Friday 29 August 2008

Yes We Can

I wish he was running for the Prime Minister of Canada. He would get in hands down.

Thursday 28 August 2008

How Can That Be?

I was listening to the BBC last week and I was shocked when I heard that the number of people starving has never been greater at 800 million and the number of people who are overweight is even greater, at 1 billion.

How can that be? I always feel so depressed when I see the people in the world starving. Now I know that I will feel even more depressed.

After all, the people overweight are not only from western countries they are from eastern countries too. In the very countries where so many are starving there are many people who are overweight.

The real problem of course is not the people who are overweight, as I know personally many people who eat a lot and are not overweight. The real problem is the amount of wasted food that is thrown away. The real problem is the distribution of food. The real problem is that we don't care enough. The real problem is civil war in many of the countries where the people are starving. The real problem is that many of the countries with money and access to food are white and most of the people that are starving are black. I think that many of the people with power don't see their families or their children in the children who are starving.

I had to look into this further and discovered that the UK wastes an astonishing 30-40% of food, the US wastes 40-50% of all food, and Canada wastes about the same as the UK which would be 30-40% of all food. I wasn’t super surprised at the number of waste, as I know how much food I waste too. What I was surprised with is that the amount of wasted food is food that has not even been opened. In other words food that was just never used and then thrown out, such as eggs, chickens, cheese, and all kinds of packaged foods.

I was reading an article that stated that more than enough food is produced to feed a healthy global population. It stated that the problem in feeding all of the people is distribution and access to the food.

So while many are hungry (800 million) there are many who overeat (1 billion). And we cannot forget how much food is wasted and thrown out.

I am overweight and I know that I eat unconsciously. I am going to try to get better. I don’t mean in any kind of diet way (absurd when people are starving). What I mean is that I am going to try to not waste the food we have.

I have never felt okay knowing that there are people starving. But I always thought the problem was too huge. There were too many people and there just was not enough food. I am glad I have been made aware that there really is enough food. There are just too many fat cat countries wasting it.

I keep having an image of flies. Flies on children’s faces, flies on waste and garbage.

These children are not waste nor are they garbage. We all have to do something so that when the children have flies buzzing around them, they have access to enough food so that they have the strength and energy to push the flies away.

We have to care. We have to do something. What, I don't know. But we have to do something now. We need to remember that we are one human family living on one planet that has enough food on it currently to sustain all of us.

Tuesday 26 August 2008

Flipping Through Pages

I’ve done the work for you. I flipped through the pages of four journals to see what August has to offer. If you’re interested, read on.

Flashbacks From The Month Of August

August 11, 2002

*On Friday I went with Nadalene to see Charlton’s new apartment. I love it. There is a sunroom and it is a beautiful yellow colour. Really enjoyed Nadalene, she was really excited to show me the place.

*Nathan picked me up from work today (like he has been doing all summer). I thank him every day, but I wonder if he realizes how much I appreciate it. TONS!

*The definition of adventure to me would be to experience something out of your daily routine, it doesn’t necessarily have to be uncomfortable, risky, or physical – but on the other hand – it wouldn’t be going to a restaurant I’ve never been to before, although it could be meeting new people who interest me. I am going on an adventure with Angelique and Nadalene to Calgary. It will be a girl’s road trip.

*I am totally looking at it as having an adventure with two of the most wonderful people I know. Two people in fact who I gave birth to.

*On a scale of 1 to 10 on how adventurous I am, I would say internally I would be an 8. Ready for a lot, but externally and in actual fact probably a 3. I hold myself back saying: too old, too heavy, first get in shape, etc. I have wasted years saying that even though I may not have been conscious of it.

*I never had any adventure heroes when I was a child and nor do I now. In a way I did look up to ‘hippies’. I thought they lived so freely. Even now, I still have a soft spot for anything or anyone I would classify ‘hippyish’.

August 21, 2002

*I want to be more immersed in the world. Press release would read ‘Chapter 1 Renee the Growing Years. Chapter II Renee the Mothering Years. Chapter III Renee the Knowing and Loving Me Years.’

*Some adventures I would like to do are make a pilgrimage; follow my heart; and dare to say yes.

