leaving on a jet plane

Peter, Paul and Mary have such a special place in my heart as it was the melody of my childhood. From a toddler to preschooler, sitting on my dad’s lap and signing together, reading Puff the Magic Dragon and finding exhilaration in the idea that there could be a song about that very story!

Dad spent decades as a teacher-librarian and the very best by-product of this was the early love for reading he instilled in me. He also appreciated music so much so, that when he decided to work towards his Bachelor’s degree in the 80s, he did a split major in music and Spanish. I wonder which one was more lyrical as he would speak in such velvety cadences to my mother or around the house as he played classical music and practiced this new language for upcoming exams.

It undoubtedly filled our home with two things: music and books. If we were bored, we were told to read. If we didn’t know the answer to something, we were told to read. And on every holiday or special occasion, our bookshelves made room for The Secret of NIMH, Watership Down and Tiger Eyes so that we were always armed with the ammo of words. Maybe that is why I write or consume so many books to this day. And I’m sure it’s why, when I hear Peter Paul and Mary, Paul Simon or Quartetto Gelato, I think of all the wonderful conversations that must have occurred while I sat on dad’s lap, sat at the table sharing the Saturday comics or sat at the computer sharing notes on my own university music class essays (one of which, I am afraid to say, was heavily borrowed from my dad’s repertoire).

Music has the ability to rock your world in both happiness and triumph, chaos and grief. Just as there is comfort in music, I always found that both music and books could awaken parts of me that I didn’t know existed. From, Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret to Tuesdays With Morrie, to The Kite Runner, there are things you see in books that no movie could ever create so vividly or perfectly in your mind. If words tell the story in our lives, music plays its soundtrack. Every beat has a matched rhythm in our heart and every pause brings space to breathe, to create, to reflect, to consider.

Back to Peter Paul and Mary. I think Leaving on a Jet Plane was always my favourite because it seemed to promise both adventure and the promise of a return or at the very least, seeing one another again, (or maybe it was just about someone’s indiscretions-it was the 70s, after all). If all your bags are packed and you’re ready to go, and you’re standing there outside my door, then you’ve been planning this for a while and want to take care of me because after all, you’d hate to wake me up to say goodbye.

This song recently rocked me to my core as I realized it could be about leaving this world for another place. A place you’re ready for, you’ve been planning the trip for some time and the thing is, leaving isn’t sad. While you don’t know when you’ll be back again, you say:

So kiss me and smile for me

Tell me that you’ll wait for me

Hold me like you’ll never let me go”.

I say, we’ll all have a plane to catch one day and we are going to a sweet place where we will wait. And we will meet again.

Maybe you’ll be one of the five people I meet in heaven and maybe you’ll even be my first phone call. One thing’s for certain, there will be plenty of good things to read while I wait for you and the music will be the sweetest harmony when we meet again. There is no truer harmony sung than the famous 70s trio and whenever there is a parting in your life, may these words be the notes that soothe your heart like a balm as sweet as honey:

“Now, the time has come to leave you, One more time, Let me kiss you, Then close your eyes, I’ll be on my way. Dream about the days to come. When I won’t have to leave alone. About the times, I won’t have to say…

Oh, kiss me and smile for me

Tell me that you’ll wait for me

Hold me like you’ll never let me go

‘Cause I’m leavin’ on a jet plane

Don’t know when I’ll be back again

Oh babe, I hate to go.”

May there be more melodies than silence, more stories than blank pages and more loving, abundance and living above all else.

 

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otherwise

Miracles happen everyday. In your alarm that failed one morning that made you miss the horrific accident that you would have otherwise been a part of. In the way that cheque shows up in the mail the day you would otherwise be dead broke. In the baby who made it possible for you to find a lump in your breast that otherwise would have taken you far too soon.

My miracles come in many forms, everyday. Two weeks ago, I received my first round of new treatment that includes an infusion of one drug and 20 pills a day for three weeks at a time. When you are part of a clinical trial, not even your doctor knows if you have the trial drug or the placebo. You pray and hope and wish and everyone who loves you and is rooting for you sends their prayers and energy to the gods and this storms the universe with positivity.

Well, it worked. After six weeks without treatment as I waited for acceptance into the trial, we know that my cancer is so aggressive that all of my 40+ tumours that have mainly taken up residence in my lungs, grew. Some by a centimetre, in six short weeks. You can do the math as to my future with those numbers. But I am a mother. Otherwise, one may throw up her hands and lose her faith to fight, accept her fate and wait.

