Rest in Peace Maggie

Malgorzata (Margaret) Wojtarowicz, known to friends as “Maggie”, passed away on 15 September 2017, at the age of 44 years, in the Palliative Care Unit of the Vancouver General Hospital, surrounded by the love of her family and friends near and far.

Self described as a Poetess, Writer, Traveler, Food Lover and [Civil/Environmental] Engineer; Maggie fully lived all her days!  Despite the physical challenges of living with dystonia, she loved to dance, ride bikes, ski and converse for hours on topics curiously plain and deep alike.  She defied cancer not once, but twice before her body succumbed to it the third time.  She was a beautiful soul that inspired so many to live every moment with purpose and joy.  She will be deeply missed but forever remembered.

In true Maggie’s Way fashion, her funeral arrangements may be a bit unusual but just the way she wanted them!  A personally planned Celebration of Life / Transition Party already took place on 5 September at the Vancouver General Hospital with Maggie in attendance surrounded by so much love, joy and of course tears, but bravely none of them her own.  In her final days, she was flooded with emails, texts, posts, calls and visits from friends, loved ones, acquaintances, co-workers, fans and family from far and wide letting her know just how much she and her life have meant to everyone.  What a wonderful send off!  Maggie has asked to be cremated, and for her ashes to be privately spread in Vancouver, the city she loved, and Toronto, where the majority of her family resides.

At Maggie’s request, the family would like to honour her with a memorial bench in Stanley Park (Vancouver, B.C.) where Maggie often visited and always felt a spiritual connection.  In lieu of flowers, donations can be made for her dedication bench at the following website:

Maggie’s Resting Place, Lost Lagoon in Stanley Park 2017


Condolences may be left on Maggie’s website:

Below is one of Maggie’s last poems, never before published, in which you may find comfort and for all to enjoy.


Celebration of Life – The Final Bow

June 2017


Maggie enjoying life in Stanley Park, May 2017

Some cry, some weep,

Yet others sob,

Lamenting loss of life


And others jest,

Thus making light,

Knowing it all a joke


Our lives are but

A stage performance,

From which we all must part


‘Tis that we live

Not what we do

That drives us to live more

Update from Maggie’s Family

Update from Maggie’s Family

Thanks to the amazing love and support you all have shown Maggie in the last few days, she felt much better today and decided to postpone her medical (and natural) death!

We don’t know how much longer Maggie will be with us, but despite the pain she’s in, Maggie is trying to enjoy all the time she does have.

So, keep those positive thoughts, texts, emails and short visits coming!

We’re encouraging Maggie not to reply to everyone as that would be too taxing for anyone to take on, but know that all your efforts are making a difference!

We will send out another update upon Maggie’s passing. Till then, we’ll do what Maggie inspires everyone around her to do: enjoy every moment.

Dearest Loved Ones

Dearest Loved Ones,

The Writer, Preparing for Her Possible Farewells, Maggie’s Way

After decades of physical and emotional challenges, most recently from my breast cancer metastasis, which is beyond recovery at this point and causing me immense pain and suffering, I have decided to take back control of my body and my life, Maggie’s Way! Barring a miracle (a slim chance at this point, but always possible!), I have asked for Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID) for this Tuesday afternoon, the 5th of September, at the Palliative Care Unit of the Vancouver General Hospital, where I’m currently staying. I am not giving up; I am simply choosing “the easier way” this time, after a lifetime of always choosing “the harder path” of striving to live a full life, and then some, despite the challenges of dystonia.

I welcome any and all friends and family wishing to visit with me again in person (or in spirit!) at anytime now, including at my “transition party” we will be having on Tuesday in my room prior to the medical procedure. Please contact my Sister Dorothy by cell at 647-990-8830, or by email, with any questions or RSVPs. You can send any last thoughts to me directly by email, but no promises I’ll reply back from this side.

THANK YOU all for your love, friendship, support, care, wisdom, laughs, and even tears, as they each help me on my journey—and I know that I, too, had some impact on your journey—and for that I, too, am grateful.

Maggie / Malgosia / Margota

Poem of the Week: “Let Go”

This week, I share a weekly poem from my poetry collection.

