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,


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