Updates on my cancer journey are collected here, in chronological order with most recent appearing at the bottom. Some are password protected – please contact me for the password, as a temporary measure.
I have always been a writer, but I’ve treated this gift like a loyal pet, something that will always be around while I go off and do other, more ‘important’ things. I need to ‘make a living’, I need to work, I need to volunteer, I need to maintain my friendships, I need to play video games. But even loyal pets die.
Turns out my colon is as squeaky clean as the day it came into the world with me. No polyps, no tumours, nothing to biopsy at all. The spot seen on the CT could not be replicated. My colon is golden!
I have always been delightfully regular, getting my period with the cycles of the moon, and being able to predict it down to a day or three. My period has been this way since I first got it at eight years old. I do use an app to record my cycles, more for my own interest than any need to monitor it. I began to notice I was clicking on the “Heavy” button more often than I used to.
The lesson I had cemented, that I hope to carry with me always, is that I’m here on Earth for a reason, that I have gifts that are necessary to explore and make space for, but that it’s also okay to do things that are just for me. I’m the collection of my lessons and experiences, and my desires are worth honouring. I also know that our ability to thrive on this planet is limited by our greed, ignorance, false sense of helplessness, and the corruption of those in power – and that we have a responsibility to this absurdly beautiful and deeply precious place we call home. I learned gratitude for the gifts of the Earth, the help of strangers, the love of my sister, my own capacity and strength, and the sense of community that kept us company when we were far from home.
After three hours on the water, we found our island! It was very small. We pulled up next to a houseboat that was moored on the dock. They offered to help but it’s my experience that something like that only needs a couple hands, and it’s good practise to make sure you can do it alone, so we passed on the offer and got ourselves out of the canoe and up on the dock.
I especially wanted women to see what is possible when it comes to women travelling together or even solo. I think women belong in the world, experiencing anything they want to without fear. The world isn’t that way yet, but I do my best to get us closer to that.
I felt the talk went really well. I had cut two pieces from the body of it only the night before because my read-through had been 37 minutes and was meant to be 30. I did this so that I could fit in two new anecdotes that I felt gave weight to my subject. I talk about the experiences I had with child sexual abuse and sexual assault, and interweave this telling with my resiliency, which for me was writing.
Most of the rooms had labels for male prisoners, so it was really cool that the one we got had a placard for a woman – the owner of a house of ill-repute, no less. All of the other women’s labels talked about offenses like ‘keeping and untidy house’ and ‘vagrancy’, so you can see the misogyny here.