My Dirt
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Don’t Panic

He looked me in the face and said, “don’t panic, not yet. let me do the worrying and when there’s something for you to worry about, I’ll let you know.”


lone tree with clouds


That’s what my oncologist said to me at my 6 month check up. See, I was deemed cancer free after my scan came back clear (post treatment) in February 2012 and ever since that great day, I still have to return to the Tom Baker Cancer Center every 6 months to make sure my status hasn’t changed. Usually my appointments are quick and uneventful, well unless you count that one time the janitor put his hands down my pants.

Wha? Didn’t I tell you that one? Let’s have a funny-story-break.

I’m in a room waiting for my (female) hematology oncologist to come in and instead the door opens and a tall, well coiffed, male comes into the room. He doesn’t introduce himself to me. I can’t see any visible identification. He reeks of cheap cologne. He starts talking about my medical history and asking me about my lifestyle and health habits. At this point I’ve concluded that he’s an intern or some kind of medical student or perhaps the janitor (no offence to janitors) because there’s no way a ‘real’ doctor would come to work wearing bedazzled jeans and pointed toe light grey leather boots. Not in Canada at least. So I go along with his questioning and give him all the answers that his medical books have told him I will say. Then he says…

“why don’t you hop on up to the table and undo your jeans for me”

ummm, so, when is Dr. Owen joining us?

“she isn’t” (now he’s offended) “I’m Dr. Owen right now. She had a baby and I’m here until she comes back”

AAAAAHHHHHH, I see, so you’re covering her mat leave! And you’re an actual doctor!

Hey, here’s a tip for all you doctors and nurses out there, when you walk into a room to see a patient for the FIRST time, introduce yourself and identify yourself BEFORE you ask to put your hands down someones pants. Kay, thanks!

So for today, I have very little to report. The intern (who DID introduce himself to me) found a lump in my neck and my radiology oncologist confirmed it himself. It could be nothing. It could be something. I’ll have a PET scan to find out. What I do know is that the type of cancer I had before has a 90% cure rate and the chances of reoccurrence are very remote, however I also know that IF there is a recurrence, it is more likely to happen in the first 5 years.

How do I feel? Scared. Angry. Really angry. But mostly, sad. Sad that I’m back here in this awful place again. Sad that I have to take my life filled with kids and family and friends and work and schedule in trips to the hospital for tests and oncologists and endless blood tests. Sad that I am again faced with the conflict of who to let in and who to keep out. Sad that I don’t want to be anyones “friend with cancer”. Sad that I have to hide this terror from my daughters and as they get older, it gets so much harder to do. Sad that my husband keeps asking me what he can do for me and I have no answers to give him because what I want to say is, make it stop.

Sad that I have to write this.

Sad that I am so torn about publishing this as much as I’m torn about picking up the phone to tell my closest friends, some of whom, I haven’t told yet.

I’m just sad.

So I guess this means we’re all on this ride together. I promise to keep you updated as I learn more until then, give thanks. Give thanks for your health. Give thanks for your family. Give thanks for the love and the life that you have because I know that I will be.

Love and light to you all.




  1. Positive vibes that it is the ‘nothing’, not the ‘something’. <3
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  2. Jody says:

    Oh no, Tiff!!! I am sad too. But I know that if anyone can face this and beat it AGAIN, it’s YOU. And I’ll be with you along the way. Love you.
    Jody recently posted..Oh OctoberMy Profile

  3. Aneta Alaei says:

    Tiffany, I can’t relate to what you are going through but I can imagine and I hope that this turns out to be nothing at all. Sending you good vibes as well <3
    Aneta Alaei recently posted..The Smells In My HouseMy Profile

  4. It will be nothing! I know it, you know it, end of story.sending you all the positive vibes you need.

  5. Lisa says:

    And there it is. The dark, heavy cloud that has been hovering over my heart too for a while now. You have put it out there – I couldn’t say it. You have courage – but we both know that you do, not just because of the last 3 years events, but because of the life that has been your path and continues to be. I feel angry and sad too – more than you will ever know. Today is your sweet mother’s birthday. Let’s celebrate that – she was one of my heroes – I have a few. You are – well I don’t have a word to qualify it. Powerful because you are vulnerable. And it is that vulnerability that let’s you be lifted and held and cherished. You said to me recently when I was having a moment of “isn’t the world just a crappy, shitty place to be in right now” that “we’ll get through this together”. In that moment, I remembered that we are connected and can be supported just by being present. Often in silence. Because the knowing, the understanding doesn’t always have to be spoken. I love you with all my heart – and yes, you (we) will get through this together.

