Sunday, December 19, 2010

Janice's Workmates

Did I ever stop to tell you what a wonder bunch of people I work with. Friday they surprised me with a beautiful basked of CHOCOLATE. Yes, folks, you read it right. Everything a Chocoholic would want! Also included was a bottle... shhhhhh, don't tell anyone but it was a bottle of Baily's. Yum, yum!

To all of you at the Revenue Solutions Branch of the Ministry of Finance, I do not have the words to express how much your support means to me. Your kind words (both spoken and email), your hugs, the gentle touch on the shoulder - all of these gestures easily cause my eyes to leak. Many of you are the reason I can be so positive and strong. To know that I can come to work and be understoond and be my self makes my life so much easier. I cannot imagine having to stifle my personality. To each and every one of you, thank you for your kind and encouraging words in the beautiful Christmas card. Your words are very comforting to both me and Ron.

Wishing you all health and happiness in the years to come!

Kids and Friends

To all our kids - we love you so much. Our conversations mean the world to us. To touch base with you, to hear about your days and the grand kids lightens our days tremendously. Keep the phone calls coming!

We are so looking forward to Christmas with you at Bill and Leanne's. Five more sleeps until Christmas Eve and Santa is going to visit the little ones before he makes his worldly rounds. I cannot wait!

To our friends - again, we cannot say enough about your thoughtfulness and generosity. Doug and Karen, dinner on Friday night and being able to use your beautiful home this weekend has been a blessing for Ron. He has indulged in a couple hot baths. The truth be known, while he is not yet sleeping through the night, his days have been more comfortable - enough so to go for a couple of walks with Winston. Dare I say we still had trouble with your TV system - I know, I know - it is a guy thing and Ron did work it out.

Len and Dawna your concern is self evident by looking at your faces! Dawna, I know while cutting Ron's hair it was like dealing with an ADHD child; not sitting still for more than a minute. Having witnessed that, perhaps that is what prompted you to think of the TENZ machine. I declare here and now that I believe it worked. While Ron is not back to his old self, he is significantly better.

To those of you who have invited us out recently, please accept our apologies for declining or cancelling invites. All of this is new to us and we realize that the energy required is greater than Ron currently has. We believe things will get better. A new year is just around the corner.

Toughest Week Yet

Friday, December 10 Ron came home - flew in from Seattle via Kenmore Air. He was the only passenger on the flight and said it was simply magnificent. The pilot was great, the weather was clear and the view was unbelievable. All this took his mind off the pain.

Let's back up the track. First, I want to say what unbelievable friends we have. Bill and Leanne, you support has been unwavering - you turn rainy days into sunny days, you help us believe that tomorrow will be easier than today. For that, we love and thank you.

I picked up Ron in the parking lot, Victoria Kenmore Air. I could tell that he was in pain. His colour was gray and his steps were pained. As soon as I got him in the car, we called a chiropractor to see if we could get in. With luck, we could see him that afternoon and again the next day. Ron's pain was not alleviated throughout the weekend.

As his wife, his friend I felt completely helpless. First thing Monday morning we had another appointment and also telephoned Dr Lewis. As promised, she saw us by noon that day.

X-rays were ordered up and medication prescribed. There was concern that the cancer had spread to the bone - the ribs- which caused the excruciating pain in Ron's back. I think it is needless to say, this news rendered us speechless. As the pain has caused two weeks of sleepless nights, endless restlessness and extreme frustration, we had no choice but to the pharmacy and get Ron medicated to find some level of relief.

Tuesday - it is time to Ron's IMS appointment. He admits there was maybe some relief but not nearly enough needed to sleep at night. Anxiety is now setting in... pacing, sweating, and Mr. Cranky-Pants. We are both exhausted and Ron more than me. The good news is that I spoke to Andrea (our Doctor) and the cancer has not spread to the bone. The not so good news is that the tumour has grown considerably since the last x-ray - a mere 5 weeks ago.

So, what are we dealing with - it has been determined that it is soft tissue damage; perhaps stress, perhaps a pulled muscle. Doesn't matter, we need to find Ron some relief from the pain and discomfort.

Wednesday - another appointment and a trip to the pool for some aqua therapy and the hot tub. Ron says it felt very good but did not fix anything by a long shot.

At our marina we have "The Floating Physio" - Barb Desjardins. She saw Ron on Thursday. He had a great appointment with her. There has been some relief but not nearly what he needs to sleep at night.

This has been the most exhausting and frustrating week yet. I have not even come close to what Ron has experienced. I can only imagine.

