I’m Still Here

I had stopped writing because my laptop decided to die. I am not sure why I never came back to writing here, but lately this blog has been calling for me to come back and write.

So, we made it through cancer in pretty much one piece. Just some of those pieces are stitched together and scarred. I am working part time at the local middle school, I just started my second year.

The boys FINALLY got to switch schools this year (praise God). So now that I don’t have to travel 450 miles on the weeks they are with me, I can look for something with more hours. I am still hoping for it to be within the school system, but keeping my eyes open elsewhere.

Wow…my boys are now 12 and 9. Can you even believe it?

Cancer was hard. Lately, beyond cancer has even been difficult. We are still financially struggling just to get back on our feet and there are days when I know we shouldn’t have gotten this far…but we have.

I try not to look back very often because forward is where it’s at.

We finally moved into a larger place; a three bedroom townhouse. We cannot afford it with the job I have right now, but we are making it. Kinda living the same as we did in the old place…barely scraping by…but it is so worth it.

I keep reminding myself that this is only a season…and seasons change all the time.

I am a grandmother. She is a year and a half old.

I am not even sure how to get back to blogging…but I’m here.

Welcome back to my life.


This week I plan to pick up most of the gifts needed for Christmas…B1 is getting a box series of Harry Potter, some Lego’s, and a few other small things. B2 will be getting new hockey socks (to match his travel, in house and practice jerseys), Nerf ammo, and I dunno what else. The girl will get a month of her cell phone paid.

My church paid my rent for December to make sure that I had funds to buy gifts for them. They cannot even begin to know how that gesture helps the over all picture of getting back on our feet.

I will have two paychecks in December totaling about $500…that will help us start to get out feet back under us.

I have a trip back to Mayo at the end of the month (before Christmas) for follow ups.

Life is starting to look somewhat normal again. I’d like to be working more but know that I physically just can’t do it. It’s  difficult not being able to go full speed yet.

I’m hoping that by summer I can have most of my strength back. Then I will have to undergo the reconstruction phase and that will keep me down for the most of the summer. My prayer is to be ice-ready for the end of October.

Being a coach means I get some fees waived (registration with USA Hockey and coaching clinic fees) plus I get a free coat and a waiver for concession hours. One of our major fundraisers is working concessions for the high school hockey games. We receive 13% of each till’s receipts. Each player must cover 12 hours of concessions up to a family cap of 24 hours.

As somebody donated B2’s hockey registration fees this year, I have opted to work a few shifts to help out.

Just a rambling post…but it’s a post.



Over the last couple of years we have been so blessed by those who came out of the woodwork and supported us through the worst of storms.

As I head back to work (only part time, but it’s a start) the boys and I are taking steps to pay it forward.

There is no way on earth I can pay back the kindness, the grace, the love, the financial support of those who took us under their wings. For that reason we are paying it forward in ways that may not seem like much, but hopefully make a difference to those we touch.

This week we adopted an American Soldier on deployment through the Adoptaussoldier.org website. The program asks only that you commit to write a letter each week to the service member you are assigned for the entirety of their deployment. Even I can afford that!

When I told the boys about this opportunity their first question was, “Is it like when Seabee was gone and we wanted to send him things?” I said yes, but different. This will be for a stranger and it is our job to make sure he knows that somebody cares and is praying for them. It is our job to write them a letter to make sure they know they are cared about back home.

This week we sent out our first introduction letter to the service member we are assigned. I sent pictures of the boys along so the service member knows who is praying. The program states you might never hear from your match, and just to send letters of encouragement each week until their deployment ends (the program will let you know when they return home).

I pray that our match is brought a spot of sunshine to hear their name during mail call. If anybody can bring a little light…it’s these two boys.

If this goes well after the first month or so, we may adopt another service member or two…how hard is a letter?


