Thursday, April 30, 2009

isn't this lovely?

I'm still feeling crappy, so I thought I would share something that really makes me smile.

I met Claudia at the 2009 Conference for Young Women Affected By Breast Cancer. Every time I saw her, she was wearing a very different and very funky hat.

This one, made from coffee filters was one of my favourites:

When Claudia was diagnosed with breast cancer, she launched the She Arts Project: "a collaboration with 30+ Artists with photographs from Meg Luther Lindholm."

The photographs eventually became part of an travelling exhibit. You can see more of them here.

I love this kind of thing.

Monday, April 27, 2009

what they said.

I am wiped.

I had a CT scan at 7:15 this morning (and we got back late from family adventures in Toronto), so of course I didn't sleep last night, worrying about over-sleeping (as it turned out I had made a mistake setting the alarm but I woke up anyway) and of course about some horrible mass that could be growing on my innards (I have no reason to anticipate bad news but this never stops me from being anxious).

S. and D. were BOTH home today with different viruses picked up over the week end. One is hacking and coughing and sneezing and one has a stomach bug. My immune system feels very threatened.

I am so tired that I'm hysterical and letting my inner hypochondriac run wild (I am half-convinced I have swine flu).

So, instead of words of wisdom, I give you some other wise women's words:

I first saw this video at the conference I went to recently, for women with advanced breast cancer, when Living Beyond Breast Cancer unveiled it there. With several women in the video present for the viewing (and several others represented were women I met in Dallas).

It was very, very moving.

I was talking to my friend Nicole today and she told me she'd seen the video online. I cried again today when I watched it. It also makes me realize that nothing I have to say on living with metastatic breast cancer is remotely original.

Watch it. These women are more inspiring then Susan Boyle.


Tomorrow is a chemo day. Hope to be writing again by Wednesday.

Friday, April 24, 2009

not done yet: where to buy

Are you getting tired of the relentless self-promotion? Well, like the book, I am Not Done Yet.

I do, however, promise a return to regular programming (at least temporarily) very soon.

Folks have been asking where they can buy my book so I thought I should pull that info together in to one post:
  • You can buy the book directly from the publisher (the glitch on the order form has been fixed and it should work easily now). You can link to Women's Press any time, by clicking the photo of the book on the right.
  • You can order from Octopus books (or drop in and buy it if you live in Ottawa). And, if you live in Canada, ask your local book store to order the book (this may even work in the US). Please support your local independent book store.
  • You can also place an order through Chapters (although the statement that the books usually ships in 3-5 weeks is a bit disconcerting
  • The book can be ordered from but not, for some reason, through
  • Finally, you can order the book directly from me (I have run out but have ordered more). This is the way to get a signed copy. I charge the price of the book and whatever it costs me to mail it (plus GST, in Canada). If you want to go this route, you can email me at "laurie DOT kingston AT gmail DOT com.
Please do let me know if you encounter any bumps when you try to buy the book, so that I can make things right.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

"not done yet" reviewed at "mothers with cancer"

Mary Beth Volpini kindly agreed to review my book for our group blog, Mothers With Cancer:

There were entries that I laughed while reading… Monday, July 3, 2006 as her boys pretended to be Wolverine. The most touching entry to me… Wednesday, October 10, 2007 Etching Myself in their Memories … spontaneous tears ran down my cheeks right there in the hair salon. I share those same haunting thoughts.

I am glad that I had the chance to learn more about Laurie. I applaud her courage, her creativity and her approach to life. “Metastatic cancer has not ended my life; it has just caused me to live my life differently.” If my story becomes more similar to Laurie’s, I hope I proceed with the same courage and positive outlook.

You can read the rest of the review here.

Mary Beth is an artist and you can see some of her work, at her personal blog.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

d: a photographic retrospective

Earth Day is also D. Day. And a good day to look back over the last six years:








Happy birthday to a wonderful boy.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

"not done yet" reviewed

photo: L. Steer

"As a survivor, I appreciated her candor on everything from alternative practitioners who blamed her cancer on her negative body image to the way she describes a summer evening walk with a friend that ends with strawberries and whipped cream. The medical and the mundane knit together a complete picture of what it is to live with cancer that might be controlled but never cured."
- Lorri Steer, from her review of Not Done Yet on her blog, Terrible And Beautiful.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

i may never be the same

The drama.