August 7, 2003

*Mom just got out of the hospital on August 5th, she was in there for eight days. Her heart and mainly her lungs, she is now on oxygen. The family showed how truly selfish they all are. Shelly went up every morning and stayed for a few hours. Suzie, Jacquie and I went up everyday and stayed for about 6 hours. Angelique, Nadalene, Nathan and Wahid came up almost every day. Other members came to the hospital maybe once in eight days and stayed maybe an hour. Pathetic losers. Share the responsibility of your parents’ people.

*Irritants that I tolerate in my daily life are stuff not put away; needless chatter; myself; greasy hair; and clutter.

*I want to be happy, I want to be satisfied, and I don’t want to blame other people because I am neither happy nor satisfied.

*My body is completely unhealthy and if I don’t take care of it, it will take me nowhere. My facial feature most identifiably me are my eyes. My body feature most identifiably me is my large breasts and my big stomach.

August 4, 2004

*Meal times in my childhood home were chaotic. Everyone came in the kitchen to say Grace, and then got food out of pots. The family was large so you took ‘A’ piece of meat and then lots of potatoes and some canned vegetables. Then the older kids and parents would go eat in the living room watching TV and the younger ones would eat at the table. I remember eating mostly at the table. Also, we ate at 5:00. Today I still eat supper at 5, and we always said Grace when the kids were small. We have slacked off saying Grace.

*Those early experiences have probably affected me in some ways. Tough call. If I like something I will tend to eat a lot of it right away, saving none for after. Because when I was a child you either ate it right then because otherwise it would be gone and there was nothing like having seconds unless you wanted more potatoes.

August 27, 2005

*I went for a mammogram and the results were good. No problems. Saw Dr. Smil and blood tests were good.

*Angelique and Nadalene had a wonderful time in New Orleans.

August 28, 2006

*Sitting in a hospital bed about to get blood transfusions. I hope they will make me feel better. Been feeling gaggy and sick.

*Angelique, Nadalene, Jacquie and I went to see Cirque Soleil Delirium and it was absolutely fantastic. I loved it. We had awesome seats in the fourth row.

*Colette and I had a nice walk on the beach. A little beach; a little walk, but it was really nice.

*Mickey is always entertaining.

*I do have the appropriate clothes for my life right now, which means no sleeves so they can access my PICC for any cancer treatments. Comfortable pants and tops as I can’t wear a bra. Really all I do besides sitting at home is go to two group meetings. I could dress better for these but I just can’t be bothered.

*God help me. I don’t want cancer, but I know I will have it forever.

Flash Forward

I am so irritated right now after reading my entry from August 27, 2005 regarding the mammogram. At that point, it had probably been my fifth visit to Dr. Smil, as I was concerned about my breast. It was hard like an orange, very high on my chest, and my nipple was receding. She still gave me nothing for it, but I was becoming more insistent that it wasn’t just me going into menopause. I am on the internet so much now and I wonder why the hell I didn’t go on a breast site and look at a breast with my symptoms, I would have seen my breast staring right back at me on the Inflammatory Breast Cancer site. I hate to admit to you all that this went on (me visiting her, her saying it is probably nothing) for eight months. And for anybody who knows about IBC, you will realize that it only takes weeks to a few months for IBC to be Stage IV. Time is of the essence.

Nothing I can do now, however, so I guess I just have to wipe up the milk instead of crying over it.

Please everyone do me a favour. YELL. If you think there is something wrong with you, don’t play nicey-nicey about it. Forget about how you were raised, become animal. Let your inner bitch roar. Remember that many breast cancers are not detected by a mammogram. As a matter of fact, in my metastatic group at one time I asked the question of who was diagnosed by a mammogram and only one woman was. At the time I was the only one with IBC and the rest of the woman had a lump. So even if your mammogram is okay, but you feel there is something wrong, insist on a biopsy.

p.s. Can you guess who my family doctor is now? If you guessed Dr. Smil, then you are correct as usual King Friday. Like Nadalene says ‘MD doesn’t stand for magical doctor, it stands for medical doctor’ and even though she dropped the ball here (death sentence) she is good in other areas.