My heart goes out to you, my husband, my love. Believe me when I tell you that I am doing the best I can. It tears me up to see you in such pain and nothing is giving you any relief. It breaks my heart that I cannot hold you and take your pain away... I miss our snuggles and cuddles but understand that it is too painful. We will get through this.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


OK, I will be the first to admit that sometimes I am quick to judge, not by what I know but by what I see. How many times have we heard (at least our generation has heard it) you cannot judge a book by its cover.

On Saturday, Ron and I had some chores to run; his physio appointment, gift buying and of course Ron's favourite - a hot dog from Costco. Yes Folks, he likes them so much we braved the crowds for a hot dog.

With Ron's energy level, he chose to find a table to sit and wait for me. I forged onwards to the bank machine (need cash to purchase HD), stand in line, get the drinks, and dress the hot dogs. All the while Ron is sitting and waiting. I had to get up a couple more times for napkins and such. Please do not conclude that Ron is lazy... he simply does not have the energy. I quite happily got us our lunch.

We both stopped short and realized that we had been humbled and wondered how many times had we sat and judged the exact behaviour we had just exhibited. We even said out loud "How many people are sitting and watching me do everything while you just sit". Little do they know that he does not have the stamina to take on the task of the Hot Dog in Costco. Little do we know the stories of the people we have judged. Ouch! We have decided that we will always ask ourselves, "What is their story?"

Challenge to Followers

It is the time of year for giving; goodwill toward men (and of course women and children). At our work, we never miss a hear of choosing a needy family and then with love in our heart fill a basket to help them have a better Christmas. Christmas will come and go regardless, but if Ron and I can do something to make it better for just one person, well let me say, our hearts will be smiling.

This year, our family consists of a 17 year old daughter and lots of brothers. The daughter put a camera on her wish list. I jumped at the chance to fulfill her dream. This year she will be getting a beautiful red Nikon Coolpix camera.

It is easy for me to adopt a child in a family. Between Ron and I, we have four kids. We just pretend we have five and spend the same on the fifth as we would our own. Of course, shopping for the best deal always helps to get more for your money.

I challenge you to adopt a child for Christmas, pretend you have an extra when you go shopping and put a smile on that child's face this Christmas morning. There are many organizations who will be willing to give you information; boy or girl and their age. Just make a phone call to your local radio or TV station and they will be able to put you onto a number of organizations looking for help.

I guarantee that your heart will feel happy and warm, as does ours.

Sunday, December 5, 2010


What a week friends and family and now a trip to Hawaii. Bill one of dear friends (see previous blog) provided me an opportunity go with him to Hawaii while he was working. What can I say I jumped at the chance. Bill, as he travels so much knows the airline travel system well, so kept using the system to work me up to first class to join him, or enjoy free wine and/or other perks while we travelled from Seattle to San Fran, San Fran to Hawaii and then back to Seattle.

It wasn't until later on that I realized that I was Ron "the benefit" Harris with Bill explaining to the Airlines and hotel my medical condition...they were all very understanding, with I being both amused and delighted that the illness had a plus side (okay perhaps in a weird way, but still you,ve got to laugh!).

Hawaii, 4 days of heat, sunshine and the beach. I can't do much long walking but I could make it from the room, to the pool, to the bar and back to the pool, back to the bar and repeat if necessary.

Janice called and told me to ensure that I put lots of sunscreen on as I burn very easily. However even with SPF 30 I burnt nice and red in the first day, however I just referred to that as my radiation therapy and went out for more each day.

Hawaii hasn't changed that much, still a lot of people tucked into size 3 speedos that they wore 30 years earlier, thank god I kept my eyes closed as I have enough going on in my life without having my mind scarred as well.

Night times were great with the temp staying around 75 degrees or 22 C, but like all things it came to end far to soon and we returned to Seattle on Saturday were I was able to catch up with my lovely bride my wife and best friend.

Janice, Leanne and Gracie had drove down from Victoria in the Volvo (gad..I'm not getting to drive it much yet) they had a great time and enjoyed there adventure(s) in Victoria and driving down to Seattle, apparently there are no more purses left in the Coach Store, in the event anyone is looking for one. Janice had to head home by herself (okay Winston was beside her) and I'm glad that she has a great vehicle to drive home in.

Tomorrow the 6th of December its off for another adventure, goose hunting, actually I'm taking the pictures of the hunters and huntees (I'm cheering for the geese) the goose hunting is in Houston Texas, why, because Bill has said that's were the gooses, geesses are, and who am I to protest.

