Friday, December 30, 2011

The Good News

Today I had my fist surgical follow up appointment. I went there with high hopes of having some of the extra bits left over from my surgery removed but that didn't happen. I have to keep my 'Christmas ornaments' in until next week and the staples will be with me for a couple more weeks.

I was disappointed and a little annoyed until I got the good news; news that brought hope, peace and joy to my soul. I can return to my Precious next Monday! Since everything is healing so well I can go back on the caffeine a week earlier than expected. Yay!

I am trying to celebrate this because I`ve been a little bit of a miserable patient these last couple of days. I am restless and tired. I hate not being able to move properly and having foreign objects hanging out of me is gross and gives me the heebeegeebees. I am bored of being a patient ... I want desperately to return to my ninja ways.

In the meantime, I am trying to remind myself that its only been two weeks since my surgery and if taking these two weeks to heal gives me the next 50 years to live well its worth it. I am trying to be grateful for how little pain I am in and how well the surgery went. I am reminding myself to celebrate the fact that the tumor has been removed and all the things to come are to ensure my continued good health.

I am trying to live in the Good News and let everything else `come to pass.` I am trying and hoping ... and dreaming of The Precious.

No one can understand the truth until he drinks of coffee's frothy goodness. ~Sheik Abd-al-Kadir

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Life ... It Goes On

Before my surgery I was really worried about what life after the surgery was going to be like. I was concerned that the pain and discomfort would make it difficult for me to be me. I was afraid that everything would become about The Surgery and I would lose the magic of Christmas because of the reality of my life right now.

I am happy to report that life goes on.

Although I have little to no memory of the hours after my surgery Mr. Awesome reports that I was cracking jokes and teasing him as usual. What I do remember is visits with friends and family, sharing laughter, stories and a little good natured teasing. I remember the wonderful staff at the hospital (GH5 staff is stellar!) and the respect and compassion they had while caring for me. I remember the reassuring smiles of my doctors as they checked on my progress several times a day. I remember feeling peace.

Since breaking out of the hospital my days have been filled with everything Christmasy and my nights have been spent curled up my dad's recliner in front of the Christmas Tree, with Mr. Awesome asleep on the couch beside me, feeling thankful for this life, this love and this family.

I have been feeling so good that the day after I was released from the hospital, Christmas Eve, I went to church with my family. It was quite the production getting me ready to go out and loading me in to the van but we did it. On the way to church I started to laugh uncontrollably. I'm sure Mr. Awesome thought I had lost my mind so I explained what was going in my Random mind,

"I have a two foot incision across my stomach that is being held together with 70 plus staples, my lower abdomen is now my right boob, I have four feet of silicon tubes hanging out of my body and my arm feels like there's a dead fish inside of it ... all this is going on and I am worried about the zit on my chin!"

Life ... it does go on ... just as crazy and random as ever!

Life is what we make it, always has been, always will be. ~Grandma Moses

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Living on Gratitude

I have a lot to be thankful for. I am here. Alive. In this moment. I am sitting in a comfortable chair, in my parents house surrounded by my Random family. I no longer have a cancerous tumor growing in my breast. I am very thankful.

I have three strong and healthy kids. I have a handsome, inquisitive, brilliant boy. He has a kind and compassionate heart, a brain hungry for information and a smile that will melt your heart. A have beautiful, witty daughter. She is full of grace, laughter and light and her creativity is endless. A have another amazing, sensitive and brave boy. He is all action and love and humor and his laugh is contagious.

I have a husband who loves me more than I can bear. He is funny, sensitive, compassionate and the definition of a servant-leader. He has gone to the edge of the world and back for me this week and every day of our life together. He is everything that is good and fine and wonderful in my world.

I have a family that is huge and generous and loving. They have stepped up and filled in in ways I never could have imagined. They are meeting needs that have never been spoken and offering help before its asked for. They have covered me in encouragement, love and joy.