Monday 25 August 2008

U Is For

Us (core)
Uncle (Matt and Louis)
Unwavering (Jacquie)
Ushers (Zello; Denis; Gerry)
Uncle Sam (hatred of the current government of the U.S.A.)

Ugli (cross between an orange and a grapefruit)
Unicorn (purity)
Underwear (no bra)
Unhappy (not the same as sad)
Utensils (don’t need when eating with roti)

Urban (Nadalene - City Planner)
U.S.A. (love the people; hate the politics)
Uranus (seventh planet from the sun)
Utopia (everyone lives in harmony)
Universe (vastness of space)

Urn (wooden box or biodegradable for ashes)
Unique (Wahid)
Uncharted Waters (don’t know what will happen)
Uniform (Ben and Anders wear different ones)
Under the bed (monster resides in right bottom corner)

Up Shit Creek (no paddle)
User (also known as loser)
Upset (emotionally distressed sometimes)
Unbeliever (not me)
Understanding (hand and hand with kindness)

Saturday 23 August 2008


The birthdates for Virgo are between August 23rd to September 22nd. Luke’s birthday is September 22nd.

Virgo’s stats are:

Colour = Blue and Beige
Metal = Mercury
Stone = Sapphire
Tree = Elder
Plants = Rosemary or Lily

Virgo is the sign of the virgin which represents purity and singleness of purpose. Virgo’s can be summed up by the phrase ‘you reap what you sow’. With a Virgo’s purity they are able to bare fruit for others as well as for themselves.

Ruled by Mercury, the planet of communication, Virgos can organize their own and others thoughts. However, they are often considered shy and possibly a little naïve. Virgos keep their personal identity intact throughout their lives. Their composure is virginal in nature.

A Virgo is conscientious in all aspects of their life. Virgos are unswerving in their care for anyone who is truly in need; you can always depend on them to be kind and responsible. Virgo’s are happiest when they are able to be useful and when they are appreciated.

Virgo’s are especially loved by their great-aunties especially if the great-aunt is an Aries and especially if the Virgo is our very own Lukie Bodukie. Virgo’s are some of the sweetest, kindest people around and in Luke’s case his great-grandmother who is a Sagittarius can attest to that, as this little Virgo is her particular favourite.

Kisses and hugs to you my sweet Virgo cowboy.

Friday 22 August 2008

At First I Was Pissed Off

Everybody knows that my Dad is dying. Nobody likes the words however. Okay, I will change the language for a minute and say my Dad is very ill. The minute has passed and now I need to keep it real in my own language and state that my Dad is dying.

My brother Gerry lives in Lethbridge, Alberta and his son Zac will be going on a mission for his religion (he is Mormon). Zac was going to give a speech to his church and so my Mom and my sister Mickey planned to drive out there and be a witness to this passage for Zac.

My Mom was hesitant to go because of how my Dad has been feeling. My Mom is so stressed out that we all felt that she should still go. Mickey volunteered to drive her and was quite happy to do so, as she said ‘when would she ever have another opportunity to go on a road-trip with Mom?’

So far, so good.

Mom was leaving on the 13th of August which was a Wednesday. Several days before her leaving we had a conversation because she was worried about who would come and see Dad and also if I would continue to bring him dinner.

I said not to worry because there were seven of us living in the city and we would take turns so that each person would be able to spend some time with Dad. Not only would we all get time with Dad, it would also help us relieve each other. Mom said well not really because some of them couldn’t be there to help Dad. I said bullshit. Of course they can. Everybody has shit to do, but this is important. Mom defended some of them saying that they were too busy. Like really? For fuck sake.

Let me do the math for you. These are the people in the city who should be available.


Basically it should be easy enough to follow as it is mostly simple subtraction.

Harry ‘-‘ did not come for the week but on the ‘+’ side is excellent because he gets the groceries once or twice a week; does their laundry; and takes Mom to bingo. He also brought supper one night because they haven’t been able to cook. So although he wasn’t there this week while Mom was gone, to me Harry is a big +. He is also married to a wonderful woman Jeanine who I am sure supports that he helps his family.

