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Good GRIEF ... and Gratitude

Updated: Nov 24, 2021

Operations suck

Cancer sucks.

Losing your mom sucks

How am I feeling today?





Grief filled





and that was just at 4am, whole day left to go.

The last of my emotions is probably grateful

I'm lucky, so very lucky to have such a fantastic group of supportive friends.

Many of who are unlucky like myself, to have lost a parent before forty.

I wish I could say I was the first of all my friends to experience such an enormous loss but sadly that wasn't the case.

When I look at the photo of the girls and I at my wedding along with a wonderful sense of love, I am now also filled with sadness.

Ten years ago, we were all so innocent and untouched by grief, by cancer, by fear, infertility, parenting... hard "adult" things.

My friend Kirstin (and bridesmaid) lost her mother Kay to a slow decline to cancer. I knew her mother fairly well, she would have been thrilled Kirstin married Nick, she liked him a lot, and that grandson of her's would have stolen her whole heart I am positive.

My sister and friend Katrina (and maid of honor) lost our mom. (Look how beautiful mom is)

My friend (and bridesmaid) Liz lost her father Gary shortly after the birth of his first grandbabies, her twins, like my mom her dad had been perfectly healthy and then rapidly cancer hit and took him out within three months. Her dad would have been such a FANTASTIC grandpa to those little girls, the kind I imagine would have taught them to play tee-ball and ride a bike. Liz was (I think) my first call after I learned my mom was not going to get better.

Michelle is the only one who hasn't lost a parent, but she has been the full time caregiver of one, and that's no joke either, and she's listened to me bawl my face off and been as supportive as someone who had lost a parent.

I guess I just thought we all had longer, and this is just a small sample of my friends under forty who lost parents and even spouses young (or what I consider young... isn't 40 the new 20?)

Brianne (ever empathetic, and understanding Brianne, who rushed to my home to help in any way she could 5 minutes after I got the news of my mom's death, and who was the one to take Claire home from Heather's bachelorette when Claire got the same news two years prior), Heather, Mackie, Claire, Gemma, Sarah... just off the very top of my mind, and just the women.

I have so much gratitude. My friends continue to offer support, and a listening ear at all times, honestly I've picked a fantastic bunch, and they've kept me.

My husband, who's family is also dealing with Cancer, and have already lost so many, continues to emotionally support me and give me all the hugs... while my boobs still feel them.

I'm going to miss hugs... have I mentioned I'm going to miss hugs.

Screw this pandemic, if you need a hug come on over, just stay away from my kids if you're not vaccinated.

Later this week I have an intake appointment with a grief counselor through hospice Guelph.

I would really encourage every lady reading this to get genetic test, if available if there was any cancer in the family, and that person did not have genetic tests, even if they did but it was prior to 2014. I would encourage each and every one of you to check your boobs, and to go for your bi-annual boob squish, and to call your doctor if you feel the slightest bit worried about your health.


How to look for abnormalities

Standing in front of a mirror, people should look at the overall appearance of the breasts and nipples. Here are some questions to think about:

  • Are they similar in size, shape, or height?

  • Is one a different color than the other?

  • Are there any visible skin lesions, marks, color changes, or moles?

  • Are there any signs of swelling, lumpiness, pitting, or contour changes?

  • Are the nipples facing outward or inward?

People should run through this checklist with their arms both at their sides and above their head.

Next, people should press their palms firmly on their hips and flex their chest muscles. It is rare for two breasts to be identical, but it is important to look for differences between each.

Many health authorities no longer recommend carrying out a routine physical self-examination, but anyone who notices a change in their breast tissue and feels concerned should see a doctor for further investigation.

The feel of a breast lump depends on its cause, location, and growth. They can vary greatly from painful, hard, and immobile to soft, painless, and easily moveable.

According to, lumps are most likely to be cancerous if they do not cause pain, are hard, unevenly shaped, and immobile.

Most early breast cancers are diagnosed on screening mammograms before a lump can be felt. Mammograms are an effective method for detecting breast cancer. However, mammograms do not detect breast cancer 100 percent of the time.



  • Gender – Being a woman is the main risk factor for developing breast cancer, but men can develop breast cancer too.

  • Aging – 2 of 3 invasive breast cancers are found in women age 55 or older.

  • Genetic Risk Factors – About 5% to 10% of breast cancer cases are thought to be hereditary, resulting directly from gene defects (called mutations) inherited from a parent. Also, may have a family history among close blood relatives.

  • Race & Ethnicity – Overall, white women are slightly more likely to develop breast cancer than are African-American women, but African-American women are more likely to die of this cancer.

  • Menstrual Periods – First period before (age 12) and/or went through menopause later (after age 55).

  • Alcohol – Those who have 2 to 5 drinks daily

  • Physicial Activity – Physical activity in the form of exercise reduces breast cancer risk.

  • Being Overweight or Obese – Increases the risk.

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