It Shrinks

I’ve had “write blog post” on my to-do list for about 2 1/2 months now.

I’ve started it several times – but somehow I just couldn’t hit publish.

Now I can. Because for now at least, there’s a little good news to go with the bad. It doesn’t just grow. It shrinks.

For anyone not in the know, my mom is back in chemo. Since the last blog post, what feels like a really long time ago, but actually was just a year ago (April 8th to be exact) – a lot has happened.  The short version, she had her follow up CT Scan in October, totally expecting everything to be fine, but it wasn’t.  That F’ing C didn’t stay away for long and in fact decided to make a new home for itself in her liver. Shit.

It was small, so they radiated it.  Doctors were very positive.  Phrases like “we caught it early” and “it’s very small” and “this treatment is new and very effective” were used a lot.

It didn’t work.

She knew she was in trouble when her stool lost colour.

We knew she was in trouble when she turned yellow.

Another CT and more not very nice news, not only had the radiation not worked, it had really not worked – it had grown.  A lot. Almost four times the size in two short months. Quadruple shit.

A stent was put into her liver to get the bile moving in the right direction, and get her skin a little less big-bird-esque. And she started chemo again. Three more rounds.

The last week has been rough. The stent was blocked, the dressing around her abdomen was being changed multiple times a day, her skin was not happy. Another CT and a small surgery to fix the stent were both booked for Thursday.

But alas, a little ray of hope.  A little reward of sunshine for her determination and perseverance. It seems it has shrunk a little.

Full results are not in yet.  We don’t know by how much and we don’t know the full analysis, but the preliminary report “looks good” – and it makes this waiting period a whole lot nicer. The chemo will continue but at least it seems to be doing something.

It’s a win for today.  And that’s worth writing about.

That beautiful photo is the work of Michelle Peek Photography – that’s another blog post on my list… and they’re too beautiful not to share so it’s coming – pinky swear.

For Grandpa

The Boy’s Grandpa passed away this past week. He was 91. He lived a long and full life, but as the minister said at the funeral service, some might be feeling – a long full life yes, but at the same time – we weren’t quite done with him yet. It was amazing how she was able to articulate how the Boy and I were feeling.

Since I’ve been designated “the writer” in the family, with the help of the whole family, I wrote a few words to say goodbye from the Grandchildren. Since I may be able to write, but can’t speak at sad occassions (or happy ones for that matter) without crying, the Boy and I nominated sister E to speak. She did an AMAZING job, no surprise… she’s pretty amazing.

Since this little blog is supposed where I keep track of the events big and small in my life – it seemed like a no brainer to save/share it here. Grandpa was pretty awesome, he will be fondly remembered and dearly missed.


People say that grandchildren are the best kind of children. At least that’s what Mom and Dad keep reminding us. You get to spoil them, have unwavering faith and enthusiasm in their ideas, and your responsible for none of the discipline and only a fraction the worry. Grandpa certainly took full advantage of his role. 

A working farm may be no place for your own little girl, but there is no better place to babysit your granddaughters than spending hours together on a combine. And small treasures that don’t seem like much mean the world to your grandchildren, like seashells or garage sale finds. And stray dogs bring smiles to everyone’s faces – especially their parents.

As we got older, Grandpas face would still light up whenever one of us would walk in the door. He was always thrilled to see us, and if we hadn’t seen him in a while he’d call to hear what we were up to and get an update on the topics he was most concerned about: Are you working everyday? How’s the car running? And found any good deals lately? Of course, we all knew the answers he was looking for: Everyday. Great it’s got 315 000 km on it. And yes grandpa of course I took the new battery out of the old car before sending it to the junk yard, you’re right it will fit in our Camry. 

He was supportive of all of our decisions, whether they took us back to school, across the country or across the ocean. And when best-laid plans didn’t quite work out, as they tend to do, there was never a judgmental word – because he never expected us to be perfect all the time. He did expect we’d figure it out and try again. Move back. Change programs. That’s okay, this plan seems like a good one too.