I have friends who have redefined the meaning of friendship. They have blessed us in more ways than I can count with their generosity and affection. They have made us laugh til we cry, wiped away our tears and wrapped us in boundless support and hope.

This Christmas, more than eve, I am sustained by friendship and kindness and living on overflowing gratitude for this life I get to lead and for those who are right there with me ... every step of the way!

Wishing you the Merriest of Christmases!

Gratitude is the memory of the heart.  ~Jean Baptiste Massieu

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Best if Intentions ...

That's what I had, the best of intentions.

I had planned on writing blogs and setting them to automatically post during my hospital stay but that's just not going to happen. I wrote notes, jotted down ideas and really intended on leaving you with a few witty, seasonal words while I recovered but today is Sunday and tomorrow is my surgery and here I am up to my eyeballs in laundry, lists and Christmas presents. The kids have their church concert tonight, my cousin is here to help out while I'm in hospital and my head is all over the place; not exactly ideal writing conditions.

So this is all you get folks, a quick note to say thanks for your support and encouragement and have a wonderful Christmas with your friends and family!

Be sure to check back periodically over the holidays ... I hope to be able to post a little something on the 24th, 27 and 30th. I'll be back at the keyboard (fingers crossed) by January 9 ... if not sooner!

Take care!

One of the most glorious messes in the world is the mess created in the living room on Christmas day. Don't clean it up too quickly. ~Andy Rooney

Friday, December 16, 2011


The other night, while I was knee deep in Mod Podge, fabric strips and scrapbooking paper Mr. Awesome walked into my craft room (the storage room under our basement stairs) and asked me this,

"Are you worried that this is our last week of normal for a long time?"

I looked up to see if he was joking. Normal?

We have a kid who literally climbs the wall, another one from the Planet Vulcan and living with the third is like riding an emotional roller coaster at break neck speeds, even our dog is slightly mental. I say that I'm a writer but the truth is I am a cook, housekeeper, chauffeur, event planner, errand runner and volunteer who gets to write occasionally. Our house is in a constant state of chaos and I am always on guard for the next emergency because just when I think I have everything under control someone wigs out and we are back, living in Crazyland.

So, normal?

"Yeah, kind of," I reply because I know what he means.

This craziness is our normal. Managing the kids schedules, my aspirations, Asperger's, PDD-NOS, ADHD, a chronic thumb-sucker while juggling family responsibilities and expectations is normal ... for us. We thrive on the busyness that Our Five has created and knowing that in less than a week a lot of that has to change is a little sad.

I've been slowly adjusting to a reduced schedule, less projects and volunteer hours, no school meetings and minimal extracurricular comments, but knowing that it all has to stop, full stop in just a few days is irritating. I love being busy, helping out and being involved; I don't like to be a spectator for anything. I'm a hands-on kind of gal. Not anymore. Not for now.

The surgical nurse called the other day to go over a few pre-op things and to see how I was coping with everything. I told her that the surgery doesn't scare me but I am really annoyed by the limitations of the recovery. She laughed a little and said,

"I knew you were going to be trouble! You need to wrap your head around a New Normal. This, the cancer and the surgery, is tough and no one chooses to go through this, but you have to understand that by being a good patient now you will return to your Regular Normal sooner. This New Normal is only for a short time; you won't be able to do everything and be everywhere for now and that's Normal. Just be patient and you'll get your life back."

What does she know, she's just a nurse! And then my pastor said the same thing. And so did his wife. And so did my friends. And then my mom chimed in. As did my aunt, my sister and my cousin. Then the principal and Dude's teachers and finally, daily, Mr. Awesome reminds me to take it easy.

So its a New Normal ... still with the same old wall-climbing-alien-emotional children and mental dog ... the new part is going to be, has to be, me; my contentment to live from the sidelines ... just for a little while. I will be a chaise lounge chair quarterback (no recliners here!).

Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional. ~M. Kathleen Casey

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Moments of Clarity from Inside the Doughnut

In preparation for my upcoming surgery I have had a lot of doctor's appointments and tests lately. I have been poked, scanned and measured in more ways than I ever thought possible. All of these scans require me to be still, immobile for long periods of time.

When I went to the first scan the technician asked me if I was claustrophobic and I answered 'no' but I didn't realize until a couple of minutes into the 45 minute scan that I have a different kind of phobia. I am Immobilephobic. Seriously. As soon as she told me not to move, I panicked; not a all out melt down just a slight mental struggle to hold on to my sanity.

Anyway, I survived that scan and later in the week when I had another, similar scan, I was better prepared. As I laid on the bed, injected with two types of radio active dye and with electrodes stuck all over my chest I began to think about life. And there, inside the doughnut, the CT machine whirring and humming, I had a moment of clarity about my life.

I'm not going to get into all the nitty gritty details of the epiphany I had but I will tell you these two things; when you are forced to be still and choose to see yourself you may be surprised by the truth and you don't need to be anything other than who you really, truly are.

This past year, living away from everything and everyone familiar to me, has been an incredible year of personal growth. I am still becoming the person I want to be and I am giving myself permission to keep growing, changing and being that person. For a long time I let other people's opinions, expectations and limitations frame who I was. Not any more. Not for a while now. I am me and there's something kind of fantastic about that.

Here's the deal ... you are spectacular ... just the way you are. Celebrate that. And if you are really brave, find a quite space, be perfectly still and think about you, who you are, the life you are leading. See yourself. Become the person you have always dreamed of being.

People often say that this or that person has not yet found himself.  But the self is not something one finds, it is something one creates.  ~Thomas Szasz

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Be the Bean

My mental powers are diminished. I have weaned myself from the coffeejuice but my brain is suffering for it. Well, I can't blame my Molasses Mind completely on the lack of caffeine. I've also been sitting in a small room with a large jar of Mod Podge for several days. 'Tis the season to kill brain cells with crafting products!

At any rate, I am in no state of mind to write anything deep or meaningful; I am, however, really enjoying the slew of Christmas videos I've been watching while crafting. I have watched Miracle on 34th Street, Home Alone, A Christmas Carol, Charlie Brown's Christmas, Love Actually and late last night I brought out the big guns, my favourite Christmas special of all time ... Merry Christmas Mr. Bean!

There is nothing funnier than watching an awkward, dorky, near mute dude celebrate Christmas!  From his shopping expedition to his encounter with the Christmas band to his attempt at stuffing the turkey; its all hilarious! If you've never seen it go pick it up, snuggle under a cozy blanket with a cup of hot chocolate and give it a whirl. I guarantee you'll love it! See ...

This season, as you are hustling and bustling to get ready for The Big Day, make sure you take a little time to give in to the ridiculous, recapture your childhood and be The Bean. Rearrange a manger scene, sing along with Christmas Carollers or proudly show off your Christmas socks. Spread Good Cheer!

Instead of being a time of unusual behavior, Christmas is perhaps the only time in the year when people can obey their natural impulses and express their true sentiments without feeling self-conscious and, perhaps, foolish. Christmas, in short, is about the only chance a man has to be himself. ~Francis C. Farley

Monday, December 12, 2011

Brotherly Love

My dad and his little brother Len have a really special relationship. Maybe its because they are the youngest boys in a family of 13 or maybe its because they have always lived geographically close to each other or maybe its just because they really like each other.

Dad is a couple of years older than Len but for my whole life it always seemed to me that Uncle Lenny was watching out for Dad. Len was the one Dad always called when there was something wrong with the car, he needed help working on the house or he needed a lift to the hospital (seriously, Dad's really really accident prone!). Len is the go to guy for advice, help or just a laugh. Dad and Uncle Lenny are buddies.

