Saturday, November 2, 2013

More Thoughts from the Cancer Clinic - Deb

 Journal Entry: October 31st, 2013

     On my way, again, to the cancer clinic. Second time in 2 weeks. As usual, the waiting has been the worst. God blessed me with a wonderful peace for the past week, though. But, as the reality of how the scales are destined to tip one way or the other, a little knot forms. My stomach churns unduly. All the way to London I have been rehashing my life; the what ifs; those who give meaning to my life. I decide to make a phone call. No answer. I cry a little. I needed to hear that voice but I understand the busyness of life.

     Then I turn the volume up on the CD Dianne lent me a while ago
 - Whom Have I But You by David Ruis plays.

...When the deep is calling,
And the waterfall's my home.
When I'm all but drowning
And I'm treading on my own. 
I cry a silent prayer that comes out of me. 
It's a mystery...come wash over me [Lord], wash over me...

      At the clinic Halloween is obvious. A devil, a witch, a princess, a 9-5 Queen (she calls herself), Bat woman and others - the staff; characters parading supposedly cheering up the cancer patients and their supporters, perhaps? I wonder why the pretty nurse has to have red horns and a tail. To me, a more apt costume for her is one consisting of a halo.

     My pager is number 9. That's a good sign. I grasp at straws. Birthdate - April 9th. Sounds like a good reason to be hopeful. I stand at clinic 2 waiting my turn. A thin lady in front of me fumbles for her papers. She catches my eye. We exchange smiles and then she apologizes. I offer to hold her coffee then she tells me she is in a great deal of pain. I see she is probably about my age. My minuscule pain is naught compared to what she seems to be dealing with today. I miss my turn three times at the next wicket as I continue chatting. Eventually, though, it's my turn. I register and the 9-5 Queen tells me to proceed to the computer terminal and fill out the progress report. My foolish brain focusses on the word -terminal and I decide the cancer clinic should opt for a new noun.

     The lady from the line up sits next to me. She says her name is Deb. Deb begins to bare her soul. She tells me about her newly diagnosed bowel cancer; how her doctor ignored her 'hunch' suggesting she was just being paranoid because she was already a four year lung cancer survivor. Now the cancer has metastasised to her liver. Deb tells me she weighs 86 pounds. She stops talking. I try to find something comforting to say. I talk to her about hope and then I suggest God only calls us when it is our time and that He is in control. She said she knows she is dying. We both sit quietly for a moment, reflecting.

     "Yes. God knows what He is doing," Deb finally utters.

     I leave it at that wishing I had some profound, perfect, prophetic words. I come up dry. Just a hand on hers. I wanted to give her hope and encouragement. Instead my bumbling words fall out as orders.  I tell her she should tell her elderly mother and her children about her cancer.

     How dare I? I reprimand myself for meddling but she doesn't seem offended with my words. She agrees she will soon, but she wants to sell her home first. I panicked in my soul wondering what it might be like for her to die alone. I give her my business card.

     Then Deb's pager - number 60 - goes off and just like that she flies away to learn her fate...

     I settle back into my solitude and look around. It's a stupid game I play. Guess who the cancer patient is. The ladies with head wraps and the men with bald heads are easy to pick out. My answer comes when a pager buzzes. The nurses always speak to the patient first.

     The gentle spirited Mennonite lady and I make eye contact. We chat for a few moments. I discover her appointment is 10:30. I stop grumbling. Mine is 11am. It is 12:05.

     Her pager beckons. We graciously nod at each other. I wish her the best. She reciprocates.

     I sit. A lady nearby jumps up as her pager buzzes. I play another game - elimination. The pagers have been buzzing around me, so by my calculation, I should be next. Wishful thinking. I am wrong.

     Gilles arrives. We chat for a while.

     1pm. Number 9 pager finally buzzes...

     Dr. S enters with a student. He apologizes for the long wait today. He wears a smile; a sincere smile. My stomach settles.

     The CT scan report reads: No abnormal abdominal or pelvic masses are evident. No abnormal fluid collections are present. There is a parenchymal cyst in the left lower lobe [lung] unchanged from previous; kidneys appear normal except for small renal [kidney] cortical cysts.

     Gilles and I both have tears. I suppress the urge to fall on my knees and thank Jesus but I do it in my heart anyway, as Dr. S chatters on about the results.

     Six months - my next appointment. I am a little saddened because I thought this would be my five year AdiĆ³s month, but I understand and am grateful they are keeping an eye.

     We depart the clinic with a spring in our step. Then I remember Deb...

