Tuesday, October 15, 2019

HaPpY ThaNKsGivIng

I am so thankful.

So very thankful.

That I didn't amputate my arm on Thursday night.

Pain level had made it's way to 10/10 and I was so done with it.

Earlier that day I'd been to my doc's for an emergency visit. Because, uh. PAIN. I was unable to move my left arm. For serious. NO MOVEMENT AT ALL.

Dr. M had me stand and lift my arm out to the side. I was able to lift it one inch away from my hip and then I couldn't breathe. He asked me to move it forward and again, just an inch. My arm was stuck. And the pain was radiating out in throbs and bolts.

He pressed on my AC joint and said, "Does this hurt?"
Me: "Yes." "I mean, YES."

He: OK, what'll I do is inject some local freezing into the joint, which'll stop the pain for now and allow you to move again. Then I'll inject that same joint with cortisone, and you'll be right as rain.

Me, as he's injecting freezing into the pointy joint (right on the top of my shoulder): Alright. OW. That stings.

Him: Let's give it a minute and you should be able to swing your arms around like this. (He swings his arms around.)

Me, after 2 minutes: I can't move.

Him: Hmmm. Maybe it's a different joint. Does this hurt? (As he presses his thumb into a joint on my shoulder blade).

Me: Hell yeah. OWWWW.

Him: OK, I'll just put this freezing into this joint back here and th

Me: OW OW OW OW OW. Hey. I'd rather have another tumor removed that have you poking needles into that joint OWWWWWWWW

Him: Ok, Just about finished, you should feel fi

Me: I can't hear you. And the room is going all white and sparkly...

Him: We need to lie you downnnn

I came to, lying on the examining table, with a shoulder that was freaking out in pain. I felt like throwing up.

Him: OK. We won't do that again. Here's a requisition for Xrays. Let's see what's going on in there. Maybe arthritis?

Me: My shoulder hurts.

Him: I know. It's a shame.

Also me: Dear God. Please not arthritis. I've seen close up what arthritis is like, and I would prefer not to go down that road. Thank you for considering this request. Amen. (I've lived with my mom for 6 years, and her constant arthritic pain has decreased her mobility drastically. If this is the level of pain she's been enduring daily I don't know how she functions.)

I went for X-rays and was told it could take up to two weeks to get the results over to my doctor (who's office is right across the parking lot...) but this is my life these days: appointments, procedures and waiting for results. While trying to work full-time.

By midnight that night, I was sobbing. Wailing. The act of breathing was making my shoulder move into and outof the socket. The beats of my heart coincided with the throbs shooting down my arm. I was in distress. And I would never be able to lift my grandchild out of it's crib. I would never be able to put my hair in a pony tail again. I would never be able to go for a walk, holding my camera in one hand and my phone in the other. I was trying to think of how I could be thankful in the moment. And all I could say was THANK YOU GOD THAT THIS ISN'T MY RIGHT SHOULDER. Or my hip. Or my knee. I guessss I could live without a left shoulder...

On a hunch I opened my laptop and googled for info. I have not done this since being diagnosed with breast cancer, but I needed more info. Was there a chance that this was a side-effect of the medication I was on? The things I was warned about pertained to menopausal issues (hot flashes etc); no one said anything about joint pain.

And yet, there it was. Possible side effect #4 - BONE AND JOINT PAIN. I didn't think any of my kids were still awake, or how many actually pray, but I put a message on our family chat asking them to pray for me. THAT'S how badly I was hurting.

ANYWAY, I obvs survived. Pain levels subsided through the night; I went to work on Friday with a 4/10. It was totally manageable.

The office closed at 2 pm, so I drove to Kits Beach to walk around/look at fall foliage (HA! There was hardly any) and to watch the sunset (HA! I it was grey and dark.) Joke was on me.

At one point I sat on a bench (below) and started making a Things I'm Thankful For list. Top item being that the pain was down to a 3. While I sat there, looking at the ocean, my phone kept pinging. Friends. Randomly asking me to pray. For a grandson. For a daughter. For their kids.

So I did.
Just sat n prayed.
It was a lovely way to spend an unexpected afternoon off.

By Saturday, when the kids came for Thanksgiving Dinner at 7:30 pm, pain was down to a 2/10. And I could move my shoulder. Still very limited motion, but I could brush my hair, lift a ham into the oven, make a meal and set the table with both arms.

