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.

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17 thoughts on “The Next Adventure in Maggie’s Odyssey of Thorny Roses

  1. I love you <3 I will be sending you all my positive thoughts and intentions everyday. You are a remarkable person, and am thankful you are family. Love Sara

  2. This is the first time I’m visiting your website. I love your positive attitude, your enthusiastic approach to life. So sad to know that you’re battling cancer. You will persevere. I feel privileged to know such a person as yourself. Thank you for inviting me into your life.

    • Dear Lillian,

      You have a funny way of appearing in my life when I *need* to hear something that helps me keep going. I’m listening again now…

      Thank you for crossing my life’s path and walking with me for a while <3


    • Dear Megan,

      Thank you for coming to visit my story 🙂 and for leaving your encouraging sentiments. Whenever I think of high energy, you’re definitely one of the top people that come to mind!! See you there again soon! 😉


  3. You are in my prayers Maggie. I thank the Lord God that you are a positive person and you do things that bring you joy and peace. I love you and God bless you as you march towards another victory in beating this shadow again.

  4. Maggie this is an inspiring post. I love “together, we can help me to stick around a long while longer still…” Yes!

    You asked for recovery stories. It’s not cancer-related but three years ago my father successfully ran a gauntlet of sequential sub-50% odds of survival (over short timeframes of hours or days) to finally come out almost normal at the end. What I realized is that sub-50% chances can still be pretty decent chances.

    The other thing I wonder about is that outcome statistics necessarily look back into the past, but medical skill and odds generally improve over time. So your actual chances may be better than the statistics anyway.

    You WILL stick around longer, you bet!

  5. Dear Maggie, thank you for your profound level of truth and bravery and optimism. You are loved and your friends are with you. I look forward to seeing you on Tuesday and am sending you loads of love and the strongest prayers I can muster. <3 <3 <3 Rena

  6. Hi Maggie. You are well on your way to health when you are not overwhelmed, value your life, love life, see & seek pleasure in so many ways, seek & have inner peace, connect with others, and on & on. So much to live for! I just spent 3 days ( my wife & I are in Amsterdam )with a Tibetan monk who states unequivocally we can all heal ourselves if we want to live, are willing to get out of our heads, get into our hearts & feel, feel, feel & have inner peace. I will keep you in my prayers, perform Tonglen on you ( Buddhist practice of remotely taking in your breath, and offering you a cleansing breath for you to breathe in ). The Tibetan monk is possibly coming to Vancouver in July.
    Love & Peace Maggie

  7. As always, sending happy thoughts of good will, and the belief that healing can occur. Will need to meet up again in Vernon again this summer.TrevorB

  8. Gosia, you are an inspiration. I wish for you strength and peace during this time. You are so courageous and open with your journey. Your words in your blog are always so beautiful, filled with light, energy and positivity. I am happy to continue to be your wish fairy and send you anything you want or need. Your wish is my command. Anything I can do to brighten up your day, I am happy to do so. Sending love and positive thoughts all the way from Ontario. Love Anna, Kevin, Ryan, Allison and Claire

  9. You are an amazing soul Maggie and I see you well. Together we will help you stick around for a lot longer yet. The will to live and trusting yourself is huge as I found out for myself not during my cancer journey and I am so glad that you have the will to live and you are trusting yourself. You came in strongly today as I was in Garden Cottage, now I know why. I love you and admire your courage, love of life and positive attitude. I am so glad you shared <3
    Lots of love, light and healing and of course hugs


  10. Hi Maggie (or Margaret as I knew you in high school),

    It’s been ages and I won’t blame you if you don’t remember me. I used to hang out with Leesa, Kathy, Irene and Anna. I was also friends with Marc J, whom I recall you were close with.

    Leesa shared your story with me and I just had to say hi. While I am so very sorry for the pain you’ve had to endure, I am so amazed and proud of the grace and maturity with which you have chosen to face this. I am sure it didn’t come easy but if people’s prayers and positive thoughts sent your way can make a difference, I know they will for you.

    Keep strong and know that you have touched many more people than you could ever imagine with your story and lovely school-girl ways.

    God bless!

    Pam T.

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