As they have aged and their kids have grown Dad and Uncle Lenny have found a new rhythm to their friendship. They meet less over home projects and emergencies and more to just hang out. They drive to the cabin together to spend the day puttering around, meet for coffee and lately, Uncle Lenny has been hanging out with Dad during his chemo treatments and other Cancer Care appointments. So when Dad's hair started to fall out last week naturally Uncle Lenny was one of the first people to find out.

Dad called to say he was going to shave his head and Uncle Lenny said, "Me too!" So that's what they did. These two guys who have lived their whole lives side by side, doing the same things, helping each other out, met in Uncle Lenny's kitchen on Saturday morning to shave their heads. Both because they had too.

You see, this isn't just Dad's journey through cancer. It's Mom's, my sister's, mine ... it's all of our journey because we love him, so this is Uncle Lenny's journey too. As deeply as he loves and respects Dad is how deeply he has felt a part of Dad's battle. Uncle Lenny has shed many tears, has tried to carry the burden of worry and provide a strong shoulder for my folks to lean on.

Wherever my Dad goes, physically or emotionally, Uncle Lenny wants to go to ... just to be there in case Dad needs anything.So when Dad decided to shave his head rather than watch his hair fall out clump at a time, Uncle Lenny naturally shaved his head too. He went willingly where Dad had to go.

Although the reason for the extreme haircuts was sad, on Saturday Uncle Lenny's kitchen was filled will laughter and teasing. Uncle Lenny took the chair first and after my cousin shaved a couple of strips off the side of his head Dad declared that he had changed his mind, he was just going to let it fall out gradually. You should have seen the look on Uncle Lenny's face!

By the end of the morning both Bilco brothers were bald ... both because they had too.

The soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.
~1 Samuel 18:1

Friday, December 9, 2011

It's Not a Party Until ...

... someone tosses their cookies! If that's true then Mischief's Christmas concert last night was a par-tay!

The choir post incident
Just a couple songs into the Christmas Extravaganza some poor little dude tossed his cookies, on the stage, front and center. As the staff scrambled to clean up the mess and the kids plugged their noses and shuffled away from the scene of the accident the show continued down stage ... and down wind.

I didn't see The Spewer myself but I hope this little guy is not scarred for life over this. Stuff like this happens all the time. Don't believe me? Just search 'Kids Christmas Concert' on Youtube and you will find endless videos of kids peeing, puking, passing out and crying on stage. It happens, what can you do about it?

I remember being a kid, all dressed up and psyched up for the Christmas concert. I was a bundle of nerves and I felt as though everyone was staring at me, waiting for me to make a mistake or miss a cue. I can remember the long walk on to the stage, sweat rolling down the back of my neck as butterflies filled my stomach. I can still hear the shuffle of dozens of tiny feet on the carpeted risers as we nervously schooched along the stage, making room for everyone.

And then the moment. The moment when the lights go up and the room is filled with a sea of faces, one blurring into the next. I can remember frantically scanning the crowd, looking for that one friendly face in the swarm of strangers, my mom. She was one person I knew who was just as nervous as I was even though she was sitting comfortably in the audience and not suffocating under layers of taffeta and tulle on the stage.

I would search the room, to and fro, looking past the waving hoards of other parents blowing kisses and taking pictures. I would look and look, worry growing each second that passed. why can't I see her? Why isn't she here? Maybe she got lost? Maybe she couldn't find a seat? Until the moment. The sweet, sweet moment of relief when I finally make eye contact with her, my mom. Suddenly everything is right with my world, I know that I can do this, I know that I will rock this concert. I know that because my mom is watching I can do anything. I know that this is finally a party!

Thanks Mom for always watching ... and waving!

