How awesome are these drawings done by Maria Bolton I’m plotzing!!
Getting off of #Ativan has not been easy. I’ve done a slowwww taper for the last few months and last night was my first night Ativan free. It was a fretful uncomfortable night but I did it!!
I am thankful for the Ativan. It got me through the worst parts of my cancer treatment and gave me the ability to sleep at night but I didn’t expect it to be so difficult to stop taking.
I’m also thankful for the advice of my friend Sho who suggested I talk to my pharmacist for advice.
They recommended the slow taper and gave me a schedule to follow.
I have a whole new perspective on drug addiction… Woof.
Cancer treatments really mess with your fingernails. In fact I almost lost a few of them to chemo (yes they can fall off).
I’m not a fingernails person but seeing my nails grow in strong and healthy makes me feel like maybe I’m strong and healthy again. #fuckcancer
I’ve been spreading my wings lately and testing my travel boundaries … I did that trip to Toronto and had a little visit with my best-besty.
And had a blast hanging out with my parents.
The next weekend I drove (by myself for the first time since the cancer diagnosis) to the mainland and had a nice visit with my parents and my niece Heidi.
It doesn’t sound like much of a trip – but I was really worried about my stamina. Driving to the ferry terminal. Taking the ferry. Driving from the ferry into Vancouver takes up a lot of energy … but the trip went really well. I was tired but not exhausted.
Best part of the trip was seeing my niece… I don’t get to spend a lot of time with her so in the brief 26 hours we had together I tried to cram in as much lovin’ as I could.
I got home and didn’t bother putting away my suitcase because then I left for a solo trip to Seattle. This would be my biggest trip alone yet!
I grabbed the Anacortes ferry and drove from the mainland to Seattle to see my beloved band the Go-Go’s play a show.
I’ve NEVER driven in America before. I was a little stressed out … and I hit a minor traffic jam and had a wee panic attack that I would be late but I made it to my hotel only about 30 minutes later than I had planned.
Had a quick restorative nap in my swanky king-sized bed (self care is very important) and then met the band for a family dinner.
The dinner was hilarious … and a disaster. I think there was about 12 or 13 of us at the table and the waiter could not have been worse. It took FOREVER for him just to get our drinks and it got worse from there. Half the table’s food arrived but it was stone cold. The other half of the table never got their food. It was a shit-show right from the start.
The last time I saw the band was New Years at the River Rock Casino and I was in a lot of pain. I had JUST finished my radiation treatment and was SO burned and SO uncomfortable. When I look back at it now … I can’t believe I went to that show. What a nut I am. Ha ha.
So even though the dinner was a disaster – I was so incredibly happy to be sitting there with my Go-Go’s family – playing catch-up and enjoying each others company. Gina leaned over to me and said “We were worried about you Hon…” in that amazing Baltimore accent of hers. Tears welled up and I slapped her arm and told her to stop being nice to me or I would start crying. Ha ha.
In the morning Jane and I met up and spent the day wandering the streets of downtown Seattle. First we hit up Evolution Fresh for green smoothies. It was right near the hotel and I think I went there 3 more items before I headed home. ha ha.
We wandered up the street to Sephora for make-up. Then hit Fluevogs in the hopes that they would have at least ONE pair of vegan shoes this season (no luck). Then we went through Pike St. Market in the search of Pirkko.
I’m not a “label” girl but I really love the Marimekko line of clothing. They are modern and fresh looking but also a little retro. Most of their clothes are made out of cotton … which is important to me because I can’t wear synthetics anymore. Too HOT! Even though my hot-flashes are much better since I started wearing that Lady-Care magnet … I find that as soon as I put on something synthetic/scratchy/tight I heat up like a burning flame.
Jane and I shopped our little butts off and then we wandered over to Veggie Grill for some sustenance. I kind of lost my mind and ordered a lot of food. Ha ha. It’s nice to have my appetite back.
I’m so glad I pushed myself to do this trip solo because if Gerry had been with me I never would have spent all this one-on-one time with Jane.
It’s crazy how much we have in common … besides the same haircut. Ha ha. I love that lady like a sister. Love. We had so much fun … it was a wonderful day hanging out with my favourite Go-Go (don’t tell the others I said that).
Around 3pm we headed back to the hotel for naps (she had to perform that night) and I met up with everyone around 6pm to catch the van out to the venue. The van was LATE! So late … we spent about 40 minutes hanging outside the hotel waiting for the van to arrive. Patty Smyth from Scandal (who was also performing that night) came and joined us out front. I just HAD to take a photo.
