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Game On

Welcome to the roller coaster that is now my life.

Buckle up. Keep all hands and arms inside the vehicle. I promise the ride will be bumpy, twisted, and upside down.

Good. Now that I’ve warned you, let me tell you about my week.

I’ve seen four different doctors. I’ve been to BC BioMed Labs three times. And, so far I may have one or more of the following four illnesses: pulmonary hypertension/heart failure, hypothyroidism, cervical cancer, or my favorite, pituitary tumor.

All are possible, the last three are likely. And they may all be related to the last one: a tumor in my pituitary gland.

Technically, pituitary tumor is not cancer. Nor is it a brain tumor. It’s called pituitary adenoma, a slow-growing tumor in the pituitary gland that messes up all of the body’s hormones, causing things like hypothyroidism and a host of reproductive issues, including the iron-deficiency anemia that I’ve already been diagnosed with.¬† Depending on its size, it’s often not operated on; best treatment is usually through medication.

It’s also often never even diagnosed. Read more

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Control, Defiance, and Joy

I meant to blog on Friday.

But then I got a phone call – from my oncologist’s office.

Yeah, those usually aren’t too fun. Oncologists are – unfortunately – busy people. No news is good news, they say. And its true. If they’re calling you, then, well, something’s up.

Or down, as the case may be.

This time, there was something down. I blogged on Wednesday about having microcytic anemia (low hemoglobin due to small red blood cells). I’d had a Ferritin level blood test (iron levels) done on Tuesday, to see if the low hemoglobin was due to low iron. If it wasn’t, then we had to consider that I might be sicker than we had thought.

But, it was low. 6, to be precise. Normal is 20-100, so yes, I’m a bit iron-deficient.

Good news, right? Because then I can just take iron supplements to correct the problem.

Or, maybe not. Read more

Wednesday’s Wonder Woman:The Original, Canadian “Bones”

Week after week I pillage Google for inspiring women to write about. And, I always wonder, where are all the Canadians?

Despite the stereotype that Canadians are ‘nice’ and ‘polite,’ Canadian women are more fire and ice than most. Back a few months, when our hockey team was playing San Jose, a number of San Jose fans trolled Canucks forums, saying things like, ‘our chicks are hotter than yours.’

Typical smack talk, and all part of the fun of sports fandom, I know. But, I was pretty impressed that MORE than a few male Canuck fans jumped on that comment. ‘We grow ’em pretty, gritty, and smart up here.’

We do.

So, where are all the Canadian heroines?

I don’t mean famous people. I don’t mean rock stars or actresses. I don’t mean songwriters or athletes.

Though, we do have a few of those that make my Canadian heart swell with pride.

I mean women who otherwise would not be known except that they dared to do what others said was impossible.

And then, this week, I found these two great books by Merna Forster: 100 Canadian Heroines, and 100 More Canadian Heroines: Famous and Forgotten Faces.

The first is promoted by our only female Prime Minister, Kim Campbell: “The term ‘weaker sex’ should make one’s blood boil after reading this book,” she says.

The second, released just this month, writes about a woman whose name is so boring, but life so interesting, I had to direct attention her way.

Bones fans? You might want to pay attention here. Read more

Canuck Hate, Canuck Shmate: 10 Reasons to Stick With Em Anyways

A quick disclaimer: I write to Canuck fans. You love another team? I bless you to do so. Whoever you’re for, be for. Please, and thank you.

Another disclaimer: there are many blogs dedicated solely to Canuck hate. (Ha ha ha. And, they call us pathetic.) BUT, this is NOT one of them. So, if you’re not exactly fond of Canucks – and its in vogue to hate us, so, I understand if there’s more than a few of you – this is probably not the post for you. Check back in on Wednesday. There won’t be a single thing about hockey in here, I promise.

Maybe.

Read more

The Mockingjay (Hunger Games #3): Battle Not with Monsters, Lest Ye Become a Monster

“Battle not with monsters, lest you become a monster, and if you gaze into the abyss, the abyss also gazes into you.” – F. Nietzsche

“All good books are alike in that they are truer than if they had really happened.” – E. Hemmingway

I have an insatiable thirst for justice.

