Things can change…quickly

It has taken me a while to decide how I want to broach this subject. Only my closest family and friends know about the last four weeks. In order to make the best out of this situation and in particular, an event that I’ve entered, it’s time to let you know about my road ahead.

You see if I don’t tell you, Moose Jaw is a small town and the rumours and stories will start swirling if they haven’t already. So, here goes.

On August 16, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. On August 27, I had surgery to remove a lump and when I get the call from the Allan Blair Cancer Clinic in Regina, I’ll begin a treatment schedule. It all still feels a bit weird to me because I feel fine, the same as I always have. Other than recovering from my surgery, I don’t really feel any different.

What I do know though is how quickly my perspective on things has changed. Not so much in the thoughts that some things don’t matter anymore as that’s not the case at all. Things have just moved into different positions of priority. My family and friends have taken centre stage. For something that should always be at the forefront, it’s unfortunate that it’s taken this diagnosis to understand how important family and friends are. Thoughts such as how we don’t see each other enough; we don’t talk enough; and we don’t share successes and laughs enough. I have always had a favorite uncle, my dad’s youngest brother. I’ve spoken more to him in the last week than I have since I was a little girl who spent her entire summer months at the farm with him and my grandparents. Sharing the distresses and agony of defeat of our favorite baseball team through texts as they try and make it to the Wild Card has been a true gift to me. Also, after congratulating the success of a positive health result with and for another family member, I now have shared my setback with her and find the whole thing quite ironic in a way – I congratulate her on her good news; she consoles me on my news. Bottom line is, family will always be here to support me.

Life can change …quickly. And through the last four weeks, I couldn’t be more grateful for David’s support and love and …quick thinking and action. You see, I’m not one for hospitals and doctors and truthfully, if it wasn’t for him, I probably would have still kept my discovery of a lump to myself and maybe have been further down the road than I am now, and possibly with different results. Everyone keeps telling me how great it is that I “caught it early” but I have to admit that I still can’t quite believe it. I have breast cancer. And all I keep asking myself is, why me?

For the last 13 years, I’ve tried very hard to be ‘healthy’. Sure, I enjoy the occasional plate of wings and I love a cold beer here and there and some of you may know how great of a cook David is. I run and have ran for 13 years because my guilty pleasure is great food. Even through all of this, I guess I didn’t dodge the cancer bullet.

Saying that word still feels very awkward, if that’s even it. I’m either still in denial, or shock, or numb but…there it is.

Our friends have been wonderful. You know, people have come and gone in our lives, but the true cream of the crop rises to the top in situations like this. There are always the constants, but there’s also been huge moves on the part of new friends that right now, we couldn’t live without. You know the ones. The ones that feel like family; the ones you can just ease into conversations with, laugh with and cry with and it’s like you’ve known each other all your lives. I cannot thank our friends enough for the love, laughs, and support I’ve received over the last month. Without them, I don’t know where we would be.

For now, it’s ‘business’ as usual. Until I know what my treatment schedule is with the Allan Blair Cancer Clinic, nothing really changes and I hope it really doesn’t. But I know I need to be strong and prepared. How you can prepare for this news is, well, still…quite unreal. Am I a bit scared? You’re darn right I am.

This is my story to tell and I want to be able to tell it. On that note, I registered to run in the Run for the Cure on October 6 in Regina and when I told my friends, they decided they’d like to join me for the support but also to raise money for this cause. I’ve now taken my love of running and the love my friends and family have for me will surround us while we participate in this nationally recognized event. And we will have a lot of fun doing it as well! The team names we’ve tossed around sure provided a lot of laughs this past weekend.

I have to continue to laugh and find the fun in this. It may seem like an odd thing to say but if you can’t laugh and stay positive, I believe you don’t have much.

While I was getting ready to be put under on the operating table at the Union Hospital, one of the nurses wheeled a piece of equipment over to me that would help the surgeon through my surgery. She mentioned to me that “this equipment is one of the pieces your Moose Jawg has helped pay for”. How very real THAT was for me. This race director has now been touched by the dollars my entrants and sponsors to Moose Jawg have helped me raise. I honestly never thought that would happen.

So, I carry on and take each day one day at a time. As my doctor told me as he tried to prepare me for what’s ahead: “physically you will be fine, Dawn, but mentally, there’s no doubt it’s going to be a challenge”.

I’m ready; I have no other choice. It’s made me focus on the good things in my life and to enjoy each and every moment – from small moments to the big ones. It may also make me consider enjoying this life a bit more also. I keep thinking about a particular quote I read once: “No one worries in the end about how much time they didn’t spend in the office”. This girl needs to do the things she wants to do more often and that’s my message for you. As Warren Zevon said on David Letterman years ago, “enjoy every sandwich”.