Dwain ‘-‘ apparently there for ½ hour on Monday.

Suzie ‘-‘ MIA.

Jacquie ‘+’ visited Dad and brought supper two nights while Mom was gone. This is a lot as her husband is quite ill and Jacquie herself is not in the best of health. She also had her daughter and grandchildren in from Brandon.

Renee ‘+’ brought supper two nights (Nathan made one dinner and Wahid made the other). Visited with Dad everyday and it was absolutely wonderful. We sat outside and talked about life and death and everything in between.

Shelly decided to go with Mom and Mickey.

Joey ‘-‘ MIA.

To add to this mathematical scenario is:

Colette ‘+’ came in on Thursday and bought Dad a hamburger and visited before she too went on a holiday.

Camille ‘+’ came in and is staying at Jacquie’s and has come and visited Dad with me and Jacquie everyday since she has come in.

The person I want to give the biggest ‘+++++++’ to is my niece Daisy. She has come to stay at my parents house for the whole week and is with her grandpa (my Dad), 24-7. Daisy is helping him a lot and Daisy herself is not well. She has Lupus and has just gotten out of the hospital recently.

I go over every day and bring them supper and visit or if Jacquie made supper than I visit and take care of my Dad while Daisy sits and visits with us. Daisy mentions almost everyday how much she loves staying with her grandpa and thinks she is the luckiest girl because she gets to spend time with the wisest man she knows.

And everyday when I go my Dad also mentions how great Daisy is to him and that she helps him in whatever he needs.

Some days I know it must be hard for her because he has been feeling really shitty. But then there are a few days where he bounces right back and feels okay. And on those days he tells us lots of stories. (And by the way Caroline and John my Dad misses his daily communication with you both, but sometimes when he feels better he reads your correspondence. Thanks to you both.)

I guess at first I was pissed off and I bitched to Camille about it. Saying how fucking ridiculous it is.

People don’t understand how sick I am of hearing that they care. Oh tell Dad, I love him, hope he gets better. Fucking tell him yourself. The proof is in the pudding people. If you care you will be there. Plain and simple.

Isn’t it funny that my Dad could take care of 13 children but 13 children cannot take care of our Dad.

In the title of this post I said that at first I was pissed off. I guess I still am, on the other hand, I think of what Angelique said and I know it is true. That I am the lucky one for getting to spend that time with him. It is not a chore to me, it is a privilege.

It is only because I know that he would be happy if his other children came and spent the time with him. He loves them all so much.

Wednesday 20 August 2008

Yale Is Your Oyster

Jill’s daughter is off to start a new chapter in her life today. Carly will be going to Yale to get her Master’s in Public Health. Your Mom would be so proud Carly.

Tuesday 19 August 2008

For Christ Sake Did Somebody Shut Off The Air?

If I have said this once, I have said it 1,000 times, or a variant of it which goes ‘who the hell shut off the air?’

“Apparently what happens when you get a hot flash is that the normal mechanism overshoots. Normally, if you get hot, how do you cool down? Your face gets red because blood rushes to the vessels nearest the surface so that they can release heat more easily, and you sweat. A hot flash is misnamed: it’s really an attempt by the body to cool down. Researchers think that hot flashes happen when the set point of the thermoregulator gets abruptly shifted. It’s as though someone has walked by and pushed the thermostat in your head down to 55 degrees. Your brain says, ‘Uh-oh, you’re 98.6 degrees now-that’s too hot!’ and immediately tries to cool you down by increasing your heart rate and the blood supply to your skin so that you blush and sweat. You may not actually have been too hot, but you will cool down.” ~~ Dr. Love on the mechanism of a hot flash. ~~

Wahid, Nathan and I are sitting on the couch watching the Olympics. Nathan is sitting in a corner with his legs hitched up shivering. Wahid is covered in a blanket from head to toe, with just his eyes peeking out to watch the TV. I know they think the house is cold as they are always covering up and Wahid has started blanketing his face.

I am sitting on a separate couch from them ready to pass out from the heat. We are all doing the same amount of physical activity (which is none whatsoever) and I am the only one sweating.

