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Updated: Jan 2

FINALLY! SOME FOCUS! I know ... I've been a little here and there. Some things, just had to play themselves out ... Waking up post cancer, was weird. I have a recurring vision seared into my brain that defines the era that followed - a near drowning victim, emerging from the water, all bulging eyes and gasping breath.

On my fiftieth birthday, I woke up in my parents’ house in a bed that was once my brother’s, and then my firstborn son’s. I was homeless, bankrupt, separated from my husband and children, jobless, car-less, and very, very sick.

I was just nearing the end of an aggressive four-month chemo regime (I refuse to call it ‘therapy’) and about to embark on an out-of-town, six-week radiation rampage (again, I call bullshit on the ‘therapy’ descriptor).

It was just two weeks into the beginning of the worldwide covid 19 lockdown, and I really couldn’t have been more immunocompromised if I had tried. AND, I lived with octogenarians!

That meant we didn’t see the outside world, for many, many months. It meant spending my birthday, Easter, Mother’s Day … without seeing my kids. It meant they were afraid of coming within 6 feet of me, or being indoors with me, for over a year, for fear of being the one that brought the germ that killed me.

It was hell. A drawn-out shitstorm of hippopotamic proportions. This, is called endurance.

Yes, it was hell … AND, I am here to tell you it was a pretty wild ride … BUT, I am out the other side! And you know what THAT means – it means that YOU can imagine getting out the other side of YOUR debacles, too!

I like to share the things that got me through, and pass forward tools that helped me find joy in MY shitstorms, so YOU can, in YOURS!

One morning, out the other side of the period I like to think of as ‘The Great Trainwreck’ (it seemed to go on for miles) I woke up gasping and heading in all directions. It was one week to the day, after my last radiation treatment. I had had a full week of rest, not asking anything of myself, and then I woke up expecting it was time to figure out what was next.

It was, after all, the question on everyone’s lips.

This moment of awakening led to an era defined by that aforementioned image - the moment a near- drowning victim breaks the surface of the water, and eyes bulging wide, they gasp and gulp for air! That’s how life FELT.

I kept waking up expecting to know the answers; and when, at the end of the day I seemed no closer, I stopped sleeping. There were SO MANY THINGS I wanted to do! I wrote my friend and mentor, Carmen, a 12-page letter about all the things I wanted to do, and I went off like a shot!

Well … like a shot with a gammy leg, a bad back, and a body still soaked in poisons.

What I hadn’t accounted for, beyond the anxiety, was the brain fog. I am not sure anyone does justice to what it is like, to be expected to think and remember things … and be incapable of doing things you once could. Blog posts took daaaaays! Decisions were impossible. And being patient wasn’t an option – I needed a miracle! Or so I thought.

I thought I couldn’t go on living on ODSP; our meagre provincial disability support. I couldn’t go on, living somewhere my children didn’t want to be, dependent on the good nature of my parents.

‘No!’ I thought! ‘This can’t go on! It has to end, NOW!’

Well, I am here to say it didn’t end ‘NOW’.

I woke up from cancer in July of 2020, and thought I should be basically, fully functional. Now, as we approach 2023, I am finally a) accepting a whooooooole bunch of things I cannot do in the time that I have … and b) I have prioritized what is left, and figured out what is at the root of what is important to me.

I need to build time into my life to write. It seems to be a part of my DNA, my purpose and the reason I am still alive today. And, if I am going to write, I have to give up many of the ways I wanted to help many of the various audiences I wanted to help, in the ways that I thought I would help them. Having recognized my limitations and let go of ideas of being the owner-operator of a therapeutic farm … I am able to embrace creating other things, and take the time to produce them.

In the end, I have boiled it down to this;

I help humans and horses create a recipe for a harmonious language between them, and a relationship based on mutual benefit – and, what we all need to find safety and connection, and joy in our shitstorms. I think of it as the Magic sauce we are all looking for!