1. I finally felt well enough to make holiday cookies!

It feels like a while since I last baked, which is all kinds of wrong seeing as Christmas is so near. I’ve been taking chemo pills every day since last week which really drag me down, but I knew I had to get my hands in some butter before chemo #12 this week.

Donned one of my favourite aprons made by Tanya! It’s to protect me from the icing sugar that was flying around the kitchen as I whipped together some shortbread cookies. If you haven’t made all your cookies yet, you MUST make these. They melt in your mouth.

Recipe comes from the back of a Canada Corn Starch box:

  • 1/2 cup corn starch
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup softened butter

Sift together corn starch, icing sugar, and flour. Blend in the butter with a wooden spoon or mixer until a soft crumbly dough forms. Shape dough into 1 – 1 1/2 inch balls, place on greased pan, and gently flatten with a fork. Place in fridge for 30-60 minutes then bake in a 300F oven for 15 minutes. Makes about 20 cookies.

I topped my cookies with a regular buttercream frosting made thicker with extra icing sugar and half a maraschino cherry.

For real, make these.

2. Archie is going to live!

My mom’s poodle is going to be 15 years old in February. He’s got lumps on his body and has been coughing a lot lately. My mom brought him to the vet yesterday, and he believes the lumps are benign fatty tumours and the coughing is a partially collapsed trachea. Neither of which are currently life threatening. Vet said he could live for another couple years!! Hopefully he learns to like Buster in that time. Archie is the, ahem, jealous type.

3. I’m playing guitar again.

I’ve been playing guitar on and off for 12 years now, but could no longer do it when I broke my elbow last February. The break prevented me from twisting my left wrist so my palm could face the ceiling, or enough to wrap my hand around the neck of a guitar. But over the past several months, I’ve slowly gotten that range of motion back. It still hurts to twist my wrist for long periods of time, so practice sessions are still short. I’m also horribly out of practice. It will give me something new to work on.

5. This is just a really cute picture. 

My Baby Bear sleeping with his bear. I love when he smiles in his sleep <3

6. Hamburgers are the official food of chemo.

My food sensitivity was particularly bad after my last chemo. Even toast and almond butter sounded gross. But hamburgers ALWAYS sound good. I could eat hamburgers for Canada by now. For you Moncton folk, the above comes from Bridges in Riverview. Come to the dark side, come to Albert County for your burgers.


Maybe. I still haven’t had a PET scan to see if there’s any active cancer left. It’s just the last chemo on my original treatment plan. But I’m elated to think this may be the last time I have to go through this. Wouldn’t that be fantastic?

8. I’m lucky in some ways. 

Because I kept my eyelashes and eyebrows. Sorry for the creepy eye shot. Both have definitely thinned, but both were thick to begin with. Volume mascara and a little eyebrow pencil make me look normal. It would be so cool if this was my last chemo and I got away with keeping my eyelashes and eyebrows.

The hair on my head is already a goner though.

9. I’m going to get better!

As in, getting better is not such a long term thing any more. If today is indeed my last chemo, then my recovery time will just go on and on until I feel like my “normal” self again. No more chemo sessions to bring me down again. I know that is a simplistic and obvious notion, but at this point it kind of blows my mind.

I foresee more sessions on my recumbent bike, more weight training, outdoor activities, and yoga!

I still won’t ever be able to do downward dog because of my bum arm though. I’ll leave that to Buster.

10. Santa tried to throttle my dog.

Yes, I realize getting my dog to pose with Santa has me edging closer to the crazy dog lady line – but I couldn’t help myself! I thought it would be so cute and not very harmful. Except, somehow my Santa shot looks like Santa is pulling a Homer Simpson on my Bart Simpson. “Why you little…!!”

I tried to take some cute Chrismassy photos of my little bear at home, but he was playing aloof.

And with that, I am off! “The Great Balancing Act” is on official Christmas holidays, to return sometime next week. Besides recovering from what may be my LAST chemo, I’ve got out-of-town family to see, cookies to eat, gifts to wrap and unwrap, and a puppydog to keep out of the poinsettias. Have a great holiday!! xoxo

Posted on December 21, 2011, in Baking, Buster, Cancer, Pets, Recipes and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 77 Comments.

  1. OMG those pictures of your puppy are so cute. I really hope this is your last chemo. I will pray for you. Also those cookies look amazing. And you look beautiful as always. Joyeux Noël!