I asked the kids if they all could wear pink, and I'd take a family pic to post on WEAR PINK DAY (Oct 25). Clint complied. Max's black hoodie had some pink design elements on it. Drew said no; he had a cold.
I'll try again next October.


Cancer was so yesterday.

The advantage of having Thanksgiving Dinner on Saturday night, is that the rest of the weekend is free. The disadvantage of having it on Saturday night is everyone is tired. Dani had worked all day; Drew was sick, Max was getting sick, and Clint was suffering from jet-lag from his recent trip to Thailand. So by the time I'd cleaned the kitchen/done the dishes and joined them in the living room, they were finished with this day of giving thanks. Clint and Max left, Drew and Dani went downstairs. (They were staying for night, because...)

At 3:30 am, I drove Drew and Dani to the airport. They were off to California for a week.

I got back at 5 am,  then slept til noon.



It's Drew and Dani's anniversary this week; and as mentioned, they're spending it in California. First couple days in Disneyland then over to Palms Springs to stay with friends.

Drew's surprise anniversary gift for his girl?

Was to arrange for her sisters to do Disney with them. Austin's been in Australia for the past year and was going to come home 'sometime this month'... Drew suggested that she have a stopover in LA, arriving at their hotel a few hours before they'd get there. And he arranged for Cassie to be ON THE SAME FLIGHT (as him and Dani) but he kept Dani distracted so she wouldn't notice. Because Cassie just had a carry-on, she didn't have to wait in baggage claim so she beat them to the hotel as well.

The thing is, Austin and Cassie have never been to Disneyland.

And we all know how very very awesome it is introducing someONE you love to some PLACE you love.

So this was kinda a big deal for these Disney-loving sisters.
And I was proud that my boy knew this. And made it happen.

In case you're not Instragram followers of any of their accounts, there are 48 hours of posts filled with smiling girls at the Happiest Place on Earth. Drew follows them around and takes pics.

Happy Third Anniversary, you two. xoxoxo


While the youngin's were playing in the California sunshine on Thanksgiving Sunday, I was walking the Vedder in Chilliwack. Almost the same level of fun. (With the right attitude.)

I wandered the Rotary Trail, caught some Pokemon, watched the fishermen, counted my steps, (10,000 Yay me), photographed the sunset and prayed for my fam ... allinall, not a bad way to spend the day.

Not many folks walking the trail on Thanksgiving Sunday at suppertime. :)

I got to the lake at around 8pm , where Clint was making dinner.

(Insert big smiley face emoji here. Disproportionate amount of meat in this meal.)

Thanksgiving Monday was completely laid back.
I did a bit of deck clean up, some laundry, made a meal:

(Kraft dinner. One box for each of us.)
And as he ate his, he was groaning with delight.

Macaroni and cheese for the win. #momknows

We walked along the trail beside Frosst Creek and talked ...

about his upcoming trip to Uganda and my upcoming rendezvous with a radiation machine.

He wonders about my career plans. And general health plans.

I wonder if he can sustain his current lifestyle; he's involved in three businesses and burning that candle at both ends.

He went for a 10K run, and I walked for another 2.

And then it was over.
Thanksgiving 2019 In The Bag.

(Meanwhile Max had been suffering. Sick in Surrey. Flat in bed all weekend with a fever. )

Things I'm Thankful For:

  1. My shoulder doesn't hurt as much anymore.
  2. It's my left shoulder.
  3. Max is starting to feel better.
  4. Leftover ham.
  5. Leftover turkey.
  6. NO rain this weekend. (At least not while I was awake...)
  7. Trees that change into their autumn wardrobe before getting naked for winter.
  8. Unexpected sunsets over rivers. First time seeing one that brilliant on the Vedder.
  9. Fall afternoons at the beach. Such a different vibe than summer afternoons at the beach.
  10. Airport runs to drop off and/or pick up my kids.
  11. GPS
  12. The Global Leadership Summit is THIS WEEK. I love that conference. 
  13. My team at work. Love working with those creatives. (And Frenchies.)
  14. Upcoming days with good plans.
  15. Upcoming days with no plans.
  16. Relaxing time at lake with my boy.
  17. Good books.
  18. Answered prayer. Especially the one where I was pleading, please make this pain stop.
  19. Full moons that take your breath away.
  20. Surprise gifts ... on my desk at work.


