But my emotions taste so good…

Let me tell you, I have been eating my emotions for months now.  And although the emotional eating streak was fun… it’s time to get back to what makes me feel good – and that is feeling good.


Before you say ‘Lindsy, now is not the time to worry about what you’re eating and how much you weigh’’ – I want to tell you that it is actually the exact perfect time for me to do that. And I’ll tell you why.


First things first, I need to admit to myself where I am. So, since the beginning of November I have gained 10lbs… ok 12lbs. 13 – does it matter?! Oh wait that’s the point, to be honest, it’s 13lbs. That may not seem like a lot to some of you, and it may seem like a shit ton to others.


For me though, it is the exact amount of weight I worked my ass off (literally) to get rid of a long time ago. I always hovered around a number, and then one day with a few habit changes, the number changed, and it hovered at a much better place. It is no longer in that place. I need to do something about it before it gets even more difficult to come back when this is all over.


And this is what’s important, the reason why now is the best time to worry about what I’m eating.


  1. I can’t do much moving. I used to rely on exercise to be able to eat a lot of food, all day long. The right food yes, but still – a lot. Exercises builds a strong body and burns energy. If I can’t exercise much then I need to be especially focused on my nutrition.
  2. My body needs fuel that will strengthen it, not weaken it.
  3. Too much inflammation. All over. Everywhere. The chemo is literally poison in my body and it makes me puffy. My body needs food that will not cause more inflammation. Check.


So I am up against a lot right now. Chemo doesn’t make it easy to feel good about yourself both inside and out. I plan to do some positive emotional eating, and do you know what that is? Eat means eating better so you feel better in general, and you might lose some weight which feels good, and you gain confidence which feels hella good. All in all: GOOD.


Right now I need to do whatever I need to do to feel comfortable in my own skin. Right now, I need to focus and take care of me, and do exactly what the happy, fit me used to do – which is live pretty much the same life, but with less take out, pizza and carbs.

What’s all the buzz about?

Well, it’s official. I have no hair. So what kind of tone do I want to set in this specific blog post? Is there even any way I can set a tone after the shock factor most of you experienced after you just saw that big picture of me?


Maybe it’s that I have no hair and who cares. Or that I’m hurting every time I look in the mirror? Maybe it’s that I can totally rock the cue ball look and might even like my hair this short… Probably not, let me think…


The mixed feelings are real.


No hair means the chemo is working. It means it’s targeting all those aggressive fast growing cells and and if I can see it, and I can feel it, then it’s happening. PRO.


No hair means I can feel every single draft of cold air that ever exists. CON.


No hair means I get to experiment with some pretty stellar wig game. PRO.


Wigs are fucking annoying. CON.


No hair means my get-ready routine has been drastically reduced. PRO.


Until I need to really focus on makeup once my eyelashes and eyebrows disappear. CON.


My kids think it’s funny. PRO.


Kingsley thinks I look like a boy. And she really wants me to stay a girl soooo…  CON. And funny.


My eyes really stand out. PRO.


Unless they’re tired eyes, sigh… CON.


Who even knew there could be this many PROS? I was really focused on the CONS just before it happened, because I had no idea how it would look, how I would feel or how others would feel. I didn’t want to look like a cancer patient… and now I do, which means that now everyone knows.


PRO – I now know that when my hair starts to grow back, I’ve already tried all of the different lengths and they looked pretty ok on me. And, my hair will be growing back stronger and healthier then ever in just a few short months. It’ll be here in no time… at least that’s what I keep telling myself.


High FIVE!

The kids are alright

“What do you tell the kids?” This is a question many people are curious about, and here is my take. Early on it was a pretty easy decision for my husband and I that we would not hide anything that was happening to me. Medical things and health issues can happen to everyone, and we didn’t want them to be scared of hospitals, scared of getting sick, or scared if someone they love get sick. I’ve always been a firm believer that they need to know that these things happen, and when they do, we are here for them, people are there for us and we live in a place where we get excellent care.


Everyone may not agree with this approach, but I will tell you that the confidence in our decisions with our children grows everyday. I think it can be easy to not give them enough credit in their ability to understand what is happening around them.


Of course, we give them age appropriate versions of what’s happening, and our top priority is to make sure they have no fear, and feel comfortable knowing they’re still our top priority and maintaining a stable environment for them trumps everything.


