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.



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 

21 Responses to “Cheers To Life: Maui + 1 Year Since Cancer Diagnosis”

  1. Michelle @ Hummingbird High


  2. Cindy

    So. Much. Love!

  3. Sue {Munchkin Munchies}

    Maui is a great place to celebrate life! You are in inspiration!

  4. Janice

    So much here, whoa. You knocked that 2015 outa the park, Lynds! Lookout, 2016!! lotsa love to beautiful you and your fam! XO

  5. Jessica

    A Chinese Winona Ryder, I love it. Congrats, so happy for you. We both shared horrible years but sounds like things are on the up and up for both. Last week I got my first set of clean scans since May! Here’s to lots of love & success in 2016 xoxo

  6. Tracey Henderson

    What a year! What a gorgeous family! Ease, good health and more Pass-o-guava for 2016 x

  7. cynthia

    2016 HERE WE COME!!!!! So, SO, so much love and admiration for you always <3

  8. Connie

    Hey Lyndsay! Wishing you all the best wishes for health and happiness for 2016 and beyond. Thanks for sharing your good times and bad ones too. Cheers to many, many more good times!

  9. Laurel (@abubblylife)

    “Chinese 1990s Winona Ryder”
    2016 is gonna be awesome, xoxo

  10. Crissy

    This post brought tears to my eyes. But not tears of sadness, but rather of joy and hope!

    You’re awesome, don’t ever forget it!

  11. movita beaucoup

    So much to be happy for, so much to live for!

    (I’m talking about the hair, of course.)

  12. Mimi

    Your Maui trip looked wonderful. What a beautiful and relaxing way to end the year on the beach all together

  13. Juanita

    Aloha to you – beautiful inside and outside! Thank you for taking the time to share with us more about you!

  14. Jan

    i love your hair! and wishing you a sweet 2016 lyndsay!

  15. Efi

    I’m so glad for you Lyndsay!

  16. Renee @ My So-Called Mommy Life

    Your hair looks amazing!!!! I totally despise when people tell me that my hair hair suits me, buuuut it looks adorable on you :) So happy you were able to ring out 2015 on a high note. Here’s to many more special moments to celebrate in 2016

  17. Steph

    Great things await you in 2016!

  18. Patty

    You rock! What a hell-and-back year and you rocked it. So glad you got a peaceful Dec. after all you’ve been through. Here’s to grabbing the good moments and holding on to them, living them with gusto.

  19. pat

    Hi Lyndsay, I stumbled upon your blog, then your website as I was looking for cake tutorials! May i know how you found out about cancer? Routine screening? I’ve always had that fear of developing since I have a family history. We share the same name for our son! (sort off, he’s Ted, just Ted :)

    1. Lyndsay // Coco Cake Land

      Hi Pat- I found it by self-exam, it didn’t feel like a lump, more like a thickening of flesh where my breast met my ribcage, so I wasn’t sure if it was my ribs – turned out there were two small tumours in there! I found it early and was vigilant… best of luck to you!

  20. Julia

    I don’t know you.But your a friend of a friend of a friend.I’m a chef too…and now I’m going through the exact same…was just diagnosed yesterday. Your just brought me light and hope Thank you <3


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