Chronicle of a Stem Cell Transplant (and on through to the other side)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Several months ago, I posted a blog entry about a lady I met who was knitting a prayer shawl. She was making it for her friend who was having chemo at the same time I was.

I am not religious per se, but loved the idea of creating something beautiful for someone while focussing on healing and good intentions for them. Well, apparently, my raving about this idea worked because, recently, a parcel arrived. Inside - my very own prayer shawl!

It is a beautiful combination of blues and purple, has a funky fringe and a cool ceramic button. What makes it even more special is that is was sent to me by someone I've never met.

It was such a kind gesture, one of so many I have been the recipient of these past few years. I am always especially touched by those who still manage to do special things after all this time.

A friend once described the feeling of loneliness that can come when the "soup days" are over - when the initial crisis of diagnosis is survived, and the months of treatment turn into years.

Fortunately, this feeling, in the few instances I've had it, is fleeting. Yet, when it does arrive, the silence can be deafening. I know now from experience that it is usually the kindness of others that helps me resurface.

For this, and for all of you who help me rise, time and time again, year after year, I am so grateful.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Callanish Writes, Volume III

Little did we know (or maybe we did) when we began our first writing group at the Callanish Society, that almost two years and thousands of words later, we would be publishing our third book.

Each volume contains poems, stories and thoughts on living with cancer. Yet, while cancer is the common thread that brought us together to write, the content of the writing goes well beyond the disease.

To be in the company of this group is inspiring, to say the least. It also affirms my belief in and commitment to the power of the creative to heal, strengthen and enhance our lives. I see it happen, time and time again.

So, in the spring, I will be moving forward with plans to bring writing to people living with cancer on the North Shore with a new workshop,
Written Prescription.

The long-term goal is to make expressive arts more available in the community as a tool for healing during and after illness. I'm talking workshops, writers/artists/dancers at the bedside, in residence at hospitals and hospice; poetry in waiting rooms; music on the chemo ward; painting in the hallways...

and, ultimately, a permanent home (which I envision as “The Breathing Room”) which would offer studio space and workshops in the expressive arts free-of-charge to those who wish to include writing, art and music as they journey with illness.

Is it daunting to start planning and filling in the dates on next year's calendar given my situation?


Does it make my heart sing?


Friday, November 13, 2009

Teresa was born 38 years ago today.

She is still with me everyday.

To you, my friend.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Two Cents

Whew, I guess it's been a bit of a busy time lately.

I'm behind on virtually all forms of correspondence so, while it's rather rude on my part, it's usually a sign that I am feeling good and able to do the things I love.

This weekend, we're off to Whistler. Hopefully we won't choke on the stench of the upcoming Olympics. Not that I'm protesting, because protesting is a baaad word in Vancouver these days.

But who cares about civil liberties or a six billion dollar price tag? I like cuts to health care, education and social programs. I like seeing homeless people on the Downtown East Side, the poorest neighborhood in Canada, tough it out in the cold weather (oh wait, we have a forced-shelter bill to handle that).

Oh well, as long as the bobsledders are tucked into their beds at night in the billion dollar Olympic Village, I can rest easy.

What about you?