Blogging: not just a writing on the wall

September 22, 2015
By: Julie Szasz
Blogging is not just a writing on the wall; it is giving back.
It’s sharing intimate feelings, personal thoughts or deep secrets.
Reading all these blogs about other #AYAs living with cancer is a gift on a page.
Today I am thanking all of you. I am grateful for your courage and your poise to write and share with us that bad day or that beautiful illumination you had.
Writing can be liberating. It can help us release some of that anxiety that we carry so heavily. It can be a safe place where we unveil our most private part of our self, but also that fearless and sassy side. It’s a good place to use our voice and call out what bothers us. It allows you to leave a legacy behind. Writing for this community lets you pour your heart out where it counts. It makes YOU matter.
I am thankful for the readers. When you know someone read your blog, it’s like a big warm hug. And we really love those hugs!
Reading is occasionally the only thing we can do. It’s comforting to read the words of someone going through something similar. At times, it helps release fears and “normalize” what’s happening. Reading blogs does not take a long attention span, which we all struggle with from that chemo brain!
Sometimes blogging is the only link we have with the exterior world for a while; when we are confined to our bed and feeling tired or recovering from surgeries and treatments. It gives us that sense of belonging and community we all need. It takes us outside our home. It’s sometimes like a visit to our best friend’s, where we sit, talk and laugh over wine. Because, every so often your writings are funny! And other times, they’re sad and help us put words to what we are going through and feeling.
But mostly, blogging is full of hope! As long as we can read each other and share our day with you, it makes this community worthwhile and sustainable.
Thank you for giving back!
Big and warm hugs,


What keeps me going –The Present Love


November 10th 2014

(Being a mom with metastatic breast cancer)


As I was walking my puppy this morning, thoughts came to my mind; wondering what has kept me going in the last 5 years. Yes soon it will be 5 years since my first diagnosis with stage 2b Breast cancer. After a surgery, chemo, radio, hormonal therapy, menopause 3 times, a separation, a fight for custody, a somewhat getting back to normal, the cancer coming back in my bones, another surgery, new treatments…it goes on…


I will be 35 this month. My daughter is 7 and a half(yes half is important at that age!) .


My day to day life is confronted with this now chronic illness. Having Metastatic breast cancer has force me to take it a day at a time. Throughout these last 5 years, my daughter has been a source for my fight. Having her has not given me any choices but to wake up each morning, even when my body/mind does not feel like it. She has helped me take things as they come, because that’s what children do. They live in the present and at this point this is all that matters: The Present.


That’s probably also why having a dog has been a blessing. This little puppy does not give me any choices; she wakes early and I have to care for her. The love in those puppy eyes is unconditional. Having her by my side makes me move. Moving makes me feel alive. Yes I am tired, but at least I feel better when I know I went for a walk and I was breathing fresh air. After we can all rest from a good walk.


Being a mother has pride in itself.  But being able to pursue this life commitment with an illness that has no pity, makes me appreciate a lot more the time I spend with my loved ones. From all this, I just hope that after my time comes, my daughter will be proud of who she is and always see her mom in herself. Call it egotistical, I don’t care, because she is who she is because of how I raise her and what’s she’s gone through by my side. She has grown up seeing and feeling her mom struggle, fight, being weak. But she also sees her mother go on, making meals every day, homework, laundry, errands, volunteering at school, taking care of family and friends and going to the hospital. This child is so loved. Of course I don’t do it all alone, but I try. When I can’t, it’s ok and she knows.  She loves me.


So, taking care of my self does not mean I put aside my child or responsibilities. It only makes me better to tackle it all. It’s all about love and who you love. I choose to love myself, my family and my friends. Everything else is second. If I got it wrong, so be it. It feels right for now. – Julie Szasz


The last 30 days of my dad- a diary entry

Sept. 24 2016
The unknown by Julie Szaszpapa et eva

The fear of the unknown seems to be a recurrent concern for my dad through this illness.
Let’s go back a bit…
My father was diagnosed with a stage 4 incurable rare sarcoma back in late April 2016.
After finally figuring out what the best option would be to treat the cancer, the side effects of the disease and the chemo had taken its toll on my dad.
See, my dad is a mathematician. A rational mind. Things must add up. Problems and situations have always had a solution, or at least a hypothesis to knowing the result.
Problem is now, the result is unknown. Every second seems to be an unknown. His mind is getting frustrated, he can’t determine the next step. What are we supposed to do?
We got an agenda, a notebook, someone is always with him. Everything is written down. But that’s not good enough for him. If something happens out what he seemed planned in his head… confusion arises and he is scared.

He said it: “Unknown”. His lips trembling making the word out with difficulty, in a very weak voice. Making complete sentences are getting harder and harder for him to do. His train of thoughts being interrupted by pain, by fear, by sorrow, by fatigue.
So I am here. Trying to grasp every second I can have with him. Trying to reassure him, that the unknown is not so bad and can be good. Let’s be hopeful I tell myself again and again. But I feel it’s useless to tell him… I fear he does not even know anymore what hopeful means.
So I remind my mom. Let’s have hope that things will get better.