So off to Houston and area for another three days and then finally back home. Stay tuned for the goose adventures the chronicles of the big white goose. Hopefully Bill's friends don't think I'm a past Vice President of the United States!!!

As you can see, I'm busy enjoying the present and all life has in store for me, enjoying friends, families and new adventures. To all who read this blog...thank you, to my family and friends thank-you. While I may not share with you what my body is going through I'm glad to be able to share with you the adventures I'm having.

All in all, a very exciting week with me, believe it or not looking forward to relaxing and the upcoming house parties where we live. Until the next posting, take care...Ron


Hi Ron here, yes still vertical and enjoying family and friends. It has been a very busy time with several friends calling and dropping in for a visit, lunch and/or a chat. Rick called and we spent time catching up on old times and enjoying some Chinese food and setting dates to meet again.

Rick is an old neighbour who I met when I first moved to Victoria, we have stayed in contact ever since and I enjoy his repartee, humour and out look on life, truly a good friend to have in your corner at any time and one who always provides a positive outlook on life.

Logan and Peter, both long time friends and skiing buddies called to set up a lunch date. Peter drove down from Comox for lunch, which for Peter in itself is a monumental deal especailly prior to the start of the ski season. It was a great time and once again I was able to enjoy great laughs and reminisce about the adventures we have had.

It seems that, sometimes, we remember the good times with family and friends after they have gone. How nice to share those times with them while they are still here, take it from me it brings a smile to your face, which at times is needed.

Another friend, Lou, in Ottawa calls me once a week to check in to see how everything is going and update me on the going's on in his busy life. We too discuss past adventures, or perhaps mis-adventures and friends both past and present who have brought laughter into our lifes.

And of course there is Bill, Leanne and Gracie, who provide both Janice and I a place to stay when we visit, friendship, laughter and oh so much more. I do not have the words or time to tell them how much there friendship means to both Janice and I, hell even the dogs, Winston and M get along.

From me to all my friends, thanks for the laughter, thanks for calling, thanks for taking the time to stay in touch.

Today is the present, yesterday is the past and tomorrow is the future and for some the future is here far to quickly.

So please from me to you, remember your past, stay in the present with your friends and plan for the future, don't wait until the future is here and its to late to remember the times and adventures you have had with your friends and families, call them now...share a laugh, a memory, a will all enjoy it.... I know I do, I did and feel so much better for it...thanks.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Bucket List Item Crossed From The List

We are the proud new owners of a new Volvo. So often when driving up and down the island, we would see a Volvo XC 90 and Ron would say...'damn, they are driving my car'. He has always admired the style and the safety of the Volvo.

A new vehicle had not crossed our minds for a number of years. We were perfectly happy with the car that Mom had left us. It was luxurious, leather and all the bells and whistles. Mom's 2001 Oldsmobile embraced us as we lowered ourselves into the driver or passenger seat. We had decided to drive it until we retired and headed to Mexico via SV Ta Daa. It was a reliable car but was starting to cost is for repairs. Given Ron's cancer we will not be sailing to Mexico.

It was probably late September or early October, we had mentioned an AWD vehicle would be nice for heading up and down the island. I said, if we get another vehicle, I would also like to be able to pick up all our little girls; Rayna, Makayla, Juliet, Amelia and Gracie. So these two criteria, AWD and 7 passenger, suited the XC 90.

Now, having always said he would like one, Ron had never driven one. The simple act of driving one's s dream car could change everything. We dabbled at shopping by browsing the papers, rubber-necking the dealerships and then finally setting up a test drive. We started by test driving an XC70 but it does not come 7 passenger. We test drove a five seater XC90. It seemed basic and abused. Having said that, each of these two vehicles were extremely comfortable for both of us to drive.

Me being the shopper than I am, insisted on doing due diligence, to exhaust the possibility of missing the best deal out there. We were looking for used. We set up an appointment with our favourite car salesman - Wade Wallie - at Metro Toyota. Unfortunately he didn't have anything for us. If you are shopping used, I highly suggest you try Wade. We scoured Nissan, Honda, Range Rover, Wheaton, Subaru, Mercedes and Volvo to name a few. We wanted to deal with a reputable dealership for obvious reasons.

We narrowed our look to an R350 AWD Mercedes Benz at Three Point Motors and a 2007 Volvo XC90. Having test drove the Mercedes we headed to Volvo to test drive the 2007. We liked both very much. There is much more to write about our vehicle buying experience but I won't bore you here. If you want to know, please ask. I will share.