  2. Have a great Christmas Susan! I hope the PET scan brings good news and this is indeed your last chemo treatment.

    Enjoy your time with friends, family, and cookies :)

  3. Got a bit emotional reading this one. Perhaps it’s the pregnancy hormones. Or, more likely, it’s that I’m so happy that you’re coming to the end of all of this. I have a lot I want to say and write but it’s all extremely sappy. Just know I think you’re amazing. Have a great Christmas with your family. Can’t wait to see you in the new year. xoxo

    • Today is also the shortest day of the year! I’m sure there is some meaning in there that my last chemo falls on this day. Even though I’ll be too sick to be jolly this year, finishing chemo is hands down the best present a girl can get :)

      Okay, having two babies comes pretty close xo

  4. Cute pictures of the dogs!

    FYI, if you have an ipad, there’s an app that lets you play acoustic guitar and “strum” the strings. The sound is amazing. Could be fun, especially if your elbow bothers you.

  5. hurray for final chemo!! i’m keeping my fingers crossed for you that this is it. let 2012 be chemo free.

    also, you have the cutest dog in the world, i’m sure you know.

  6. Fingers crossed that this is the last one and that this is the beginning of a short and permanent recovery.

    Love those shortbreads. That’s the recipe my Mom has used since I was a kid, and they are indeed the best shortbreads I’ve ever had. Mmmm.

  7. I wanted to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

    I hope that it is all gone and you can get back to normal. Thank you for writing about your fight with cancer.

  8. Yay for possibly last chemo treatment! You have rocked it. What a great Christmas present :) Happy Holidays! xoxo

  9. yeah I pretty much think you’re crossed to the crazy dog lady realm. Although I thoroughly enjoy the photo of buster with archie because archie’s eyes are saying “I will get you and your little dog too” … and that picture of buster on the yoga mat is hilarious, he looks so confused!

  10. I am so happy for last chemo for you. I just know 2012 is going to be a great year for you !
    You look so pretty. The picture of Buster and Santa is priceless.

  11. WIshing you all the best today and during the holidays!
    Cheers and we’re thinking of ya :)


  12. #9 = YES! Makes me happy. And so does that wig.

  13. The dog pictures are so freaking cute — but truly, the best thing about this post is your amazing outlook. Hoping for no more chemo!

  14. Really enjoyed your tidbits as always! You know I want to teach Dante to do the upward facing and downward facing dog on command … a little ambitious since he hardly sits on command … :) …

    Buster is the cutest and you are looking great!

    Buon Natale e felice Anno Nuovo … ti auguro un anno pieno di salute e felicita’!

    … a presto … J

  15. Joyeux Noel Susan (and Susan’s eyebrows!) :)

  16. i was just thinking last night that i was hoping you’d post soon! :) thanks for the tidbits and the cute puppy pictures!

    so excited that this is your last chemo–you’ve been a rockstar through it all!

  17. #1 you look amazing. I love the blonde wig.. that is a MUST do for you.. :)

    #2 YAY I am happy this is your last chemo day :) :) :) That makes me heart smile. I pray that your PET scan goes well!

    Also I am coming to Canada to steal Buster.. that or just play with him :)

  18. The blonde really suits you! That apron photo is the bomb – very pretty.

    Best of luck with the last round of chemo. You’ve been such an inspiration through all of this, I’m wishing very good things for you in 2012!

  19. What a wonderful Christmas gift for you with the last round of chemo – and keeping your lashes and brows!

    I am glad you are playing the guitar again. I love that I made that commitment this year and even got myself a new guitar last month because I stuck to it!

    • I think playing will be good “therapy” for my injured arm too – hopefully it will get less painful with time. I really want to stick to it this time too, maybe get extra lessons!

  20. Oh I’m so so excited for you!! My thoughts are with you that you are done and that you beat this!

    Merry Christmas to you and your family!!

  21. Merry Christmas Susan. May your days be merry and bright! Can’t wait to hear the news (undoubtedly good!) from your PET scan in the coming days. Prayers right at ya!

  22. I’m so very happy this is your last chemo day. You look radiant, my friend. Have a beautiful Christmas holiday!

  23. Have a great Christmas and even better new year in 2012!!

    And I must say – your hair color in these pictures looks so good! I was surprised to see you as a blonde. Very pretty. :)

    Best of luck with the last treatment. We’re all pulling for you.

    • Thank you! I have three wigs – a dirty blonde, light honey blonde with pink streaks, and a very dark red with dark purple streaks. It’s fun changing it up all the time. My neighbours probably wonder who those strange girls are walking the same dog every day ;)

  24. Hoping and praying that today IS your last chemo!! Love “Aloof Buster!” What a comedian he is. Too funny!!

  25. I hope today is your last chemo treament–best wishes!

    I think the Buster/poinsietta picture doesn’t look aloof–looks like he’s thinking “When is Santa going to be here?”