There is no otherwise for mothers. We have to fight. Because our children are counting on us. Our partners are relying on us and our worlds are better with us in them. We’re motherwise.

Imagine my miracle when, four days after beginning the first round of treatment, all of my symptoms disappeared. No more persistent cough, no more short breaths and no pain down my arm from swollen lymph nodes. Based on this, as well as some side effects and raised blood chemistry levels, my doctor surmised that I do in fact have the trial drug. There is no placebo here, only the good stuff. Otherwise I would be on a crash course with the heavens. Further proof: a blood test for LDH or lactate dehydrogenase, has been reduced by half! LDH is an enzyme involved in energy production that is found in almost all of the body’s cells and helps to detect disease growth. So you see, there is only good news as related to this miraculous, life-saving drug that will hopefully be approved and available in Canada in a few years.

Here’s the catch: the trial drug does a number on your liver. This organ has already sustained some damage from past treatments, including four months on a drug that raised my liver enzymes significantly; turns out, it was never the Keto diet that contributed to that!

The trial drug, called Tucatinib, is ‘an experimental small molecule inhibitor of the growth factor receptor HER2 and is in development for the treatment of cancer. The FDA granted fast track designation in 2016 for HER2-positive breast cancer’. HER2 positive breast cancer occurs in one out of 10 breast cancers.

I have nicknamed the drug Catnip which has skyrocketed my liver into an angry state. My enzymes are the highest ever and is classified as grade III transaminitis which is ‘moderate to severe’ with the next level being ‘severe’ and the final stage classified as ‘fatal’.

I have to let my liver rest for a few weeks before getting back onto the Catnip. When it’s feasible, I will have it again, but at a lower dose, never being able to return to the highest dose I was on. Does this mean my chances of survival are lower? Of course this is what went through my mind.

The Catnip is needed to stop the cancer cells from growing and even may even heal some tumours. Otherwise, the cells will multiply like Gremlins at midnight. The word live is in liver so it could not be any clearer how important it is to let it heal. But time is cancer’s cavalry in this battle. Time makes cancer stronger, smarter, resistant and rebellious. Otherwise, we could take all the time we need to prepare and arm our body against insurgents, giving us the ultimate foothold to win the war.

Without the drugs, there is cancer. With the drugs, there is the potential for liver failure. The worst example of a catch 22. I call it a catch twenty-boo. What do you do?

You trust the science that says a short rest will help. You trust your brilliant oncologist who says he has seen this before at the start of Catnip use and that any amount of it is life-saving so a half dose will be excellent. You trust your sister who is rooted in science and logic and says that it’s all good and that I can finally believe every word this doctor utters. You trust your Personal Support Spatula (PSS for short), Milena,  who offers to have your drinks for you since alcohol is a banned substance. And you trust your soul sister who says ‘you have found the path to healing – continue to trust and believe’. Because, there is no otherwise.

 

C U Next Tuesday

While we gear up for a fresh school season next Tuesday, I am gearing up for the the beginning of a beautiful relationship with a princess: Princess Margaret that is – for the clinical trial that will prolong my life.

Last week, my dear friend Milena and I had a road trip to PMH where my trials nurse orchestrated four tests that are required to be admitted to the study. Four tests, one day, three hospitals. There are five hospitals that make up the blessed and absolutely stellar University Health Network. Most of these hospitals are within a one block radius of one another and Milena and I became astute at crossing University Avenue with ease and checking out the food trucks along the way.

Within five hours, I had a brain MRI (to determine any brain metastases – which there are none), a CT scan (checking the disease progression in my lungs, lymph nodes and anything in the organs), a heart scan (a nuclear medicine test that ensures the heart is functioning within normal range) and various blood tests. Here is what is so magical and other-worldly about this North Star of Canada’s healthcare system: it was completely patient-focused and I witnessed love, compassion and little perks that make the most of a bad situation.

I would like to make a disclaimer: my five years at Juravinski were all I knew and you don’t know what you don’t know, so they say.  There are good people at JCC. Hardworking, dedicated staff who are really trying to make life with cancer better. The goal of my writing is to share the patient’s perspective in our broken Ontario healthcare system including the good, the bad, and the ugly. Everything I will share about PMH and its affiliates is through the same lens, however you will see that the view is so very different. I will present facts and real, honest experiences and knowledge that I have been fortunate to gather over so many years in Hamilton hospitals. Please take what you wish from my writing and believe me when I say that I am grateful for the care I received. But my beloved Hamilton, we can do a lot better.

