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 25, 2017

When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I had to do a crash course in getting comfortable with the fact of cancer in my life and figuring out how to be in relation to our friends, family and colleagues. I had always been deeply uncomfortable about cancer - and have al...

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...

October 31, 2016

One friend in a distant city has faithfully, every week during all my treatments and between times, sent me a different card. Inside she has written just a few lines about what she was doing that week or a thought or two. Nothing too long or deep. It was a highlight of...

September 10, 2016

Confronting mortality (and navigating a path to wellness) certainly provides an opportunity (spur) to think about the meaning of life and how to live it well.

We were blessed to receive (ecumenical) prayers and poems. Julian of Norwich and her encouragement, was often m...

August 1, 2016

The first experience upon diagnosis is shock followed by fog. Chemotherapy adds to the fog! I needed someone to be with me at appointments.

Angie doesn’t drive (an insignificant point given her multitude of other gifts and talents). I also wanted to shield her from the...

July 21, 2016

We loved receiving flowers. Bright colours. Reminders of a verdant garden. Cheerful and cheering. Reaching out over the miles to say hello and thinking of you. From local friends too. Growing the side of the road in high summer or in the garden. Here is a sampling of s...

June 20, 2016

There are times when it’s just too much to have to cook on top of everything else. Not all the time,  but sometimes. And, we had a small freezer. Several friends contributed to a ‘food tab’ at the Store run by our local, wonderful restaurant Les Fougeres. We were able...

May 30, 2016

I have a large perennial garden. Too large for me to care for during treatments. And I had plans for it: I wanted to spread it all with compost in the Spring!

A friend kindly offered to pick up bags and bags of compost (36 actually) over several trips and returned with...

May 15, 2016

Feeling that I was still connected to my communities mattered to me even if my capacity was limited.  I volunteered to take photos of club events at the golf course.

A special golf treat though was when I was invited by my golf teacher be part of a very fun golf e...

March 30, 2016

At our open house and later, through the mail, many people brought books that they thought would be helpful (on breast cancer experience; on pilgrimage during illness and transition) or which were special to them (or their favourite books).

One friend bought me the firs...

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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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