You don't really understand human nature unless you know why a child on a merry-go-round will wave at his parents every time around - and why his parents will always wave back. ~William D. Tammeus

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Kindness Matters

This morning was supposed to be my running errands morning. I had a few Christmas gifts to pick up, I needed a few more bits and pieces for the gifts I'm making, Mischief needs a pair of pants for his concert tonight and I ordered a slew of pictures for the 'Surprise' calendar I make for my mom every year. A busy morning but I was looking forward to getting everything done at once. That was the plan until I became the Angel of Darkness.

Everywhere I went this morning the power went out. Seriously. I walked into Superstore and five minutes later the power went out. I went for gas at Canadian Tire and BOOM no power. I run into Walmart to pick up my pictures and SHAZAM darkness.

I manage to make it home (no traffic lights anywhere along the route ... no good) and pull into my driveway. I hit the remote for the garage door to open and POW the door gets halfway up and then stops. I duck under the door and let myself into the house and sure enough, no power here either!

I figure I have either become an energy sapping super hero a la X-men (oh, that's no so bad ... I could handle a little time with Wolverine!) or Mr. Awesome is out somewhere in this freezing wind, chilled to the bone, trying to sort this mess out. Turns out its option B.

They are still trying to sort things out around town but the power's back on at home. My errands are only partly done but at least I am home and warm and cranking out the Christmas tunes. I still have my Good Cheer groove on so its all good but I wish I could say the same for some of the people I encountered today.

Most people took the power outages in stride but there were a few crazies out there, too. And I must confess that I can't confirm or deny that I may or may not have possibly told one of the button heads off at Walmart. After waiting around for 15 minutes to see if the power was going to come back on I decided to just head home. I was on my way out of the store when I passed a man in the foyer of the store complaining loudly about Hydro employees.

"Those lazy SOBs are probably sitting at Tim's enjoying a cup of coffee right now. I only have 15 minutes before I have to get back to work. I wish they'd pull their heads out of their own you-know-whats and get to work. Its my tax dollars their wasting!"

"Yeah, this kind of bites," I say. "I have a huge list of errands I wanted to get done too this morning. DO you work in an office?"



"Of course"

"Hmmm, that's great. So you are warm and comfortable at work?"


"Well, my husband doesn't work in an office. He, in fact, works for Hydro. So when you return to your warm and comfortable office to complain about 'those lazy Hydro SOBs' know that he is outside, right now trying to restore power. He is climbing poles in these winds and messing with electricity so that thankful citizens such as yourself can have heat and light and power. Merry Christmas!"

So, children, as you are running too and fro this season you may encounter some inconveniences but please remember the people working the tow trucks, driving the buses, policing our streets, driving the ambulances and restoring your power are just doing their jobs. Jobs they chose. Jobs they love and take pride in. So please be kind and respectful and look at that 'inconvience' as an opportunity to spread a little Good Cheer rather than complaints.

Always be a little kinder than necessary.
~James M. Barrie

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

No More Tears?

I'm not a cryer. I don't like crying. No one looks good crying; your face distorts, your eyes get puffy and your nose runs. Then your face gets red, your mascara beats a trail down your cheeks and there is rarely Kleenex available when you need it. It's messy. It's a great big messy mess mess. Nope, not a fan of crying.

I also don't see much point to crying. Things are still the same after you cry as they were before, just now you're wet. Crying doesn't fix anything, it doesn't solve any problems and it certainly doesn't make things any easier. Definitely not a fan of crying.

I haven't really cried over this whole cancer thing. Yet. I have fought back the lump in my throat and I have conquered the lip quivers thus far. I have teared up in frustration once or twice but I have been able to keep the actual full on crying at bay. So far. Until today.

Over the past few days I could feel my defenses weakening. I am tired and I am tired of being tired. I am sad that my kids are noticing the changes in me, I am sad that Mr. Awesome has to pull double duty just to keep our place functional these days and I am sad that my life is changing and I can't do anything to stop it.  My heart hurts for my dad and the things he's experiencing, I worry for my mom and how she's really doing and I am concerned for my sister and how she's handling everything.