Are you guys hot? “No Dearest it is just you.” ‘No Mom it is just you.’ Which one of you touched the air? ‘Nobody Mom, it is just you.’

Well for Christ’s sake. I get up and go look at the thermostat which I do about 10 times a day and am glad to see it is unchanged. They are both lucky.

Monday 18 August 2008

T Is For

Toni (niece; newly engaged)
Taylor (niece)
Tammy (niece)
Tiffany (god-daughter)
Travis (Darlene’s son; friend)

Tomato (Josephine and her Mommy’s favourite)
Tiger (don’t mess with my children)
Tea (family pastime)
Type (earned my living)
Tears (mostly from sorrow; sometimes from joy)

Trinidad (Wahid’s place of birth)
Tree (Siberian Elms in front yard)
Tibet (oppressed)
Together (we can make it)
Touch (all the time)

Ted (Nathan’s first Christmas present)
Tale (once upon a time)
Teacher (Angelique and Nathan [one more year])
Thirty (Nadalene)
Today (live in the now)

Truth (never boring)
Toilet (personal relationship with it)
Tulip (a favourite flower)
Thrifty (me, Wahid, and Nadalene)
Tolerance (important)

Thursday 14 August 2008

If I

If I wanted a ‘sweet’ wife I’d marry a chocolate bunny.

~~ Joyce Carol Oates from her book The Falls ~~

I had to stick this test on a 1930’s marital scale with my quote this week. It rates you as a 1930s husband or a 1930s wife. Hope you have fun doing it. My score was 23 which rated me as very poor and it stated that I would have been a failure as a 1930s wife.

Yahoo, all I can say to that is ‘what a relief.’

Here is the site:

Tuesday 12 August 2008

Serving Up Bone

People keep asking me when I go to get the results from my scans (bone, CT, tumor and blood). I keep lying and say I’m not sure, I think it is sometime in the middle of August. As a matter of fact I even lied to Angelique yesterday by pretending I hadn’t known when my test was.

Sorry Angelique, the only reason is I don’t want to be the cause of more anxiety for you than I already am. That is true for everyone I have lied too. And I am just realizing I have lied to a lot of people over the last week. Even Pat in my group, because I didn’t want her to even give it a thought over the weekend as I know her son is coming in. Sorry Mom, Mickey, and Colette I didn’t want to have your holidays ruined. Sorry Jacquie, I know that you have more than enough on your plate without adding another 224 pounds to the mix.

My appointment to see Dr. Grenier was yesterday on the 11th of August. The pre-game show started on Sunday evening and it went something like this.

“God, please don’t let it get worse. Please God. I would love to have it cured but I know that won’t happen. Please God let it at least be stable. Why are you doing this to yourself other people have prayed for healing. Are you so arrogant that you think your prayers will be heard over theirs. You know how you feel when you hear about the guy who stopped to take his kid to school or buy new runners at the world trade centre so therefore was spared. I hate those stories because at the end of them they finish with; so God must have great plans for them. God spared them for a reason. Okay…. Why wasn’t Jill, Angie, Helen, or Darlene spared? Didn’t God see the potential in them? Okay, enough already. Please God, let it be stable.”

Wahid is on holidays this week, so I started the morning off yesterday by debating whether or not to tell him that I was going to see Dr. Grenier for my results. And deciding in my mind whether I wanted him to come in with me or just drop me off. I decided that he would come in with me.

Next I debated for a few minutes whether or not I should take one of Jacquie’s nerve pills. This is how the debate went down “Should I take a pill? Really, whatever it is; it is and I can’t change it. The reality is that I have to accept whatever the results are. I can’t numb myself to it. It is going to be what it is. I can’t work myself in a state every time this happens, I will drive myself nuts. Learn to calm down. This is your life. This is your reality. You need to be alert.” Okay, I didn’t need to take a pill.

I went to see Dr. Grenier to see if she would toss me a bone or at the very least shoot me with a water pistol and not a revolver with a bullet.

The usual suspects were present with the exception of my dear nurse Lori who is now at the Breast Cancer Centre of Hope. I had another nurse and I can’t even remember what her name is.