Please feel free to share the Photo Poem image, or just the words (in your own card / letter) with your loved ones—I only ask that you please acknowledge the poetess.


About This Week’s Poem:

My poem, entitled “Let Go”, was composed in an attempt to end my “suffering” over the unquenchable desire that I felt for something, which I thought I wanted, but which I instinctively knew I could never actually have. I knew that the object of my desire was unattainable precisely because if I reached it, it would transform into something else. Because what I really wanted was the state of desire—and desire is ultimately fleeting, requiring discontentment, which results in suffering. I used this moment as an opportunity to capture in a poem the philosophy by which I currently live my life. I have been cultivating this philosophy over the past several years, and it is working for me: I feel content.

(Please CLICK on the image for a larger version.)

Visitors For Life Welcome in Vancouver

When death comes knocking at your door, set your intention for the future and then let go, let be, and live in the present!

Views of Vancouver from the Writer’s Home

And organize visits with friends and relatives! (Please click on schedule updated September 3, 2017.)

At least that’s a part of Maggie’s Way of answering the call.

I’ve been so blessed with long-time and new friends and relatives in Vancouver dropping by, arranging visits (while staying fantastically flexible), and offering to assist me on all sorts of levels.

The Writer Vegging on Her Couch with Her Mother

I am being offered emotional support in highly mutual ways, home-prepared staple dishes and other delicacies, car rides and housekeeping / laundry tasks, among other ways of being supported.

I am also hiring some housekeeping / laundry assistance, getting groceries delivered, ordering my essentials online as needs and wishes evolve, and receiving house calls from my health practitioners, including my Family Doctor, Counsellors, and my Death Midwife (“Thanadoula”—I am hoping to write more on that later), as I slowly learn of various resources available for various stages of evolution of my bodily abilities.

Next in the queue for meeting with to join Maggie’s Way Team are Home Care Nurses and Palliative Care Team (in case the services they provide are needed).

Daytime views of Vancouver from the Writer’s Home

I feel so incredibly fortunate in my apparent misfortune to have access to all these resources, and to be surrounded by all these individuals who genuinely want to spend time with me and assist me in my daily and planning tasks for whatever the future may bring. Wow!

I now also look forward to the following out-of-town visitors and visits. I plan to keep this list updated as visits get scheduled and new ideas come up, both for visits in Vancouver and for my travels away from Vancouver. I am hoping that this will assist others in offering and planning their visits.

Schedule of Planned Out-of-Town Visits (photos from visits below):

  • Updated September 3, 2017
  • TBD — to be determined (visit under discussion, but not yet booked)
  • Tips for proposing visits (below)

May 7, 2017 — Visiting in Vancouver with Friends, Bob & Kelly, from Galiano Island

  • please try not to book additional visits during this time

May 23 – 26, 2017 — Visiting in Vancouver with Mother, Krystyna, & “Aunt / Cousin”, Mira, from Ontario

  • please try not to book additional visits during this time

May 28 – 31, 2017 — Visiting in Vancouver with Sister, Dorothy, from Ontario

  • please try not to book additional visits during this time

June 6 – 8, 2017 — Visiting in Vancouver with Cousin, Kasia, from Alberta

  • please try not to book additional visits during this time

June 12 – 13, 2017 — Visiting in Vancouver with Uncle, Romek, and Aunt, Marta, from Ontario

  • please try not to book additional visits during this time

June 13 – 17, 2017  — Visiting in Vancouver with Cousin, Janka, from Ontario

  • please try not to book additional visits during this time

June 15 – 18, 2017  — Visiting in Vancouver with Cousin, Stan, from Ontario

  • please try not to book additional visits during this time

June 21, 2017 — Visiting in Vancouver with Friend, Janet, from Mozambique

  • please try not to book additional visits during this time

June 27 – July 2, 2017  — Visiting in Vancouver with Friend, Janette, from Ontario

