Wednesday 27 February 2013


Meet Glenn, diagnosed with lung cancer in 2010. 

Earlier in February we posted a photo of Dan whose experience with cancer left him fighting for more accomplishments.

Glenn shares one of his accomplishments with us.  He says being able to get through treatment has been an accomplishment. 
"Somebody once asked me if I was a cancer survivor and I don't think that I am, but I am a cancer fighter.  It might just be semantics.  I don't know if I will ever be truly cancer free.  They say that if you are cancer free for 5 years, you are considered in remission.   I don't know if I will make that.  So, there is always this spectre hanging over your head.  I am always one CT scan away from being a patient again.  Only about 17% of lung cancer patients survive 5 years.  The survival rate is ridiculously low.  Somebody's got to be in there.  Pick me".

We asked Glenn what are the things you are most grateful for? 

"Family would have to be the first one.  I thought what am I going to tell my kids?  How do you tell two little boys (ages 8 and 10 at the time) that their Dad has a terminal illness?  So we went and spoke to some of the social workers at CancerCare and got some ideas.  You wonder what is their reaction going to be?  How are they going to deal with this?

I have been amazed that they have been able to deal with it in the manner that they did.  They still continue to deal with it.  It hasn't been without its issues but overall, I can honestly say that the way they have dealt with it has made it a lot better for the family to be able to fight.

There are countless issues that come up when you are a cancer patient and they come out of left field. And when you try to prepare for some of them – like how are your kids going to take it and deal with it, and it turns out that they take it and deal with it very well, and you are very proud of them for what they have done, and that whole issue that you prepared for didn’t really occur.  It is real difficult to explain to them when they can’t actually see it.

I sat the boys down we talked.
I told them I’ve got a pretty serious illness.  I have been coughing a lot.  I have this lump thing inside and they said 'oh', and I said yeah, I have to go through surgery to take it out.  And they said 'oh, okay'.
I said then I might have to take this medication and they said 'oh', and I said yeah, the medication can make me really sick and my little guy said, 'well that doesn’t make any sense.  Why would you take medication to make you better that is going to make you sick?'  And I said, well, it is the side effects of the medication and then he said, 'well what do you mean by side effects?'  I said, well, my hair might all fall out.  And then he said, 'your hair is falling out anyway'.  And I said yeah, but it might fall out worse and maybe it will grow back and he said 'okay, but it might grow back a different colour, like purple?'  
You kinda have to deal with the innocence of childhood thrown in".

Tuesday 19 February 2013


Meet William, a cancer survivor of many years.  William has embraced the concept of living in the moment.

"I am coming to terms knowing that the clock is ticking, knowing that we have lived most of our lives" (speaking of he and his wife). 
"It is later than we think you know.  That is a pretty good perspective on life.  The importance of this moment - like we don't have the past; we don't have yesterday; and we can't change it, not a thing.  The past is the past, okay.  We don't even know if we are going to have a tomorrow - whether we have a future.  That is kind of a nebulous thing.  But, what we do have is right now.  This moment.  So, when you are together celebrating the birthday of your grandchild or whatever, you try to make it a pretty big moment.  I mean, it is not that you are consciously thinking that time is passing and I am never going to have it again.  That is just how it is, but the important thing is that you sort out what is important now and what isn't important.  You begin to live much more positively, I think"

Tuesday 12 February 2013

'Hope is by our side'

A cancer diagnosis comes with a whole lot of uncertainty.  You don't know how you will respond to treatment, you don't know how you will manage the demands of your day to day life.  Understandably, what you end up with is a great deal of stress.  For those with children, compound that stress exponentially. 

You grapple with how you will tell your child you have cancer.   You want your child to be able to carry on with their own life (school, activities, social life, homework) without your cancer being a cloud over them while you go through the process of treatment, and wherever your cancer journey takes you, but how can you ensure that?  Truthfully, you can't.  What you can do is hope that they have hope, and that hope will carry them through. 

What exactly is hope?  Hope is present every day in our lives whether we are aware of it or not.  We hope we will have a good day at work, or at school.  We hope the weather will be good for our vacation,  we hope to have funds for retirement or hope the new recipe we are trying is a success.  Hope is innate in humans but sometimes it gets shaky.  Sometimes you have a run of bad luck - you get in a fender bender, or get caught by a red light camera.  You break your hip and/or your phone breaks.  You find out someone close to you is very ill.   How can you find the hope you so desperately need?  Where is it?

We at Cancer Crossing want to thank our friend Colleen for directing us to this video by 12 year old Capri who was so devastated when she was told her Mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. She dealt with her emotions through writing this song, HOPE,  which she dedicated to her Mom and to all the other children out there who have had to watch their mothers go through such a battle.  As Capri says, 'Hope is by our side'.  We hope you enjoy this video of Capri performing her song, HOPE.

Hope is the unfelt embrace around you, when you think you are all alone.

(Net proceeds from project Cancer Crossing will go to cancer patient support services in Canada).

Monday 4 February 2013

Dan and Accomplishments

Here we have Dan and his loving wife Roxane.  Dan is a survivor of testicular cancer.  His cancer left him with a profound change in how he views life.  As he says of his new approach "Maybe now is the time to start fighting for more accomplishments". 

Maybe we should all be fighting for more accomplishments every day.  Perhaps we could learn from Dan's experience.  

How can we put Dan's experience to work for us?  The first step would be to define what an accomplishment means to you.  For some it may mean self-improvement such us quitting smoking or losing weight or doing away with procrastination.  For others it might mean starting a new business venture or creating a large scale work of art.

Accomplishments can happen on any scale though.  They can be simple and you can achieve many in a day. 
Try promising yourself that for one day, you will smile and nod acknowledgement when you make eye contact with someone. 
Maybe for 7 days in a row, you initiate an e-mail or phone call to someone in your life you haven't heard from in awhile, just to say hello and ask how they are doing, rather than wondering whatever happened to them.  Most likely nothing happened to them and as John Lennon once said 'Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans'.  In effect, John's words mean we often forget to live in the moment.  It's at a pivotal point in time such as an illness or a tragic accident when many stop and realize they have forgotten to live in the moment.  How many times have you heard someone, or even yourself say, 'Where has the time gone?' 

Stop now, look around you and whatever you see, smile, because living life, moment by moment, whether it's a good moment or a not so good moment, is a grand accomplishment, because you are aware.  Let's vow to be aware of the passage of time and use each moment we have in a way that feeds, rather than diminishes, the core of our being.  We can all do this and what an accomplishment it would be!

Thank you Dan!