    • Jane Grant says:

      Lisa, you are spot on. Tiffany is an amazing woman, and whatever this is or isn’t she will take care of business. And she has love all around her, and you to be her mom/friend/auntie.

  6. Good of you to write it down and let it out! You don’t need to hide, there is nothing to be ashamed of.

    There are so many of us on this journey.
    One Quarter Mama (@onequartermama) recently posted..Angry Autistics – A Two Part Exploration: Part 1, ParentsMy Profile

  7. Misty Hamel says:

    All I can think about when I read this is your smile and strength that has been so apparent every time I have seen you. I’m so sorry that you have this worry but am hoping with you for the best outcome!

  8. Tiffany you are one of the strongest and most beautiful (inside and out) women I know. Thank you for sharing this. For letting us in. For letting us worry with you and virtually hold your hand while you walk down this road, again.
    Mommy Outside recently posted..Wordless Wednesday – Dance Class w/linkyMy Profile

  9. I am so, so mad right now. I want to come over there and wrap you up in a giant bearhug and hug the crap out of you until every single thing is all right. But I can’t so I’m gonna sit here and say over and over and over and over again, until is it 100% true, that you are FINE and are going to be FINE and that your amazing superpowerful Bluntie butt is going to kick the crap out of anything that dares to mess with you.
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  10. Kristin says:

    Hi Tiffany, comment time from your niece who just adores you. Because I’m also your friend. Last night I had a really stressful nightmare that I had cancer and I was scared and terrified and I woke up feeling afraid and stressed and of course, panicked. Then, I realized that it was just a horrible dream and the stress and panic faded. Then I came online a couple hours later and read this post of yours. I also have a “lumpity” thing in my neck and was at one time terrified of the worst possibilities. I had the biopsy twice and all that unpleasantness. Fortunately it was nothing serious. I am here for you and am loving you! I know I can count on you anytime I need to and I’m here to offer the same to you. I am optimistic that you will have fantastic news! If you don’t, then know that you’re surrounded with fantastic people who love you. Sometimes stress and fear can help us to be strengthened. It’s extremely awful because it’s painful to be stressed. I try to remember the butterfly that struggles so much to get out of it’s cocoon. If a person were to peel off the cocoon, the butterfly’s wings wouldn’t work and it would never fly, but, because it struggles and struggles…it’s wings get strength until it flies. Simple analogy but it can be encouraging depending on how you like it. Anyhow, love you lots beautiful!!

  11. Christine says:

    Sending you big wet sloppy kisses and positive vibes my beauty! xoxoxoxoxoxo

  12. Tiff I love you so freaking much. Thank you for being vulnerable here. We got this. WE GOT THIS. All the hugs. ALL OF THEM. xoxox
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  13. I wish I had all the right words or at the very least, the words to make you feel better. Instead, know that I am thinking of you today and always and hope that if there is anything that I can do to help that you’ll tell me.

    Besos, Sarah
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  14. Christella says:

    Much love, baby. <3 <3
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  15. You know all of us are here to back you, whatever the need. The waiting for answers always seems to be the worst part, but you got dis. You can do this. Don’t panic. 🙂
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  16. Hi Tiffany. Just wanted to let you know that you are in my thoughts and prayers. I hope you have good news soon. I am so glad I got to meet you. Our chat at the airport got me super inspired. I could tell you’re an incredible and strong person right off the bat. I feel you can take anything on and that too with a whole lotta class 🙂 Hang in there!

  17. Belinda Horvat says:

    Hi Tiffany, You are strong and beautiful, surrounded by good people and you will get through this. I am optimistic that this will be a ‘nothing’ and it is going to be just a hiccup along your journey. I’m here to help if ever you need it. Please let me know. love Bel

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