  • please try not to book additional visits during this time

June 30 – July 3, 2017  — Visiting in Vancouver with Friend, Usha, from Ontario

  • please try not to book additional visits during this time

July 7-14, 2017 — “Hospital Resort Retreat” in Vancouver

  • please try not to book additional visits during this time

July 14-16, 2017 — Visiting in Vancouver with Friend, Trevor, from Alberta

  • please try not to book additional visits during this time

July 17-19, 2017  — Visiting on Galiano Island, BC, with Bert, Bob & Kelly

  • please try not to book additional visits during this time

July 23-24, 2017 — Visiting in Vancouver with Friend, Jess, from Okanagan, BC

  • please try not to book additional visits during this time

July 26 – August 5, 2017 — Visiting in Vancouver with Friend, Birgit, from Hamburg, Germany

  • I am open to multiple visitors during this time

August 6-16, 2017 — Maggie’s Alone Time and Limited Visiting with Local Friends & Relatives in Vancouver

  • please try not to book additional visits during this time

August 17-21, 2017 — Visiting in Vernon, BC, with Friends, Christine & Trevor, from Alberta

  • please try not to book additional visits during this time

August 22-25, 2017 — Maggie’s Alone Time and Limited Visiting with Local Friends & Relatives in Vancouver

  • please try not to book additional visits during this time

August – September 2017  — Visiting in Vancouver with Friend, Trev, from London, UK (TBD — 2nd visit after our visit in April 2017)

  • I am open to multiple visitors during this time

Next Visit

August 29 – indefinitely, 2017  — PCU (Palliative Care Unit) at VGH (Vancouver General Hospital) for comfort and preparation for my last day in this life—barring any miracle

  • I am open to multiple visitors during this time

October 25, 2017  — Visiting in Vancouver with Depeche Mode at Concert

  • I am open to multiple visitors during this time

Tips for Proposing Visits (NEW)

To help me schedule additional visits, please let me know by email or voicemail more of your thoughts about your proposed visit:

  • Considering the schedule of planned visits above, please suggest specific date(s) for my visit with you that work best for you.
    • Please try to space out visits to give me 3-4 days “alone” time between visits.
  • How do you envision our visit?
    • What would you like to do while you visit with me? (Vancouver Attractions)
    • Where would you like to stay (e.g., with me on a limited basis, at a hotel / Airbnb)?
  • What specifically would you like to assist me with while you visit with me?
    • It’s ok if you’re not sure what I might want or need.
    • Please indicate your interests (e.g., take me out for a meal, help me clean, accompany me on a nature outing, chat with me, read to me, hang with me doing our own thing, go for manicure together, join me for energy healing or Pilates, etc.).

For me, visiting at my place for low impact activities—or out somewhere that involves only 500-750 m of walking or a short drive / taxi ride away, once or a few times, depending on how long you plan to be in Vancouver and depending how I am feeling in the moment—would be great! My appetite and energy levels fluctuate moment to moment, so I very much appreciate all flexibility within our plans.

I prefer that my guests also have backup plan activities with which they can entertain themselves when I want a break. This takes my own pressure off me to entertain you during our visit. Please refer (Vancouver Attractions) for what to do in Vancouver.

I am very grateful for offers to visit with me in Vancouver or out of town. I very much appreciate your patience and understanding that it may take me a few days to respond to emails, voicemails, Facebook messages, Comments on my website, etc.—particularly during times when I have visitors.

Travel Logistics for Vancouver:

Some suggestions to think about for visiting me in Vancouver.


While I am able to accommodate some visitors for some of their visit time on my fold-out double-futon in my livingroom, sometimes I prefer that my visitors stay at a hotel or at an Airbnb. Accommodations in Vancouver are pricey (>$250/night) and often sold out, especially in the summer. You may wish to book (cancelable) accommodation ASAP, and keep an eye out for better options closer to confirming travel plans and arrival date.

Suggestions for staying within a short walking distance from my apartment (between Pacific, Bute, Comox / Helmcken, and Granville (map)):

  • Ramada Downtown: Please ask for “Medical Rate” and mention my name (Maggie Wojtarowicz) when price shopping. I found the least expensive rate at this hotel through Expedia (~$170/night).
  • Howard Johnson Downtown: I found the least expensive rate at this hotel through their website (~$200/night).
  • Airbnb: I have an account, and am happy to book visitors via my account—or please consider signing up for your own account. Shared accommodations are in greater supply and less expensive than whole apartment accommodations. Please note that new Airbnb postings sometimes become available last minute, so keep your eye out for better options even after you’ve booked a (cancelable) hotel, if price or location is an issue.

