Yep, that’s right y’all.
Uterine cancer to be precise. Uterine-Fucking-Cancer.
I’m 35, and I have cancer. I can barely type the words let alone wrap my head around the ramifications that singular word has.
When I saw the doctor today, I was not expecting him to say anything other than fibroids, and hey ‘we have a treatment for that’, instead I got ‘you have blah blah blah stage one uterine cancer. Your treatment is to have a hysterectomy and we are also removing your ovaries blah blah blah’ I felt like Peppermint Patty listening to the teacher in Charlie Brown.
So yeah. Cancer has once again invaded my family, and now, my life.
How the hell did this happen? How the hell am I going to deal with this shit? I feel like my body has betrayed me. I feel like I have this horrible thing happening to me and there is not a bloody fucking thing I can do about it. All I can do it sit and wait for a surgery date, while it grows. Waiting.
I’m not very good at waiting, I’m not good at things that I can’t control. I’m not good at putting my feelings and thoughts into other people’s hands. I’m not good at letting other people in. I’m just not good at any of it.
I’m a ‘doer’ I get stuff done. I find solutions, I figure things out. I dissect and analyse. I don’t dive into things head first. I have control issues. I make lists, I get answers. I research, I don’t get emotional. Today, I am emotional, I can’t fix a thing. I can read, but my head hurts from all the reading. The answers are good, the news is encouraging, but still nagging in the back of my head is the other statistics, the not so good ones. I have a million decisions to make, but I don’t know where to begin.
I have a child, I have a business, I just don’t have time for cancer. I don’t have time to feel shitty all the time, I already am perpetually tired, doesn’t matter how much I sleep, I never feel rested enough. I don’t have time to take 8 weeks off to recover from surgery. Hopefully that’s all it will be, hopefully no chemo or radiation. If it comes down to that I will have to close the daycare.
I’m so scared. My daughter needs her mummy. I need her.
Cancer is my Bitch, I am going to Own this, and destroy it. There are no other options!
Cancer Is My Bitch July 2, 2012
The 5 Best Things About Being Paisley’s Mummy April 28, 2012
This is Paisley. Paisley is 4 years old. She is crazy, fun, and has a flair for the dramatic. The following are the five things I like best about being her Mum.
5) I love that she cares so much about other people. She is usually quite selfless and I often wonder if I have a mini humanitarian in the making. She loves to make people smile, and laugh. She also love to give her time to things. If someone needs help with something, Pais will happily volunteer to lend a hand. I love that about her. I know one day when she is old enough she will be the kid who spends her saturday mornings working at the animal shelter down the road.
4) Paisley sleeps in. Now that might not seem like much, but when you’re a sleep deprived Mum, it means everything in the world to get just an extra half an hour on a Sunday morning. When Pais was born she had colic for the first 5 months. Shaughn and I would split up our nights to deal with her. She screamed from 7pm almost 4am. It was 6:59 and we had a happy baby, but at 7, BAM! Screamy, squirmy, red-faced angry Paisley came out. Shaughn would send me to bed at 7, and let me sleep till 1 or 2, then I would get up so he could sleep till 8 to be to work for 9. It was a rough time. At 5 months someone flipped a switch and suddenly my devil possessed, tense, high-strung baby turned into a sleeping miracle kid. She will sleep often on the weekends till 8:30, after going to bed at 7:30…that’s right YO! 13 Hours!!!! That’s MY kid!
3) I think that Paisley has an amazing imagination, and I love to listen to her make up stories, and songs, scenes that she acts out. It’s incredible. I am always amazed at all the new things that come so freely out of her mouth. Sometimes she is a fire fighter, or a princess, last night she was a king. She loves music and will bust a move as we clean or cook!
2) Paisley is energised by learning. She loves to practice her letters, learn about space, animals, and how numbers work. She is always asking questions and really listens to the answer. God help me if I don’t have it, yesterday she asked me to “Google it”….good gracious, she’s only 4!!!!! When I think about myself at her age, I know I was the same, and I still am. I love to learn, to read, and am constantly ‘googling’ things to find the answer. She seeks out knowledge, and with each new subject she finds new and different ways of looking at things. She often will start at topic A, and end somewhere around Q….She loves to ask ‘What if’….What if I did this, or if I did this, what will happen. It’s amazing.
1) My daughter keeps me young. She constantly makes me reevaluate why and how I do things. She makes me want to be a better mother. She encourages me to continue my own self learning, and keeps me grounded. She reminds me that sometimes it’s the littlest things that are important. I can’t go on a walk with her without stopping to smell the flowers, it’s impossible. And I think sometimes, we ALL need to stop and smell the flowers, otherwise life just passes us by too quickly, and how sad is that?
What are the top 5 things you love about your child?
