With A Little Help From My Friends

A quick check-in with some updates!

Above is an iPhone dump of photos so you can see what’s been going on the last few months in my world. September & October were dominated by my fundraiser, Turning the Page on Cancer. At first I thought it would be the same as being a team lead at Run for the Cure, but when you factor in the emails, questions, marketing, social media, etc. - it was no joke! For Turning the Page, you would commit to reading for a minimum of 8 hours in October, asking for pledges that would go toward Metastatic Breast Cancer through the Canadian Cancer Society. I originally had this idea when it was clear I could no longer participate in Run for the Cure (I also hate running..). I thought of how much I loved sitting at the library in my pyjamas at school, committing to reading for a full day. I wanted that experience again, a read-a-thon; with prizes for Best Snack, fun events I could totally get behind (Harry Potter trivia?!), and being able to wear my PJ’s and stay inside NOT running but instead roasting in front of my fireplace.

 I ran multiple fundraisers, received hundreds of book donations, connecting with new people and facing a huge amount of support everywhere I went. While my original goal was $5000, we ended up raising $22 218 with a team of 47 people. WOW. From my cracked phone I did all of the social media and events - but really it was thanks to all my family and friends (new & old) for their help, support, book donations; always reminding me why I was making a new trivia the day before the event because I hadn’t saved the original (ouch). I wanted to get the word out about the difference between Stage 1-3 and Stage 4 breast cancer desperately, to share what these women, myself included, were and have had to endure. To each of you that donated, participated, and spread the word - you gave me a hope for the future, gave me steady ground to walk on as I moved forward. 

After the fundraiser, there was a Harry Potter Halloween, a few book clubs, my in-laws buying an RV and taking us to test it out, a birthday trip to Montreal with my family, finding my perfect reading chair, and helping some of my best friends settle in at their new house. 

My new trial is called SYD985. It also gave me hope when I thought there were no options left, and  I’ll always raise my G&T to that. I’ll be starting it on December 4th (if my blood tests allow me too... having some low hemoglobin recently). I remember wondering, before my break in chemo, if I would ever find my motivation again. I was so tired of getting sick every morning, never feeling energetic enough to complete the simplest of tasks: making my bed, letting the dog out. When I found out I was off my last treatment, as devastated as I was, there was a part of me that breathed a sigh of relief. I needed a break. Now that I’ve had this time off I’ve come to a realization

No one gets anywhere by scrolling, they get there by doing 

I was clocking in a screen time of about 7.5 hours a day. Sure I used it for audio books and music, but it mostly came from mindless memes and time spent learning all about the Kourtney/Scott/Sofia drama and creeping influencers I will never meet, creating obscene things that I will never make, selling me things I don’t need. 

I deleted the Facebook and Instagram apps off my phone. I didn’t go on at all for the first week. My screen time was the same - expect now I had finished a book, learned about how an impeachment proceeds, watched a few movies without interruption. The week after my screen time was 2 hours less then it had been the week before. I realized I missed connecting and sharing, so I still go on but through the internet sites (which are frustrating AF, good deterrent), not the apps.

While my thoughts are clear there are the important things I need to look after and prioritize regarding my health and my future. Mainly, however, it has been a privilege to feel somewhat normal again. I know many with this disease never get that. I used to be able to only shop half of Bayshore (a shopping mall in Ottawa), only to come back and do the other half a different day; tired and out of breath. Recently I made it up a big staircase to get to my therapist’s office, something I would usually dread, not even breaking a sweat. I shopped the whole mall with Jeff. Most importantly, I feel like pursuing my hobbies again: decorating, writing, learning, listening. I often become overwhelmed - there is never enough time! 

I’ve made notes on my phone of ideas that come to me now during scans, the middle of the night, in the shower. Story ideas, quotes, images, connecting experiences together and having many a-ha! moments. I sometimes beat myself up about all the time I could have used before, but I always move forward and thank my body and able mind for granting me this time for discovery. 

What I’m Reading:
- Tin Man, Sarah Winman : 5 stars
- Know my Name, Chanel Miller : 5 stars
- Dear Girls, Ali Wong (audio) : 5 stars (very crass and rude but I unashamedly loved it)
- The Chestnut Man, Soren Sviestrup, 4 stars
- The Testaments (not finished), Margaret Atwood:  a fantastic story to accompany Handmaids Tale
- Steal Like an Artist/Show Your Work! : Austin Kleon 

What I’m Listening To:
- Jeff and I have been watching music documentaries and recently are into Woodstock. The 60’s essentials  are ruling my life right now. 
- Snoh Allehgra: “I Want You Around” and “Toronto”
- The Highwomen, The 1975, old Cat Power, new Harry Styles, Beck
- “Like it’s Christmas”: Jonas Brothers (there isn’t such a thing as guilty pleasures ok, I’m just owning it)

What I’m Watching:
- Echo in the Canyon (a music documentary, done by Bob Dylans son), Netflix
- Woodstock: Three Days that Defined a Generation, Netflix
- Lobby Baby: Seth Meyers, Netflix 
- Big Little Lies S2: HBO
- The Challenge: MTV (do I have to remind everyone on my take about guilty pleasures?)
- Bikram - Yogi, Guru, Predator: Netflix
- Unbelievable: Netflix 
- The Crown: Netflix

I got you covered ‘till Christmas, at least. I have enough time to makeup for your lack of it this holiday season, so I really feel like it’s my duty. 

I’ll tell you how my treatment goes, about my hopeful Black Friday glasses purchases, and my vintage Santa collection in my next post.



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