Transportation to / from Airport and Getting Around the City Options:

By TransLink Public Transit (45 min):

Depending on the day of the week, the time of day, and the direction of travel, TransLink public transit (Skytrain + bus / taxi) single tickets to and from the Airport range in price:

  1. From the Airport to my apartment (get off at Yaletown-Roundhouse Station, take #6 bus to Burrard @ Davie, then cross Davie and walk 4 short blocks < 5 minutes south towards the bridge away from the community garden (map) OR take a taxi from the Skytrain Station for ~$10):
    • $7.75 on weekends and mid-week after 6:30pm
    • $9.00 mid-week before 6:30pm
  2. From my apartment to the Airport (in reverse from above to the terminus station at the Airport):
    • $5.50 on weekends and mid-week after 6:30pm
    • $6.75 mid-week before 6:30pm

By Taxi (20-45 min, depending on traffic):

Taking a taxi between the Airport and my apartment costs approx. $40.

By Rental Car:

Please Note: Car parking is in short supply and expensive in downtown Vancouver, but some visitors parking spaces are provided at my apartment on a first-come, first-served basis. Limited street parking has time restrictions. Public parkades are within walking distance. For getting around the city, we can use transit, taxi it, walk it (<500-700 m, while holding hands or with me using a walking stick for balance assistance), and if I’m up to driving, we can also go by one of the 3 car shares that I’m a member of (Modo, car2go, Evo).

Vancouver’s (Other) Attractions:

If you would like to make a little vacation out of your visit with me, please see my list of places to visit in the Vancouver area. Currently, my ability to join in most of these activities is limited, so you may enjoy them on my behalf!

More Vancouver-bound tips to come as needed and thought of.

Thank you to all my visitors, travel companions, travel hosts, in body and in spirit. Please email me if you would like to chat about possible visit plans together.

Visit Photos:

The Writer Enjoying a Meal with Cousins Marek & Debbie, “Aunt / Cousin” Mira, and Mother, Krystyna

The Writer Enjoying a Meal with “Aunt / Cousin”, Mira, Mother, Krystyna, and Friend, Karl

The Writer Celebrating Life with Some of Her Support Team

Maggie’s Way Miracle-Working Magic Hour

If you like, please join me and others in my healthocracy, and let’s help me keep alive and living!!

The Writer Taking a Life-Affirming Walk

In my previous update post, The Next Adventure in Maggie’s Odyssey of Thorny Roses, I asked that we all help me keep focus on the stories of longevity and recovery while directing thoughts and prayers of good will and support my way.

Thank you to all who shared stories of recovery from and longevity with advanced illness diagnoses. Thank you for offers of treats, errand-assists, and hearing me on what I might find helpful from those wishing me well.

I would now like to propose “Maggie’s Way Miracle-Working Magic (MWaMWoM) Hour”, within our respective time zones, to help connect us in a healing exchange.

We can meet energetically, in thoughts, prayers and chanting, somewhere out in the universe—in a “Divine Intervention” or “distance Reiki energy healing” kind of way:

  • me as the receiver of healing intention;
  • all those who wish to send me 2 – 20 minutes of healthy intention.

Proposed MWaMWoM Hour Meeting Time:

  • 9 AM Vancouver / West Coast of North America (PST / UTC-8)
  • 10 AM Alberta (MST / UTC -7)
  • 12 PM Ontario (EST / UTC -5
  • 5 PM London / UK (GMT / UTC +0)
  • 6 PM Western & Eastern Europe (France, Germany, Poland) (CET / UTC +1)

Your Task:

  • At about the designated hour within your time zone, if you would like to, please spend a few minutes adding your thought-, prayer-, and chanting-energy to the universal channel directed at helping me heal—let’s call it frequency 101.

My Task:

  • I will open my consent veil around me during the designated hour within my Vancouver time zone, and let what health intention energy is flowing in the universe—including along frequency 101—to help my body do its healing magic..