We were spoiled to have him with us for so long. And it will take some time to get use to not visiting as often as we could. We’ll miss his rote memory, his stubborn resolve to fight his failing body, that refused to work the way it did when he was 30, and endless games of Eucre.

But we find comfort in the knowledge that his memory keeps him with us, and he’ll be there quietly supportive of all our future endeavors. We’ll hear him in our hearts reminding us to work hard, be polite, don’t pay the government more than you have to, take care of the car, there’s no need to drive faster than 50, no harm in being 2 hours early, there’s no deal in an extended warranty and most important you are loved. You are loved. You are loved. 


More Today

The Boy and I were at a lovely wedding this summer. Our friends were married by the same priest that married us, in the same church. The Boy was the Best Man, and Fr. Joe took more than a few jabs at him in throughout the ceremony.

Our friend the priest did have something to say that day that has really stuck with me over the last few months (and it wasn’t about how the groom should really reconsider his friends).  He told the happy, crying, over-the-moon in love couple that he hoped their wedding day was the least happy day of their marriage.  He said in your marriage you should love each more today than yesterday, and a little bit more tomorrow.


I can’t say that I love the Boy more today than yesterday, or more than a week ago, or last month. But I do love him more than our wedding day. We are stronger today than we were then. We’ve been through some truly craptastic days in the last 3 years, and while I would happily trade many of them in, there is no one else I would have rather spent those days with.


We are a team. Happy as a team. Sad as a team. Successful as a team. Frustrated as a team. Elated as a team. Scared as a team. Some days he has to be the team captain, and some days it’s me. Through it all what keeps me the most steady and focused and optimistic as we face our toughest opponents is the knowledge that we’re in it together, and reading from the same page of the playbook.


Look at me with the sports analogy.  He must be rubbing off on me.


Happy Anniversary Buddy.

West Photo-1970

I thought I loved you then.

Dream Dream Dream

The Boy never remembers his dreams, so when he does – it’s note worthy.  His sleep was interrupted by the phone the other morning, this is what followed.

Boy – I was having a really nice dream too
Me – I was having weird dreams, what was yours?
Boy – We had just had a little baby.  It was nice.  Weird, but nice.
Me – That is nice.
Boy – What was yours?
Me – We were in the midst of a zombie apocalypse and your brain was eaten by zombies.  You were still nice though.
Boy – You win.


Hopefully only one is foretelling of the future.


Happy Monday!

Less Worry. More Faith.

Thank you for all the wonderful comments, Facebook messages and emails checking in to see how the Boy and I were doing in the wake of my Plan Me blog post a couple weeks ago.

A few things we learned:

  1. We have some really wonderful friends.
  2. We’re by no means alone – lots of people we know know EXACTLY how we’ve been feeling
  3. Most of those people agree with us, Facebook is a great place to check in if you want to think that everyone you have ever known (as a general rule) is super happy, healthy and fertile. If only first baby bump pictures told the whole story – I think we’d all be more than a little surprised.

So here’s my update. We saw the fertility specialist and drumroll please… everything is fine.

We are both healthy and all little person making parts are in full working order. In fact, we are a little too healthy. If we choose to pursue fertility support, we would have a very high likelihood of multiple littles. “Twins or triplets would be a very real possibility”

Picture the Boy making BIG eyes.

Ummm…. did you just say triplets?!?  So with that wonderful news, the plan is – no plan. Patience. Less worry, more faith.

I’ve been asked if anyone has said that stress could be a factor. The western medical answer is no – unless of course you’ve stressed yourself right out of menstruating. But hindsight is 20/20 and I think it’s fair to say evolution has made us smart enough to not let us make more things to take care of while you are under threat of being chased by a tiger. So yes, I think stress has been a factor.

In the meantime, I’ve found a new naturopath (btw – I seriously love her already, finally a suitable replacement for the Bizios), and Dr. Meg (see – how could I not love her?) very much agrees that stress could be a factor. She’s glad to hear that everything tested in the normal range, but since normal is not necessarily optimal she’s got some thoughts on getting us there.

