George, Curiously

DEALING WITH YOUR DIAGNOSIS

I remember being in the hospital after my diagnosis.  They told me I had leukemia. The word was strange, I knew it was something kids got, and here I was otherwise healthy, and 30. It made no sense. It was like being told that my inner child got cancer.

I soon realized that medicine alone was not going to be my only tool to get through this. I needed a team, an Army of Love to help me. Asking for help can be tough. I’ve spent my young adult life dependent on my family and finally I was on my own and thrown back to needing help with sometimes very basic tasks.  That first night in the hospital, I was so alone. I sat with this information by myself, for one night. This is really happening, I thought. It’s big, and it’s bad.  What am I going to do about it?I woke up strangely calm, with this new information and the start of a plan to live through this. I knew that first night of being alone with my cancer would be my last night of being alone with my cancer.  Nurses and Doctors would be working with me, and friends and family and the bigger cancer community online and in my city.

So who is in your Army?

I joined a wellness center that helped people with life threatening illnesses. There I got a lot, everything from healthy meals,  massages, Reiki, even an amazing counselor who helped me out in dark times.

At my cancer center there was a meditation course, gentle yoga and a young women networking group.

I joined the online cancer community and talked Leukemia with people all around the world.

When I was in treatment, I lived at the hospital for a few months. The nurses called my room “The Salon”, because there were so many visitors, a lot of whom work in comedy. There was laughter and music alongside chemo. We were laughing in the face of death. I knew that if I was going to die, I would die laughing.

First Descents was there for me too. Post treatment, out living it, with this big elephant in the room. Everyone else there participating had their own elephant, and we rode down the river in our kayaks together, elephants splashing in the water with their other elephant friends.

So please, stretch out your arm and get a team going. Use that cancer card to get you everything you can, from online support to yoga classes to free t-shirts.

You deserve it, you are worth it!

George

Tell me about your team! Write me a poem! Draw me a picture! Tweet me and Facebook me, and know that I am now part of your Army of Love.

Bio

Marjorie ”George” Malpass is a writer, actor and corporate trainer based out of Toronto, Canada, who spent a week Kayaking with FD the summer of 2012. She was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) at 30. She is currently not dead from cancer and will probably die from something else.

Continue following Marjorie on her Facebook, Twitter and website

www.facebook.com/missmalpass
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George, Curiously

All Superheros have Cancer.

We are not like everyone else. If you had/have cancer, you are now, clinically, a superhero. Go with me on this epic journey. Lets look at how superhero’s are made and compare it to cancer and it’s treatment.

Genetic mutation, like the X men?
Cancer is a genetic mutation.  Same thing.

Radioactive material imbedded, like the Gamma rays on the Hulk or the spider bite that made Spiderman?
Radiation treatment is par for the course. Same thing.

Immersed in toxic yucky stuff like the Toxic Avenger?
Chemotherapy is poison, made to kill the cancer and not you by the slimmest of margins, (and still it sometimes kills you). Same thing.

Traumatic event seeing death, like Batman?
Try looking in the mirror deep in treatment, it’s traumatic! We also see people die of the very cancer we are fighting. Same thing.

Tools and technology, like Iron Man?
Hello, you got a port? Stayed in one of those hospital beds that go up and down? Benefited from millions of dollars of research and development? Same thing.

Alien power from outer space?
They got us on that one, unless cancer came from aliens.

One thing that almost all superheros have in common is a reluctance to have this power and the heaviness it brings to every choice they make in life. We have that, don’t we.  So what do you do with your superpowers? First, save yourself, don’t die. Number one rule as a superhero. One of my superpowers is that I’m stronger than I thought, I have a remarkable tolerance for pain from being in a lot of it. I am fearless, because statistically, I should be dead!

You are a Superhero!  You can chose to use this power for good or evil.
What superpowers did cancer bestow onto you? What are you going to do with this power?

Let me know,
George

Twitter me! FB me! Email me! Look at my website! Connect!

Bio

Marjorie ”George” Malpass is a writer, actor and corporate trainer based out of Toronto, Canada, who spent a week Kayaking with FD the summer of 2012. She was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) at 30. She is currently not dead from cancer and will probably die from something else.


Continue following Marjorie on her Facebook, Twitter and website
www.facebook.com/missmalpass

twitter.com/missmalpass
www.missmalpass.com

 

George, Curiously- she’s back!