Suffice it to say, I am trying to squeeze everything out of the Volvo dealership that I can. Ron was sitting there with his cheque book in hand. We looked like Ying and Yang purchasing a Volvo. Bottom line is we purchased a 2010 XC90 with 70 kms. We are happy with the deal based on our homework. Ron is a happy camper who grins from ear to ear and beams enough to make a full moon look dull. Bottom line... this vehicle embraces us and it feels good.

As his wife, I can do little about the cancer; I can hold him, I can cry with him. Happily, I can do much more to put a smile on his face, to comfort him, to encourage him and to love him. Above all I can help him with his bucket list.

Good News Is Welcome

We left a couple of posts ago with Ron finding out the tumour is growing. We had doctor appointments lined up for November 8, 9 and 10. I actually had to visit the doctor for my own little problem - seems that I have an allergy to something that affects my breathing. Inhaler time for Janice.

To summarize, it was set up a number of days ago for Ron to have chemo therapy. He had his blood work done. We had a chemo introduction session and a tour of the chemo therapy lounge. It was an eye opener, not because of the chemo therapy, side affects and tips and tricks but because of the amount of young people actually in the lounge getting chemo therapy as we toured. I am beginning to believe that the amount of people with cancer in this province is obscene.

Ron was scheduled for chemo on Wednesday but first he needed to visit his oncologist. Dr. MacPherson was away so Ron was introduced to a substitute. My god, he was just a bambino. I almost laughed when he said he was the oncologist. I think this kid was a brain in his high school years - he just had that look about him. Very knowledgeable and a straight shooter.

The chemo Ron was going to receive was to treat some symptoms he had been having; sleepless nights, shortness of breath, fatigue and night sweats. As these symptoms had lessened, we learned there was no need for Ron to have the chemo. This news delighted Ron. It did me too but I did have some questions to ask this bambino.

I learned that Ron's cancer will not just pop up in other areas of his body, the brain, for instance. This tumour will just keep growing - something like orange peel around the lung and throughout the chest cavity. Ron reports back to the Doctor when symptoms rear their ugly little heads. Each time it will be decided whether to do chemo or not. The side effects of the chemo could be a lot worse than the symptom... Ron and the doctor will decide.

These ups and downs are extremely emotional and draining. It causes us to wonder how much longer we have together; how do we best use our time and resources for the best future possible. As positive and happy as we are, there is still a cancer cloud that shrouds each day. We just have to look beyond it; live beyond it and not let it darken our days.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Cancer Speak 101

It has come to our attention via our own observations and experiences plus, people asking and admitting they do not know what to do or say when it comes to communicating with a cancer patient. This, keep in mind, is not all of you and not all people but some of you are struggling with it. Where to start?

First, Ron has never had cancer before and this is a learning curve for him too. His responses can be equally as awkward as your greetings or questions. Oh, I am sure there are 'how to' books but Ron and I figured we would give you a lesson from our point of view. Keep in mind, the more you practice refining your tactics, comments, questions etc, the more comfortable you will be. Ron may be the first cancer patient you are associating with but unfortunately he will not be the last.

I will tell you that, if you tell Ron you have had a bad day, month or year, or if you think things just cannot get any worse, he will suggest in a humorous way that you trade places with him.

Have courage to work through the uncomfortable stuff. Remember it will get easier. Think of Ron as your Cancer Speak Mentor. You eventually want to move on to everyday conversation; boats, cars, your plans, our plans etc. When we visit with friends and family, the whole visit is not focused on cancer - how mundane can that get. Unless the cancer conversation is enlightening, work toward another topic. Laughter is the best medicine so humour is very welcome.

There is an old saying, "If you are not prepared for the answer, don't ask the question." Having said that, it is good to ask questions. Only by asking questions will you find out where to take the conversation or perhaps how long to visit, or how long we will visit you.

If you have not seen Ron since discovering that he has cancer, it is a good idea to acknowledge that you know. That way, Ron knows you know and you know he knows you know.

You can greet Ron with a simple statement or question:
Hey, Dude you are looking great today (or crappy depending on how he really looks- hee hee)
Dude, good to see you. What have you been up to?
Dude, what have you and Janice been doing lately?
Good to see you, how are you feeling these days?
Or a plain and simple good morning (or afternoon or evening).

Sincerity is very important. Empty suggestions and promises do not translate into "I care about you as a friend." If you want to suggest coffee, suggest it with a date. If you want us to visit, pick a date and ask. We will do the same for you.

