Friday, 28 November 2014



I had a patient last week with a tattoo on her arm;  it read "Love is the anchor of the soul".  I believe that to be true but I think that I must first love myself and trust myself.  I grew up in a family in which I was told "Don't feel that way.  Don't say that."  What was real and what was presented as real didn't always match.  I found it very confusing.  I still find it very confusing.  If I don't like someone, I don't like them.  I don't pretend to like them sometimes and then talk about them behind their back.  I get confused when people do this and yet I know this is how the world works.

Mostly what I learned from my family was to not trust myself.  God, I hope my children trust themselves, although how they might have learned that would be a mystery as I certainly couldn't have taught them that.  Living with my ex-husband also taught me to not trust myself.  I was the "unstable one" in our relationship, or so I was told.  Except I wasn't.  My boss at work told me that my "negativity was bringing the whole department down" and I believed him.  Except when I look around it's untrue.  I have asked co-workers, is this true?  Am I bringing the department down and their answer is always no.  More craziness.  More moments to distrust myself.

So when I feel a knot in my stomach, a pounding in my chest, I try to ignore it, make excuses.  It's me. 

Along with this learning to trust myself, I'm learning how to accept and love myself as I am.  I don't have to be perfect to be loved.  I am loving and compassionate.  I am also passionate and when I feel emotions strongly, I cry.  I cry a lot.  When I'm upset, I cook or bake.  When I'm bored I'll bake.  I like to keep busy and I like to walk outside so that I can hear the trees.  I love dogs but I don't want to live with one because I don't want the responsibility anymore. I like my house clean and tidy.  I like my workplace clean and tidy too.  I am forgetful and sometimes I don't pay attention.  I like to exercise and enjoy the feeling of sore muscles the next day.  Sometimes I get lost in the past or in the future and forget today.  I am very organized.  I believe the best of people.  I am easily swayed.  I am all these things and more and I don't have to change a damn thing to love myself. 




Monday, 24 November 2014


Things I'm thankful for today.

Took Katie to Special Olympics Bowling yesterday and she had a good time.  No crying.  And she ate a lot of KFC.  I didn't get scratched or pinched and Katie was okay when I left her.
Made crème brulee for my girlfriend.
Make up a big pot of Thai coconut curry soup for my lunches for the week.
A lovely walk in the river valley yesterday.  The weather was mild and the snow was fresh.
A good night's sleep.
My depression seems to have lifted.  Not sure why but I am very thankful.
Watched a good movie on Friday night, "Enough Said" with James Gandolfini and Julia Louis-Dreyfus.
Sunshine for awhile yesterday morning;  it was lovely.

What are you thankful for today?

Monday, 17 November 2014


Things I'm thankful for today.

I feel a little better.  I only cried a little bit today at work when I was missing supplies for the procedure and the doctor didn't show up because he was sick and I had to find another doctor to do the procedure;  then I put my big girl panties back on and got back to work.

I thankful my children are healthy.  My first patient today was the same age as my middle daughter.  The young woman has three children and is set for a stem cell harvest this week, after which they will destroy all of her blood cells and bone marrow and transplant her stem cells back into her. 

I'm thankful I got to go to Special Olympics bowling with Katie yesterday.  I truly believe there is no better group of people.  Poor Katie wasn't feeling well though, a bit of a cold.  She started crying and kept holding onto me.  Katie never holds onto me, except when she's pinching me.  It was bittersweet.  I got to hold my daughter but she was sobbing.

I have a photo show coming up, in a year, but still, it's coming up. 

I exercised yesterday.

I saw my both of my girlfriends with cancer on Friday at work.  My old friend and I had a nice long visit and we even got to go shopping in the gift shop, just like the old days.  She has a hard time walking now because she can't feel her feet, a side effect of the chemo.  And she's shaved her hair off because it was falling out in handfuls.  Her head is beautiful and we have the same color hair now, gray!  She loved the crème brulee and I'm so glad.  It's got lots of calories and protein for her. 

Thankful for a chance to sit down this evening.  My feet are tired from standing, wearing lead all day.

What are you thankful for today?

Tuesday, 11 November 2014


I had a good long cry yesterday.  The big guy listened to me, talked to me and then hugged me.  He loves me, even though I leak tears almost daily.  As Elizabeth said, I am probably depressed.  I feel too much right now.  The pain around me seeps through my skin.  I work in cancer care;  I have friends with cancer now.  It kinda sucks.

I have started exercising again.  Fingers crossed I make the time for myself on a regular basis.  I have been so tired lately that I saw my doctor.  Everything is fine with my blood work.  I'm not as young as I once was but best treatment for fatigue is exercise.  It's just hard to fit in with full time work. 