So that’s it! We’ll continue to try, and I can’t say we won’t be disappointed if our little doesn’t come right away – but knowing there’s no reason to worry that it’s not an option for us, is really reassuring. In the meantime, plan me includes wine, sushi, soft cheese, Dairy Queen and cupcakes – until Dr. Meg has something to say about it… which I’m pretty sure is next week.

Plan Me

A friend of mine has told me repeatedly based on her current experience as a mother of 2 teenage girls, Plan A – don’t have children. Plan B – if you choose to disregard the sound advice of Plan A, make sure they have some sort of skill they can exchange for money in their teenage years. Pretty good advice.


The alternate title to this post is “The Elephant in the Room: Let’s talk about why I stopped blogging.”  While it goes a while back, to post wedding writers block and new job writing overload, the most recent reason I haven’t been blogging is I’ve come off about 10 months of lethargy. I  have been hibernating.  Lazy.  Exhausted.  Those words would work too.


I new it was happening, but in the weeks following the completion of Mom’s chemo, I have really  realized how much of my time and brain power was going to pretending that everything was normal.  This makes sense, your brain won’t let you live in a constant state of panic – well, mine won’t anyway. When people would ask me how she’s doing, I would answer with “Great! She’s doing really really well.” Because it was true, she did do really really well.  But doing well with Cancer, doing well with the complete loss of your stomach, and doing well with a slow drip of “Drano” being constantly pumped into you is not the same as “Everything is completely normal, nothing to worry about or preoccupy ourselves with here.” It’s doing really really well compared to the really really bad alternative.  And given the choice, I think we all could have done without it, which is not something you would say under normal “really really great” situtions.


The other thing that’s been preoccupying me is, and I’m sure this comes as no surprise, The Boy and I decided shortly before this whole mess started that we were ready to try and make a little person. When Mom got sick, the Boy said (probably wisely) “So… should we just put this whole idea on the backburner for a while?” to which I emphatically answered “NO! Are you crazy?!”


Turns out, Mother Nature seems to have agreed with the Boy.  We have spent the last year feeling pretty friggin’ frustrated that two healthy people in the prime of their baby making years can’t seem to get it together.  Since I’m putting all cards on the table with this post – it never even occurred to me we would have any challenge in this area.  Not once. If not right away, then DEFINITELY within 3 months.  The thought that it would be a year later and still nothing, didn’t even cross my mind. Frustrating.


And when I’m frustrated, or upset, or generally need to work things out – I write.  But when I thought of writing it down I immediately thought – if I write it down it will make things true, and that seemed far too confrontational for this little introvert – better to pretend everything is just fine. Besides, what good would it do? It wouldn’t change anything, and at worst it may garner 10 comments with the sound advice of “just relax” (which FYI is pretty much the most frustrating thing anyone can say to me ever regardless of the circumstances), or “just stop trying” (which from where I’m sitting right now, seems like an option that’s available to people that are either undergoing some kind of hormone support, or already have littles, or were on the fence about the whole idea to begin with, or are going to start pursuing other options for increasing the size of their family – and at this point we’re not in any of those categories).


So instead, I hibernated.  The combination of acting like my mom being as sick and that try as we might things don’t seem to be going our way in our other life plans, throw a crazy hectic job with insane deadline after insane deadline… well, overwhelming would be a good place to start.


But the last few weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to exhale.  At work, my temporary secondment is coming to an end, and while I would love to stay, there are exciting changes happening in my old job, and I have recently decided that I have time to wait for the right opportunity to come up for my next move, besides I’m good with giving up doing 2 jobs and working overtime on Friday night.  Mom is doing incredible – and that’s not just relatively speaking.  There’s a huge difference in her energy and her ability to manage this new life without a stomach in the last couple of weeks.  And as for Project Little Person, we’re seeing a fertility specialist who is running the appropriate tests to make sure everything is fine, but has assured us that on paper – things look good.  We are in fact otherwise healthy, and there is nothing that jumps out to say “this couple can’t do this”


