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Some thought flow one month after being sent off to Toronto General Emergency

9:35pm. April 11th 2014. I just got back from giving Leia a walk. It’s exactly 1 month from the day I was told to go to the emergency room. Today I had a long day at Princess Margaret Hospital and ran some “cancer” errands.

How I’m feeling: I have a terrible headache and trying to drink as much water as I can. I’m hoping I can avoid having to turn to medicine for this.  


Today I made a point to spend some extra time to think about how much has happened, how my thinking and approach on life, love – and really everything has already changed dramatically, and how much those around me have begun to change. Below are just some of my thoughts from today:

Throughout the past month, I’ve learned what kind of support and people I need around me – and with that who to continue to engage and who to gently no longer to at this point. I’ve observed and have accepted who has really played key support roles throughout all of this so far and who has re-entered in to my life. It has been incredibly interesting to allow myself to observe and to be at the centre of this all. I remind myself that especially through this, what comes first and foremost  – is me. I have a tendency to be selfless when it comes to those I love – but I’ve promised myself that if at any point, it causes me stress to worry about someone else through this – forget about it. I know that this cancer thing that’s happening to me is difficult for those around me to handle. And trust me, I can feel it with every conversation and message I receive – but I’ve actually caught myself worrying about how certain people are dealing with this. At that point, I remind myself that I’M THE ONE with f%$!ing cancer!

I am so grateful for the friends, family and strangers who have reached out and have given me the exact kind of support, love, encouragement and positive vibes I’ve been needing. I’ve also been surprised at those whom have not been able to – yet not so surprised at who has. This whole experience has been really effective at filtering who stays and who goes in my life in this chapter of mine.

I have really been admiring the strength, empathy and emotional intelligence of those who have woman and man-ed up to fight this one out with me. I mean it when I say that what I receive from all of you on a daily basis really does help me get through each and every day.

I’m astounded (but not the least bit surprised) that my friends and family have come together the way they did. It’s beautiful. I’m glad that while it took to this point, some of whom I now realize are key people in my life (at least in this chapter of mine) have met. They have well-earned it.

I am allowed to be pissed off. I want to kick cancer in the face so hard for being such an a$$hole.

This cancer thing has me not giving a crap about the small little things. The things that we allow ourselves to consume us and keep us up at night. The things that make us mentally, emotionally and physically unwell. And the things that we allow to get in the way of the things that really matter. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Most of the things we sweat about are in fact very small.

What I’ve been going through has been deep. While I’ve experienced some really rough life moments – this one by far makes it to the top of the list. I now look back at some of my darkest life moments and think “Psh..that was freakin’ NOTHING”

I am allowed to sit in the dark, be sad, cry and have “why me” moments.

“First world problems” have turned in to “I don’t have cancer problems” for me. While everyone is going through their own s#%!, let’s all take a moment to allow our perspectives to shift. I recommend doing so by practicing gratitude on a regular basis. In all honesty, I never really knew what “practice gratitude” meant, how exactly to do it and how to “get in to it” before all of this happened. While it can be really challenging, I have my handy Five-Minute Journal to help me with it.

I’ve become selfish – if that’s what you want to call it. Well, I’ve been put in a position where I don’t have much of a choice and have to surrender. Actually, screw that. There IS choice in this. I am choosing to be selfish right now. I’ve always felt that we need to give ourselves more credit for things. Let’s just say I’ve been put in a position where choosing to not be selfish would be downright self deprecation and self sabotage. I’m too smart to let that happen to me.

Having positive thoughts and faith really go a long way.

Compassion is a beautiful thing. From the compassion I’ve received from the HCPs at Toronto General and Princess Margaret Hospital to that of what I’ve received from my friends and family – I will be forever grateful. It has deeply inspired me to be more compassionate as well.

I’m so fortunate and could not be more grateful to be Canadian (Thanks Mum and Pops). There is no way I would be able to afford any of the endless tests and treatments I’ve forgone so far if I were in the States. Also, I am so lucky that some of the best of the best oncologists in Canada are right here in our Toronto healthcare district. I know that I am in good hands and am so very thankful for it.

My relentless fight and my need to claim control is really helping me get through this. I fight really hard and stand up for the things and people I love and commit to – and I will do the same with moi.

This morning, a good friend of mine reminded me that “Everything is always changing” Nothing at any point is still. And I completely agree. I can feel the millions of gears and pieces around me and those within myself move around. I can’t keep up with it all – and am learning that I should not aim to do so. Since everything is always changing – why despair? Through this, I have become much more patient with myself – and just be more patient in general. Also, I’ve learned to have more faith in the universe.

Not yet being able to get back to all of the hundreds of those who have reached out to me is not a terrible problem to have. Again, I’ve learned/am learning to be more patient with myself. The daily text message, calls, emails and social media posts are so helpful. If you are reading this and have sent me a little something something, do not think for a second that you are not making a difference. In fact, I read and listen to some messages over and over again when I’m in a moment of need.

While I definitely have my fair share of “Why me?” thoughts and feelings from time to time, I know that things do really happen for a reason. As adults, we all have been given a handful of examples of this yet we still question it in the moment. And that’s ok. We are all human.

That’s all for now. On another note, I just gently flipped my hair behind my shoulder and look what just fell from my head. Holy s%$!. This hair loss thing. It’s traumatizing and really difficult to deal with. I may be making a bold move this weekend. Who am I kidding? Everything about the past little while has been nothing short of bold, drastic, out of no where, shocking and a big deal. I can do this. Stay tuned.


10 replies »

  1. Carolyn – you are 100% right – the Toronto healthcare system is top of the top – not just in Canada, but in North America. I get really happy when I hear these kind of positive thoughts flow from you. It would be so easy to operate from a negative headspace (which would be totally understandable in your situation), but your choice to highlight the positive is SO admirable, courageous, and mature. I’m really proud of you 🙂

  2. Carolyn. You are blessed to have such wise and compassionate friends. Look out for the one who reminded you of the constant change.

    Stay undefeated. We stand with you shoulder to shoulder . Total victory is our only choice.

  3. I just came across what you’ve been writing here, and it’s so powerful and grounding. You are a force. Fuck cancer.

    • Mustefa, Thanks for reading – and for giving cancer the middle finger with me. I can’t wait to kick this thing in the ass once and for all. Chemo treatment #3 is coming up and while I’m really nervous, I have to keep reminding myself that I am one step closer to destroying it.

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