Speaking of Seabee, we’ve been talking regularly up until this week. My phone (for whatever reason) cannot send or receive text messages and has not been getting all the phone calls either…which I didn’t know until two different phone calls from the school today did not go through. There is no worse feeling than thinking you are being ignored…only to find out the problem is on your end…I might need to purchase a new phone; not something I can afford at this time. I’m hoping that resetting it (as I did today will solve at least the phone call issues as I cannot afford to miss any calls for work.

We are all doing well…hockey is in full swing, bowling is going strong, and I’m coaching again. I think I like this year even more than last year…or at least equal.

It becomes EXTREMELY clear every time I lace up just how much cancer has taken from me. I cannot even think of racing with the kids on the ice or even playing keep away. What I can do is coach fundamentals…and to do it right I believe you have to get good before you get fast. I’m often telling the kids to SLOW DOWN on drills as it is not a race and I don’t care how fast they can skate if they can’t do anything else.

As my strength returns I pray that I can work more, play more hockey, and just enjoy these kids like they deserve to be enjoyed.

Love and hugs to all.

Hardest Realization

I came to an extremely painful realization today. I came to an understanding that for some reason I think I deserve to live in abject poverty and financial desperation.

I have been dealing with much anger lately and most of it has been directed towards the boys’ dad. Today, it hit me…I’m pissed off at him for divorcing me and leaving me to deal with cancer on my own. I am extremely disappointed that he could not be the parent the children needed when I as sick. I’m pissed he left me to face cancer on my own.

When I got married, I vowed forever. For better or for worse were the words I said. Although legally married for just shy of 14 years; our marriage was a happy union for less than 4. The minute the going got tough he took off, he bailed out, he threw me under the bus and then got in and drove over me.

When I was diagnosed, he proceeded to be an angry bitter, shallow man. He tried to use the kids to get to me, he attempted to control me through the kids, and he used my illness against me.

Well, today it hit me that if I am that bad of a person then I damn well deserve to suffer through cancer. I deserve everything that has been sent my way. I deserve to be alone, to be financially strangled, to be living in a state of complete desperation.

Financially I am at the point where I may need to give up time with my kids just so I can find work. M Nobody will hire me based on the schedule I need to be able to get my boys to and from school on the week they are with me. The ex refuses to allow them to switch schools (he works in the town where I live, if they boys went to school here it would not be an inconvenience to either of us. He refuses to allow them to switch schools out of sheer defiance and a show of power. He has it, I do not.

It has nothing to do with the fact that both parents working full time would provide more security for the boys in both homes. It has to do with him controlling me through the boys because he hates that I am happy without him.

He would rather his children live in deprivation than change schools. Quite a guy…no wonder so many people think he is so amazing.

I Will Never Understand

The boys’ father is now complaining that I have enrolled B1 I the Little Brother/Little Sister program. Seriously…could you PLEASE get your own life and stay out of mine now that I have moved on with mine? He fought over hockey (and lost), now he’s trying to fight over this. Unfortunately he doesn’t seem to realize that THIS is a moot point. It in no way interferes with his parenting time and there is no cost involved that he would be responsible for splitting.

The following is the redacted response I sent to his whining email this morning:

After reading through and discussing with the LBLS coordinator, I enrolled (B1) in the program as a way for him to have an adult mentor who is able to spend dedicated time with him and give him time to explore what his independence and build his self-esteem. The mentor chosen for him works at (PERSEC).


A Big Brother is not in any way meant as a replacement parent. He is only a friend and mentor to the Little. (B1) will be able to spend time with his Big and do things that he might not otherwise have the opportunity to experience. There is no cost involved in this program. They will spend approximately two hours every other week together and build a relationship that is meant to be lifelong. As we figure out our schedules it is likely that he will have his time during the time when (B2) and I are at hockey practice. I feel this will give (B1) more of a sense of independence as well as to build his self-confidence.


The following is from the Little Brother/Little Sister brochure:


Youth mentoring exposes a Little (B1) to a positive role model. Mentoring can help focus on their future and on setting academic and career goals. Our mentors work to expose them to new experiences and people from a diverse cultural, socioeconomic, and professional background. The one on one environment provides Little’s with attention and a concerned friend to encourage emotional and social growth. Mentoring can foster increased confidence and self-esteem.