Kingsley is 4 years old, and she is empathetic, caring, loving, and we watch her compute what’s going on as it’s happening every single day. I love hearing what she has to say, answering her questions and watching her process everything in her own way.


Hunter, is 2 ½, and he is the most loving, caring little boy – and provides all the comic relief necessary. He is so young, but seems to grasp most concepts, and isn’t phased by it at all. They’re both happy, secure and don’t realize that what is going on with me is much different then what’s happening outside their world!


They knew from the start that I had something in my chest that needed to be fixed. We told them that my body made extra cells, and they had to be removed. We obviously down played the nitty gritty details of the  surgery, and told them what they needed to know – like that I would be in the hospital for a couple of days, and after I went home I wouldn’t be able to do all the things I normally do for a little while.


(Below, we got a lot of flowers after surgery – Kingsley LOVED that! Plus, a couple pics from one of their short hospital visits.)



So, that is where we left it at first. We didn’t use the ‘C’ word, mostly because I was worried they’d hear it somewhere else, in a scarier context. We decided we’d wait on the final details of my treatment before making any more calls.


Once it was confirmed that I’d be doing chemotherapy, we decided to look into how to approach the situation the best way possible, because we knew we’d have to give them more details. All the professionals and resources were telling us that we needed to be more up front and honest with them, including using the ‘C’ word.


We waited until my PICC line was inserted into my arm, because it was a great way to lead the discussion – a look what I have – guess what it’s for – kind of situation. We told them I was going to start getting special medicine, because after they removed the cells in my operation, we had to make sure no cells were left in my body (Kingsley learns about cells in school – and she LOVES learning these kinds of terms). We explained how the PICC line is how they give me medicine, and that the medicine might make me feel unwell sometimes, but it is going to be make me all better, and nothing is really going to change.


They weren’t really interested haha – like it wasn’t a big deal. We approached the name, told them this was called Breast Cancer – again, they didn’t really care at all, which is good in my opinion, what’s the big deal MOM?!


Finally, we told them my hair was going to change, and eventually fall out. This took a little longer for Kingsley to compute, Hunter was literally already off playing and didn’t give a shit haha. So I said ‘Kingsley – my hair is going to look like dad’s hair!” – she burst into laughter, thought it was the best thing she ever heard and that was that. Aside from all the ‘funny’ jokes she was making – she’s a comedian just like her mama 😉


We made light of it all, one of my favourite tactics in life – and honestly, as things happen both kids have been amazing. I know they’re ok, we check in all the time, and our decision to be as up front as we were seems to have been the best one, for our family.


Feel yourself up

Everyone wants to know, did you find it? And how did you know it was a lump? Yes, I found it, although I don’t exactly remember when I first acknowledged it. I’d rest my hand on the side of my breast at night before falling asleep, because it just so happened to be a position I feel comfortable in…  and that was the only time I’d feel it. I remember starting to wonder ‘hmmm, what is that? Is that what a lump feels like? Maybe I should get it checked out.’


Cue life. I’d forget in the morning, and forget until the next time I slept in that position again.


The time frame isn’t clear, but I’m pretty sure I repeated this cycle for at least half a year, probably longer. It just didn’t feel like what a lump would feel like – so it probably wasn’t anything to worry about. PLUS what are the actual chances it turns out to be something.


The lump was soft, and more of an oval than a round ball shape. It didn’t move at all, and it wasn’t super defined. It was at the side of my right breast, along the curve that moves towards my armpit. It must have been getting bigger in size, because I was noticing it more, but it just didn’t’ quite feel like what I thought a lump should feel like.


It’s hormones.

But breast cancer runs in the family.

I just finished breastfeeding, so…

But I’m pretty sure that is a lump.

That’s not what a lump feels like.

What the hell does a lump even feel like?

There is no way this is Breast Cancer…

But what if.


Back and forth. It was the back and forth that finally made me realize I needed to just figure it out already. Plus, it was starting to hurt, like physically ache. Not all the time, but when it hurt it was really hard to ignore.


So, it was the second week in October and I finally remembered that I needed to make an appointment with my family doctor, to get this lump checked out. I made an appointment for the end of that week, just before I was leaving for a conference in Tampa.


My family doctor did a breast exam and told me ‘yeah that is something, let’s get an ultrasound’. She told me it was probably one of two things – neither of which were cancer. Lumps are common in women my age, they’re usually hormone related (see!) or cysts… nothing to worry about. BUT, she told me “because it feels rooted in it’s spot, and your skin slightly dimples around it, it has some characteristics worth looking further into”.




Cue an epic trip in Tampa (picture above is courtesy of pool shenanigans). The lump in my breast hurt the entire time I was gone, and now it was weighing on me. I hadn’t told many people about my appointment, mostly because I’m not the kind of person to get worked up over something until I know it’s time time to get worked up. I didn’t want to make a big deal, I didn’t want to worry anyone.


I get home, and my appointment is Monday. I have the ultrasound and I find out that same day that I’ll need more testing. I was very disappointed, and upset. Mostly at the fact that it wasn’t nothing. At this point my spidey sense was going off… but again, what are the chances. My rational side was constantly crunching numbers and statistics – this would turn out to be nothing.


The next phone call I got was from the Breast Clinic at Southlake hospital, in Newmarket.


“Hi Lindsy, here are your appointments, to follow up the ultrasound you had yesterday (Monday)”


Mammogram Wednesday, Biopsy the following Wednesday (Oct 31, Halloween). Appointment to find out the results of the biopsy is on the following Wednesday (Nov 7) and if surgery is required it’ll be three weeks from that day (estimate November 28).


Oh. It was literally all lined up. And things were moving fast.


The moral of the story is that  I FOUND IT. I felt a lump, I finally got it checked out, and the doctors all did an amazing job of taking care of me. If I didn’t know what felt normal and what didn’t – if I didn’t regularly FEEL MYSELF UP (hehe) then it could have been much worse.


DO A SELF EXAMINATION. Even if you don’t know what you’re looking for. If it feels like something you aren’t sure about – get it checked out. If you have family history – ask for a mammogram or an ultrasound. If your gut is telling you that you should get checked out – do it.


Just listen to me and feel yourself up on the regular ladies!


It’s not like looking in the mirror

I have had more hairstyles in the last 10 days then I have had in the last 7 years. The whole hair loss thing is one of the hardest parts of this ‘journey’, and not because all that matters is how you look – but because your look is a part of your identity, it is a way you express who you are. So when that look starts to change, and not by choice, it’s a hard thing to accept.


First, I cut the long hair into a bob – my mom bob! You see, the hair started to feel pretty annoying because it was falling out everywhere. Like, it was everywhere. Quickly, I realized that it wasn’t short enough, the inconvenience of it all was too much for me. So the next step naturally, is to cut it shorter, so I went for the pixie cut just 48 hours ago. I thought that haircut would be a tough one, but truthfully since I had absolutely zero emotional attachment to the outcome, it felt pretty casual, and actually very easy.


The poor hairstylist though, looked absolutely horrified when he combed my hair and a ton of hair came with it. My friend had called in advance, and warned him what was happening and why we were there – but I think until you actually experience it, it’s hard to prepare yourself. So, naturally, I told him ‘it’s all good bro keep going’! Haha… That happened.


I keep seeing glances of myself in window reflections, mirrors, etc. And it’s the weirdest thing. It’s me, but it’s not me. How does it actually feel to have shorter hair?  It feels ok – it feels like my hair is in a ponytail. But when I see it, I look like someone else.


I plan to shave my head tomorrow, because even though it is super short, it is still EVERYWHERE. It is still too long to just fall out at random. So it’s time I just take complete control of the situation and shave it off. I’m not going to look like myself, and I am probably not going to ever quite feel like myself again – so it’s time to be a different me. With a wig! Or two. They’re all lined up, ready to be worn, so let’s have some fun with it.


Chemo makes you hotter, right?

I’m a visual person, so naturally when I needed to get some ideas on how I might try to look as normal as possible during my chemo treatment I went to my fav app – Pinterest. I knew I was going to lose my hair, I knew I’d need a wig, and I knew I’d need to learn how to do makeup properly, at the age of 33. I also knew, my regular bikini style wouldn’t suffice during radiation so I needed to find a proper replacement.


