Western education 2013

Sunday, October 4, 2009

.... Pink October

.... it is raining today and Will wants to go paint-balling with his new gun at an indoor paint ball facility. I take him and Lydia out with a promise to go out for lunch after.....

Saturday 3 October
The floor in the place is incredibly slick from all the vegetable oil that fills these little balls that are used as ammunition. Lydia is invigorated by the action and hovers over Will when he comes out because he has been hit or he needs a refill. She adores him through and through and I smile when I remember having those same reactions to my older brother all those years ago. She wants to play too and is told that she must wait until she is 10. She also wants to know why there are no girls out there playing? I have to laugh - she is so much like me!! I remember times where I would race through the woods which started behind the house we lived in on the base in Kingston as a child and continued to the St. Laurence shoreline a few thousand yards away. I knew that forest by the back of my hand and spent many a day climbing the trees and running along the footpaths playing cowboy and Indians with the neighbor boys. As a soldier in barracks years later... I would wander down and walk through the forest again, breath in the familiar air and walk along the path with the horsetails brushing past my legs - I have been told that the horsetails are as old as time itself..... a piece of our dinosaur past that has survived for all time..... The lady next to me is asking a question....

She is a woman a few years younger than me and you know she has something to say by the look on her face. She wants to know how old Will is and as it turns out, he is the same age as her son, who incidentally has a girlfriend who is having a baby by the end of the month. We chat for a few minutes while the kids are out playing - she is concerned for her son and the unborn child being carried by a young teenage girl. Her worries are reflected in my own face when it comes to my son. You raise them and hope that you have armed them well to combat the troubles they may face off the game field in their own game of life. Will has thanked me a few times in the past weeks saying that he has been taught well... I hope so and am glad that he recognizes how much I love him. Will has come back with an empty gun and with no balls left to fill it, it is time to go for lunch. I shake the woman's hand and we are both happy for the candid conversation - we both wish each other well.

Lydia is hoping to go to a fast food place for lunch but instead I pull into the Angelos off Thompson Road. We enter the door only to be met by a woman wearing a pink shirt and extending a donation box our way 'would you like to donate to the cancer cause?' I suck in a breath, caught off guard I answer 'I already have cancer' and realize that I have said it out loud. I shake my head and herd the kids over to the food counter and I am trying to stop the shaking inside. Will has noticed and asks if I am OK and I quickly respond with a 'sure, fine'. He knows that I am not but leaves it alone and takes the tray from me while I grab us some drinks. The cashier is taking her time with the customer in front of me and so I ask the kids to grab a table and to take the food with them. It's my turn and the cashier is being so sweet, she has given us one of our drinks for free ... something about lunch specials and I thank her. Lydia is hungry and quickly devours her first slice of pizza when one of the lunch counter employees hands her the rest of a smoothie he has made for another customer instead of throwing it out - we thank him too! Out of the corner of my eye I can see a flash of pink. It is the woman from the front entrance and she is looking for the washrooms which are located beyond our table. As she approaches I apologize for being rude and had not meant to make her feel uncomfortable. She walks up to me and looks into my eyes with her big blue ones and asks if I am OK. Yes, I am fine - I guess that I have been pinked out and the reminders are everywhere I tell her and I am surprised by the tears that are quickly forming and threatening to spill over... I see that her eyes are welling up as well as she reaches out and touches my face with a gentle hand and wishes me all the best and wants me to take care. She moves past us and I look down to the table not wanting my children to see that a few tears have escaped and are rolling down my cheeks. I am not as embarrassed as I am shocked that my emotions are so raw. Will is watching me and quietly asks if I am OK - I suck in a deep breath, put the dishes on the tray and looking up at him I say 'Dad wants a pastry, any ideas?' We are off to look around and pick up some Olives, pastries for Dad and some chocolate treats for my children. We are at the cash register and with the change I have received, I hand it over to William to give to the lady collecting. I smile at her and mouth the word thankyou as Lydia and I walk by her. She smiles back and wishes me luck. Will has caught up and quietly puts the handful of little pink ribbons into the cup holders in the console. Ah, more pink. I am pulling out of the lane-way when Will pops a piece of chocolate into my mouth after breaking it off from the bar he has quickly unwrapped. He smiles at me from the passenger seat and I smile back as we pass the clinic where I was first told of my diagnosis three months ago. There are reminders everywhere I go it seems....

