It Takes a Village

One thing I have learned along this journey is to have gratitude for all those people around and helping me. I know. It takes a village to manage a cancer patient like me. I wanted to take a minute just to acknowledge some of the amazing people who have stepped up and shown me all the love and support that they possibly could.


My soul mate, my best friend. You will be the reason I get through this and survive my cancer as you will never give up on me. You wake up each morning with one focus and that is me. I am incredibly grateful for you.


Thank you for stepping up so beautifully in my time of need. Your research into my meal plan dos and don’ts has positively impacted my diet and has been very entertaining as you advise me of the food groups and authors’ contradictions about cancer foods! You and Ana bring a smile to my face as you work together in the kitchen!


You have really been a calming influence for me especially in our evening sleepovers at the hospital and here at home. The stories you tell me, especially the history ones, have been so soothing. You were great in helping Zach to get the experience and confidence to get his driver’s permit. Your going with him to school and other practise drives was your patience on full display and Al & I would likely not have been as vigilant!

Sasha & Natasha

Thanks so much for caring and for helping Al & me to setup the story & photo albums, the various documents and the Gmail account and all those postings! I know you are both working hard at your jobs, so this added burden came at a bad time, but you were there for me!


No 17-year-old in his last year of high school should have to face your challenges of having to decide a career future, confronting a recluse author about a potential movie script, an old sick dog that we all love dearly and now a Mom who has cancer. Through it all you have been so strong, so solid and focused on school (wow 85%) and got your G2! You are a dream of a son and I love you so much!


Thanks for your inspiring messages and beautiful and serene photos! Send me more when you have time! I loved our family time together in Victoria and look forward to seeing you at Christmas.  


You are a very special friend. You have put me and my family at the top of your priority list and I know how you have your own issues to manage and worry about. You have been very good about my mother’s invasion of your kitchen and you have developed a strong relationship. Thank you for everything you are doing to get me back on my feet!


While you are remote and busy in Winnipeg, I appreciate your calls and stories about your students and your outings as these are wonderful distractions for me! I love your visits. As my big sister, you are always a reassuring sight and you exude positive energy and support. Thank you for all that you’ve done!


I am sure my diagnosis created stress in your life, but you’ve been tremendous at a time when I needed you. You sought out a way to get me admitted to Juravinski and were successful! Your visits to the Oakville Trafalgar Hospital cheered me up immensely and getting Caralei Peters to instruct Mom and all of us about an organic diet is a major and positive step towards my healing!  


My smoothie man was a saviour in those days at the Oakville Trafalgar Hospital! I truly looked forward to all of your visits and not just the smoothies! Your time away from your work was very appreciated as you were able to help Al at all of those doctor visits to hear and record their explanations. Thanks for all the medical research you did on my behalf. And thanks also for all those soothing foot massages!


My beautiful niece is a very caring loving person as I’ve seen from your visits and texts. You will be a great Vet Technician as you obviously care about all creatures, and me of course! I look forward to spending a lot more time with you during the Christmas break!


Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to always come visit me. You came often to the hospital and even rubbed my feet and always told me I am a fighter. Your time with Zach to help take his mind of things was appreciated,


Thanks for lending me those earphones. They were a true blessing in my early days at the hospital when I needed to shut out all the noise! And thanks Drew for your and Ava’s visits and for bringing the Kyle brothers out to visit with me. Feel free to come and tell me more crazy stories about our youth and stuff from the lake!


Thanks for your visits and for taking Zach out to the theatre & dinner. He loved the trip and I loved that you offered to do that for him. Once I’m a bit stronger, perhaps we can do pool time together and of course with Ava!


Ava you are so grown-up now, I can’t believe it! Thank you for your visits and for the Christmas drawings on my white board. They cheered me up but were erased so would you please come back and draw some more!


Thanks Jamie for uploading all those videos for me and helping organize them. I know you offered to come to Oakville to visit and maybe when I’m a little stronger and you are free we could plan that as I’d love to see you and get caught up on everything!