Can you imagine if you wandered by the hotel and saw all these woman hanging out? I would plotz! We finally made it to the venue (Chateau Ste. Michelle) which was gorgeous. Wow. What a nice place to watch a concert…
I left the band to let them do their warm-up thing and I went on the hunt to find my friend Greg. Because we were so late I ended up missing Naked Eyes and The Motels but did get to see the last 4 or so songs of Scandal. Patty’s voice is still so killer. #bangbang
Then the magic started … The Go-Go’s hit the stage!!
What a fun show!! During Cool Jerk the band picks people out of the audience to come up on stage and dance. I managed to get Greg up on the stage and snapped a cute photo of him dancing.
There is nothing cooler than seeing a grown man geek out to my favourite band. I was grinning from ear to ear the entire show. The show was FANTASTIC! I was cursing myself that I didn’t bring my camera. What was I thinking?? I managed to get a few cool shots with my iphone.
It was so nice to be able to introduce my sweet friend Jane to my amazing friend Greg. Two punk rock icons colliding in the best way possible …
When we got back to the hotel – I was getting out of the van and we were accosted by autograph hounds. They started screaming “JANE JANE! Sign my record.” Jane was still in the van and that’s when I realized they were yelling at me. Ha ha.
My friend Susan said “That’s not Jane.” and he yelled “Yeah right. Why won’t you sign it? You’re an asshole!!” We started laughing and she said “You’re obviously not a fan if you think she’s Jane.”
I couldn’t believe how rude he was being to us … that’s when Jane got out of the van and said “If we’re assholes then I guess we won’t sign any of your stuff.” BOOM! #micdrop It was awesome.
A few of us hung out in the hotel bar for a bit and Martha Davis from The Motels joined us. She was really nice … gave me a hug and told me I smelled amazing.
I fell into bed deliriously happy.
The next morning I met up one last time with Jane and we headed to Evolution Fresh for more green drinks and I bought some food for the road.
Hung out with the ladies in the lobby while they waited for the van to load. This poor bell-boy/man/person. This wasn’t even all of the luggage…
Said a sad good-bye to the ladies and then I hit the road back to Victoria.
I am so thankful to the Go-Go’s (especially Jane) and the Go-Go’s team for all the fun in Seattle. They are an amazing group of people and all the hugs, love and support they’ve given me during all this cancer stuff has helped me more then I can put into words.
I feel like myself again. I don’t know if you fully understand how isolated you become when you do cancer treatment until you’re in the thick of it … Your life gets really small and very intense. For the first time in a long time I feel like myself again. Mojo is back!!
Now what should I do??
In Vegan Is Love, author-illustrator Ruby Roth introduces young readers to veganism as a lifestyle of compassion and action. Broadening the scope of her popular first book That’s Why We Don’t Eat Animals, Roth illustrates how our daily choices ripple out locally and globally, conveying what we can do to protect animals, the environment, and people across the world.
Roth explores the many opportunities we have to make ethical decisions: refusing products tested on or made from animals; avoiding sea parks, circuses, animal races, and zoos; choosing to buy organic food; and more. Roth’s message is direct but sensitive, bringing into sharp focus what it means to “put our love into action.”
Featuring empowering back-of-the-book resources on action children can take themselves, this is the next step for adults and kids alike to create a more sustainable and compassionate world.
Because I’m obsessed with The Go-Go’s I have my google alerts set to send me any articles that pop up on the band.
When I saw this headline in my inbox I thought it was a joke: “A magnet in my underwear cured my hot flashes: Belinda Carlisle says she’s found a menopause miracle.”
I read the article and tweeted Belinda and asked if the article was for real or not.
She graciously answered back and told me that it worked wonders and would change my life … When Belinda tells you to do something you do it – so I ran down to my local Rexall and got one.
You should have seen the cashiers face when she asked me what I was buying and I explained that it was a magnet for my underwear to help with hot flashes. Ha ha.
The Lady Care magnet is purple and sparkly YESSSS! (You all know how much I love tiny things that are purple). I really didn’t think it was going to work but I wore it to bed that first night (you have to wear it 24 hours a day) and I slept through the night. Not one single hot flash. FOR REAL!
The magnet is low-profile and you place it about 4 inches below your belly button. The magnet is STRONG so you don’t have to worry about it falling off. Unless you’re wearing a tight dress that shows off your vagina – nobody will know you’re wearing it.
I’ve been wearing it for a couple/three weeks now and my hot flashes have reduced considerably!! I was having 6-10 major hot flashes a day (and all night). Now I maybe have 1-2 small ones and tiny heat surges but not like the full on hot-flashes I was having before.
Crazy right? So crazy … Thank you Belinda.
I had an amazing birthday!
Gerry asked me what I wanted to do for my birthday and I said “FLOAT!”
He took the day off of work and we spent the whole day together.
First we had a lazy morning and then we took Fergus for a nice walk from our house to Government House. We wandered around the grounds and spent some time in the beautiful rose garden.
We got home and dropped off Fergus. He was pooped out and didn’t mind when we left to go for lunch.
I’ve never ever floated before and even though I had a little anxiety about being trapped in a pod for 90 minutes … I still wanted to try it.
FLOAT House is just up from China Town on Herald Street and when you walk inside it’s very zen. The pod is filled with salt water and it’s more buoyant then the Dead Sea.
You climb inside. Pull the lid down. Turn off the lights and float. Yikes!
It was pretty challenging. First you have to get used to the floating … You don’t have to support your body in any way … and that takes a little while to get used to. The pod is blacked out but you can turn the light on and off if you want. I kept the light on until I was comfortable … Honestly I spent the first 20 minutes trying not to freak out. Ha ha.
After I while I started to settle down and floated. I couldn’t tell you what I thought about but I had a lot of thoughts. I could also hear my bowels moving. It was crazy. I can’t wait to float again. I think the next time will be easier because it won’t be weird. I’ll know how everything works and how to relax my body and float.
All that silence was a little much for me and at this point I’m not ready for that much thinking. Music always helps me float away and so I’ll try it next time with some music.
I felt AMAZING after. Super relaxed. Heavy. You know that feeling you have after you get off a trampoline? Or after you take off your roller-skates. Like that.
When we got home from floating I checked my store to see if I had sold anything during my birthday sale and holy shit … you guys went nuts.
I spent the next 3 days filling orders. Thank you so much for helping me get rid of my Sarah’s Place stock.
You guys are the best. Best. Birthday. Ever.
It’s my birthday!! This time last year I was so sick from chemo that I totally forgot about my birthday. How sad is that?
Because my treatment was so intensive – I also closed my boutique Sarah’s Place. It was a heartbreaking decision to close the store but I’m glad I did it. I packed everything up and put it into storage and focused on getting through my cancer treatment.
Well a year later – I made it through all my cancer treatment – and I am so grateful to be here to talk about it.
I’ve slowly been pulling items out of storage and putting them for sale in in the online store. My guest room is PACKED to the rafters with stock that we barely have room to move SO I’M HAVING A SALE!!
I’m turning 46 this year so to celebrate everything in the store is 46% off.
Just use the code HAPPYBIRTHDAYSARAH and your discount will be applied during checkout.
Thank you for your continued support.
Love you guys.
It’s been about a month or more since I started weaning myself off of Ativan and I have gone down from 2mg to 1mg and now I’m working on getting down to .5mg. It hasn’t been easy but my pharmacist has been great at coming up with a slow-taper program for me.
Going from 1mg t0 .5 has been the hardest. I don’t know why but it’s been really brutal. I have lots of extra anxiety, bad nights sleeps which make me exhausted during the day, full body tremors while I sleep that make me wake up terrified.
I also have claw hands. Maybe not their official term but that’s what I call them.
If I lay still for an hour or more (like when I nap or sleep) I wake up and my hands are like stiff claws. I can’t move my fingers and they feel paralyzed. I have to slowly wiggle them and after a few minutes they warm up and I am able to use them again.
Same with my feet. I have to be careful when I get up because I lose my balance and they don’t work well until they warm up. My feet are sore all the time and you know it’s bad because I’ve only been wear my running shoes and none of my other shoes. Ha ha.
I think it’s either left-over from the Tamoxifen or perhaps from the chemo. Either way it’s uncomfortable. I’ve spoken to my naturopath and he has me taking a myriad of things to help. I have a meeting with my Oncologist in a few weeks.
She doesn’t understand why I’m still in pain. I keep telling her I’m sensitive to medications. You’d think after dealing with me all year and all my reactions to medications that she’d start to understand.
So I’ve been dealing with “claw hands” as well as all the side effects of getting off of Ativan but I’m happy to say that as of this week I am almost at .5mg. It’s been rough but I feel good about getting off it it.
I’ve been very gentle with myself lately. I am only doing things that make me feel good. Yoga. Swimming. Hanging out with Fergus and Gerry.
