Monday, 20 October 2008

A Gift For Healthy Living

Since the summer I have now regained the weight that I had originally lost during my bout with ovarian cancer. I am looking healthier as a result and my clothes now fit me properly rather than just hanging on me. There is also a negative result of regaining that weight, in that I now have a "muffin top". This is probably a result of the bloating and the weakening of the abdominal muscles due to major abdominal surgery. I need to strengthen these muscles specifically.

In early summer I had taken part in the Curves/Avon Thirty Days for Thirty Dollars Challenge and I had originally wanted to join Curves, but it was not financially feasible. I had recently borrowed a resistance band to try to strengthen some muscles, but I soon abandoned that plan. I felt as if I was in an unending cycle: I needed money to join Curves; I needed a part-time job to obtain money; I needed my stamina and muscles to be strengthened in order to be able to work at a part-time job.

This past Saturday my daughter Joy came home from working at Curves and said that "this" was left for me and handed me an envelope marked "A Special Gift for YOU." Inside was a Curves Gift Membership for one year! It was given anonymously. I started to cry; I was overcome with emotion.

The timing of that certificate could not have been better. I had just come through an evening of severe abdominal gas pains, which had brought back all the memories of going through chemotherapy. I had made fish sticks with cajun spice for dinner and I think that I was reacting to that. My digestive system is still sensitive from the chemotherapy. The previous day I had the opportunity to share about my experience of ovarian cancer with a woman whose daughter is having ovarian problems. Also I had recently heard that someone else had been given a year to live as a result of a different type of cancer. All of these things compounded worked against me and I had to battle my resulting fears.

The thought that rose up within me, upon receiving this certificate, was that God wants me to live! He doesn't just want me to survive, but He wants me to be healthy and regain my strength.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Thanksgiving Celebration

Last night we had Thanksgiving dinner with my parents, my sisters and their families at my sister Gayle's home. Gayle had hung streamers and balloons in the living/dining room. There was a large sign in the dining room window that said "Celebrate You!". While I had noticed these things, I did not think too much about them since it was soon time to eat. My brother-in-law was asked to say grace , so he said "Grace" and then he prayed. Gayle said "Debbie, you go first." I just thought it was because I had my birthday last month and this was the first family dinner we had had since.

The food was good and the conversation varied from one topic to another. A couple of us said we should wait a bit before having our dessert; a few, mostly males, groaned in response. The table was cleared of the dinner plates and condiments. There was a flurry of activity in the kitchen and then quiet conversing.

My mom asked that my husband Dan sit beside me near the aforementioned sign. Gayle then said "We want to celebrate you!". My parents had purchased a bottle of champagne and a bottle of non-alcoholic champagne. The drinks were poured into small plastic glasses and everyone took one. Dan proposed a toast and thanked the Lord for healing me. There wasn't the usual "clink" as we touched each others glasses, but the joy of celebrating God's faithfulness was evident. My sister Brenda had tears in her eyes as Dan spoke. We all were aware of how far I had come from a year ago Thanksgiving. Last year I just sat while the whirl of activity happened all around me. This year I had an active role and contributed to the meal.

It was fitting to do our "Champagne Celebration" on Thanksgiving Monday. We had first thought of it when I was in the midst of receiving chemotherapy. In addition, we originally wanted to have a bottle of inexpensive champagne to shake like people do after a great victory. Maybe we'll do that in the spring when we can be outdoors. That would also be my one year anniversary of being cancer free.

"Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for it is now that God favors what you do." Ecclesiastes 9:7 (NIV)

"One generation will commend your works to another; they will tell of your mighty acts. They will speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty, and I will meditate on your wonderful works. They will tell of the power of your awesome works, and I will proclaim your great deeds. They will celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness." Psalm 145: 4-7 (NIV)

Friday, 10 October 2008


This Monday will be the Canadian Thanksgiving and I was thinking about some of the "things" that I am thankful for.

Treasured memories
Healing from cancer
Answered prayer
Neighbours who care
Kindness of others
Sisters by birth and friendship
God's faithfulness
Increasing energy
Valleys where God is present
Increasing strength
New hair
Good reports from my doctors

"Come, let us sing to the Lord! Let us give a joyous shout to the rock of our salvation! Let us come before him with thanksgiving. Let us sing him psalms of praise." Psalm 95:1,2 (NLT)

"Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and bless his name. For the Lord is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation." Psalm 100:4,5 (NLT)

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Significant Events

A lot has happened since I last posted an update here.

I was interviewed by one of our local papers to tell my story about being diagnosed with ovarian cancer. I willingly agreed in the hope that it would help others be diagnosed sooner. What I had not considered was that they would also want a photo of me to accompany the article. I decided to submit one from before I was diagnosed so people who knew me would recognize me. At the present I do not look like I did in that picture. I am now glad that I chose that photograph because I can walk freely in town without feeling self-conscious around people I do not know.

My hair is now longer and finally looks like a hairstyle that I have chosen! I have had it trimmed in order to give a more flattering shape as it continues to grow. My hair is quite curly, especially at the top of my head. I have heard that this is not unusual after chemotherapy. I like the ease of care; just wash and go, although I often use a pick comb to fluff it out.

I recently took part in the 5 km Winners mini-walk of Hope in Aurora. This was a walk that my sisters had organized in support of Ovarian Cancer Canada. A year ago I was unable to attend the first mini-walk as I was too ill. It was a significant event for me to be able to walk the route knowing that I was now healed from ovarian cancer.

Next year I hope to walk in the national Winners Walk of Hope, which takes place in Sunnybrook Park in Toronto. I had my surgery at Sunnybrook hospital, which is near there, so I think that taking part in the national walk will also be a significant event.

Another significant event in my life is my involvement as a discussion leader in a ladies' Bible study in town. I will write about this in another post as the topic, "Walking By Faith: Lessons Learned in the Dark", is quite significant in light of my recent journey of dealing with ovarian cancer.
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