Feel free to drop a line by email ( for Ron and for Janice) Telephone works too. Some people might be waiting for us to call them so not to infringe on our time and privacy We say to these people, did you ever think that we might be waiting for you to call us for fear of us infringing on your time and privacy? Get the hint? It works both ways. This is meant to make you laugh.... telephone calls are good - especially if you have picked up the phone to call us before. No need to change what you use to do.

Please, please trust me when I say that Ron is not, and I repeat not contagious. No need to avoid us whatsoever! We love to socialize, we love company; we love our family and friends. You, all of you, are our lifeline to good times, laughter and memories.

We Will Get Through It For We Are Ron and Janice

Thursday, it was suspect that Ron had fluid return to his left lung - so the x-ray revealed. The appointment was made for Ron's return to San Pen Hospital on Friday to have his lung tapped. Neither one of us slept well, nor had we for a few nights; Ron for his reasons and me for mine. However, when Friday morning came we were eager to get to the hospital and have the procedure performed so that Ron could find some comfort breathing.

Let me say this - - Ron has not been in any pain. With the left lung operating in a diminished capacity, he is out of breath sooner than the average bear. It also leaves him with little energy. As Ron would say, he has no gas to run on.

We get to the hospital (which Ron has no patience for - OK that is a pun) and admit Ron for day surgery. I stayed with him to ensure the back of his gown was secured and he was resting comfortably as he waited for the procedure. Off I trundled but did so reluctantly. No sooner did I get to work than the phone rang and it was Ron. I knew this was not good. I immediately returned to the hospital where Ron was waiting outside.

Ron explained that soon after I left they took him to ultrasound to verify how much and where the fluid was located. This allowed the doctor to best place the drain. Ultrasound is great for revealing fluid. Contrary to what the x-ray exposed the ultrasound revealed there was very little fluid. So what does this mean? Before leaving the hospital, the doctor told Ron the tumours were growing.

Do you remember in one of the previous posts I mentioned how available Dr. Lewis would be to Ron and me. We now needed her again. Perhaps I was more desperate to speak to her than Ron. I needed to know what was to next. I also knew it was Friday, noon. Perhaps we would not have any answers until next week.

Andrea was surely surprised to see Ron sitting in her office. She reviewed the report from medical imaging and indicated what we already knew; it was not good, but we did not know how bad. Nor will we find out until the week of November 15 - hopefully.

Needless to say, Friday was a hard pill to swallow. While we do not know what it all means it is yet another reminder that this now is our life.

In the true fashion of Ron and Janice, we took some time, had our moments and yes, shed a few tears. After a spell, we pulled ourselves together to continue with our Friday as planned... we attended a social function.... and it truly was good for both of us. There is nothing like socializing with old friends and talk boating.

Thursday, November 4, 2010


For the past few days I have constantly been thinking of my Mom. She died of cancer; breast cancer that metastasised. Ironically, a very good friend shared today that his mother died yesterday morning of cancer. We talked for a good while. In doing so, the conversation turned to my Mom. I related a short story and we both laughed. I stopped short. I realized that my Mom is still making me laugh. For all of you who has lost someone very dear and close, allow yourself to let the memories warm your heart and put a smile on your face.

Now, for a little more about my Mom - Margaret Price. Mom loved Ron. Mom knew I had married the perfect man; a gem, my prince charming. Ron would do anything for Mom. Often, when visiting Mom in Comox, I would give Ron a jokingly and lovingly hard time. Mom would always chastise me. She would say, you have a good man. You be good to him; take care of him.

Mom was a fun and happy person to be with. I loved staying with her when we travelled to the Comox Valley. Four and a half years ago she succumbed to her cancer. One of the last things she said to me was "You have a good husband. You take care of him."

I wonder now if Mom knew something we didn't know. It's funny, we will never know. What I do know is that I miss my Mom terribly. I cannot tell you how often I wish I could pick up the phone and talk to her.

Recently I received a card from my workmates. An admirer wrote in the card:

A strong woman works out everyday to keep her body in shape...
but a woman of strength kneels in prayer to keep her soul in shape.

A strong woman is not afraid of anything...
but a woman of strength shows courage in the midst of her fear.

A strong woman won't let anyone get the best of her...
but a woman of strength gives the best of herself to everyone.

A strong woman makes mistakes and avoids the same in the future...
but a woman of strength realized life's mistakes can be a blessing.

A strong woman walks sure footedly...
but a woman of strength knows God will catch her when she falls.

