• shelley@heradvice.ca
  • Vancouver, Canada

Where Fear Comes From

Well… I made it through surgery no problem and if I don’t say so myself, I think I am rocking this recovery! It’s Day 5 and I have managed my pain really well and am just using Tylenol now and the heavy hitters only at nighttime. I have learned to be still, to sleep when tired and to eat little healthy snacks throughout the day as the girls serve them to me. ❤ (oh those girls… ❤❤❤)
I’m pretty clear on where my fear comes from, and it was interesting to learn about that. See, when I had discovered that new lump and right up until I found out it was okay, I was terrified. Things got pretty dark and I was so worried that Cancer was now everywhere. Like, was a cauliflower going to be growing out of my ear next? Really, those were the thoughts for a few days. That darkness turned bright almost instantly when the radiologist gave me the news that everything looked good. It was in that moment that I realized that it wasn’t the surgery that was scaring me, it was what they might find.
Having learned this, I headed into the last few days before surgery doing all I could to be active, strong and well rested. I watched Paul’s playoff hockey games and even reached out to some girlfriends I’d been retreating from to join me. I replied to emails and texts that had been hard for me to respond to. I shopped for button up clothes, I cooked, meditated, gardened, hiked with my dog and finally I took my trip to Winnipeg. That was SO good for my soul. Even just to travel on my own again felt empowering and reminded me how strong I was heading into the next surgery.
I know I keep saying how blessed I am with the best friends in my life, well I really am. I’m not close with my family. I’m sort of the black sheep. Well maybe a better colour than black but I’ve never really felt accepted or like I fit in with my family, so I am thankful to God for bringing me the most caring, supportive friends who are family to me.
I have two brothers – Dale is 5 years older than me and Ryan is almost 14 years younger. I love them both very much but our relationships have been estranged for several years now. Seems unbelievable to me that years can pass without having your siblings in your life, but this has become our reality. I have reached out over the years to mend the fences with no success and a rejection that is so painful it makes it almost impossible to try again so I just love them from afar and pray for them everyday. Being diagnosed with two different cancers in a two week period, going through the last few months of surgeries and having not heard from them at all has been both sad and freeing. I think if there was ever a time to let bygones be bygones and just love one another, now would be that time. Instead, I think it has helped me to truly let go and open my heart to the people who really love me, accept me and support me. Family to me is no longer defined by bloodlines but rather by heart lines. My heart has been broken open in the most beautiful way.
Going to Winnipeg, you’ll often hear me say, is going “home”. It’s not like going to Clear Lake but it’s a pretty good second. First on my list was Silke (https://www.facebook.com/silke.j.blaine?fref=gs&dti=669884566735143&hc_location=group) . She’s always been one of my favourites. People who laugh at all my one liners are definitely favourites! We have vowed to only support one another in a positive way and to always make each other laugh. So for almost 4 hours that’s what we did on Sunday afternoon. She’s going through hell and never stops smiling. She reminded me of Cesar, the dog whisperer as she shushed anyone in earshot who said anything remotely negative. No negativity is her way of living and it’s so admirable how she is embracing the living. I love her. ❤
Auntie Helen (https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004441365010&fref=gs&dti=669884566735143&hc_location=group) Is doing so well. We spent as much time together as we could. It was fun watching game 3 of the Jets Predators series with her. High fiving and cheering our team on like we were there sitting in the stands. It’s so cute how anyone in Helen’s care home who needs to know any scores or sports updates comes to her to get the latest in sports news. Helen is the cutest Auntie. I cherish all of the time we get together and am so grateful for FaceTime.
I also had a visit with one of my forever friends Tracey (https://www.facebook.com/tracey.legary?fref=gs&dti=669884566735143&hc_location=group) . It’s interesting how you are cracked wide open with forever friends. You can’t even try to hide behind courage or humour – they see right through it and then go around you to support you however they know best. Trace is a constant support to me as she is my text-nurse and also laughs at all my silly insights. Another Fave!
Donna (https://www.facebook.com/donna.balcaen?fref=gs&dti=669884566735143&hc_location=group) and Peter (https://www.facebook.com/peter.heavysege?fref=gs&dti=669884566735143&hc_location=group) always have my room ready for me and never care if I go to bed at 9pm and sleep til 10am or get up and head out before they do. They are family and handle everything in stride and with humour and positivity. They also give great hugs!!!
I was able to sneak in a visit with my Kimmer! Kim Powell is as genuine as they come and no matter the time and distance between us, she is always close. I cherish any face to face time we get. ❤
I ran into Carey (https://www.facebook.com/careymg?fref=gs&dti=669884566735143&hc_location=group) one day while picking up some lunch. We used to be Windermere neighbours and the best part about that is that no matter where you move on to, your Windermere family is always your family. He looks so good and so happy. 😊👍🏻

