Hey Cancer, Fuck You

Yeah, I said it. I’m sick of you coming into my life and bullying people I love.

You don’t seem to get it. We don’t want you here.

Erin FYC

All my life you have managed to surface just when I thought we were beating you. I understand you playing tough when I was small and weak. You thought you could overpower my life and steal people I love. But I’m not weak anymore. My family, friends, and I are all fighters and we want you gone for good.

Yes, you have stolen people who were magical like Patricia, Finn, Adam, Megan, and Marissa. But they taught us how to fight harder. Everyday people are beating you. My mom beat you, awesome friends like Taylor, Megan and Josh have outwitted you, and I promise that Auntie Anne is going to kick your ass too.

 

So today I am giving you notice. The odds are never going to be in your favour.

 

This is not some small issue where the bully steals your lunch money. You are stealing memories of moments that haven’t happened yet and photographs that can never be taken. These items are not replaceable and their value is unmatched.

You may not have noticed, but we are now stronger that you are. The statistics show it. More than 80% of kids are beating you and in the adult community the numbers are getting even better.

 

Take this post as a warning. Your reign of cruelty is almost over and we are going to move you from the front page to the history books very soon. You think because you come with complicated names like acute lymphoblastic leukemia, papillary carcinoma in situ, and cerebral lymphomas we don’t see you lurking behind them, but we do. You can’t hide from us anymore.

 

In the meantime we are going to celebrate life. Every. Single. Day. We are going to laugh until our tummies hurt and tears stream down our cheeks. We are going to have impromptu dance parties, and take photos of moments both big and small. We will run, jump, bounce, dance, sing, love, smile, and ride.

There will be love, hugs, and silliness in volumes that you can’t even imagine because these are our superpowers.

 

You have shown us your cards and its GAME OVER. “So put a quarter in your ass, cause you played yourself! And if you don’t like it then hey fuck you” ~Beastie Boys

 

FYC

 

I understand that some of you may take offence to this post and I am sorry if you do, but when we let bullies into our lives we give them permission to take things from us. I’m afraid the costs to this are just too high to sit quietly.

To make a donation to the Coast to Coast Against Cancer Foundation click here 

 

Is Your Intent Pure?

Over the last few months I have had a chance to chat with some amazing individuals and they have spurred me to challenge my own motivations.

We do things every day that may or may not enrich our lives or the lives of those around us.  What we really have to dissect is why we are doing things.

The question of intent is valid for work, home or play.  It’s ok to do things merely for pleasure or adrenaline, but for those big tasks you should ask yourself why.

What is the reason you are doing the task in front of you? 

Is it because you want to help? 

Is it because you were asked to? 

Is it because you need to find some validation?

Is it for the credit (money/praise/title) that you will receive?

Is it to meet the expectations of others?

Is it fuel for your ego?

I have taken these questions to heart and they have really started to make me dig deeper into my own motivation for doing things.  I have asked myself why.  I haven’t been proud of all of the answers.

In doing this exercise I have discovered that some of my reasons for doing things are not pure.  In these cases I have set myself on a path to correct them.

The truth is that juicing my ego is NOT a good enough reason to participate in a task.  Neither is having a nicer than the person next to me.

For others I have discovered that my reasons are actually better than I ever gave them credit for being.

An example of this is the fact that a couple of years ago I made the commitment to ride across Canada with the Sears National Kids Cancer Ride.  Participating was easy to validate; I was helping to raise much needed funds and awareness for pediatric cancer.  I was going to help make a difference.  I made the validations my reason why, which was not 100% true.

I could never put it into words why I had felt compelled to join this cause until I started to really dissect my own intent.

Why pediatric cancer over any other cause?

The answer is twofold:

  1. There is an end date on this cause.  Each day we are making remarkable progress on finding an end to pediatric cancer.  Each dollar raised is getting us another step closer to a world where kids aren’t dying of cancer anymore.
  2. This is a battle worth fighting.  While we aren’t going to win every day, we are making progress.  It is also something beyond a single person’s control.  Unlike many causes that are fighting to end something end we have the capacity to prevent from happening in the first place.  Hello Occupy Movement (Yeah I’m looking at you).

My goal in this regard is simple: To find an end to pediatric cancer and then tackle the next most deserving item on my list.  Today I don’t know what that next item is, but I can tell you for certain I will dig into my motivation for doing the task before I commit to starting it.

We all have the capacity for good.  We can make the world better for being in it if we so choose.  Ask yourself why you sent that email, did that task, bought that thing.

What will your participation accomplish?

 If you feel that my reasons for riding are valid please take a moment to donate to this year’s four day cycling event Tour for Kids in support of kids cancer camps.

Celebrating Boobies! Happy 10th Anniversary Mom!

This year marks the 10th anniversary of my mom being diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ.

Effectively that means that my mom was diagnosed with a form breast cancer that started in the ducts of her breast that move milk to the nipple.   The cancer was discovered on her annual routine mammogram, when the technician identified a dark spot that was really quite tiny. Within days my mom was beginning a treatment program.

To have been discovered in a breast self exam it would have been nearly impossible since DCIS is usually not something that a person can feel.  By the point my mom would have felt a lump the cancer cells would have likely moved out of her breast and lymph nodes and into her body.

The treatment started with a wire localization, followed by a breast biopsy, a wide excision followed by a wider excision with a prophylactic lymph node (10) removal.  Unfortunately there was no way to achieve clear margins and after numerous painful procedures she underwent a radical mastectomy and subsequent reconstruction.

The reconstruction was a transverse rectus abdominus myocutaneous procedure, often referred to as a TRAM Flap reconstruction.  In this case the surgeon used my mom’s own abdominal muscle and fat cells to construct a “breast” to replace the one they removed without needing to use an implant.  Abdominal surgery is hard to recover from, but given the choice I know she wouldn’t think twice about having the mastectomy.

The reality with a cancer like this is the fact that it moves fast.  Likely had her mammogram been a even a few days or weeks later she would have been in an even higher risk state than she was.

So in celebration of my mom’s tenth anniversary of being cancer free please do a self exam.

If you are a lady of a certain age please schedule your mammogram.

If you don’t have benefits or coverage please look for support in order to have the procedure.

This preventative exercise is why I can celebrate this anniversary with my mom rather than being aware that it had been ten years since I lost her.

I have faced cancer in different ways for over half my life and we need to find a way to stop it.  I want to hear of a day that we only talk of cancer in history lessons at medical school or with the old folks telling us of a time they remember.

Please click here to donate to my current fundraising campaign with Tour For Kids.

100% of all donations go directly to supporting pediatric cancer.