Thursday, December 31, 2009

Monday, December 14, 2009

melancholy meme


These are questions from the
Proust quiz in a recent issue of Vanity Fair magazine. I stole the idea from a friend (she did it on Facebook, so I won't identify her here) and I've been thinking of it ever since.

It was interesting to do. My answers reflect the fact that I have been in a somewhat melancholy mood of late. I tried to answer without censoring myself.

Feel free to answer the questions in the comments or to link to your on blog if you do it there.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Being somewhere beautiful, being with someone I love. Happiness can come out of nowhere. I am better trained to notice it now.

What is your greatest fear?
That I will die and my kids will forget me.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
Lack of discipline and the fear that causes it.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Intolerance of difference.

On what occasion do you lie?
Sometimes to protect others' feelings. Occasionally to protect myself.

What is your greatest extravagance?
It used to be shoes. I do like nice glasses but that's only every couple of years. I'd have to say that now, it's eating out and yarn.

What is your current state of mind?
A little fragile, anxious and blue. Figuring out how to get past it.

What is the quality you most like in a man?
Intelligence. The ability to laugh at himself. And if he's in love with me, that's pretty attractive, too. OK, so that's three. I did say that I lack discipline.

What is the quality you most like in a woman?
Intelligence, strength and a sense of humour.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
Lately, it's "Oh, for pity's sake!" Trying to excise the potty mouth.

When and where were you happiest?
No particular moment in time. In PEI with T., in London with S., at the family cottage, in the arboretum with the dogs...

Who are your favorite writers?
Depends on my mood. John Steinbeck, Jane Austen, Joseph Boyden, Sarah Waters...and lots of mystery novelists too.

Which talent would you most like to have?
I wish I could sing.

If you could change one thing about your family, what would it be?
I'd make us all appreciate what we have.

If you died and came back as a person or thing, what do you think it would be?
A well-loved dog with a stay at home alpha human and a family that loves me, walks me and feeds me well. In other words, I would come back as one of my dogs.

What do you dislike most about your appearance?
Where to begin? Trying to be healthier in my attitude about this. But my weight (exacerbated by lymphedema) is getting me down lately. And it would be nice to have my breast back.

Where would you like to live?
Somewhere where there is no winter.

What is your most treasured possession?
If you agree with me that the dogs are family members and not possessions, then I guess that would be my raven ring.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Being 38 years old and learning that your liver is riddled with tumours and you don't have long to live. Needing morphine to control the pain for months. Having your heart ache on behalf of those who love you, especially your kids.Bold
And life really is pretty good when you climb out of those depths.


What do you most value in your friends?
Loyalty, love and and humour.

What are your favorite names?
Sacha
Daniel
Katya

What is it that you most dislike?
People who think they have already learned all there is to know. And cancer. I don't like cancer either.

What is your greatest regret?
Not maintaining friendships with some people who were very important to me.

How would you like to die?
Painlessly and after having lived a long life.

What is your motto?
Be good.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

writing your way through breast cancer


It's been two days since chemo, so I feel lousy and have the attention span of a gnat.


It works out well for me, therefore, that I have something I've been meaning to share with you all for a while now.

I really like the Philadelphia based organization Living Beyond Breast Cancer. I've been fortunate enough to attend two of their own conferences (one called "News You Can Use" and one specifically for women living with metastasis) and the Annual Conference For Young Women Affected By Breast Cancer, which they co-sponsor (last year's was in Dallas and I'm applying for a grant, in the hopes of being able to attend in Atlanta this year. It will be the 10 year anniversary of the conference).

A little while ago, LBBC contacted me to see if I would be willing to be interviewed for their Winter 2009/2010 newsletter about "writing your way through breast cancer." I didn't hesitate, as this is a subject about which I am passionate.

You can read the interview on their web site. I am also please to not that they have listed "Not Done Yet" under the heading "Creative Coping: 10 Publications To Motivate You."

Thursday, December 03, 2009

hello again


I'm back.


All is well here, I just used up all my writing mojo in November writing a novel (more on that experience in a future post).

Then I took a few days off to hang out with a wonderful friend and, well not write for a few days,

And while I was gone from the blog November 24th (the anniversary of my diagnosis of metastatic breast cancer) and December 2nd (the anniversary of the night I found the first lump) came and went. I noted both events in passing, took the time to breathe deeply and be grateful, and then got on with my day.

It's been four years since I found the lump. It's been three since the cancer spread to my liver. And it's been two and a half years since my first clean scan.

I had an appointment with my oncologist yesterday. I had nothing to tell him. He said, "Shall we keep dragging you in here every few months just to say 'hi'?"

I readily agreed.

I have chemo next week. They've been building a new treatment centre for what seems like years. I have often jokingly pointed in the direction of the new building and said, "They're building that for me."

Yesterday, I discovered that the new building is open and the chemo room has been moved. No more listening to the sounds of construction during treatment. No more listening to the intimate details of the constitutional issues of the patient beside me. There will be a little more light and a little more room and hopefully, a little less noise.

I'm kind of excited.

And yes, that is somewhat ironic. I have lived long enough to be excited about getting chemo in the new building.