The excitement.

The friendship.

The laughter.

The rejection.

The politics.

The blood.

The boredom.

The creativity.

The anger.

The joy.

The noise.

The complete and utter exhaustion.

It was a roller coaster, I tell you. Twenty-five Grade 5 kids and three adults on a field trip to the National Gallery of Canada.

It was fun but it really knocked the stuffing out of me.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

"not done yet" on blogher

For this blogger turned author, the BlogHer review of Not Done Yet was the among those for which I waited the most eagerly and with the most trepidation.

Denise Taunton, Community Manager (she also regularly blogs the Health and Wellness beat) was tasked with writing the review. Her post came out today:I am channelling Sally Field this evening.

"She (Denise Taunton, not Sally Field) likes me, she really likes me!" Or at least she really liked my book.

"I've read Not Just About Cancer for years and knew Laurie's story would make a compelling book, if she could only manage to pull the "right posts" and emotionally handle the process.

After reading the review copy of Not Done Yet, graciously sent to me by Laurie, I can say without reservation - she did it. She has written an excellent book."

You can read the rest of the review here.

I am thrilled (I celebrated with a glass of wine and a bubble bath, so forgive me if this is less than coherent).

Tomorrow, I am helping to escort 25 Grade Five students to the National Art Gallery. And I still haven't recovered from the week end (and literally running around with a sick 5 year old today). April is proving to be very, very busy. It feels so good to be able to complain about it.

how much popeye before he becomes pop-eyed?

D. is getting a day off after the long week end because of a cold, which has him good spirits but coughing a lot (he insists it's "not a day off when you're sick!").

He is currently watching back-to-back black and white Popeye episodes from the 1930s (he has seen these many, many times and loves them) and I probably should go be a parent.

Here's a link to post that the wonderful Blondie wrote about my book. It really, really moved me.

Monday, April 13, 2009

now, that's parenting

Five year old D. had a friend, N. over to play yesterday evening. For a while, I was alone in the house with them.

They were playing upstairs, when I heard a loud, "Thump!"

Me: "Are you boys OK up there?"

D. and N. (in unison): "Don't come up!"

Me: "If I come up, will I get mad?"

N.: "You'll get mad!"

So, I waited five minutes and then I went upstairs. All evidence of whatever had happened had been cleaned up. The boys were playing quietly.

This is clearly an example of how what I don't know can't hurt me.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

random: rubble, reading, rabbit, reunion.

1. The long week end looms and it promises to be a busy one around here.

We are hosting a secular Passover seder for 22 people. At the moment, you can't actually see the top of the dining room table around which most of us will be sitting. We have a ways to go before we are ready. Denial is a wonderful coping mechanism.

My sister and I both married Jewish men, despite being raised in the Catholic Church. My spouse and his brothers all married shiksas (we are reclaiming the derogatory term). We do Passover and Easter (otherwise known as "chocolate rabbit day" or "the one day every year that my kids eat chocolate for breakfast").

On Sunday, the Easter Bunny will be setting up the egg hunt at my spouse's brother and sister in law's house. I'm pretty sure the Bunny will remember to drop off some loot here, too.

2. It seems I have a lot of reading to do.

I have book reviews I need to write for Library Thing and for the Harper Collins First Look Program.

I also have stacks of unread books.

But every time I see or read about a book that might be interesting, I order it from the library. I usually do a pretty good job of making sure that most of these requests are "inactive" so that everything doesn't come in at once.

I forgot to check for a few days (this is really unlike me, I tend to be obsessive about anything involving lists). I now have 24 books ready for pick up and another 45 in transit. I also have 13 already checked out. I think I might be in trouble.

3. Yikes!

I am stressing myself out writing this post. Really, library books, unfinished knitting projects and the novel outline I haven't touched since New Year's Eve shouldn't be stressing me out.

4. After my last post, my mom and my sister have both told me that I am motivating them to re-commit to exercise.

I think that's so cool.

5. One of my Ottawa friends is going to deliver a copy of my book to a friend in Uruguay.

How cool is that? CR has been a friend for many years and we worked together for a while (in the possibly carcinogenic building). CG was my college room-mate 24 years ago and we have recently re-connected.

CR and CG are going to hook up and take a picture together. I cannot tell you how thrilled I am about this.