  26. What a lovely post, my dear. I’m hoping things go your way today. Thinking about you XOXO

  27. i am so proud of you! and congrats on the last chemo! even with your chemo, you still have more eyebrows and eyelashes than i do! you look lovely

  28. You are awesome girl. You look beautiful and are beautiful and strong inside and out. Happy Holidays!

  29. Marachino cherries are possibly my favourite thing ever, so those cookies have just been added to the very beginning of my christmas lineup :) Hoping this is your last chemo!! Have a merry christmas, Susan <3

  30. Hi Susan!

    Hope you have a wonderful Christmas and a very happy new year with all your wishes coming true!!

    Fingers crossed this is your last chemo! As others have mentioned, you are a rockstar!!

    The shortbreads look identical to my mom’s, which I’m looking forward to in a couple of days’ time. So delish!

    Diane of Great Village, N.S.

    • No doubt your mom’s are very similar! They taste just like my Nana’s, and it was my mom who pointed me in the direction of the corn starch box for the “famous” recipe :)

  31. congrats on your last chemo, susan!!! happy happy holidays to you and your family.

  32. We are all rooting for you and are behind you always. Best of luck!

  33. Those cookies look amazing- thanks for the recipe! So glad to see you are having a happy holiday season. Merry Christmas! I hope this is indeed your last chemo treatment ever! :)

  34. Merry Christmas to you and your family!! I love your updates, they all sound so promising and such great timing with the holidays coming. I am glad your pup will be okay, and Buster, your other pup is so cute, it HURTS. Seriously adorable! And yay for eyebrows/lashes!! :)

  35. I love the blonde you! You look amazing! As do those cookies…what is icing sugar? I would like to give those cookies a try but have no idea what that is! Merry Christmas Susan! I hope and pray the new year brings you a clean bill of health.

  36. I’m really a fan of the blonde. Those cookies look amazing girl!

  37. Such a fun and uplifting post to kick-off the official holiday week! Notes on your photos: Aloof poinsettia puppy is actually REALLY cute, and that apron–had it a backside–would make for an awesome summer dress!

  38. Good luck on the LAST SESH! I love you. I love Buster. I love Archie. XOXOXOX

  39. You look fantastic in that first picture! That apron makes a cute dress, and I’m loving the lighter locks on that wig! Congrats on the VERY LAST SESSION! Have a wonderful Christmas. Give Buster a kiss on the nose.

  40. You should REALLY submit Buster’s teddy bear photo to cuteoverload.com. It’d be a no-brainer.

    Congrats on finishing the chemo and merry Christmas!

  41. Happy Christmas to you! I’m glad it should be your last chemo. Hope so!

    You look so cute in that apron, love it.

    Burgers are my favorite food. I need to find more gluten-free buns and then I’ll be set. They always seem to satisfy lately.

  42. Merry Christmas! I hope this is your for real last chemo ever!!!

    I love the apron pic! You look fabulous!

    The eye picture wasn’t creepy at all…sadly my eyebrowns are way sparser than that naturally. To make it worse I have dark brown hair and blondish brows. I call them my invisibrows. I have to color them in. lol

  43. Buster is so precious! Love the apron! So cute!! and the cookies look yummy! :P

  44. HOORAY! Such an exciting day! And you’re right- I never would have even noticed your lashes or brows thinning. :)

  45. Happy Christmas Susan! Nothing but positive thoughts going your way in hopes that it really is your last chemo session. Go get ’em girl!!

  46. You know what? You have really beautiful eyes. Just thought you should know. :) Have a wonderful, healthy holiday!!

  47. Oh Susan. I just realized how posititive this post is and I’m so happy about that.

    Crossing my fingers about the PET scan. Chemo is such a bitch, eh? Funny thing is, my dad still had his eye lashes/brows too. Even after radiation on his head, his hair grew back.

    Anyhow, have a fabulous holiday with the out of towners, eat good burgers, use that cute apron and don’t hesitate to email me about anything.
    Love you.

  48. My aunt makes those cookies every year!

    I love the positivity radiating through this post. Last chemo, knowing you are getting better, eyelashes, Buster – it’s wonderful that you are thinking about all the good stuff. When you aren’t feeling so hot it can be a challenge.

    Happy holidays Susan!

  49. Buster hugging his bear is the cutest picture I have ever seen. So freaking cute.

    Merry Christmas!!! xoxo

  50. Andrew van Geest

    You really do look incredible with the apron, Susan. I’m hoping your PET scan reveals positive results. Buster is too adorable to describe in words. Santa looks like he has developed special skills to keep people’s pets in line, eh.