I look forward to connecting for MWaMWoM Hour on the universal energy channel 101 🙂

Trusting life to do its thing.

The Next Adventure in Maggie’s Odyssey of Thorny Roses

There is some irony in the timing of finally receiving the good news about the *most likely* source of this mystery leg pain that has been with me for the last 9 months. It came during my birthday month, which as usual, was full of celebrations of life.

Maggie’s Thorny Rose Tattoo

These days, I am also rejoicing that I am still alive—finally, fully on board, in my thoughts and beliefs, and in the stories that I tell myself.

The not so pretty news, though, is that the *most likely* root cause of my leg pain is a rather extensive spread of *most likely* breast cancer cells into my bones and spine.

A recent MRI shows what doctors interpret as cancer metastasis. Whether it is breast cancer cells that have spread, or whether other types of cancer cells are having an out of control party in those areas of my body, this cannot be determined until a tissue sample is analyzed under a microscope in a biopsy. But regardless of the type of cell overgrowth, it cannot be denied that my health situation is serious.

I felt sad receiving this news. But I also felt unbelievably calm, centred, and present—everything felt more real than ever before. It felt incredibly *perfect*…

I felt well prepared for news of this magnitude about the health of my body at this point in my journey. I have *lived* for 8 years since my original breast cancer diagnosis in 2009.

I instinctively knew what I needed to do:

  1. Decide that I still want to live
  2. Trust myself

A part of me still feels that I can’t help but question some of my past decisions, and to what-if myself about doing more of this and less of that—although, logically, I know that it will not make any difference now, except for how much stress I put myself through. Only *I* can stop feeling “bad” about it, and I’m using my meditation skills to do that. I’m almost there!!

I am recognizing that I made the best decisions I could with the knowledge, resources and convictions I had at the time…and that by questioning those decisions now, I am still learning from those experiences back then and from this experience of my current circumstances.

When I contemplated sharing this, I thought about what I want to give and receive:

I want to give my genuine view about my situation.

I want to share the hope I feel that I can somehow come out of this, with years of living more experiences, which I truly believe is possible.

I am sharing far and wide, as I want to give everyone who knows my situation the opportunity to, please, support each other.

I want to receive thoughts and prayers of good will and support.

I want to receive the belief that I am already healing.

The Writer During Her 44th Birthday Month

I believe that the thoughts, prayers and beliefs of others—directed my way—can make a difference.

I thought about how difficult it is for me to forget the mainstream story of certain death in a short time that a diagnosis of this magnitude brings to mind—to forget it in favour of keeping focused on other stories:

  • stories of radical remissions*,
  • stories of people living for years and decades with terminal cancer diagnoses,
  • stories of people living long lives with all sorts of health challenges, including cancers, but without knowing what specifically ails them,
  • stories of me, once again, being a statistical outlier (being unique, special, different).

And, if it is difficult for me to keep focus on the stories of longevity, I thought about how difficult it may be for those I share this with, and ask for their support, to keep focus on those stories of longevity and recovery.

Admittedly, we don’t actually ever know anything for sure, and really, anything is possible. And so, what if the effects of thoughts, prayers and beliefs for someone’s health and longevity are like the effect of…democracy—where reality is determined by a majority vote in favour of an outcome.

What if life is a health-ocracy? What if each person reading this or hearing about my latest diagnosis actually has a say in the outcome of my well-being and on my longevity?

Trusting that each person is a powerful being, I wonder if seeing life as a healthocracy can make it easier for me, and for each person that knows my situation, to keep focus on the stories of recovery and longevity…

I think so.

And I trust that others will think so, too!

Individually, we’re pretty powerful, but maybe not sufficiently powerful at this point in evolution to make a huge difference in another person’s health outcome—but if anything is possible, as I believe it is—then it’s possible that each person, now, can contribute with their hopeful thoughts in a healthocratic kind of way…and together, we can help me to stick around a long while longer still…

That is all I ask: please keep focus on the stories of longevity and recovery while directing thoughts and prayers of good will and support my way.