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Thoughts From the Waiting Room

(Yesterday's Journal Entry- Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013)

     POW! BIFF! WHAM!  That's the sound of me kicking and screaming as I head out this morning on that all too familiar journey.

Destination: Walkerton Hospital.
Purpose: CAT scan.
     Thursday's visit to the cancer clinic in London ended with a visit to the lab for blood work and plans for a CAT scan appointment. An area in my right abdomen is a bit of a concern so my oncologist is investigating.

Last time I visited the Walkerton Hospital was 2008. 'Twas then the diagnosis of ovarian cancer was confirmed. Not letting my head go there again. I suppose the irony behind all this is that October 2013 marks my five year jumping off point in the cancer world.

     Recently I spoke to a group of very welcoming women at a local church on the topic of hope. I prayed that God would bless me with words that day that would encourage anyone experiencing that spiralling out of control feeling. God never said in His word that when we signed on as believers there would be smooth sailing. What He did promise was that He would be with us always and that by fully trusting in Him we would find strength. In Christ there is hope...

     So, it's time to practise what I preach. I've just tossed back two huge Styrofoam vases filled with the 'special' pre CAT scan liquid and await being engulfed by the great technological monster, complete with smiley faces which light up showing me when to hold my breath and when to breathe. I don't want my joy to be stolen so I remember what I said about hope. I smile and feel strengthened.

     As I look around the waiting room I see a soul in agony. The IV port peeks under her jacket and her grimace indicates that pain is monopolizing her peace. A woman about my age looking so much more worse off than I feel. I am grateful that she gets called in before me. I look fine. She doesn't. She needs to be tended to first.

     A handsome young man in a black and white Roots jacket looks preoccupied - head resting against the bleak, beige wall. Concerned about a loved one, perhaps? A wife? A mother? A child?

     Everyone has a story. Sometimes we feel alone as our tale unfolds. But today - although I am alone in the waiting room, I am far from feeling alone on my journey. God has covered me with the balm of Holy Spirit; the love of Christ and His reassurance. 

     "Be strong and of good courage," He whispers. "Do not fear nor be afraid...for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you." I cherish His promises.

     The technician comes to collect her next customer.


Sunday, October 6, 2013

Sick of Me

     Mrs. B Has Cancer - my children's fiction chapter book - is out. Woohoo! I'm rocking pleased about that and am so thrilled with the response. I got the books from my printer a little while back and sold 50 of them in a matter of two, maybe three days. Facebook can be a beautiful thing! I have some of the nicest friends. I've also been invited to speak about my book, my life as a cancer survivor and a writer. People are actually interested in what I have to say - who knew?

 Pretty soon the official release for my book will take place and then hopefully the sales graph will continue to head in the right direction. I am happy for that and I am thrilled that there are children and others who are buying and actually reading my book. That rates high on my 'like meter.'

     But one thing I cannot 100% get my head around yet is the
emotional part of marketing. I actually don't mind the process of marketing really and finding ways to get the word out about my new book. I have lots of great ideas - some maybe a little far-fetched. But for some strange reason every time I go into an establishment to promote my book, send a note to a newspaper for a press release, or drop in at local schools, I always do so with a measure of guilt. Perhaps guilt isn't the best way to describe it, but I will say I really don't like not being humble about what I do - marketing is so not about being humble.

   Even now when I start talking about me being humble I feel like I am not being very humble when I do that. I guess I wonder if people get sick of me and hearing about my accomplishments, my writing, my books. But every conference I attend, every book I read on promotion, every experienced writer I speak to will say the same - 'you've got to get yourself out there' if you want to sell your books and get branded.

     I keep wondering what God wants me to do. I keep reminding myself to be patient because all good things come to those who wait. I keep thinking that if God wanted me to sell books or get speaking/writing gigs then He would make the divine appointments and arrangements...wouldn't He?

     I guess marketing for me is a bit of a love/hate relationship. I've been plugging my latest book for a while now and so far I am yet to be rejected. No one yet has looked me square in the eye and said, "No' I am not in the least bit interested in reading your story!" Maybe I fear rejection the most.
     Being a writer can be a bit of a lonely profession but luckily I am cut out for that and really do enjoy long hours slogging it out with words and heart stuff that causes me to bleed onto paper. Over this next while I hope to take my writing career to a new level [talk less and do more] but the scary part of that is that it involves more than writing.

     Maybe if my book sales are through the roof then I can hire myself a full time publicity/marketing manager and then I can get back to doing what I do/like best. One can dream.

     P.S. Here are the details of the up and coming book release: (disclaimer: if you really are getting sick of me and my shameless promotions - press DELETE!)

