Things I Learned The Month I Stood Still

Chemo brain is a very real thing. It will make me forget that months are ending and that monthly lesson posts are to be done. Whatever, it’s my blog and I’ll blog what I want to. Even if it’s four days late ;)


My cottage is the best place on Earth. No, really.

Even with an endless amount of TV, movies, and books and one’s disposal, it is still possible to be bored out of your mind.

Telling a stranger that I have cancer does not get easier with practice.


You can (and should) french toast just about anything.

Yoga classes while on chemo are a great idea for relaxing and moving my body. But making a commitment to be somewhere at the same time every week when I never know how sick I’m going to feel is impossible.

There are hundreds of varieties of tomatoes! And they all taste very different from each other!


It is so, so important that I find ways to feel proud of myself outside of what I am physically capable of doing. Being able to run is great, but it shouldn’t be my only source of self worth.

Any time something is being inserted under my skin, I should really ask for an anaesthetic. Do they give laughing gas for PICC insertions? It think that would be a good time…

I can’t let the opinions of others dictate how I handle my days. I am going to have a lot of bad days in a row, and even a lot of good days in a row. There is nothing in place that says how I should or shouldn’t be feeling.


Pies are so deceptive. And so is the movie Waitress. Not quite *that* easy.

Wigs are fun, but they don’t replace the hair on my head. They tangle more easily, are hotter, and are harder to twirl around my finger.


I know I actually have no control as to when the cancer is gone, but telling it to fuck off by my 26th birthday feels pretty damn good.

I’ve spent so much time over the past few months obsessing over my own health, it’s a huge relief to pay attention to the well being of another little creature.


It’s possible for a 12 lb dog to totally steal my heart.

Posted on October 4, 2011, in Lessons Learned. Bookmark the permalink. 35 Comments.

  1. There are two creams that numb the skin for injections, both over-the-counter. Emla is the easiest to find, but it shrinks veins slightly and doesn’t have the best results. Amitop is a little harder to find, but the Shoppers Drug Mart at Sick Children’s Hospital in Toronto has it so it must be in the Shoppers product list. It has to be refrigerated till use. Both creams need to be applied to the site where the injection will be. They recommend 30-60 minutes. My daughter highly recommends applying it 1 – 2 hrs in advance. They both give you a plastic patch to cover it while it works on your skin. It’s worth checking out if the injections bother you. My daughter went through 3 open heart surgeries before she turned 4 yrs and the only thing that scared or upset her were the injections. I laid in a supply of Emla and later of Amitop and it removed all fear for her. Don’t feel silly at all about being an adult using it. I have two adult friends who avoided annual physicals for decades till they started using Amitop for the bloodwork. I’d send you some but the refrigeration requirement makes that difficult.

    • This is good to know!! Thank you! Hopefully with the PICC I won’t be needing many more. I’m fine with needles, but things like biopsies freak me out. Part of it is pain, but most of it is just that I get really anxious and will even have blown panic attack. I think it would be better for everyone involved if they just knocked me out ;)

  2. Yes, it is completely possible for a 12lb dog to steal your heart. One stole mine a few years ago. ;)

  3. I’ve been thinking about you a lot lately and what happens when we’re forced to slow down – it takes our mind and our heart in different places and I’m so grateful you’re sharing what you’re learning. I think I may be in love with your dog as well.

  4. I’m beginning to think it is possible for a PICTURE of a 12lb dog to steal my heart.

  5. I love your posts. You have the best attitude and outlook! I just love that!!! Your dog is adorable and it’s amazing how these little 4 legged creatures make us forget things, bring us comfort and happiness and love!! Give that puppy a hug!!! I’m going to hug mine!

  6. This is a super cute post :)

    Buster is awesome :) and I am glad he is stealing your heart :)

  7. I’m so happy for your new little addition… hope that he continues to bring you tons of joy in each day, whether it’s a bad day or a good day. :)

  8. Wanna fly down to LA and join all the girls for the weekend?? Come on!

  9. I’ve been following your blog for a month. Great post!! The cottage looks beautiful and Buster is so adorable! Thank-you for being an inspiration!

