A Breast Cancer Year

In February 2016 I was diagnosed with locally advanced stage II breast cancer. As we gathered ourselves to meet that challenge, my spouse fell on an icy driveway, shattering her shoulder. She required major surgery on the same day as I began chemotherapy. Together - two abreast - we navigated a year of treatment and recovery. This blog collects my writing through our experience. As of June 2020, we are both recovered and thriving - grateful for each new day and the people and resources in our lives.  

Over the months of treatment, I have been writing regular emails to our extended community of friends, family and colleagues. These are collected in The Letters. I have also been writing about meeting and managing various breast cancer treatments. These reflections on treatment and my tactics/tips are gathered in On Treatment. In the Sustenance section, I share ideas for care of the self and soul, and give examples of how our community of friends, family and colleagues surrounded us in their care. I also include some Resources. The Index page lists all of the blog postings and provides an additional way of navigating the blog. To learn more about who we are, go to About Us.

"What a staggering tangle of self and mutual care the two of you have been through and come through."

"What a wonderful writer you are - sassy, funny, pragmatic, indomitable, ‎and wise."

"You are a most faithful and a most informative correspondent."

January 24, 2017

Cancer treatment (and rehabilitation for a serious shoulder injury) are gruelling. They require personal determination and grit.  It can be a real trudge at times as the novelty wears off and the long winter (or humid summer) continues. But, along the wa...

January 15, 2017

The new science of gratitude and well-being suggests that including a number of things in each day can have positive health and well-being effects. Having a positive attitude in the midst of a health challenge has helped me along the way. I've created a Daily Journal t...

January 12, 2017

First breast cancer. Then, serious shoulder surgery. Would we be open about the news or not? In the end, it was a clear choice for us: to be very open about my cancer and Angie's injury and to reach out to our community. We were in the midst of an unaccustomed level of...

January 11, 2017

Just as the daily practices that I've posted about have helped me to maintain a positive attitude, a set of weekly practices have also been useful. You can download a PDF file with the "Friday File" from the link at the bottom of this page or on the Resources page or h...

January 10, 2017

Body and mind are connected in our path back to wellness after breast cancer.

After hearing about the health benefits of meditation (a healthy brain), I began to meditate several years ago. I meditate most mornings for about 15-20 minutes (using a very simple approach)...

January 8, 2017

I found the new illness challenge overwhelming. It came as a long-term association with an organization related to my work was also concluding. I needed to create space to attend to myself and my healing. I chose to take a full medical leave. To heal on all fronts. I n...

January 5, 2017

The big "C" - what a frisson of fear it brings. Life threatening.

I found it useful to make a list of everyone I know – past and present – who have had cancer, and breast cancer in particular, noting how it turned out for them.

And, remember - cancer isn't one thing -...

November 22, 2016

As you may have noticed, we love our cat.

No secret. She even made onto ‘the cake’ at a work farewell.

She indicated what she’d liked to be called when we were lucky enough to see her in an Adopt-Me window over 19 years ago. She purred into my ear while nuzzling into my...

April 11, 2016

Until our dual challenges of cancer and injury, we had little contact with the Quebec health system and its resources. That rapidly changed! And, we have been impressed by the range of services and the quality of care offered to us. So, the message of self-care here is...

March 15, 2016

When I was first diagnosed, I received letters from a wide range of friends and colleagues – sharing their own experience.

One said “do everything the doctor tells you”; others said, “be your own advocate”. One note from a friend, a fellow breast cancer traveller convey...

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About Us

On January 22, 2016 I went for a mammogram, to confirm that a lump in my right breast was a cyst. It was. And it saved my life. Because I was overdue for my breast screening, imaging was also done on my left breast  The mammogram and ultrasound came back “highly suspicious” for breast cancer...

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