Case in point: when you have a CT scan in any Hamilton hospital (I have had a scan in each one), you have an intravenous drip set up in your arm and after the first few minutes of imaging, you are infused with a contrast dye that lights up your solar plexus. Your arms are above your head for the duration of the test. In Hamilton, technicians in another room activate the contrast dye injection via a computer. Then more images are snapped and staff come in and escort you to a waiting area where a nurse removes your IV. Then, you find your way out from there. It’s all business, there’s no small talk and even on a day where I had had a small car accident in the hospital parking lot right before my test and was a little ‘less than’ myself and was crying in the IV room, there was little compassion or understanding. 

At PMH, I had a lovely gentleman who told me that he was needed up in the O.R. for an angiogram but felt that he could fit me in before he went up because he wasn’t sure how long he would be. Point number one: staff talk to you honestly and openly and manage your expectations. While in the scan, when the contrast dye was injected, this technician came into the room, injected it and then he held my hands and rubbed them gently as the dye went in and for about a minute afterward, asking me if I was feeling okay (because the dye burns your insides like a shot of 40 proof whiskey and makes you quite certain that you have peed your pants). He came in after all was said and done, removed my IV and escorted me to the waiting room. It was a beautiful thing. I will remember him always and hope to see him next time. One person, from start to finish and such compassion that I welled with happy tears.

Here is another example. Have you ever had a test where you have to wear a hospital gown? Awkward as ass right (literally)? Which way does the gown go? Tied in the front or back? We all have a story of us or some poor patient who simply couldn’t win the fight with their gown and ended up mooning the waiting room. At PMH, they not only have a brand new gown design that is Rachel-proof, but they also give you pants. Flannel pants that give you just a bit more dignity as you wander the halls to your cold examination table that couldn’t even fit Kate Moss comfortably. But the pants! I actually yelled out to the technician when he took me to the change room, “PANTS? Did you say pants? For me?”. It really doesn’t take much. There were many small things over the course of the day that added up to a seamless, effortless and dignified experience.

Today I can tell you that my CT results were less than desirable. All of my results come to me in the form of an email alert and then I log into my patient portal and read everything myself. This is incredibly empowering.

I have not had treatment for six short weeks since we determined the medications were not working and I had to start the process of qualifying for this clinical trial. Within these six weeks, every single tumour in my lungs and lymph nodes (over 40 of these suckers), has increased in size, some by a whole centimetre. That’s aggressive and certainly a blow to my positive perspective.

I knew at the moment of reading my results that I was not going to wait another minute to take action.  I emailed my healthcare team at PMH and I had a response within three hours at 8:30 pm while my nurse was likely trying to enjoy her evening but took the time to reassure me that they would review everything the next day and get back to me with a plan (I had not been confirmed for the clinical trial at this time).

At 7pm the next evening, my nurse phoned to tell me that I have been approved for the trial and that she would do everything in her power to fit me into chemotherapy next week. The trial is a double blind study with two thirds of patients receiving the trial drug, along with two other drugs that I am guaranteed to receive. 16 hours after our phone call, I had all of my chemo dates scheduled for the next two months, including my start date next week.  This is a miracle. Clinical trial teams take precedence and can make things happen quickly. I am grateful that I am in a place where I can speak openly, know that I am being heard and see almost immediate outcomes. This my friends, is the opposite in our fair city. Patients do not have a voice in many cases. I experienced this too many times to count. You are dismissed and placated, sometimes ignored, even when serious or time sensitive decisions have to be made. 

Right before I had my first consult with the trials team at PMH, my JCC doctor phoned me at home. While I am thankful that she ultimately put me on the road to PMH, she told me, and I quote, “You need to show these people that you can keep it together. Don’t get emotional. And they don’t like a lot of questions.” I jokingly said, “Are you telling me I’m high maintenance?” She responded with “I have patients that are way more high maintenance than you and they have made it into trials.”

The lesson is that as patients or caregivers, you have to advocate for yourself, push boundaries when needed and ask tough questions. Maneuvering the system takes time, patience and a lot of balancing. One day there is good news and you feel confident in your plan and actually don’t think about your diagnosis for a few hours. The next, you are smacked in the face with news of disease progression which swells the thoughts of the reality that while you are not going to die today, you will always be in a state towards it (and yes, I know EVERYONE is, but it’s not the same thing). You learn to live with major uncertainty.

