Relax and Learn about Breast Cancer Prevention

Relax and Learn about Breast Cancer Prevention

Free Yoga

If you have been a reader here, you know that breast cancer stole my mom away from us when I was ten-years-old. My daughters never met their grandma. After my younger sister kicked cancer’s ass, I began to participate in the CIBC Run For A Cure as a way to give back to the gift of having her. It has now been over 13 years. Since then, I have been joined at the run by my sister, my brother-in-law, my best friend & my husband and our two daughters. I do believe that our girls will see a cure for breast cancer in their lifetime.
When I heard about the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation’s latest campaign to get the word out about breast health, I knew I had to help. Throughout September and part of October they will be visiting 25 campuses throughout BC, educating young women and men about ways to reduce their risk of breast cancer and empowering them with the knowledge that what they do now can impact their breast health in the future.

Don’t Forget to Check is targeted towards women and men 18-25 years old. There is a website http://www.dontforgettocheck.ca, a free iPhone and iPad app. Within these you can take a pledge, learn what to look for, set reminders to do your self checks, as well as “boob bomb” your friends. This sounds fun while having your girlfriends’ back.
Starting September 3rd, CBCF launches the “Don’t Forget to Check” college campus tours across BC. They will have information about modifiable risk factors affecting breast health including body weight, physical activity, alcohol use and smoking (harmful college life risks.) Don’t Forget To Check also encourages young women to check their breasts, know what’s normal for them, and if there are any changes, to go and see a health professional.
I have had mammograms since I was 28 years old. My mom was only 38 when she died. They only take a few minutes and can save your life. Consult your doctor or the CBCF site for more information about breast health.
How will CBCF deliver their message this year?
By hosting free yoga sessions on campus to engage in conversation with young women. While people take part in a low-impact, easy yoga session, the yoga instructor leading the class will weave messages about breast health and “don’t forget to check.”
Participation is optional. There will be the volunteers to answer questions and hand out reminders such as: bookmarks, note pads, nail files and more.
You may find them at the Student Union Building, outdoor atrium, current campus events, grassy field or high traffic areas. For locations, watch your local student newspaper, campus radio stations and posters displayed around the campuses.

For more information check out their site.

Has your life or loved ones been affected by Breast Cancer?
This year’s Run for the Cure is on October 6. Sign up here.  A new run site has been added: SURREY, BC.

The Summer I Did Not Plan

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At the beginning of summer, I had to go in for urgent surgery. Years of having bad cycles and family history, tumors invaded my reproductive system fast. So when I wrote, By The Time You Read This, I had no clue what I was facing that day. I did not know if there were more fibroids or tumors taking residence, or just what was found on the ultrasound weeks before. I have always hated the C-Word.

I was scared that I would not make it home like my mom didn’t. I had no clue which way it would go. I never wanted my mommy so badly in my life. Yet, I was not ready to meet her again.

It was the biggest relief to wake-up in ICU and realize that it was not a dream. I did not care about the pain and the itchy bandages.

It has been over 7 weeks now and I am not out of the woods. Recovery is not going well.  More tests and follow-up is needed. While the uterus and tubes are gone, the ovaries remained. Tumor Markers are not in the ‘good zone.’…yet.

So today, on the 29th anniversary of my mother’s death, I will leave my girls with a caregiver and go for more tests. By the end of this month I hope to finally celebrate with my girls and loved ones that I am okay. I have to be.

It still pains me to think of the summer I did plan back in spring. Only a few of those things, with the help of dear friends and sister, have been crossed off the list. I tried to make this summer memorable because my youngest will be starting a big milestone, kindergarten.

Whether they will remember this summer or not, I know that by being here is the most important thing. Even if that meant taking things slower.

Miss you loads, Mom. I like to think that you had something to do with my recovery. Just let me pass a few more tests. Xo

Packing for the Hospital: Keeping it Simple List

Packing for the Hospital: Keeping it Simple List

Hospital Sign

Recently, I had to go to the hospital for surgery. I kept mulling over what to pack in my hospital bag. In the past I always over packed, especially when I gave birth to my daughters. This time around, I remembered to keep it simple as I hoped that it would be for the one night.  So here is what I packed for your reference, whether you are the patient or the visitor.

  1. $5.00 in change. It came in handy to send visitors to the vending machine after the cafeteria was closed. Comfort food comes in handy at midnight sometimes. My weakness was ginger ale and chocolate.
  2. I loaded my smartphone with movies. Since you never know when the TV person comes through. Plus, I did not want the hassle of paying the one-day fee.
  3. Magazines, scratch and win tickets, pen and a small notebook. They fill the restless hours as you are trying to heal. The notebook is good for any instructions the doctor may tell you, or to write down an item you need from home.
  4. Toiletries: lip balm (hospitals can be very dry), unscented travel lotion, mouthwash and sanitary napkins (hospital fare can be pretty industrial). Also, pack a spare pair or two of underwear. Trust me.
  5. Utility pack: earplugs (in case you have a snoring neighbor), ear buds for your smartphone (helps to shut out hospital noise) and if you do bring your phone, do not forget the charger. Depending where your room is located, it could be roaming for a cell tower signal. It was great to have my phone to say goodnight and good morning to my household.

It was great to have a small care pack with me in the hospital. Comforts of home can be very healing to you as you are recovering. Best tip from me to you is not to expect to read a thick book, you body will take over your brain.

