Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Fables I Tell

On a cold winter day in February I was told I would die sooner than later.

Flashbacks From The Month Of February

February 14, 1998

*Wahid bought shrimp to make me a valentine dinner. Yummy!

*Nadalene is flying to Amsterdam today; she will be there for five days. It would be so nice to start all over and to go to all these places. I think Angelique must be on her way home because she said she would be home Saturday or Sunday. Of course I hope Saturday. Nathan got so many valentine presents from Natalie that you would have thought it was Christmas.

*My tulips that I got from Angelique for valentines have opened up to (no joke) the size of my hand. They are beautiful.

February 28, 1998

*Mom and Dad’s 53rd anniversary and Natalie’s 17th birthday.

*Wahid and I went to Maximes for lunch ($15). I think that was the first time in 22 years we spontaneously just went out and it was great.

February 2, 2004

*I’m in my future.

*Wahid and I went to see Lord of the Rings on Saturday and then went out for supper for Thai food. I really enjoyed myself.

*On Friday, Angelique, Nadalene, and I went to meet with the florist to arrange for flowers for the wedding, July 17th will be here before I know it.

*So far 2004 is a year of travel for the Khan family. Wahid went to Trinidad on January 1st. Nadalene went to Cuba on January 6th, and Nathan went to Germany on January 17th. Angelique, Nadalene and I are going to Banff for a Leadership Challenge on February 12th.

*I just wondered what is inside me. I list events but not feelings. I know I am at peace, but am I stagnant? I feel happy. Run with that….. Weird.

*This year I will know Wahid and he will know me. I will do this by changing unproductive behaviours/traps. We will go out together, talk to each other, and love one another.

*My oldest daughter is getting married to a wonderful man ‘Don.’ This makes me feel that I want my marriage to be all it can be.

*My marriage is great but I know that if I really gave myself to it and didn’t hold back so much it would even be better. I want to know Wahid’s soul.

*An inner strength I need to unleash is an ability to change. Comfort is great, but change is needed when the comfort is unhealthy, i.e. eating habits/food choices; inactive/sitting. Maybe too much of a good thing really is too much of a good thing. The smallest change in perspective can transform a life.

*In some ways I have outgrown my life. My friends and siblings and parents can bore me.

February 11, 2004

*I think I am the real thing. I definitely have sides of me where I’m not as authentic (God, I hate that word) as I need to be, but that is me too. So, yes, I am the real thing.

*My love and attention need to be a little less on the children and a little more on Wahid; a little/lot less on housework/dinners and more on family and friends. Maybe need to read less! Yikes!

*I do not envy people who have true love. They would have nothing I don’t already have. I do need to build on the love I have for Wahid more by concentrating more on us, and less on the kids. The kids are older and are all fine.

*I need to make the transition from mother to wife. Make us as a couple important. Real love means to me – mutual respect, wanting the other person to be as fulfilled as you are.

February 1, 2006

*Ultrasound and biopsy.

February 8, 2006

*Dr. Gillespie gives me positive results for Inflammatory Breast Cancer.

February 9, 2006

*St. Boniface calls me to start a file.

February 12, 2006


*Start my periods.

February 13, 2006

*St. Boniface called and I went in for a blood test.

February 15, 2006

*Wahid and I meet Dr. Grenier (my oncologist) for the first time. I have questions and a recorder to tape conversation.

*Dr. Grenier tells me that Dr. Shojania (my hematologist) is going to come in right away to do a bone marrow biopsy. My blood counts are a concern at 80 and 87. He extracts bone marrow and needs three samples but is only able to get two; he tells me I have too much fat on my body.

*I get more blood tests and one is for a cross match for a transfusion. My blood type is A positive.

*Dr. Grenier tells me that at the end of January my platelets were 166 and that they are now at 80.

February 16, 2006

*Went in for a blood transfusion to receive two bags of blood. After nine attempts on arms and hands they call Dr. Shojania and he tells them ‘Keep trying, she has to have that blood.’ They finally get the needles in my feet after three tries. Wahid is holding my hand and I am just crying.