The disparities between these hospital system experiences are not all about funding or politics. I’m sure there’s a bit of that at play but how hard is it to hold a patient’s hand, call them with test results in a timely manner or put a cap on parking? These are all within a hospital’s control but it comes down to the almighty dollar. It’s cheaper to have a computer inject a dye than a human walking into the room, flannel pants cost money, doctors are so overworked you’re lucky if you get a call, and the hospitals rely on parking revenue at the hands of the most fragile (don’t get me started on the parking enforcement vultures who hover around metre paid cars at JCC).

I do know this for sure: there is no shame in not being okay with the often unfair and life-altering world of cancer. No one is less than their whole self while battling the see-saw of emotions and facts that can come at anytime. This is not my whole story, but it is being written as I live through each day and face how the story will end. A terminal illness becomes a houseguest who never leaves.  They are always with you. Like Goldie Hawn in Housesitter, sometimes you just have to make the most of it, do whatever you can to survive and truly dance like no one is watching.

I believe that we can always do better. Why not start with love, compassion, kindness, and a whole lot of flannel pants for everyone. Can I get an Amen?

born on the (2)4th of July

A year ago, I hadn’t started treatment yet. It was just before my birthday and I was at the reset starting line of fighting stage 4 cancer that had spread throughout my body. A whole year has passed. I’ve had three lines of treatment drugs and I was monitored every three months. What we continued to see was that everything stayed stable except those god damn lungs. My latest CT scan was this week. Glass half full version: no new growths especially in the organs which is when things turn really serious (there’s a new level of relativity with cancer…like stage 4 isn’t serious enough, right?).

The glass half empty version: the nodules in my lungs are resisting treatment. Some have doubled in size since March and one of my lymph nodes has increased as well which causes pain under my left arm. The treatment is not working and I have disease progression.

There is a clinical trial at Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto that is studying my specific type of breast cancer which is called metastatic HER2+ breast cancer, (one in 10 breast cancers are HER2+).  I met with some pretty amazing, smart, dedicated folks there yesterday and we have begun the process of entering me into the study.

There are certain tests that have to be done to ensure my eligibility. One of the tests looks at liver function.  Since I started the Ketogenic diet three months ago, I have found significant success in that I have no more side effects after treatments and I’ve lost 38 pounds. I feel great and strong and as if I have never had a thing wrong with me. However, sometimes with the Keto diet, it can impact liver enzymes. My liver values are high enough that my oncologist thinks they will not meet the criteria for the trial. The very change that has brought me increased health and wellness could make me ineligible for a medication that could be life-saving. The early research in this clinical trial shows an 84% success rate in the trial drug which is administered with two other drugs that I will be on no matter what, as the next line of treatment. I won’t go into details about how the drug works but it is very different from what I have had so far and essentially communicates to the cancer cell to stop growing.

The doctor leading the clinical trial specializes in metastatic HER2+ breast cancer and only has about 10 patients under his care on the trial. Even if I don’t make it into the study, I have decided I will be transferring my care and treatment to Princess Margaret to have a better chance of positive outcomes and increased access to services and treatments that are being researched at Canada’s leading cancer hospital.

There is a gift in being introduced to this trial, whether I am accepted or not. I believe that I’ve exhausted my time at Juravinski and while I am grateful to the many people there who have guided my care over the past five years, I am excited to take things to the next level. I mean heck, Princess Margaret has free WiFi, a daily cap on parking (something that drives me crazy in Hamilton – it’s highway robbery for the most vulnerable people), and a Patient Portal where I can access every scan, doctor’s note and appointment in real time. 

It will mean much more travel (back to back days of appointments and treatment at PMH), costs and some treatment options that are not covered by the government. Did you know that in Ontario, if you were already on one cancer drug and you go off of it, the government will not pay for you to go back on it? And yet, the clinical trial requires me to be on a drug I was on in the past (Herceptin). The nuances of navigating the system are a rabbit hole and I have such empathy for those without the means or awareness to fully understand and manage their own care.

The silver lining is that hopefully, I’ll reach my next birthday with very different outcomes. I will move on to a heightened sense of care, research and treatment options that will bring about positive changes. Being part of a study means a far more rigorous schedule of diagnostics that will ensure that the most minute changes are caught very early and can be treated effectively.

Turning 44 next week will be about continued advocacy for my well-being, a growing network of experts and opinions and above all, another year of living oh so wisely, with all the things that matter at the heart of all I do and letting the love and generosity of my amazing family and friends spin their web of protection and comfort around me. There is no greater gift than that.

