Tag Archive | perks of cancer

Psychic Predictions…..

Sometimes, in casual conversation, I will mention something about my psychic, and it usually results in a few raised eyebrows.   To me, my annual psychic reading is as normal as my annual dental check-up.  I don’t think it is weird at all.  In fact I have been going to psychics on a regular basis for 15 years, not just to get a sneak peek into my future (although that has been very  helpful) but also to help guide me on my life path.

For the past four years, I have been going to Kelliena (www.kelliena.com).  The last time I spoke to her in person, was in Halifax in July, 2011, three months after I had been diagnosed with breast cancer.  At that point, my treatments had not started, and I was unsure of my prognosis for survival.  When Kelliena asked if I had any questions, I frantically asked, “Do you see any sickness or death around me??!!”  She gazed over my shoulder and then looked back to me and said, “No they are rejoicing!”  (By “they” she meant my angels and spirit guides).  “Rejoicing”, I thought, “What kind of back-stabbing angels and guides did I wind up with who would rejoice at my misfortune!”   Kelliena once again gazed over my shoulder and then said, “You are going to help so many people through your journey with cancer.”

Well, that meant diddly-squat to me at that time.  I was just trying to survive one day at a time, and could not understand how MY cancer was going to help OTHER people.  I dismissed her prediction and forgot all about it.  Flash forward five months later.  My blog was taking off, and I was getting hundreds of comments and emails from my readers.  One lady, a nurse, commented: “You are going to help so many people through this blog.”  BINGO!  Kelliena’s prediction came back to me, and made perfect sense.

When Kelliena asked me to do an interview with her on A1R Radio last week, I was honored.   Here is the link, if you would like to listen:

http://www.ask1radio.com/news.php   (Note: In order to listen to the interview, first you have to STOP the live broadcast, then  scroll down to “Kelliena Psychic Readings With Kelliena, in the purple, then click on September 27 in the archives.)


What’s Next?

Over the past year, I have endured: countless tests and procedures; 3 surgeries resulting in the loss of my left breast and associated lymph nodes; 6 grueling rounds of chemotherapy; and 25 radiation treatments.  In many ways, it was the WORST year of my life!  In that same year: I met my soul mate and fell in love; I accomplished a life- long dream of having an article published in an inter-national magazine; I reached my goal of finding 100 perks of having cancer (scroll down to read all 100 perks); and now I have been offered a contract with a publishing company to turn my perks into a book.  In many ways, it has been the BEST year of my life!

Blogging the perks of having cancer has been one of the most therapeutic parts of my healing journey.  Not only did it help me to maintain a positive attitude in the face of cancer, it also connected me to a large network of fellow breast cancer bloggers.  I faithfully follow my favorites, but the one which has resonated most strongly with me is “The Savvy Sister” (www.sisterearthorganics.wordpress.com).  Susan, a Registered Nurse, blogs about healthy living tips.  While I found myself tuning in to Susan’s blog for its entertaining and educational posts on nutrition, diet, exercise and supplements, she would follow mine for its humor and inspiration.

As I neared the end of my perks, I invited Susan to team up with me to write a book:  100 Perks of Having Cancer (Plus 100 Health Tips for Surviving It).  Our mission is to show people that it is possible to live a healthy and happy lifestyle following a cancer diagnosis.  (Yeah, you heard that right, the words “healthy”, “happy” and “cancer” in the same sentence.)  We plan to donate part of the proceeds from our book to fund cancer research.

So, first of all, I want to thank every person who has followed my blog and cheered me on in my challenge to find 100 perks of having cancer.  I will continue to blog, even though I have met my goal, but it will be less frequently.  My next big project is the book, and as soon as my chemo-fog as lifted, I will set to work!   I hope you continue to pop by my blog for a visit.  Namaste!


Perk # 99: A New Way To Get A Buzz On

“Hello, my name is Florence and I am a blogger.  I knew it was becoming a problem when I started to steal time away from my kids to blog.  Eventually, I just let myself go.  I found myself checking my blog stats rather than brushing my teeth.  Of course the inevitable happened.  I got a cavity.  God, I’ll never forgive myself for that.  But I just couldn’t resist the buzz.  That’s when I decided to join Bloggers Anonymous.”

O.K, it didn’t actually get to the point of having to join a 12 step program (and the jury is still out on what caused the cavity), but the truth is, I am hooked on blogging!   It gives me a buzz which I can only compare to buying new clothes or finding a great deal on potted perennials.  Blogging for me has certainly been one of the most therapeutic perks of having cancer.