Mark and Sharon (https://www.facebook.com/sharon.evans.967422?fref=gs&dti=669884566735143&hc_location=group) Evans are the icing and the cherry on top of this Winnipeg visit as they offered their Game 4 seats to Paul and I. Yes! That’s right, we were there and it was for sure the 2nd most exciting game I have ever been too. (We went to the 2010 gold medal game at the Olympics, so that is a hard 1st.). Tracey (https://www.facebook.com/tracey.slobogian?fref=gs&dti=669884566735143&hc_location=group) and Kevin and Cassidy Slobogian and Paul and I had the most amazing time. They are just awesome people and Cassidy is such proof that “shit happens” and you just carry on with a smile and a quiet confidence that says to the world, “I know just how precious life is.”
I was happy for all the hugs from everyone I saw and the kisses too Laurel Hyde (https://www.facebook.com/laurel.hyde.7?fref=gs&dti=669884566735143&hc_location=group) 💋💋💋💋! Winnipeg was the best distraction! Al was again his awesome self as he picked me up when I arrived and we had a really super visit. We can talk about anything and everything and it’s so great to have one another in our corners for always.
I arrived back to Vancouver 17 hours before my surgery. Perfect. I had one appointment to get to. It may seem strange, but I highly recommend this to the patient heading into an operation – Go get your hair done! When you look good, you feel so much better. I know I don’t really see myself in a mirror for a few days but for those sitting at my bedside watching me sleep, it’s the least I can do to make the situation a little sunnier.
I had to be at UBC hospital at 5:45am. Paul, Alyx Lyutina (https://www.facebook.com/alyx.hewins?fref=gs&dti=669884566735143&hc_location=group) and Danika came with me. Kenzie agreed to the evening shift and was there when I woke up. I was strong and positive and just walked right into this one. No anxiety, no tears. Paul had a hard time that morning and I think it is so much easier to be strong when you are being strong for someone else. Surgery was just over 3 1/2 hours. They took both breasts and a great deal more tissue on my right breast. I’m not sure of the details exactly, as I was Pretty out of it when the surgeon came to talk to me, but due to “suspicious tissue” they had to take more than was expected. I have a spacer in both breasts. That means essentially that there is an empty sacklike pack in each breast that will slowly be inflated with “fills” every week of two for the next few months. Once ready, and the skin has healed, they will open them up slightly to remove the spacer and put in a gel like implant. The consistency of a gummy bear. Right now, my left spacer has some fill in it but my right one is completely empty. They are hoping that the skin will heal but are watching it closely. I’m not attached to the idea of having boobs so either way this goes, is fine for me. A part of me is wondering why I’m signing up for one more surgery. The other part of me says “trust your medical team.” I think my body will inevitably be the decider. I’ll keep you posted on that. First follow up is Thursday afternoon.
In the meantime, we are using humour around any awkwardness. It was freezing in here and Danika said “Mom, I can see your Nip!” As I only have one of those right now, it made us all laugh. Oh Danika (https://www.facebook.com/baseballdanika?fref=gs&dti=669884566735143&hc_location=group) …
I’ve walked Mischa yesterday and today. Just little short ones with a daughter at my side. I feel good. My goal is to hopefully attend the Pink concert on May 12th. I have a bunch of friends from my high school grad class that are coming for the concert and a trip to Whistler. We have been planning for months. I’ll see what Dr MacAdam thinks on Thursday and follow her instructions. First these 4 drains have to come out. One day at a time.

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