This nameless nurse weighs me and tells me I have gained four pounds and now weigh 224. Anyone who seriously knows me knows that I don’t give two shits about that. She asks me about the lesions that were on my skin and I tell her that the biopsy was done by a dermatologist and that they are not cancer. Of course I am telling her all of this in dog-speak.

In attendance was Wahid playing the role of the husband, my doctor playing the role of the doctor and me playing the role of the groveling dog begging for the bone.

Wahid and I are in the office, they always shut the door and I always open it. I hate the door closed. It reminds me that something will close on me permanently and right now, while I can, I want the door open. We wait for about ten minutes and I just sit and Wahid holds my paw.

Dr. Grenier was looking drop-dead gorgeous as usual. Wahid was looking mellow. I was there and my fur was white and I was actually wearing a waitress outfit. I was hoping that if something was seriously wrong she would see that I was a hardworking dog and handover the miracle cure for my type of cancer. No luck though.

‘Good morning Renee, how are you?’ Woof woof. ‘We got your test results back and nothing has changed. Everything is stable. The bones are stable. The lesions on the ovary have not changed. Stable is good.’

I start to cry (just tears dripping down). ‘Oh poor Renee. You have been through so much. It is good news and you will be able to stay on the Femara. I know that you are in a lot of pain and we will have to find something that works on that. But the good news is that you are stable and at least won’t have to do more chemo right now.’

I love Dr. Grenier and I tell her Woof Whank wou. Thank you for the bone. I appreciate it very much. I also tell her that it is just really hard to hear the results after tests and that even during tests every headache becomes a brain tumor and every mark on your arm becomes leprosy. I told her that although I always like to see her, in some ways she is like a beautiful assassin and I just don’t know if this time is going to be the time she does me in. And in Dr. Grenier’s winning way she says ‘beautiful assassin, I like the sound of it.’

Dr. Grenier tells me that I will need more tests done in December and that she knows it is hard. But for the moment I am happy and I feel that I have had a reprieve.

Wahid, Dr. Grenier, and I all walk out together and now there are six legs between the three of us opposed to the eight that were in the examining room.

Monday 11 August 2008

S Is For

Suzie (sister)
Shelly (sister)
Stacey (nephew)
Sheldon (nephew)
Shirley (friend – graduation together)

Strawberries (Wahid picked four pails)
Skunk (shares the same perfume as me when on chemo)
Scotch (not a person; a drink)
Shower (difficult)
Sally (dear friend from group)

Sun (star which brings us hope each day)
Scotland (birthplace of my mother and brother)
Skeleton in the closet (large family = large closet)
St. Boniface Hospital (hospital of choice)
Spain (Angelique honeymoon/Nadalene school)

Self-esteem (too much)
Self-discipline (too little)
Scans (every four months)
Ste. Marie (maiden name)
Sad (does not mean you are depressed)

Son (Nathan)
Soccer (Nathan gave us 15 years of entertainment)
Spirituality (it counts, not religious dogma)
Scared (rarely)
Snug as a bug in a rug (Josephine very comfortable indeed)

Friday 8 August 2008

Let The Games Begin

100-Meter Dash: Couldn’t finish; too far.

Long Jump: Couldn’t reach landing pit; twisted ankle.

Shot Put: Refused to pick up ant-covered shot; disqualified.

Rowing: Whipped teammates with belt to make them row faster; disqualified.

10-Meter Diving: Platform too high.

Swimming: Starting block too high.

Fencing: Threw handful of dirt in opponent’s eyes; disqualified.

Badminton: Bit off opponent’s ear; disqualified.

400-Meter Dash: Joined race for last 10 meters. Spit ear across finish line at last second to win; disqualified.

Marathon: Got lost.

Discus: Not sure what to do with it.

Tennis: Expelled for so-called skimpy shorts.

Boxing: Knocked out; knocked out; knocked out. Put boxing gloves back up on shelf; they fell off and knocked me out.

High Jump: Optical illusion made it look like I jumped under the bar.

Victory Lap: Apparently no such event.

Some Other Race: Inadvertently won a different race while doing victory lap; disqualified.