I've been depressed for most of my life, off and on.  It sneaks up on me.  I'm not the kind of depressed person that takes to my bed.  I still work, still cook, still clean.  I just feel everything too much.  The boundaries between me and others gets blurred, especially with regards to pain.  Sigh.

Sunday, 9 November 2014


I took this photo with my phone.  It reminds me of a painting;  I think it's the light.  That was the river valley last weekend.  This weekend it's covered in snow and ice.  Sigh. 

I haven't been writing much but I have been thinking a lot.  I just found out another friend has been diagnosed with cancer.  The total is three now, all of them younger than me.  I know we all die.  I know that 2 in 5 people will get cancer during their lifetime.  Facts aren't people though.  Facts don't work with you, don't call you when you're feeling depressed, don't go shopping with your or have you over for supper. 

I've been very lucky really.  My children are healthy.  I'm healthy.  The big guy is healthy.  I have a job.  My mortgage is almost paid off.  But what I wants is my friend to not be dying.  As I type this crème brulee is cooking in the oven for her.  She loves crème brulee.  It's got lots of calories for her and she can taste it. 

I just feel kind of lost lately.  I'm past middle age now.  I'm fifty-two.  This is the last act of my life and I still feel ill equipped.  It feels like time is running out for me, although I'll probably live into my eighties, it still feels like the clock is winding down.  To what purpose?

I have three children.  I did a barely adequate job of raising them.  I have hurt those I love.  And I just really wonder what is the point of this whole thing.  I had a dream last week that seemed to go on forever.  Like most of my dreams it included all kinds of bizarre shit but the final bit of my dream was me falling to Earth in a spaceship, being told that I would have to keep going back (to Earth) until I got it right.

And that's what I've been doing for the past few weeks, months, for the past year it seems.  I guess I expect there to be an end point, like the end of a race.  And there will be something waiting for me, a prize for a medal or something, some way to know that I have made it, that I have gotten it, that I have figured it out.  When in reality there is no end point but just a continuing journey, of which this life here, is only one small part. 

I work with a woman who just wants to have a good time.  I'm not judging her, it's just the way she is.  She wants to go out on the weekends, loves parties, wants to have fun.  And part of me envies her but a much bigger part of me wouldn't want to live like that, the not seeing.  It's hard this looking within and it wears me down but I wouldn't give it up. 

Sunday, 2 November 2014


The big guy and I went to a lecture yesterday morning given by Gabor Maté about Compassion and Social Inclusion.   "Dr. Maté has extensive experience working with patients in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside and has championed a compassionate approach to supporting vulnerable populations . Dr. Maté will speak about compassion, addiction and inclusion."

There is a video making it's way around the internet right now about a homeless man, Ryan Arcand, in Edmonton who plays the piano. Dr. Maté started off talking about Ryan and the fact that people are surprised that this man not only plays the piano beautifully but that he also composes his own music.  This man, Ryan, is creative and produces works of art.  Then he went on to say that Ryan is no different than any one of us in the audience.  He has a soul.  He has dreams.  He has fears.  He is a human.  There is no difference between us except the things that we put there, between us.  Things like he is homeless.  He is an addict.  But those things are not him anymore than my fears are me.

Dr. Maté believes that addiction comes from some kind of childhood trauma, that it is an attempt to ease fears, to soothe, to feel better.  He pointed out that none of these things are bad things.  We all want to stop our pain, to feel better, to feel included, but the problem with addictions is what happens afterwards, the negative things that come after that initial feeling better. And we all do it.  We all want to feel better, we all want to stop the pain, ease the fears, feel a part of something.

Which is where compassion comes in, compassion not only for others, but for ourselves.  In fact the compassion that we need to feel for others can only start with ourselves for if we cannot be kind and compassionate with ourselves, how can we give that to others?  We also need to understand that we are all the same, there is no distance between us.

The talk he gave meandered through politics, modern culture versus tribal culture, addictions, racism, sexism, trauma, disease and most importantly, cultivation of compassion.  I cried more than once and he made me think.  I didn't agree with everything he had to say but I what I took away from his talk was the importance and need for compassion in our world. 

Two weeks ago I listened to a woman on the CBC radio show Tapestry discuss compassion and self kindness.  I didn't know what Gabor Maté's talk was about when I signed up to attend his lecture but as luck would have it, or perhaps the universe, the two went nicely together. 

I am a slow learner but it would seem that I about to learn how to become compassionate with myself and others.  I didn't learn kindness as a child but I am hopeful that I can learn to be gentle and kind with myself, hopeful that my children can learn as well because I was not able to teach them what was not taught to me.  And so it goes.