Do You Or Someone You Love Have Facebook Phobia??!!!


Please answer these questions honestly:

-Do you proclaim, “Oh, I don’t USE Facebook” with the same air of indignation that one might say, “Oh, I don’t SMOKE!”

-Do you resist setting up a Facebook account because you feel that you are in some way “superior” to those who use Facebook?

-Do you really believe that most people who use Facebook are “Up to no good”?

-Do you think that using Facebook lowers one’s intelligence?

If you answered “Yes” to one or more of these questions, then you may be suffering from Facebook Phobia!

Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of legitimate reasons why people choose NOT to have a Facebook account, such as:

-“I am really protective of my privacy, almost to the point of being neurotic.”  (Natasha, age 34)*

-“The truth is, I follow my daughter’s Facebook account, but I know that if I had an account, I would spend ALL of my free time on there!” (Diane, age 40)*

-“I don’t know how to use a computer. But please show me how many people wished me a Happy Birthday on YOUR  Facebook account!”  (Dad, age 70)*

(*Names have been changed to protect privacy.)

So I am not saying that every person without a Facebook account has a phobia.  People have their own reasons for choosing not to be a part of the 21st Century social world. I don’t have a problem with that.  What puzzles me, however, are those people who look at Facebook fanatics such as myself as being just one step above heroin addicts!

Sure, there is lots of B.S going around on Facebook.  Hey, there is lots of B.S on radio, T.V, newspapers and anywhere else people get to publically voice their opinions.  But there is also a lot of GOOD happening on Facebook……and I would like to point out some of the good that I witness each day.  (‘Cause that’s the perky kinda person I am:)

-Yesterday as soon as I got home from work, I grabbed my laptop (aptly named “Lappie”) to find out what has been happening in the Facebook world in my 8 hour absence.  I was sad to learn that a family in a neighbouring community had just lost their home to a fire.  But it was so good to see the outpouring of charity for this family in their time of need.  Within hours of the tragedy, Facebook users were calling for donations for the family, even giving their clothes and shoe sizes, and setting up venues for donations to be dropped off.  What a caring community, these Facebookers!

-In my first year working as a Guidance Counsellor, I was tickled to have a set of very mischievous twins in my school (well, at least ONE was full of mischief!).  Sadly, twenty years later, one of the boys has been diagnosed with leukemia, and his brother has just donated his bone marrow.  Although I do not have direct contact with this family, I follow their progress daily on Facebook.  In addition to cheering them on, the Facebook community has been very active in fundraising to help offset their financial burden.  What a powerful force, these Facebookers!

-A former colleague of mine is in the process of quitting smoking.  She puts regular up-dates on Facebook and we cheer her on in her challenge.  Recently she wrote that she was about ready to cave in to an intense craving when she remembered how her Facebook community has supported her so far in her goal, and this helped her to resist the temptation.  What a great support network, these Facebookers!

-I would be amiss not to mention my own experience with the Facebook Community.  When I was going through treatments for cancer in 2011 and 2012, I would regularly post my status to Facebook and I was honored by the support from my Facebook community.  Whether it was a “praying for you”; “thinking of you”; or “wishing you well”; all were written with good intent and therefore were powerful forms of prayer.  Say what you will, I am PROUD to be a Facebooker!

(Share if you agree:)

Snow Days!

There is something childlike and magical about looking through the window at the blowing snow in the early morning, with bated breath, fingers crossed, wondering if the storm is bad enough to close schools.  Then the phone rings and I hear the much anticipated pre-recorded voice of my vice-principal, “This is Donald C. Jamieson Academy calling.  Due to inclement weather, school will be closed for the day.”  Followed by my shrieks of joy:  SNOW DAY!  (Note: Before automated, recorded phone calls it was considered unprofessional to shriek for joy into your vice-principal’s ear.  Instead, we teachers were expected to sound a little remorseful at the news, saying something like, “Oh my, then I guess I won’t get to give my Science test again today.”   The shriek would inevitably follow once the phone was hung up.)


The old homestead after the storm.

