Thursday, October 1, 2009

Minister Bolduc is on the right track... I think!

Hockey season is in full swing and my taxi duties have resumed. Both boys are playing double letter hockey this year. It should be interesting... Mathieu is into his 2nd month of high school... So far, so good. Rich is in secondary IV and is (mostly) mature beyond his years. Something for which I am at times grateful, and other times worried.

I spent a few days in Quebec City this week. I volunteered to help the Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada as they were organising a parliamentary breakfast in the National Assembly to promote awareness for colorectal cancer, the need for a screening program and 3rd line indication treatment. I met the wife of a local celebrity - Boule Noire - who died of colorectal cancer the same year as Tony. We shared stories... It was tiring and fueling couple of days. I met interesting people and hope to help the association put together an event in the West Island of Montreal to promote awareness. If all goes well, the event will happen during colorectal cancer awareness month, in March 2010. All that needs to happen between now and then is for me and you to raise the required funds, i.e. $20,000 or so. (Anyone wishing to sponsor or donate, please don't be shy...)

Honestly, I went to Quebec City hoping that the Minister of Health (who was one of the speakers) would announce the province's new colorectal cancer screening program. It didn't happen... However, Minister Bolduc seemed quite supportive of our cause and noted that he wanted to ensure that proper testing guidelines were in place before any program was launched and that they had to ensure that health institutions and centres were properly equipped and prepared to perform an increasing number of colonoscopies without insufferable delays. This is a good thing... As long as these problems are addressed without any further delay... Time wil tell! For now, I will give Minister Bolduc, the time to sort these things out. No sense in getting a positive screening test result and not be able to get a colonoscopy for 12 to 48 months (depending on where you live). If that were the case you'd be better off not knowing!

So for now... We'll let our friend Mr Bolduc figure these things out. But we will be keeping an eye on the situation and will certainly not forget about the need for a province-wide screening program.

Well, there I go again... getting carried away. I really must go to bed. Hope I haven't put you all to sleep with all the ranting...

Take good care!


P.S. I've actually already bought my first Christmas gift!!! Now let's just hope it'll keep 'til Xmas!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Maine was Great!!!

Believe it or not, 14 people (8 adults and 6 kids; mostly teens) in one house wasn't that bad! The house was 3-stories high with 6 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms. It was busy at dinner time; we all enjoyed our veggies and dips and a bowl of chips or two... Greg outdid himself again and amazed us all with his pork tenderloin and special sauce. Everyone chipped in and did what they could! We had one rainy day and went shopping - we shopped til we dropped, basically! Thank God it only rained for one day!!! Annie and the boys enjoyed the beach. They all threw the baseball, played pétoncle (boce), rode the waves. Mathieu and Benoit went crab fishing. That was exciting - the crabs were biting... Mathieu's fingers. We walked the Marginal Way, had dinner at Barnacle Billy's, visited the Candy Store and spent too much in Kittery! Now! That's a vacation! No?!

Above and below are some pics of our trip....

That's it for now...

Take good care!


P.S. The article that appeared in Canadian Living magazine 18 months ago has been re-publish in the Reader's Digest magazine's September edition which is out on newstands now.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Monday, August 3, 2009

Weekend at the Rouge River

A good time was had by all. The weather held up; at least until Sunday... Which meant the boys did not get to go tubing, water-skiing or fishing at my cousin's. They did, however, play almost 8 hours of NASCAR monopoly! There is life without computers and the X-Box - who knew?!

I took a few a photos. I hope you'll enjoy them!!

More photos to come shortly...

Take good care!


Sunday, July 26, 2009

Luke has arrived!

Friday's at Wild Willy's
(Home-made Ice Cream Parlor on Lakeshore Drive)

Sunday Afternoon BBQ with Friends and Family

Stéphanie looking good!

Maya looking pretty

Marie-Claude and Sharon enjoy the afternoon

Luke cooling off

Master BBQer Richard

Sharon, Linda, Huguette and Marie-Claude enjoying the day
Richard, Luke, Mat, Maya, Valerie and Antoine enjoying a BBQ dinner by the pool

Monday, June 15, 2009

Two years later...