The Walk Before The Run April 25, 2012
We all have to start somewhere right? We aren’t born doing all the amazing things we can do as adults. We have to learn to feed ourselves, to talk and walk. We learn empathy, how to appropriately express our feelings of happiness, anger, joy and sorrow.
We don’t know anything, and everything is a learning process. This continues our whole lives, through school, through relationships, through jobs, and through our surroundings.
I have thought a lot about what I am learning about myself lately. I’ve taken time to examine who I am, where I’ve been, and where I’m going. Figuring out how I am going to get there, and what I need to do to reach the finish line.
My life wasn’t easy growing up, it wasn’t horrible by any stretch, but it wasn’t easy. I always felt that I had to live up to my parents standards, even when I tried my hardest, I still failed in their eyes. They loved me fiercely, and still do. I’m blessed to have them both as a huge part of my life. I still find myself reaching to meet their expectations, but I allow myself to fail now. I’m ok with it, even if they aren’t.
I spent a lot of my teenage years in turmoil, bouts with depression, relationships that weren’t good for me, drinking, drugs, doing stupid things just to make my pain stop. Of course none of it worked. I still managed to keep up a good average at school, and got into college with no problem. I was taking law, but dropped out after a semester. It just wasn’t me. I was bound by all these rules, I’m not much for conformity.
After dropping out, I volunteered, I travelled a bit, I needed to find out who I was, what I needed to do with my life. I needed to slow down, and look at my life. I had always done what others wanted me to do, and pushed down what I wanted for myself.
After a year of no school, I re-applied and was accepted into the Early Childhood Education programme, where I finally felt at home. I was in my element. I could get down and dirty with a bunch of two-year olds and go home at night, happy. I’ve never had a super paycheck, BUT I get a lot more out of my job.
I had to try one thing in college first before settling on what I really loved and needed for my life.
I find myself in a situation now, where my life is up in the air, Shaughn is still in school, rarely home, I’m a mummy who does it all. I’m learning the ropes still, 8 months later. It’s painfully slow, and some days I don’t know if I can do it. I just think I have it figured out, and wham, something stops me in my tracks, and I have to start over again.
One day I’ll run again, one day this will figure itself out, and I will find my footing.
My Adventure Ended…. April 12, 2012
I was unbelievably excited to see my Paisley. God I missed her. 5 days away was long enough. I missed my girl, her drama, her early waking, her laugh, her excitement, I missed it all. I was so happy when I went in to kiss her at 2 am, she woke up briefly, and smiled, and said “Mummy, I missed you”…melted my heart.
I was excited to see Shaughn, but truthfully, we still haven’t seen each other. We have not connected, I haven’t really told him anything about my trip. He has seen a few pics on Instagram, but really that’s about it. I hate this.
My life seems to have just continued exactly where I left off, I got home, got things ready for work, slept for 4 hours, woke up and had the kids that morning. Nothing has changed. It’s still the same life.
When I left, I was going for a break, which I did get. I spent time doing things I love, I was in the outdoors pretty much everyday, I was able to explore a new city, and be with a wonderful friend. I was able to remember who I was, and where I came from; before I was Mummy, before 5 kids called for me every minute of my 10 hour work day. I was able to laugh, and cry and talk…and talk….and talk. I was able to have real conversations, that weren’t filled with interruptions, or explanations.
I enjoyed doing new things, and hearing new stories about things and places I had never been or seen. It was wonderful to be away.
On Monday, I woke with the weight of the world on my shoulders. I knew my time away was over. I had to go back. Real life was calling my name. I packed and got ready for my trip to Milwaukee. Thankfully it was a 3 hour drive, still time to talk, and laugh. As soon as Miller Park (where the Brewers play) came into view, my stomach dropped. It was really ending. I was going to have to say goodbye. I hate goodbyes. HATE THEM. There was a pretty big line at the train station and we were able to talk a bit more before I boarded.
And then I had to go. My adventure was over. I had to say Good Bye to Elliot, see you in July.
It was a very uneventful ride to Chicago, I snuggled with Paisley’s cow, and just stared out the window. A million things drifted through my head as I watched the world pass out my window.
I finally arrived home to London at 2 am. It was a long trip, I was exhausted. I was looking for my bed before I stepped a foot inside the door.
So, now I wait till July. Elliot will be here for my vacation, and I will show him London, we will be hitting our Pride festival, checking out Toronto and Niagara Falls, campfires, and fun. I can’t wait. Another break. Hopefully by then Shaughn will be more settled in a job, and my life will resemble something of that of a year ago, and not my current crazy.
Trains… April 5, 2012
It’s exactly 6:15, I’ve been up since 4:15. A restless hotel sleep fraught with undreaming dreams has made me more tired than I would’ve imagined.
I am sitting on a train, heading to Chicago from Port Huron MI. After a short stop in Chicago, I head to Milwaukee.