February 20, 2006

*CT scan on neck, chest, and abdomen. Once again can not get needle in for dye and told that they would need to keep trying. Gets it in on the sixth try while I just sit there crying.

February 21, 2006

*Went in for PICC with Dr. Brown (later see on TV being tried in Florida for child pedophilia) by ultrasound, he did it three times and it did not go in. Very discouraged and arms bruised with pockets of blood up to my elbow. The nurse tries to talk to me but I can’t answer because I feel like such a failure; she pats my back.

February 22, 2006

*Dr. Grenier tells me that the cancer is Stage 4 and it is in my bone marrow, bones, lung, breast, and skin. Completely shocked. Angelique brought us all alive again with her knowledge and wise words. Went for a bone scan in nuclear medicine (again cannot get needle in).

February 24, 2006

*Went in for PICC with Dr. Lawrence and it was in within minutes. He was a fantastic guy.

*Started chemo (Docetaxel = Taxotere).

February 4, 2007

*My kids have become a lot closer to Colette this past year. I know it is because they see how much she is there for me. Jacquie of course is beyond the beyond.

February 5, 2007

*I went and bought some baby things yesterday.

February 7, 2007

*Bummed out today as noticed six new cancer spots along my lower back.

*Exciting! Angelique, Don and I went to get their baby furniture and it is absolutely beautiful. They bought a sleigh crib and a sleigh dresser in antique white. They also bought a yellow and white glider.

*Angelique, Nadalene and Nathan are made of the most incredible strength!! Incredible. Loving, caring, compassionate, wise, open, helpful, sympathetic, generous, and strong. I really would not be where I am spiritually and emotionally if it were not for them. They are my best support group. They reflect back to me that Wahid and I must have done lots of things right. I love you all so much!

*Mom and Dad have been wonderful and have not tried to minimize my disease. By seeing it for what it is keeps me strong because I don’t feel that they have tried to keep me under a gag order. We are able to keep it real.

Flash Forward

A pivotal time that changes a life. My world has changed and it has hit me like the proverbial ton of bricks. I coped by putting one foot in front of another, as well as denial (denial can be a very good thing). Maybe denial is not the right word, after all chemo was happening and you cannot ignore that, no matter how you try.

I tried to see the chemo as a positive, like suffer now with chemo, but in the long run save you life and give you more time. I do not see this change as an opportunity of any kind. This does not redefine me nor do I see this as a positive in any way. It does not make me stronger; as a matter of fact it lessens who I am.

*artwork by Rima from the Hermitage


Anonymous said...

Oh, my dear sweet Renee. I love when you post your journal entries - it allows all of us to get a closer glimpse into your life.

I was BAWLING when you described the attempts at accessing your veins. My veins are the same as yours, so I know the pain and frustration associated with that. I am so sorry that was your experience. Not only do we have to deal with this horrific diagnosis, but we DO suffer a lot of additional pain and indignity because of the treatment.
Contrary to what you say, my friend, you ARE strong! You are incredibly strong and you keep going for the love of your family and friends. You support us, total strangers, on a daily basis. You are strong, wise and loving. I am honored to know you! You inspire me.

Renee said...

Audrey: If you see this please send me your email address and I will not post your reply, but I keep trying to post a comment on your blog and it won't let me. I have done it about 7 times.


Julie said...

Wow, how quickly things progressed! So glad you're still here! We have the same blood type. Somehow that doesn't surprise me. :)

Anonymous said...

Sweet Renee..How you take pieces of your soul and arrange them all together to pierce through, directly to our hearts, is beyond me. The choice of words to describe indescribable events of your being and the essence of Renee is truly a gift to the wonderful people in your life and to us all. Your writings are superb, high class..high everything..(: The entry before this one..Aaahhh..no words..really..I cannot say this enough..I'm so glad I found you...Love, Orly

Lisa said...

an amazing story- all the more amazing in its truth.
women are an incredible mix of strength and vunerability- a formidable blend.
Stay strong dear sister and thank you for sharing this journey of yours.

Lisa xx

lakeviewer said...

Renee-how wise and transparent you have become, and unselfish too. The diaries must be a comfort to you, reminding you of everything good and important that you are fighting to keep alive, all of what you are, especially the love you have created around you.

