Tag Archives: Battle Scars

Friendship on our Level

A friend told me something powerful today.

That if I wasn’t here, she wouldn’t still be here.

Let that sink in for a moment…

That if I wasn’t here, she wouldn’t still be here.

That if I wasn’t here, she wouldn’t still be here.

It took me aback for a minute. I took it like, if I wasn’t here, neither would she be, as in like…life. It could go so many ways, suicide? Running away? Wither up and dying from my lack of horrid jokes and hummus desk snacks?

She said it seriously, with tears in her eyes. I was speechless for a moment. That is quite a powerful message to hand someone…without an explanation. But that significant message was oh-so precious. It must be handled carefully, like a delicate orchid and treasured for the meaning behind it. It is not something you can laugh off or pish posh.

If you weren’t here, I wouldn’t be here. Think about it.

Looking back on it now, I believe she was speaking of work, like she would have quit her job by now. But either way, it is quite the statement.

She values our friendship so much that my simply being here, alters her life, her path, her choices. That my dear folks, is friendship at its most deepest and cherished level. We are not simply co-workers that sit beside each other and fill our days with idle chitchat. I care about her life, I feel like I know her daughters and mother on a deeper level than I actually do. I feel her pain and I share her shining moments. We get a kick out of word play and grammar puns, she is my go-to gal for English questions, like, “do you ‘bare’ with me or ‘bear’ with me? Either way sounds not too fun!” She cares about others, to the point that she puts herself out. She will stay late after her shift to finish your conversation and she slips you a homemade concoction of essential oils when you have the sniffles. She is older than me by a generation I would say. One of her daughters is my age and yet, I don’t feel “mothered” or that generational gap that I feel with other older people…she is just…her. Beautiful in both mind and spirit. She often gives me pause. She will say something or forward me something to read and I have to actually think about it before I respond. She understands life differently than most. She understands life on a different level than most. She gets what is hidden in-between the lines and words and interprets them for me. She stops and looks at sunsets and frost patterns on  windows. She sees the beauty that most of us just walk by without notice. She literally stops to smell the roses. She’s like a Buddhist monk hidden in a little lady’s body who wears 2 coats in the winter for quite logical reasons.

Cancer has taken so much from her and although we have cancer in common, both being caregivers and supporters, our journeys have taken very different paths. Our roads with grief, guilt, stress and eventually healing has been rocky and bumpy and filled with potholes. But we share it together, over cold leftover toast and a cuppa tea.

She has seen some dark places but she has also lived in the light. She married her very best friend only for him to be taken away by cancer at a young age. You can tell his presence is missed daily and also deeply. She lights up when she tells stories about him. There is a twinkle in her eye that is rarely there…it is great to see. And yet, the pain is evident. She sometimes reminds me a granite boulder. Strong and powerful, hard to break and why would you want too, as the colour and texture is breathtaking. And yet, there is a crack. A single, small, chip in her granite. The water gets in, year after year, the fall of winter and the rise of summer brings this crack to the surface, getting bigger, more significant and stands out. It is absolutely heartbreaking to see a chip in a perfect piece of granite and not be able to do anything about it. No amount of duct tape, hugs, tea or alcohol (my go-to fixer uppers) will fix this crack. It will always be there. That is what cancer does. Cracks a perfect life, splits a happy marriage and family, chips a woman until she is on her knees baring the weight of all these broken pieces on her back. This is not weight that anyone else can carry. I hope with time and support and love, she will be able to stand tall again. Some days are worse than others, for both of us. But I think, together, we got this…

We may differ in so many ways, her husband died, my son survived. She struggles with loss and loneliness, I struggle with clinginess and neediness, I love pretzels , she threatens my life if I mention them and she is Scottish where I am English! It is amazing we can even sit together! And yet, as shitty as cancer is, I feel like this friendship is something amazing that came out of it.

