Positively Grateful

“ It was pre-cancerous.”

The words just said by the doctor hang in the air within a cartoon bubble. I watch his mouth keep moving. However, his words are on mute to my ears.

When I finally tune in again, I realize he is talking in a serious doctor tone explaining that I will have to remove gluten from my diet. After years of medical treatments, yo-yo weight swings, surgeries and medications, I have been diagnosed with Celiac Disease.

I nod and took the papers he handed me. Somehow I got back to my car and buckled myself in. To say it is surreal isn’t the right word. I grab my phone to call my husband. I had promised to call when I was done. He answers on the first ring.

I stutter out the words before I realize what I am saying.

“ They caught pre-cancer.”

With the words out, I begin to cry. I babble out the words the doctor said about me having Celiac Disease, and I have to change what I eat.

The relief washes over me like a consistent tidal wave. Years of fighting with my thyroid and losing it, the weight never came off. My endo sent me for blood work, which came back positive for the disease. She then sent me to the gastro specialist who then sent me for more tests, including a colonoscopy. A procedure that was originally scheduled in 3 months time. The doc got me in sooner. I am forever grateful that he did.

We could of had a chemotherapy conversation, instead of what I can and can’t eat anymore. I was so close to history repeating itself as I was 10 when my mom died, the age of my oldest daughter now.

Cancer is all over my family history. I am the only one in my immediate family circle that hasn’t had it. AND I ALMOST HAD IT.

I meet my husband for a celebratory ‘last gluten meal’. The shock slowly wears off as perspective sinks in. I am grateful for having such a strong medical team. I am still here. I am older than my mom got to live and I don’t take that lightly.

As I break the news to friends and family, I get the pity noises. I can’t understand why changing what I eat is a bad thing? It could have been worse, I could have died from the silent killer.

I dive into what I can put on my plate. Sure, I grieve over the fast food I no longer can have anymore, but it was bad for me. It almost killed me. I didn’t lose weight quickly, but I began to love my body again. I started to feel taller. I began to not crave the junk food, but craved popcorn and avocados! My kids and husband commented how happier I seem.

Knowing what was hurting my body felt so empowering and I welcomed the solace the diagnosis gave me. My mom couldn’t change the fact that cancer took her from us. I can change what is on my plate to be here for my family. I will take that gratitude and never let it go.




5 Reasons why having a Hysterectomy was a Good Thing


Early this summer I had to go in for urgent surgery, a hysterectomy. Here is why it was the best thing for me.

Family History

For once, my family history made me a priority when my periods became erratic. I have suffered from endometriosis since I was a teen. It slowed down during my two pregnancies. Last Christmas it picked up speed painfully. It got to the point I wasn’t able to leave the house or be a present mom.

What They Found

After waiting for the best OBGYN in town for months, she sent me for test. Thankfully, I got in quickly. At that time, several fibroid tumors and one polyp was found in my uterus. Surgery was scheduled 5 weeks from the original testing date. There was no time to waste. A partial hysterectomy was scheduled quickly. (Uterus and tubes removed, ovaries were clear.)  My body took a turn for the worst fast.

Baby Factory Closed

Due to the endometriosis, I never expected to be pregnant once, let alone twice. Three doctors told me I could not conceive naturally. After meeting my girls and seeing my youngest go through her challenges with autism, my baby factory is closed. I am at peace with that. If I ever feel a baby urge, I can visit one of my friends’ newborns.


No more late-night grocery store trips when I run out of pads. No more impossible-to-handle cramps when my girls need me. No more forgetting to stock my purse every week in case I am out when ‘Aunt Flo’ arrived.

I am here!

Because of my high-cancer risk due to a genetic disorder I have for ovarian and endometrial cancer, having the surgery reduced my risk dramatically. I am older than my mom lived. History has not repeated itself. I won’t let it. Apparently my body agrees.

I turn 40 on October 10th this year. I cannot think of a better birthday gift than being alive for my family and me.

Relax and Learn about Breast Cancer Prevention

Free Yoga

If you have been a reader here, you know that breast cancer stole my mom away from us when I was ten-years-old. My daughters never met their grandma. After my younger sister kicked cancer’s ass, I began to participate in the CIBC Run For A Cure as a way to give back to the gift of having her. It has now been over 13 years. Since then, I have been joined at the run by my sister, my brother-in-law, my best friend & my husband and our two daughters. I do believe that our girls will see a cure for breast cancer in their lifetime.
When I heard about the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation’s latest campaign to get the word out about breast health, I knew I had to help. Throughout September and part of October they will be visiting 25 campuses throughout BC, educating young women and men about ways to reduce their risk of breast cancer and empowering them with the knowledge that what they do now can impact their breast health in the future.