So I made a decision this weekend.  As an alternative to trying to “just relax” I have decided to instead take on a new project.  I’m calling it Plan Me. We can all agree the winter has been brutal, and I’m really noticing the itch to get outside and enjoy any hint at spring weather I can get.  So I’m focusing my attention on all the things that the Boy and I will find harder to do when we (hopefully) become 3 (well, 4 with Gordon). The Boy and I have talked about a weekly Nine and Dine date as soon as weather permits.  My birthday present this year is a new bike to go with the one I got the Boy last year.  We’re walking the dog. I’m meal-planning and getting our food situation back on track. I’m finding new motivation to start working out again. I’m looking at vacation plans for the summer, and having just learned that we have a 4 day weekend for Canada Day, I’ve started thinking about what I can do to celebrate Plan Me then.


Maybe this is what people mean by “just relax” but for me, this isn’t an attempt at distraction – Plan Me still involves taking my temperature every morning, and following up with the fertility doctor.  Instead, I’m reminding myself that the hope is littles or no littles, in the end it’s just me and the Boy (who, BTW deserves a shout out for how awesome he’s been through all of this). So maybe I should take some time to be a little bit selfish, and get back in touch with the things I really like to do… like knit, and sew and walk the dog, and ride my bike and cook and bake and read, and watch terrible 90s television on Netflix and write for fun… not just for work.


And that’s where I’ve been.


Silver Linings

This is it. The final day of a long, long journey. Paula the pump finished her job overnight, and today Mom goes for one last weekly visit to Southlake to have the pump taken off, and the PICC line removed.  
She’s done. 
Everyone together now… exhale. 
We’ve made light of it along the way, celebrated family with cupcakes and told cancer where to go – all at the same time. I think every person in my family has used the line – “we’re really good at cancer” at least once.  We’ve picked a disease to stick with, but we come out swinging every time and today we can celebrate that we’ve kicked it once again. If you can’t laugh, you’ll cry, so we’ve chosen to laugh as much as possible.

The O and M on top were for the littles... we try and maintain some sense of appropriateness

The O and M on top were for the littles… we try and maintain some sense of appropriateness

We haven’t done it alone.  The outpouring of love and support on this blog, to our emails or on coffee dates has been overwhelming.  Whether it’s dropping by to check in, calling every single day when you’re supposed to be on vacation, or flat out insisting that yes you will be driving to the next appointment, no it is not a bother, and yes you will gladly wait for hours and hours while the chemo slowly pumps through – it has all been appreciated not just by Mom, but by everyone in our family. 
Bringing smiles with a touch of flare

Bringing smiles with a touch of flare

Through it all, I have often thought (and I know she has too) how people can possible fight this fight alone. It’s beyond me. 

Everybody on 3 - 1, 2, 3 - Fuck Cancer!

Everybody on 3 – 1, 2, 3 – Fuck Cancer!

There have been hundreds of comments about Mom’s strength, perseverance and determination.  And I’ll agree, the Olympians we celebrated last month have nothing on her. She’s been asked over and over, “how do you do it?”  Her answer, always with a smile and soft chuckle – “I don’t really see any other option.”  But I’m here to tell you as we start the long process of putting this horrible experience behind us what her secret has been. 

Happy Mom.

Happy Mom.

It’s you. 
She has drawn on your strength, on your support and on your friendship. You have made sure she knows that she is loved and she is needed and she is not alone. And by extension you’ve made our whole family feel that love too.
And so from the bottom of my heart, thank you.  Thank you for being there, for cheering her on, for checking in, for keeping track and for counting down right along with us. 
Thank you for being our silver lining. 
Silver lining

Silver lining

A friend of Mom’s sent this to me last week to be included in our #lovefor60onthe4th countdown.  I thought it was an excellent way to wrap this whole thing up.