And that, my friend, is all we really have that endures, our love, our creative spirit that wants to connect and reproduce in kind. These thoughts of yours are fine gems, indeed.

Daria said...


When I first saw the picture ... it made me think of the moodiness I've been experiencing the last few days .... with the Taxotere.

I sure like the flash backs ...


studio lolo said...

When you live in a harsh winter place such as Manitoba, February can seem cruel enough without getting news that you have cancer.
I felt every needle jab with you. I'm sorry it was so difficult, esp because you needed so many.

Hurray for your kids and Wahid! I love that you want to go deeper with your husband. I know what you mean.

Thanks for sharing so much of yourself What I noticed is that this post goes back to 1998~11 years ago. That makes me feel a bit hopeful ;)


studio lolo said...

that, my dear was my thought exactly!

Lindsey said...

Renee It amazes me to how strong you are. I absolutely love you and admire your courage and honesty to yourself to others. I met Dr.Gillespie recently as I went with a friend to see her. I don't know what you thought about her, but I found her to be very comforting in the most positive way she could be. Hope to talk to you soon! Love you. x0x0 Lindsey

Sarah said...

Good morning hon!!! I adore your journal entries - despite the fact that I cry through them. There are a few techs I wanna strangle for making you feel extra pain and not care for your dignity. There is no call for poor treatment. I so clearly feel your emotional pain in my chest when you tell these fables. Thank you for sharing!! Love, Sarah
I can't post on Audry's either!

Shelly said...

I know denial well, and that is not where you’ve been living …

In my eyes this “change” hasn’t lessened you nor has it made you any more than you always have been – smart, deep, intellectual, creative, loving, caring, spiritual, artistic, generous of heart, extremely talented, you have many diverse interests, a vivid imagination, you are my best sister (okay it’s out there), my shoulder to lean on and the one person I know I can count on.

I’ll keep praying for Mom’s miracle as I believe it will happen.


Meghann said...

Your honesty and courage are absolutely incredible. If only you could bottle it and give it to many who do not have your courage or forthrightness, the world would be a much more transparent (and better) place. God be with you and I pray that you are here for many, many more years of honesty. You put everything into perspective. I only have Fibromyalgia, and thank God for that. I know that I definitely do not have your strength to deal with anything worse. You are an inspiration and I send you many gentle hugs! :)

Taylor said...

Aunty Renee,

I will embrace change this week;
I will make an appointment (and go) to give blood.

I love you, I love you, I love you.
I will visit when my cold is gone, and before my tan fades,

Renee said...

Shelly, thanks so much for saying that. I have been trying to squeeze this cancer out so that you would say that to me. Yahoo.

Love you and you are the very best little sister anyone could ever want.

Love Renee

Tessa said...

I can't imagine how anything could ever lessen you as Renee; wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend...

I think you are a remarkable woman, Renee, even without the horror of what you have suffered, what you are suffering, you give of yourself so courageously. You sparkle and shine here in the Blogoshphere, and lighten our load with your intellect, humour and generosity. And I just know that you'd be exactly that if we were lucky enough to meet you in person.

Michelle said...

I agree that denial is necessary sometimes.

I cannot see how 'it' has made you less...except maybe in your own eyes. I know my mum gets so frustrated with herself for the things she cannot do anymore and that she feels this too.

But what you 'do' is not who you are.

Love to you


AlekSandra said...

I am speachles,there for a poem for you,from "This is my beloved" by Walter Benton.

Everyone is sleeping.Nothing wakes.The woods are motionless.The wind is down to a whisper.
Sleep hums like current-yes,audibly-through the bright steel night.
The evening star rises like a flaming wick.Hills fit into hills like lovers,their great dark straddling thighs clasping still greater darkness where they meet.
A star breaks,arcs down the night-like God striking a match across the cathedral ceiling.
Therefore I wish-see my lips move,making your name.
It is so still,so still....I am sure that you must hear me.

Love and hugs from me.
If I knew how I would post a photo or a painting of mine in here,but I will do that on my blog,ok?! Ciao

Rima said...

