So, last week I celebrated my 40th birthday.
I feel like now, at such a milestone, I need to make an apology to this blog. Oh I spent many days, many weeks, both privately and publicly cursing this blog for the pain it caused in my left shoulder. I was convinced that it was the months I spent on my couch, blogging, that left me with tight and extremely painful muscles, which wouldn’t relax, despite months of Physio, Massage, Chiro and Acupuncture Therapies.
Well, dear reader, it was not the blog, nor the posture, nor the couch. Turns out that the root of my pain was in fact a tumour that had infiltrated the tight space between my rib cage and shoulder blade. A very rare condition (which took 1.5 years to diagnosis), Fibromatosis is a non-malignant sarcoma which grows aggressively and is hard to resolve. The standard course of treatment, which I started at the end of the summer, is 2 years of Chemotherapy. That’s right… 2 years…. of Chemotherapy.
So, instead of sitting at my computer, faithfully blogging or even doing anything that can earn me some money, most Wednesday mornings you can find me at Mount Sinai with an IV plugged into my chest:
There are many shitty things about this and one really big saving grace- though I am treated through the Oncology department, strictly speaking this is not Cancer in the most awful sense of the word- the tumour will not metastasize and spread to other parts of my body. And for that, I’m very, very thankful. But, the Chemo has left me exhausted and for a few days each week I feel pretty nauseous. My three kids have had to go back into daycare and except for my commitments at Sheridan, I’ve had to drastically cut down my work load.
That’s the bad news.
Enter dear friends from the photography community Kristin Sjaarda and Lisa Kannako who approached my husband about a month ago wanting to throw a party for me that might raise a bit of money to offset some of the financial repercussions of the disease, and the lengthy treatment. Soon PIKTO had jumped on board to cover printing costs for the photos that will be on auction and Westside generously offered to pay for the venue. Amazing designer and friend to photographers Katina Constantinou offered her services.
Needless to say, I am overwhelmed by the snowball of support that Kristin and Lisa’s original plan has inspired.
It’s all about the Good News attitude and over the last month, my spirits have been buoyed by the small committee that has formed to throw a fantastic HMAb event in Toronto at the beginning of February (February 5, 7pm, The Gladstone). Much like the last HMAb Live! Blog party, this one will feature inspiring talks from a few well-chosen shooters and some drinks. Plus there’ll be silent auction items and beautiful prints. I may be exhausted and a little limp but I will be there. Attending a party in one’s honour is a great motivator to get out of bed, no matter the nausea. Sadly though, you’ll be drinking vodka sodas on your own- no booze for me for the length of the treatment. (yet more bad news)
Stay tuned to this space for more info about the evening, plus interviews with some of the shooters who are donating prints. But keep in mind, there is limited capacity at the Gladstone and if you remember how packed my last party was, you’ll want to plan ahead- you can buy tickets through paypal on the sidebar to the right. (Or if you can’t attend, donations are humbly and happily accepted).
On behalf of my entire family, I will close with a heartfelt thanks. I have always felt your love and appreciation- I’ve kept every one of the emails you’ve sent that tells me how much you value the effort that’s gone into this blog- it truly makes the work worthwhile. And for that reason, I can’t fault the blog for my pain- it’s really brought me nothing but closer to all of you. I look forward to seeing you in February.