 

girl, where do you think you’re going?

I’ve been in love with the Lady Gaga song, Joanne, for a while now. This song was written for Gaga’s paternal Aunt who lost her life in 1974. The lyrics have lifted me up out of my own despair and darkness. It has taken me a whole year to get here. To feel empowered, strong, hopeful and joyful, calm, content and…happy. Here’s a snippet of the lyrics:

Take my hand, stay Joanne

Heaven’s not ready for you

Every part of my aching heart

Needs you more than the angels do

Girl, where do you think you’re goin’?

Where do you think you’re goin’, Goin’, girl?

If you could I know that you’d stay

We both know things don’t work that way

I promised I wouldn’t say goodbye

So I grin and my voice gets thin

Accepting the unpredictable and getting comfortable with the unknown is not easy, especially for a type-A, Leo who loves to have everything planned, detailed and controlled.  When you lose control over something so fragile and important as your life, it leaves you feeling like an earthquake has hit for days and you move on, picking up the pieces and wondering when it will hit again.

As with any diagnosis, crisis, or life event that causes turmoil and pain, it is so hard to find your way back. The thing is, there’s really never any going back or regaining your past of hyper-planning and control.  You never had any of these things. I’m not sure how you can learn this without the earthquake and if you do, you are a step ahead of the world. What I do know is that you can only move forward. It’s really slow and painful and filled with questions. It’s filled with little tremors that return just when you think you are getting to a good place again.

And so, how do you move forward? You get up everyday. Some nights you don’t sleep. Some days you cry while cooking dinner, thinking that you only have so many dinners left to make. So you write everything down. Letters to your children. The songs you sang to them when they were babies. The life lessons and hacks you think they should know such as, why it’s important to pick up wet towels and how to give yourself to a partner while always being true to yourself. You make videos and send emails to an email account they don’t know about yet. It’s filled with stories of the time you caught crayfish in the creek, the days you went cruising in the car with ice cream and french fries and the nights you had pillow fights and fell asleep together.

Because you want to be here for as many firsts as possible. You’ve been so fortunate to see so many already: first words, first bike ride without training wheels, first day of school, first storybook they ever wrote, first graduation and first heartbreak. Just as there are always firsts, there will always be a last time too. The last time they hold your hand, the last time they let you fall asleep in their bed, the last time they want you to sing along with them. I celebrate the lasts, too. These are milestones and moments of tenderness that no one prepares you for. Just like a last dance, a last day living at home, a last day being single, a last day they think they will never love something so fiercely and grandly as their first child.

And it’s okay. Because all of my firsts and lasts and every nano-second in between like preparing them for life and love and pain and loss, has made them who they are. Strength, compassion, kindness, respect and love for one another. And with this, comes peace.

I had all of my own firsts. My first love, my great love, my first twinge of life within, my first glimpse of the world through someone else’s eyes. We live to carry hope and carry all that’s possible. And like a supernova, we will all have one last brilliant, mind-blowing run before we fade, making room for the birth of a new star that will light the heavens and sustain our curiosity of life beyond this one.

Remember this: we aren’t meant to walk this earth alone. For twenty years, (almost half of my life!), I have had someone beside me. Always cheering me on from the sides and knowing when to come out front to lead the way. If we are lucky enough to live this life with a partner who gives of themselves, who cries with you in the middle of the night, who helps you up when you can’t move, either from immobilizing pain or immobilizing emotions and who shares your deepest fears of being left alone on this earth and carrying your torch, then we can consider ourselves very blessed. Partnership is not about perfection or roses and violins everyday. It’s about the truest understanding and acceptance of the essence of you without judgement, selfishness or pride. It is an honest, bare-naked vulnerability from which grows and nurtures the most simple beauty of all life is.

So Stefani Joanne Angelina (a.k.a.Lady Gaga), I know that heaven’s not ready for me yet and that so many hearts need me more than the angels do. But when I light the way into the starry skies, know that I have lived. I have loved every first and last and I have had every remarkable person beside me for the ride. Girl, I know where I’m going and there’s nothing but peace in that.

hope floats

I’ve been thinking a lot about hope lately. It comes in all forms and disguises, floating throughout our universe. We may see or hear the signs, or we may feel them. Sometimes we have no idea what hope is or why it’s there. Or, why anyone would choose to believe. It’s easy to rhyme off words of wisdom, quotes of hope, inspiration and relative happy thoughts.

