Photo Shoot With My Sister

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May 29, 2019

From the beginning of my brain tumour journey, it’s been the Hamilton group of hospitals that has been there every step of the way – Starting with my surgery at Hamilton General Hospital. Then Juravinski Cancer Centre – which especially holds a dear place in my heart. It’s where a majority of my treatment has taken place – where I have met and been treated by the most incredible, kind, caring medical staff.
I didn’t know who the Juravinskis were – Just that there was a cancer centre named after them – My amazing cancer centre. And then today I saw this article and video. They are donating even more! I feel honoured and so very blessed that I have been able to receive my treatment at this special group of hospitals. The doctors and nurses I have encountered make me believe in humanity and that there will always be hope to carry on.
Thank you to Charles and Margaret Juravinski!

May 14, 2019

Just wanted to let you know – My MRI date did get pushed forward – it is scheduled for next Monday, the 20th. It’s been a rough week and a half or so. Like I’ve mentioned before, I find the time before an upcoming MRI to be difficult both mentally and emotionally. It’s a time where I can’t hear about or think about anything. My mind just kind of shuts off. I forget about dreams and hopes, but can’t stop thinking about dreams and hopes. Steve and I have done again what we’ve done before pre-MRI – a little time together. Watching a movie that I’ve always wanted to see – catching up on our favourite shows – taking walks and looking around – re-reading the private thoughts and songs I’ve written down through the years. Still hoping and imagining and dreaming.

February 26, 2019

Just a quick update – I had an MRI yesterday. Now I wait for the results to see where things are at with me.

My husband heard this song on the radio. It’s a brand new Rob Thomas single. It just came out a few days ago and the timing couldn’t be more perfect. It says a lot to me and a lot about me, and how I feel.

This is the lyric video because I wanted to share the lyrics that mean so much.

And this is the official video which I think is beautiful.

February 4, 2019

What an odd and heartwrenching time it’s been of late…

My father-in-law passed away on January 17th. Just before his 77th birthday, which would have been on the 19th. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts – he was sick for a while – he had cancer as well. We got to the hospital just after he passed. I felt odd and sad that I couldn’t say goodbye one last time. But really, it wouldn’t have been how I hoped or imagined. So what I remember now is the previous time I saw him in the hospital – a few days earlier – when he told me that he always saw me more as his daughter than daughter-in-law. It meant the world to me. He was a beautiful, special, kind, wonderful man. And it breaks my heart everytime I remember that I won’t be able to see or talk to him in this life. It breaks my heart to see how it’s affected my husband, his daughters and the rest of the family. He was always there when anyone in the family needed him – including me. He even walked me down the aisle when I married his son, because I asked. I remember him being so nervous. It was cute. 🙂 Here is another photo of us on that day. I will forever miss his presence, his voice, his smile. Until we meet again…


Apparently it is World Cancer Day – As far as that goes for me – I saw my oncologist today and he said my platelet count is very low. Just about at the point of requiring a blood transfusion. I have to go back to the clinic on Wednesday for more bloodwork, to see if my platelet count is on the rise or going down. I was supposed to be starting my next round of chemo but I have to wait to see how things go. I hope and pray that I’ll be able to start it still this week.

Admittedly, I’ve been thinking a lot about death lately. With the passing of my father-in-law, it became more real to me. Over the past little while I’ve focused more on it. But I don’t want that to be my focus. I want to live! I believe I will, for a long time yet. Because, why not?

A few weeks back I decided to take some pics of how I was feeling. They may seem rather dark. But that’s just how I feel sometimes. My hair isn’t really growing and I have a giant scar now. But this is me – for now anyway. For World Cancer Day I wanted to share in visual form what I sometimes feel like. But I am looking to the future too and intend on doing more photo shoots that show the other side of me. It’s just taking me some time to get there. 🙂

Steph and I are also planning to record a couple of original songs in the near future. The one is called Beautiful. I wrote it about someone I love deeply that has always had a hard time seeing themself as such – inside and out. It’s something that so many people – myself included – struggle with. Something that I especially struggle with now. It’s a song of love and encouragement. I’m excited for us to finally record and share it!




January 9, 2019

The last update I did – other than my Christmas song – was almost a month ago. And it was a good day. If I’m honest – there’s been some good and bad since then. I want to be honest, so here’s the good and the bad. To start – the increase in my chemo dosage really sucked. More tired, more nauseous – and I actually missed a couple of days at the rehab gym because of it – which does not help with my current goals.

I also got a phone call on December 21st from the genetics clinic. Because of my family history, and my current situation – they felt there was a 90% chance that I inherited Li-Fraumeni Syndrome, so I was tested. My mother has it, and it was passed on to my sister, and in turn passed on to one of my nieces. I always felt that I would be different. What this means is that I have a predisposition to a wide range of certain, often rare, cancers. This is because of a mutation in a tumour suppressor gene (TP53) – meaning that my body is lacking the ability to prevent malignant tumours from developing. I am highly susceptible to developing multiple cancers in my lifetime. I never really wanted to know what my chances were of getting cancer, but I figured that once I beat this brain cancer – I wanted to stay on top of anything else – so I got tested… and I failed. Knowing I have the gene doesn’t make it easier – it’s actually made it more difficult mentally. But, I start to get tested frequently for signs of other cancers, and the survival rate of early detection is remarkable. I already knew that this type of brain cancer meant a fight for the rest of my life – but now the fear of other cancers hanging over me… I like to live to live. I am not going to let this take away from my life. It might be tough to deal with mentally right now, but my life is NOT going to be about cancer and death!

I had a great Christmas, and there was a lot of family around. My father-in-law was there – that was especially moving. His cancer diagnosis came shortly before mine. They say mine is “incurable”, but his – there’s nothing more they can do. I watch him, and he watches me – and we both feel powerless to help each other – but the love, we can feel. We ask the same questions about life and death. Sometimes he’ll talk about his fears, and his hopes – and then he’ll just suddenly ask me how I’m doing. And he’ll hold my hand and help me to be strong, and not afraid. One of the greatest men I’ve ever known.


That may have sounded more bad than good – but that’s just the way it sounds if you don’t read between the lines. There is hope – and love – and strength. There are family and friends – dreams and desires.