Don’t Forget to Check is targeted towards women and men 18-25 years old. There is a website http://www.dontforgettocheck.ca, a free iPhone and iPad app. Within these you can take a pledge, learn what to look for, set reminders to do your self checks, as well as “boob bomb” your friends. This sounds fun while having your girlfriends’ back.
Starting September 3rd, CBCF launches the “Don’t Forget to Check” college campus tours across BC. They will have information about modifiable risk factors affecting breast health including body weight, physical activity, alcohol use and smoking (harmful college life risks.) Don’t Forget To Check also encourages young women to check their breasts, know what’s normal for them, and if there are any changes, to go and see a health professional.
I have had mammograms since I was 28 years old. My mom was only 38 when she died. They only take a few minutes and can save your life. Consult your doctor or the CBCF site for more information about breast health.
How will CBCF deliver their message this year?
By hosting free yoga sessions on campus to engage in conversation with young women. While people take part in a low-impact, easy yoga session, the yoga instructor leading the class will weave messages about breast health and “don’t forget to check.”
Participation is optional. There will be the volunteers to answer questions and hand out reminders such as: bookmarks, note pads, nail files and more.
You may find them at the Student Union Building, outdoor atrium, current campus events, grassy field or high traffic areas. For locations, watch your local student newspaper, campus radio stations and posters displayed around the campuses.

For more information check out their site.

Has your life or loved ones been affected by Breast Cancer?
This year’s Run for the Cure is on October 6. Sign up here.  A new run site has been added: SURREY, BC.

By the Time You Read This…

Hospital Sign

The birds start chirping before I realize that the morning is about to begin. I have no idea how long I have been awake, or if I slept at all. This day has been months, if not years in the making. I do not need to put my glasses on to know it is too early for me to shower. Thank goodness. My heart and head are still trying to process the itinerary for today.

I will be staring at four, pale pastel walls. Either I’ll be having a long nap or waiting to go in the operating room. Right now, I am in limbo to find out if it’s my turn with the cancer card. I’ve avoided it for 39 years now. As I said here in Erica Ehm’s post, I made time for me, so I can be here for my girls. Weeks ago an ultrasound gave concrete proof that my body has been fighting fibroids. More tumours are trying to reside here.

Because of my cancer history the doctors are not waiting to biopsy. My uterus, and possible more parts, has been given their eviction notice. I do see the rational side of the procedure and there will be relief to have it all gone. No more debilitating cycles that has robbed me of time to have fun with my family. I may be 39 years old but, I want my mommy! I want her to tell me all those reassuring ‘mom-isms’. I need her to tell me the magic words, “It will be okay.” I am scared.

I hear the birds starting their morning song. I take a deep from-my-toes cleansing breath, and place my brave face on to kiss my husband good morning. I repeat again and again that everything will be okay as I take my pre-op shower. History will not repeat itself. It cannot.

As I recover from whatever results in today, this site will show a variety of new and archived posts. By the time you read this, .. let’s be real, I will be dreaming of a glass of chardonnay. xo

Grief with Children

As posted this week at amotherworld.com

The tears race down my cheeks uncensored. The shock allows the floodgates to open before I realize my 4 year old is watching me.

I warble out to my husband who is steps away, “He died.” I feel paralyzed in the living room chair.

My husband comes over to me. I am staring at my iPad going through Facebook where the announcement that our friend’s 13 day old newborn had passed the night before. Baby was waiting for a new heart which never came. Being under constant hospital supervision since birth, he never got to go home to where his older siblings were waiting.

My husband holds my hand as we explain to our older daughter why I am sad. Her friend’s youngest brother passed away. I tell her that it is not fair.

“Oh, he went to heaven to see Harley?” she asks. Harley is our cat who passed away when she was fifteen months old. I wrote 2 books about him. The last one was about how he was sick, went to the hospital and passed away. Harley became an angel where he felt better and still watched over us. The books are read frequently in our home.

She looked at his picture on the screen. Never have met, she nods and says okay. I watch her go back to playing her dolls. I try to shelter some feelings from my kids. After dealing with my mom’s illness and subsequent passing, I never had a true childhood. That motivates me to allow them to be innocent and enjoy their rightful time in their young lives. I do believe in being honest with them.

Having my eldest girl appreciate and understand my sadness because of the Harley story validated that I am doing something right as a mom. As my 2 & 4 year old grow up and have their tween dramas, I hope that by allowing myself to show emotion they will be open and free with themselves. Also, to know that I am here for them any time as my mom would have for me had she lived.

I wipe my tears and close the iPad feeling a little less sad by letting myself be open in my feelings. Holding it in does not help. Despite my overwhelming need to go back to bed and stay there all day, I have to take care of my kids. One step and one day at a time is a good place to start.

Belated Gift

My darling sister is now home after a long week in the hospital. We brought our daughters to see her on Christmas bringing a little cheer. It is not the ideal place to spend the holidays but was necessary.
She is safe and sound in her own home.
We don’t know the future but will take one day at a time.
I promise to update my blog soon. Writing has been emails to loved ones updating them on her progress.
Thank you for reading and understanding.
Best wishes for a great 2011!

Wordless house that love built

I am posting this month about what I am thankful for in my life. It has been a tough year and I am scared about next year. I turn 38 on October 10,2011. My mom died at 38 years old. My sister is facing a hard surgery to keep cancer away again.
I am thankful to be here now. To mother. To be a wife. To meet all of my readers online and in real life. All we have is now. What are you doing with your now?