“Platinum blonde hair extensions”

“Platinum blonde hair with a touque”

“Blonde curly hair in hat”


These were my first searches. I mean, you all know how much I love a good fake blonde look, in fact many of you have probably heard me admit that I’m ‘blonderexic’ – a self diagnosis where I feel like I’m never quite blonde enough… so here is a chance I can make the most out of a difficult situation and find a head of hair that is definitely not possible in a natural way for me, and have fun with it.


“Makeup tutorial for chemo patients”


Fuck that noise. Too real. New search. ASAP.


“Heavy eyeliner tutorials”

“Dramatic makeup for blondes”

“Mimic fake lashes with eyeliner”

“Eyebrow microblading”


These searches were a little nicer, and there were some pretty beautiful make up examples. If only I could be as effortless as them…. At least I had the visual. That’s all I needed, a visual to see that it’s possible to look like a human, and maybe even attractive during chemo.




“Rashguard bikini”

“Cropped rashguard”


I am going to have to start radiation in the spring, and it’s going to last until early July. I am a SUMMER human. Summer is my thing. The only good thing about getting Cancer when I did – was that my surgery and treatment somehow managed to avoid the summer season. I’m grateful, because that is honestly the best timing ever.


But – during radiation my skin is going to be very sensitive to sunlight and any kind of suncare products. This sensitivity will also likely span the majority of the summer after my treatments are all over. So I’ll need to cover up. I found some great options online, and even though I’m not exactly twinning with all of the models – I’ll find a way to pull it off.


The best joke is, I saved a few pictures on my phone. This would be my visual, my goal to help me get to my treatments and knowing that maybe I’d get out of this looking as normal as possible, maybe even…dare I say… attractive?! It might seem shallow, but shit, when you don’t feel like you look good it can really mess with your day. I don’t want people to see Cancer when they see me, I want them to see me, and my effortless beauty! Hahahaha… that’s a thing. Right?


I showed my husband, he said “so basically you want to get hotter during chemo”. I laughed my ass off – because DUH YES. Yes that is what I’m saying. Is that too much to ask?


When I asked my GF to take a look at what my ‘chemo goals’ were she was much more supportive haha. I showed a couple others when they asked what kind of wigs I’d be looking for. All my ladies out there just get it. They’re all very good friends for knowing when they NEED To LIE to me lol. I appreciate it. More then you know.




I posted the photos so you guys could all see the inner workings of my brain. The one of Kingsley is my CONFIDENCE GOAL picture, she just knows how to rock whatever she’s got! I hope you laugh, or at least smile, and understand that visualizing this shit is what works – or at least we’ll see won’t we? Wish me luck!


The Port Insertion

It’s the day after my port insertion, and let me tell you, it feels like someone stabbed me in the neck with multiple needles and forgot a piece of equipment in my chest.


Oh wait, that happened.


Only the piece of equipment is actually a small tube inserted into my vein, travelling directly into one of the major valves of my heart. This way, the medication goes straight to my heart, causes minimal damage to my veins and circulates the chemotherapy and other medications more efficiently.


My PICC line was removed, it was always meant to be a temporary solution until they could get me in to have the Port insertion procedure. The PICC line was a small tube inserted into one of my veins through the bicep area of my arm, and travelled 42cm to the right valve of my heart. YES. I know what you’re thinking – that is a ruler and a half of tubing in my vein – F word. It couldn’t get wet, so showering was annoying, and it was very in the way when doing normal daily tasks. But, it’s gone now.


The Port is much more convenient, it’ll be completely under my skin once it’s healed and I’ll be able to bathe, swim, and whatever without having to even think about it. It’ll stay there until all of this fun stuff is completely behind me, probably after my second reconstruction surgery in about a year from now, but that is a total guess. We shall see.


How fun was it?


Well, now that people keep pointing out to me that I make a lot of jokes, and tend to talk about everything with everyone, and somehow make things like this fun – what do you think? Like, it’s not what I’d choose to do on a Friday, but it was ok.


I could see my husband reacting in my pre-op nursing interview, I mean, I could just answer the questions like a robot but that just isn’t something I know how to do. I’m not trying to be funny, I’m just being friendly, and honest. And positive.