Speaking of pink... Friday I made a bra for 'Braz for the Cause' by myself while chatting to the lady I had met at the nail salon. Lenore has posed for some pictures that are being showcased downtown next week. What a brave thing - to show the world what your chest looks like after a mastectomy. She tells me about her two wonderful grown up daughters who have both had their underarms tattooed in their mother's honor with a pink ribbon on the side that the breast is removed. Her girls have been tastefully photographed as part of their mother's photo shoot. I must admit that her girls must adore her - the pain of a tattoo in such a sensitive area is a big deal and as Lenore and I both admit - they will be reminded of their own mother's pain. We end our conversation a few minutes later - it is her last radiation therapy session and she is ecstatic. We promise to call each other soon. I would like to see the photos on display.

Tonight we watched '17 Again'. I thought the movie really had merit and enjoyed it. Would I have changed the path I am now on? Where would I like to 're-start' my life over....... I can't imagine really changing anything, even the cancer thing.... I am an avid believer that every thing happens for a reason, only some of the reasons are not exactly clear until much later. One thing is for sure - it is making me very aware that my emotions are very close to the surface these days. Max and I talk at night while holding hands in the dark and I tell him about the lady at Angelos and I can barely get it out when the tears start to fall.... darn it!! I fight the tears back as I tell him that it is like carrying a glass that is full to the brim and one stumble and the water easily finds its way out and over the edge. Part of me is terrified that I won't be able to stop if I really get going. In Yoga class on Thursday I was telling the Yoga instructor how grateful I am for the break in my week that allows me to be in touch with the spiritual side and I could feel the burn in my eyes begin then.... I know they all understand but I just can't let the floodgates go. I am not feeling sorry for myself, maybe just scared?

I am up of course early and blogging all this in the dark.... in the summer it would be light by now and I would be making a coffee but in October it is pitch black... Thursday after Yoga class I headed out to see Lisa who had fitted me for my first medical compression sleeve - I need to swap it for a new one as this one has the stitching in the Gauntlet coming apart. I have let her know on the phone that I cannot do the gauntlet and would be just happy with a sleeve. I show off my new sleeve and she is blown away by how amazing it looks on my arm. She wants to get some to showcase to other clients. We chat and laugh for a bit. I am now off to do some quick shopping before meeting with Sue for coffee. She is the lady I met at the photo shoot for FaceIt London and I am waiting her arrival at William's coffee shop. We meet, hug and sit down to a green tea latte and begin our chat..... has it already been 2 1/2 hours?! What a great conversation with a woman who has clearly been through so much. With humor and affection she has told me her story and I have told her mine in my typical animated way. We will see each other soon for another coffee. We hug and it is time to part ways. See you soon Sue!!

I would like to thank Sue R. for the wonderful compliment on my writing abilities and for the time you took to read about my journey. I do blog this for my soul, my children and for all the wonderful people in my world who just want to know how I am. Thanks to Jeff R. for giving me his pearls of wisdom along my path!! Thanks to Jeff C. for your support and for the note you left me. In the video clip I clearly got what you wanted me to know - "Life is a path that is lit only by the light of those I've loved." I would be remiss if I did not add to this and say that my path is also lit by those who have shown me support through kind words and gestures. Thank you to Annarita who visited on Friday with a homemade chicken dish, great conversation and of course hugs!! I have a busy week this week with yoga, art therapy and of course my first Chemo consultation.... I should know a schedule by Friday. My best to each of you!! xoxoxo

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