Two years ago on this date, I wrote on this blog "Having a nightmare and can't wake up!". I have been fortunate in this difficult journey to be surrounded by very supportive friends and family, and to have an employer and co-workers who are kind and compassionate. Without them, I would most likely be in pieces. The nightmares come and go... And you just never know when they will be back. I guess this is a particularly difficult time as the anniversary of Tony's death is just two days away. That, coupled with the fact that everywhere you turn there's ad and talk about father's day... Tony passed away on father's day. I can't help but wonder how the boys feel about that. I'm almost afraid to ask! Yes, its true... I'm afraid to ask! I should be ashamed. ONE DAY AT A TIME. I must always remember and never forget. Anything more can, at times, be overwhelming.

On a positive note, Mathieu will be graduating from primary school. The graduation ceremony is this coming Thursday, June 18th. FYI, primary school ends after grade 6 in Québec. High school actually starts in grade 7, or what we call Secondary 1. I am quite proud on Mathieu... He has worked very diligently in the last few months to bring up his grades; working with tutors 4 to 5 times a week. This year was not easy for him... but he - like his father - is a tough guy and won't let FAP slow him down. FÉLICITATIONS Mathieu!!!! Je t'aime.

Tony would be very proud of both his sons. They have come through these first two very difficult years during which we have lived through many turbulent times - mourning, moving, surgery, teenage hormones, etc. - and have grown and mature into fine young men. A fine tribute to their Dad! He would be so proud!

Well, that's it for now.

Take good care!


Sunday, May 10, 2009

Just back from 5 days in Toronto; 3 of which were spent in workshops with people associated with the Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada (CCAC). I am hoping to become a Cancer Coach... Although, I must admit that after spending some time with all of these amazing people, I'm not quite sure if I'm up to the task. Most of the people I met are cancer survivors or their caregivers, as well as the wonderful staff from the CCAC. I know Tony would want me to do this, however, if I'm going to do this, I want to do it right and make him proud. I might need a few weeks to digest all of this information and determine what is the best course of action for me to take that will have most impact and be of most use. For now, I will share with you some facts that I hope you will keep in mind and share with friends and loved ones... At the very least, you will be better informed and, at best, you could save a life!

  • colorectal cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death in Canada;

  • an estimated 21,500 Canadians were diagnosed with colorectal cancer last year;

  • approximately 8,900 Canadians died from colorectal cancer in 2008;

  • if caught early, colorectal cancer has an over 90% cure rate;

  • risk factors include age (50 and over), family history of colorectal cancer, personal history of benign polyps or colorectal cancer, obesity, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, poor diet, sedentary lifestyle, and inflammatory bowel disease (i.e. Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis).


The following symptoms MAY indicate colorectal cancer. See your doctor.

  • prolonged diarrhea or constipation

  • narrower-than-normal stools

  • blood in stool

  • loss of appetite, unexplained weight loss

  • feeling that the bowel does not completely empty

  • constant fatigue, anemia

  • nausea, vomiting

  • abdominal pain or discomfort.

One of the problems in dealing with this disease is that people are not comfortable talking about their bowel movements with their doctors. Please don't let that stop you!! Remember, your Doctor has seen and heard it all and is there to help you. If you are 50 years old or over and have not yet had a colonoscopy, in Tony's memory, please call your doctor now, and book an appointment. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure - and then some....

Take good care!


Sunday, March 8, 2009

Spring break comes to an end...

This time last year!!!
The boys were off last week. I took a few days off but we didn't do too much. Mathieu came shopping with me and decided he wanted to bake a cake. And so he did. It was delicious, but way too much cake for just us. Rich was invited to Andrew's cottage and actually did some downhill skiing for the first time. Apparently he looked like a pro. He just loved it! Mathieu played shinny hockey at the arena and also played on the outside rink. He quite enjoyed it and there were many kids there which made it even more fun.

I am still training in my new position at work. I can't wait to know everything I need to know and feel more comfortable in what I'm doing. A new job is quite draining. I'd forgotten. I have a bit of a cold so I should be off to bed. But, with having moved the clocks ahead today, I'm a bit confused... Not to mention that I slept in 'til 2:20 pm (which was in fact only 1:20).

Better be off now. I have an early doctor's appointment and then off to the dentist with Rich before I go into to work... No rest for the wicked!!!

That's it for now.

Take good care!


P.S. We've book a house in Maine for one week this summer. It'll be great...

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Happy Birthday!

Well, believe it or not, February 17th is both my mother's and my mother-in-law's birthday. I would like to take this opportunity to wish them both a very happy birthday and let them know how much they are loved and appreciated. The world just wouldn't be the same without you.
Jean, you gave birth to my wonderful husband, the father of my children. This allowed me to live a life that I wouldn't even have dared wish for... He made me very happy and gave me two beautiful boys and you made that all possible for me. I will be eternally grateful.