I love the train. I always have. Watching the cars pass, wondering who is on them, where they are going. Today I am one of the train people. With my backpack and purple suitcase, I’m armed for my adventure.
I am incredibly nervous, I’ve never just left on my own before, I backpacked across Canada when I was 19, but I was with someone. I feel like I’m running away from my real life to go and live someone else’s for a few days.
I know who’s waiting for me in Wisconsin, but I have no idea really, this spur of the moment trip, this idea….what was I thinking?
My mother sat across the table from me last night pulling out everything in her Mum arsenal to get me not to go.
She used my daughter, my husband, family…the fact that I have a cold…everything to get me to stay. Was she right?
I hope not. I need this break. Desperately.
Today I am a train person, please wave to me. I need some reassurance.
Tired. April 3, 2012
My life has been upside down for 7 months, and I’m not sure when the ‘crazy’ will end. I don’t know how much more I have to give. I feel like I am floundering, and failing at pretty much everything.
Let me preface this by saying, I’m not looking for solutions, advice, or pity. I am just a struggling Mama, and I’m doing the best I can with the skills and resources that I have.
Any of my regular readers know that my partner Shaughn has been in school since September, he went back to school to become a personal support worker, his hopes are to gain employment working in palliative care. He is currently also working full-time. Herein lies the problem.
My daughter Paisley is having an even harder time than I am. She is teary, upset, and angry, She doesn’t understand. She sees Shaughn for a grand total of 1 hour in the morning. During that hour it is showers, dressed, breakfast, I can’t help her, she misses her Daddy. She is taking her hurt out on me.
I see Shaughn for about the same amount of time. I might see him for a few minutes at night, but after a 15 hour day he and I are both done. We talk about the bills, the laundry, and the next days agenda. then goodnight.
I feel like I am failing as a mother, partner, daughter, caregiver. I am angry, I am tired. I am so tired. I feel like I am being pulled in 6 different directions, and I can’t find my footing. I have tried for so long, but it just isn’t happening.
I am heading out-of-town for a few days, hopefully some R&R. I need to regroup and refocus. I am excited that Shaughn and P will get some much-needed bonding time. I am sad that I will miss Easter, and my family, but I think I need to look after myself now. I need a change of scenery, I need to escape my 4 walls and just be Christa for a few days.
I know some people have expressed that I am being selfish, I should be with my child and family, and to these people I say ‘Walk a mile in my shoes’. Spend an entire day doing what I do, then tell me you can do it for 8 months, day in and out, without a break. I can tell you now, there are not too many people who can.
So, yes, I am being selfish. I am ok with it. I need it.
So, hopefully after this mini holiday, I will be in a better place to start my blogging regularly again. I will find the motivation to take a few minutes every few days for myself to write.
See y’all on the flip side yo!
A Letter To My Friends… March 14, 2012
Thank you for being wonderful, thank you for taking the time to listen, to laugh, and to try to understand me. Thank you for not trying to fix me, or my life. I don’t need fixing, I need a shoulder, and yours are ever so broad.
Thank you for showing me the lines in the sand aren’t always as they seem, that no issues are black and white; there are often undertones of grey and blue. Thank you for accepting my idiosyncrasies, my tendencies for neurotic, and my general stupidity. I often need to put my foot in my mouth, yet you never make me feel bad about it.
My dear friends, thank you for being you. I admire the people you are. On this life’s journey we have to take paths, and they can lead us and branch off so many ways. I am glad the path I chose led me to you. I have wondered what my life would be like without you in it; not hearing your laughter or voice, I wonder if there would be someone else if it hadn’t been you? I highly doubt it.
I need you to know how important you are to me, I need you to know that your opinions do matter, that I value your insight and wisdom. I need you to know that when I laugh with you, it comes from my heart, you are clever and I like that a lot.
Please don’t worry about running out of things to talk about, I’m sure that won’t happen, but if it does we can figure it out. Thank you for trying to teach me, for being a champion of my causes, for late night conversations, and a million text messages. They help me get through my life; being a work at home mama is a tough job, and often you are the only adult I speak in 10 hours.
My friends, thank you for getting excited over the little things with me, I know you could care less about finding worms with the kids, but to me it is important, and I appreciate your excitement too. I love being silly with you, it makes me feel young.
Finally, in each of your own ways, you have helped me to become a better, stronger, and happier person, what more could I ever ask for?
X’s and O’s,
To See A Smile… March 7, 2012
One of the most wonderful things in life is to see a smile. A full-out grin, or a pensive-lost-in-thought smile. They all mean the same thing. It means that somewhere inside of us we are happy.
I love smiles, the first thing I notice about a person is their smile (second is eyes, and third is shoes…you have to have good shoes!). I notice the way your lips form over your teeth, I see if you have dimples, or if your smile is toothy or small.