You see, I am the type of person who loves to set concrete, measurable goals for myself, goals like: lose 5 pounds, run 10 kilometers, or find 100 perks of having cancer.  The closer I get to my goal, the more excited I get.  So you can just imagine my anticipation now, as I sit on the cusp of one of the greatest victories of my life!  Hey, I heard that…..some of you are questioning how writing a blog can be considered such a victory.   Not to toot my own horn, but finding 100 good things about having cancer has been no easy task.  Now that I am so close to my goal, I feel like I am nearing the end of a marathon, and I am simply HIGH on my sense of accomplishment.  So stay tuned for the much anticipated (well, much anticipated by me and my mom at least) Perk # 100, coming soon to computers near you.

Tip: Don’t let cancer stop you from setting goals for yourself.

Perk # 94: Getting My Lawn Mowed

I feared that as I got closer to my 100th perk, I would have trouble coming up with new material.   I kinda figured that once the cancer treatments had ended, so too would the perks.  I had resigned myself to the fact that I no longer get home cooked meals delivered to my house, and visitors just pass by my laundry room without even bothering in throw in a load.

A few days ago however, I heard a loud buzzing noise coming from outside, and I looked through my kitchen window to see my wonderful friend, Ronnie mowing my lawn!  I didn’t have the heart to tell her that I am now feeling strong enough to tackle the unpleasant chore myself.  After all, giving is as much a gift to the giver as the receiver, so I will allow Ronnie to enjoy that particular gift as often as she would like.

Tip:  Enjoy your perks as long as you can.

Perk # 91: A Great Save On The Heat


I was recently pleasantly surprised by a decrease in my heating bill.  As I pondered the reason for this stroke of good fortune, my daughter said, “It’s no wonder, mom, this house is like an ice box since you started taking that new pill.”  Ahhhh, Tamoxifen.   While chemo-pause causes “tropical moments” Tamoxifen can bring on what I can only describe as “oven hours”; prolonged periods of intense body heat.  I will not kid you, this can cause discomfort at times, but just consider the money I am saving in heating bills!  (So kids, go put on a sweater.)

Tip: Don’t try to resist your hot flashes.  Recognize when they are coming, and focus on deep breathing until they pass. 

Perk # 58: (Guest Post) A Break From Cleaning Bathrooms

While in hospital for my mastectomy last week, I had the privilege of meeting other breast cancer warriors/survivors who provided real inspiration to me.  These were not fellow patients as you might think, but rather hospital staff who contributed in some way to my care.

As I was sitting just outside the operating room, waiting for “my turn”, I began to feel a little apprehensive.  From the corner of my eye, I noticed a woman approach me dressed in O.R scrubs.  She introduced herself and told me that she enjoys reading my blog.   There stood this magnificent woman, who had recently undergone a double mastectomy, and is now awaiting chemotherapy. What courage to offer support and encouragement to me as she faces this battle, in the midst of a stressful job. As I sat lamenting the imminent loss of my breast, she was the epitome of confidence and grace.  My lesson: The breasts do not make the woman.

A woman who worked in another area of the hospital shared her cancer survival story with me.  Maybe it was because I was about to lose my breast that I could not help but stare at hers.  I think I may have made her feel a little uncomfortable though, because she pulled her cardigan tight across her chest and folded her arms before saying, “These are both re-constructed.”  She didn’t have to tell me that personal detail, but she did, and her story gave me hope that someday I too will count myself among the survivors.  My lesson: Do not stare at other women’s breasts.

As I was wheeled into the recovery room after my surgery, I met another phenomenal woman; a nurse named Liz, who had some cancer perks of her own.  I asked Liz to write a guest blog post so that I could share her story with you, and I am so thankful that she did!  Liz says……….

The Willow....


After The Storm.

“The willow which bends to the tempest, often escapes better than the oak which resists it; and so in great calamities, it sometimes happens that light and frivolous spirits recover their elasticity and presence of mind sooner than those of a loftier”

Sir Walter Scott.

My name is Elizabeth.  I am a mother, a wife, a nurse, and I am a cancer survivor (In that order) . I am married to a wonderful man and we have two teenage sons who can make me feel the deepest love and the most intense frustration all at the same time. I went into nursing at the age of 30, and was very fortunate to have found my calling in life. Presently I work in a Recovery Room, where I am able to meet some wonderful people who are at various stages of their cancer journey. I learn a lot from those patients and I hope in some small way that I can be of service to them, as a gift of gratitude on my part, for having been given a second chance to live my wonderful life. I recently met Florence in the Recovery Room and she invited me to share my perks of cancer, and so here I am!