A strong woman has faith she is strong enough for the journey...
but a woman of strength has faith that it is the journey that manes her strong.

"Strong Women Versus Women Of Strength"

This, my friends, was my Mother. I truly hope I have the strength of my Mother.

A Wife Knows...

Let's say, I knew it was coming. All the signs were there, it was just a matter of when Ron would say or do something.

First let me say that Ron has the most wonderful, caring and conscientious doctor. I fear writing her name in case you all want her as your doctor. Andrea Lewis has been there for Ron ever since cancer was diagnosed.

In the last few days (and I mean few), I have noticed indications of a repeat of August 19 - the day Ron first had his lung drained - or tapped as the doctors would say. I sensed that Ron's lung was filling again. He did too. It was something that neither expressed to the other. Didn't need to. I knew that Ron would call Andrea when he needed to. That day was today.

It has been a short two months since the last tap. Tomorrow Ron goes to San Pen Hospital (the best little hospital on the south island). If you can say fortunately, fortunately this time we were able to make an appointment. They call it a slow drain. Ron will be at the hospital for several hours as removing the fluid slower rather than faster is less dangerous.

Right now, we are not sure what all this means. We are disappointed it is happening so soon. This is the second time and we wonder when it will be the third time. When it happens again, we are of the understanding there will be some options offered to control the fluid in the pleura.

Ron was exhausted by the time we got home from the doctor office and hospital for x-rays. Tomorrow will be another exhausting day. For all of you who know Ron, he didn't even finish his glass of wine!! No, I cannot believe it either. Having said that, he and Winston are snuggled on the bed having a good rest. It has been a few nights since he has slept well.

I Didn't Know

When I started this blog for me and Ron, I had no idea what it would look like: daily writings, deepest thought, personal feelings, sad, inspirational or highs or lows. I have taken a moment to read what has been written so far.

I can tell you that when I run, I think. When I think I cry. Also when I think, quotable thoughts pop into my head; thoughts that I should be recording so that I can share with you. Alas, I am running and I just keep on running as my reflective moments fade.

I can also tell you that when I am in a reflective and writing mood, more times than not, I choose to postpone writing simply because the emotion is over powering. Often I begin to weep. I choose to wait for the moment when I feel stronger.

Where is all this leading? If you haven't figured it out by now, Ron and I do not share every sentiment or emotion with you. What has evolved is an abstract; a smattering of this and a bit of that. While the postings are chronological, the information is not. It is what I, or Ron, feel needs to be expressed.

The goal of the blog may, conceivably, be for you to be inspired to live your dreams and live life to the fullest. We are not the first to be challenged with cancer, regrettably we will not be the last. Be adventurous, be happy.

Monday, November 1, 2010

What Is In A Touch...

Next time you are walking with your loved one, simply reach out for their hand. Then ask yourself what does this mean.

For Ron and I, we have always held hands. The first time we held hands we felt very connected - and still do. We will, on occasion, reminisce about that first hand holding experience. Back then, at the ripe old age of 39, it had the power of making me feel youthful, almost teenager-ish.

Today, what does holding Ron's hand mean to me. When Ron reaches out and gently takes my hand and links his fingers with mine, he is saying thank you for being my friend, thank you for being here with me, thank you for being my wife. He is also saying I will be here for you as long as possible; we will get through this together; and he is saying I love you so very much.

When I reach for Ron's hand and hold it tight I am telling him I love you will all my heart; I am here for you; we will make this journey together - hand in hand; I will support you with all my strength, heart and soul.

A peck on the cheek, a hug or simple hand holding, they all take us to the foundation of our relationship; friendship, trust, respect, honesty and unconditional love for one another.

Above all, there is a healthy dose of laughter. We laugh in the galley, we laugh on deck, we laugh in the bedroom. I don't think there is not a place where we have not found reason or conversation to make us laugh. Quite often it is at or about one another...

Never underestimate the power of a loving touch.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Visit to Cancer Clinic

Okay, perhaps it's time I said something, although at times I really don't know what to say. Janice and I went to the Cancer Clinic today, however they really didn't provide any more information or hope beyond what we already know. Although the Doctor was very nice! Time lines seem blurred and all they talk about is "average" life expectancy. Janice and I will just remain positive and keep planning things the way we usually do.

I'm glad that Janice is in my life she provides support and encouragement, is my friend, my partner, my sailing partner, my wife and so much more. This is a journey we did not plan, nor did we want, however as is our nature we will deal with it together, hand in hand. We will make sunshine were there is none, we will laugh, when others may not and most of all we will tackle this journey together.