Wednesday, October 9, 2019

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Of course, it's personal this year.
And to be honest, I've never noticed it in the past.
I didn't know anyone who'd had breast cancer, so it didn't really touch me.

Coincidentally, Oct 1, (the day that ushered in Breast Cancer Awareness Month) was also the day that I went to the cancer clinic for the first time. Thus far in this journey I've been looked after by Breast People. But their work is done. So I've been moved over to a different set of specialists in a different building with different equipment.

I am pretty comfortable at the Jimmy Pattison (Surgical Centre). I know my way around, and nothing is too scary. But the cancer clinic is a whole new bowling game. I go by myself, then text my kids from Clinic D at the end of the long hallway. "Shit feels real today." Even though I've been living with this diagnosis for exactly two months, the results from my September surgery have me thinking mostly happy, I'm OK, thoughts. But on Oct 1? In that waiting room? With all the cancer posters and cancer materials, surrounded by pairs of people, (one of whom has cancer), I am overwhelmed.

I spend half an hour filling out forms. Medical, cancer, psychological forms.

My history. And my feelings. What emotions am I struggling with? What are my biggest worries? How is my family handling it all? On a scale of 1 -10, how depressed am I? How anxious am I? And so on.

I am ushered into a private examining room, and an oncologist comes in to chat with me. It's another lady doctor. Which is lovely. I've only had male doctors my whole life and I've been totally fine with that. But for this breasty cancery thingy? I've only been felt up by professional women and it's been good.

Her first words to me are, "I'm the doctor who determines which drugs you should be on. I'll tell you straight up, you won't be needing chemo." She says other words as well, but I don't hear them. I am just saying over and over again, in my head, "Thank you God." This is probably why they suggest you bring someone with you to appointments. To be attentive.

She explains things about my particular cancer... and how it feeds on estrogen.
And how my tumor was at the very beginning edge of Stage One. (Meaning it was caught VERY VERY early. YAY for feeling it myself and having mammograms every year.)

So I'll just take a minute right here, right now, and YELL AT YOU IN ALL CAPS:

Anyway, back to the estrogen.
Mine needs to be blocked so that any rogue cancer cells (likely none floating around, but just in case ...) can't attach themselves to it and grow into a Pokemon.

So I'll be on a drug therapy for five years.
And she goes over all the side effects. Those that are typical and those that are rare.
I don't like any of them.

She does a physical exam and notes the divot of tissue removed from my left breast.
"Hmmm. That's quite a bit of tissue loss. How do you feel about yourself?"

"Uh, well. I haven't observed myself lying on back like this. When I'm upright, and they're inside a push-up bra, it's not that noticeable."

"Ok. But if you want to talk to someone..."

"To be honest, in the past 20 years there's been a grand total of 4 of us seeing these girls. You, me, my doctor and the surgeon. I don't expect that to change anytime soon. I think I'm OK."

She arranges for me to meet with the cancer clinic's pharmacist the following day and gives me a requisition for more blood work, also to be done the following day. An appointment is made for me to meet with a radiologist (in a few weeks) to set up the radiation treatments, and another appointment to meet with a physiotherapist about my arm movement. And then someone from the Breast Cancer research centre comes in to talk to me about allowing them access to my already-removed tissue so they can continue researching.

Know what?
It was a lot to process.
And my heart is heavy even tho my brain is glad.

I have THE BEST POSSIBLE results from the surgery. I'm having the best possible treatment plan available. Whoo Hoo. YAY me. Thank you Jesus. Etc.

B U T ...
According to my cancer card, 32,000 people have been diagnosed with cancer this year in Surrey. And I bet most of them have way more to deal with than I do. And I feel like a fake. As I walk out of that centre, past all those people, I am embarrassed with my very good fortune.

The swirling emotions are exhausting.
Plus I hadn't slept the night before. At all.

Which is rare for me. Typically insomnia isn't an issue.
But that night before that appointment was a long one.

I get back to my mom's place around noon and go straight to bed.
Because I am so done with the thinking.

My over-riding emotion SHOULD have been glee and gratefulness. But those happy feelings were being shoved aside because of embarrassment ("yikes, I've made a big deal about nothing. This is nothing. I just had a little lump removed. I shouldn't have said anything") and shame (I am a fake. This isn't really cancer. Those other people in the clinic have the real disease. Their lives have been turned upside down. Mine has been inconvenienced for a couple weeks").

