Cheers To Life: Maui + 1 Year Since Cancer Diagnosis

shave ice maui

One year ago I was standing in the kitchen, probably dinking around on my Instagram, maybe power-snacking on some leftover Christmas chocolate, when I got the phone call from my family doctor.

The same wonderful doctor who delivered Teddy – I can still hear her counting down from 10 when it was time to push the head out during labour – like a seasoned coach – confident, strong, guiding. Those countdowns from 10 – I could do that! I could push for ten seconds! Then all of a sudden, a release – my son’s head came through in a rush of fluids, adrenaline pouring through my system, time stood still and all of the pain and contractions screeched to a halt. My baby was plonked onto my chest, in a sea of jubilation. “His name is Teddy!” I said. 

cloudy tropical day - maui

On the phone this time, her voice was quiet, hushed, but firm. “Lyndsay, we got your biopsy results back.” She couldn’t quite say it. “It’s C.”

Cancer. She went on to say she had already made various appointments for me to get everything rolling, and fast. An appointment with a surgeon in a few days and other scans and tests were organized and ordered. My sisters and I were deep into planning mode for my mom’s 70th birthday. I remember hosting 60+ women at my house for high tea, everyone so happy and celebratory, and me trying to stay afloat with this bizarre, horrible new information. Just gotta get through. A few times I had to hide in the bathroom and cry.

tropical flowers in maui

It’s been the weirdest year. In January I was diagnosed, in a blur of shock and fear. I started IVF treatment to try and preserve embryos before chemo and it failed, and I was devastated. In February, we went to Disneyland, breast cancer diagnosis and all, as the trip had been planned for half a year. When I got home, I had surgery for partial removal of my right breast. In March, my beloved grandmother passed away. The same month, we found out my husband had gotten into his first choice residency program here in Vancouver. We decided to try one more round of IVF to see if we could get any embryos to freeze, and we ended up with three. In April I started chemo. In May, my husband graduated from medical school. June and July was more chemo, then in August a break from treatment – camping, and my son Teddy’s 3rd birthday. My hair started to duck-fuzz back to life. In September I did 20 rounds of radiation. In October I wrote this breast cancer post about my treatment. Then I finished out the year continuing my Herceptin treatments – 6 more to go!

And finally in December: a FUCKING TRIP TO MAUI! YES. We celebrated. We celebrated being alive, hard. In the most mellow way possible. Meaning, we lazed around in the tropical golden sun and soaked it up. Warm waves, so many turtle sightings it was like visiting old friends, delicious food and splashing in the pool.

giant bougainvillea flowers, maui

Hair today, hair tomorrow! The little hairdo that could. I feel like the Chinese 1990s Winona Ryder and I am so so so happy to have a hairdo. “WILL BRAKE FOR GIANT BOUGAINVILLEA BUSH”

hawaiian sun pass-o-guava nectar juice

Ice cold calorie-laden sugar-loaded pass-o-guava-nectar but I don’t caaaaaaare (GLUG GLUG GLUG)

cloudy hot day in maui

Hazy cloudy pool day.

wailea, maui

Party dog on the beach! Nap? Fuggedabout it. Run run run instead.

kinaole food truck maui

We ate from this Kinaole Grill Food Truck four times. Garlic shrimp, mahi mahi, guava pulled pork, coconut shrimp all on beds of soft seafood fragrant rice, with wild greens topped with feta and macadamia nuts. It’s parked one block from the beach, so we’d go at 5pm and eat it on a beach blanket for Maui sunset.

wailea, maui sunset swim

Sunset swim.

maui-5

Sweetness.

sunny beach in wailea, maui

Beach exploring in Wailea.

giant bougainvillea flowers, maui

More photos in front of giant bush!

swimming pool splash

Crazy 3 year old splash.

sweet maui style

Maui style – U Can’t Touch This

maui sunset, wailea

My not so little baby.

sunglasses in maui

Me feeling the deep Maui vibes. (with hair! Almost 6 months of hair growth post-chemo.)

Time will pass. It keeps rolling. Slippin’ into the future, and there’s nothing we can do. Through good times, and bad. Sickness and health! For as long as we all shall live. I started the year on fear. I ended it with a snowy hug, at our mountain cabin, crunching through forest in the dark on snowshoes with my husband, peace and quiet abound, overwhelmed with all that has transpired this past year but feeling happy, content, strong, full of love. Ready for good things. Here’s hoping 2016 is a sweet one.

Aloha, life! xo Lyndsay 

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