Archery: Unable to string bow.

Javelin: O mighty javelin, greatest and most beautiful of spears! Thy sharped point saved Thebes and scattered thine enemies like grebes! Hail to thee, O javelin! (Overslept; missed tryout.)

Mystery Sport: Not exactly sure what this sport was, but I was awarded 22 “unprovoked tries,” whatever they are. Or maybe I was penalized 22 unprovoked tries. Not sure.

Table Tennis: Not allowed to wear my protective mask, chest protector or cup; quit in protest.

Cycling: Not very good at this, so I thought maybe I could make team by coming out on a really small “joke” bicycle. Really, if you saw this thing, how tiny it is, you’d say, “Come on, we gotta put him on the team.” (Never heard back.)

Uneven Bars: Not sure how to get onto upper bar.

Balance Beam: I have no idea what this is.

Rings: No, French fries! (No response from judges.)

Weight Lifting: This has to be the dumbest sport ever. No one could lift those weights! They’re too heavy! You’d have to be a muscleman or something.

Sailing: Unable to locate ocean.

Hurdles: Isn’t it actually harder to run around the hurdles, weaving in and out, than over them? This is the point I was trying to make.

Equestrian: Should be made clear, beforehand, that a horse is required for this.

Tryout For Job As Olympic Official: Couldn’t figure out how to work timing clock; gave winner in 100 meters a time of 10 “guess” seconds; not hired.

Tryout For Job As Cotton-Candy Maker: Cotton candy came out “molten” not hired.

Tryout For Spectator: Apparently I have a loud, constant cough that sounds like a starting pistol; barred from stands.

Don Baiting: Reminded my friend Don how great his ex-wife was; made him cry!

~~ Jack Handey on events at this years Olympics in
Beijing, China ~~

Good Luck Canada

Thursday 7 August 2008

There Is

There is a really deep well inside me. And in it dwells God. Sometimes I am there too. But more often stones and grit block the well, and God is buried beneath. Then he must be dug out again.

I imagine that there are people who pray with their eyes turned heavenwards. They seek God outside themselves. And there are those who bow their head and bury it in their hands. I think that these seek God inside.

~~ Etty Hillesum from her book An Interrupted Life. Etty was a Dutch Jew who died in Auschwitz at the age of 29. ~~

Postnote: I am looking outward and inward and thanking God because I am typing with my left hand only because sweet Josephine is sitting on my knee while her Mama is getting there passports. Actually she is not so sweet as I smell a poopie diaper.

Tuesday 5 August 2008


Blood tests, tumor markers, CT scans and bone scans are just not a few of my favourite things. I had them all last week and usually when I am having them I am a nervous wreck. My dear friend Sally calls it scanxiety (scan/anxiety). Can you believe it though, not this time?

I can place my lack of fear right at Nadalene’s door. When I was driving myself crazy last time and making myself physically ill, Nadalene told me that the tests weren’t going to make a difference. That whether the cancer had spread or remained stable, or that whatever I had, and wherever I had it, the tests themselves wouldn’t give it to me. The tests would just report on what was already there and would be a guide for my doctor.

This may all sound very rational to you, but believe me, when you are on the receiving end of these tests it is easier said than done. However I have been able to talk myself into staying calm all this week with the exception of the Monday after my CT scan because I saw a message on my phone that said unknown and so I assumed it was the doctor calling to tell me I was a dead duck. (Rational Renee forgot that I have at least three unknown calls on my phone every single day.)

Seeing your doctor after a scan is brutal. I always knew that. What I didn’t know though was that it gets worse and worse and worse and worse each time. I think this may be because at first you are given a death sentence and so you expect nothing but doom and gloom. After awhile and if you’re lucky and the cancer stops progressing and stays stable you become hopeful again. Hoping that you can hold this cancer off for some time and that you will have more time with the people you love.

The day you meet the doctor to hear the results can be best described in what Angelique calls having the gun put up to your face leaving you hoping that even if it is aimed right at your face, you can dodge the bullets. It feels as though you have pulled out the revolver, put some bullets in some of the chambers, and passed it to your doctor so she can take aim at you. The game of Russian roulette is not a game for the weak at heart. It is not a game for me. Will she say ‘everything is stable and we will proceed with what we are currently doing’. Or will she say ‘it is not working anymore and we have to do x, y, or z’. Or even worse, will this be the time that there is nothing more that can be done.