Radical Remission – Stories of Longevity and Recovery

*Reading the research-based book, entitled Radical Remission, may be helpful. It follows the fate of over 100 individuals across the world in recent years, who received a terminal, Stage 4, wide-spread cancer diagnosis—and lived for years and decades to tell about it. In addition, the researcher interviewed 50 holistic healers and studied over 1000 documented cases to write this book. The author then summarized the 9 most common factors in these people’s lives that shed some light on their radical remissions:

  1. Radically changing your diet.
  2. Taking control of your health.
  3. Following your intuition.
  4. Using herbs and supplements.
  5. Releasing suppressed emotions.
  6. Increasing positive emotions.
  7. Embracing social support.
  8. Deepening your spiritual connection.
  9. Having strong reasons for living.

These may be considered to be the essential “treatments” that these individuals embraced in their own healing journeys.

Related is this article on the 9 Key Factors Affecting Radical Remission From Cancer, which refers to over 3500 case studies published in the medical literature, and collected by the Institute of Noetic Sciences, about people who experienced spontaneous remissions from seemingly “incurable diseases.” Most of the case studies revolved around people with Stage 4 cancer diagnosis, who either declined conventional treatment or were given treatment deemed by doctors to be inadequate for a cure.

And I know, I know! I can stop spreading this sort of “Thorny Roses” sunshine anytime now!

So, besides all the cancer talk and attending medical appointments…

…what else is going on in my days?

The Writer Celebrating Birthday Month with Food & Good Company

I celebrated my birthday month with various get-togethers with friends and relatives in-person over delicious meals and via Skype, went out dancing, took myself out for a steak tartare dinner and Fifty Shades Darker movie date, had a stranger leave me a beautiful white lily in the basket of my bicycle, received a loving birthday gift from my German travel companion, let myself sleep in on many occasions, kept up with my daily morning 2 minute plank routine and weekly Pilates classes, among other enjoyable experiences.

Random Stranger Helping the Writer Celebrate Birthday Month with a Lily in Bike Basket

The Writer Celebrating Birthday Month with a Steak Tartare & Movie Night

Appreciating Thoughtful Birthday Month Gifts from German Travel Partner

I said goodbye to my favourite local grocer that’s closing its doors after decades of operating in that location. Between stocking up there, and during a Costco shopping spree with my friendly neighbour, my pantry is overflowing with food abundance.

I’ve attended several author readings and the Room Magazine writing festival—and a few comedy shows touring in Vancouver.

I’ve dusted off the draft of my book, Maggie’s Way, and began writing down my story again.

I’ve re-read some of my poetry from my collection of over 100, which I still really like, and plan to work on sharing more of it online and publishing it.

I also plan to pay some attention to getting my affairs in order, and finally get to some of those organizational tasks—such as updating my will, and preparing power of attorney documents—as there’s really no time like the present for this kind of administrative fun.

The Writer in One of Her Favourite Environments

I plan to visit with a couple of my engineering girlfriends in Victoria on Vancouver Island over the Easter long weekend in April.

In the Summer, I may go abroad on a healing retreat and / or a bucket list trip.

This year, I celebrate my 20th anniversary of graduating in engineering from the University of Waterloo, 20 years of living in Vancouver, and 20 years since moving here on the cross-Canada train. I’m planning to go back East for the graduation reunion in September—maybe even on the train!

And I’m adding specific experiences to my bucket list for afterwards.

And resting! I plan to spend a good portion of my days in peaceful, life-affirming, comfortable places—in nature, in my body and mind with my soul, and in my beautiful, granxurious new bed!

The Writer’s Granxurious New Bed

Who has the time for dying when there’s so much living to be done!

But, first, I think I’ll go and meditate for a bit, to calm myself from all the excitement of this update and of taking stock of my thoughts, activities and plans!

I highly recommend guided meditations on YouTube by Jason Stephenson.

Here are some of my favourites:

And more recently, these:

Although my situation is serious, since I’m still alive, it is not too late!

Thank you for caring and for witnessing this part of my journey.

If you wish to be in touch, please share your thoughts:

  • in comments below, and / or
  • email me [ ].

Thank you for understanding that it might take me a while to respond, and for trusting that I will read your message but may not respond individually.

If you wish to receive email updates on new posts (and to reduce my administrative tasks), please add your email address to my mailing list: