Tag Archives: hope

Book: Project Hope

This book, Project Hope, was lent to me by a friend & her teenage son Julian, who spent last year fighting cancer (and from what I hear doing so like a hard-boiled street fighter.) 

Each page profiles a different survivor of childhood cancer.  Some were just babies when they were diagnosed, and others were on the cusp of young adulthood.  They talk about spinal taps and losing their hair and missing out on school and just wanting to be a normal kid again. If they’re still too young to write, their parents have contributed something on their behalf: stories of hearing the terrifying diagnoses, of trying to keep a brave face as they watch their children being wheeled down corridors and into surgery, of whole families spending holidays and birthdays at a brave little person’s bedside in hospital… 

OK, so not exactly light reading.  But neither is it the complete heart-breaker you might imagine it to be.  Yes, you’ll encounter a child with no hair, wearing a hospital gown — but then you’ll read about how much he liked racing around the ward on an IV tree. 

I read a page or two almost every night & it has the effect of smacking my perspective back into place and making sure I don’t go feeling too sorry for myself.   As a parent, it reminds me to be thankful that my child is healthy and strong.  And as a person with cacner, it chases the boogeyman from the dark corners and makes me say: if they can do it, so can I.   Brave little buggers.



Filed under Living with Breast Cancer

There Be NO ADDITIONAL Dragons!!!

Results from the bone & CT scans are in, and apart from the neck bumps THERE ARE NO MORE SPOTS!  My husband and I were hugging and crying in my doctor’s office (out of happiness and relief for a change) as she went through the reports one by one: chest cavity, lungs, liver, pelvis… everywhere.  Or rather, NOWHERE!


It is the best news I could have hoped for; it has changed my world.  I can fight this, now I know I can.  I was steeling myself for the worst, but I never really expected the best.  Now I feel like shouting from the rooftops: Get out of my way, stupid neck lumps! Prepare to meet your demise, stupid metastasized cancer!


I don’t think this happened all on its own.  I think there were too many people targeting their prayers and hope and good thoughts my way.  I have come to believe in the power of remote, collective prayer – or remote, collective non-denominational good mojo of any kind.


Yesterday I was e-mailing with a family friend in Manitoba who’s known me since I was a kid, and who also happens to be a priest.  He said his prayer group was stepping up their efforts for me.  And then he sent me a link to what he called my “new theme song.”  Stick some ear-buds in and crank it up:




Of course I cried the whole way through the video, thinking of all the people standing by me, close to home and far away – and if there were a word bigger than grateful, more affirmative than hopeful, and less over-used than empowered, that might get close to how I’m feeling right now.


Please stay with me.  You’ll note that in the video there’s no fat lady marking the end of this, but it sure feels like we’ve got a fighting chance of stomping those dragons and throwing a party right on top of that pile of stinking scales.  That’s the day I’m fighting for, starting now. 



Filed under Living with Breast Cancer

Hope Not Fear

Running up right along side the constant stream of fear and foreboding that can come with having cancer, I’ve lately been caught up in the additional, totally panic-inducing fear and foreboding of the recession.  Problematically, I’ve also recently discovered that I’m not managing stress the way I used to.  If this spells frog-in-a-blender to you, then imagine how it feels on the inside:  I’m looking everywhere for this person who used to be Ms. Grace-Under-Pressure and all I can find is Ms. Sky Is Falling. 


When you have cancer, having hope is essential to survival.  And hope is a rare commodity these days, though yesterday it seemed to be available in more abundance than usual.  Watching Barack Obama’s inauguration as the 44th President of the U.S, I was handed a nice little reminder of what hope actually looks like.  Not just the historical significance of the swearing-in of the first African American President, nor the messages of hope that he delivered in his speech.  It wasn’t his confidence or the cadence of his words; it wasn’t the poem or the anthem or any of the other elements of the ceremony.  For me the it was the faces of the Obamas’ two young daughters, beaming their non-stop smiles out at the world, full of joy and light and not a speck of fear or foreboding anywhere near either of them. 


You can’t stage the kind of open happiness that their faces conveyed.  Maybe it was just their pride in their father and their faith that he can make the world right again.  And maybe having that kind of faith is just the other side of the hope coin. Either way, I could use some of what they’ve got right about now.




For more about hope (okay, it’s actually a totally biased op-ed piece about the legacy of George W. Bush, but it’s worth watching) check out this short TV clip:



Filed under Living with Breast Cancer