These pictures are from before surgery, the empty bed is during surgery and also there is a  little shot of what it looks like now.

         port instertion, lindsy matthews, chemo, chemotherapy, breast cancer, cancer, surgery, procedure


Why is there a picture of an empty bed? My husband said he took it when he could hear the room burst into laughter through the doors and he knew that I was ok and cracking jokes. And, well, he was right. The nursing team had an excellent sense of humour and I was feeling pretty fine from the light sedation they gave me.


Everything went mostly smooth. There was only one slightly uncomfortable blip where between jokes I told the Dr. “Um, I can really feel my heart beating. Like, it’s beating very fast and very hard, I can really feel it in my chest, it’s borderline painful”. They quickly noticed, and they noted out loud that my heart rate was around 73-75 when they started and it was too high now, although they didn’t offer that specific number out loud.


The Dr cut the line that was in my vein and made it shorter, it was obviously in too far. Ewwww. My heart rate started to get lower, and it wasn’t until after it was back under control that one of the nurses told me it was into the hundreds. I never asked the exact number, I didn’t need to know.


After I was all done I told the nurses my husband would be stalking the door outside the room I was in, which he was. Thankfully. And we all headed to the post-op recovery area, enjoyed some water and apple juice and I was on my way.


Today, it hurts. They told me it would for a couple days, so I’ll look forward to when that’s over. In about a week’s time they said it’ll be practically healed and I will be able to participate in anything as if it’s not there. And that’s what makes it all worth it.


So there, a port insertion adventure. Exciting!


What about wine & sex?

These were the only two things I had questions about when I met with the Oncology Pharmacist, back earlier this month after my chemotherapy treatment schedule had been officially put into motion. In all fairness, she had covered literally every other topic, question, and detail that existed. Except for what I considered to be important stuff, clearly.


My husband and I had about 34 minutes before I had to be at my next appointment at the hospital – I was practically putting in full work days leading up to my first treatment getting all of the diagnostic imaging they needed, my PICC line had to be inserted, I had to meet with multiple professionals for multiple different areas or specialty – it was long.


So we talked a mile a minute – totally my style – which helped make me completely comfortable to ask what I really wanted to know. I remember I looked at my husband, put my hand on his leg, and apologized to him saying  “Sorry, I have to ask… “ then turned my attention back to her and said “what’s going to happen to my sex drive?”.


What. Do you blame me? We’ve all seen the episode of Sex and the City where Samantha, who was also battling Breast Cancer, of all people – didn’t want to have sex with her hot, younger model boyfriend. If that isn’t concerning I don’t know what is… this is real life people.


First she told me it was a great question (gold star pat on the back for me!) and then smiled and told me the good news, that it probably wouldn’t change. As long as I’m feeling well, get it on. Not in those exact words. BUT, wear a condom and dear lord don’t get pregnant. Again I may have exaggerated her wording there, but that’s what I heard sooooo… On it.


My second question was about alcohol. Can I drink wine. How much wine. What about all of the wine. And here is the low down – I can definitely enjoy wine, and other beverages, with this in mind. I need to avoid alcohol a couple days before and after my treatments because alcohol and chemotherapy are both metabolised in the liver, and I need to save that important organ power for the chemo. Makes sense. After those days it slows down, and a couple of glasses won’t hurt.


Naturally, I asked “What about a whole bottle, or more? When can that happen?” She was very professional, barely smiled and told me that when a ‘party situation’ comes up, here are the best days for that – check! Noted, memorized, and good day mam. The more you know. Am I right?


After my next couple of appointments were over, I went home with a handful of prescriptions, all the knowledge in the world, and quickly ordered two boxes of condoms off Amazon. Because no matter how old you get that shit can still be so awkward at the Shoppers Drugmart. Admit it.

Chemo Schmemo

Almost two weeks ago I had my first round of chemo. And by the time I got to my appointment, pretty much all of my anxiety, anger and negative feelings had disappeared. By the time I got there, I was ready to just get it over with, do what I had to do, and was determined to make the best of it. I had 16 weeks of treatment ahead of me, and I will not waste that amount of time in a bad mood.


My chair was in an insanely sunny area of the ‘Chemo Suite’, and for those of you who know me you know that sunshine is my THING. I live for sun, the sun is my spirit animal, and on vacations I soak in ‘every last drop’ – meaning I literally stay in the sun until every last drop of the rays have turned into shade… it’s not crazy, it’s my thing. I took the fact that I had to wear sunglasses through my treatment as a very positive sign, it was the universe delivering exactly what I needed.