I plan on doing just that…I will find the happiness and joy in every day and take things one day at a time. For right now, it’s the best way I know how to cope through this new development in my life…and I’ll have my family and friends beside me all the way through it.

I honestly couldn’t ask for anything more.

11 replies
  1. Cheryl Rixon
    Cheryl Rixon says:

    Hi Dawn:

    Thank you for your blog post. I was so shocked when I heard, as everyone who reads this will be. I am also very impressed with your bravery for sharing so openly. You are and continue to be an inspiration. I know you well professionally, where your empathy and passion have always been obvious. I have gotten to know you a bit more through your Facebook updates and see your zest for life and love of family and friends. You have so many friends from all walks of life. We will all ‘walk’ with you through this journey. I am thinking of you my friend, and wish you a safe and speedy recovery. Cheryl

    Reply
  2. Penny Payne
    Penny Payne says:

    This is right off the cuff and from the heart. You are one of the most determined people I know. You are strong. You don’t take sh*t. From this I know that you are determined to beat the sh*t out of this with your amazing strength! And I know that you will. There’s a reason you are surrounded by so many great friends and a supportive family – you get back what you give. I’ll be thinking of you and sending you my positive thoughts, I suppose prayers but most people’s way of thinking. Regardless, they are coming your way. So is a huge rush of gratitude to David for not letting you ignore or wait. Love to you both.

    Reply
  3. Ryan Luhning
    Ryan Luhning says:

    I couldn’t be more proud of my sister. She is strong, tenacious and fearless. She has dedicated her life to the city she was raised in to make it a better place for everyone. She has always been an amazing sister to me and generous and kind to my wife and two little girls. I will be a proud daddy if my two little ladies grow up to be half the woman my sister is. Like everything else in your life… you got this sis! I love you and will always be there for you.

    Reply
  4. Rick Walker
    Rick Walker says:

    Dawn,I would like to take this time to wish you the very best down the road on your next fight with this problem.On behalf of myself and the many people I know in this city,we wish you the very best.You are the most level headed woman we’ve had on council now for the last 7 years,and I cannot imagine you not representing the taxpayer of M J anymore.Your health is of the utmost importance and it must remain that way.Good luck to you Dawn,you can beat it.

    Reply
  5. Roanna
    Roanna says:

    I strongly believe that life gives us challenges that we are able to use as a sign to reflect on our past and plan for out future. These challenges are pre-determined depended on our ability and readiness to respond. Dawn, I feel that you are ready both physically and mentally for the path you are about to take. You have a great team of family and friends around you that will be there for you as you conquer this challenge!

    Reply
  6. Larry & Sharon Hunt
    Larry & Sharon Hunt says:

    Dawn, I am sorry I haven’t been up to date on your Blog. My heart sunk as soon as I read the opening of your Blog. As a Colon Rectal Cancer survivor I know first hand those horrific words “You have Cancer”, your mind fills with every type of emotion and thought. The journey is not easy, but as you stated it is your family and friends that really stand out in your life. Things you took for granted now show their true importance, not that you take family and friends for granted but they take on a whole new meaning in your life.
    David is your rock, as Sharon has been through mine and continues to be. Savour every moment of every day and definitely don’t sweat on the small things. Face it, our lives change and we never know what God’s plan is for us, but you can bet his plan is for you to grow into an even more Greater Woman than you already are.
    As a Peer Support Volunteers, both Sharon and I have worked with all types of people in Canada dealing with Cancer, and you know that we are hear for you if you ever need to talk or David needs some help. The biggest thing is to deal with Cancer mentally, as our minds play terrible tricks on each of us.
    You are one Great, Special Woman Dawn, and damn it if anyone is going to beat this it is YOU!!!!!
    As I have said to you before several times “Go Get Em Tiger”.

    We are with you and as I said please call either one of us just for support or just say hello.

    Sharon and Larry

    Reply
  7. Scubalil
    Scubalil says:

    Dawn,
    We do not know each other on a personal level, but I follow you on Twitter. You enspire me, without personally knowing me.
    As everything I have seen from you, with your envolvement with our community, and how much forward you have brought us.
    Thank you, for bringing your blog, your journey, for us to share. Cancer affects so many, and in so many different ways. People need to be aware, and again, you have done that.
    Thinking of you, and the road that you are faced with.
    I’m just one of your many supporters. You’ve got this!!

    Reply

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