When our world is rocked into complete darkness and sorrow, be it from a fatal disease, life-altering news, an accident, dissolution of the heart, or the biggest opponent of hope: death; words of hope just don’t cut it.

Silver linings, however thin their thread, tether us to what we need to believe: that there is a greater purpose, a greater power at work. Otherwise, why are we even here? What’s it all for?

For me, it has taken almost one year. A year of anger, sorrow, paralyzing fear, sadness, despair and every opposite of hope there could be. I told myself that I believed. That there was goodness to be found in each medical report, in every three-month scan, in my darkest thoughts, that I was to try and glimpse the light, however faint.

I went along with every well-wisher and good intention, with all the positivity and tsunami current of sheer not-allowed-to-think-otherwise. Hope is what’s supposed to make it easier for those around you and for those who bear witness to you running for your life. The cumulative inhales of goodness and exhales of all things we aren’t supposed to talk about or feel.

The truth is, I am the only one who needs to believe. It starts with me. And while I had my hours and days of sadness, they slowly rolled into weeks and months until here we are, a year of looking back on how I lived my 12 months. How I chose to live. How I will choose to live the rest.

I believe that life unfolds for you and with you. That the people who stand beside you will let you fall because they are there to hold you. You just have to be willing to allow yourself to let go. The hope of everyone else, including yours will storm the universe and there is great strength in that.

Hope is a funny four letter word. It holds great promise and purpose. It yields to all things logical and tangible. Yet without it, we can be stuck in a vortex of terror, unable to move and become unhinged by the slightest winds.

This is not my whole story. For hope has made it possible for this to be simply a chapter. I choose to believe that there is a greater power and that my story is a continuance of prose that will long exceed my capacity to write it. Believing gives way to life, they are one and the same, I see now. Hope is a way of honouring – what is lost, what is present and what is to come.

 

shitty shitty bang bang.

Sometimes, we don’t get the news we want. A lost job, a missed opportunity, the guy who’s just not that into you. It’s never easy.

How do you stay positive in our hyper-positive, universe-balancing, energy-shifting, situation- reframing world? Do you remember a time when bad news was bad news? You could say it, share it, or keep it inside and people pretty much gathered around you for a brief period to commiserate and then you carried on. I’m not saying this was better but perhaps bad news served a different purpose. Whether it was you who learned something from it or it set a boundary for someone else, (“remember what happened to so-and-so down the street when she let that hot water tank heater guy in and he robbed her blind?”). Many women scheduled mammograms pronto upon hearing my diagnosis.

It’s almost as if nowadays, we can’t sit in our own shit. Not in a neglected nursing home kinda way but linger in your own bad news. Your shit. Whatever it is.

The current climate feels as though there’s a bit of shaming when we allow ourselves to honour the news, situation or challenge. When did it become bad, to be sad? I don’t really think this is true, it’s simply a hypothesis on a particularly hard day.

Here is where I struggle: staying positive about my life situation to the point of ignoring the possibility of bad news.

Today, thanks to a heart-tethered friend, I learned that to have a somewhat healthy response to a setback, I can’t hide from the possibility of it. There is a measured balance to living with uncertainty. That’s what it boils down to.

Good news or bad news hits everybody, every day. Since we don’t know what that will be, we must relinquish control which is not in my nature. No one knows what lies ahead. All of the literature and pop culture today is about letting go, the untethered soul, yoga posing your way to mindfulness and living your true self. I’m not so sure.

Warrior pose is useless without ammo.

I want to be tethered to something. I want my feet planted firmly on the ground and when I get to a cliff, I expect there to be soft waters below. The truth is, it is our response to external shit that determines if those waters will appear to cushion our fall.

Today, at my three-month CT Scan follow up, I learned that everything is stable, except one thing. My lungs. There are three little assholes sitting in my lungs, laughing. Laughing at the infusions of antibody therapy I’ve had since the summer. There are over 30 tiny spots throughout my lungs and they have not grown, except for these three.

I knew this was a possibility someday. I ignored that today could be that someday.

The oncology protocol is to move onto different drugs that will better target these aggressive cancer cells that are putting up a resistance.

This new treatment only became available in Canada two years ago. Side-effects could be a little heavier but that’s okay because here is what I know: I am getting a brand new drug therapy today that will take down my three amigos. Maybe now is the time to be thankful for a newer, better, laser-focused shot. Bang. Bang. Bang.  This is east side meets west side. Tupac vs. Notorious B.I.G. I am a Hamilton scrapper armoured in steel. I have a new perspective which is this: Take the uncertainty and stand in it.