My scans are clear!


Celebrating 400 posts: is there a cake in there somewhere?

Thank you to blogger Tracy for this monumental image! http://tracycorrecaminos.blogspot.ca/2012/02/cuatrocientos-seguidores-cuatrocientos.html

Thank you to Spanish, Portuguese or possibly Catalan blogger Tracy for this monumental image! http://tracycorrecaminos.blogspot.ca/2012/02/cuatrocientos-seguidores-cuatrocientos.html

I have reached the milestone of 400 posts on this blog. I started it September 21, 2007 (coincidentally my daughter, Tessa’s, 16th birthday) as the mom blogger for Canadian Living magazine. I was a two-years separated, single—or I much more prefer the term, double—parent with three kids ages 16, 14 and 7. The blog has seen me through the rewards of parenting and the challenge of cancer and lymphedema, and with cancer in my rearview mirror it’s now about the longterm effects of that fight as I get back to work. I can’t say so much about my kids anymore as they all have control over their own social media selves and have varying degrees of approval regarding my posting about them. I’ll have links to Tessa’s latest dancehall videos in a future post if she says OK 😀

And instead of cake, we had Dufflet Pastries sticky toffee puddings for dessert tonight. Oh yes, that’s how to celebrate!

It just wasn’t enough to lose my wallet, now it’s my phone

I lost my phone two and a half weeks ago, somewhere between Costco at 4 p.m. on Monday and 2 p.m. the following day in my house. I went from Costco to my driveway into my house and didn’t leave. The kids and I (mostly me) have ripped the house apart. I’ve gone back to Costco and examined their lost and found drawers myself.

I didn’t back it up, of course. It held all my doctors and clinic appointments through all this cancer crap, including my questions and the doctors’ answers, unposted blog entries, ideas, notes of gifts received, people to thank, all of the photos I’ve taken of myself through before-chemo hair to short hair to bald to regrowth—only the “good” photos because I deleted the others, pics of the kids, little things like the progression of puzzles at the radiation suite as people put in their 15 minutes a day, plus all the text exchanges that I kept because some people are so comforting to me their texts calmed me months and months later when I would re-read them, and all my voice recordings of doctor meetings, my psychiatrist’s guided meditations and inner resource work with me, the lymphadema therapists working through 30 and 40 minute massages so I could do them myself at the same pace without forgetting what’s next, and all the phone numbers and addresses of every person, clinic, department, hospital, supplier, etc. I’ve been in contact with for more than the last two years. It is so overwhelming.

I have been having a world-class pity party for the last two and half weeks and I still feel like 30 pounds of crappy sausage in a 10-pound casing. No, that’s what my arm feels like in this sumer heat and humidity. I feel like a leaky, weepy old outdoor faucet.

I need to get over it and get a new phone. I should take it as a sign and start with a clean slate and no old cancer photos and cancer appointments and lists of cancer questions. But it seems far too hard.

Thank you for reading. If you’ve texted with me in the past, please send me one soon. I haven’t cancelled my service (no one has used the phone since I did the day I lost it) so when I get and activate a new one, the texts should just flow in and catch up. That’ll give me a start in building up my contacts list again. Sigh.

Seven years of blogging; or, have I really been doing this since 2007?

Wordpress's anniversary award

WordPress’s anniversary award

After more than a month of not posting (thank you to Tessa, daughter who even at 7,457 kilometres distance can still get me to do what I’m supposed to be doing but are not) I got a little award thingy in my blog mail—see above.

I am, I stress really am, working on my fatigue by sitting with it in guided meditation, and slippery brain, and self-massage with skin care and compression garments, and lymphatic openings and exercise. I know I said I would post more often, but I am exhausted, and I honestly don’t have anything interesting to say. Sorry Tessa.

