Posts Tagged With: cancer

That’s okay

I went to fitness this morning – and that’s about all I did – went.

And Vandie said, “That’s okay.  At least you got here.  Good for you for coming.”

I did half the fitness routine and had to stop.

And Janet said, “That’s okay. Listen to your body.  Some days will be better than others. Good for you for trying.”

I got frustrated and cried.

And Vandie and Janet said, “That’s okay, Stacey.  You need to be kinder to yourself, more gentle. Be patient.”

So, I got through the class – did the stretches and went home.

On my drive home I felt fantastic.

By the time I arrived at home I had decided to go for that walk I missed this morning with Kevin.

I walked slowly.  But I made it.

And I said to myself, “That’s okay.  Tomorrow will be easier.  Good for you.  You did it.”

Thanks, Vandie and Janet, for turning my attitude around so that I can have a great day!

Categories: cancer, inpsiration, learning, life | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

The stand after the fall

Nothing like a good fitness class to clear your mind.

I went to Vandie’s class today carrying the weight of my memories.

At first, those memories were heavy and indeed felt like lead weights.

I got mad.

I fought back – and kept pushing.

I forgot about the memories trying to focus on the class.

The music propelled me through.

I felt great – I had a bounce in my step.  I heard the music.

I enjoyed the beat and lost myself for a while.

My heart pounded like it would explode.

I was MAD!  NO!  I would NOT stop!  I pushed through.

Screw the pain – screw the past – screw cancer.

For then – for now – I am the victor – not the memory.

I was lost in fitness and it felt wonderful.

I still feel wonderful.  I realize it takes more courage to go back to fitness than it does to do fitness.

It is the stand after the fall that is the toughest part.

It is the living after the near-death that is the greatest challenge.

To return is to face your weakness – whatever it may be.

So – back I go.

And I’ll go again.  I WILL step out of the shadows of cancer.  Damn it!

Categories: cancer, determination, inspiration, journal, life | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Silver Threads

Tiny bits of tinsel tumble to the ground

I look at myself in horror and realize what I’ve found

Bits of silver and bits of grey that made my healing clear

Have taken leave of my head and headed out in fear

Two more to go – two more to go

Tiny bits of tinsel tumble from my head

I wish it not to abandon ship but stay in place instead

My wig stands by upon the shelf in hope of active duty

To make me queen of the day – perhaps a wigged beauty

Two more to go – two more to go

Tiny bits of tinsel linger where I sleep

I dream at night and hope all day – my hair that I could keep

Alas it does not seem to be in the cards this day

Instead, my hair, once more it seems will soon be gone away

But

Only

Two more to go – two more to go

Then

Again

The silver threads I may keep!

Categories: cancer, journal, journey, non-fiction, personal journey, poetry, story | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Are you literate?

This was the question I challenged my English class with – and it without a doubt more of a challenge to answer than any of them really understand. 

Literacy happens when one can fully function in the context of his or her own environment.  What may mean literacy to a student sitting in a fully resourced family may mean something completely different to a student who is in his late 50s, having been recently laid off, injured, and diagnosed with a serious illness – oh, and is responsible to provide for his family.

I am touched by the number of students I teach who are able to function – daily – on an empty stomach, a monthly allowance that cuts so close to the bone there is barely enough money to scrape by.  So many of them suffer from what I am convinced is stress-related illnesses. 

The Ontario curriculum has outlined expectations that students need to meet so that they can be declared literate.  My question remains, how can one dictate what literacy is to the general public – a one size fits all kind of mandate?  Does everyone really need to know how to write a paragraph?  Does everyone really need to know the rules of possession?  I remember years ago when I did not see the sense of teaching students how to write using cursive writing – when computers were much more efficient.  A vice-principal of mine saw a different angle – in that all students should learn cursive writing – computers may not be handy.  Today, I begin to understand Alvin Toffler who suggested that English and math should not be taught in isolation.  Topics that need to be introduced to students include things like adolescence and current events – citizenship.  I am not sure – but I think to be fully meaningful – education should be sensitive to the context of the student.  If the student functions fully in his or her own environment  – then they are literate. 

For the student who is fighting cancer – he should know all about the health care system and treatment options that are open to him – not how to paragraph.

For the student who struggles with depression – she should know all about the treatments that are available – not just in Ontario, but around the world – not how to paragraph.

For the student who is about to be a Dad – he should know what kinds of responsibilities he is about to take on – how to manage money, cook, parent – not how to paragraph.

Not that paragraphing is wrong – it is simply a symbol of things that are expected and mandated in education that may not fit the bill for everyone in terms of meeting their literacy needs. 

I don’t know – but I certainly do question – and in education I think that makes me literate. 

Categories: Teaching | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Stop the Bus – I Need to Get Off!

It seems that my mind races like a locomotive in full speed that just won’t slow down.  Especially at night!

I know that some of you who are dealing with estates are going to agree with me that it can feel like one step forward and ten steps back.  There is so much to do. And in my Dad’s case because he was home until the end – there is more.

The paperwork seems endless.

Okay, so I can get through things (and I am oh, so grateful to have had the summer off to “rest”) but it makes achieving closure a little more tricky.

Consequently, for the last few nights I have dreamed extensively about Dad.  Not about anything good – rather – about his death.

It causes me to wake up early and not be able to get back to sleep.

Here’s the deal: I did my very best to care for Dad as did everyone else in his life.  He passed away at home in his own bed, surrounded by loved ones.  The trigger may just have been that while trying to empty out the condo., I have had to process so many papers that Mom and Dad had stored over their years together.  One of the things I discovered in the papers is that in Dad’s medical history, he was found to have a spot on his lung.  “Aha!” I thought.  Cancer – lung cancer?  That would explain his fatigue, his lack of appetite, his weight loss, his cough… and so on.  There would not have been any change in my course of care – but for some reason I struggle with this new “revelation”.  And it seems to come through in my dreams.

Why is it so dominant in my thoughts?  I am at peace with what happened and that he passed away peacefully.  Why has this new piece of information troubled me so gravely in my sleep?  Guilt?  Ignorance?  Guilty over feeling that Mom would have known what was going on?  I don’t know.

I found this pattern to have been the same with Mom.  My post-passing diagnosis explained a lot of the symptoms Mom experienced prior to her passing.

Is this human nature?  Or my attempt to be a “vigilant” and “capable” daughter?

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not regretful or feeling that I could have done anything differently.

I’d just like to get some closure and then some good sleep.

Does anyone know what I mean?

 

 

Categories: Family and Friends, Life's Lessons | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

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