Thursday, May 6, 2010


My hair started falling out yesterday. I scrubbed and scrubbed my head for just about an hour in the shower before I finally gave up - my skin was pruning up! Last time I lost my hair it pretty much fell out evenly one morning. This time is different. My sides and a strip horizontally in the back has fallen out considerably. Today I was hoping the rest would be released but it is still hanging on. I don't want to be caught without a hat on, I might frighten small children - tee hee!

Carman has been calling me his Calico Cat. I don't really like cats so it can just fall out!

Wedding Band

Ever since chemo last year my hands have been puffy. I can still get my wedding band off, but I have to use soap and water or lotion to pry it off my finger. When we took our road trip from Phoenix to San Diego I had to take it off with the heat. It finally dawned on me that I could get is size larger - duh!! So I am going up from size 5 to 6 and my ring will look like new again!

When Carman and I decided to finally get married 10 years ago this August after 7 years of dating it wasn't a traditional affair. I was looking at getting my own apartment after years of living with a roommate and I asked Carman if maybe we should get married. Carman and I had always made comments 'when we get married', but to my memory I never asked him 'when are we going to get married?' until that car ride back to Calgary (after being home to both Camrose and Stettler visiting family). The whole big white dress, guest list, budget factor didn't ever appeal to us. Oh, back to the car ride. Because we had visions of eloping to somewhere cool like Vancouver Island or Ethiopia Carman didn't think the time was right. We were young, living in the city from pay to to pay cheque. Our dream elopement just wasn't feasible (because neither of us wanted to go into debt just to get married). Carman dropped me off and I was going to get a paper to hunt for a cute apartment. No less than 10 minutes later Carman called me and said "I don't want to wait anymore". And neither did I. A month later we eloped to the beautiful mountain village of Banff and it was absolutely perfect.

There was no need for an engagement ring so I bought myself (I still have the Mastercard Statement to prove it) a plain white and gold wedding band for just over $300. Aunt Rochelle gave Carman her late husband wedding ring which sported 3 diamonds (yes, Carman got the bling).

I love my ring and I can't wait until it is a size bigger next week!


Carman and I share an 1970's bedroom closet. With a well designed his and her's organizer we surely maximize our space. However because of this, I rotate my Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter wardrobes - if you could call them that. It only takes up a Rubbermaid container. Monday I finally switched my 'wardrobe' over, but I purged a lot of stuff. You see, because of my 1/2 right lopsided breast, my scar, and my port-o-cath, I am uncomfortable wearing many of my shirts. So I packed them all up for someone else to enjoy. It is amazing how many women's shirts are fairly low cut. Hey, if I had a nice rack I would probably accentuate it too. Last year I wore anything from a size 4-10 pants - so the lower sizes had to go. My mother-in-law commented on how she didn't want me to ever get that skinny again (nor do I) so some skinny, shorty out there gets to enjoy my skinny pants!

So this I-don't-really-enjoy-shopping-gal has been on the hunt for shirt style that are not too low cut. I did find some styles at R&W Co, but I sure had to scour the mall to find them. For all those women out there who like to shop, I commission you to keep an eye out for shirts that fit the bill - higher necked.

Shopaholics, I give you permission to use me an excuse for you husbands - your helping a woman in need!

Yes, Top With Whipping Cream

Women are women. Who doesn't want Brook Burke's figure? Pre-cancer I channeled my will power not to eat my daily dose of chocolate (preferably dark chocolate), and my Coke on the rocks, but after cancer I have had periods where it took great will power to eat. During radiation my appetite was very limited and I had to really focus just to eat a small plate of veggies or Auntie Rochelle's rice pudding.

Today I do try to watch what I eat, but I really enjoy food. After my 4 days post-chemo of spewing some really great meals, I want to eat. Sure I would like to reduce the flab I have acquired since cancer - my toned arms and legs are pretty weak, but food is worth savoring.

Today I was at the Cancer Centre getting my blood checked for tomorrow's chemo and I recognized one of the ladies in the waiting room. I couldn't remember from where, so I simply said: "I know you from somewhere!". She pegged it faster than I did - from the church's women's bible study. We had a lovely (doesn't that sound so British) chat. We both voice how thankful we are for our appetites - we both have suffered times where eating was not appealing. We both agreed and laughed about our instant, non-hesitation to top drinks with whipping cream.

I think your hot Brook Burke, but I think I am going to enjoy my vanilla bean hot chocolate topped with whipping cream!

Why I Blog

Initially I started my blog to limit the amount of phone calls we were getting. We know we are well loved, but it was getting too much to repeat the same news over and over again. And often times Carman was the one answering the phone because I just didn't have the mental energy to do it.

However, today I blog for different reasons. I still use it to keep people updated on how I am feeling, but it feels very different now. We greatly appreciate our Christian brothers and sisters who use the blog as an update on how to pray - we believe in prayer and greatly appreciate those who petition our Saviour for healing. We without a doubt believe God can still heal my body completely (here on earth). If he can raise people from the dead, he can erase some misbehaving cells!

I write this post because of a conversation I recently had with my sister Jodi. Just like the Will Farell skit on Saturday Night Live: Give me More Cow Bell, I get the comment: You haven't posted in a while. Jodi said "Give us more blog". I hadn't realized I had a quota to fill - tee hee! But I don't write so my mom can call Jodi to ask her if she read my new blog post, nor do I blog to necessarily have an open conversation about my feelings. I have never been very private, obviously. But, I often want my posts to be a private one sided conversation. I write some personal stuff simply to share with that other cancer survivor about my experiences, or to the family members of friends to that person.

Carman sometimes comments on my spelling or grammar mistakes like an editor, but I always get after him that I am not writing to be graded or published. I know an English teacher would be appalled by my punctuation, but I was never the best student.

Side story: When my college diploma arrived in the mail I was telling my younger sister about it. She asked me to read her what it said. I shared that it said Diploma in Business Administration with a major in Marketing (Hons). I then commented that I didn't know what Hons meant. Tara being the 'brains' of the family laughed and said I got honours. Shows how smart I am!

It is pretty cool when a stranger who lives in a far away land like Israel, UK, or Ontario emails me to encourages us. I have especially liked when people comment on Carman. He is truly a very, very special man. When a complete stranger recognizes it through my writing it brings me deep joy

I also blog to be a testament to my faith. I know so many people say "What kind of God does this?" or "Why God?", or "Where is he?" I don't have the answers, but I trust him. I have to believe that my life has purpose and my existence isn't just because or chance. As my therapist Sherri said to me once, "God is weaving an amazing beautiful tapestry with my life woven into it". What color do you think my thread is? I'm thinking a Scarlet Red, Aqua Blue combo. Or maybe a combination of leaf greens.

There is life with Stage 4 breast cancer. It is not a solace, rose colored life, but there are times of joy and laughter and peace. I also have hope for a long life. I have read many stories of years, and years of continued treatment in different shapes and form, but life. The Lord wants me to choose life so I do. Yes there has been physical and emotional pain, tears, more tears, distorted taste buds, vomit, a dripping nose, pokes and prods, baldness, weight gain, loss of energy, but I love my life.

Totally enjoying my Vespa! Carman ordered my an orange scooter helmet to help complete my dorky scooter look. I'll post a picture when it arrives.