In September 2008, at the age of 49, I was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer. I underwent a lumpectomy with axilla node dissection of my left breast, along with 6 courses of chemotherapy and 25 courses of radiation. I did not “battle” my cancer; it was more of a surrendering. Not an, “OK I give up” surrender, but like the willow, I recognized the great power that I was up against and decided to “bend to the tempest” (No small feat for someone who  is a control freak with  a plan A, B and yes sometimes  a plan C for everything I ever did!)

No bathrooms to clean for six months.

 For a female living with three males this is a big perk! I remember a few years ago going to watch one of my son’s soccer games. Several times the ball was kicked towards the net but invariably would go over, or to the side. One of the Dads watching said “I don’t understand, it is such a big space, how can they keep missing when they are so close?” “Funny” I responded. “That’s the same thing I think about the toilet bowl. It is such a big space, how do you guys keep missing when you are so close??”  Get the picture? The wonderful group of nurses that I worked with at the time of my diagnosis gave me a gift of money to put towards maid service, so I had someone come in once a week to clean my bathrooms, big nets and all. I thought I was in heaven!

Seeing life through rose coloured 3D glasses.

I was off work for a year while I weathered my tempest and during that time I started my spiritual journey in earnest. I had been on a road to self-destruction, both mentally and physically, prior to breast cancer and now I had the time to reflect on my life. I read books on spirituality, enlightenment, meditation, and yes…I even watched the Oprah Winfrey show. After a few months I felt empowered. My life could change into anything I wanted just by me changing my thoughts!  All those nasty chemo side effects were dealt with one day at a time, something that was manageable. I never looked too far ahead and I tried not to think too much about the things that had gone passed, it was over and done with. All my stresses melted away. I know it may sound weird but I felt better than I had for years. This was it! I HAD FOUND THE SECRET OF LIFE!!!!!

I was about ready to pack my knapsack and head to the highest peak of Mount Pearl with a “Line up here for the meaning of life” sign. Then I met a very wise cancer survivor, who pointed out to me that although right now life was tough, there were none of the usual day to day expectations and demands being made on me (another perk!) and the challenge would be to keep my positive attitude and newfound outlook on life when things got back to normal. Turns out grace took care of that for me. One day I was walking my dog in a wooded area on a beautiful winter day.  I stopped for a moment to take in the blues sky and trees with snow thick on their bows.  It was breath taking! In that complete stillness I felt love like I had never felt before. It was as if I had been wrapped in a warm blanket, accompanied with a sense of knowing that everything was going to be alright. It lasted for only a moment but that feeling stays with me today. As small and insignificant as I am in this vast universe, my Great Love is always by my side, ready with that warm blanket any time the need arises. As for those rose coloured glasses…I still wear them and only take them off occasionally to clean off life’s little smudges.

God bless you all,


Perk # 53: Perks For Parents

My parents, Len and Madeline

I recently received a very moving message from a woman named Kelly, who said, “Our world came crashing down just after Christmas when our mom, our best friend, the woman who holds everything together, called and told us she was diagnosed with breast cancer.”  (See the full message on About Me page.)  This statement brought home to me the reality that cancer truly is a family disease.  When I was diagnosed, my whole family was grief stricken, none more than my parents.  However, just as cancer had its perks for me, it turns out that my cancer held some perks for them as well.

Dad has lived most of his life with chronic back pain, among other health issues.  For many years he existed in the sick role, with Mom and his five daughters caring for him.  After I was diagnosed, there was a big change in Dad.  All of a sudden he started showing up at my house with his little tool kit asking if I needed anything fixed (that is a man’s way of nurturing, by the way).   While I was undergoing chemo, my sister Sherry experienced serious health issues as well, requiring emergency surgery.  While Mom was at my home taking care of me, Dad was at Sherry’s nursing her back to health.  What a role reversal!

A few weeks ago, at the age of 68, Dad got his first passport.  Mom has been traveling to Florida for years to visit my sister, but she long ago gave up hope of ever getting Dad to go with her.  It took everyone by surprise when he agreed to go, and I have to say, despite the discomfort he experienced during our travels, he was a real trooper.  Dad still lives with chronic pain, but this experience seems to have given him a new lease on life.

Another perk is the deeper closeness that seems to have developed between my parents.  Pulling together in a time of crisis has taken them to a new level of intimacy.  This is apparent not only to our family, but to others as well.  On the flight back from Florida, as my parents were chatting and laughing, the flight attendant asked them if they were on their honeymoon.  Mom, a practical, no nonsense person, laughed heartily at that comment.  For her, it was a real knee slapper! I think Dad took it as a compliment.

Tip: It is sometimes difficult to allow ourselves to be nursed and nurtured by others.  Keep in mind however that this blessing is a gift as much for the giver as the receiver.