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Category Archives: Healthy Me – a Healing Adventure

Thoughtshifter, Spiritlifter, Anchor – Mine’s a little nautical. What’s yours?

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P1070852In July, on the lovely Tall Ship Hawaiian Chieftain, I got to sail through the San Juan Islands, with my 7 year old granddaughter in tow to boot! Learned so much. Lived so much. And had a little discovery afterwards that I want to share…

At the end of the day on a tall ship, the Captain holds muster. The crew gathers and waits respectfully for the Captain to speak. I was surprised to notice a common occurrence during muster on both ships and with both Captains that I’ve now had the wicked opportunity to crew with. It is this: If we had gotten to sail that day – if the winds were fair, the sails set, and we got to feel the magic of a large tall ship slicing its way through the ocean powered by wind alone – then on those days, the Captains would start muster with: “We sailed.”

And then, it was like nothing more need be said. “We sailed” said it all. We had lived our passion and purpose that day, nothing else mattered. The crew would all nod their heads, contentment and a hint of pride on their faces. It takes a lot for a Tall Ship to be maintained and ready to sail, let alone actually sailing her. The crew and Captain deserve to have this moment of complete satisfaction. You can be sure, too, the crew were kindred in knowing those days ‘we sailed’ would keep them inspired as hours on end they tar lines and file rust to keep their ship shipshape.  Muster always continued as it must (wait…is that how muster got its name?)… but I do recall one captain one evening adding, after the pause that followed”I sailed,” something along the lines of “I suppose we should talk about more things, but that does seem to be enough.”

Fast forward a few weeks. August. Driving in my car, fussing in my head about stressful things, feeling anxious about more changes coming up in my life – good changes, including another move, but unsettling in the process. Running endless details through my head and thinking myself into a bit of overwhelm. And then it happened: I heard myself think, “I sailed.” I grinned ear to ear. The fussing thoughts fizzled out like water was dropped on their fuse.  It was like nothing more need be thought.  Sure, it might not be everybody’s way of finding zen. But then, I also find zen in clay that goes entirely out of whack on a pottery wheel.

When I started thinking again…still grinning, I admit… I was simply reminded that life is always offering up grand things, even making impossible things possible,  and will continue to. The proof is in the past (and surely in the future): I sailed.

That simple two word thought has now become my anchor. (sheesh, I’m so nautical now)  When I’m feeling like I’m in a whirlwind of change, and uncertainty is feeling more unsettling than it is adventurous, I think “I sailed.”   Another phrase  I’ve used in the past and it’s even a better fit now with my “I sailed” is “Alls well.” Besides reminding me that, in truth, in the big picture of things, all is well, whether I as my mortal self can fully understand it or not,  I am reminded of the calls of the first mate as each sail was set;  “Mizzens  well. Tops’l well…”  When the sails are set just right, all’s well.

It was magical, really, how instantaneously my thoughts and my mood shifted when “I sailed” came to mind that day driving in the car. Nothing less than magical.  You know the kind of magic…  like faeries had dumped a bucket of “lighten up” dust on me. Or spirit guides rolled their eyes at what was going on with me and snapped their magic fingers to make me happier.  You know that feeling, right?

I  wish for everyone to have moments like that… and I suspect many of you have, being the curious and interesting folk that you are who follow this blog.  In fact, I suspect everyone can have those magical thoughtshifting spiritlifting moments. They just need to find that anchor.

How about you? Anything that says, “all is well”  even when life is a bit crazy?  Yes, Life can get stormy. Seems there’s always going to be some uncharted stuff getting in the way. We can all use an anchor we can count on.

This  post is dedicated to you, my friend who left me a message saying, “Janet, there’s no post in August. How are you? Hope alls well?” Thank you so much for caring. ~smile~
Friends and family… they are anchors, too, don’t you think?


Onion Satire and My Crazy Tiny Heritage Log Cabin Home. How did I get here?