Sorry friends, I’ve been away. I broke my arm. I blame it on cancer. Not the chemo that sometimes makes our bones less dense. Not a complication from surgery.  I was working too hard, I was over tired, and fell off a chair, landed funny. So funny that I broke my Humerus. Ha-frickin-ha.  I was trying to prove that I’m normal, everything fine, I’m bouncing back from my challenges and entering the life-stream like everyone else!

Except we are not like everyone else.

Even in remission, those medicine days behind me, I’m still trying to get back what I lost by moving faster than everyone to try and catch up.

UGH. My remission does not free me from my relationship with the big C. And now, I’m starting to get it. Mourn the loss and move on. SLOWLY move on.

What did you lose?

Let’s talk

Bio

Marjorie ”George” Malpass is a writer, actor and corporate trainer based out of Toronto, Canada, who spent a week Kayaking with FD the summer of 2012. She was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) at 30. She is currently not dead from cancer and will probably die from something else.


Continue following Marjorie on her Facebook, Twitter and website
www.facebook.com/missmalpass

twitter.com/missmalpass
www.missmalpass.com

 

George, curiously

Gimme some lovin’

Dating is hard. No matter what the circumstances are. I myself am a beautiful, smart, talented lady and I still have my issues. Like modesty.

Now let’s add cancer to the mix. We are WAY beyond “does my butt look good in these jeans?” (And the answer, of course, is Yes.)

Do you tell, don’t you tell, when to tell, how to tell it, why tell it, why not…..ugh, it’s daunting. Plus treatments can leave us not looking and feeling attractive.  Chemo can heal us, it also can take our mojo.  We still want to get out there, connect with someone!  Having a normal life in an unnormal situation is important to move through the experience of cancer.  So date! If you feel less than hot all you have to do is lower your standards. It worked for me.

Tips on when to tell someone you want to kiss that you have/had cancer:

I will keep it simple.

Don’t rush it!  – “Hi I’m so and so and I have cancer” is not a good opener. Unless you want pity nookie, then go ahead.

Don’t not rush it!  – “If anyone has any reason for these two not to be wed…” If someone cares about you, they 360 degree care about you. Trust this.

Keep it as short as you can!  – Mine is “I had leukemia, three years of medicine. I should be dead, not dead. It was tough and I learnt a lot”. If they want more info they will ask and you can start a dialogue, not a long sob story. Yes, it’s the worst to be young and have cancer. Yes and we all deserve medals of bravery. Blah Blah Blah. Remember a successful date is one where you are more interested than interesting.

Someone dating you is just as nervous, make them feel comfortable. You can show your scars later, they for sure have a few of them themselves.

Later we will talk about those of you who already have a partner and how to support someone supporting you while still taking care of yourself. Plus tips on having sex while hooked up to an IV.

Talk to me! Write me! Ask Questions! Follow me on Twitter and Facebook!

Bio

Marjorie ”George” Malpass is a writer, actor and corporate trainer based out of Toronto, Canada, who spent a week Kayaking with FD the summer of 2012. She was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) at 30. She is currently not dead from cancer and will probably die from something else.


Continue following Marjorie on her Facebook, Twitter and website
www.facebook.com/missmalpass

twitter.com/missmalpass
www.missmalpass.com

George, Curiously

Celebrate vs Miserate 

Hey, where were you when you got diagnosed?
Remember? Like the date and everything?

OK, now forget it.
Forget that date.

Unremember. It’s not too hard, most of us have access to some strong drugs.

When is your remission date?

Mine is July 1. Canada Day. I am Canadian, so it’s a big celebration. Fireworks and music and everyone taking the day off for me. And a ocean of beer toasted to me. They don’t need to know it, I do.

Cancer is an experience, it’s not who we are. You are not cancer, you HAVE cancer. Big difference, because you can control how you feel experiencing something, even if you can’t control what the cancer is doing to you. Holding on to the when and where of cancer will bog down the the more important narrative of YOU.

Don’t have a remission date?

That sucks and I hope you get one, fast. Pick a day that you got a win, finished a round of chemo, left the hospital to be at home. An anniversary of something good. Like a birthday, which is, for me, a sweet celebration. I get to be older!