    I hope you have a very Merry Christmas and all the best in the New Year


  51. merry christmas! you look so cute in the apron picture…i love your stylish little hat. baking puts me in the best mood…although it always takes me hours longer than i expected when baking loads of holiday cookies. thank goodness for taste testing along the way :)

  52. Happy holidays. Hope you have a fantastic celebration over the next week (and beyond!).

  53. I LOVE cookies & those look divine!!! As for that first pic with your wig – I LOVE THAT ONE!!!!! And Buster – too dang cute in all your pics – you are lucky to have him AND Archie! Yahoo for good news there!

    Wishing you the best thru the holidays. I know that in the scheme o fthings this means nothing but you have more eyebrows than me & with all you have been thru – you are amazing!!!

  54. Happy holidays! Those are the cutest pictures!

  55. Hurray, hurray, hurray for your last regularly schedule chemo!!

    And, yes, keeping those eyelashes and eyebrows are very important. Mine didn’t fall out until the last month or so (but have since grown back), and I hated that worse than the hair falling out!

  56. You doggy is too cute! yay fingers crossed for you pretty lady you inspire me beyond belief! x x

  57. Yes! This post just made me so happy. I’m feeling so very lucky this year. Love all these positive thoughts going around! Wishing you the best of holidays.

  58. YEA for last day of Chemo ~ Woot! Woot! You look beautiful. Your doggie is soooo darned cute. Great news for Archie. I’m gonna make those cookies ~ yum!!

    Susan, I hope you and your family have a very MERRY CHRISTMAS!!


  59. Can you believe we made it!!! I’m so glad you finished before the holiday, even if you might be under the weather for it. I finished my last treatment last Monday (the 12th). I hope your scan comes out clean! I get another PET CT in mid Jan to make sure all the medicine kept doing it’s job. I really can’t believe I made it to the end though! It is a great feeling!
    Now I can’t wait until my hair stops clogging the bathtub drain! ;)

  60. I’m dying laughing at Buster with Santa. SO funny/cute! I call my dog Baby Bear too, ha!

    And YAY!!!! Yay for all these amazing tidbits like playing guitar and baking cookies and eyelashes and rocking that hair. I hope you keep feeling better and better and positive PET scans come from Santa. xo, girl!

  61. Happy holidays to you, Buster, Archie and your whole family!
    Sending good last chemo wishes to you from Vancouver.

  62. You look FANTASTIC! If you look this good when you’re sick, I can’t imagine what you’ll look like when you’re well again. Dec 21 is a specially lucky day for me – it’s the day I got married, and we just celebrated our 44th anniversary – so I’m hoping it’s as lucky for you, in that this will indeed be the last chemo treatment you’ll ever need. A gadzillion wishes for you and your family (which includes, of course, the 4-footed family members) to have a great Christmas and totally healthy 2012 (and beyond) and a gadzillion (to the gadzillionth power) hugs for you and your gorgeous spirit!


  63. Can’t decide if your dog or those cookies have charmed me more! Happy holidays :)

  64. I have done almost NO baking this year, except for a round of pumpkin muffins and zucchini bread but no cookies!!! My mom loves shortbread so I might have to surprise her with these. All my cooking since I finished the semester has been meal-food that I’m freezing for the times next semester when I’m too tired/busy to cook.

    So happy for you about this being your last chemo (we hope), you’re an inspiration to me and I’m glad I discovered your blog this year. The picture of Buster and Santa made me laugh so hard, it really does look like Santa’s got poor Buster in a choke hold. Merry Christmas and happy New Year to you and your babies!

  65. Have I mentioned that you’re the coolest?

    You know, it’s funny, I found out about this blog when Morgan mentioned you’d been diagnosed and ever since then you’ve been just the most fun to be ‘around’.

    I’m SO glad you’re pretty much done with chemo and can start doing more things physically! Merry Christmas to you!

  66. I am SOOOOO happy that you’re done chemo! I remember the feeling – it’s kinda surreal, isn’t it? You’ve gotten used to feeling chemo-sick all the time and now that’s over. I completely get it. I’m so happy for you.

    I hope you have a wonderful Christmas – I believe you’re the kind of person that will make the best you can out of the day. Take care!

    Your fellow lymphoma survivor,

  67. Merry Christmas!!! I hope your cancer is now gone! With God, nothing is impossible :)

  68. Sending lots of positive thoughts and prayers your way!! I hope this is your last Chemo ever!

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