What do you mean I haven’t blogged in months?!

This is my first blog post in MONTHS. What took so long? I blame Cancer. I can do that, because you know, Cancer. I’ll use it when I can, it’s the least I can get from this whole ordeal, am I right? I dare you to challenge me… I had Cancer.


Key word right there, did you catch it? HAD. I HAD Cancer. I can proudly say this because after months and months, and all the treatments/tests/surgeries under the sun… I have confirmed that I no longer have any Cancer in my body. It is a pretty epic thing to feel, say out loud and explain.


What’s crazier is that it still doesn’t feel real. It still doesn’t feel like this whole thing happened to me.


I am still having targeted hormone therapy, every three weeks until April 2020, and I still have another final reconstructive surgery ahead of me sometime in the winter next year. This is just to prevent a recurrence of the Cancer as much as we can. Overall, no more cancer.




Moving the EFF on. But what exactly does that even mean? People always say ‘time to move on’, ‘now you can move on’, and ‘Yay it’s finally over for you’. Is it though? Will it ever feel over? Is it possible to move on? No. Definitely no. The people who truly know what I mean are the people who have also had Cancer themselves.


The Cancer is constantly on my mind. Like, literally almost every single thought that goes through mind is somehow connected to Cancer in some way. Maybe it’ll fade over time, but right now it is still very present. Here are some examples:


Thought -> Cancer version


I’m making Kingsley’s lunch for her first day of school -> I’m tired, probably because of the Cancer related medication I’m taking


Today is the first day of school! -> Today is the first day of school, I can’t believe this time last year I was about to find out I had Cancer.


Seeing all my school mom friends -> I wonder what they think about my hair, I wonder if they remember I’m the mom that got Cancer?


I’m going to Starbucks to write my first blog post in months -> I wonder if the people beside my think I had chemo because I have short hair. The barista smiled at me sympathetically, I wonder if it’s because she thinks I had Cancer. I’m drinking a black Americano, I wonder if my heart will palpitate because I had my Herceptin treatment last week and sometimes caffeine effects that. I’m writing about Cancer. I feel like all I talk about is Cancer…


And so on.


And so forth.


I think you get it.


Point is, I’m hoping that this fades with time, because my brain hurts. Literally and figuratively… Maybe it’s because I think ALL the time. What’s next, what do I do now? What is life after Cancer going to be?


I guess I’ll find out.


Saying Tata to my tatas. (part 2)

I woke up from surgery in the most amount of pain I could ever imagine. Like ever. I vividly remember thinking that I’d give anything to give birth to a basketball because at least it would take my attention off the pain I was feeling in my chest. Something had to be wrong, why was I feeling all this, why weren’t they giving me more painkillers! It was next level.


I am a bit fuzzy on details, at least I’ll assume I am, but all I know is that I was PISSED. Someone, more drugs now. I explained how much pain I was in and I remember a doctor or nurse or someone asking me what kind of pain killer I wanted – like I cared – anythinnnnnnng! I was snappy, and angry… I couldn’t help it. I remember telling them I’m not normally an asshole, but that is just how much I was hurting. They get it, right? I definitely felt like I was being reasonable, good thing there is no video footage to show just how ridiculous I probably was…


After some of the pain subsided a little more, and I was in post op recovery long enough it was time to head to my room and recover there. I felt like it was forever, and I’m pretty sure it was. I asked for my husband a million times, and I knew I had a couple friends waiting too – I just needed to see someone I knew. But man, it was over. I was ok. It was over.


The DL on the surgery:


The general surgeon successfully removed all of the cancerous tumours and cells, and both breasts were removed entirely. I knew that some lymph nodes ended up being removed entirely – but it wasn’t until two days later that I learned it was 6 lymph nodes, which seemed like a lot. They hadn’t been biopsied yet so it would be almost 14 days before I learned if there were cancer cells or not. (Spoiler alert, all lymph nodes were considered negative for cancer, phew. However isolated tumour cells were found in one of the lymph nodes, which is one of the reasons why I’m doing chemo… that’s another story.)


