Vince and I will be heading out to the World Conference on Breast Cancer on Sunday morning. I can barely believe that it is finally here.

While the impetus to get us to Winnipeg and this conference has been the documentary that my friends are filming, there is no denying the personal motivation. This conference marks both an end and a beginning for me.

It is the end of my battle ~ 22 months of dealing with my diagnosis, treatment, surgery and more surgery. It’s a chapter that’s not completely over, as it will never be over, but I think of it as the worst being behind me.

It’s also a beginning. As I move forward with my life, as I live and thrive.

I will try to update this as the conference progresses, but it may be that you’ll get a lot of impressions after the fact.


the toilet story

At work, the women’s washroom on my floor has two stalls – regular and wheelchair accessible.

Yesterday the wheelchair one had a sign on the toilet lid saying “Will not flush”. I noticed the sign on my morning trip.

By lunch the sign was still there and there was a line-up of three people for the smaller cubicle. I walked into the “broken” one, lifted the lid to just check (and it was “empty”! so that told me ‘flush’ was capable). I then lifted the lid off the tank. The flusher was broken, as in plastic snapped in half. I turned, shut the door, did my business, and then reached into the tank to pull the chain. No surprise to me, it worked perfectly.

As I exited the stall, yet another woman had come into the bathroom and said, “Oh, is it fixed?”, to which I replied not exactly, all you have to do is reach into the tank and pull the chain.

The look on her face was hilarious and she said she’d wait for the other toilet.

I thought I was smart, but I get the impression that perhaps the other women waiting didn’t care for my solution. I felt like saying that the water in the tank is clean and is what flushes the toilet bowl, but there reaches a point when you just dry your hands and say, “Whatever.”


beach baby

Today was a beach day. I love beach days.

What is a beach day? Well, on Saturdays when the weather is sunny and the temperature goes above 20 C, and we don’t have a wedding or other event booked, Vince and I go to the beach and basically relax and have a picnic for a few hours or so.

The beach is such a cool place to go. Watch the eagles fish, watch a kingfisher fish, watch the seals watching us, find an alligator lizard (not the true name, but it’s small like a gekko and has an alligator-like shaped head) before it finds the food bag, watch the silly people swim in freaking cold water, move stones to watch the crabs scramble for cover, etc. etc. Never an end for entertainment.

Vince and I go to one or two beaches specifically for the adult sections. Yes, that does mean nudity. It also means no children, at least where we go.

The last time Vince and I went was in July 2006. I remember it very vividly because it was during one of Victoria’s very rare heat waves. It was unbearably hot and down by the water it was heavenly. It was just a month later that my world went upside down.

It was a perfect day today. Almost 6 hours of watching the world go by. I’ll have a few pictures to put up later.

And no, nudity is not an option for me anymore, which does mean to say that I have been topless on more than one occasion in the past.

It felt so incredibly wonderful to do something I haven’t done in so long.


one year

Here it is: my one year mark. It is so much more emotional than I thought it would be.

Today as I looked at that plaster bust I did last year, I see all that cancer has cost me and I see all that I have achieved in my battle. And then I think, how am I going to decorate this bust?? One year later and it’s still a blank canvas.

I think I’ve been to hell and back and I’ve learned a lot about myself in the process. I think I could have done without the body functions parts,  but the rest has just added to who I am.

Hurray for one year. May there be many more.