Going to go walk the dogs, drop off the book and, if there's time start to clean up the house.

Wish me luck.

And have a great week end.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

you in?

Of all the things that we can do to help prevent cancer, the evidence that exercise provides enormous benefits continues to mount (and yes, I know we all know folks who were really fit who still got cancer). The magic number is 180 minutes a week (and yes, I know I have said this before. It just bears repeating). You need to break a sweat but you don't need to do all the minutes at once (in fact, you really should spread them out through the course of the week).

So just get out there, OK? Put one foot in front of the other. Go for a swim. Take a class. Jump rope. Do a little pole dancing, if that's your thing (and it is for many, if the popularity of the course at my local community centre is any indication). Just move.

And yeah, it would be a whole lot easier if the weather would cooperate. My walks have been considerably shorter since the snow started falling again.

Accountability Time (or taking care of my body in 2009: part 4).

I didn't make a whole lot of progress in March but I am pulling up my socks and getting back on the horse (and mixing a whole lot of metaphors while I am at it).

Let's review the commitments I've made so far, shall we?

1-Walk VIGOROUSLY for an average of one hour, five times per week (300 minutes a week).

I almost made it. In fact, I came just under 100 minutes short for the month. All things considered (illness, chemo, travelling), that's not too bad.

2-Eat seven servings of fruit and veggies a day.

Not even close, although there were some good days. And we ate well in Florida. I need to focus a bit more on this one.

3-Cook dinner at least once a week.

It depends on how you define 'cooking dinner.' We've been eating way too much junk and prepared foods around here lately. However, I am certainly taking much more responsibility (as compared to almost no responsibility) for the family dinners (and I do that more than once a week).

The last couple of weeks have not been great but if I take a longer view, I am doing much more (and healthier) cooking than I have in my life.

4-Go to yoga once every week.

I went twice in the last five weeks. Not good enough. Especially since I am paying for 8 week sessions.

5-Cut down on refined sugar.

Well, if the goal had been to increase my sugar intake to the point that I felt well and truly addicted and jittery and my pants were getting tighter, I would have done very well.

It all started on the road trip. I would get treats for the kids and a little something for myself. And then the if the kids didn't like the chocolate (my big weakness) I got them then I would get them something else. But a chocolate bar shouldn't go to waste, right? I think my all-time low was the day I ate half a Three Musketeers, half a Milky Way and one and a half of those chocolate bars they sell at the cash at Starbucks.

Or maybe my low point was sending my oldest son to the corner store in the rain last night to get me an Easter Cream Egg (this was after my spouse had failed to return with one for me from the grocery store).

The truth is that for me, sugar is addictive. Once I have a little bit, then I just want more. And I really don't like how it makes me feel.

So it's time to stop.

Except for the organic, vegan chocolate bar that came in the mail today. Raw, organic cane sugar doesn't count, right?

4- Take my vitamin D and calcium supplements daily.

I may have remembered three times. I did get lots of Vitamin D from the sun in Florida, though.

5. Do either 10 minutes (at least) of strength training or yoga with the wii fit or abdominal exercises every day (chemo recovery days excluded).

I did five minutes of abdominal crunches. Once.

But I plan to go and use the Wii Fit (I did buy the thing) right after I finish writing this. Or at some point this evening. Really.

OK. So there is lots of room to improve here. I promised myself that I would end 2009, feeling healthy, fit and strong. Time to renew this commitment.

And I don't think I will make myself any new promises this month. I just need to actually fulfill the old ones.

How about you? How are you doing with the goals you set for 2009?

Monday, April 06, 2009

i love them, too

Me to my spouse: "I love you!"

10 year old son (from the next room): "Mama, are you talking to the dogs again?"

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

the shape i'm in

Chemo has left me uninspired.

Here is a link to a story ("Cancer labs no closer to national standards: Despite fresh doubts about tests in B.C. and damning report on Newfoundland scandal, efforts to set quality benchmarks are stalled.") from today's Globe and Mail that made me grumpy.

The quality and accuracy of cancer testing can be so uneven and no province has been exempt from error. The feds don't feel they need to take any responsibility for resolving the problem:

Federal Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq declined to be interviewed for this story, but her press secretary said in an e-mail the federal government will not become involved because "the regulation of pathologists and laboratories is a provincial and territorial responsibility."

If I weren't already feeling queasy, I would be now.