There are two times when I am really envied my job as a School Counsellor: one is summer holidays (all 9 weeks of them), the other is snow days.  Newfoundland was hit really hard with a big blizzard this week, which resulted in not one, but two of these magical days.  Two unexpected, surprise, blank slate days with which I could do whatever I wanted.   Many of my colleagues like to use their snow days for pure relaxation and stress relief.  They read, watch movies, eat junk, and veg out in their jammies until the storm passes.  Not me!  Like a kid waking up on Christmas morning, I’m out of bed before the break of dawn, pen and paper in hand, making “THE LIST”.

Top of my list of things to do this time was the grand-daddy of all snow day projects:  Operation closet clean out.  The last time I cleaned out my closet was sometime in 2010, or it could have even been 2009 (cut me some slack here, I had cancer!).   The problem with cleaning ones closet of course, is that one generally has a difficult time parting with one’s clothing, even if one has not worn it since 1987…..hey ya never know, it could come back in style!  I knew I couldn’t do this on my own, so I called in the big guns: my BFF Jackie and her “What not to wear” team, consisting of daughter Haley and my daughter, Kaitlyn.

DSCN2865The What Not To Wear team, Jackie, Haley and Kaitlyn.

Jackie is one who really has her finger on the pulse of fashion.  Sometimes I will see her wearing an outfit which, to me, is questionable.  Then a week or so later, the same outfit will show up in Vogue, In Style or Cosmopolitan.  Teenage girls of course, are genetically wired to know what not to wear, particularly if it is their mother who is wearing it.  Hey, Stacy and Clinton have nothing on this bad-ass team! They were brutal.  Haley forced me to throw away ALL of my turtle necks, claiming that they made me look like Howard Wolowitz from “The Big Bang Theory”.  However, in the end, I am very happy to report that my closet is completely de-cluttered, and I even learned how to mix and match some of my oldies to give them an up-dated style, such as this leather jacket paired with a skirt I hardly ever wear.

DSCN2867Up-dating an old skirt with a newer jacket (I swear that Piper’s bag on the door does not belong to me!)

I believe that a cluttered living space leads to a cluttered mental state.  One of my goals for 2013 is to remove all unnecessary clutter from my house, as well as from my mind and spirit.   Along with the closets in my rooms, I will work on de-cluttering the “up-stairs” closets as well, getting rid of any lingering fears, resentments, or other negative feelings which no longer serve a purpose in my life.  Wish me luck!

Bitter-Sweet Family Dinner

Sunday dinner with my family this week was a bitter-sweet experience.  The bitter part came right about clean up time.   As usual, I made a half-hearted attempt at doing the dishes, expecting at any minute that someone would shoo me away to the nearest welcoming couch.  That has pretty much been the case since I was diagnosed in April, 2011.

Chemo-Flo enjoying the Perks of Having Cancer!

However, as I began to rinse the plates, I couldn’t help but to notice that nobody was trying to stop me.  Just to make sure they knew what I was doing, I made a few loud inquiries such as, “Did anyone see the scrub brush?”  and “Are there any more dirty plates in the dining room?”.  I felt like a little kid shouting, “Look at me, I’m running with scissors!”  But to no avail.  They just stood idly by as I soaked and scrubbed.  So I have to assume that this particular perk has sadly come to an end.  The sweet thing about that is the realization that my family no longer looks at me and sees a cancer patient.  Instead they see someone whose turn it is to wash the dishes.  SWEET!

Sometimes Cancer Hurts


No doubt about it, I managed to sail through my year with cancer with flying colors.  Despite the discomfort of all my treatments and procedures, the cancer itself did not cause me to be sick, or to be in pain of any kind.  Which is why it grieves me so that I have been suffering so much from this lingering infection!  It has caused me pain, weakness, weight loss, and an overall sense of unwellness.  For a while there, it even broke my spirit.  Yes folks, the positive attitude took a hike, and I found myself thinking, “If I ever came across a blog about the Perks of Having Infections, I will hunt down that b**tch and choke her with my IV cord!”

