Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Tickled Pink!

This morning, as I was deciding what to wear today, I thought "I feel pink today". I chose my pink turtleneck top; pink earrings; and grey socks with pink polka dots. As I looked at myself in the mirror, taking in my overall appearance including my nail polish, I thought "I am perfectly content with how I look; I am tickled pink!".

I decided to look up the meaning of the phrase "tickled pink: thoroughly delighted or amused; elated" and I saw it was indeed appropriate. I have been transformed; it is like an extreme makeover, yet much of it has been gradual. I now wear earrings on a regular basis. My hair is now short and curly; that is how it has come in after the chemo. I have a membership at Curves and I am now doing two circuits. I have noticed a difference as my muscle strength has increased and I have lost inches.

I am also occasionally wearing nail polish on my fingernails. That may sound either frivolous or ordinary, but it is another form of restoration of my self-expression. When I was a young teenager I was given nail polish by a family friend, who was a salesman. It was a collection in every colour and shade; from yellow, orange, blue, green, to pink, purple, red, black and white. There were probably twenty colours in all. I would co-ordinate my nail colour with what I was wearing.

I know that God has restored my self-expression that was buried so many years ago; that is why I can say that I am "tickled pink!".

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Enthusiastic Exercising

Monday night, just before dinner, I went to Curves. I had only gone sporadically during the Christmas holidays and I wanted to get back into a regular routine.

As I went around the circuit, while doing an exercise that targets the arms, I thought about how far I have come since a year ago January. Thankfulness to God welled up inside me as I "pumped" my arms back and forth in time to the music. I was feeling good, so I decided to do the complete workout of two and a half circuits; usually I had only been doing two circuits.

Later, at home, I carried upstairs a heavy laundry basket that was filled with blue jeans. It was then I started to sense that I had overdone it. The next morning my shoulder and upper arm muscles were a bit sore. I then remembered my workout at Curves and I did some of the motions to try to figure out which exercise I might have overdone. I realized that it was the one I was doing as a "victory" exercise; I had allowed my enthusiasm, rather than common sense, to dictate the pace and intensity of my movements.

While I am stronger than I was a few months ago, I still have a ways to go. It is easy for me to overdo an activity when I am feeling strong. I need to be content with what I can accomplish, without overdoing it, as I continue to build up my strength.

Monday, 12 January 2009

Crazy Curls!

I have had my first "real" haircut and my hair is still curly! My daughter Joy is training to be a hairdresser, so I am having her practice on me. Joy has trimmed my hair quite a few times as it has grown.

I had been forewarned that not all of the hair on my head would grow in at the same pace, so I would need some sections trimmed more often than others. The hair at the crown of my head is still fairly short, while the hair around my ears and neck has had multiple trimmings. I was starting to have the makings of a "mullet" going on before the last trim!

My hair is the curliest when I first wash it. I wash my hair with shampoo for curly hair; then I scrunch my hair to help hold the curls in shape. My hair is still very soft; I have not yet used any styling gels on it. I think that soon I will need Joy to trim the hair on the top of my head; up till recently she has only needed to trim the bangs.

The photograph on my profile was taken a few months ago when the curls could first be seen. Now the hair on the top of my head is very curly; the curls go in every direction, hence the name of this post "Crazy Curls!".

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

A Special Friend

My journey of overcoming ovarian cancer was definitely a shared journey. While I have written about some of the people who have been a support along the way, there is a special friend, Anita, who has also played an integral part.

Anita made herself available to visit me "at the spur of the moment" when I was first in the hospital in September 2007. While I was in the hospital Anita and my daughter cleaned my house in preparation for my homecoming. Later, she accompanied me when my wig was available for fitting. Anita knew how I longed to have a "normal" life and she sought to find ways for me to have one. While my parents were away in Barbados, Anita spent the day with me as I received my final chemotherapy treatment. Another day Anita spent several hours at my home so that I would not be alone, in case I needed anything.

Anita has seen me at my lowest points and she has been a caring friend. I know that she has prayed for me as well. For my birthday Anita gave me a photo album and scrapbooking supplies so that I can document my journey in pictorial form. We will work on it together, since she has lots of scrapbooking tools. That will be a fitting way to end off our shared journey of my overcoming ovarian cancer, but it won't be the ending of our special friendship.

Tuesday, 6 January 2009


I was thinking about my life experiences and how I have needed to persevere. I thought about writing an anagram for the word "persevere", but I hesitated on account of the number of "e's". As I listed the letters at the side of a page of paper, I sensed that every "E" would represent "Encouragement".

Press on
Steady commitment

God provides the encouragement through His Word; His Spirit; and other people. God is relentless in His encouragement. We are to press on; remain; have a steady commitment; it is vital.

Saturday, 3 January 2009

Final Journal Entries From 2008

In reading over my journals from 2008, there were a few more entries that I wanted to post on my blog to help "fill in the picture" of what my journey of overcoming ovarian cancer has been like.

(April 26 2008)
"I think that I am at peace with my body. I have contentment, or a sense of acceptance, and appreciation for what my body has gone through these last few months. My eyebrows and eyelashes have not yet filled in. My hair is slowly growing in on my head. It is much like after a war; there is a time needed to rebuild. It is as if my body was shell-shocked and now it is enjoying the time of peace; the assaults have stopped. It is a sense of relief to be through the treatments and all the side effects that go along with them. There are many things that I want to do, but I do not have the energy yet."

