Monday, May 19, 2014


When I go on my morning walks, I climb the hill that leads to the Uplands, the tony area of Victoria where the houses look like French chateaus:

and even the medians are baptized with proper names:

I grew up in an area that's the opposite of the Uplands and spent my youth both hating and coveting the Oak Bay hair (so luxurious!), shoulder sweaters and tabbouleh parties. Living on the edge of this mythical place now, I sometimes cavort with women my age who had the bizarro version of my younger life and they lean in for the tales of bush parties, girl fights and growing up to the sounds of dirt bikes and stock car races on the wind.

I'm no more Oak Bay today than I was at 15, but when I walk through the English streets like Midland, Ripon and Exeter, saying hello to the landscapers, renovation teams and a smattering of retired men biking or running like 30-year olds, I feel like I'm passing as a local and I'm embarrassed to say it is good.

Because I still have my hair, pink as it may be, I'm passing all over the damn place. I have a respite from being seen by strangers as sick. If I wear my prosthetic breast, I'm bloody well near normal. That makes everyone else comfortable and it helps me forget for a few moments every day.

I get enough reminders. The "Ca Breast" scrawled on my weekly blood req. The halt to my digestive system for several days after chemo. When I think about saving for retirement or needing to see Stella through the idiocy of middle school. Or when I fall back on my old ways of getting frustrated with my kids when they're schmoopy or lazy. It's been difficult reframing my life and my thoughts again to become even more mindful and present, this time with the knowledge that I'm metastatic and the medical profession sees that as an eventuality. 

The day before chemo is hardest. I feel great. Everything works. I can slip into denial. I don't read my cancer books on these days. I surround myself with celebrity gossip, cookbooks or life hack articles to pretend I'm just a normal girl figuring out normal problems with no sense of urgency about anything.

Today, though, I'm thinking about my list of exotic travel destinations, like the Giraffe Manor in Kenya:

I'm done worrying about wracking up debt over the things I want to do. I'll leave those problems for the next wife, who, let's face it, could very likely be one of those Greyhound-slurping real housewives I sometimes spy through the windows just over the border.


  1. This blog brought tears to my eyes and a lump in my throat. It is so .... not your usual "bad ass" type of entry, but it does reflect the thoughts that are running thru your head. I cannot make them disappear, as much as I want to. But I will not focus or dwell on your remark about what the medical profession looks at as an eventuality. Nor, I think, will you.

  2. Denial is a strategy we all use at times. It's beneficial on several fronts. Reading celebrity gossip is just fine - makes you laugh at the absurdity of their lives. And you think you are playing denial - get fuckin' real you morons.

    As for eventualities, they don't exist in this moment. Pass through this day with all your grit and anger, your inspiration and love knowing there's crowd of us behind you giving the finger to tomorrow.

  3. it brought tears to my eyes too. i can't believe how brave you are! this bravery will get you through this. YES IT WILL!! medical, shmedical.........they don't know who they're dealing with! keep doing everything you're will win this battle too! xo

  4. Giraffe Manor!!! I remember our conversation about it!! :D Such a gorgeous place. And so are these stumble-upon chateaus and medians! Only you can observe and write with such grace - just wow.