After sleeping for a few hours, I went to one of my (seemingly endless supply of) happy places.
The seawall. With a friend.
To walk.

And catch Pokemon.

It was magical.

There was a guy making bubbles.

And God was making a sunset.

And a neon sign was making me think.

And some pirates were making sparks on their shady boat.

Nothing like fresh air to make you breathe deeply.
I am still embarrassed and ashamed and so very sorry for people who met with their cancer doctors on October 1 and told they DO have to have chemo, or more surgery, or they have to get their affairs in order.

I can't bear to think about it.
How did I get so lucky?
How is this so easy for me?

I get back home and go online to download Breast Cancer Awareness images to post to my social media accounts. I am lucky because of early detection. I found that lump and had it looked at immediately. I have regular mammograms. And they detected 'suspicious cells', so I was alert to the possibility. So, if I am going to be embarrassed by my good fortune, the least I can do is encourage others to be vigilant too.

Trouble is, once you start snooping around on the internet, you see and read things.
And you know how, say, you get involved in a car accident, and you handle the whole incident like a pro, sharing info, calling 911 to get an ambulance for the other driver who caused the accident and has sore arms, making sure all 8 kids in the back of your van are OK, and then, HOURS later you break down because HOLY CRAP THAT COULD'VE BEEN HORRIFIC?

Yeah, this (reading breast cancer stories/seeing the photos of breast-less chests) was like that (HOLY CRAP THIS COULD'VE BEEN SO MUCH WORSE). I could barely breathe.

I didn't sleep much better that night.

In the morning I go back to the cancer clinic to meet with the pharmacist about my medication. I am taken into a small windowless room, to a table with 4 chairs.

"Do you have anyone with you? They're welcome to join us. Sometimes this is all hard to process..."

I've got my notebook and pen, plus all the sheets of info about this drug, already with me. I am informed.

"No, just me. I'll be fine."

She goes over all the things. And I'm now VERY WELL informed.
And not much of a fan.

I get three months worth of lil white pills and head over to the blood place to get a million vials of life juice drawn. And it's only then. THEN. With my head turned away from the nurse, THEN, with the needle in my arm and 2 of 12 vials done, THEN when I'm holding on with my last bit of strength, that Sarah McLoughlin's song, In the Arms of an Angel, comes on. And I stop being brave. I just let the tears overflow.

"Oh! Are you OK?"

My head is bowed. My hair is covering most of my face. And I'm turned away from her. BUT SHE KNEW. Those nurses are sneaky.

"Yeah. This song, man."

"Oh, OK then."

And then I drove over to work.
My first day back.

I had 1605 emails and a couple dozen friends in the building waiting for me.
It was harder than I anticipated.

I met a friend in Fort Langley in the evening to walk and talk and eat at Wendell's outside on the patio and it felt like I was in Europe because I have a very strong imagination.

And on Thursday I went back to work. FOR A WHOLE DAY.
For eight hours I needed to be alert and think and not nap.

And afterwards I walked from Olympic Village to Granville Island and back again (10,369 steps) with a friend because I need to exhaust myself. And I need to not be fat. And we had many words to say. And the evening weather was mild and wonderful.

Back to work on Friday.
And this is like, it?
I'm right back to my old self?
Working all day. Hanging out with friends every evening?
Like nothing happened?
I'm the same old me, with a few scars?
What was that all about?
I still think the same thoughts. Still work the same job. Still pray about the same things. Still bugged by the same issues. Still long for the same fantasies. Still live in the same place. Still ... me? Me who can't live her left arm very well. And has a tender arm pit. And can't seem to get into bed before midnight?

Shouldn't I be a different person?
Or maybe not. I didn't 'really' have cancer. I had a fake version of it.
Or something.

I had dinner with a friend on Friday night. She'd made me a chicken/turkey pot pie. And then we visited while she made cinnamon buns. And just before I left? She played for me.

Pro tip: if you're building a friendship circle, be sure to add a baking musician to your group.

Thus far I hadn't taken a pill.
If the side-effects were going to mess with my body, like just the thought of them was messing with my head, I decided I'd give my body the weekend to get used to them. So Friday night, at midnight, I took my first bit of pharmaceutical therapy .