Some call it a personality flaw. I call it a disturbance to my peace. Because this urge that things be right often causes me grief.

This world? It’s simply not fair.

Read more

9/11/11: The Dragon Doesn’t Always Win

Ten years ago today, I woke with dread.

No, I hadn’t heard the news. I just hit my head on the top bunk and realized I had no idea what I was going to do for the chapel service I was supposed to lead that morning.

I shrugged on my backpack, hoisted up my thirty-pound-nursing-textbooks (word to the wise: those of you going to Nursing school, prepare to invest in a decent masseuse, physiotherapist, or chiropractor), and hoped my very strong coffee would give me inspiration as I walked the flowering-cherry-tree-lined path from McMillan Hall to Neufeld Science Center.

Other bleary-eyed students joined me, coffee mug in one hand, the other rubbing their eyes. Obviously, none of us were built for 8 am classes.

None of us residents, I should say.

A commuter friend saw me and bounced along the path.

I realized as I got closer she wasn’t smiling. “Did you hear the news?” she puffed out. Read more

The Wonder Woman of My Week: My Mom

I’m done. And it’s only a day and a half in.

Confession: I’m one of those moms that hates back-to-school. I love my kids. I love the lazy-hazy days of summer. I love the lack of stress, deadlines, and strict schedules.

But, of course, kids need to go to school. And when almost-six-year-old Noelle¬† rattled off a string of very important information – in extremely coherent fashion, I may add – on the drive home from school yesterday, I realized how much she’d grown in a year.

But still I sit here, ten minutes before her lunch bell will ring, wondering if she’ll be okay on the playground and if she’ll get back to her class on time when the bell rings and will she like what’s in her lunch, and I realize why my mom used to pick me up at lunch time some days in grade one.

It wasn’t just to help me get used to the long days, though it definitely helped. It was also – likely – because she missed me.

That’s why I feel like driving to the school right now, right?

Sigh. I’ve got a bad case of first-child-in-grade-one syndrome.

I know this stage brings a lot of freedom. But I hear some people talk about all the stuff they get done once the kids are in Grade one, and I think, uh, what? When? It seems busier, somehow. Am I really going to be able to keep this up for the next 15 or 20 years?

And of course my next thought is: wow, my mom was awesome.

No, seriously. She was. She was always there when I got home. She was always ready to talk, even when I was fourteen and I wasn’t ready to talk until 10 pm. She volunteered in all my extra-curriculars, just so she could know what it was like to be me, and so she could know the people I spent most of my time with. She didn’t do it because she was starving for activity, because if there’s one thing my mom has never needed, it’s more things to do. She did it because she wanted to be a part of my life. She wanted to be trusted with confidences. She wanted to be my friend, even when I annoyed the crap out of her.

I still annoy her, I know. But I ‘m so grateful for all that energy she gave me.

Some people say I intimidate them. I’m always shocked by this, because these are usually the people who are so good at all the things I’m not. These are the people I wish I could be more like. And yet I think, deep down, that if there’s anything to intimidate, at all, it might be that I’ve learned that, even with my large, glaring flaws, I’m still worth something.

Because we all have glaring flaws. And we all do some things really, really well. And we’re all worth something, because we’re us and no one else can do that as well as we can.

And the person who taught me that, of course, was my mom.

She didn’t teach me that with her words. She taught me that with her actions.

She was quick to listen, slow to cast judgment. She put her book down the minute I started to talk. She asked me that great question more times than I can count: and how do you feel about that?

She gave me enough of her that I now feel able to give something to my girls. And even when I don’t feel able, I choose to be able, because I want to be that kind of mom.

If there’s one thing I could wish for my kids – or for everyone’s kids, or everyone’s moms, or just everyone – it would be that we’d all be so okay being us that we’d have the strength to let everyone else be them, too.

Even if – and when – everyone else is so, so different from us.

So today, I may feel overwhelmed with activity, but I also feel overwhelmed with gratitude. Because I was given to, when I needed it the most, and now I’m free to give back.

Thanks, Mom.

 

 

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