Thursday, January 31, 2008

"Good grief" ...there's an oxymoron

Cuba - March 2007

As I sat here tonight, feeling a wave of grief wash over me; an unexplainable emptiness and loss, I was trying to figure out (to avoid the pain - I figure) what the heck the expression "good grief" means. How could grief possibly be good? Grief is described as "intense mental anguish; deep remorse; acute sorrow or the like"... What could possibly be good about that?

I spoke to a friend tonight and she agreed that I have been avoiding my grief. I noted that I didn't particularly want to feel all that pain; walk into a burning building, if you will. She said that I should see it more as "diving into a pool to find the key that will open the door to the rest of my life". Her husband noted that I shouldn't dive just yet 'cause the water would probably be frozen... (A little humour!)

Just thinking about all that I have lost is overwhelming. The following insight will give you an idea of just what kind of man Tony was and why I knew he was the man for me. When I first met Tony in 1990, I was a full-time university student, I worked about 35 hours a week and went out every night. He's the only guy in a bar who ever asked if he could talk to me. Also, when he came to visit my apartment, and realized that I had not done my laundry in a while (there were no facilities in the building and I didn't drive), he offered to help. He and I packed up 10 garbage bags of dirty laundry and took it all to a laundromat near his apartment. We (he) washed all of it. He made me promise that I would never let it get so out of hand again; he wouldn't wash 10 bags at a time again... What a guy!

When I was pregnant with Richard and he didn't want to attend the delivery (he would faint just walking into a hospital), I told him I would hold it in until he agreed to accompany me. He was there and was very proud. When they handed him Richard, he walked around the delivery room singing in his Irish - he'd kill me if he read this; so let me rephrase - in his Irish-Canadian voice: " I have a wee son! I have a wee son!" It was one of the most touching moments of my life. When time came for Mathieu, I couldn't have kept him away from the delivery room if I wanted.
Now, you tell me, how can I think of all of that and not feel a terrible loss? What is good about that grief? However, while there is no such thing as "good grief", grief does nevertheless allow us to remember the "good" times and relive pleasant memories. I just wish it wasn't so confusing and painful. Because, at times, it actually is a physical pain; or so it seems...

I'll be back at the gym tomorrow! It can only help...

Take good care!


Monday, January 28, 2008

One day at a time - in CANADIAN LIVING!!

Tony and I in September 2006

Well, the March issue of Canadian Living is out on newstands, and our story is in it; black on white! Of course, I read the article a number of times before it was published... But to actually see the finished product and think back on all that has happended over the last three years is strange. It is both therapeutic and sad. As my friend Sandee's blog says "I will survive!".

After Tony passed away, my friend Linda who wrote the article, asked me whether or not I wanted to go through with it. She had been working on it for some time at this point and, as our intent - Tony's and mine - was always to be open and honest about his battle with cancer, I agreed to go ahead with it. We always hoped that by being totally open we might create a greater awareness about colorectal cancer, and maybe - somehow - help patients and their caregivers by simply letting them know that they are not alone. We wanted to help and hopefully make a difference.

Cancer is a long and difficult journey best not travelled alone. We have been truly blessed as our lives have been filled with the love and support of our friends and family. You need only reach out and someone will hold your hand and help you travel through the dark and lonely days. The darkness is fading and will eventually disappear, and we will be left with the wonderful memories of our life together.

I am thankful for the support we've received since Tony's passing. He was such an amazing man that I am convinced that the love and support that has come our way is merely a reflection of the wonderful man that he was. I miss you Tony!

Thanks Linda, and congratulations on the article! I hope you all enjoy it!

Well, that's it for now.

Take good care!


P.S. Jean and Michele, I have a copy for each of you. I will post it soon...

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

No sports is tough on Mom!

Mathieu and his friends celebrating his birthday at La Cage aux Sports

Well, both boys are still off their sporting activities. This house has an overload of energy and frustration... Hopefully, things will change for the better real soon. Tomorrow morning (Thurs.), I will be taking Mathieu to the Children's Hospital for a neuro exam to assess whether or not he is ready to return to sports after the concussion he suffered two weeks ago. He has a soccer and a hockey tournament this weekend and he is really hoping to be able to participate. And, I hope so too. As for Richard, he has an appointment at the orthopedic clinic on Feb. 5th and will be out of commission until then as his knees still hurt. He has grown quite a lot over the last year and it has really affected his knees. He's just 1/2 in. shorter than me; and I'm 5'7". I don't want him to stop growing, I just want him to be pain-free.

The results from the capsule endoscopy came back and Mat's small bowel is clear; although there is some swelling at the junction of the small and large bowel (cecum). The Dr. assured me that this was not worrisome as they will be removing that section during the colectomy.

My mom will be retiring on January 31st. She will be 68 on February 17th... I think it's way overdue. Mom, you deserve a break; I hope you can enjoy it! As for me, my doctors have extended my leave until March 10th. Hopefully, by then things will be under control - the house, the boys' health issues, and me.

Look out for the March issue of Canadian Living magazine, our story should appear in it. I believe the March issue should be out in newstands in early February. February is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.

Well, that's it for now.

Take good care!