I woke up about eleventy million times during the night, but fell into a deep sleep around 9 am.
I operate on India's time zone.

I do my laundry and go to church in the evening, obsessively feeling my legs for blood clots, ready to head to emergency if one appears. I drive out to the lake afterwards, looking forward to blogging and image editing. Sadly I'd forgotten my power cord so only have about two hours of power.  So I connect my external DVD player to my adapter and plug it into my laptop which is joined via another adapter to my extra (large) monitor with plans to watch one of my British DVD's. BUT NOTHING WORKS. I trouble-shoot, unplug, then replug in everything, turn everything off, then back on again, search online for support, remove/uninstall the drivers and apps then re-install them all. I can't get anything to work.

At midnight I give up, have a bath, take another cancer-preventing, hot-flash-inducing pill and snuggle into bed with my Kindle to read book #15 in the Penny Louise series waiting to catch on fire and for a blood clot to form.

I fall asleep around 5 am.

Seriously. What. Is. This. Nonsense?
Am I ever going sleep like a normal person?

On my way back to Surrey I stop at Nando's for a salad. With lemon-herb chicken. And read my Brene Brown book about 'belonging' and 'having courage to stand alone'. And at 8 :13 pm, I'm walking around the neighbourhood with Heather, being brave by wandering through the park where two drug dealers were shot just a month ago.

Just before I go to bed, I poke around online and see that there was a huge city-wide Breast Cancer walk earlier that day. I didn't walk. I didn't even know about it. I didn't try to raise funds. I didn't wear pink. I didn't support this in any way.

I suck at this.
x 1000

I download a Canadian infographic and the stats make me feel things. AGAIN.
I bounce back and forth from forgetting that I have a thing, to being overwhelmed by all the scary things that happen to other women who got the same diagnosis.

In 2016: 25,700 new cases of breast cancer, and 4,900 women DIED from it.

Women are DYING from this cancer and I'm worried about blood clots, hair loss, extreme internal temperatures and radioactive skin.
I can't even feel grateful because I feel so guilty.

Why am I so lucky?
Early detection?
Superior breast cancer procedures, equipment and funding in BC?
Boatloads of love and support?
Praying friends and family?
God has more things for me experience in this lifetime?

Please, please, please look after your boobs.
Feel, check, touch, hold them. If anything seems strange, go talk to your doc. YOU ARE NOT WASTING HIS TIME.
And book a mammogram today. Yeah, it's a bit of a squeeze. But it only lasts a few seconds. YOU CAN DO THIS.

Wear pink on Wed Oct 25. 
It's a thing.
Take a pic of you wearing a pink thing and make it your profile pic on Facebook.
Because this is a thing.

Three things to be thankful for:

1. Five days and no blood clot.
2. I own a pink top.
3. I got to pick up Clint and Sean from the airport on Monday night. (Returning from their one week work trip to Thailand). I love doing airport runs for my kids.
4. I get to take Drew and Dani to the airport on Sunday. (Off to Cali to be with their friends in Palm Springs.)
5. Max gets to travel this fall too. (Probs Hawaii. I'm so happy for him.)
6. I found out it WASN'T me; it was the external DVD player. After just 6 months it's stopped working. Which is annoying on one hand, but also a bit of relief to know that it wasn't something that I should've been able to fix/figure out.
7. Spectacular cloudy sunsets this week.
8. Friends who're keeping in touch/loving me.
9. A mom who has let me sleep in her basement for six years.
10. God has a plan for my life. And it's a good one.

Monday, September 30, 2019

Goodbye September

A month filled with healing, hoping, walking, eating and reading.
And sleeping.
Holy cow.
I've been making up for a lifetime of 6 hour night-sleeps.
Twelve hours Every. Single. Night.
Starting at, like, 2 am.
Which is NUTS.

I start work again this week; so it's gonna be a mighty gargantuan-sized adjustment getting up before noon.
I suck at adulting.

While I've been waiting for my next appointment in this season of waiting, I've been filling my days with and without people.