During my latest hospital stay, I found myself getting a bit stir crazy in my room, so I decided to take a stroll down the hallway.  Although I was wearing a hospital gown,  which was partially open in the back offering occasional glimpses of my pink granny-panties,( and I was sporting my usual cockatoo hair-do), I think I managed to pull off a certain air of sophistication by sipping on a Tim Horton’s Ice Capp as I strolled along.  In one room, I caught a glimpse of a man who looked familiar.  I was pretty sure that we had done chemo together, but I didn’t want to just barge in to his room and ask him.  (I could picture him yelling, “Who are you? SECURITY, come take this crazy lady from my room!”).  So after confirming his identity with three nurses, I felt comfortable enough to go in and speak to him.  He recognized me right away.   It turns out that his cancer has progressed beyond treatments and he is now at the pain management stage.  This made me suddenly realize that things could be a whole lot worse, and that an infection is really a minor thing compared to what could have been.   And that realization is what re-awakened my old fighting spirit.  I am going to kick infection’s ass!  (I know that does not sound as cool as “kick cancer’s ass”, but cut me some slack here.)

Post-Cancer Etiquette


When you have cancer, you get used to hearing two things:

1. “You look great!”  You realize of course, that the bestower of the compliment is probably thinking “…for someone with cancer” , but you give the standard cancer patient response anyway: “Thank you!”

2. “How are you?”, to which you have a choice of responses:  “Doing great thanks!”, OR get into a lengthy discussion of your latest test results and procedures.  I usually go with the latter.  (Well, hey, they ASKED!)

Now that I am putting cancer behind me, I realize that I can no longer get away with my standard responses.  When someone says, “You look great!”  they darn well expect that you are going to say, “You too!”  possibly followed by, “Have you lost weight?” or “I love that hair color on you.”

As for, “How are you?”, when you no longer have cancer, people really don’t care how you are, they are just being polite.  In this case, the proper post-cancer etiquette requires a response such as, “Fine thanks, and yourself?”  OR “Good, and you?”   The important part is to remember to ask the person how they are doing, and never, ever launch into a detailed explanation of your latest infection scare (unless they ask.)

Medical Up-date

Recently on my blog (See: Eavesdropping On The Ward), I reported a claim, from an unidentified source, that eating corn during chemo will cause one’s hair to grow back, “yellow and curly”.   Well folks, there has been an up-date to this breaking story, as one of my conscientious followers, made the following comment (which I feel it prudent to report):

“ While going through the IV chemo there wasn’t much I could keep down only creamed corn, Guess what??? My hair never did come back ……yellow, black, white or green. Nothing.”

(Thank you, Janet for sharing this interesting fact.)

Well, I am no Scientist, but I think it is safe to conclude from this isolated case study, that eating creamed corn during chemo will cause PERMANENT BALDNESS, whereas eating corn niblets will turn you into Goldilocks.  Niblets, I repeat, NIBLETS!

As an up-date to my medical status, apparently I have some scary sounding super-bug called MRSA, which, if you google it, will scare the crap out of you.  It seems that I will be making frequent trips to the hospital in the coming weeks, so I will keep my ears open and continue to collect medical data to share with you.

Eavesdropping On The Ward

First of all, I am not one to share my living space with strangers.  So anytime I have had to stay in the hospital, I have opted for a private room.  Since my latest stay was an emergency, however, there were no private rooms available so I was forced to stay with the common folk.  I know….I know….Beyonce would never put up with that, and I am in the process of writing a stern letter to the hospital administration.

The interesting thing about sharing a room with three other people is the false sense of security that they get thinking that the thin curtain around their beds (falling one foot short of the floor) provides any semblance of privacy.  So while lying in my bed, staring at the ceiling, I have overheard some doozies of conversations!   Here is a sampling:


Woman: I don’t want the IV type of chemo, I want the pill.  Mavis took the pill and she didn’t even lose her hair.  I’ll just tell the doctor to give me the pill.  I’m sure it’s all the same.

Man:  Now Mother, don’t be hasty.  I’ve heard that if you eat lots of corn while your hair is growing back, it will come in all yellow and curly.  Maybe you should take the IV so you will get nicer hair.

(An actual conversation between a 70ish year old woman and her fifty-something son).



Woman 2: Calm down, Shelly.  It is your own fault.  If you hadn’t been so drunk last night, you never would have fallen and broken your arm in the first place.


(Don’t quote me on this, but I believe that conversation happened between two nurses.  However I was a bit loopey from the drugs, so it could have been a patient and her friend.)



Me:  Excuse me lady, but that curtain does not stop noises from crossing over to my side of the room…..nor does it stop smells!