The Ring of Fire

I received a really nice email last week, and hopefully this kind stranger doesn’t mind me posting her words here for you to read:

I’m sure you get many of these random stranger emails – oh a blog about BC! I had it too! now that makes us instant friends…LOL.
I just wanted to tell you that your posts are so refreshing to read. In an ocean of stories, yours has been the one that has finally made me think “hey, I’m not a crazy weirdo, this person thinks EXACTLY what I was thinking” – pretty hard to find let me tell you.
so, I just wanted to thank you for bringing a smile to another woman’s day struggling with all the BS around BC.
And great hair. Oh don’t get me started on the hair.
R.

This email reminded me that people still read my blog and that it keeps existing for others, whether I update it or not. Somehow, people still find it and still connect, even as I continue on, living my life. The internet is a pretty groovy thing, n’est-ce pas?

For those who’ve been missing me, don’t forget to check out my monthly column over at ELLE. I’ve been giving all of the thoughts inside my brain to them (and they actually pay me real money to do so!), which is why I haven’t been as active around these parts.

But don’t despair, I’ll never disappear from here completely. This is still my favourite space to be. No deadlines, no edits, no caring about trying to impress anybody. My tiny little corner of the interwebs where I can do as I please. It’s swell.

You know what’s not so swell?

The dramatic return of my hot flashes.

Bleh. I thought I had cured them by switching up my medication brand, but that effect seemed to only last temporarily. I’m back to being a sweaty, burning mess, with the concept of sleeping through the night being nothing more than a fantasy. And if you keep up with your breast cancer news (which I’m sure many of you do not, you lucky ducks), you will know that Tamoxifen is now being recommended for ten years, instead of five. TEN YEARS of sleepless nights and melting madness.

But I am grateful. It could be worse. So much worse. Who needs eyebrows, breasts, sleep, comfort? I’m alive!

I’ve been fighting off a nasty sinus infection the past several days, that finally seems on its way out. I don’t know if this is normal for other people who’ve gone through cancer treatment, but I find that now when I’m sick, I have traumatic flashbacks to the chemo glory days. Lying in bed feeling ill brings back terrible memories of lying in bed feeling (more) ill. When my stomach gets sick now (which still happens from time to time, THANKS IBS), it reminds me of when I felt that way for days/weeks on end, so weak I had to cling to the sink to pull myself up from the toilet, and then lean against the wall as I walked back to my bedroom so I wouldn’t fall down on the way. That scenario felt like a never-ending cycle, for months.

I wish I could just get “normal” sick without having such hideous memories and anxiety attached to it. Maybe eventually, but for now, it still feels like a horrible nightmare I can’t forget. That feeling when you see a scary movie that creeps you out, and it pops into your head right before you go to sleep at night, plaguing your thoughts. It’s like that. Times a million. I play the scenes back in my head. My very own horror movie, and I’m the star.

I always did want to be a star.

But the difference between normal sick and cancer sick is it ends pretty quickly and you bounce right back from it and usually forget about it a few days later. You’re not likely to be tortured with thoughts about that time you had the sniffles and took some cold and sinus pills.

So that’s another thing to be grateful for. Being sick and not having it be cancer. That’s kind of cool. Although I’d rather just not be sick with anything, big or small, ever again, but I guess I’ll roll with the punches. I’ll blow my nose, feel aches in my body, cry because it reminds me of when my entire body ached from the inside out, cry that I might one day feel that pain again, wake up the next morning, and notice that I can breathe again; that the pain is gone and I’m standing on my own, with the past still visible in my rearview mirror, but the present staring at me, pressed right up against the windshield.

And I must say, the present is lookin’ pretty good. More joy than pain. More health than misfortune. More beauty than sorrow. More laughter than tears.

In fact, life is swell.

Except for the hot flashes.

Those can go to hell.

My new project

A riddle for you:

What do these two things have in common?

Look very closely. Can you see it yet?

Having some trouble figuring it out?

Here is a hint: The person on the left will soon be inside the magazine on the right.

Ohmygosh, you’re becoming a fashion model?! you are probably asking yourself.

No, no I am not. But thanks for thinking that. I’m flattered.

I will, however, be joining the wonderful Elle Canada magazine as a columnist, where I will be penning my own monthly column for one year.

This is something I’ve known about and have been working on for awhile but I’ve had to keep it a bit of a secret, because if I spoil everything, then no one will want to read about it months later when it’s published… alas, I have been living under a shroud of secrecy. But now you know, and I’m excited to share this new development with the world.

I am so grateful to Elle’s amazing editor-in-chief for taking a chance on me and giving me this opportunity. I’m sure “national magazine columnist” was probably on my list of dream future scenarios for myself, back when I was a little girl. I started this blog as a simple diary, a way that I could chronicle my journey through the unthinkable. And now it has become this force that continues to open so many new doors for me. I’m sure there is some sort of life lesson takeaway from that, but I don’t feel like exploring whatever that may be right now. All’s I know is I’m pretty excited to flip open that first issue and see words that I wrote, attached to my name, smack dab in the middle of perfume ads and celebrity interviews.

The first issue is September and will be on stands soon (I wasn’t paid to say that, I swear). If you’re Canadian, you should be able to easily spot it (or you could just subscribe, which costs next to nothing). And if you’re not Canadian, there should be plenty online to keep you entertained.

I don’t have a link or a spoiler or a preview to share. All I will say is the column will be about me and this next phase of my life. I will be doing lots of cool and fun things and living my life the best that I can, and writing about it as I do.

I hope you’ll come along for the ride. It should be a good one.