"I want to have 'beauty' and 'life' around me."

(May 20 2008)
"At times I think I am a slow learner in that I don't realize what God is trying to teach me. I have felt as if there is a 'wall' that I can't break through regarding the trauma associated with having had cancer. I was in such a weakened state; I could not bathe or dress myself; I could not do any household chore. I was dependent on others to assist me; or to run the household. I am now regaining my strength and I have gradually been increasing what I do."

"What I believe God wants me to learn is that I need to rely on Him and not on myself. I was brought to a place of dependence on others. I let down my guard and received the love and care and support they offered."

(June 5 2008)
"My hair is growing. My head is looking darker; there is no scalp showing through. I have gone outside without my wig and hat. I have driven to pick up my daughter from work without anything on my head. I found it too distracting to wear a hat while driving. I asked my husband if it looks like I just got my hair cut really short; he said 'no it looks shorter' than that! I was hoping that it would look stylish and not that I am recovering from chemo."

(June 7 2008)
"I am still 'hurting' from having had ovarian cancer. I need time to recover from the trauma. It affected me mentally, emotionally and physically."

"I am an individual. My life and my experiences as well as my responses are unique."

(June 9 2008)
"Cancer is one thing that lumps people together regardless of gender; age; race; religion; tastes in music; occupation; personality etc. We often form our alliances and friendships around shared interests and complimentary personalities."

"I did not choose to have ovarian cancer. No one chooses to have any kind of cancer. I have used this blog as a means of 'getting the word out' about ovarian cancer. I do not consider that by me having had ovarian cancer that I am automatically 'enrolled' in the cause."

"My biggest struggle, throughout my experience of having cancer and undergoing treatment, was to maintain a 'normal' life and retain who I am as an individual. The cause or passion that I have as a result of my experiences is that I have a desire to help others retain who they are in spite of having cancer and undergoing treatment. I spent too many years trying out different 'hats' and not knowing who I was as an individual."

In sharing these journal entries I feel as if I am closing off one chapter of my life's story. I am looking forward to what God has in store for the next chapter in this new year!

Friday, 2 January 2009

February and March 2008 Journal Entries

I did blog a bit as I was experiencing the effects of having ovarian cancer; chemotherapy; and surgery, but there was much that remained "hidden away" in my journals. It was very traumatic and I was not always able to blog about it. Here are some more reflections; life experiences; and my spiritual journey:

(February 1 2008)
"I feel as if I have a responsibility regarding ovarian cancer. Brenda commented on my blog that I bring hope to those who have cancer and who have loved ones with cancer because I am a cancer survivor."

"It is as if having cancer was a gift. Not that it was something to be desired or asked for, but rather it set in motion the blessings and calling from God."

(February 15 2008)
"Nothing can separate me from God's love, not even cancer."

(February 17 2008)
"When I think of 'life', I think of health; satisfying work; good stable relationships; a close walk with God. 'Life' also includes trials; testings; misunderstandings; sickness; frustrations; broken relationships. When I was first diagnosed with ovarian cancer, that did not fit in with my idea of what 'life' should be like. Joy said that when she first found out she said to God, 'How do I do life with this?' A diagnosis of cancer did not fit into our 'life' that we were used to experiencing."

(March 1 2008)
"Spring is coming!"

"I am doing quite well considering I had chemo three days ago. I think that part of it is that I am finished. I have completed the treatments and I won't ever have to have them again! It is such a sense of relief. I am tired though."

(March 2 2008)
"I need to 'feed' my soul during this winter season of my life."

(March 12 2008)
I had struggled at times with the fear of dying, and Jesus gave me victory over that fear. I am so grateful that He died in my place and broke not only the power of death, but also the power of the fear of dying."

(March 14 2008)
"At times I get overwhelmed by the fact that I had ovarian cancer and I have survived it. I am alive!"

"I sat there, receiving chemo, for about seven hours at a time; every three weeks; for six rounds of treatment. While that only amounts to a week that some people put in at their job, some of the effects of the treatment lasted for over two weeks; giving me only one short week to enjoy life before having another chemo treatment. I have not yet reached the third week after my final treatment. I am still on the road to recovery. I know that I will regain my strength as my body continues to heal from the trauma of having had cancer, chemo and surgery."

"Outwardly I am healing. My stomach/abdominal muscles are no longer sore....Inwardly I am still processing. I am grieving; emotionally weary."

(March 30 2008)
"I have wanted to "get on with life". but this is a part of life. I am not the only person who has ever faced ovarian cancer, specifically, or adversity, in general."

What I have noticed, in reading over my blog posts from February and March 2008, is that there were things I blogged about that I had not recorded in my journals. I have copied my blog posts into Word documents and saved them on a jump drive. I hope one day to compile both my journal entries and blog posts into one record of my journey of overcoming ovarian cancer.

Thursday, 1 January 2009

My New Year's Resolutions


Remember what the Lord has done for me.
Experience all that God has in store for me.
Serve others in practical ways.
Obey the Holy Spirit's leading.
Love others.
Understand what God's will is for me.
Trust the Lord, even when I do not understand.
Interact with others in a meaningful way.
Overcome any difficulties that I confront.
Neaten my home.
Strive to be who God created me to be.
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