These were the thoughts swirling around in my head as I walked into a meeting to plan the Christmas concert at our church. I sat down with one of the pastors and he asked me how I was doing and all of a sudden I was crying. Seriously tearing-up-Kleenex-needed-face-distorting crying. What the heck?!

I fumbled through an apology and tried to regain my composure but he stopped me. He told me, well, reminded me really, that tears are necessary; they serve a purpose. Tears are a cleansing of our heart, a way to release the worry and tension. Tears give us the chance to bounce back, reset and move forward. Tears are the tangible reminder of our need to let things go, to share our burdens.

So I cried. A little. And then I came home and cried a little more. Then Mr. Awesome came home for lunch and we cried together for a little while.

Through all my crying today I realised that the tears don't cancel out the hope and joy and faith I have. The tears just clear the way so I can get to those good things. The tears don't mean I am falling apart, they are a sign that I am being held together. But mostly, the tears have taught me that I need to be strong enough to be weak sometimes.

Tears are God’s gift to us.  Our holy water.  They heal us as they flow.  ~Rita Schiano

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

You get a car! And you get a car! And you get a car!

Not really but I am being a little Oprah-ish today; I am going to share with you some of my favourite things.

This is the time of the year where people are scrambling to find The Perfect Gift, Something Unique, Something Awesome (sorry gals, The Mister is already taken!). It is also the time, as the gift receiver, we cringe as we struggle to think of a response to the question, "What do you want for Christmas?" There are things that I love, thoughtful, beautiful and inexpensive things I love to receive ... maybe my little list will trigger an idea for a Little Something Special for that Little Someone Special on your gift list this year.

1. Christmas Socks! I love, love, love Christmas socks! Nothing spreads the joy of the holiday season more than festive hosiery. I defy anyone to put on a pair of Santa socks and not feel a little happier. The fact is you can't help but smile when you look at the brightly coloured be-socked ankles poking out from under dress pants.

Give that Special Someone a basket full of Christmas socks and I guarantee that you will be giving the gift of joy!

2. A DIY emergency kit for your purse. A friend shared this idea with me and I thought it was stellar. Most of us have extra make-up bags kicking around the house, those gift with purchase bags that cosmetic companies give out. Take one of those and fill it with all those things you wish you had in your purse but somehow never do; things like Kleenex, safety pins, band aids, chap stick, hand lotion, q-tips and a pen. You can also add in items like a small pocket knife, a wee note pad, an extra pair of earrings, a lipstick or make up business cards with your Someone Special's email address on it.

3. Books! I love books! Old books, new books, note books and journals ... books of all kinds! To me, nothing is as personal as giving a book. I love receiving books that are favourites of The Giver, that bring back childhood memories or that have beautiful covers. Hunt through thrift stores or used book stores and find a stack of beautiful old books or a collection of childhood favourites, tie them up with a bow and give the gift of words!

4. Board games. I know, it seems crazy and a little old school but who doesn't have great memories of sitting around playing board games with friends (besides Mr. Awesome, he hates board games). Give Sorry!, Monopoly or Clue to your Special Someone with a bag of microwave popcorn, a couple packets of hot chocolate and a coupon for an evening of electronics-free fun!

5. Receiving gifts is great but knowing that the gift I am receiving is making someone's life a little easier is even better. I think gifts that give back are an excellent (and fun!) way to spread Good Cheer even farther.

Companies like Jolica and Ten Thousand Villages deal only in fair trade products that support artisans in third world countries. For a bit of whimsy check out Tough Girl Tutus where part of the proceeds go back into The unPrison Project that helps incarcerated women and their children. Another one of my favorites is The Pink Ribbon Store.

Think outside the box this year and give A Little Something that means A Little Something More.

The heart of the giver makes the gift dear and precious.
~Martin Luther King Jr.