  10. I think that little puppy of yours is stealing everyone’s heart!

  11. Stolen hearts are always good, especially if they are stolen by worthy creatures :-) First, they steal your heart, and later they make it full.

  12. A lot of good things can come out of shitty situtations. ;)
    Its good thing a pup can steal your heart! Johnny Depp has mine.

    PS, I saw 50/50 with my dad and he loved it.

    • I’m going to see it tomorrow!! I can’t wait. I was supposed to go on Saturday but was feeling too sick. I like the idea that people are cluing in that a lot of comical situations can arise out of cancer ;)

  13. Buster has stolen my heart too. And I haven’t even met him! That puppy face is too cute.

  14. These things you have learned are such great truths…or even a manifesto of sorts for anyone for the most part…but so much MORE wonderful coming from you and where you are coming from. I just might print these out as a reminder when I am struggling or having a bad day. Thanks for this. And that dog stole MY heart and it’s not even mine!

  15. I must say, you have one of the cutest dogs I’ve seen! He’d be easy to fall in love with! :)

    It doesn’t seem like your month end post is late at all, I keep forgetting it’s October! September flew by!

  16. Puppies certainly are heart stealing.

    “I can’t let the opinions of others dictate how I handle my days. ” I think everyone should take this view.

  17. Buster = the silver lining from this messy year. Yay! Thinking of you from Leslieville, Susan. And hoping you’ll bring Buster to frolic in Hideaway Park someday.

  18. he is just soooo sweet! there’s something about a puppy that just makes me smile! You have such a great attitude, keep it up =)

  19. I think that dog is going to do more for your healing than anything else could. ;) He looks like such a sweetheart!

  20. Great Post!! Buster has my heart too! I am so glad be makes you feel better!

  21. Such a cute puppy and probably such a comfort for you right now. Those dogs eyes just melt your heart and you cannot help but smile:)

  22. that pup is absolutely adorable! some days I truly don’t know what I would do without my own sweet pup. being greeted by her every afternoon is the best! so glad a pup has stolen your heart as well :)

  23. I totally understand how that little 12 lb bundle of joy stole your heart, my 70 lb Dante has managed to steal my heart and as Silvia said in the post above … made it full … He has managed to with his cuteness and NAUGHTINESS :) been able to take my mind off work when I am home … TOTALLY off work … so busy trying to see what he is going to do next that there is no time for work problems after I get home. My family all has benefitted from what he has given me!

  24. I think Buster should have a blog! What a beautiful dog.

    I have two dogs. Both rescues. They’re not lookers like your little one but have stolen my heart. I just love their company.

    Hooked on your blog. Just ran a half marathon in the Phoenix Park Dublin and while I didn’t see your lookie-likie this time I did see lots of your fellow country people there running and cheering. It’s not a well know race like the Dublin City Marathon so it was a bit of a surprise to see out of towners. You Canadians are easy to spot!

  25. That first picture is straight up gorgeous. Amazing.

    And wait…are you French toasting pancakes?? WHY did I not think of this?

  26. Great list!

    And chemo brain is sooooo real. After six months of it, my brain is pure mush.

  27. wonderful list! i’m a new reader but am so inspired by you. i hope the cancer succumbs to your great attitude & 26th birthday ultimatum. :)

    my cousin had breast cancer a couple of years ago and her husband bought her a whippet puppy while she was going through chemo. she says it was the best thing they did — the puppy brought her joy and gave her something positive to concentrate on! your puppy is precious and i hope he is doing the same for you.

  28. Yes, definitely 12-pound buster can steal your heart and mine and everyone’s. I’ve had sub-10-pounders stealing my heart for decades :-)

    I was always astounded at how lax they are about cutting and needles. My poor dad really really hated those things- especially the dreaded bone marrow biopsies and they never offered a thing- laughing gas is a great idea- I always wondered why it isn’t used.

    And I’m certain that your cancer will be way the fucked off by 26. Your wig may be itchy and hot but you look gorgeous and sassy if that’s any consolation.

  29. Over my weekend in LA, we talked about how you are wise beyond your years and you have SUCH a healthy head on your shoulders. This post just reconfirms our gossip about you ;) I love Buster, I love you.

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