A smile makes me feel warm, a smile can give me strength when I think I can’t go on, a smile will brighten my day when I am down, and will bring me higher when I’m already thinking I can’t get any happier!
Music makes me smile, as do kids, animals, trees and the water. I love to just sit, take in the world, and hope to not look too dumb as I smile like an idiot. I can remember times in my life when I am sad, down and out crying, yet I think of something and slowly a smile will start…I won’t necessarily be happy, but that moment of memory is enough to get me through.
I enjoy making others smile. I know that if my smile makes me happy, it must make others happy too, right? I think nothing of smiling at strangers, and am teaching Pais to share her wonderful smile with the world.
It’s not easy, in this day and age when we are all lost in our own lives, listening to our iPods, thinking about work, school, partners, parents, friends; we rarely take the moment to look up and smile at a stranger, to open our minds and hearts to another. It almost takes courage to look someone in the eye and grin.
So take a moment, clean the salad out of your teeth, and SMILE!
…And then the sun reaches me. February 23, 2012
I normally don’t. Normally I can deal with the crazy long nights and short days. This year has been a bit different. I have woken each morning in the dark, and begin work in the dark, and eventually when my day ends, again, it is dark.
With Shaughn being in school every night, Paisley and I are rather housebound, we get out every Tuesday to go to the grocery store, but until Saturday, that’s about it. Occasionally we will have company, but even that is minimal. The kids and I get out most days for a walk and to feed the ducks, but even that has done little to raise my spirits for more than a few feeble minutes.
I noticed the other day that the sun is still up when I am done work, and I wondered when that had happened. I have been so consumed in life, that I am not noticing the small things, like longer days. I’m still getting up in the dark, but the sun is usually just beginning to peek over the horizon when I begin work. This picture taken last week is at 5:30, and the sun is happily shining, slowly setting for the night.
I am a total sun person, I don’t mean the type to lay on the beach for hours, but I am the type who when she sees the sun, is instantly happy and warmer. During the summer months, I am outside for about 4 hours a day, most days we play in the yard, the sand piles up in my sneakers, the ants scurry past my legs on the grass. I soak up vitamin D like it’s water.
With all of this being said, I love winter, I always have. I adore the snow, but my favourite days are the sunny winter days where our snow sparkles, when I can occasionally see a ‘sun dog’, and where everything around me is bright. This winter has been seriously lacking in the snow department, but luckily, we’ve had some good sunny days!
Now with our longer days, I am feeling warm, I am feeling hopeful, and I know all is well in my world. As the sun touches my skin, my soul grabs hold of its rays to keep me cosy.
Welcome back sun, I sorely missed you!
Almost 9 years ago, I married my soul mate. He is an amazing guy, smart, funny, cute, kind, generous…I also married his family, slightly dysfunctional, nuts, whacked…
I really do love them and am thankful that they are part of my life, I am also thankful they live 2000 kms away. Visiting is limited to twice a year, and 2 weeks at a time at the most.
I suppose it is because Shaughn and i were raised very differently. His mother is a free spirit, like REALLY free. Classic artist-hippy-celtic loving- gardening-dreamer who has one foot on the earth and another…well, someplace else. I was raised in a very strict home. I had rules and God help me if I didn’t follow them. My mother was very Catholic, and expected her children to behave, and to be polite. Shaughn, not so much. He had no rules, and was essentially raised much in the same free-spirited way that his mother still lives.
I am making my MIL out to be a weirdo, she’s not really; we are just very different. We have different ideas on how to raise my daughter, and what is important in life. Thankfully, Shaughn and I are on the same page when it comes to most things, and most importantly on how to raise Paisley.
So, those limited visits, well, now I am in the middle of one. She usually flies in for Christmas, but this year decided to come for the kids 4th birthday. She arrived on Thursday will the world a-swirling around her, she’s akin to a tornado. Within an hour of her arrival she had her bags unpacked, stuff everywhere, gifts out for Paisley, cookies for Shaughn…and I was still working, with 3 daycare kids running around. Arrrrrrgggggghhhhhhh!
My in-laws are probably some of the kindest, and generous people anyone can ever meet, they have helped us more than once when we were in a bind. Never any questions asked, never any expectation for repayment. They always pay for our flights out to see them, and just shower Paisley with love. One thing I absolutely appreciate is that they are not grandparents who buy things constantly for Paisley; instead her visits with them are often spent doing things, and spending time making memories. This past summer the MIL had Paisley making fused glass magnets, working in the garden, and colouring and painting pictures with her. Every morning Grandad and Paisley would bake, or make jello, often I would find the two of them lost in a book together on the couch. I love it. These times, these memories are worth far more than a doll or clothes.
I will always have in-law issues, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t, BUT, in the grand scheme of things, I could have done far worse than marrying into Shaughn’s crazy family. I am thankful to have them as part of my life.