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Some things just must be shared and this is one of them:
Find The Thing You’re Most Passionate About, Then Do It On Nights And Weekends For The Rest Of Your Life
By David Ferguson,31742/?ref=auto

I hope you read it. It’s brilliantly funny. And once you do, you’ll understand when I say this is why I went into recreation and leisure management many years ago… in the hopes that someone might recognize their recreation and leisure time as having potential to be much more a part of their life. Then life coaching came along as a profession and I went there… because snippets of what you love in a week or a month or a year, is just not enough.


cabinAnd so, staying true to what I love…Yes, I’m living in a log cabin. I moved in last week. It’s 160 years old.. the oldest heritage building in our community… cozy and sweet inside with 400 square feet of room for my projects, written works and art works.  It’s on a small farm, near the river where I can paddleboard. And a bonus; it’s a very cool experience for the grandchildren when they visit.

It is a bizarre yet extraordinary thing how visioning can make things happen. I’ve wanted to try simplified tiny house living. I wanted the option to be near water, yet close enough to town that my family and muse friends aren’t far away. And I wanted ‘cheap’ so I could get myself back on my financial feet.  And so here I am.  Even I am surprised I am living here; I was not actively looking, but I was imagining.  A friend heard about it and told me.  Visioning is like that.

A cabin has always been my place to really make things happen.  The timing is perfect; I’m feeling well. I have written works galore from the past couple of years to fine tune and get out there. I have what I hope are inspiring, fun, quirky courses and discovery books just waiting to be shared. I’m delighted to be doing personal coaching again and from this sweet little place. The pottery studio doesn’t fit, but it’s all safely stored for ‘down the road’ but the paints and creative play stuff fills shelves where others might put things like.. dishes, or food.

The last few years have been a knock-down, get-back-up, wild ride… mentally, physically, emotionally, soulfully, and financially.  Wild. Did I mention wild? But being aloft furling sails on a tall ship… well, that will always remind that getting back up includes ‘nothing is impossible.’  And this cabin just happening to be available… reminds me that the Universe is looking out for me.  And now I get  dedicated time in nature to get my creative and career dreams back in gear.  Life is Good. Crazy. Wild. Bizarre. Pretty Amazing.

The whole point of this post? Keep imagining. Make those vision boards. Dream. Trust. Do more of what you love. Take small steps in that direction. Say Yes to opportunities. Know that nothing is impossible.

The Kemo song -If it helps one person find a different way…

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I am back from a most extraordinary adventure. Have you ever had so much to say that you don’t know where to begin so you say nothing? That’s where I’m at with sharing my experience training to be a sailor on a tall ship. I look forward to sharing, I do have notes and sketches to make sure I don’t forget, and I hope you look forward to hearing about it. Its sort of a ‘holy cr%p, if I can do this, then nothing is impossible” experience. Dreams are meant to come true, I know that for sure. Not just for me; for you, for everybody. And there’s other experiences of late worth sharing, like the story people all ‘blindly’ contributed to at our Muse Affair this past weekend… flesh eating beetles and magical folks all included. So consider THAT hint a reminder to me to share that, too.

But here is something I have gotten together to share! I went on the tall ship adventure for the most part without my story of the last almost 2 years of cancer treatments. It was good for me… to attempt to live up to what I thought I could pull off before that story got in the way. But that story as you know, rough as it was, had a tremendous amount of ‘good stuff.’

There’s a young woman, Megan Kowalewski, who is gathering images and videos of people in treatment “smiling, thumbs up, etc.” She created the video of singing through chemo that went viral, deservedly so, and now is continuing to inspire others. So. This timeline for submissions got me to finally put together this video: celebrating the last day of chemo mid June, with the little song that helped me through a year of intravenous treatments. It helped me sneak past terror and even welcome the chemo, (as best I could, with a touch of ‘faking it’) so that it could do it’s job without battling me resisting it! Fun and funny to create this video.. and don’t I have amazing friends? I celebrate them every day.

And here’s a link to original song with written lyrics

The Seriously WTF update

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So, I have a little problem.  The page called “Seriously WTF?” on this blog, where I’ve posted more of the ‘medical’ side of healing from cancer, has technical difficulties. The way I’ve set it up, I can’t add ‘tags’ to help others find it.  I’d like others to find it… those going through treatments for cancer, and perhaps those who support them. I’m hoping that there’s a tidbit or two in there that might be helpful – even if just to know that they are not alone.  And that is why the latest update to that page, I’m also posting here. This way I can ‘tag’ the heck out of it, and trust that if there’s someone out there needing something on that page… they’ll find it.

This post isn’t only about medical stuff,  it has a touch of whine, and a lot about what’s helping… the helping part likely includes you, unless this is the first time you’ve come across my stories. ~smile~ There’s also a great ship.. read on!

June 25 2013  Update

Oh where oh where have I been? Well, honestly… slowly, quietly meandering my way into what is now classed as ‘mildly to moderately depressed.’  I could see it happening as I began the tamoxifen treatments and slowly quietly began getting more and more side effects – with moods being a key one.  My hair all stopped regrowing – another tell tale ‘all is not ideal’ sign. And I was on continued ‘chemo’ treatments of herceptin up until mid June. I’m now finished those. YAYYYYYY!

Whoot whoot whoot whoot!  One year of injections finished! (My chemo buddies and I did something really fun/funny… we’ll reveal that soon.)  Ideally, the finish of that treatment will make the ongoing oral tamoxifen treatments easier. (Oh, and I did have the second reconstruction surgery in March … things are coming along prettily. Very impressed with what surgeons can do.)

So, although I’m aware that treatments and ‘stuff’ are playing havoc.. it’s okay. Supplements recommended by my Inspirehealth doctor are helping tremendously.  Anyone reading this who is in Canada….please consider making Inspirehealth part of your team if you have been diagnosed with cancer. This is the only place I know where there are medical doctors who are experts in what you can take or do, that will not interfere with the success of chemo and other cancer treatments. I describe it as integrative cancer care where western and eastern philosophies meet.  Sooo important.

And all of this is also okay, because I’m staying ‘reasonably’ true to doing things I love even if it’s been harder to ‘feel’ the same amount of joy, rush, and fun. Some days it’s been “just read a good book”  while avoiding other things I love because I’m just cranky. That’s been a hard one through all of this… days where I know I’m just too cranky to hang out even with my precious precious granddaughters.  Oy.

But I’ve also written a little book called “The Crash, Creatively”… so far just for my doctors, but will do more with it, I think.  I’ve played on my paddleboard at Hornby Island with dear muse friends, and paddled and hiked and hit the hot springs in the Rockies. I walk regularly and hike once in awhile. (But Kamloops, cut with all the rain!)

I’m shocked to notice that I may well have become a foodie!  Sometimes I work hard at eating… but I do it anyway, and it’s all good healthy shit stuff.

I’m delighted to have one online course going and am loving doing that, as always.  Onward… small step, by small step. And yes, I sketch, and my paint sketches, as I call them, continue to give me intuitive wisdom about what I need to keep taking steps.  In amongst selling my house and financial crashes…well, I guess I can give myself credit for creatively surviving financially, in addition to so much help from the community last year.

Sounds like I’m doing awesome, when I read all that. Ha Ha!  Okay, screw the cranky.. I’m doing awesome.  But it’s not me that’s the most awesome….

Remember when I shared this when I revealed that I had been diagnosed with breast cancer?

“On this journey,
I will use creativity.
 I will use magic.
I will use laughter.
I will use adavan …
I will hang out in nature
But most of all, I will bask in the love and support
and wonder of those around me
For all of that, I feel blessed.”
The reason I’ve been able to get through this the way I have, is not so much cuz I said I’d do these things; it was because my family and friends believed in me. That kept me going. Thank you for believing in me, even when I have some serious doubts.
And for those I know who are also going through this difficult experience, I sit in awe of you… some are dear friends and some are people I’ve met through this process… some with diagnosis that are really very difficult… well, you all inspire me with your courage, and ways of being through it all. My wishes for happiness and wellness are always with you.
Cindys ship

My Ship – full colour, full sail ahead…. I can do this… with great thanks to my supporters and cheerleaders who believe in me. Artwork by Cindy Hayden, Gifted by her and ‘everyone’ ~smile~

Now I’m trying to kick it up a notch, what with herceptin treatments over. There’s more to get me moving; my daughters have given me a whitewater rafting trip as a celebration gift, – they know how to kick their momma’s butt in gear, and I’m looking forward to that. And I applied for a two week training on a tall ship. … haven’t heard back from that yet, but hoping… won’t that just kick me in gear to prepare! And the reminder to apply for this training ( this was something I was going to do before the diagnosis of cancer) came within moments of another amazing gift given to me.

This extraordinary stained glass ship was given to me by Cindy Hayden, artist, and from ‘everyone’.. yes, that’s what they said, this gift is from ‘everyone’ who have been supporting me.  This is my ship.. full colours, sailing forward, filling me with the energy, passion and “Oh ya, let’s rock this” feeling once again.  So grateful to Everyone! It is such a symbol of how much I didn’t do this alone.

And now?… recreating life…. an overwhelm of ideas  (yes, a little slow yet on bringing those to life!)  and I am healthy and well!  If a little cranky, a little anxious, a little weaker, but this too shall pass.

Play, create, nature, give back, recreate my business,  explore, dream, discover, family and friends and people a priority, permission to keep asking “what will lift your spirit today, Janet?” or “How can you make this fun/funny?”, permission to ask you ‘what will lift your spirits today?” or “How can you make this fun/funny?” (snicker)       ….. life rocks! Even if some of the YO HO YO HO’s are simply a quiet yo ho sometimes. ~smile~

Saving the best news to last… Baby Emaline was born December 28th, a beautiful miracle child, and she and my other two granddaughters, light up my life!!!


For those interested, this is the link to the Seriously WTF? page… where more of the medical type info is.  Also within this blog,  I’ve posted other things about what has worked for me in the category “Healthy Me – A healing adventure.”

If you are someone who is dealing with healing from cancer, on tamoxifen and/or herceptin, and want to know more about the side effects I’m experiencing recently, and what I’ve learned, and other resources, particularly for rare breast cancers… please don’t hesitate to contact me!

Roller Coastering…it’s been a year. (Mentioning cute breasts would be inappropriate)

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A year since the original diagnosis … it seems I have so much to say, especially lately,  that I’ve been saying nothing at all. At least, blog wise.  It’s been a rollercoaster.  Funny, for all my adventurous Yo Ho spirit, I really really really don’t like rollercoasters.   So the Ups in my life have rocked… the downs, not so much.  The last couple of months have actually been the trickiest in the whole experience. But let’s start with a huge UP.

Huge Amazing UP:

Glancing through my blog posts, I am stunned that I didn’t find one announcing the birth of my newest granddaughter!! Oh, there are blog posts about the wee Emaline to be sure, but they are on my Gramanana blog, a private blog where I collect thoughts and wonders of these little gals in my life. She is a miracle baby, now 2 months old. We are all so blessed, and I am so grateful for the three little ones in my life who always make my heart melt and my smile smile, as they wash away the other life stuff that can make a person a bit crazy. There is magic in the births of each of my three granddaughters.. stories I do want to share, but keep forgetting to ask their mommies if they are okay with that.

And THREE granddaughters… makes me think we ought to start a rock band or something. Best learn to play an instrument, my voice won’t hold up its end of the band.

And a cranky Down:

I’ve sat quietly as new medications play havoc with my hormones the last couple of months… and, well…. anyone here ever have severe PMS? Ya. Probably best not to write blog posts during the cranky days because it would be rude of me to yell at all of you over something inconsequential which you probably never did anyway. Even my own visualizations are a bit cranky at times. My paintings cranky too.

I’ve not written about how going through the worst treatments was easier than the last couple of months. During chemo, a person has a strong, clear purpose: Get Through This Well.  As I move forward and am physically stronger, (yes, delightedly! Even though still in treatment and despite the added bonus of hormonal craziness), I find myself all over the map on what’s next, on rebuilding my business, and yes, I am selling my home.  Grateful for all the financial support I’ve had.. so very very grateful… and now,  rather than battle debt that’s been building, I think selling is my best option.

