Monday, June 9, 2014

Work family

While I write desperate love letters to my nose hair, begging it to come back, and wait for my head hair to evolve into the full Donald Trump, I've been trying to shake this wretched cold that just keeps hanging on. I finish up cycle three of my chemo protocol tomorrow, which means I'm about a third of the way through.

I'm mostly handling the indigestion and heartburn. The teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in a 1/4 cup of water before meals is helping, but the Udo's probiotics are the real star. No more Bloaty McBloaterson and days of feeling like a better buoy than a woman. In general, I feel good about what goes into my body these days. I even survived an entire McCart family BBQ this past weekend on one small glass of white wine. I am officially boring, but I'm gonna live, motherfucker.

My sleeps haven't been stellar, which means I've been reading more than usual, focusing on the mind/spirit part of recovery. Some of the more recent studies I've been digesting show, in a nutshell, that the bigger your network of supporters, the more likely you are to beat the shit out of the supreme mean girl that is cancer. So when people ask me, "how can I help?" it's super simple: send your good energy my way and I'll try not to let you down.

I know it's more complicated and often more practical than that sounds when you're battling the beast. Having close family and friends means I have people to do actual things for me when I need it - like drive me home in my Benadryl stupor, take my daughters on an early morning when you're still in your robe but don't give a shit, send your kids over to take mine away for an hour or bring me food when boiled toast seems like a good idea.

Once those basic needs are taken care of, I crave the giant bear hug of near and far friends, and the biggest, bone-crushingest, bordering-on-creepy-but-never-crossing-the-line embraces I get are from my work family.

After eight years at the flying T in a juicy role that has me working closely with people across the country, I get well wishes from all directions and I feel rich and undeserving every day. These are a few that have left me reeling with gratitude recently:

My friend B has used his good words and deeds to give voice to the shit that is cancerdom through his generous involvement in the Ride to Conquer Cancer. He's been personally touched through the recent passing of his father and although we've never actually met in person, this lovely man in Waterdown, ON has become one of my biggest supporters (see the C.M. below on his ride gear? C'est moi!).

My friend P may win the award for sending me the loveliest email ever this past week. She's even named a tree outside her office in Edmonton after me so she can send me a giant force field of love and nature to weather this storm:

I'm beyond proud of my friend EB for so many reasons, just one of which is that she inspired me to stop kvetching and find the thing I like to get fit. She's been so concerned, present, funny and lovely from the very start of this business and now she has the hair to match her fierce support, all the way from Chatham, ON (represent!):

I get a giant lump in my throat when I think of my extra special boy, PB, in Vancouver, who stepped in with grace and urgency (again!) the moment he knew, who tends my work garden with love and sends me the sweetest XOs when I need them most. Actually, my boss, D, and my entire immediate circle of colleagues throws the most touching emails over the fence on a regular basis and even arranged to have cleaners come scrub my gussets while I eat organic bonbons (actually, I don't know whether they scrub gussets, but will ask posthaste).

My lovely A in Calgary tells me what to watch on Netflix when I'm too tired to do anything else and she knew just the right thing to send me when I was worried my message wasn't getting out to cancer loud and clear:

My team of talented hooligans, who, well... they made this "Carissa, the badass" video for me that I'd love to show you, but I'd likely have to kill you. Just know that I'll never stop crying about it. S, C, S, K, D, EB and A, you make my life. I'll be back soon to undo all the goodness that PB is drilling into you.

And finally, there's D, B and J, who have decided to make something incredibly amazing happen on behalf of my entire work family: giving me and my blood family the gift of a trip to anywhere in the world for a week when I'm well enough to travel.

Gobsmacked. Still reeling. Love my family. Promise I won't let you down.


  1. You get what you give and it sounds like you are well loved and respected by many of your work family members. You are deserving of it all.

  2. Family means everything to me ... call me Italian ... so your work family is now our family too. Someday, when all this is but a bad memory all your families are going to get together to have the biggest, best party ever!

  3. Words cannot adequately described how damn proud I am of you, and how much I love the very core of your spirit. I know you won't let us down, but we won't let you down either. You WILL beat this beast into a pile of ash.

  4. Amazing Carissa! Superb post.........brought tears to my eyes. You make me proud to call you my friend. I can just imagine your work family.......they sound awesome. We're ALL here for you girlfriend.........sending hugs, wishes, positive vibes, prayers and most of all LOVE. You are our hero! XO