May it be worthwhile

After a while of simply not writing things down, I guess it just becomes easier to stop altogether. That’s what I’ve been doing lately – stopping all together. It started just after that post I posted (oh man, ugly wording) about the blood and the hospital and the lung and yada yada yada.


I just stopped with the posts. This will happen sometimes. Often it’s because I’m out having an awesome time in the world. But sometimes it’s because I just don’t want to share.

All this being said, it’s been a trip.

Life has gone all pin ball machine lately, and I’m that metal ball pinging from paddle to paddle. Sometimes I shoot up in a happy moment, other times I roll down towards that game-over pit and not a paddle can save me . . .

That’s really dramatic language. When I started with that pinball metaphor, I actually thought it would be more fun.

Life has been like a plate of spaghetti. I’m the meat ball on top, sinking into the marinara sauce and wet, warm noodles . . . and the Parmesan cheese, with that pinch of salt and sprinkle of pepper . . . and the fork going in there with the spoon, wrapping all the goodness together . . .

Actually no. Life hasn’t been like a meatball on a plate of spaghetti. I’m just seriously hungry. Like SERIOUSLY hungry.

Life has been like this: it’s has been busy. After that trip to the hospital, a few different things happen:

  • My oncologist, Dr Canada, ordered a biopsy – meaning a tube-down-the-throat-into-the-lungs biopsy.
  • Then, following that, radiation was ordered – meaning shoot radiation at your lungs for two weeks every evening after work.
  • Then, following that the side effects kicked in – meaning don’t eat because you can’t and lose 10 pounds for swim suit season…except it’s winter and we all just want to indulge in cookies and chocolate. At least, I do. Stuffing too. And meat pie. And pretty much everything right about now. Just today I had my first solid food in a week. I chewed that olive about 40 times before swallowing.
  • I missed work, and worried.
  • Biopsy results came back. Interesting stuff. More another day.

Other things happened too!

  • Zsolt became CANADIAN.

I was going to throw him a party like this: Everyone would come over wearing red & white. We’d be decked out in Canadiana. He, being the guest of honour, would name the best Canadian outfit. We’d have a map of Canada and people would be blind folded, and would need to ‘pin the capital on the country’. There would be a table filled with Canadian themed food from Beaver tales to maple syrup to a veggie platter (because you need something healthy) to maple cake to Canadian beer, etc. And we’d all give Zsolt our best advice on how to be Canadian.

None of that happened, except in my head. Maybe it will, probably it won’t. Unfortunately the radiation side effects were stronger than anticipated, and we cancelled the party. Party or not, the man is still CANADIAN. And it’s still really surreal.

More things!

  • Refugees began to arrive in Canada! This makes me really happy to watch in the news. They’ve been going through a nightmare. Even though the memories will of course follow them, they are here. They are in a new home, and we want them to feel as safe as possible.
  • We decorated our apartment. Finally, after months of the pictures hanging around and the freezer being in the middle of the floor, we have put everything away and made this new place feel more like home.
  • Work! It went well.
  • I went and bought some clothes. Somehow, in between the physical phases of treatment, my mother and I went to the shop and I picked up some clothes for work. The sale rack was good to me. I no longer need to shop for another 1.5 years. ­
  • My family has been awesome-incredible-amazing-loving-supporting and more. Zsolt and I have been so touched.


This is what I need to remember going into 2016. It is probably not going to be a bed of roses, but if I’m lucky the lows will seriously be balanced, if not totally knocked aside by the highs. I need to remember what I’m fighting for. These good things need to be the center of me. It may not always been easy, but I pray it is always worthwhile.

That is all.



Saying “No” is Boring

So let’s cut back to regular normal life. Because that all still happens, even when I do crack and write my little crisis moments here on the blog. In my normal life, I have come to realize I’m really doing far too much. It’s coming to the point where I need to wrap up obligations and say no to taking-on any more.

Boo! That’s so boring. However, for the time being, I believe it is becoming more and more necessary. I love, love, love collaboration and new ideas and trying new things – but I’m genuinely becoming tired. My husband can attest. There are very good days, but there are just as many days where it’s hard to do anything but strap an ice pack to my head. Of course, we all face this kind of up and down, and I know this situation is not unique. However, I do feel like I should take my opportunities to slow down.

Slowly things are wrapping up. Very slowly.

Towards the end of the summer, I finished the literary blog review that I’d been writing for Apartment 613. Dusted and done. I decided to stop trying to finish up that It’s Cancerous game and just leave it be as it was. Now, as we move into November, I am finishing up the production and promotion of a special radio episode that I’ve been able to produce. It’s really freaking beautiful, and I’m quite proud. Storytelling is a power medium – even, for me, somehow more powerful when you couple good writing with good audio.

Can I share it with you? This is a project I did for the World Wildlife Fund and Hub Ottawa. I think it was done very well. 🙂 There are several things I’ve been proud of lately – my contribution to Foment Magazine and the literary festival episodes, my husband or everything he does, and this project now completed with the help of a small grant.

So give it a listen. Various Ottawa-based writers submitted their writing, and I picked a handful, organized readings and hosted the episode. This stuff is wonderful. No matter what happens, this episode will have been produced. It’s a time capsule of creativity. Just like my Claires.

I do get tired. Oh – so – tired. For days on end, I get home from work and my head is knackered. I push too hard, and don’t stop when my body suggests it might be time. Instead I say, ‘one more thing.’ – and while this really truly cannot go on – at least not at this weird transition phase in my life, I do so love the results of a project well done.

Anyhow, as I slowly ease myself out of saying “yes” so often, I will leave you with this. It’s a wonderful 45 minutes of storytelling. I really freaking love it, and think everyone did wonderfully.

Listen here:


It’s Cancerous: A Love Story

I wrote this ‘game’ in the summer, and intended it for #metastatic breast cancer day (i.e. stage 4) during this month for #breastcancer awareness. It’s still in its rough form, but I’ll share it because that was why I wrote it, and believe me it wasn’t so easy to write. This isn’t everyone’s experience, and to be honest I have purposefully given it a vague ending – to be interpreted as you like. But it springs from very real frustrations. The options are not easy, and not enough.

So, play if you dare.

Click here: It’s Cancerous: A Love Story