My reconstruction plan had evolved over the few weeks leading up to surgery, and I’m thankful for that. My HER2 status meant I’d be doing radiation, which can permanently alter any immediate reconstruction effort.  At first I was told that no reconstruction was possible – which was upsetting for obvious reasons – so I was happy when my plastic surgeon told me he wanted to try it a different way.


I have a permanent and final gel implant in my left side – which will not be affected by radiation. On my right side I have an expander. It’s basically a temporary fluid filled bag with a port in it – which means a needle can be inserted into the implant through the port to add liquid or have liquid removed during the course of radiation, in anticipation of the skin retracting. This means that leading up to radiation the fluid will be added to make the left side bigger than the right – expanding the skin, and then during the course of radiation the fluid will be removed as needed, in order to save the skin from getting too thin as it retracts (and risking the implant becoming exposed, or failing in another way), and the expander, in theory, will end up the same size as the left.


Science. It’s cool.


The skin can continue to change and be affected by radiation for months and months after it’s complete, so my next surgery to replace the expander with a final implant won’t be until the very end of the year, at the earliest. So, fingers crossed the expander process goes well and surgery won’t have to be a huge complicated thing! But, I will definitely have to do the whole surgery thing again.


I’ll look forward to the operating room playlist.

Saying Tata to my tatas. (part 1)

Ah yes, the day I said goodbye to my tatas. What a day. My memory is still extremely vivid and full of details, so I figure why not let everyone in on what happened that day, and what the deal is now.


I’ve never had surgery before, so I was a little anxious about going under anaesthetic, and also about waking up with a permanently altered body… makes sense.


On the day of surgery I arrived at the hospital around 6am, with my husband, and was ready to just do what I had to do and go with the flow. One step at a time, they prepared me. I had to have a lymph node biopsied at the same time so I stopped in nuclear medicine first to be injected with two solutions in order to help them find the right lymph node – I was told it would be removed if it looked suspicious. But that’s all I was really told. Then I had my IV put in, and I waited around for a couple of hours until it was my turn.



I was visited by my plastic surgeon Dr. Omodele Ayani ahead of time. It felt pretty casual, cracking jokes as usual… And once it was my time someone led me to the operating room and I walked in and sat up on the table. I had two main surgeons – the general surgeon was responsible for the bilateral mastectomy (double mastectomy) and removing the cancer, and my plastic surgeon was responsible for the reconstruction process.


My plastic surgeon walked in to mark my body before surgery got under way, and I noticed he had a portable music speaker in his bag. Tunes, obviously. I was into it, but then I became instantly alarmed when he told me he’d be listening to John Legend’s Christmas album! Whoa whoa whoa. What. I told him that top 40 music was what I’d listen to… but hey I’m not the one with the sharp objects. The person with the sharp objects gets to choose the playlist. Check.


He started to mark my body for incisions as I sat on the table, so I  took the opportunity to make a joke about how my boobs looked before kids – and after kids.


It was obviously the appropriate thing to do.


Hey look, before kids *lift them up*

After kids *let them drop*

Before kids *lift them up*

After kids *let them drop*


That happened. I did that.


Friendly banter back and forth ensued… Fun with my tatas right until the very end!


So, now it was time to lay back and get the show on the road. Doctors and nurses were bustling around me getting ready. I was told it would be about a three hour surgery and that everything was going to be ok. Just as they were getting ready to put me under anaesthesia, I could hear my plastic surgeon ask ‘Hey who changed the music?!” because all of a sudden it was playing some typical top 40 hit. “Lindsy, did you put them up to this?!”. The mask was already on my mouth but I laughed, and denied it… although I’m sure no one could actually understand me. Then another doctor said he was the one who changed it. It was a pretty solid way for me to go under, because literally 3 seconds later, I was out.


I’ll never know exactly how much Christmas music was played, and that my friends, will haunt me until the end of time.

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.


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.