2015: The year summed up

Hiya everyone!

So, it looks like another year has flown by. Can you believe it? I know, another year that I have been alive, how awesome is that?

Like every year, the year 2015 has seen its ups and downs. In reflecting on the last year, I have used this blog to give thanks for the good days and let people know about the bad ones too. We all have bad days, months, and even sometimes bad years. But remember that it can always be worse. If you are alive, safe, sheltered, fed, clothed and healthy, then it’s all good. Period.

Now to finish off the year, I am going to give you all a glimpse into my life in two thousand and fifteen.

Here is 2015 a la Sabrina:
CT scans that were almost stable, an MRI that squished my boobies and one that checked my brain (yes, apparently I have one), injected myself with mistletoe, Niagara on the Lake for Valentines Day, ate some awesome seafood in Boston, peed at Harvard Law School, was featured in the Toronto Star, met and was interviewed by Susan Hay of Global TV, celebrated my one year wedding anniversary which was romantic and wet (get your minds out of the gutter, people – it was raining the entire weekend), cottage, cottage, and more cottage, endured some major cancer fatigue, saw some superheroes live at the ACC, threw a fantastic Halloween party where we went as Joker and Harley Quinn, started a new drug at the cancer clinic, had a rough November because I had to deal with the tragic death of a friend from the cancer clinic I attend, had mulled wine for the first time and it was yummy, did a photo shoot for Elle Canada magazine…..awesome, was chosen as the Wellspring model for 2016, enjoyed gatherings with friends and family over the holidays, ate enough food for about 5 people on Christmas Eve and Day, got nasty bronchitis and realized how much pghlem one can actually produce, and lived through metastatic cancer for another year, so there! Off to the next year 🙂

Happy New Year everyone!! To a 2016 filled with much love, happiness, peace, health, and NO cancer!

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Xoxo

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Happy Mommy’s Day!

To all of the wonderful mothers out there, especially you, MOM – this one is for you.

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!

Love you Mommy!

Love you Mommy!

This post is super sappy, so don’t say that I didn’t warn you.

I am extremely fortunate to be surrounded by such strong, amazing women. My mom, my grandmothers, my aunts, and now even my mother-in-law. You always hear those stories of nasty “mothers-in-law” from hell. I can’t even fathom this situation as my mother-in-law is absolutely wonderful. I couldn’t have picked a better one even if I tried. I truly hit the “motherload” with all of the amazing mothers in my life, and I love them all dearly.

Okay, so I may be a bit biased when I say that I am truly blessed with having the absolute GREATEST mommy in the world. But she so is! And yes, I call her “Mommy”. She is the strongest and most courageous person that I know. I have always been told how brave that I am, well, my bravery doesn’t stand a chance when compared to that of my mother.

She has been the rock for me and my family for 33 years. When I think about Mother’s Day I begin to think about the pain and hardship that my mother was forced to endure over the course of my life, but yet how she handled every difficult situation with courage, wisdom, and an abundance of love.

No mother wants to witness their child sick; however, my mother had no choice. She’s been watching me through sickness for 30 years.

At the tender age of 3, she watched me lie in a hospital bed while undergoing surgeries, chemotherapy, and radiation treatments over the course of two years. And sadly she hasn’t stopped watching her daughter face illness ever since.

Me and Mom (before treatment)

My mom was the brave soul that had to force feed me food as a child when I didn’t want to eat because my throat was so badly burned from the radiation treatments.

She was the one to hold my head up while I vomited from the chemotherapy.

She was the one to hold my hand while watching me get poked and prodded with needles on a daily basis.

She was the one that learned how to clean and disinfect my port for chemo.

She was the one that watched me as my body slowly deteriorated from the toxic treatments administered.

She was the one that nursed me back to health when I was too sick and weak to even stand upright.

She was the one to constantly remind me of how beautiful I was with or without hair, unscarred or scarred. (She still reminds me of this.)

She was the one that allowed me to cry when I needed to cry and to laugh when I needed to laugh.

She was the one to tell me that everything was going to be okay.

No one teaches parents how to parent. There is no training involved. Under the best of circumstances, it is an extremely difficult job, now imagine your child has been diagnosed with cancer.

The oncologists tasked my parents with the increasingly difficult undertaking of caring for a child with cancer while at the same time ensuring not to treat me differently. They did this so that I would one day grow up to become a strong woman. So, naturally my mom had to travel between being the “good cop” and the “bad cop” so that I wouldn’t grow up to be a big wimp.