On the less cranky days (and they are lessening as I adjust to the treatments) I do remind myself not to be hard on myself … it’s okay to be wavering, wondering, processing the whole rollercoaster of the year.  Given that I just had surgery yesterday as part 2 of reconstruction, and I’m sitting here with ice on my chest… yes, it’s okay to be wavering, wondering and processing this experience and to be uncertain about the direction I’m going from here.   Actually this surgery is an UP… feels like a turning point in going forward.  So inappropriate to mention on a blog  how cute my perky little breasts are, so I won’t mention that.   And despite all this wavering,  I do know a wonderful wild adventure is due and have promised myself that in the not too distant future. In the wavering kind of way, I’m not sure what that will be yet, but it will be. ~smile~ And I do know I will put my energies towards what matters most. That’s part of the tricky part right now.. a lot of things matter most to me.

Wild UP

I finished writing my book… a creative memoire of a 15 year period of my life. Some have  called it a magical memoir. Although not a recognized genre yet, it seems like a good fit to me.   Writing the book has been an ongoing saga in itself.. finishing it feels amazing.  And scary, in a good way. Another round of edits.. and soon, I’ll take the next steps in getting published. It is somewhat hysterical that I did this final rewrite during chemo and cranky hormone treatments. Sentences seemed wayyyy too long, and were then shortened to wayyyyyy too short.  Huge sections were taken out – too much for my mind to handle at the time?- and some will be going back in. But all in all, I pulled off pulling together a very strange book. Huzzah!

More UPs… I’ve been downhill skiing a few times, and with the granddaughters there learning to ski, too, it’s been especially soul nurturing. Actually, now that I think of it, there’s been a lot of UPS. Walking most every day with dear friends. And loving leading the Muse Group Facilitator Training once again. So blessed to be connected to inspiring, quirky, intelligent, compassionate unique people in so many areas of my life.

Another UP.. the synchronicities that say, “ya, you’re doing okay.”   When I was writing this post I wrote this:

“I’m imagining that something pretty cool is going to evolve, now that I have to sell my house and I have no idea what’s next. Yes, sometimes I’m faking that optimism, but it soon trickles into some real optimism and excitement.. and all of that can only be good for my healing. On tamoxifen, I have to fake harder… but I’m getting there.”

This morning, in my inbox was my Note from the Universe, which honestly I don’t get around to opening all that often, but  it’s one of the few sites I haven’t ever unsubscribed from. (  Here’s what the note said today,

Sometimes, Janet, the more joy you fake, the more joy you make.
Same for anything else you might fake.
Smiling upon you with infinite affection,
The Universe

Nice one, Universe. Fake it, Act as if, Imagine… all tools that take things up a notch.

Okay, so I thought this blog post would end up with cranky tendencies… but apparently, in the writing, I can find more UPS than downs.  The rollercoaster above?  I draw random wild rollercoasters on paper, and mark the highs and the lows of  a day, or a week, or a year.  It’s a great way to recognize what really feeds your soul and what doesn’t, and find the way to spend time with the good stuff more often. Also a good way to notice what ‘not so good’ stuff can be let go of, and to remember the Ups will ease the ‘not so good stuff’ that can’t quite be let go of.

Today, I’ll acknowledge myself with some kind of prize for noticing the UPS in this couple of months that has had anxiousness, tears, and crankiness. Russian parahe, I think. There’s some in my freezer….

The Elusive “More”… Altogether now…

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Not a big surprise that many of my conversations with others these days meander around to health and wellness: My health, their health, practising the art of wellness… and the like.

Tonight’s conversation is the same story I hear constantly. Consistently. Routinely. Different twists, but same same. I wish, en masse, I could help the world see things differently… even just on this one habit in our thinking that has been instilled into us since we were children: “I’m not good enough.”

Here’s the conversation:

“…but,” I say, “you’ve looked after yourself very well.”

“No, not really,” she answers.

“You eat well, you walk often, you are doing volunteer work you enjoy and that keeps you mentally active, you are using the skills that are your expertise, you have a social life…” I ramble on. (She’s over 75. She’s rockin’ it.)

“Umm…Yes,” she answers haltingly as she processed what I said, but then very quickly added, “but I could do more.”

Yup, that’s the clincher. Never thinking that what we are doing  is good enough. Never acknowledging what we are already doing well. Always beating ourselves up for not doing some elusive ‘more.’ It is an ingrained thought habit, and wow, is it ever fed by media.