What did I miss on this list?

From the Archives: My Mama Aha Moment

me and my mom

My eyes drink in the last sentence as I close Motherless Daughters by Hope Edelman. I click the nightlight off to make the room dark so my darling husband can keep sleeping. I stare at the ceiling that is illuminated by the clock radio at the foot of the bed.

My heart is racing with a newfound warp speed. Feeling like I could float out of this bed, what I just read clears the dark fog that has enveloped me since my mom died. For the first time since she died I feel like someone truly knows what I went, and am going, through.

Throughout the pages I absorbed other woman’s’ stories of how they learned to live with the pain. What struck me was the message to give myself-the power to accept her passing and allow myself permission to grieve.

After her passing (I was ten), I was not allowed to talk about her because it would upset my dad, sister or grandma. To bury the empty void she left plagued me until now. It is how I have been parenting my young girls; hide the grief until it boils over into my present life. It harmed my soul.

I watch the car lights flicker through the blinds realizing the stories I started writing about missing my mom was opening the floodgates. Every piece I pen allows me to voice the immense grief. It may be the reason why I am so motivated to write. I started to write my mom stories in fear that I will have the same fate as my mom. Now, it fills a lost void that she leaves to this day.

Today marks the twenty-sixth anniversary that I stood in her hospital room and said good-bye.

Tonight is the first time I am grieving unabashedly. I let go to grieve, to wash away the pain so I can be more present for my daughters. They deserve it. I close my eyes but I am not tired. Tears of relief slide down my cheeks. I am feeling like I am a hot air balloon that has been lost and now grounded.

I cry myself into my dreams.

Before the alarm goes off, I am pounced by my three-year-old wanting breakfast. I hug her tight. I hug her tight feeling young and free.

In many ways I am.

Last Happy Picture of Me and My mom

Monster Fun with this #KinderMom

Monster Fun with this #KinderMom

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Spying the Monsters, Inc. DVD on our shelf makes me smile every time. I remember when our oldest was two and would want to be in mommy and daddy’s bed because of the monsters under her bed. It never occurred to her that she had to cross the floor past them to get to us. Of course, we knew it was because she wanted to be close to us. Her new sister had just arrived. We did not mind one bit.

When Monsters Inc. became available to own we scooped up our own copy. We watched it as a family one night, not thinking we may have added to our toddler’s creative imagination. That night she ran into our room shaking about Randall (character from the movie.) When we checked her room and told her it was clear of Randall, she climbed back into bed. After many stories, songs and reassurances, she still would not go to sleep. Then, the door creaked open and our cat snuck in.

Our daughter saw him and bolted upright with delight. She told me it was ok. Our kitty will make sure all the monsters stay away. Ever since then she slept well under the protection of our monster-scarer kitty. Just like Sully did for Boo.

It is my pleasure help introduce for the first time that every specially marked Monsters University Kinder® Surprise® packages are guaranteed to contain 100% licensed toys. Your kids will have fun (and you too) watching Mike and Sully go to school while enjoying a special treat.

Check out Kinder Canada Facebook page for the new toy gallery and vote for your new favorite Kinder® Surprise® Monsters University toy collection.

I found it really hard to pick just one! As a parent, I love that Disney Pixar included funny lines for just for us! Can’t wait to see it!

Have you seen it? How old are your kids?

Disclosure: I’m part of the KINDER® Mom program and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.

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Books for the Motherless Mom

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After searching for years I have found these four books a great help to fill the void since my mom died.

Motherless Daughters by Hope Edelman

This book explores the many ways that losing a mother can affect almost every aspect and passage of a woman’s life. Hope built the book on interviews with hundreds of mother-loss survivors. This life-affirming book is now newly expanded to reflect the author’s personal experience. Now married and a mother of young children herself, Edelman better understands how the effects of mother loss can change over time, and in light of new relationships.

Wild by Cheryl Strayed

At 26, Cheryl thought she had lost everything. Her mother’s devastating death, her family scattered, and her own marriage was soon destroyed. With nothing more to lose, she made the impulsive decision of her life: Hike the Pacific Crest trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State, alone. She had no experience as a long-distance hiker. This is the vivid story of a young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddened, strengthened, and ultimately healed her.

Motherless Mothers by Hope Edelman

Now the mother of two young girls, Edelman set out to learn how the loss of a mother to death or abandonment can affect the ways women raise their own children. From a survey of more than one thousand women comes, “Motherless Mothers”, the enlightening and inspiring next step in the motherless journey.

Hope opens up and reveals the unique anxieties and desires these mothers experience as they raise their children without the help of a living maternal guide.   She brings to light how the experience of loss directly impacts the ways in which these women parent their own children.

Paris in Love by Eloisa James

After her mother’s death and her own battle with cancer, bestselling author Eloisa James took a leap that many people dream about by selling her house, taking a sabbatical from her job as a Shakespeare professor, and moving her family to Paris. Thisis a play-by-play of her joyful year in one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
Without the Western domestic tasks to do, Eloisa revels in the ordinary pleasures of life—discovering corner museums that tourists overlook to walking from one end of Paris to another. She copes with her Italian husband’s notions of quality time, her two hilarious teenage children and her mother-in-law Marina’s raised eyebrow in the kitchen.

Here is a list I found on Goodreads that may help you find a book this season:

http://www.goodreads.com/shelf/show/motherless

Did I miss on? What would you recommend?