The Best Things in Life Aren’t Things

Love is powerful. It can change everything in an instant…and for a lifetime. But, it’s something that’s not to be taken for granted. In fact, it’s often the little things, the compliment, the extra hug, the special effort to make your loved one smile that makes love grow. It’s not the most expensive gift, but the gift of heart that makes the difference.

Special thanks to Molls for her excellent guard dog skills. No leaf or snowflake has gone unnoticed in the last few months.

Onward and Upward – right Molls?!

Okay, so not EVERY day…

I know what I said.  Daily posts.  I didn’t quite make it but a big THANK YOU to everyone who has sent me pictures so far.  Keep them coming!

We’re in the last week, the final, final countdown. Mom went for the final change of Paula the Pump on Tuesday.  Her levels were all borderline, and there was a moment of consideration to delay her another week, but thankfully they recognized that might have killed her – so they went ahead. She has also received conformation that her PICC line will come out March 4th. Which means after months and months of taping a newspaper bag to her arm in order to get in the shower – she’ll be back to normal in a matter of days, and getting ready in the morning will stop being a 2 hour process…. you know, as soon as she no longer needs a nap after putting on makeup!
On to the good stuff – a few of you sent lots, so I’ll mix them up over the next few days.
Kirsten said while Instagram is a bit beyond her technical prowess taking a picture on her blackberry isn’t! These fat little birds remind her of her kids when they were learning to ski and skate. They’re “supposed” to be Christmas ornaments, but she loves them so much she’s decided to keep them out all year because they make her smile.

Fat Christmas Birds

Bud and Cary missed Mom and Dad in Florida this year, but they’re grateful for the sunsets there, and look forward to many more years ahead counting them down with their favourite neighbours

Florida Sunset

And Marg always smiles when she thinks of the birthday party she went to for Mom a few years ago.  She’s wishing Mom everything wonderful as she reaches this milestone!
Carol  Weldon Birthday

Keep them coming everyone!  On Instagram @60onthe4th or @gingerandgiant and use the hashtag #lovefor60onthe4th or email me meaghanweldon @ gmail dot com

Thanks to everyone I’ve heard from so far – tell your friends we’ve got FIVE more sleeps!!!

Sick and Tired of Feeling Sick and Tired

March 4th. That’s 8 days left. EIGHT DAYS!!! And you know what? It’s been a long fucking haul.  No one in our family has had a cold or flu this winter (*Knock on wood*) and do you know why? Because we don’t have time for that shit! (pardon the language but we’re all getting a little punchy!)

But the body and mind can really only take so much and Mom is currently feeling sick and tired of feeling sick and tired.  The end is near, but like the last mile of a marathon – that short distance is starting to feel the longest (or so the runners in my life have told me).
So the Sista put on her thinking cap and together we have come up with a way to bring a little sunshine into Mom’s life in the next 8 days, and to do it we need everyone’s help from near and far to cheer her on to a photo finish.
Our brilliant idea combines three things we love, social media, mom and a good hashtag.
We’re calling all photographers for photos of things that inspire you, things you’re grateful for, things that make this crappy fight all worth while. Sista signed Mom up for Instagram, (because apparently she needs another platform to try and understand it’s awesome and mom loves all things awesome) so you can Instagram your pictures and tag her @60onth4th or me @gingerandgiant and use the hashtag #lovefor60onthe4th.
Our thought was looking at pictures of all the things that you’re grateful for is a low-energy pastime that should bring more than a few smiles to not just Mom, but everyone who is counting down with her.
Not on Instagram? (well you should be – because it’s awesome) You can still participate by emailing me your pictures to meaghanweldon @ gmail dot com I’ll post some pictures each day on this little blog and maybe we’ll kill two birds and I’ll get back into the habbit of daily blogging (HA! We can only hope)
I’ll kick it off to get this party started.
Showing our patriotism at 7 am really takes a lot of us.
The Boy, Gordon and I were happy to show our patriotism at 7 am on Sunday. But we were truly grateful for a 3 hour family nap in the afternoon!
So post your pictures – be they profound, cute, inspiring or silly, and together let’s cheer this awesome lady to the finish line!!!