(I know I should be ecstatic/grateful/relieved. News that the cancer hadn't spread was an answer to prayer. I know that. I know that in my head; it's my heart that's taking awhile to process it all. I've mostly just felt numb. I'm having a hard time sorting through the emotions. It's like I'm living a bubble-wrapped life right now, protecting myself from possible bad news. While at the same time, feeling guilty that I (seemingly) have had the easiest time imaginable with a cancer diagnosis. People die from this disease; I have two scars on a body part that no one sees. I'm struggling with embarrassment... why did I share my story? Did I make a big deal about something that's NBD? Have I hogged All The Prayers? Are there a million more pressing things that my friends and family could've been praying for these past two months? And what about the other August First Ladies? Do they have as much love and support surrounding them? Are they whizzing through their appointments and procedures like I am - or are they experiencing complications and setbacks? I guess my biggest struggle is dealing with how lucky I've been. And why I should be so blessed. And super grateful that I live in BC where we have the best breast cancer services in all of Canada.

Basically, what I'm saying, is thank you. And this is weird.)


It was Terry's birthday, so we celebrated (on Sept 19) in our usual way. With food and conversation.
(I didn't get the 'wear a black top' memo.)

And after changing dates TWICE with the Bard on the Beach people, we finally got to see The Taming of the Shrew on Sept 20, it's closing weekend...

How many blondes does it take to pay for parking? :)

It was a g r e a t evening; and Christine's first time at Bard.
Which always makes everything better.
New goal. Take people to places they've never been before.
Re-live the wonder and joy through their eyes.

On Saturday, I found a new-to-me neighbourhood trail to walk around.
I'm averaging about 5,000 steps per walk. And come back home drenched in sweat.
Everything is such an effort these days.
(Except eating. That remains a remarkably easy activity.)

Another thing that remains 'easy' is attending church on Saturday evening.
I am loving the fall series on Romans. We're camped out in Romans 12 right now, and from the all the underlines and notes in my Bible, it's not a surprise that I'm enjoying the sermons.  Over the course of my life, I've obvs spent some time in this chapter. Everything just seem so very applicable to my life right now. I feel like I'm being equipped for the road ahead.

You should listen too. At home, if the whole church thing is hard for you: Click here.

On Sunday, Heather and I wandered through Fort Langley, catching Pokemon and getting caught in an unexpected downpour. Feels like summer is really  truly good and over. Dismal weather for the next 9 months.

Way back in June, at the start of the summer, my goal was to get to level 38 by the end of the summer:

YAY me.
If you have a list of 50 goals for a season, make sure you prioritize them well.

