Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Friday, June 25, 2010
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Many of you who know me know my story. I'm joining the ride to conquer Cancer and I bet you know why. Next June I'll be riding a bike from Toronto to Niagara falls - just over 200 km. That means training and most likely a really sore butt. Please feel sorry for my butt!
My mom discovered a sarcoma in her leg when I was seventeen. She was a nurse and a fighter. She went through chemo and radiation and had two hip replacements and a femur replacement. I took nightschool for many subjects in grade 13 so I was able to drive her to radiation daily. Later during my last year at university I dropped down to part time so she could stay out of palliative care as long as possible. She developed tumors in her back, mouth and lungs so she decided to stop the three month checks. She had to go into Palliative care at St.Mikes and I stayed with her daily and I would study or make her watch videos of the Second world war (that I was studying at the time). I literally slept in her room on a cot for almost 5 ½ months. She had to have a treatment in Princess Margaret Hospital and one night she succumbed and fell into a coma and passed away at 5 am. She had fought and hung on until I was 22. She was pure sunshine and was my mentor and my everything.
Four years later I noticed a spot of blood on Dad’s shirt. It turned out to be phase 4 melanoma. He had it removed but didn’t tell us of the severity. Six months later I noticed his gait was uneven, his signature was different and I thought he might have had a minor stroke. It took hours of convincing to get him to St. Mikes. Twelve brain tumors. That night we were told he had days to six months. My big Dad passed three weeks later at Princess Margaret Hospital. He was my best friend.
I don’t know of a family that hasn’t been touched by cancer. I was so lucky to have been adopted at birth into this amazing family. I was lucky to have a great childhood and to have had great parents for a short time as opposed to lousy ones for a lifetime.
I want to make this ride count. Not just for my parents, Maureen and Michael, but for all families.
A donation of 5 dollars to 5000 dollars would be equally welcome as we need to eradicate this disease for all of us.
Kind regards to all and thanks for your time and I hope I haven't bummed you out.
Steph (or as my Dad nicknamed me - Boo Radley)
You can just google “The Ride To Conquer Cancer” and look up my name or Team Gridpath. Thanks guys - anything would be appreciated.
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Saturday, December 5, 2009
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Once a friend asked "Why do you feel you have to present everything as a story?"
Because if I tell the story, I control the version.
Because if I tell the story, I can make you laugh, and I would much rather have you laugh at me than feel sorry for me.
Because if I tell the story, it doesn't hurt as much.
Because if I tell the story, I can get on with it.
Maybe I just need to get on with it.
Thursday, October 1, 2009
I have this weird feeling. Well actually I've had this weird feeling on and off for my entire life. I was adopted at birth. Actually I was up for adoption before birth - any takers? Girl for sale! I thank my lucky stars that my parents adopted me. This might sound not very common but I had a great childhood. I was loved, and taken care of and had opportunities and was very very happy. I looked nothing like the rest of my family. My Dad was 6'8", (oh yes really) and was 300 pounds but not fat just BIG. He wore a size 15 triple E shoe. I actually have a picture of me as a toddler sitting in ONE of his slippers. My mom was a foot shorter, and plumpish with black curly hair, cherry red cheeks and a whip smart personality. She literally lit up a room. I guess you could say she was vivacious and funny and so terribly kind. She was a nurse too so was a caregiver to all.
The thing is that almost weekly I would get a very strong feeling. I tried to articulate it to my parents but the best thing I could come up with was I felt homesick. Homesick for what I have no idea. I felt like I was in the wrong place. That I yearned for somewhere else and I had no clue what that place or time was. I would hug one of parents as I felt so lost, so alone. I'm sure it must have been tough for them in retrospect as they had no idea what was going on. It became shorthand. I would just say homesick and jump into one of their laps. After ten or fifteen minutes it would pass.
This went on my entire life. All of a sudden, wham, homesick. Maybe everyone feels this way sometimes but I'm not sure. The thing is I never looked like anybody. Everyone else had their Moms nose or Dads eyes. I looked like, nobody I felt. I had no medical history. I was ground zero. Every single time I see a doctor or specialist I have to say, "adopted at birth, no history". Even though I had this amazing family there was an aloneness, a singular person who was rootless. I didn't even know what nationality I was. History-less. Yes this sounds all very boo-hoo poor me having a wonderful loving family. Yet there was an apart. I was blonde, short, skinny and freckled. I hated my freckles because I was the only one in the family that had them. My Mom would drop little kisses on my cheeks and whisper "brown sugar and cinnamon. That's what you have".
I used to explain this feeling to my husband once we were married and he would say, "you ARE home. This is our home. Everything is well". I knew all was well but the feeling still rolled in. I've read many philosophers and theologians and there have been very specific theories on the homesick theory. Some say you are homesick for God or heaven where you might have been before. Others say you are homesick for a past life (mon dieu!). Now having Charles was an eye opener. He had big eyes like me, dark eyebrows like my husband. He was the very first person who shared my blood that I knew. I am constantly surprised at how much he is like me. (He never shuts up - karma clearly). Then we had Sophie. I never thought she looked like me when she was a baby. But now she is a "big girl" of three. Last night I took her to her first "big girl" swimming lesson. Afterwards as I was drying her off I looked into her little face. Her eyes are large and round and blue grey like mine. She has a smallish mouth like me. She said, "Mama I've got lots of freckles on my face now"! I dappled her cheeks with kisses and whispered, "brown sugar and cinnamon". I finally feel at home. I'm exactly where I belong.