So, for this post, which WordPress marks as an anniversary, I’m going to re-post my first entry to this blog. It had a far larger audience than I now have, because I was the Mom Blogger for Canadian Living magazine then, and eyes were reading from across the country. In this post I introduced myself to them:


Mom blog: All about Jacquelyn, the mom blogger


Posted on  by itsbecauseisaidso


Hello. If you are reading this, you are the witness to the very first words of Canadianliving.com’s Mommy blogger. I am thrilled to be here – winning the reader poll to become the Mommy blogger is on my Top Ten List of Achievements, along with giving birth to my three incredible children, beating back my son’s leukemia, being nominated for a National Magazine Award, hanging on to a marriage for 19 years, quitting smoking, and the rest are state secrets.
One thing you’ll learn about me is a secret is a secret. And a state secret is even more sacred. Don’t ask me how old I am.
I am a mom (I prefer mum – my kids call me “Mummy” not “Mommy”) (when they’re not calling me Goofy-Head, or Boss, or Mummy-Dearest, or Slave-Girl-Mummy – this is only allowed from my six year old). I have three kids whom I am currently in negotiations with regarding their privacy, the parameters of their exposure in my blog, any possible compensation – this is where I start laughing hysterically and negotiations predictably break down. The cat, Angel, who is nothing like her name, lives here, as does Nibbles the hamster.
When things were getting very stressful in our home a couple of years ago, the kids thought it would be good to get a hamster. They actually thought it would be way better to get a dog, but I’m not that crazy. I was crazy enough to be talked into not one hamster, not two, not three, you get the idea. We had six hamsters at the height of our love-in, in five cages. We were told that sisters could live together in the same cage. Miss Jellybean and Princess Lou Lou shared a cage for quite a while, until one day we thought Jellybean had escaped. But how could she escape when the door was near impossible for us humans to open? Realization dawned ugly when we spied a wee half-square-inch of Jellybean-coloured fur. Hamstericide!
Suffice to say, Jellybeans’s piece of fur was carefully wrapped and boxed and shrink-wrapped and triple Ziploc-bagged and put in the freezer alongside Hammy Yu-Gi-Oh, Crazy Connie, Victor and Ooch, to wait for the spring thaw for appropriate internment. We got a few more hamsters, among them Nibbles and Bunny. Sisters. Did we put them in the same cage?DID WE PUT THEM IN THE SAME CAGE????
Read my next blog to find out.

Illustration courtesy of Juli Waller at www.grrrdesign.blogspot.com.

You can go here too: https://itsbecauseisaidso.wordpress.com/2007/09/21/canadian-livings-mom-blog/


Now, I will aim for an original post in less than a week. Promise. 😉

Crack out the fireworks: Best possible outcome I could have hoped for!!!

This is what is going on in my backyard tonight. Bring a blanket! Courtesy of Nagoya-info.com http://nagoya-info.com/4249/the-beauty-of-hanabi-in-japan/

This is what is going on in my backyard tonight. Bring a blanket! Courtesy of Nagoya-info.com http://nagoya-info.com/4249/the-beauty-of-hanabi-in-japan/


I am so happy! Even though the surgeon told me my pathology wasn’t available yet, THREE WEEKS after surgery when it should have been ready in seven days, and then he sent his nurse off to find out why, and I stood in the hall afraid I would actually throw up, and his nurse came back and said it was just being signed off and uploaded, and we—Tessa, my man and I—went to sit down and wait, when he finally handed it to me and said, “Here you go. It’s all gone,” I could barely believe it.

“You mean I had a complete pathological response?”


“So this is the best possible thing?”


“So this gives me the best prognosis?”

“Yes. There is no cancer in any of the nodes, except for the first one, of course [the one he removed for the diagnosis]. And none in the breast tissue.”

And he handed me the report, which Tessa and my man and I went over line by line, with varying levels of understanding. My oncologist will explain it tome in such detail in a week that she said I will understand every single word of it. For now, it says no evidence of cancer and that’s enough for me!!!


Here is a beautiful display of Kumano fireworks, the best in the world. Turn off all the lights in the room, go to full screen, and imagine you are in Japan enjoying hanabi.




How feeling crummy led to feeling grateful…


Even if you feel good, I’ll bet looking at this illustration makes you hurt just a little, somewhere. Thank you to http://criticalscience.com/chronic-pain-psychosocial-interventions.html

I cannot say strongly enough how I hope the next seven and a half weeks of Taxol chemo fly by. If I were to word that hope the way I want to, the keyboard of this computer would light on fire. Taxol SUCKS. Not to complain, but the aches that come with this chemo, mixed with the hand-foot syndrome pain of the last chemos, which is supposed to stop but has not yet, and just general fatigue, is making me too miserable for even me and Clover to bear.

Right now I am hunkered down on the couch under a huge blanket with my feet and hands exposed, waiting for the pain pills to kick in so I can feel human and move without feeling like I’m going to snap a bone or grind a joint to powder. This is supposed to be from day 2 to day 7, and I am using up my pain pills pretty fast. Ug. Now I will try to stop complaining and move on to more appropriate use of my awake time—thanking people.


One thing feeling lousy does is make me realize how ungrateful I have been. Remember the amazing fundraising that Tessa did, and all the people who gave so that I could get a wig of real hair, which I so, so appreciated? Have I written to all of those people to say thank you? No. Did I send a real thank you to my friends at work for the amazing gift basket, stuffed with goodies—real goodies? No. I made cookies and brought them in to the office for everyone, but I’ve done that other years. There are people who sent money who haven’t heard boo from me. I am ashamed, and feeling grinding pain and feeling sorry for yourself because you are bald (and it’s not a good look for you), and your fingers are shiny red and splitting, and skin is hanging off them, and you can’t spell the word “answer” (I’m writing a note to Luka’s teacher, and I can’t spell the word—where does the W go? after the N? after the S? with a silent S at the end? or the R? why is there a W? and I couldn’t think of another word to sub in, then I wrecked the note because I tried the W after the A, and had to throw it out), and your intestinal tract will never work without pills again, and you have to be no more than 20 feet from a bathroom at any time, well, why not just get down on yourself for not thanking people???

So here are just a few of the people I have not thanked properly, outside the wonderful people who contributed to my wig, because those are private thank yous I will be writing.

Zoe, dancer and chef extraordinnaire, who upon hearing that her very good friend Tessa’s mum had cancer, did what every girl worth her salt does, and ran to her kitchen and cranked out three HUGE casseroles: Zoe’s Pasta Bake, Turgetti and Chicken and Cheese. Each one would have fed a family of 10, so we cut them all up and put them separately in freezer bags. They have come in so handy when we want a comfort food but there is no one to cook it and no time even if we did. Thank you Zoe!

Scott, our next door neighbour and godfather to all three of my kids, who has snowblowered out our driveway at least twice (but I think more, for sure), and this morning came over and shovelled the driveway, walk and porch. Thank you very much!

calendula creme pic Mara, my friend from work and a very, very talented artiste, who said, upon hearing that my hands and feet were on fire with hand-foot syndrome, “I know what you need for that!” and sent to my house the very next day Thompson’s Calendula Creme, which not only stopped the burning, but kept it at bay longer than the other creams I had collected. Thank you Mara for the fabulous cream, and for the mint tea, protein powder and Aztec chocolate drink, too!

Pam, my longest-time best friend, who came to my rescue with a large infusion of cash, and does not employ big scary guys to come to my house and remind me how generous she is! Thank you Pammy!

Annie, a friend from work and beyond, who knit me my first bald head winter toque, and followed that up with two more, each one sent under separate cover to my house because she understands the special excitement of getting something in the mail when you are home every single boring day of the week.And each one is softer than the last one. Thank you Annie!

And that is it so far. Talk to you all later!

Congratulations Tessa!

Yes! All these people are congratulating my daughter Tessa!

Tessa wrote her driver’s examination for her G1 license last Wednesday and passed, with, Ta-da-da-da-da-da—100%!!! One hundred per cent! Whoop, whoop, whoop! That’s my girl!

So I will be teaching her the practical side of driving, bit by bit, until we explore the costs and benefits of real driver’s ed. This will be a huge widening of her horizons, and I think she is ready for it. When she was 16, 17, even 18, she declared that she could not be trusted behind the wheel because if she caught sight of a spider on the inside of the windshield, she’d stop the car right where she was and run. Not the actions of a good driver. So I never argued with her, told her she’d be a great driver, just suck up that fear of spiders and bugs and small furry things, and the dark, and loud noises… I told her when she was ready and wanted to get her license, I’d support her.

That time has come. We’ll be starting the Mum’s School of Driving when my bone pain subsides and I no longer need the painkillers (bone pain lasts from day 2 to 7 for most women), which means classes will begin next Tuesday. Yahoo! I’m hoping she’ll consider sharing the congratulatory milk chocolate and almond bark I gave her…