  1. ❎Make summer playlist. Might need help. Ask Facebook hive for recommendations. NOT DONE. 
  2. ✅Have pretty feet all summer.  ⬜Pedicure - July  ⬜Pedicure - August WELL, they looked ok in July. They were a mess in August. But I had a pedicure (with no polish) just before surgery so that my heels would be soft. So there's that. 
  3. ✅Go to dentist a million times. ⬜Get tooth #1 capped. ⬜Get tooth #2 capped Both teeth are done. Just paid for them. Such a fun summer activity.
  4. ✅Replace/upgrade phone AND GET A SEXY PHONE CASE THIS TIME SO DONE. Went from an iPhone 6 to an iPhone 8, (PHONE WAS FREEEE) got 4 times the data, and 4 times the storage for $5 less per month. The phone matches my laptop. Rose gold on one side, white on the other. All housed in a (boring, but feminine pink) Otterbox case. 
  5. ❎Download a yoga/stretching app (or find something suitable on Netflix?) Wishing I'd tried harder with this. My body is so stiff and unbendy. 
  6. ✅Read all of Louise Penny's books - Books 3 - 16 Starting book 15 tonight. Didn't get them ALL done this summer, but I did read 14 books in three months; I'm OK with that.
  7. ❎Empty Master Bedroom closet at the lake This will keep. Hoping to get it done this fall. 
  8. ✅Sort through my bedroom closet in the basement Yay.
  9. ✅Take all resulting bags (of cleaning out closets) to Thrift Store (before Fall) Yup.
  10. ✅Bring contents of Under-the-Stairs closet upstairs for mom to sort through YESSSSSSsss
  11. ✅See Spiderman movie with kids Saw Lion King with the kids and Spiderman with Jenn. Both great movies. 
  12. ✅Level up in Pokemon Go (Level 38) Nothing like having meaningful goals. 
  13. ❎Buy new runners Old ones still work fine. 
  14. ✅Buy new shoes for work Done. I don't want to step foot into the mall again this summer.
  15. ✅Attend NT Wright event (July 24) SO good. 
  16. ❎Temporarily suspend gym membership.Walk 50,000 steps each week of summer. 12 weeks: FAILED miserably with this. 
  17. ✅Learn a new skill (?) DONE? I know how to age someone. And glam someone. That's a skill, no?
  18. ✅Get camera repaired. DONE! $500 later, it's back in my hands. I missed it.
  19. ✅Plan, prepare, offer a Basecamp 3 training session at work DONE. Twice. 
  20. ✅Lead devos once Done.
  21. ✅Do not accept/use a single plastic bag when shopping for groceries. Enter stores prepared. I've improved about 50%.
  22. ❎Think about trying Whole 30. In August. But don't beat yourself up if this doesn't happen. It sounds awful
  23. ❎Tackle the filing at work. Maybe do this in 4 efforts. File for two hours ⬜⬜⬜⬜ Turned out, this wasn't a priority.
  24. ✅Read bookclub book: The Eyre Affair
  25. ❎Walk in 8 different neighbourhoods. Drop off books in a shared library stand. 
  26. ✅Take 5 sunny days off work (unused vacation days) Go to a different beach each time. Ended up staying at Cultus on those vacation days.
  27. ❎Try kayaking. Or not. Not.
  28. ❎Watch the sun set from the lookout/viewpoint on Cypress Mountain
  29. ❎Talk to someone smart about trees, specifically about the ones in front of the house at Cultus. This DOES need attention so it'll go onto my yet-to-be created Fall To Do List. 
  30. ✅Go to Bard on the Beach or Theatre Under the Stars YUP
  31. ✅Ride the Roller Coaster at Playland. Did the Ferris Wheel instead. 
  32. ✅Make some decisions about May 2020 trip with kids We decided to wait til after I know what course of treatment I'll be facing before buying flight tickets. 
  33. ✅Move furniture into alcove in basement. DONE
  34. ✅Celebrate July birthdays DONE. 
    35. ✅Celebrate August birthdays DONE

    36. ✅Read a Brene' Brown book Part way through TWO BB books. Dare to Lead and Braving the Wilderness

    37. ❎Try blogging 3 Things I'm Thankful For five times a week? WHOA, major fail. 

    38. ✅Attend a White Rock FREE CONCERT night. Bring lawnchairs and a friend; watch the sunset, listen to cover bands. DONE

    39. ✅See Louise Penny at the end of the summer. DONE

   40. ✅Do a few photo shoots in front of grafitti'd/mural-ed walls in Vancouver. JUST DID ONE. Maybe some more this fall? 

41. ✅Make appointment to have moles removed from back. DONE 

42. ✅Get suspicious lump removed from left boob. (Biopsy results came back last week. Betty's gotta go. Odds are in my favor; 90/10. So I'm only 10% worried.) Turned out to be cancer. Haha. Jokes on me. 

43. ❎Go for a ride on that lil boat on the Fraser River in New West. 😭

44. ❎Is there still an umbrella art installation in Yaletown? I want to go there and take pics. 😭

45. ✅Be ready and available for an unexpected opportunity.

46. ✅Put away my Christmas decorations. HOW EMBARRASSING. Haha. My display is still up. I hardly even notice it. DONE

47. ❎Buy colourful pillows for my very white room at the lake.  A definite Fall To Do

48. ✅Go on a picnic. Thankful to Shelly for making this happen.

49. ❎Listen to a sermon series/Back to the Bible series. 

50. ❎Find a new eyebrow threading place.

Final score: 33/50
A passing grade.
Not bad. Considering.

Anyway, on Monday, with wet weather looming, Maxine and I wandered through the community gardens at Crescent Beach. On our way, we stopped at 'the best bakery ever' to get bread. I WILL BE BACK.

I do love eating.
Pity I don't crave celery.
Or kale.

My new hobby, turns out, is walking through community gardens. This is the third one I've explored this summer, and it was by far the largest and most impressive. Apparently the plots are $50 per year and renters tend to hang onto their plots for DECADES.

If I were ever to have a garden, it would have tomatoes.

It would probably only have tomatoes.

Back at Maxine's, she and her girls made dinner.
I contributed by setting the table.