August 6th will be 2 ½ years since I was diagnosed with Stage 4 Inflammatory Breast Cancer. I went through almost two years of chemotherapy (33 treatments), and have since been on an estrogen inhibitor. At my last scans in March they showed no progression. I am so praying that this is the case from my scans last week.

I am a good cancer patient…..really; I am a great cancer patient. I am tough; I don’t curl up in a ball and hide. I faced what I had to face and I sucked it up; I got through it (more or less). I know I can do it again. But my God, I don’t want to have to. Again, I just want the tests to show stable.

I know some of you may think, and you would be right, that I am whiney and self-pitying. I try not to be. Just sometimes I can’t help it. I can’t help that I feel sorry for my family and myself sometimes.

My sister Mickey has been trying to have me and my family go on a vacation which she will cover the flight. She also has a timeshare that she wants us to use. The hold-up is me though. Actually maybe the hold-up isn’t me, maybe it is my cancer.

I can’t make plans anymore like normal people. I have to get tests. I have to wait for results. I have to know whether the doctor will tell me good news or bad. I need to know if I will have a reprieve. I also know that now it is too late again, as Angelique and Nathan will both be in school soon so it will be too late to organize anything. I won’t see the doctor until the middle of August and if she gives me bad news than I will have to start another form of treatment.

Do you understand my dilemma?

I realize that I am not the only person who has to deal with this shit. I have my wonderful family and caring friends that have been here for me. The same wonderful family and friends that have to deal not only with this shit, but with my shit too. How do I repay them you ask, well, I continually drag them down this road with me.

And this has been going on for months, actually for years, 2 ½ to be exact.

“To be vulnerable to the mystery of our life as it presents itself requires forgoing our hopes and fears for the future and being willing to taste what is here before us, in all its poignant bitter-sweetness.” ~~ Roger Housden ~~

I know I am putting the cart before the horse here. Believe me when I say I don’t want too. It just is so hard for me to have to hear the results, to have to hear if my life as I know it now will have to change again.

It just occurred to me that throughout this post I have been playing the ‘what-if’ game that my Dad warned me about. I know very well what he told me to do when it came knocking. So I’m going to do it “Fuck-off what-if.”

I feel better.

My nervous wallowing will be held back. I am going to remember to live in the now. Right now today, nothing has changed. My cancer is stable today until I hear otherwise.

Jacquie on the day I have to meet with Dr. Grenier I will probably come to you beforehand on all fours, with my tail between my legs and as you know I will be barking. The woof woof will mean that I want you to pass me a dozen of your nerve pills. So just toss them to me no questions asked and say ‘good boy.’

Wish me luck.

Monday 4 August 2008

R Is For

Renee (me, aunt, grandmother)
Rochelle (sister -- Shelly)
Rick (nephew, brother-in-law)
Robinson (Robbie)
Ryan (Nathan’s best friend)

Raspberry (prefer over strawberry)
Rabbit (holding a tray)
Rum (Old Oak)
Responsibility (Wahid hates the word)
Riot act (Mom was a pro)

Rainbow (somewhere a promise is being kept)
Rain (danced with Luke)
Ruins (Greece and Turkey)
Redwood (drove through the middle of the tree in California)
Radar (60 in construction zones even if no workers or big fines)

Read (always)
Realistic (with a hopeful spin)
Reverence (Wahid)
Rob Peter to pay Paul (way to stretch money)
Rasputin (Nadalene’s current gobble)

Rosary (Hail Mary)
Respect (each other)
Rich (family)
Russian roulette (seeing doctor after scans)
Real or strong (Liz asked)

Friday 1 August 2008

But We

But we didn't talk to each other then. Not properly. We missed the opportunity. Now, too late, we come together again, without the habit of speaking our real thoughts.

~~ Clare Morrall talking about a family in the book Astonishing Splashes of Colour ~~