                                                         Join Author -

                                             Glynis M. Belec
at the
Studio FactoR
for a 

24 Wood Street, Drayton
Pick up your signed copy of 

Mrs. B Has Cancer 


Fish pond, Guessing Games, Dart Game, Photo Booth and more. Prizes,

Draw Prize, Refreshments…Mmmm

*$1.00 from the sale of each book goes to Ovarian Cancer Canada

Friday, August 23, 2013


Hard to believe that this will be my sixth walk. On Sunday, September 8th, Amanda and her two sweet kiddos and I will once again, head to Barrie to participate in the Ovarian Cancer Canada Walk of Hope.

Some people wonder why we still do it. Others think it would be wiser to forget all this cancer stuff and get on with life. Surely that would be the better choice.

Perhaps, for some, forgetting is the way. But participating and walking and raising awareness and making a noise...that is how I am getting on with my life.

Ovarian cancer is a wretched and horrible cancer that slowly overtakes the body often before a woman even knows there is something up. Hence the monikers - the Silent Killer or the Disease that Whispers.

Why I was granted the luck/privilege/blessing of being found in the early stages, I cannot understand. Maybe God knew that He had a loud-mouth on His hands and if he let me stick around for a few more years He knew I would tell others; write about it; blog about it; learn and speak about it. I made a promise to God that if I survived the rigours of chemotherapy, then I would make it my mission in life to help raise awareness and funds to help other women not yet diagnosed.

I rarely ask myself why I walk each year because it just seems automatic - the right thing to do. But then I think of the girls, my oc sisters, who I learned to love. Then I look at my daughter and my granddaughter. I think of my daughter in law, my sisters, my cousin, my aunts, my girlfriends here and afar.  I remember the ones afflicted and weep for the ones who have lost the battle. I pray for the ones not yet diagnosed.

It cuts me like a knife when I think about the precious lives lost to ovarian cancer - Jackie, Rosie, Daria, Becky and so many more.

Jackie was the sweetest soul. I met this brave woman when I went to my first walk in Barrie. She was such an encourager. I had no hair and was a bit of a bucket of emotions. She had been dealing with ovarian cancer for five years. She had all the right words to say and she handed me flowers and a hug that would unite us always. Now Jackie is no longer here. She succumbed to the wretched disease and the world has lost a wonderful person.
Jackie's blue eye's twinkled. I felt as if we had been BFFs

I will walk again this year and remember my friend, Jackie. Her precious smile lifted my spirits. 

I will think of Dr. Rosie. A medical doctor who lost her valiant battle last November. We had become good chums via Facebook. Oh how she loved Jesus.  

And Daria was a blogger to beat the band. Her witty posts brought a smile to my face every time. One day her husband appeared on her blog - with the sad news...

I didn't know Becky but I watched her little boy, her husband, her friends and family year after year walk in Barrie to honour this young mother's courage. 

Cancer claimed the life of these beautiful women but their spirits live on. I will remember each of them on September 8th. I will look at my daughter and my granddaughter before we set out on our 5 km trek around the Barrie waterfront and I will pray that they never have to come face to face with the silent killer. I will give thanks to God that I am still here and am still able to be as obnoxious as I can be about getting the word out. 

How grateful I am for all the people in my life who support me in so many ways. For those wonderful souls who help out on the committee and our faithful participants, many who come out year after year to our big Zeal for Teal fundraiser just so we can participate in the annual Walk of Hope - oh how we love you. This year we raised over $4000.00! How blessed we are. 

For those who step out and sponsor us year after year. You always manage to find a little left over from the pay cheque - thank you. 

For those who support us in prayer and with words of encouragement. We really need that to make it through the emotional stuff. 

Such a bittersweet day. I always come home and for a short while and try to deal with survivor guilt. 'They' say that's normal.

Our ultimate prayer, though, is that some really clever people will soon be able to come up with an early detection test for ovarian cancer. 

It just doesn't seem right that so many beautiful women are dying from this wretched disease.

I look forward to our annual mother/daughter weekend with Amanda and my two darling grandchildren. It's a bitter-sweet time but we always greatly anticipate helping to turn up the volume by lacing up and heading out. Barrie, here we come! 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Sunny Side Up!

Check this out - Yikes! 

Lockdown lifted at London Regional Cancer Clinic after gun scare | CTV London News

Apparently there was some undue excitement at the cancer clinic on Tuesday. Someone spotted a man dressed in fatigues and armed with a rifle. Some reports say he was inside the clinic; others say he was not seen entering the building.

