Wow – it’s been a month since my last update. I’ve been busy, in a good way.

By: Robin Harry

Wow – it’s been a month since my last update. I’ve been busy, in a good way. But now that the season has changed, it’s time to give a quick summary of my summer. I think I can honestly say that I just had one of the best summers I’ve ever had.

My summers are usually boring, and that’s partly my fault. Before I had cancer, I spent pretty much every summer doing the same thing – working. Just working, and not doing many things that are different and/or fun. Last summer was different, but we all know why. Summer 2011 was spent recovering from biopsies, in hospital room with chemo IVs, in my bed, in self-imposed isolation, fanning myself from hot flashes and hiding my bald head from the sun. Well, this summer was different. The interesting thing about it though, is that it probably wouldn’t have been if I hadn’t had cancer.

I’ll admit, the season started off on a low note. I was feeling the pressure of rebooting my life, the pressure to do things with purpose, and the isolation of having to figure this out all on my own. It was weighing heavily on me. However, things hit a turning point at the Young Adult Cancer Canada retreat in mid-July, where I got to talk about all the things that were bothering me with people who understood and accepted exactly where I was. Suddenly, the weight wasn’t so heavy. And with that weight lifted, I was free not only to enjoy the summer as I would have, but to make the best of my situation and enjoy as many opportunities that arose. My friends, enjoy it I did! My summer looked like this:

I saw Coldplay live in concert and cried like a girl during Paradise and Fix You.
I saw The Dark Knight Rises by myself just because I wanted to see it and I could.
I made new friends at YACC; we had picnics in the park, barbecues, attended one-man plays (FYI – Cancer Can’t Dance Like This is a must-see) and danced to East Coast folk music in a pub.
I saw a dear friend who visited from California and went to her daughter’s christening reception.
I had movie weekends in my room with just me and a bag of sweet/salty popcorn.
I went downtown and watched as my banana-clad coworkers and a few hundred others painted the streets of Toronto yellow as they hopped from bar to bar.
I reconnected with one of my closest friends from my Canadian high school.
I went to see The Expendables 2 with my family (my folks don’t do Meryl Streep. Van Damme or Chuck Norris all the way).
I took a bus to Montreal for a night just to attend a World Cancer Congress event with other friends I’ve made in the cancer world.
I re-auditioned for the gospel choir I’m in. I get to sing to God again!
I went to Chicago on a work trip for three days and saw one of my best friends.
I went to Kitchener again to see my favourite improv comedians – and though I didn’t meet Jeff Davis again (remember this guy?), I got a Twitter shout-out from him (he’s such a sweetheart!).
I saw one of my all-time favourite singer/songwriters, Corey Hart, perform at a retro dance party.

All this probably doesn’t seem like a lot, or even all that interesting. But this is huge for me. In summers past I would have been content with spending my weekends holed up in my room, bored to death though unwilling to initiate anything to change that. Having cancer changes things. There’s a new appreciation for every day and the ever-present fact that life isn’t promised. There’s a gratitude for the God-given gift of second chances and a courage to try things that are different. There’s a confidence and a self-assurance that allows me to enjoy the things I do, just because I chose to do them. So with those things in mind, I enjoyed the heck out of my summer.

Coming up this fall: I start swimming lessons..


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