Hello Rennee.. how wonderfully written, your words of your feelings...
And I am am touched that you choose to use my painting with them :)
I wish you healthy happy adventurous days.... full of new beginnings. And strength,
Rima x

MarionL said...

Renee, you are one brave, strong, courageous lady! I don't know if I'd have the guts to share the thoughs you are so generously sharing with other women!

I know that T. S. Eliot said:

"APRIL is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain...."

But I have to disagree and say that February is the cruelest month! Winter seems like it'll last forever right now.

Thank you for sharing your journey. You're in my thoughts and prayers.

YayaOrchid said...

Friend, I know that you have not yet walked in the realm of the miraculous, but I have. And I tell you, there is nothing too hard for the Lord. But I don't know what his plans are for you. I only know his word, and he says 'ask, and ye shall receive'. I am asking him for your healing, as you and your loved ones are doing. I am also asking that your heart will hunger to know HIM and desire to seek his kingdom. Matthew 6:33 says "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you".
The kingdom of God are the hearts of those who trust and believe in him, and seek to do his will. Once he is King of your heart, your soul, your life...you will know then what my words cannot describe.

I say a prayer for you each and every time I think of you. In March, when you go in for more testing, I know the Lord's presence will be there with you. Be of good cheer Renee!

Dawn said...

I let out a deep sigh when I read your post... I was holding my breathe reading it and wondering at the marvel of you.
Your journal reveals so much of you and here you are sharing it... it speaks volumes about you as a person. I know more about your family and you love for Wahid - you know when you totally, 100% admire someone, well that is me and how I feel about you.

I am imagining you with your arms refusing to let your blood be taken, and you crying and I am reaching out to hug you.
I do send you the biggest hugs I can Renee filled with my heart and love....
Wow! you are amazing, truly

love ya!

Anonymous said...

Ha ha ha! Renee, I am rolling on the floor laughing! I absolutely LOVE you! You shoot from the hip and that is such a cool thing! Thank you! I am going to take a few lessons from the Renee School of Pissed Off At Cancer! You are the best!
Loads of love to you,
audrey xoxoxoxo

Deanna said...

Renee...many times as I have read your blog I have thought this, "Renee = Strength and Courage".

You amaze me.


natalie said...

auntie renee,
thank you for sharing your journal posts. you are everything my mom said and more. i love you.
natalie renee

Every Photo Tells A Story said...

As you surely know by now, everything we go through, no matter how small or big, is defined by our perception of it. I can never understand what you have endured in these past few years because I have not walked in your shoes (terrible cliche, but true.) And, all I know about you is from what I've read on your blog. But, I can tell:

1) Though the cancer is terrible beyond words, it has allowed an opportunity. It is human nature to take things and people for granted until we are put in situations like this.
2) You are very strong. Just keeping this blog and all it entails takes strength instead of wallowing in self-pity. That's a silly example, but you know what I mean.
3) You've become a "connoisseur" of some of the most creative and original artwork I've ever seen :)
4) You're a fighting "Aries." So, keep "butting" that damn cancer out of your body and your life!!

Blessings and Love,


Linda Sue said...

I LOVE YOU!!! Scoot over I am still sleeping at the foot of the bed in the cottage... and want to hug you.

Bella Sinclair said...

I need a tissue. Now, dammit.

Renee, it seems Februaries have given you the highest joys and the deepest pains. You are a remarkable person, filled with so much inner beauty. The love you have for your family is real and enviable. You passed on so many treasures to your wonderful children. And now, you are still giving. You give us laughter, reflection and beauty. You remind us to face whatever is thrown our way with dignity, grace, and a touch of irreverence. Yes, you are a remarkable person. I want to see more Februaries written in your journal.

Ziongirl said...

Renee, Yes......It is Tuesday for me too and I am also fat........
HeHe. Yes, let's just have a laugh.

Karin said...

just love for you is what I send.
❤ Karin

Great-Granny Grandma said...

Renee, you are such a special person, and it so upset me to hear about all the extra punctures you had to suffer because they couldn't access your veins. I cannot even start to imagine what that must have been like. I am such a wimp when it comes to needles. I cannot even find the words to tell you what all I am feeling, but I am happy for you that the Lord has blessed you with Wahid, and that he (Wahid) was there holding your hand through all this.
You sound like a real overcomer with a beautiful heart that shines through your posts. My prayers will continue to be with you. Nothing is impossible with God. He created you, and He can fix you.

