Saturday, January 3, 2015

The Dude abides

I woke up from the dream of 2014 and felt grateful.

Come December 31, I wasn't bitter or regretful. I could only think about Sharon, Ashlyn and Mary Anne and how their families would do anything for one more New Years Eve.

Last year I walked 589 kms (the distance between Vancouver and Canmore), logged my first ever summer with both my kids, immersed in ordinary fun, the cancer clinic and boredom, reconnected with a good friend I hadn't seen in almost 10 years, finally saw the pink street lamps of Venezia with my boyfriend, watched my kids truly enjoy food for the first time ever in the unbelievable Tuscan countryside, and hung out with my entire messed up and beautiful family over Christmas. Lucky me.

That shitty, rainy day in February when I had to hear "I'm sorry, it's cancer" yet again, the weekly treatments, the scans, the waiting, the stress, the endless needles, the lead legs, the steroid-infused wakeful nights, disappearing eyelashes, rashes, induced menopause, countless meds. It's all meaningless.

When I get asked about what drugs I'm taking now, where I am in my treatment, what the side effects are of my current infusions, the truth is, I can't remember. I've learned a very handy compartmentalizing trick over the past four years. I feel it all for a moment, absorb every last detail of the thing that's about to happen to my body, mourn whatever ills I have to prepare to feel, and then like Elsa, I let it go.

It means I sound absent-minded or uninterested in my disease, and it's all true.

It's impossible to move on unless I let go of the daily reminders that I'll never be free of CANCER. I can't enjoy a new Beyonce video if I have to kill the boner and remind myself that it's all drivel because of CANCER. I'll never watch another episode of Scandal, sleep in, get frustrated with Stella because she's lagging, or annoyed with Frances because she's whining, get excited about ordering something from Sephora, laugh over decades-old Seinfeld bloopers or get my mind blown by the latest trailer for Mad Max if I'm always trying to have meaningful CANCER moments.

I do the soul work. I examine my intentions. I watch my children reading and bawl like an idiot. I have moments, bitches. But it's exhausting to live that way. And I'm done being exhausted.

I have high hopes for 2015. Two days ago I asked "the Dude" to send me a sign that I should get back to writing in my personal time, and gave her 48 hours. I guess this post means the Dude abides. Or lacking any other belief system, I'll take it that way.

The new year smells as fresh as a baby's bum (which is a lie, btw, because baby bums are rank), not because I enjoy self-flagellation, but because I get off on reinvention. I blame it on 1983, when I went into my bathroom and emerged looking like a Lolita-ized version of this:

Instead of being all mini-van mom horrified, my Ma made enough sounds of approval to make me think reinvention was the shit. Her approval ended the day I emerged from the bathroom six years later, donning her rosary beads and a garter belt worn outside my pinstripe suit pants, but the shock only reinforced my determination to be slutty and wonderful for many more years to come.

I don't wear bustiers any more (do my daughters even know what bustiers are?!), but I'm still kinda slutty. Beginning Monday I'm doing this four-month program to get and look fit in ways I've never been. I have to post pics of my mid-section on Instagram every month, which horrifies me, but I'll do it for the love of science. I've never had a six-pack, and 42 seems a good year to try.

So here's to a happy new year, happy new life, happy forever forgetting that, oh yeah, I have CANCER.


  1. "When you die, it does not mean you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, & the manner in which you live" Stuart Scott

  2. Thanks for keeping up the writing!! Your blog is the best and happy new year and hope you all have an awesome year!!

    1. Thanks, Maggie! All the best to you, David & Hannah!

  3. Coast Chiro is right.................thanks for continuing to write! You rock it, you rock life, you rock everything! I look forward to following you on your 4 month program and if it's anything like you've conquered past quests, you'll knock this out of the ballpark too. Happy New Year and Happy Healthy Life to you my ya! xoxo

    1. You're the best, Diane. Love you huge!