Friday, December 2, 2011

The Bad News

For the past couple of weeks I have been running to and from the clinic and the hospital, meeting with doctors and surgeons and nurses, having tests and scans done and there are still more to come. I actually have a theory. All of this blood work and all of these scans have nothing to do with cancer at all, I think they are going to clone me. Either that or they are making a wax figure of me for Madame Tussauds. Seriously.

Anyway, while at one of my pre-op appointments the nurse slipped me a list of things I need to do to get ready for surgery and that's when I got the devastating, life altering news. My life as I know it will be changed forever, well, at least for a month. No coffeejuice allowed.

Someone tried to warn me a month or so ago and I just thought they were being mean. Someone else said I'd have to cut it out around the time of the surgery and I thought, "What do they know, they're just a nurse?" It wasn't until I was sitting there, in the doctor's office, staring at the list of pre-op instructions that I realised the gravity of the situation.

Cancer is going after my precious coffeejuice!

It is already taking my breast, its threatening to take my hair, its sucking up a year of my time and altering the plans I have for holidays, birthdays and celebrations and now it wants my coffeejuice! Its just too much! I don't think I can take it!

Being a good girl, who wants to recover as fast as possible, I am taking the doctor's instructions to heart. I am starting to ween myself off The Precious. I joked with the nurse that I'll just quit when I'm in hospital, I'll have morphine for the first couple of days so that'll take care of the coffee withdrawal headache but she said no dice; even morphine is no match for the head imploding pain of caffeine withdrawal. She recommended that I start weening myself now.

My plan is to be down to two cups a day by early next week and then I'll start switching out those two to decafs and eventually to tea and then by my surgery, on December 19th, I'll be down to just decaf tea. I hope.

My coffeejuice exile isn't permanent though, its just for three weeks. So I am declaring Tuesday, January 10 international Return to The Precious Day. That morning I will have my first coffeejuice of the new year and celebrate reclaiming my life ... one sip at a time.

Wish me luck!

Coffee, the finest organic suspension ever devised. ~Star Trek: Voyager

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Life Through the Magnifying Glass

Dude loves science and during one of our recent clean sweeps of his room he rediscovered one of his favourite scientific tools, the magnifying glass. For the past week he's been examining things everywhere we go. Some of his discoveries have been amazing and beautiful, like a single snow flake, others have been disgusting, like the soap scum in the bathroom (note to self, clean bathrooms today) but in each discovery Dude learned something new.

And so did I.

While Dude was examining the contents of a previously clogged drain (ewww!) he made this discovery, "When you look at all this hair and gunk with your regular eyes its pretty gross but when you look at it up close in the magnifying glass you can see all the detail in every single hair and in each speck of gunk and there's actually something kind of nice about that. The cool thing is that when you flip the magnifying glass around this nasty glob becomes way smaller and way less gross."

Cancer cells undergoing experimental
targeted Chemotherapy
So true. I have found that when I just say, "I have cancer," it sounds scary and overwhelming but when I look closely at the situation its not so bad. Survival rates are increasing every year, surgeries are being perfected and becoming less invasive and doctors know way more about treatment and pathology now than they did even 10 years ago. Up close, things aren't so bad and when I flip the magnifying glass around things look even better.

I know people who have had the same type of cancer that I have. I know people who are 4, 8, 13 and 20 year survivors of the same disease I am fighting now. I know that this is one thing that is happening in my life, one thing I thing I don't want to be dealing with but it is just one more thing I am going to conquer. I know that this next year will have some rough patches but this is just one year in a long lifetime of experiences, love and celebration.

This one thing, this breast cancer, is beautiful in the lessons I am learning, the people I am meeting and the kindness I am experiencing. It is going to be a cause of full out partying when I beat it and a point of encouragement when I get to tell people that I am a 4, 8, 13, 20, 50 year survivor.

Until then, I will be spinning the magnifying glass and living each day in thankfulness and celebration.

I don't think of all the misery but of the beauty that still remains. ~Anne Frank