Having given up her full-time job so that she could stay at home to take care of her sick child, my mom managed to find the perfect balance between the good and the bad cop. She provided me with a wealth of love, support, and affection while also making sure that she was tough, stern, and strict with me. The cancer card does not seem to work so well on my mom. She did not want me to feel like I was different than all of the other boys and girls out there just because I had cancer.

For years my mother has had to witness the toll that this illness has taken on me. Though she always managed to be my pillar of strength no matter how it must have killed her inside to watch my body, mind, and spirit ache.

Now my mother is forced to watch this same destructive illness slowly try to take her daughter away from her for good. No mother wants their child to die before they do, but for my mother, this may be an unfortunate reality. No one knows. Like always though, my mom is fulfilling her motherly role like a true champ. She seriously needs a ‘Mother of the year’ award, or perhaps 33 of them!

There aren’t really any Mother’s Day cards that say “Mom, thanks so much for taking care of me and helping me deal with this stupid cancer” or “Mom, cancer sucks, but you rock!” or “Mom, I hope I can be a terrific mother like you someday, but I won’t have the chance cuz cancer happened.” Perhaps these cards exist, but I couldn’t find them at Hallmark.

So Mommy, the best I can do is tell you how much I love you and appreciate all you have done for me over the years. You have shaped me into the young woman that I am today. I wouldn’t be here without you (no, seriously I wouldn’t be because you gave birth to me, remember?) You are the greatest role model, and I strive each and every day to not only make you proud, but also to walk in your footsteps. And let me tell you, these are very big shoes to fill. No matter what the future holds, I know I can get through anything with you by my side. I love you MOMMY! xoxo

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Love, health, and awesome MOMMIES!
xo

I Surely Didn’t Ask Santa To Bring Me Cancer For Christmas

Cancer is not a gift.

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I remember reading articles and watching interviews from individuals claiming that cancer was a gift, that they embraced it with open arms because it taught them so much. It taught them to love and appreciate life. When I heard these things, I would throw up a little in my mouth. Call me crazy but that’s not the gift I wanted to receive all wrapped up under my Christmas tree.

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A gift does not make you weak and frail. It does not subject you to toxic treatments. It does not make you throw up at the sight of food (or for no reason at all). It does not make you emotional, irritable, and fearful. It does not mess with your self-esteem or negatively alter your self-image. It does not force you to fight for your life. And it surely isn’t fun or something you are dying to show-off to your friends. Hey guys, look at this cool tumor I got for Christmas, isn’t it awesome?

There was no way that cancer was going to make Amazon’s Wish List, this was for certain.

I used to think to myself, I seriously didn’t need cancer to make me enjoy or appreciate life. I was already doing that. In fact, the only thing I didn’t particularly like about my life was the whole cancer thing. Not something I would recommend trying.

In my teens, twenties, and early thirties, I didn’t need to be reminded of how great life was because I already knew. I was young; the last thing I was looking for was this type of enlightenment. I just wanted to live carefree for a while, have fun, and do ‘normal people’ things. I didn’t want to put my life on hold and make life-altering decisions. I didn’t want to be the ‘girl with cancer’. But I was.

About four or five months ago I read a book about a woman’s cancer journey whereby she refers to cancer as a gift. This was one of the many books that I picked up as a means of enlightening myself about everything and all things cancer. Although I appreciated this woman’s courage and bravery while battling the disease, I still couldn’t come to terms with the idea behind the title. By the time I reached the end of the book, I understood exactly where the author was coming from, but in all honesty, I was still having trouble applying the concept to my own life.

As part of my journey towards healing myself, I promised that I would try to see my disease in a different light. I promised myself that I would focus on the upsides of cancer (which I will discuss in another blog post, so watch out for that), and that I would try to focus on changing my lifestyle and attitude. The part about appreciating and loving life, I already had mastered that.

With each of the last five times that I had cancer, it was never a gift for me, and that has not changed. But what has changed is that my current situation has forced me to accept the cancer and deal with it differently than I had been. I didn’t need or ask for this wake-up call, but now that it was presented to me, I needed to act on it. Plain and simple.

In my opinion, cancer does and will always suck. But what doesn’t suck is the love and support that surrounds me.

The pleasure and enjoyment I get out of life doesn’t suck.

Having awesome skin from all of the juicing and vegetables that I have been devouring doesn’t suck.

Learning and trying out new things doesn’t suck.

Having an excuse to sleep a little more doesn’t suck.

Being a role model and inspiring others doesn’t suck.

Writing this blog doesn’t suck.

And for better or for worse, cancer has been the driving force behind all of these things.

As for the whole ‘cancer as a gift’ thing, I still won’t be putting that on my Christmas list 😉

Love, health, and fun presents!
xo