Mickey said...

You are so amazing really you are. I to love all the journal posts especially since I know all the wonderful family you describe I always tell you how wonderful Wahid, Angelique, Nadalene and Nathan are you have great great children and they are so much a combination of you and Wahid. I always think that if all the people who love you through your blog could meet Wahid they would love him. Every wonderful thing you write about him is so true. I am definitly a Wahid fan.

I love what Shelly wrote that is so true. You have always had compassion love and an unbelievable personal strength about you that I have always admired and wished I had. You draw people to you, you are like a magnet and when we get close to you we always want more. I am blessed and proud to have you for my sister. Seriously Lucky Lucky Me. Love you. Mickey

pRiyA said...

i don't want to leave a trite comment or end up saying something stupid, but i am listening as i read...
and yay, you chose rima's illustration! isn't she terrific?
i am in awe of her.

Anonymous said...


I think you should write a blog to thank all of the blood donors out there.



Noreen said...

As always, thank you for sharing from the heart.

I learned recently of a pot-o-cath, that is fairly new on the "market", that can be used for scans and surgeries. Because of the high cost of this port, doctors have to choose who would be best suited for it. I'd like to know what the requirements are.

The difference between the port-o-cath I have and this new one, is the size. The drip, for treatment, is slow. The flow of injections that are required for scans and/or surgery are a faster flow. The result is greater pressure as the flow is quicker. With the smaller port (like mine) the risk of the port exploding with fast flows are why medical professionals still have to search for veins when I require a scan or surgery as well.

With the more expensive port-o-cath women like you and I could have all out blood works, all scans (requiring an IV drip) as well as IV drips required for all surgeries. Imagine, no more searching for veins! Never again would you have to go through so many needles.

There is hope. It would be nice if this was all considered in our life time.

You continue to be a great inspiration in my life! You do deserve to experience just a little less discomfort and inconveniences.

Take care my friend!

Ronnie said...

Spring is just around the corner.
Thanks for sharing your life with us, Renee.
You're a good teacher of life!

coloredsock said...

hi Renee, i've really loved all your sweet comments especially about motherhood and this beautiful baby coming! thank you thank you for taking the time. and for all that you share on your blog. this post was powerful with all the time and energy and power it carries, and it is a gift to read as an outsider the insight, the ah-has, the ups and downs, the love and commitment and life packed into your entries. thank you. jenny

Delwyn said...

Renee, I have only recently become aware of your blog and your experiences.
Thank you for sharing with us.

That has made a difference to many of us.

Happy Days

Lydia said...


Thank you for your nice and inspiring comments. I am lucky that I am blessed w/thin skin, and the veins are easy to access. But in Sept. I was in the hospital for 2 1/2 days for stress induced atrial fibrillation.
At the time I didn't know it was stress induced, or that this existed. They were awful in the hospital, and came willy-nilly every 20 minutes for blood. When I realized that they could coordinate better, I refused to give any more blood 'til they coordinated. Then it was every 5 hrs. or so, but I was finally going home. I hadn't slept in 2 days, and w/Lyme, and the A-Fib. was exhausted, and cried as they were vampires. They should know how to do things better.

When necessary,try to insist upon someone who knows what they are doing- who cares and takes their time.:) I know how difficult it is, as I saw what my Dad and husband went through.My husband got a port, and has to have it flushed every month.

I always look up, and ask for whatever it is to be simple. Then I look for the simple.

Envision your cancer-free world:) and make it so-just look up, and ask.:)And don't forget your probiotics and B-vitamins:) Lydia

Emerald Arts said...

You make me feel like I should keep a written diary as well as my picturey ones. Sending you all my love and biggest cyberhugs.


Peach Street ~ Jamie said...

Renee I love you! I just wanted you to know that...


soulbrush said...

i am reading your february posts and this one just makes me gasp, all that pain, all that fortitude, all that stoicism, that's what I see in YOU dear girl.