So having said that we will start planning our trip to Disney world and then our sailing trip North. We are both positive, and do appreciate all the positive comments from our friends and family. Positive thoughts, positive life. So stay positive.

Family and Friends - You Are The Best

Each and every one of you are a part of our lives. Each and every one of you encourage us to beleive. You give us hope. We are who we are because of you.

Your emails, telephone calls and drop-in visits have been very much appreciated. You encourage us to laugh and you take our minds off the notion of what lies ahead. What can I say except THANK YOU and please stay in touch.

Please do not be offended if we do not respond to emails or phone messages immediately. Stick with us because sometimes we just do not feel like talking. Think of it as me and Ron re-charging our social batteries.

I also want to thank you for your generous donations during my fundraising campaign for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Canada. Meghan and I have raised nearly $7,000. Woot woot woot!

San Francisco

If you did not know the trip to San Francisco was the inspiration of my daughter Meghan. She asked me to run the Nike Women's Half Marathon with her. Without giving it much thought, I said sure. Little did I know what I was getting into. Also, at that time (May 2010) we had no idea about Ron's cancer.

To get into the marathon, we had to join TNT, an organization committed to raising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Canada. Furthermore, we had to commit to training and be able to run 13.1 miles or 21.1 kilometers. Do you know how far that really is????

To make a long story short, instead of flying, Ron offered to drive us down. If you know Ron, you know that our trip was planned right down to the gas and pee breaks. We had a schedule and by George, Ron would get us to San Fran on time.

Our trip down went like this: Victoria via Coho Ferry to Olympia, WA. Olympia to Yreaka, CA, Yreaka to San Fran. We were in San Fran from Friday afternoon and left on Monday morning. San Fran to Napa Valley for some wine tasting then on to Brookings OR, on the Oregon Coast. Brookings to Portland OR. Portland to Victoria. We were back home on Wednesday, Oct 20.

We managed to get some shopping done, some sight seeing in San Fran, some wine tasting in Napa and see some awesome coastline in Oregon. All done on time.

Did I mention a speeding ticket???? OOPS, I guess that just slipped out. We won't mention who was speeding but I will tell you it was not one of the females on the trip. No need to say more.

When we see you and if you want to know about the race, I will be more than happy to share my experience. I will say though, I had no idea that it would be as emotional as it was. While running for 2.5 hours, I laughed, I cried, I was encouraged by strangers and cried some more. I am proud to say I did it; I am proud to say Meghan and I were there together. I am equally as proud of Meghan for her accomplishments and her encouragement to join this incredible group of women.

If any of you need any trips planned - please call Ron. He is the ulitmate trip planner! Thank you, Husband. Meg and I appreciate all your effort.

What The Heck's Been Goin' On?

Well, let me tell you. It has been quite a hectic month. Ron and I do not like to dwell on the negative side of dealing with cancer. Suffice it to say that we have had teary moments. These moments are usually followed by one of us making some smart-ass comment. These comments usually result in both of us laughing. Off hand, I cannot recall one of those moments and it doesn't matter. What matters is that we laugh a lot.

There has not been a lack of tasks or thoughts to occupy Ron's time and mind. And those of you who know Ron, know that his mind can be a wonderful thing... right???

Here is what has been keeping Ron busy:
- Coaching Janice for the San Fran Ladies Half Marathon
- Being positive
- Wondering whether to sell sailboat and purchase power boat
- Trip to Vancouver to view some power boats
- Being positive
- Wondering whether to keep current vehicle
- Being positive
- What to do in the next month
- Being postive
- What to do in the next year
- Being positive
- Going to the gym
- Being positive
- Planning road trip to San Francisco
- Spending time with Winston

It has been difficult to make any concrete plans until we visit the Cancer Clinic.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Day Without Ron Is Like A Day Without Sunshine

Don't panic, he is OK. This morning I put him on the train for the Comox Valley. Leanne needs a little help and Ron is just the guy. It will be good for Ron as well as being good for Leanne.

The day started out quite normal until we wanted to catch the bus to the train station. The bus was late. For any of you who really know Ron, you will know that he likes to be six hours early for anything. While we were not late for the bus, the bus was late. Back to the boat to get the car keys and off in the car we go. I delivered Ron in the nick of time.

How busy could the train be on a Wednesday morning, we had asked ourselves. Let me tell you, it was over full! It was chock-a-block with Q-Tips from the Berwick Old Folks Home. Ron had to sit in a make-shift area until somewhere north of Nanaimo. He was thankful to stretch out for a bit before arriving in Courtenay.

