Monday, July 13, 2015


It's been a while since last I blogged. In all honesty I've been ruminating a lot, and not sharing. 

I've been struggling a fair bit lately. My chemo has gotten easier. I'm down to once every 3 weeks so that helps. So does my weight loss. I'm getting less of the drug, so I'm thinking that's a plus. We finally got my meds tweaked so the side effects are manageable. All to the good. 

I'm totally fascinated by this whole idea of being broken. And that it is only through being broken that our light, our soul, our purpose truly is revealed.  There is a Hindu goddess named Akhilandeshvari. Loosely translated it means never not broken. Not to be confused as a victim, she embraces being broken as a path to transformation and growth. It is only through being broken that we are able to distill the essence of who and what we are. Here's a link to page. There are more, but I found this most interesting 

 I see my self as broken, and I'm ok with that. It's a concept I really want to exore in my art. 

I've been reading a lot of obituaries and tributes to people who have passed due to cancer. I admit, I'm really getting tired of hearing all the warrior jargon. "Lost their courageous battle with cancer". It drives me absolutely nuts. I think I'm going to write my own obiturariy. And if any of you use that phrase or any like it, I'm gonna come back and haunt your ass. You have been warned!

In all seriousness, I'm not fighting cancer. I'd rather be defined as having LIVED a courageous life in the face of adversity. Dying is easy. Living is way, way harder and far more of an accomplishment. 

And I guess that's what I'm struggling with. Letting go of the life I had and trying to forge a new one. Change is hard, regardless of the cause. 

The rookery (yes rookery) on Iona in Scotland. These , and the few on the other side are the only trees on the island. Those are the ruins of a nunnery. Very spiritual place. I highly recommend going

Tree outside of the park Pavillion in Assinniboine Park in Winnipeg Manitoba. Connor and I flaked out under it waiting for the opening of an art show in which one of my pieces was selected for. Yay me

And the piece.  Transformation. 

This is what I want to be remembered for. LIVING my life. 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

When Being Weak is Being Strong

Good news folks.  I get to drop my chemo treatments down to once every 3 weeks.  That in itself is a minor miracle.  I'm stable.  Things aren't better, but they are not getting worse.  I am maintaining.  Which is good news. 

So why then am I not happier about this?  I am sitting here drinking my morning cup of joe, and I wonder. Why am I not happy, or content?  I don't feel like doing much, I don't want to leave the house, I have no motivation.  And realizing this, not only am I still angry, I'm depressed too.  So I have made an appointment with someone to help me deal with this, because I can't seem to do this on my own.  And that frustrates me a bit.  I'm a strong person, solid in what I am doing, and how I am dealing.  Except I'm not. 

Getting help is not a sign of weakness.  I know this. I've been to mental health a number of times over the years.  To deal with a bad break up, to make sure I am solid in why I've chosen to do something, and that I'm not being manipulated (a story for another time).  I've taken my son to get him help in dealing with his anger management issues. I believe in having a non biased source of help to deal with these things. Getting help is a good thing.

But this time it feels like I've failed.  I'm afraid to pick up a paint brush, because I don't want to see what I'll paint. I look in a mirror, and the person staring back is not me.  I am not me right now.  I am adrift. 

But not to worry, my sense of the ridiculous steps in and says...."its all the pink. You've never been fond of pink, and now its everywhere.  You are floating on a sea of pink." 

On a more positive note, I've booked an art retreat in Scotland for March, and will also get to see my crazy adventurous daughter in Belfast too.  I'm looking forward to that.  I'm also getting stuff ready for a couple of craft shows.  One here in Dauphin, and one in Rossburn. 

It is fall, my favourite time of year.  I am eagerly awaiting the release of Dragon Age Inquisition.  I've got lots of things and people to be thankful for.

I know I'll get through this one way or the other.  I always do.  With the help of my Army (previous post)  of course.  I definitely need to work on my world domination plans.  Anyone want to help me?

Monday, September 29, 2014

Feeling Like a Thunderstorm

It has been a while since I've posted.  At first, I was adjusting to the new chemo regime.  New side effects, and different responses to the same drugs.  I have become accustomed, sort of.  I was also gone for a month to the Atlantic provinces.  A last family vacation before my daughter picked up and left for her Irish adventure. 

                                         Our campsite at Cumberland Cove, PEI

In trying to come to terms with the "terminal" nature of my cancer, I've had to come to grips with a lot of different emotions and thoughts and ideas.  I've had to deal with my disease and my own mortality, and how that affects my life. 

I'm finding this time that my feelings have become polarized.  I feel a renewed sense of wonder and beauty and living in the moment: very positive.  At the same time I feel very angry.  I still feel very angry.   It is hard to reconcile the two.  And I know, with the very logical analytical and practical part of me, that I have to deal with the anger.  I think acknowledging that it is there is a good first step.  I say hello to it every day.  "Hi anger," I say, "I know you are there, lurking in the background.  I am not going to pay attention to you, other then to let you know, I know you are there."  Its almost as if in acknowledging it, I've taken away its power.  But it still lurks.  And I know at some point I will have to deal with it. 