Mom, although we have had our moments, you have always been there for me. You gave me birth and stood by me throught thick and thin... and always made me feel special. You taught me that men and women are equal and that the world was mine to conquer. Thank you!
I hope you all had a wonderful Valentine's day...
That's it for now.
Take good care!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

I Survived Mat's 12th Birthday Party!!!

For those of you wondering... yes, I did survive Mathieu's birthday party! I had 13 kids at the party Friday night and 10 slept over. I have to admit I had my mom and some girlfriends over as well for moral support and might have indulged in a glass of wine... Everyone had fun and no one overslept!
As for Mathieu's appointment at the surgical clinic; believe it or not, I showed up 24 h late. The appointment was scheduled for Wednesday. Obviously, I did not transcribe it properly when I bought my 2009 agenda. Luckily, our surgeon was nice enough to see us anyway - after everyone who actually showed up on the right day. Mathieu is doing just fine.
He will be seeing the dermatologist in February to confirm that he still needs a mole removed. He has small birthmark-like spot in the back of the neck and she seems to think that it has grown in the last year. Because he is a higher risk for skin cancer, she wanted it removed last summer when they removed his colon. Mathieu was worried that he would have pain in the back of his neck and his belly and wouldn't be comfortable on his back or any other way so we decided to postpone that procedure. They will likely remove the mole during his next scope as they scope him under general anasthesia.
We have a busy week ahead. Mat's in a hockey tournament and will be playing both Tuesday and Thursday night. Both boys have a training session at the gym tomorrow night and Rich might have hockey on Wednesday. I haven't looked as far as Friday yet... it'll come soon enough.
I actually prepared dinner tonight. It was past 7 pm when we ate, but it was the first home prepared meal in a week. Tomorrow's dinner is practically done already, so things are looking up!
I thought of Tony quite a lot this weekend. He passed away 19 months ago yesterday. It still seems surreal. I wonder what advise he'd have for me now!? I feel a bit lost and empty. And I'm not quite sure how to fix it! Time!!! I know... But I'm not that patient. I guess I'll have to learn to be and but on a brave smiling face in the meantime.
Well that's it for now!
Take good care...

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Just Beautiful...

A few more photos... What a place!
You might be wondering what I'm doing up so late on a school night?! Well, I'm waiting on Rich coming back from his first real concert at the Bell Centre... His friend's mom just called to say they were on their way. I'm still going to wait til he walks through the door.
Mat and I are at the surgical clinic tomorrow for a follow-up. The frustrating thing about the clinic is that it only runs for a half day, but everyone's appointment is for 10:10 am. Isn't that the most ridiculous thing? I have yet to decide if we'll go early or late. If we're early and have to wait any length of time, it usually costs me as we sit in front of the Café. But, there is always the off chance that we could be first... Hopefully it will go well.
Mat's birthday party is scheduled for this Friday. I'll let you know how that goes!
Well, that's it for now. I'll get ready for bed so that I can turn in as soon as Rich arrives.
Take good care!
P.S. Sandee, you are in my thoughts - and you are my inspiration! God bless...

Sunday, January 11, 2009

A Walk in the Park

Hello everyone! I hope the new year brings you good health and laughter! The boys and I came back from Belfast last Wednesday. Our trip was great. Mathieu actually wanted to stay. They put on quite a welcome for us! We met many friends and family members and are very thankful to everyone for making our stay so pleasant. I have no idea what I was so worried about!!!

I wanted to share some photos with you. I took a walk in the Botanical Gardens next to Michele's house and was just absolutely entranced by the greenest of it all in the middle of winter!

That's it for now...

Take good care!


Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

Sitting in my sister-in-law's dinning room last night, I was happy to realize that I would be welcoming 2009 even earlier because I'm in Belfast. Our visit has been just great so far... No rain, just lots of humidity/dampness. We went to see the Belfast Giants, did a bit of shopping. I went for walk and took some lovely pictures on the Botanical Gardens next to Michele's. Unfortunately, I haven't figured out how to download the photos yet...

Oh! I must tell you this, our trip started with a bang!! We were bumped to 1st class on the way to London. I actually stretched out full length and slept most of the way. The boys were way too excited... Rich caught up on some sleep yesterday... He slept 17 hours straight. Must be growing again - or severely jetlagged!

I hope everyone is keeping well! I look forward to seeing you all soon!

Take good care!