As if there isn't enough trauma and confusion in the cancer clinic without some knuckle-head wandering around scaring the be-jeepers out of people. Sometimes I just want to scream at the top of my lungs 'What is going on in this crazy world?' I keep wondering when God is going to put a stop to it and call us all on the carpet.

I had my own little episode of trauma as I entered the clinic for what I had hoped might be my last time today. But upon closer inspection...let's put it this way - I have to return in 3 months. I had the choice of going through another barrage of tests including a CAT scan, blood work and more, but I opted to self monitor for now and get in touch if symptoms presented themselves as untoward.

I choose to get on with my life. I have lots to do. Much to accomplish. People to love. I don't have time to get back into that old grind of medical regime.

But I won't be foolish either. I am a changed person in many ways since that wretched ovarian cancer took a toll on my soul. I know the importance of being aware and proactive. So I will do just that. Meanwhile, though, I will continue to give thanks that I am upright and on the right side of the grass.

One of my promises to God as I journeyed through the valley of ovarian cancer was that if I lived through it all then I would do what I could for the rest of my life to help women become aware of what that silent cancerous killer is and how it can quietly invade cells.

So tonight I will tuck myself into bed and be thankful for friends and family; for life and breath; for
my sweet, sweet Saviour and for having the strength and desire to live my days sunny side up!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Oh Canada 2013!

Happy Canada Day 2013!

     Here is a post from 2009. I have so much to be thankful for every day but as I look at this video from when I was still actively dealing with ovarian cancer I am reminded how much I love all my grandbabies so very, very much. I am proud to be Canadian and proud to be a Grandma! Sweet memories.

Check out this link:

Thursday, June 13, 2013

If All Else Fails...Follow the Direction

 Though storms rage all around us, God is there every step of the way. When the dark days come and we feel lower than a grasshopper, God carries us through.

Admittedly, I sometimes forget to think upon these things and that is when I get that sinking feeling and find my self stepping out of the boat and heading in the 'down' direction. It's when I turn my face heavenward that I truly draw strength and remember how God is always, always there. God has wonderful ways of reminding us that He is perfectly in control.

Take yesterday morning. It was blood work day for Happy Hubby. His diagnosis of chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) has been on the agenda for six months now. Today we were going to see what changes had transpired over the past months.

My dearly beloved and I were chatting and planning and just passing the time as we waited for the blood work results. I was listening to him talk about this, that and the other and inwardly I was thanking God that he is doing so well. As my ADD brain is wont to do, I was carrying on a conversation but I was also wondering what God had in mind for us down the road. I have to admit that I didn't ask for a physical sign that very moment, but I did wonder when He would really show us what direction we should go.

Then it happened. Right in the middle of a chat about how we want to downsize I saw it. Right over my happy hubby's shoulder. The beautiful symbol of hope. A cross. Upon further inspection I saw that it was a reflection of part of the outside railing around the Healing Garden outside. But just the way it was perfectly arranged was balm for my soul. We both smiled and nodded and decided that that had to be a confirmation that Jesus is with us and we don't have to worry as long as we keep heading in the direction of the cross!

A few minutes later we were called into the examination room. Gilles was given a good going over by the nurse practitioner. Blood work - one type of white blood cells were a smidge elevated but another had actually gone down a little. Nothing of great concern to the medical powers that be. Next appointment? Six months unless something is amiss. Judging by the reassurance we received earlier, it is well...with our souls. Peace like a river...

Thanks be to God! Yay!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

It's Here! Zeal for Teal 2013...

 Excitement abounds. It's April and that means Zeal for Teal is peeking around the corner. On April 27th, at the Drayton Arena, our 5th annual fundraiser for the Ovarian Cancer Canada Walk of Hope will raise the roof once more.

     Over 100 women [and we know of at least one brave man] will gather for a multitude of reasons. Zeal for Teal is a spectacular day out for participants to relax and be creative.  We started out as an exclusive scrap booking event but over the years we have evolved to include crafting of every ilk.

     One of the main reasons for starting Zeal for Teal in 2009 was to, number one, raise awareness and encourage women to pursue symptoms that persist. Secondly, our plan was to help do what we could to raise funds to help discover a test for early detection and/or maybe one day, a cure.

     Amanda's super idea has blossomed into something neither of us ever imagined. I think we both thought that Zeal for Teal would be a wonderful one time event. But our encouraging and faithful attendees keep coming back and bringing friends. So here we are again. Zeal for Teal 2013 celebrates, remembers and pushes on.

     Our theme this year is Alice in Wonderland and the Hoity Toity Tea Party. We are so excited about this theme for it gives us great opportunity to be MAD!