I’ve been doing to Physio once a week to get my arm back in shape. I go for MLD massage every two weeks to help with the Lymphedema in my arm. I am taking part in a study at the Cancer Center about Restorative Yoga and fatigue.
I was taking part in a study about Stress, PTSD and cancer treatment but I had to bow out after 2 sessions. I am too sensitive right now … hearing other woman’s stories about their treatment was so difficult. I could feel myself taking on their trauma and I was having nightmares and coming home sobbing. I decided it wasn’t the right time yet to work on this.
I’m reducing the Ativan. I’m working on my fitness. I’m doing deep exhausting work on my arm. That’s enough for now. I only want to fill the rest of my time with things that bring me joy.
So I hopped a plane and went to Toronto!! WHAT?
I talked to one of the nurses at the Cancer Center and talked to her about whether or not I was healthy enough to fly. She was like “You’re not in active treatment. Get out of here. Go.”
I was REALLY nervous. Other then a few minor trips to Vancouver to see family I haven’t been away from home in 1.5 years. I hear it all the time from my ladies in all my cancer groups. Everyone is afraid to leave home. Cancer treatments makes your world-view really small. I go from my house to the Cancer Center and a few errands around town. I haven’t felt like I could travel anywhere because I was afraid something would happen to me.
I was laying in bed one afternoon when I got a text from my best-besty in Toronto and my heart was aching to see her. So when Gerry got home from work we looked to see if we had enough points for me to fly out and we did. I booked it that night and left the next week.
Spending time with my Toronto friends was the tonic I needed. It was so great to go and just be me. Not be a cancer patient. Just be me. JUST ME! Oh god it was lovely.
I really only saw Shoshana (and family) and Jen (and family). No offence to anyone that I didn’t get a chance to see but this trip was a baby-step for me and I needed to keep it super mellow.
And of course we ate our faces off!
Jen and I devoured donuts from TBC Vegan Bakery. I actually danced a jig after I ate my donut.
We went to Hot Beans and had a Macaroni and #Vegan cheese with potato burrito. I fell into a food coma immediately. It was so good.
We also went to Grasslands for brunch and I had Snickerdoodle French Toast.
And of course I went to Bunners for Cinnamon Buns. I put a bite in my mouth and yelled “CINNAMON BUN” and then teared up with joy. I think my tastebuds are coming back.
Also went to FRESH and ate my face off.
But this wasn’t just in one day… This was spread out over a week. ha ha. Judging from my chin rolls – I’m pretty sure I gained 10lbs.
We also hung out in Shoshana’s kitchen a lot. That’s where we always seem to spend the most time. Hanging out with her is always amazing because we’ve known each other for over 40 years so it’s kind of like we’re speaking another language sometimes.
She just “gets me”. How precious is it to have that in your life? It’s wonderful.
One night we had a “make your own sushi” party. I found a sushi rice cube maker for her son Henry and we had a gay old time sitting outside on the deck making sushi.
Oh yeah! I also got to see The Monkey Bunch perform at an elementary school fundraiser. It was so fun.
My last day in Toronto I had a mini-meltdown. I was explaining to Shoshana and Mo about my upcoming visit with the oncologist and that we’re trying to decide what to do next. Do I continue trying different medications (that help reduce my risk of recurrence) or just stop because they all have the side-effect of joint pain and we know that the chemo made me flare up and the Tamoxifen almost killed me.
It’s a really tough, scary decision to make. I want to feel like I’ve done everything I can to make sure I don’t have a recurrence … but I also don’t want to put my body through any more trauma. I cut out the cancer. I poisoned it with chemo. I radiated it with radiation and then I took Tamoxifen and everything fell apart.
It’s a big decision. It’s scary to say no to something they recommend and it weighs heavy in my heart. It was good to talk about it with them …
Then I flew home and got my face tattoo’d. Ha ha.
Sometimes the smallest tattoo makes you feel like a superstar. It was a fantastic trip. It gave me some of my mojo back. I’m so happy I went.
OH YEAH! I almost forgot … when you have Lymphedema and you fly/travel/drag a suitcase behind you – you have to be careful because it can cause more swelling in your arm. I wore my beautiful Music City compression sleeve and gauntlet that I got from Lymphedivas.
It makes me want to get my hands tattoo’d. Uh oh …
Factory farms clearly have something to hide. That’s why “ag-gag” laws, which make it illegal to photograph or film farms and slaughterhouses, are spreading internationally. But the best way to combat such secrecy is with sunlight.
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Go Will go!