The crap about getting cancer young is that I want action, to do something, while having the frailty and looks of Montgomery Burns. Frustrating does not even start to describe it.  We have to hold onto the wins, and let everything else flow in and out. Learnt that even more on the river Kayaking with FD. And I’ve healed, mostly. Morphed from Mr. Burns to something way more Excellent.

Marjorie “George” Malpass

Ask me a question! Tell me I’m crazy! Send love notes! Let’s keep talking- email me at contact@missmalpass.com

Bio

Marjorie ”George” Malpass is a writer, actor and corporate trainer based out of Toronto, Canada, who spent a week Kayaking with FD the summer of 2012. She was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) at 30. She is currently not dead from cancer and will probably die from something else.


Continue following Marjorie on her Facebook, Twitter and website
www.facebook.com/missmalpass

twitter.com/missmalpass
www.missmalpass.com

George, curiously

Why you got cancer.

Because you did. It’s not because you lived near power lines, or used a cell phone, or were exposed to secondhand smoke, or never ate organic, or are overweight,  or your parents had cancer, or any of the million reasons people “get cancer”.

You did not get cancer because you were angry, or sad, frustrated or lost. You did not get cancer as a punishment for that gum you shoplifted, or when you called that kid those bad names in grade 6.

You got cancer because you did.

Random. Crappy random.

And here is the big kicker, it’s not your fault. There is nothing you did or did not do to get cancer. We were all young when we got diagnosed, too early to really mess up our bodies with our choices.  Let’s move away from blaming ourselves for our diagnosis.

Is there a part of you that can just throw up your hands, say “crap for crap” and deal with what is happening?

If you have taken FD, then you are dealing with this crap. If you chose to be kind to yourself by exercising, meditating, eating your veggies, spending time in nature, spending time with friends, writing it down, talking to people about your fears, then you are dealing with this crap.

If you chose to be unkind to yourself by drinking, smoking, muddling about being depressed, listening to a lot of heavy metal, wearing excessive black eyeliner, whatever other destructive actions, you are still dealing with this crap.

When I was at FD I fell out of my kayak, smelt really bad, longed for a whiskey, got annoyed at my fellow campers. That’s life. Real life. Dealing with cancer does not mean we have to prohibit negative thoughts and actions, just notice them. Then decide on the french fry or the celery stick.

Your cancer is not your fault.

Just like your parents divorce. That’s not your fault either.

Let’s keep talking – email me at contact@missmalpass.com

Bio

Marjorie “George” Malpass is a writer, actor and corporate trainer based out of Toronto, Canada, who spent a week Kayaking with FD the summer of 2012. She was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) at 30. She is currently not dead from cancer and will probably die from something else.


Continue following Marjorie on her Facebook, Twitter and website
www.facebook.com/missmalpass

twitter.com/missmalpass
www.missmalpass.com

 

George, curiously

Why saying you have Cancer sucks so much

When you say “I have cancer” to someone, it’s no longer about you.
It’s about them, and what cancer means to them. If they lost a mom to illness, cancer is a thief.

If they gave to a cancer charity, cancer is something to fight.
If they have not been close to cancer, it is something to recoil from.

All hear the word cancer and are scared, that you having it, you young healthy person, means they can get it. They are right. Some of them will.

Oddly, I wasn’t scared when I was diagnosed. It happened, so let’s deal with it. Plus I had leukemia, 3 years of treatment gave me a lot of time to sit and think.

To us, cancer is something that is happening. We experience not just the word, we experience the action of having cancer.

That’s why I want to connect with people who know what I know, did what I did. We can handle hearing the heaviness of it all because we know from doing. We have death cred, not  like rap-star gang fight death cred, more like we got dealt a crap hand and are still in the game.

I met Death, he’s super hot. We made out a bit until I told him that I’m not ready for that kind of commitment. He left. I hope he’s still that hot when I meet him again.

Let’s keep talking – email me at contact@missmalpass.com

Bio

Marjorie “George” Malpass is a writer, actor and corporate trainer based out of Toronto, Canada, who spent a week Kayaking with FD the summer of 2012. She was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) at 30. She is currently not dead from cancer and will probably die from something else.


Continue following Marjorie on her Facebook, Twitter and website
www.facebook.com/missmalpass

twitter.com/missmalpass
www.missmalpass.com