And on some levels, if she were no longer here, a very big, granite sized piece of me would be gone too…

And please remember, no matter how alone you are feeling, you are never, ever, ever alone. Please reach out…


Dear Cancer Mama


Dear canadan cancer mama, WTF are you folks smoking up there? Like seriously now. THE BLESSINGS OF CANCER? Are you shitting me? down here in the good Ol’d US of A, cancer steals our whole lives. We are emotionally, physically and financially broken. We have to relay on our friends and relations to help us through but we make it. Cancer is not all rainbows and lolly pops. Itss a fucking battle for your life. Dreaming up “best buddy friendships” and support group sit-ins are not helping anyone. And now you just posted another one about Battle scars!!!!!!!! really? yes there fucking painful reminders of course they are! What else would they be??????You are delusional. Seriously fucking fucked up. NOBODY can actually think this way. I know that canada people are nice and whatever but this is over the top. I don’t know where the fuck you learned to write like this but it makes me want to puke.

American and lovin it


My emailed response, it took me awhile to be able to write back…

I also apologize that in your country, you are so broken…perhaps that is what Obama is trying to fix?

I would also like to say “sorry” that you feel I’m fucked up, sometimes I do have bad days, luckily for me, the good days out number the bad by ten fold. It sounds like it is opposite for you. There are great meds for that.

I don’t smoke. Anything.  That causes Cancer, something we are trying to avoid in my family.

My writing style makes you want to puke? OMG, I’m laughing so freaking hard!


If I’m so offensive, why do you keep coming back???

You’re from the South right? Right?!?

I’m very glad that your kin folk help you out. It sounds like you need it.

Dear American and Lovin’ it,

As a Canadian, (Yes, there is an ‘i’ in there) I would like to apologize that my personal thoughts and feelings expressed on my blog have apparently upset you and turned on your “swearing’ button. These blogs that I write are MY experiences. I don’t expect everyone to agree with everything I say or even two words that I say. I never made that claim. I’m also at a point in Griffin’s Cancer journey, where I can look back and reflect on the situation. Think of it as child birth? On the days before you give birth, some mothers may hate the world, hate that baby, hate the weather, hate the husband…then on Labour day, you are mad at the world, mad at the nurses and doctors, you are experiencing your own personal hell, the pain is ridiculous, your modesty and pride are forgotten about, etc. But then that Baby in born, suddenly the world is all “rainbows and Lollipops”, the sun starts shining again, you forget (some) of the pain and the grossness and just focus on raising that beautiful baby of yours. I’m at the beautiful baby stage. I’ve been through the pain and rage and sadness, I’m in the “enjoying my boy being normal” stage. We might be in different stages and I can guarantee that we had different paths through our Cancer journeys. I hear a lot of pain and sorrow in your letter, American. I would love to help you in anyway I can. Please let me know how I can help.

Also, I have banned you from my blog for your own good. I don’t want to upset you even more and the blogs are just going to keep coming! You now have my personal email so please reach out if you need too.

Remember, you are NEVER alone, even if you write me a nasty letter.



Battle Scars or Painful Reminders?

Jan 21, 2015

Sorry about the VERY late blog update, somehow this got lost in the shuffle, but I thought I would share it anyway! :)
These are battle scars. As a relatively healthy four year old, these scars to do not slow him down but I wonder how he will hold up later on in life?

Because he had radiation directly to his face, he is missing an eyebrow on that side, he also wears glasses because he had cataract surgery to correct what radiation had done to his eye. They say his bones will grow slower on that side. His face will be different sizes. I wonder if anyone will notice? Will kids be mean? Will my son wear these scars as badges of honour? Or will they remind him of tough times and shrink like a wallflower?

Every now and then, I wish I could peek into the future, see what the future in like for my Cancer kid. Will he be a cancer awareness leader? Will he continue to walk the fundraisers and be the face of children’s hospitals and Cancer charities? Will he be proud of the things he has accomplished? Or will all this take its toll on him? Will the kids notice his differences? Will he be teased for his scars? His missing eyebrow and lack of balance? He cannot run as fast as the other kids, he had muscle loss and nerve damage from the chemo. This also effects his balance and his confidence as he tries to play with other kids. He is not as confident as the others his age. Will he be picked last for the baseball teams? Will they see the implant in his eye and be freaked out? Will they see the deep red scar on his chest and shrink away in horror?

I wish I could have an idea so I can prepare him for the future, but as any Mum will say, I guess I will just have to wait, and continue to watch him run around the yard. Tripping over his own feet, going much slower than the rest of the kids, but grinning ear to ear. He is happy, and as a Mum, that’s my job, the rest? I will worry about as it comes…

Hug your babies tight tonight