia's blog and came across information about a resource called Army of Women.

Davia writes:

I finally joined the "Army of Women" today ( Their goal is to have more than a million women join their group so that they can get information on breast cancer studies and be available for research. I urge all you ladies out there to join.

Never give up hope, by Laurie Kingston

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Laurie Kingston, author of “Not Done Yet”, tells her story. This is the advice she wished she had when diagnosed.

Read the article
Laurie's blog

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Beauty of the Cause calendars have arrived!

I will be delivering calendars this week to those who preordered them. I do have extras so let me know if you would like one. All proceeds go towards the Weekend to End Breast Cancer.

The read more about the calendar, click on the label Weekend to End Breast Cancer below.

If you are a breast cancer 'thriver' and are interested in posing for next year's calendar, contact Emilie and Nancy at

The Beauty of the Cause

Friday, October 16, 2009

Canadian researchers make breast cancer breakthrough

Scientists decode breast cancer tumour's DNA
Telegraph Journal, Published Thursday October 8th, 2009

TORONTO - In a world first, Canadian scientists have decoded all three billion letters in the DNA sequence of a metastatic breast cancer tumour and identified the mutations that caused the malignancy to spread.

Read the full story

Saturday, October 10, 2009

18,790 visitors

I wrote my first post on Sunday, November 4, 2007, but didn't start tracking visitors to this blog until a year ago today. During that year the site has had visits!

Posting to this blog has allowed me to express my thoughts and fears as I've gone through cancer re-diagnosis and treatments, along with my day-to-day mundane ramblings about everything from chemo side effects to Katey the Wonder Dog.

Thank you to all of you who visit the Edge of Light on a regular basis, and to those who just check it occasionally. It is wonderful to know that I am connected to a special community of people who care.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Happy Turkey Day

Wishing everyone a happy Canadian Thanksgiving this weekend!
(No, that's not Katey, but it gives me an idea for a Halloween costume for her...)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Just Doing It

Here is a picture of the award given to the Just Doing It team at the Run for the Cure. I don't think we're supposed to all run up on the stage when we win, but we've been doing it for 9 years in a row, so why stop now?That's me in the middle wearing the bright pink jacket.

Repeat after me...

Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Run for the Cure

I intended to walk the Run for the Cure today, but I got carried away with the excitement of the crowd and started out running, probably to prove to myself that I could. I could not.

I did a combination of walking and snail running, crossing the finish line in just under 38 minutes. For those of you who don’t run, that’s an incredibly slow time, but I ended up running much more of it than I would have thought I could.

As always, I was moved by the thousands of names that participants carried on their shirts. There was a wall of hope covered in signs that said that people were running for their sister, their mother, their friend, all women, themselves.

The Just Doing It team once again took the prize for the highest amount collected by a women’s community team. Year after year this team of survivors raises money and participates in the run. Year after year more women are diagnosed. But the women on my team and the enthusiasm of the crowd continues to give me hope that eventually there will be a cure. Until then, I'll continue to run, walk and/or crawl.

~ Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.
The important thing is to not stop questioning. ~ Albert Einstein

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Julie and Julia

The movie is about food and blogging; what's not to like? It almost made me want to cook.

Well, not really.

I had Kraft dinner for dinner. Apologies to both Julie & Julia.

Although I have heard that Julia had a fondness for Costco hotdogs...

Just Doing It update

Sylvia, one of our Just Doing It co-captains, sent out this message to the team:

As of this morning we are 3rd top team nationally! What a feat given the fact that an article in the paper this morning said donations were down for this run. Congratulations!

Thank you to all of you who contributed to this achievement. Tomorrow is the big day and we plan to cross the finish line upright & smiling.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Not Leaving on a Jet Plane

Cancer sucks.

With her permission, here's a message I received from Meridy today.
Hi everyone,

I know you will all be upset to know that I have had to cancel my trip totally. Thank you for the many "bon voyage" messages. It seems I am not destined to travel at the moment. I was just starting to feel well enough to make the trip (next chemo would have been tomorrow), my appetite was improving, my taste buds were getting back to normal, and I felt stronger ...... and then I woke up during the night on Tuesday with severe lower chest pains, so it was off to emergency once again.

To make a long story short, my oncologist thought it could be a pulmonary embolism and I was tested for this yesterday afternoon in a scheduled CT scan. Fortunately, it is not a blood clot in my lungs but they are not quite sure what it is. Therefore I do not want to take the chance of getting to Europe and having a blood clot show up in my abdomen or somewhere and not be able to fly back to Canada. The pain in my midriff would also make sitting on a plane uncomfortable and I don't want to spend the entire holiday on pain killers.

As you can imagine, I am very disappointed but cannot dwell on it. I have spent the morning cancelling the reservations and have at least been able to get my Aeropoints reinstated, and some money reimbursed for the cruise as I had taken out extra insurance. Fortunately this happened before I left and not while I was away. The oncologist has agreed that I can still have a little break from chemo, but I may have to start on another one because the tumours are not shrinking and so this one is not working. I felt quite confident that it was as the pain on the liver side of my midriff was diminishing, I had thought. It is possible that the new pain on the left hand side is referred along the diaphragm. It seems as if at the moment the cancer is winning the battle; certainly it is having a huge effect on my life and what I can and can't do.

I will spend the next week enjoying myself here in Ottawa - seeing friends, perhaps eating out, and going to movies. If I plan another trip, it will be somewhere much closer to home.

Never take your health for granted. Make the most of every day. Do not put off the things you would like to do. I am copying something from my friend Chris Lynd's Blog:

And now begin to really live. No prissy, half-hearted living like you were living before. That wasn't really living, and that you doesn't exist anymore. No putting off dreams until tomorrow. Carpe diem. Carpe diem. Carpe that diem now.

Go live your life. Become who you know you're supposed to be. No holding back this time.

In the words of Walt Whitman, "Now voyager, sail thou forth to seek and find."

And don't you dare say it's too late. If you're reading this, it's not too late. It's only too late for the people who didn't wake up this morning.

Live out loud. Be outrageous. Love fiercely. Laugh and cry at the sheer beauty of it all. And thank whatever god you believe in that you have another chance to get it right.

Every day, you get another chance.

All the best,

Update on Just Doing It

Our team has raised $17,649 so far and my piece of that is $2,630. Only a few more days to go. (Thank you to "anonymous" for your donation).

Today was the 100 Man Run. We had a police escort from the police station through downtown Ottawa to City Hall. It was a great warmup for the event on Sunday.I think I would make a good motorcycle cop, don't you?

It's not too late to sponsor Just Doing It (all breast cancer 'thrivers') at Just Doing It.