From a wonderful friend of a friend who truly cared, you became my friend and a wonderful salvation with your special soup and of course those other meals & goodies for my family! Thank you, Linda, for being so thoughtful and so caring. You are a very special person.


As life-long friends, we’ve been there together at the best of times and at the worst of times. Your strength and can-do attitude is helping me through this ordeal and I love your visits and stories as they distract me from my current reality. Let’s tackle those projects like establishing Visions as we move into December. I also love that you have a shopping addiction and I got to benefit from it, as there is nothing like cancer stage 4 to get yourself gifts.


My extremely bright and thoughtful friend, you are as punctual and bright as a sunrise! Your weekly visits are something I really look forward to and those family stories are priceless and so entertaining! As are the stories of our youth.


I’m sorry to have made you commit to getting a dog but from what I hear, especially from you, this was the best thing that happened to you since God knows when! Well, maybe marrying Mark and having wonderful twins beats the dog thing but I have no doubt that you’ll love the cute beast! Thanks Kelly for your friendship, love and support.


You were a real trooper and a real friend to visit me at the hospital so many times! You showed up just as often as my family did, showing that you really are a sister. Thanks for taking care of my Facebook and social media as at the time it was too overwhelming and I did not have the strength nor mental ability to respond to people as I was still in a state of shock.


Who comes and massages my legs for the full hour of her visits. Comes with big smile and talks about plans we will do a year from now never doubting for a minute I will not be there. Thank you!


My amazing right hand for running our store. Keeps on top of our social media and charitable work, she helps to manage all aspects of the business without a complaint.


Jess runs our blog and is generally my go-to gal for everything that is blog, podcast, branding. She is one busy person so she is good at always trying to fit in Stand Up Speak Up work.

Without Paula and Jess I would be a lot more stressed.


Denny has always been our design genius. He can take any idea and mix it with his own creativity to turn it into something great. What I appreciate even more is his kind and open heart.


Thank you so much for all the kind support you provided to Al and my family! The food, the yummy cookies, the necklace. (The family ate them as I am not allowed sugar!) And your visit was great. Please do stop by regularly, as I love to hear all about your family and other gossip!


My special nurse from Nurse Next Door, you are not only my nurse but my new friend who is so vital to me getting back on my feet! You playfully put up with all my idiosyncrasies while attending judiciously to my medical needs as well as my other requests like hair braids and massages! Thank you for being here for me!


Thank you so much for those wonderful massages and for the beautiful braids you so expertly made in my hair!  That was really appreciated and proved a great distraction for me!


Your soft and gentle style is so soothing and much appreciated.  You are super at calming me in those times of sad thoughts and helping me to maintain perspective and a positive outlook. Thank you so much for your support!

And in fact, I want to thank the complete team at Nurse Next Door for the help you have provided under the leadership of Sara, Alex and Bernadette.

Grafi, Nucky, Coco and Chico

I have always believed in the power of dog therapy but I never knew how much love, support and calm I would get from my beautiful dogs. They give me strength and support in a way that no human could!!

Of course, I’d like to thank all of the amazing visitors I’ve had, the many card and flower bouquets that I received. Thanks for the various videos, especially from Rene and my dear teammates and Oskaracis  from Prague, which had me shedding tears of joy!

And finally, I want to thank Dr. Lynne Benjamin who has taken me under her wing and provides me not only superb care and guidance but is also a positive energy force which I find very reassuring and am most grateful for her arriving on the scene! 

It is difficult for me to fully express just how THANKFUL I am to have all of these amazing people in my village. I am blessed with a family that is able to find strength, resilience and humour even in the toughest of times. My friends and even my colleagues are the family I chose and I am so lucky that they chose me. 

About The Author

A few months ago, I was told that my boobs are trying to kill me and being misdiagnosed for two years allowed them to recruit throughout the rest of my body by way of my spine. Before this, I knew f*ck all about cancer. Now, between sipping chemo cocktails, I want to talk about the truth of living with Stage 4 Breast Cancer with my support system and people I have met along the way to recovery.

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