~~Pardon my language~~

Now go fuck yourself you piece of shit. You have never EVER tried to involve yourself in any of the children’s passions unless they align with your own. Now I have a ten year old boy who has no idea of himself. B1 NEEDS to find his own passion, not isolate himself because he doesn’t want to ‘put you out’ by needing a ride or any sort of compromise between the parents as he already understands that it will be me who will be the only one to go out of my way to make sure that he gets to participate because you refuse to budge on ANYTHING that is not your idea. He already sees that he and his little brother are nothing more than an inconvenience to you when it comes to activities. While they hate missing out with either of us, he already sees that I am more than willing to give up time, money, anything…for him and B2. How sad for him to already think he does not matter. Fuck you for making him feel this way. Fuck you

The fact that you feel threatened as a parent by a two hour commitment every other week…four hours a month…should be an eye opener. Of course it won’t be though because you cannot see past your own insecurities and hang-ups to provide a childhood for these boys.

I will continue to fight for my boys and their future. You were the one who wanted a divorce, you were the one who wanted to split up our family. THEY shouldn’t have to suffer, their future shouldn’t have to be shaped by your inability to move on.

Hello World

The hardest days are supposed to be behind me now. I finished five months of chemo, a unilateral skin sparing mastectomy with expander reconstruction, five weeks of daily radiation, and menopause. It’s been a busy year for sure. Not to mention, being a mom, and hockey coach.

Unfortunately, yesterday made all of those things which sound horrible enough in themselves feel like a cakewalk.

I was on the verge of tears for 99% of the day. I was not sad, I was not upset, just had these tears in my eyes that were on the verge of breaking the damn at any moment. I was extremely worried that the dam would burst at the most inopportune time, luckily it did not. I held it together.

I am pretty sure that the lack of hormones in my body took over yesterday. I am going to talk to my doctor at my next visit about whether or not the menopause could be wreaking havoc on my antidepressants. Sure felt like it yesterday. Add on to that the hot flashes and then ice cube flashes…it was not pretty for most of the day.

Last night we had hockey practice…week two…oh my. I am so grateful for hockey practices. I see my boys (they are at dad’s this week), I get some exercise, I feel wanted and needed, and cancer does not exist from the time we pull up to the rink until after, sometimes many hours after, we leave the ice.

A few parents had some questions, and I don’t mind answering them. I love sharing how awesomely we rocked and kicked cancer’s butt. It doesn’t bring me down to share. It reaffirms just how awesome I am.

Two sets of parents were asking questions last night and they were not shy about how thankful they were that I was coaching their kids and how they admire whatever it was that kept me coming back every week and getting out on the ice day after day.

I told them THEY made it possible, their kids made it possible. I didn’t do this alone. Knowing that I could help their kids fall in love with hockey…that’s why I did it. I didn’t do it for me; I did it for the kids. Enjoying every minute of it was just a side effect!

B2 moved up a level this year to Mites. Most of the kids I coached last year are still in Mini-Mites. Last night was the first night of Mini-Mite practice. It was right after our practice so I stayed to help out (boys weren’t home anyway so why not).

I got so many hugs from last year’s kids…it was awesome. I went around with a roll of tape putting names on helmets (very hard for coaches when you have so many kids to learn names and you only see them a couple hours a week). One little boy from last year followed me around most of the practice (it was pretty much just a free skate). I am so blessed.

B1 starts bowling this weekend. He is excited to get back at it. Has also been matched through the Little Brother/Little Sister program; they will start their activities next week. I enrolled him in hopes of helping him gain some independence from being B2’s caretaker (as he is at Dad’s house) and to introduce him to activities that he wouldn’t otherwise get a chance to do. His Big Brother match is going to be an awesome fit…I see shenanigans in my future with this pair! The match that was picked for him is the husband to a friend of mine from church (we initially met at church but now are good friends). Having a positive role model for him that he will see on a regular basis and hopefully form a lasting bond with is going to be huge for him. I’m excited to watch him grow. He will be 11 in December. Boy 2 will be 8 in November.