“The only ‘more’ you could do that would help your wellbeing is to stop saying “I could do more,” I suggested.

She snickered and agreed. She got it. I hope it lasts more than an hour before the old thinking habit comes back.

Okay, altogether now: “I’m good enough!”

Ya ya.. I know. First thoughts are all the things you need to improve. Pretty please, just for a moment… can you find one area of your life that you can say, even hesitatingly for starts, “I’m  good enough!”?

Or you could go for the biggie:  “I Rock!”

Me? I could beat myself to the ground for all kinds of things that I have not done ‘perfectly’ in my life, if I listened to everything the media, the ‘experts’, and the foodies say about how I got to the point of dealing with cancer. It’s a challenge enough to keep spirits lifted and manage treatments and keep going forward… can you imagine how hard it would be to be sitting here beating myself up in the process?

There are, in fact, no answers… not one fact… about how I got here. If I constantly drained my energy imagining the elusive ‘more’ I should have done or should be doing, there’d be no energy left to go out and snowshoe, to play with the little ‘uns, to hang out with muse friends, to write a blog post, to work on my book, to paint my tall ships, to find the funny in things, to dance under the willow tree, to make jokes about my Eddie Munster hairline, or even to plan a decent meal. And those are the things that are healing me. Good enough, I say.

(Coming soon to a blog near you: “Finding a less elusive more, if the “I could do more” is beating it’s way to the top of the thought factory anyway.”)

Going Green…My Hair, that is.

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Today I may have dyed my hair greenish.
Today I found my studio under months of mess that I just hadn’t been able to get to.
Today I fixed the rungs on a wooden bifold door that’s been broken for 6 months.
Today I made a little tiny sculpture of a castle out of a book and hung out with three muse friends while doing that.
Today I was still in awe that I finally finally got my taxes done this weekend, only 6 months late.

Today I’ve been fine tuning the Muse Facilitator course that starts tomorrow… my first step back to rebuilding my business. It’s by phone, so the green hair is okay. Never mind… they’d be cool with green anyway. It’s a group of creative people… they’d likely recommend complimentary colour streaks. ~smile~

Today I laid out giant paper to mindmap the “what nexts.” I didn’t do more than that. That would have been ridiculous on top of everything else. My goodness.

Tonight I’m rather ecstatic.

I’m ecstatic because 3 months ago, I thought I kicked ass if I even got the dishes done in a day, and 3 months ago there was no hair on my head to accidently dye greenish.

3 weeks ago planning to do this many activities in a day would have overwhelmed me even thinking about such a thing, and would have still tuckered me physically.

Given that I’m still doing treatments has me whoot whooting that the side effects are getting less; I don’t want to kill anyone like when the most recent treatment began. (Yup, it’s a hormonal treatment) Wait, is it what made my hair greenish?

Today I’m beaming because by the time my new grandbaby really notices things, she’ll see that her Nana is not an alien, after all. Yes, she’ll see this mousey greenish hair, but hair nonetheless. (It’s just a henna, it’ll wash out. Probably by mornng. So I had to write this post tonight or the whole darn greenish thing would have been redundant.) My five year old granddaughter thought purple would be nice. Maybe that’ll be next.

Today I feel like I almost have a real hair-do, (which is what inspired the henna dye job)…even though the 2 year old granddaughter has been saying, “Nana no nudey head” for a bit now. It’s been a 3 months process, this regrowth, and I’ve had moments of panic when it seemed it wasn’t growing.

It’s like my hair is a metaphor for my healing.. physically and mentally. Like my hair, my body and mind are clearly heading back toward happy and healthy. I have moments of trying to rush things, and likely I turn a bit green, and then I recognize I need to keep practising patience, gentleness and playfulness to keep my spirits lifted and my body healing.

And today a friend gave me homemade soup, and today I found out that artist Allen Okoye has made fundraising for me a part of his art show, and I am in awe of this continued support. I tried to tell someone about this today and just started crying… happy, ‘touched to the depth of my soul’ tears.  I may use this theme, “The things that made me cry” to get some of these stories down on paper.

Today reminds me that all is well with the world. Even with greenish hair. I just wanted to share that with you.

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