I have missed him since the moment I dropped him off. It was the start of a weepy day for me. The kicker was contacting the HR people to set up an appointment to explore and understand what options I have for time off. Everytime I do something to like this, it is another way to acknowledge what is really happening and I find that it is very emotional.

The good news is that I will drive up to Comox on Friday, after work, spend the weekend. Then Ron and I will drive home together.

We have plans to make and the reality is that we do not know what the future holds. If we are so hopeful for a long and healthy future then perhaps we will put off doing what should be done now. So... we have to work with what we currently know.

Two things coming up... a trip to the cancer clinic. The date is still unknown but we hope to hear this week. Next, we (Ron, Janice and daughter Meghan) will be driving to San Francisco. Meghan and I are participating in a NIKE half marathon for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada. We leave after work on October 13.

Monday, September 20, 2010

My Husband

Did I ever tell you how wonderful my husband is?

Did you know that Ron tells me everyday that he loves me. This has been going on for fourteen years.

Ron sends me flowers just because. He doesn't need an occasion; every day is an occasion for us.

Ron has always encouraged me. I have always liked photography. Ron's encouragement and support has given me the strength to share my work.

Ron encourages me to be his sailing partner in every way. He is proud to say that I run the boat as much as he does. Ron is the best and most patient instructor.

Ron takes great joy in teaching me to change the oil; work on poopy tank hoses, clean the bilge, lay copper for the SSB radio, understand the solar panels and charging and much much more.

Ron is a great 'boat' keeper. He vacuums, dusts, changes bedding, does dishes and of course, much much more.

Above all, Ron is my greatest friend. We do most everything together - not because we have to but because we want to.

Did you know, we still hold hands...

From There To Now

All the medical professionals kept asking Ron when he was exposed to asbestos. We have racked our brains and cannot come up with an obvious answer. "They" say it takes decades for this type of cancer to manifest.

Thank goodness we have been active; running, walking and some would say forced marches. If it wasn't for activity, Ron would not have known there was a problem. You see, he has had no pain and no discomfort.

When Ron became short of breath he said it felt more asthma like. It took two weeks to get in to the doctor. Ron thought she would prescribe an inhaler for whatever was ailing him. Not so. Dr Lewis immediately sent him for x-rays. Within no time she had the results to Ron with the instructions to immediately go to San Pen Hospital. He had fluid around his left lung.

After much waiting at the hospital, three litres of fluid was drained from his lung. This had to be done before a CT scan could happen.

Here is the timeline: 11:00 - appointment with Dr Lewis, 11:30 - x-rays at hospital; 1:00 results from X-ray; 2:00 I arrive at hospital; 4:00friend Ken takes Winston for us, 4:30 preparations for fluid extraction, 7:00 finish extracting fluid, 9:30 CT scan; 10:15 CT scan results.

Something 'sinister' the emergency doctor said. Mesothelioma.

Needless to say, we were stunned.

We are not the first couple to hear this devastatin news. For those of you who have been there, I am sure it is easy for you to relive those moments. For those of you who have not been there, I truly hope you never do.

Our minds and thoughts have been swinging like pendulums; from one end of the spectrum to the other. There is no need to say more.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Biopsy Results - Today Is The Day

Since cancer has enter our lives, it has taken a month plus a day to hear the results. Ah yes, the results. Do we even want to know? Ron and I like to face things head on. We are forward thinking people. Bring on the results!

The next question - do you go in expecting the worst so that anything the doctor says will not sound so bad; so shocking. Or, do you go in expecting, with all the hope you can muster, that there has been a mistake? As with Ron and I, we can tackle challenges from opposite ends of the spectrum. Ron headed in believing the worst; I on the other hand wanted to hear that there had been a mistake; a misdiagnosis.

Oddly enough, with a body that now harbours mesothelioma (a cancer directly connected to asbestos) Ron came out of the doctor office feeling better than I.

There has been no mistaken diagnosis. The cell type that makes up Ron's cancer is not the most aggressive but it is aggressive. While the doctor confidently stated that Ron will not meet his demise a month from now, he was clearly not telling us there were many healthy years to look forward to. Ron and I have deduced from our interpretation of the conversation that we are looking forward to two years, maybe more if we are lucky.

Ron loves the quote "It's not the destination, it is the journey." This, folks, is where our new journey begins.

Next stop - The BC Cancer Clinic. Stay tuned.