My little Mama’s Boy (B2) is so funny…he has this awesome jock and tough guy attitude right? Well, then at hockey practice when he gets to my station he has to hug me…lol yep, that’s my tough guy.


I do my absolute best keeping things positive and seeing the lighter side of my current situation. I might ask why me every now and then and usually answer myself that I’d rather it be me than my sisters, my mother, or any of my friends.

Today though, I’m pissed. I’m sick and tired of cancer.

On Monday I will leave my boys AGAIN and head back to the USA. I will fly to Winnipeg then drive home (should arrive about midnight). Tuesday I will procrastinate as long as possible until I finally get off my butt and take off to drive the 384 miles to Rochester, alone; again.

I have done every one of these trips solo. Yes I’ve had offers of people to come with me, I just choose to do it alone. It’s easier in a lot of ways to do it alone. Then I can process my emotions without a filter. I don’t have to worry about how anybody else is doing or that they feel like they have to take care of me.

The other reason is that I would hate for my reality to become real for other people. I am broke; actually beyond broke. People often realize what broke really looks like. Here is what broke really means:

  • Stopping for gas and ONLY gas. No snacks, no coffee, no drinks, no anything.
  • Checking in to my room and staying there (unless I go for a walk).
  • Not running to the corner store for a few comforts or a candy bar or bag of chips.
  • Looking longingly at that Sudoku book in the check out at the grocery store thumbing through it, and putting it back because that $4.95 is so far out of your budget that it makes you cringe.
  • You would rather drive late in the day when you have an early morning appointment so that instead of spending the night in a hotel, you drive until you need sleep and find a public rest area to grab a couple hours of sleep in the back seat.
  • Staying home when my friends invite me out because eating is where we usually gather and ordering water while everybody else orders drinks and apps brings on the pity looks.
  • Except for church, there are no social outings.
  • Not having cable TV (which means no television at all where we live)
  • Cutting the internet while the boys are gone because it’s $40 you just don’t have
  • Leaving the AC off even though it is currently 90*F in your apartment because you electricity bill is already three months behind.

Welcome to the side of cancer that is hell. It sucks. I can’t work, I can’t do anything. It hit me the other day that once the boys start school I can’t even take them for my visitation as it will be impossible for me to drive them back and forth to school and their father will not give a shit, only see it as an advantage to himself. He won’t care that the boys need the emotional connection to me as they get no emotional support from him regarding this journey.

It means that B2 will likely not play hockey this year, and I won’t be coaching, because I can’t afford it and the ex refuses to help pay for it OR provide transportation. Even while undergoing chemo last winter I had to drive 90 miles for him to attend a 45 minute practice because according the his father, hockey practice didn’t fit in to HIS schedule. It didn’t matter that all the kid talked about from October through April was hockey. It didn’t matter that there was a significant drop in behavioral issues throughout the hockey season, that the grades improved…all that mattered was that HE doesn’t want to be involved with hockey therefore, he will make it as difficult as possible for B2 to be involved.

Did I mention that at the beginning of the year, B2 could hardly stand on skates and was placed in Level one (as all first year kids are) and he along with only ONE other kid of the 28 child roster moved all the way to level THREE in one season? Ya, he done good. The kids usually spend one year at each level, B2 spent a total of two practices at level two before they shipped him to level three.

I’m ranting…and sick and tired of the bullshit that is cancer.

If it weren’t for cancer I would be back in court asking for full custody after social services has been to his house FOUR times in t last year to educate him that the boys are too young to be left home alone…FOUR TIMES.

I’ve been out of work since January. Hockey registration is in October. If I am LUCKY I can look for work starting near the end of September. There is no way I will be able to have bills caught up and enough money to pay for registration and the means to provide transportation back and forth for school and hockey…fuck cancer.