I didn’t feel much during the treatment, physically. It lasted just over an hour, and the nurse administered two different chemo drugs during that time. It honestly didn’t seem like a big deal. I did however have a couple of emotional moments, which is probably pretty normal. Although, I’m not very emotional personally, so it caught me off guard.


The first time was when the nurse was telling me how sometimes it’s hard for them to get some grown adults physically through the chemo suite doors – like some people won’t walk through – the nurses have to take them by the hand and physically get them into the chairs, and really work at getting them their treatment.


This hit me hard because the visual popped into my head and I suddenly realized ‘Holy crap, this is a super scary thing for people, and it’s happening to me’. The grossness of the whole thing seeped into my brain as I looked at my husband, who was there with me, and I practically whispered “I can’t believe this is happening right now”. He looked back at my sympathetically, I looked away, and forced my mind to get control, and get positive again.


But then there was a second time, when the nurse was injecting the first medication into my PICC line. It was bright red, we talked about it a little bit, and then she told me “this is the one that makes your hair fall out’. It hurt.  A lot. Like I know that it’s going to happen, the doctors made it very clear it was a guaranteed side effect… they didn’t want me to get my hopes up because ‘some people don’t lose their hair during chemo’. That wouldn’t be me, and now it’s in my body, and there is no turning back. My little emotional moment didn’t last too long, because again I looked at my husband and very clearly said “fucking ew”. He laughed, I laughed, the nurse laughed.. And we all lived happily ever after.


That was abrupt. Here’s the rest. If you’re still with me.


The side effects following the treatment weren’t too bad. I had a medication schedule after my treatment to battle the nausea and vomiting, I had a nurse visit my home for three days to hook my PICC to a saline hydration treatment, and an immune booster shot for 7 days to help keep me healthy. They definitely set you up for success, and do everything possible to make it bearable. For the first week following the treatment I was fatigued, I could feel my heart beating in my chest and my body just felt heavy. I was nauseas, had a pretty major headache, some body aches… felt generally not great. But all of which could be helped with Tylenol or extra anti-nausea pills. It wasn’t anything major.


By the time the second weekend rolled around I was feeling like my normal self again. I had a ton of energy, I was happy, positive and borderline hyperactive haha. Like, it felt so good to feel normal – I felt way above normal! I caught up with friends, drank wine, went to a large event with colleagues, worked out, went skating with kids and friends, organized my whole house (literally decluttered every closet and kid toy shelf that existed), meal prepped, met with clients and friends, got to work, and did a full Bootcamp class! It was a great week.


And I still have all my hair.


Tomorrow I go round 2, and I’ll consider myself lucky if things go the same way! Wish me luck.


Side note: For those of you who were thinking to yourself ‘the sun isn’t an animal’ – yes, I realize the sun is not an animal, you get what I mean, that’s just how much I love the sun.

The Cancer.

So, I have Breast Cancer. Turns out that is a thing that can actually happen to you, at the age of 33, seemingly out of nowhere. As I sit here and type my first blog post on the subject, it still feels incredibly strange that this is happening. It doesn’t feel real. And by that I mean exactly what it sounds like… it simply doesn’t feel like it’s happening to me.

I’ve had a bilateral mastectomy, with partial reconstruction – my body is forever changed – plus I have chemotherapy – what most would consider to be the scariest and worst medical treatment out there – currently running through my bloodstream – and it still doesn’t feel real. I’m in a place where every day I just do what I have to do what’s next, and then I wake up again the next day and do whatever is next again. I’ve been calling it business as usual, except I have a new usual.

The new usual consists of me making it my full time job to do everything I can to get me out of this situation, in the best shape possible. Visits to the hospital and clinics are now a part of my job, taking medication on a meticulous schedule is now a part of my job, arranging for childcare, taking care of administrative crap, dealing with insurance companies, home nursing and managing my symptoms are now all just a part of my full time job.

I’ve definitely had better gigs in my day, but never a more important one. So here I am, making the best of a difficult situation, taking it all one day at a time and focusing on maintaining a positive mindset through and through. That’s my plan, that’s my job, and this is my life.