Finding Beauty in the Ordinary
barbara burnsBarbara Burns and #iseehearts
I haven’t shared with you in a very long time. I needed to step away and deal, as well as try to heal, what was happening in my life. I was not well. One Doctor shared that the breast cancer was a tipping point in my life. Before the cancer, and during the treatments and journey, I was, and am, dealing with a growth on my L5 that impedes the nerves that exit that point, as well as gastrointestinal issues due to the nerve damage. On top of that, I was, and am, dealing with mobility issues and severe chronic pain due to the L5 impediment. And on top of this, for a month, this past summer, I was admitted to the University of Alberta for care and treatment.  I have been ruthlessly challenged in all aspects of my being: mind, body and soul.

And now, here I am. Surgery, done and still healing! Internal bleeding, done! Chemotherapy, done! Radiation, done! Radiation ‘boosters,’ done! Tamoxifen pill #1 reaction, done! Tamoxifen new pill #2 reaction, done! Tamoxifen pill #3, from the US, works! I will be on Tamoxifen for 5 – 10 years. IV Herceptin treatment, for a year, every three weeks, is done this Thursday (20th)! Am I healed? No. But I see October 21st as the beginning of my healing and recovery from cancer. Why? It is because my body now only has to deal with one cancer treatment in my system (Tamoxifen).  This is awesome!!! Let the healing begin!!!

In a weird way, I am grateful for this journey. I have witnessed and received your incredible love and support. You have no idea the impact you have had on me. The power of a kind word, photo sent my way, hearts shared, sidewalk shoveled, meals prepared, rides to treatment, gifts of love given, time spent with me, artwork & heartfelt cards provided, and so much more.  I have been overwhelmed with your caring spirit and reinforcement. As much as my body had to endure the cancer treatments and all of their effects alone, I knew you were always there for me. Never underestimate the power of your love.

So, here I am….and soon, it seems like I will be out and about, in a BIG way…

On October 27th, in three incredible and wonderful ways, I will be part of Fashion With Compassion (a fundraiser for Compassion House where I stayed for 31 days while undergoing radiation treatment). I would love to have you there with me!!!

For those that don’t know, Compassion House is similar to Ronald McDonald’s House, but Compassion House is for rural women fighting cancer.  Five-star accommodation, comfort and support is provided, as well as, a shuttle to and from the Cross Cancer Institute. Having stayed at Compassion House, it saved me thousands of dollars in transportation, hotel & restaurant costs. Staying there also saved my body the ‘wear and tear’ of travelling, and since I was stronger, it helped me handle the radiation treatment better. I am helping with Compassion House’s fundraiser (Fashion With Compassion) because it is important and necessary to keep Compassion House’s doors open.

So with that said, I am gladly supporting Fashion With Compassion, in three ways. Melissa Kraft, the Executive Director of Compassion House, asked me to help in two ways with the production of the Luncheon and Gala. The third way is a very personal and meaningful gift from me. 

Model in the Fashion Show
  • I will be a ‘special’ model for the Fashion With Compassion Show.  In this top notch and professional fashion show, there will be a small and special segment with 20 former Compassion House residents. And I will be one of them!
  •  And yes, I will be wearing heels!!! With this being reality, on October 27th, and in front of 1,400 people, I’ve been practicing walking in my glittery silver shoes! On that day, I will also be blinged out by Hillberg & Berk and be wearing a GOWN (!!!) courtesy of Laura Fashions. And to top it all off, my hair and makeup will be done by Ricci Hair Co.

Video featuring me
  • I will be in a short video. In this video, I share one of my journal entries I wrote after I got home from Compassion House. This video will also show me at home, in my art studio, the school where I taught Art (before my cancer journey), and driving in the ‘Whispering Hills’ of Athabasca & County. This is a very personal, and real, footage of me and my journey.
  • The reason for this video was confirmed after I presented to the Compassion House Executives and Board Members. In my presentation to them, I shared one of my blog entries and my journey after I left Compassion House. The Executive and Board members understand the challenges rural women face medically, financially, mentally, emotionally and physically; they wish to target some of the money raised from the Luncheon and Gala to support former Compassion House residents on their journey after they leave Compassion House. 

Artwork, by me, is for sale

Thank you again for your love and support. There were times I was overcome by all the treatments and their effects. But I took each email, text, card, gift and more, from you, to my heart; I felt your love in my mind, body and soul. You have helped me on this cancer journey. The gifts of your Light and Love blessed my Life.