Friday, January 18, 2008

Capsule endoscopy

Well, Mathieu had his capsule endoscopy on Tuesday and managed to swallow the pill (seen in photo above) without any trouble. As a result of the concussion he suffered last Thursday, he has been getting headaches and feeling dizzy most of the week, so we will be consulting the neuro trauma unit at the Children's Hospital next week. They will assess him and determine when he will be ready to resume his sporting activities.

I am getting ready to go back to work. It's quite scary... I'll definitely need to go shopping for some clothes - I have to look at the positive sides to this... And, maybe get a weekend away before I go back; sort of run away from everything for a couple of days. Going back to work will either give me more confidence, or take away what little confidence or sanity I have left. I'll just have to pray for the best and trust that I can do this...

Richard has been resting his knees (no activities) this week. He had a hard time walking after last weekend's tournament. If the rest does not improve his situation, I will need to get him back to the orthopedic clinic and maybe they can suggest some physiotherapy or strengthening exercises that would help.

We will be celebrating Mathieu's birthday with a few friends tomorrow night. I will be taking them out for dinner and they will come back for a sleepover afterwards. Five 10 and 11 year olds in my basement... I don't know why we call them sleepovers; they don't usually get much sleep. God help me! The celebration is a week late, but like they say, better late than never.

That's it for now.

Take good care!


Sunday, January 13, 2008

They look like angels when they sleep...

Well, our visit to the surgeon's was as I would've scripted it. Mathieu will most likely have his surgery at the end of the school year. He has been scheduled for a test this coming Tuesday. It involves swallowing a pill with a camera in it. This little camera will take 60,000 images of his small bowel (and stomach - I believe) and transmit the information to a small computer that will be attached to his belt. I trust that this test will not uncover anything. After this test, he'll just need to do his pre-op and get the date...

As if our lives weren't exciting enough, to spice things up a little, we took a ride in an ambulance on Thursday night. Mathieu was injured during a hockey game and hurt his leg and bumped his head. He couldn't remember whether or not he had had dinner and just wanted to sleep. He says he lost consciousness momentarily after he hit his head. For my part, while we waited nearly an hour for the ambulance to arrive, I very nearly fainted. Not a pleasant experience. We did make it to the hospital and were sent home after x-rays and exams. Mathieu suffered a contusion to his left knee and a concussion. He will be out of commission for a week after he stops getting headaches; cause he's still getting headaches.
Richard's team participated in a hockey tournament in Massena, NY this weekend. They won all three of their round robin games and lost in the finals. Richard's knees are really bothering him. He could barely walk after the finals. When we got home, he too had a headache and was in bed at 8:30. He will also be out of commission for at least a week. After which time, I will most probably be out of my mind (that's assuming I'm not already).

The weekend was nevertheless quite pleasant. Mathieu, my friend Ella, and I enjoyed a ride in a stretch SUV limo and a nice relaxing massage before Richard's evening game on Saturday. After the game, while the boys enjoyed the hotel pool and hot tub, I organized a wine and cheese "get-together" for the hockey team parents. We had some laughs and relaxed.

That's it for now. I hope you all had a pleasant weekend.

Take good care!


Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Being a single parent sucks!

Okay! That's it!... I have to learn how to relax. I went to get a manicure today, and once the parafin was dry and the massage chair stopped I was up and walking around the spa looking for the manicurist saying that I had an appointment in 10 minutes... Which I did, but I'm always late anyways, and so is my therapist. I had gone there to relax and left there more stressed than when I walked in... My French manicure is already ruined... What is wrong with me? I am so busy running away from myself that I constantly overbook my schedule to ensure that I don't get any time to sit and think. Eventually, I imagine, it's going to catch up to me. Whether I like it or not. God help me!

Well, tomorrow's the big meeting with the surgeon. I'm pretty sure I know what he's going to say. However, I'm not sure how Mathieu is going to react. And, I imagine, my reaction to the whole situation will be influenced by the way he deals with it all. He is a brave little soldier, but even the bravest of soldiers get scared. He will be 11 years old on Saturday.

I trust that Tony will help us through this as he has with everything else... Oh! How I wish he was here. Being a single parent in a situation like this really sucks... But, although it is little comfort at a time like this, I know that Tony did everything he could to be here with us as long as he could... and even longer still... I love him for that!
I will keep you posted.

That's it for now.

Take good care!


Sunday, January 6, 2008

Alexander Ovechkin!!!

Mathieu and two of his teammates, Brad and Ben, went to a local sports' store today to get NHLer Alexander Ovechkin's signature (see picture above). Mathieu has already asked me how much his signed photo is worth!? What a kid!
Well the new year is here and it would appear as if we have survived yet another milestone. One hurdle over and already another is fast approaching. Wednesday's appointment with the surgeon is making me quite anxious, but I trust that there won't be any surprises. I just hope that hearing what I already know from the surgeon himself won't somehow make it more real or scary.
Mat has a PD day tomorrow and both boys have a game on Tuesday night. At least it won't give me much time to sit around and think... ONE DAY AT A TIME. Sometimes its a very difficult thing to remember; but I must! The return to a semi-normal routine of school and hockey (and the gym) will no doubt help!
I hope you all had a wonderful holiday. My very best wishes for the new year! Christine & Maya, Congratulations on the new addition to your family. ELLA, you and your family are in my thoughts.
That's it for now.
Take good care!