Finding Beauty in the Ordinary
I know I have been in people's thoughts and prayers, since my last blog sharing, so I wanted to share all that is happening. The wonderful benefits of having a webpage is that I can share this update once, and then be able to focus on my healing. Thank you for the hundreds of love expressed through various means. You have steadied my step. Really!!! XO

Below is what has happened in the last few days, and self-portraits I took the day of my meeting with the surgeon at the Cross Cancer Institute.
PictureArtist, Barbara Burns, wearing tokens of love.

I wanted to be strong, yet open, to all the information I was about to receive at the Cross Cancer Institute, so with my wearable tokens of love (jewelry), I wore red today. Mom loved red on me. Despite her being gone, just over 8 months, she was with me comforting, and giving me strength, in my favorite red top. Being an artist I see, and use, symbols to inspire me. And it isn’t surprising that the colour red is one for vitality, love, blood and passion.

PictureBarbara Burns tired, but ready, for this cancer journey.
Well, it is going to happen sooner. Much sooner than I was anticipating. My Nurse Navigator, Debbie, who is answering questions about cancer and sending me oodles of information and booklets, told me that surgery would be 3-4 weeks after my meeting with the surgeon. I am the exception to that rule, as my surgery date is a week and three days from today’s meeting (June 9th).

This came after a meeting, the day before, with my Pain Specialist Doctor. I was going in for another injection, to my spine, to help dull/freeze the nerve firings. Once I mentioned that I had just been diagnosed with cancer, he told me that the cancer treatment was the most pressing issue, and that he would not inject me again, into my L5 and the growth, until he was cleared by the cancer doctor, as well as my gastro-intestinal doctor. I agreed that dealing with the cancer was the most pressing issue, but asked him, “What about my pain (as it has been intense)? How can I get some relief for my pain now and through my cancer recovery journey?”  He suggested increasing my oral painkillers, which I know my gastro-intestinal doctor will not be impressed (due to its complications and effects on my GI). To add to my frustration, the medication specialist doctor (yes, there seems to be a doctor for everything), isn’t available for months and months (despite being a patient of his); and so, I placed myself on the cancellation waitlist. And all I can think is, “Let’s hope the day I can get in to see him, doesn’t interfere with any of my radiation, chemotherapy or future GI procedures.”

Life doesn’t seem to be concerned with my timetable. In my mind, I was envisioning two more weeks with my students, then a week to physically, mentally and spiritually prepare for the surgery. As a teacher, one is normally drained, to the extreme, at this time of year. I have the ‘end of school’ tiredness in my body along with the mental and physical stressors of having extreme health challenges. My body and spirit feel very weak right now; my reserves are depleted as I have feelings of being blindsided by this new disease and being raw emotionally.

What has given me strength are the hundreds of texts, emails, flowers, candles lit, messages written on paper, books, chocolate, sharings of prayers from strangers and friends, hugs, teary looks, food and offers to sit, and be, in my presence. There is such power in love.

On Monday I have another procedure, at the University Hospital, a gastro-intestinal procedure that will hopefully find answers. Then on Tuesday, I will have time at school to teach and be with my students (and to prep my wonderful substitute). From that day on, my introverted soul will withdraw to strengthen my body, mind and spirit through rest. I intend to face the surgery strong.

I have been called numerous things over the years (***smile***). In fact some of my educational bosses have seen the spirit of animals in me. One assistant principal, when I first started out, called me a tiger; he saw my strength, ‘attack mode’ mentality when something needed to be done and my passion. A recent, former principal said to me, “You are a work horse.” My Great Grandfather would be proud of this comparison as he bred Clydesdales. They are gentle giants and are powerful workhorses that keep going. And as for the tiger, I am earning my stripes; I intend to be strong in my stance and not afraid of fighting this new battle.

All is well and will be well…despite my timeline being off! Ah, life.

Barbara Burns thankful for all the support, and outpouring of love, since her diagnosis.


Sarah Johnson
05/31/2015 2:22pm

Thank you so much for all of these updates, it is reassuring to help follow you through your journey than to just sit back and wait for more big news. Your hair and makeup looks stunning, by the way!

xx. Sarah

05/31/2015 4:15pm

Dear Barbara,
You are a tiger and a workhorse and a master of transition and transformation - a butterfly perhaps buried inside the more burly animals. You dance with a lightness of spirit that will serve you well over the coming weeks as your many doctors surprise you with their partnership in this particular journey. I sending light, love, healing and the same brilliance of spirit that has carried you these past few years. Thank you and bless you. Much love, Marci

05/31/2015 10:27pm

You look marvellous. Stay strong. Each of us has a battle we are fighting.

liza chelliah
05/31/2015 10:48pm

My dear friend you are what I call a wind warrior/dancer you face every challenge head on with such grace and strength. No matter what lifts and downs comes your way your artistic sense of beauty and on life can only be admired.we all love you support you and be here to guide you if you need your strong and you are in our hearts and prayers xoxo

Jackie Allen
06/01/2015 8:25pm

Barbara, your words are giving me strength when it's suppose to be the other way around right now. I feel your hug, too, all these miles away. Love ya . . .
PS: Also feeling your mom's caring warmth . . .

11/05/2016 8:26am

I am using this site for better and well points here with interesting concepts mainly about things come in threes update I wrote red today. Keep doing in the same way with this barbaraburns blog.


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