     For anyone who might be getting Curiouser and Curiouser, the day will be filled with everything from card games to Mock Turtle surprises. The Queen of Hearts (yours truly) will be on hand to boss everyone around.

 Expect to be surprised if you are coming, as the zany cast of characters help everyone feel right at home down the rabbit hole. Something very special that we are doing this year [thanks for the idea, Renee] is we are collecting donations of non-perishable food for the local foodbank. Anyone who generously brings a donation will receive an extra door prize ticket. We have a ton of super gifts for door prizes, some crazy wonderful silent auction items and lots of enticingly interested penny table items. We have such generous people in this community and beyond. Amanda and I are always amazed at the generosity of friends, family and even those we hardly even know.

We are excited, too, about an idea from a special friend and wise
lady. Johanne Robertson, editor of Maranatha News in Toronto, came up with a brainwave. She suggested that since the Canadian penny would no longer be of any pecuniary value or interest, we should collect pennies for the cause. Before we knew it the Zeal for Teal Penny Appeal was born and folks across Canada are now saving their cents.

     Not only do we have fantastic, and creatively clever participants who spend the whole day with us, we will also open our door for visitors again. Some people do want to come out and support us but they can't commit to spending a full day. That's okay. For $5 anyone can drop in for a visit and have a nice cuppa', a snack and share in the fun. For $10, visitors can do the same and stay for a positively delicious lunch.

     My sister, Rosemary, our dedicated and gifted back drop, artist and creator, is working hard right now getting everything ready for the big day. You will be impressed!

Committee members, Amber, Darlene, Rosemary, Amanda, Amanda and yours truly are on the edge of our seat excited as we get our last minute plans and preparations into place. We are all tickled and inspired once again, at the great response.

     Life is good.  The end of October marks my five year 'cancerversary.' I know it's just a number, but there is something psychologically pacifying about that 5 year mark. I just pray that our collective efforts over these past years in the least, has alerted and ultimately helped women become more aware!

     The generosity of friends, family and community has been a blessing to us all. God is so good!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Can I Have This Dance?


Why do we fear death? What causes us to freak out and think the worst when we are diagnosed with cancer? What is it about the human condition that causes us to sob silently when we know 'the end might be near?' We all die. We all know that. No exceptions.

 If I had enough time in a day I am sure I could whittle it away philosophizing about the human condition. But there is no time for that. I experienced cancer and both my happy hubby and I learned a ton. When I was first diagnosed with ovarian cancer back in 2008, I was, admittedly, shocked and I travelled quickly through the stages - shock, denial, confusion, sadness and acceptance. God taught me plenty. Probably the biggest lesson was about the fragility and brevity of life and how not to waste one iota. (P.S. Just because I arrived at the acceptance stage doesn't mean I didn't freak out on occasion - like when I lost my hair or some brain cells along the way.)

     November 1st of this year will mark my five year point. They say if you survive to this anniversary, a cancer patient can consider herself no longer in remission. Dare I say cured? That brings me great joy but today, it also brings me great guilt.

     Perhaps it has something to do with my hubby being diagnosed with leukaemia? Could it be a defense mechanism at play as I clearly have walked a mile in his mocassins and I don't want him to travel the same road?  Maybe it's because Karen and Joanne and Becky died from ovarian cancer and I didn't.  Survivor guilt, maybe...

     My sweetheart has chronic leukaemia and the haematologist told us he is in stage 0. Basically stage 0 means we can breathe easy for a while. We walked away from the cancer clinic armed with the knowledge that all could be well for a while. However, the nasty niggle is that chronic leukaemia is just that - chronic and it doesn't go away. Slow progression is the prognosis. Although no one can really predict how quickly aggravating and troubling symptoms will rear their ugly head. At present that grinning groom of mine is experiencing little except tiredness. I notice he tires a little more easier than he has in the past. He beats me to bed most nights and a nap in the afternoon when the opportunity arises is not uncommon.

     So what do we do with the rest of our lives? We can sit here bemoaning our fate, wondering why we were dished up a double whammy? We might contemplate what it was that we did wrong in our life and then begin to feel sorry for the way the cards were dealt. Or we can roll out of bed each morning giving thanks for each breath, each golden sunshine, each smile...each blessing.

     Both my dearly beloved and I head back to face the music in June. I have to check my calendar but I think we go the same week. I head to the cancer clinic in London. He heads to the cancer clinic in Kitchener. Maybe we should meet halfway, stop our vehicles and dance in the middle of the county road like we did so many years ago and dance to the sounds of Ann Murray - Can I have this Dance for the Rest of my Life...did I ever tell you that story? One day...Sweet memories, which no one can erase. Those I will treasure...