Self Care

Talking care of myself during cancer has been an important part of my wellness approach. The posts on this theme contain my reflections and strategies. Angie was also meticulous in her rehabilitation and maintained a spirit of openness and generosity.

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 way there are milestones: the last chemo treatment, positive meetings with the orthopedic surgeon...

Even with the bigger picture uncertain and more treatment and...

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 to help me stay on track (see the links at the end of this posting or on the Resources page). The ideas I've picked up along the way are set out below, and f...

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 vulnerability, need and dependency. We didn't want to do it alone and likely could not have done so.

The idea of connecting with others is af...

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 here. This file will guide you through a process to implement the ideas discussed. 

Weekly Practices Explained

Friday File:

This ‘habit’ - of pausing at the end...

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). I've found that meditation improves my focus, clarity and attention span, and it helps to keep me calm. I'm trying meditation at night to help me get to sleep...

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 needed to focus on becoming well again - to participate in a process of eliminating the cancer and tolerating the treatments. I accepted that it was oka...

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 - everyone is diagnosed with their own variety and stage.

What was sobering is how easy it was to put a large number of names on the list. Including a number of mem...

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 neck. Persey it was (short for Persephone, giving some grandeur to purring). It was immediate love for this being who has shown herself to be gentle, playful, a...

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 to find out about and access the resources available.


The system of Local Community Health Centres (CLSC) is impressive, even if under financial pressures. I...

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 conveyed a great gift: “my offering is to stay in close touch with Brettel, as often as she wishes, regarding treatment, side-effects, strategies of coping, the roller...

March 14, 2016

One day, the humdrum concerns of work; the next day, cancer. Suddenly cast into a new system with a great deal at stake. A new team of doctors to meet. A raft of appointments and tests.  Results to assimilate. Decisions to make. Informed consent to give. Knowledge fields far from the realm of the law and education. Expenses and prescriptions to be tracked.  And, a sudden change (even loss) of identity. In response, I decided t...

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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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