Chicken veg soup and grilled cheese sandwiches

When you are thinking about expanding your friendship circle, be sure to include someone who loves to cook. Because evenings spent in their kitchens are warm and rich and delicious. So. Much. Yum.
And. So. Much. Love.

So Much Love...

Thank you, Sue, for the beef and gravy. Thank you Hildegarde for the chocolates.
And thank you Julie, for looking after my head on Tuesday morning.
I desperately needed a cut:

My pony tail is more like a perky spray of water from a whale's spout and less like a limp handful of macrame jute now.

Turns out? Cancer causes grey hair.
(Jule very gently let me know how much it'd changed since my last cut at the end of May.)
I'm well on my way to being old.
My goal is to do it graciously, (shrugs shoulders), whatever that means.

That evening I met Marg and Patty at the White Spot for dinner/movie ...
(Thank you, Marg, for the prezzies.)

It was a bit slow.
Wait til it comes on Netflix is my advice.

Yes, I know.
I totally know how lucky I am to have a rich life full of friends and family.
I know.
And am so very very grateful.

On Wednesday, I visited my boy at his new office space.
He used to work near Olympic Village, so I could pop by his office when I went for a seawall walk. But now he's in Burnaby.
A million times more square footage, including an industrial kitchen, walk-in-freezer rooms and a studio.


To avoid rush hour on the freeway, (230 logging trucks were sharing the highway with me)

I parked my butt at a Starbucks, wrote out some thank you cards, caught a few Pokemon, ate some rockets and finished reading another book. I really, really could get used to being retired/unemployed...

... then I drove out to Cultus, where I've been living for the past five days. Doing more of the same; reading, walking, sleeeeeping, praying, watching Netflix and waiting.

I'll be back at work on Wednesday.
And hoping to hear, soon, what my next steps are re: treatment.

Thanks for journeying along with me. Sorry I've been kinda stupid about this all.

Please pray for Trish's mom; she's waiting for an appointment with the cancer clinic as well. I'm not sure if she's an August First Lady, but her and I are on the exact same time schedule. Really hoping we just have radiation in our future.
Also? Please keep praying for Tessa; she now has a surgery date. Her kidney will be removed on the 21st of October.
Plus? Cam's brother. He was just diagnosed with hodgkins lymphoma.
And? Pleeeeze pray for my boy, who's flying to Thailand right now.

Speaking of my boy, the other evening he sent me a link to a podcast, saying there was a nice surprise at the end. The podcast is called MAN (it's a conversation about masculinity) and the surprise was a brief interview with Brendan ; one of my kids' friends from Murrayville days. In general, the podcast made me feel sad for young men. My takeaway was that guys need male friendships as well as mentors. Referenced in the podcast was a documentary that I also listened to. If you love a young man, have a listen. And maybe pray for this generation?

The podcast is here.
The documentary:

While looking for that documentary on Netflix, I was directed to a different show. MissRepresentation. It's about the struggle young WOMEN are having with self image. Ugggh. Filters and Photoshop are messing with our concept of beauty. Magazine ads and instragram posts are causing women to feel less than. My takeaway? Spend less time looking at faces online and more time looking at the real life faces of people who love you.

(The sound is reallllly quiet. I'd recommend watching this one on Netflix.)


Three Things I'm Thankful for:

1. Prayers (not related to my health), being answered. Sunday was that day.
2. Legs that like moving. (About 5000 steps a day.) Although I DID 8,000 yesterday. Improvement!
3. Surgical scars that are healing. WHOA. That surgeon did crazy tiny stitches. (Surgical tape JUST fell off last night so I had a good look.)
4. The permission to have baths again. BEST part of staying at the lake; The Bathtub.
5. The sound of rain pelting on this flat roof. #soundofmusic
6. The lake. The river. The mountains.
7. One month to heal. So glad I had September to laze around while my body knit itself back together.
8. Today is Sept 30. Last day of the month. The sun is out, the sky is blue, the winds have finally stopped. I'm blogging from the lawn at the lake, listening to woodpeckers bang away on the metal flashing, getting dive bombed by crazy lady bugs, feeling content, trying not to think about the 1547 emails in my work account, wondering about Clint's week ahead, concerned about this generation's young men and women and figuring out what to do with the information I've just listened to. Just so very thankful for THIS day.

Shalom, friends,