I understand now, what it is to be a care taker. To look into your father’s eyes and see despair. See his confusion with this fear of the unknown. Asking himself what happened? This was not part of the plan, of his calculations.

…30 days later, my dad had past. October 22nd 2016.

I hope you know now and you are not scared anymore. I love you papa.

Une aventure pour mon cœur!



J’arrive de Colombie-Britannique. D’un endroit sur la côte Nord-est de l’île de Vancouver. Une place magique, où dauphins et phoques s’échangent dans l’horizon.  Montagnes à pertes de vue et océan à l’infini, comment ne pas aimer cet air marin qui nous réveille à chaque matin.

Au début de l’été, j’ai entendu parler des voyages d’expédition de Survive & Thrive. J’en parle vite à vite à ma complice et je lui dis : on applique ! Hop un autre souhait dans l’Univers. Puis quelques jours plus tard, on nous dit que le voyage est plein. Bon à l’année prochaine d’abord!

Mais début août, je reçois un courriel me disant qu’il reste deux places. Allez go!! J’embarque. Quelques coups de fil plus tard, j’ai mes frais d’inscription et un billet d’avion! Puis j’ai à peine un mois pour planifier le reste. Il faut faire confiance à la vie et sauter sur ces opportunités!

Mon aventure débute dès que je suis dans l’avion! Avec ma complice, un regard suffit et nous sommes prêtes à poursuivre un voyage qui a parfois  sembler incertain. Nous partions pour Campbell River, C-B. C’est où ça? C’est loin… 48 heures plus tard, nous sommes enfin arrivées à la Capitale du Saumon!

Point de rencontre avant de partir pour 6 jours en mer. Mais qu’est-ce que je fais ici? Vais-je avoir l’énergie? On prend un traversier pour aller sur une île. J’ai vaguement rencontrer le groupe avec je serai durant ce séjour. 20 personnes. Sont-elles tous comme moi? C’est qui dans ce couple qui a le cancer? Nouveau diagnostic? Récidives? Ça fait 10 ans? Tout ça semble  prendre moins d’importance…les discussions et les fous rires tournent autour de cette semaine qui s’en vient; sans trop savoir ce qui nous attends…quoi? « Il faudra faire un trou pour faire caca? » « c’est pas un gros bateau? » « on doit monter et démonter nos tentes à tous les jours? » OMG!!!

Finalement, Mickey et Bonnie(fondateurs de Survive & Thrive) ont bien tout organisé au moindre petit détail. Bouffe, endroits, équipements, tout est bien penser.  Même si Mère Nature ne nous promet pas beaucoup de soleil ou de vent, le paysage est magnifique.

Se réveiller le matin et absorber la beauté de la nature, la tranquillité, l’odeur marin, le son des oiseaux et des phoques; l’écho de la nature et son silence. Pas de cellulaire, se reconnecter à soi -même , à son cœur.

La beauté de partir avec Mickey et Bonnie, c’est qu’ils nous offrent la possibilité d’une réflexion sur notre histoire. Cet partie de nous que nous prenons trop souvent pour acquis. Chaque matin, nous prenions un temps pour soi. Une petite demi-heure qui était encadrer par une réflexion guidée. Puis on se trouvait un coin seul; j’adorais me trouver au bord de l’eau. Toute cette inspiration sur soi-même est très personnelle, mais ce que j’en retire, c’est que j’ai toujours suivi mon cœur. 

En avançant dans ma vie, je me laisse guider par mon cœur. Ceci m’a amené à saisir des opportunités, à rencontrer des gens magnifiques et à faire de chaque jour, un souvenir mémorable.

Parce que durant cette aventure, il y a eu beaucoup de pluie, pas beaucoup de vent et un peu de soleil. Malgré tout ça, qui n’est pas idéale pour un voyage de voile, chaque jour était extraordinaire.

En passant par les paysages à couper le souffle, les centaines de dauphins qui entouraient nos bateaux, le calme de l’eau, le soleil brûlant ma peau, le froid dans mes mains et mon dos, la pluie chatouillant mon nez, le vent soufflant dans mes cheveux, le chant de loup marins le soir, une baignade avec un phoque, prendre une étoile de mer dans sa main, la chaleur d’un feu de camp. Mais ce qui a été le plus exaltant fût notre dernier jour de voile où, nous avons vogué si vite, mais si doucement, en apprivoisant les vagues et le vent. En développant cette complicité sur mon bateau avec des gens qui, il y a peine 1 semaine étaient des inconnus.

En aillant des discussions de cœur, des échanges riches en vérité et en émotions, un après-midi de pluie et de calme en voilier, assise en dessous de la toile, avançant tranquillement au bruit du petit moteur : notre partie de cartes fût un des plus beaux moments de ce voyage!! Qui aurait dit!

Une aventure qui remplit mon cœur de souvenirs.

Merci à Survive & Thrive, Hope and Cope et Voboc pour la réalisation de ce voyage, ainsi qu’à tous les anges-gardiens rencontrés sur ce chemin. Vous avez empreint mon cœur de joie.