                                     I feel like a thunderstorm most of the time

In the mean time, I am trying to get myself into a routine, and get more intentioned with my art.  To create an artistic practice.  It is not easy for me.  I live a fairly chaotic life, and fitting something that routine into my life is difficult.  Routine is a habit.  And an artistic practice is routine.  I think.

I'm also plotting my next adventure.  I get to take breaks from chemo a few times a year.  I have a couple of standing invitations.  I'm debating about visiting or taking some me time for an art retreat.  Just me.  I'm kind of leaning towards the art retreat.  I'm finding that as time goes on, I'm becoming more hermit like.  And for some reason, I like it.

Friday, January 31, 2014

My Army

Yup, you read right. I have an army. I didn't realize I had one, but I do.  World domination here I come. 

I've been feeling pretty lonely and depressed lately. It's finally starting to sink in that chemo and cancer are a fact of life for me, for the rest of my life. However long that will be. I haven't asked, and no one has said. And really, I'd rather not know. If you live in the moment, then how many moments you have is truly not relevant. The important part is to be present in every single moment you have. 

Back to my army.  My army consists of my family, my friends-whether I have met you or not-, people I work with, and my treatment team. It's a pretty big army. 

I just wanted to say thank you. I really couldn't do this with out you. You keep me positive. And positive is important. I can not say it enough so I will say it again. Thank you

Now, let us go forth and conquer!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Glorious Contradictions.

2013 was an odd year to say the least. Except it wasn't. Life is all about endings and beginnings. I think the oddness was because the beginnings and endings were... life changing....extreme. Except they weren't. 

2013 saw the loss of my mother.  But in that loss began a totally new relationship with my dad. 

2013 saw the last of the remenants of my battle with colon cancer turn to battle scars. Alas, it was only a battle and not the war: the cancer has spread and chemo is now a fact of life for me. 

My children are growing up and becoming functioning, contributing adults. That is totally wonderful and I'm so proud. And I can't, for the life of me, figure out how in the heck I managed to influence that. 

Our extended Family is growing with another niece/nephew on the way.  

2013 wasn't a bad year, it wasn't a good year. It was life!  Glorious, frustrating, happy, sad, life. A roller coaster, a fire, a nap.  I don't think I'd know what to do if it was any other way. 

Celebrate life my friends, in all it's glorious contradictions. It's what it's all about. 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Beyond the Surface

I've been brewing and stewing and thinking and contemplating. I read a blog post that a Facebook friend had shared awhile back. Some of you may have seen it already but here's the link for it. 

At first I was all good for you, but the more I read the more unsettled I became and I just couldn't put my finger on it. I also read the comments and that's when I realized what was bothering me. The idea that boys/men are not responsible for how they view girls/women. It's all on the  ladies. I am having difficulty expressing my thoughts lately, and I want to respond but I don't think I can do it in a thoughtful way because I truly believe this woman means well for her children.  So I found a response that hits the nail on the head so to speak and says what I'd like to.  Here's the article. 

I guess what I'm struggling with a bit is the whole idea of critical thinking and how our words define who we are. We are our words. It's how we communicate (I know we our actions too but usually those actions line up with what we say.)  In social interactions we rely on visual cues and tone of voice to help us interpret the words we hear. It's a package deal. But in the online world we no longer have those visual or auditory cues (unless its a video). We rely strictly on the written word. I was taught in school to think critically. To evaluate an idea or a concept or opinion based on reason.  To look beyond the surface. Part of that evaluation is using my own experience and moral compass-my filter if you will - but to always acknowledge  that filter. In reading the comments I realized there is not a lot of that critical thinking going on any more. Or realizing that it is a human being behind those words. I freely admit I don't always look beyond the surface.  

You will note in Mrs Hall's post she's edited it based on some of the comments. The surface comments. She totally missed the deeper message. I am unsure if some of those more critically thoughtful comments are still there as they don't jive with her view. 

There is so much more I could talk about with regards to the posts and critical thinking but my thoughts are scattered this morning and I can't pull them together enough. So I  encourage you to read both posts and the comments and to look beyond the surface. 

Please feel free to comment however you so choose. Maybe your viewpoint will be the focus I need gather my thoughts and continue exploring this idea. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Facts

I've never had to struggle to find words before. These past 16 months have been some of the hardest of my life. And would have been harder if not for the support and love of a few special people, including my mom.

My mom passed away Monday, April 15th. She was 64 years old and her heart just stopped working. She died as she lived: on her own terms and with my dad by her side. These are the facts.

It still doesn't seem real. I mean my brain knows she is gone. But every time I have a question or need to vent or just want to hear her voice, I can't just pick up the phone and call. And neither can the kids. These are the facts.

She died knowing everything was ok with her kids. All of us. Lives on track and headed in a positive way. She died having spent time with all her grandchildren. She died having had a full life. She died having known the love of her life for 50 years (3 days shy of the anniversary of that first date). She died having taught her children to live the lives they want and to accept nothing less. She died. These are the facts.

The truth is that all these facts don't go far enough to soothe the ache or fill the empty place. But it's a start and I know that the pain will pass. These are the facts.

I will always miss her, and that is not just a fact, but a truth.