Wednesday, February 8, 2012

10 things I learnt in the last week

Hi Everyone,

It feels like a long time since I have blogged and have definitely lived a full week since I last wrote. I am coming to you from rainy though beautiful Vancouver and sitting here finally with a few delicious moments to myself while my daughter and mother sleep. Things have been busy and in light of being time efficient and also getting down the most information in the shortest amount of time I am going for the listicle format (I don't know if I am breaking blog protocol here as most of my friends who do this tend to do it on Mondays but hey ho here we go!).

10 Things I learnt in the last week

10. Airtravel with a toddler remains a test in human endurance. I know my daughter is a pretty good traveller but the combination of a 2 flights, total abandonment of any routine, too many sugar products, confinement and a 2 year old who really doesn't see the point of sleeping during a 19 hour time period with a mommy who only finished a year of cancer treatment 6 weeks earlier is a very tough thing to do. We made it of course though not without a few tantrums and stand offs along the way. Ipads help too.

9. Reunions - reunions are well... simply wonderful. I always think to the opening scene in one of my all time favourite movies "Love Actually" where they show the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. I always tear up when I see it - children and their parents, long lost friends, mothers and daughters…Well I was reunited with my mother after a very long difficult year and it was wonderful. We both bore the scars and strains of our journeys though still pretty much looked like the same women we were before. Just with cooler and edgier hair dos!

8. Escape is bliss. Since I have been here I have often totally forgotten my status as a cancer patient and now a survivor. Here I am more anonymous and no one could tell what I have been through. I also have no visual reminders of my experience. Vancouver is a cancer free place to me. I was never sick when I was here so things feel fresh and new being here now. It feels good and I find i am not thinking or obsessing about it for the first time in a very long time. It feels good.

7. Kombucha tea though highly nutritious and full of good things to heal me is pretty much unpalatable. It looks like green scum and tastes like juice you left out in the sun for like a month. I am all for drinking and eating things that will make me healthy but this is where I draw the line!

6. Solo 24/7 parenting is hard. Since I got sick, my daughter went into full time daycare and her father took over a lot of responsibilities - most notably the nighttime wake ups. After a week of looking after a jet-lagged totter who has been thrown out of her sacred routine, I am exhausted. She is definitely going through separation anxiety and if I am in the vicinity then no one can get in there! It makes it hard for my mom to help and I definitely need it. I again give kudos to all those single parents out there as it is hard work. This is hard and I have to push through the exhaustion barriers which actually makes me feel just like a normal parent again. Though I am wiped out it strangely comforts me as I am just being a mom to her and nothing else. But I do need to remember that I need to rest and my body isn't what it used to be. Hmm…when to do that? I am looking forward to going home again and seeing my husband! We work much better as a team. :)

5. Being with old friends is the best medicine. I have been able to see some of my friends (though it has been a tight squeeze) and it has been great. I have one friend in particular who is so near and dear to my heart. She has made an appearance in this blog before as she was the one who flew across the world to come and shave my head for me. It is so nice to just be together doing normal things like going to lunch, taking our daughters to the park to play, hitting the Gap Kids section and relaxing over a latte. I feel privileged to have someone with such an open heart in my life who just understands without me having to say anything and whom I can tell pretty much anything to.

4. You don't need to know people forever or even have ever met them in person for them to be a tower of strength and support to you when you need it most. The internet builds bridges that never existed before. I had the chance to meet someone who has been a regular commentator on this blog in person for the first time this week. Though I had never met her I felt like she knew me and she understand my emotions and my experience. She took so much time to write long and detailed responses to my entries giving me numerous pearls of cancer wisdom that were so helpful. She came laden with gifts of healing for me and a treat for my daughter. I was so touched by her kindness and generosity and feel we are bonded by our parallel cancer journeys forever. I guess the world of internet media and social networking allows us to transcend the traditional routes for connecting with people. I am happy to have met this woman who lightened my load. Thank you and thank you to everyone else who have been a permanent fixture on my virtual OBB team. Though I don't always get to respond to your comments please know I read them all and appreciate every single one.

3. Norway is expensive. Yes I know I live in the most expensive country in the world but boy does that country look after you. However whenever I come to Canada it always feels like everything is "free." When you think it is normal for a beer to cost $20 and a haircut $150 suddenly $2 for toothpaste, $8 for a bottle of tylenol, $14 for a dinner out is a very exciting thing! I could go on and on. I am like a kid in a candy store walking around and it is far too easy to justify purchases! Maybe I could stock up just alittle bit…

2. Now this might contradict point 6 but whatever it's my list people. I am also relishing my time with my daughter. Though I sometimes want to wring her neck when she pushes the limits for like the 100th time, I also love how much time we are getting together. I am seeing how important I am in her life and how much I love her. After the year I have been through and the fears over things going wrong, my time with my family has been priceless. I appreciate every moment and the time I am getting with her while she is so little goes by so fast so that fact I am with her all day and not at work all day is pretty special. I just don't take anything for granted most importantly time.

1. Love. All you need it love. Lots of it.

(Oh I hear the familiar call of “Mama mine” coming from the bedroom now so that is my cue to whip off my OBB superhero cape and swtich back into mom!).


  1. simply beautiful. You make me cry every time. Also, you don't need cancer to take your words and try to apply it on a day to day life. I'll give my little man an extra squeeze for you and captain tonight. Looking forward to see you soon my dear Kate. Send our love to Vancoucer.

  2. Love Actually is also one of my all time favourite movies. Tearing up over the opening scene is what I do. Glad you are having a chance to relax, well sort of. As much as anyone can relax while solo parenting.

  3. Beautiful. With your writing style, I feel as if I am there in Vancouver with you, and I am sitting on the couch across from you. I want to reach over to you, give you a hug, share a laugh over parenting, and cry over the past year. Most of all, I want to thank you for sharing a wonderful moment in life. Hope that your trip home is relaxing, comforting, and most of all, healing. Big xoxo!