An Actual Year of Weather

February 10, 2020

It has been a year. A year since a doctor looked me in the eyes and said, “I have bad news.”

There is so much to say, and nothing to say. I’ve been writing and writing. There are a thousand moments, a billion thoughts, a zillion reflections.

Cancer leaves one with a multitude of things to adjust to.

Just this morning I was at the hospital for a routine test. It was nothing, just a follow-up, and I am sure I am fine. But my anxiety was high because being in the hospital hurts my throat and makes it hard to breathe.

I walked past the cancer clinic and felt this strange empty feeling, like I missed the place. The truth is that as much as I hope I never end up back there getting more treatments, it was a safe and hopeful place for me for a long time. Saying good-bye at the cancer center was a transitional moment and isn’t that just what life is full of?

Driving home I did some fire breathing to try to relax the vise in my throat. This is where you inhale deep and then drive the air up the back of your throat as you stick out your tongue and make a low “ahhhh” noise. It helps. Oddly.

I may have gotten some weird looks at the lights.

Oh, I’ve missed you, dear reader. I’ve been so stuck between wanting to say everything and needing to say nothing.

I wanted to tell you that my hands and feet feel like they’ve been stuck into a hive of bees, and that my joints and muscles hurt all the time. Chemotherapy damaged my nerves and addled my brain and made my ovaries fail. I didn’t lose my hair, though, so there’s that. Also, my tastebuds did rebound and I can taste my food again. I stop numerous times everyday while eating and think, “oh, this is soooo good!”

Sometimes I am struck by an immense feeling of gratitude to be finished with chemo and to be healed up from surgery and radiation. Being sore and numb and buzzy and fatigued is to be expected, and with time I will get better.

I am alive.

A year ago I missed my daughter’s performances in the Kiwanis Music Festival because I was in St. John’s getting radiation treatments. A year ago she played the part of “Fern” in Charlotte’s Web and I was not there because I was in the hospital.

This year I will be in the front row, for every single thing.

A year ago I prepared February birthday suppers for both my boys not knowing if I would be around to see their next birthday. I wrote in my journal, “Please, please let me be here next year for my kids. Just give me ten years, so I can help them grow up.”

And now I have the luxury of thinking I could live to be old.

It has been a year and I have learned to be careful about what I expose myself to. I have spent too many nights worrying because I made the mistake of consulting a website about recurrence statistics or because I have a new pain and I don’t know what it is.

My mom always says, “We will worry about it when there is really something to worry about, and not before.” And that is my mantra now.

It has been a year and I beat back the rushes each day, the nettles reaching up to sting me. The fog is lifting. The clean, blue lake of my life beckons. I will emerge from this gnarled foliage.

Cast your worries carelessly like garments on the shore, my friends. We will swim and swim.

Photo by Robin Dalton, Badger Lake, October 2019


  1. Patricia Taylor

    Hello Janine, I so appreciate you sending your posts. Another beautiful piece! So touching.

    Aunt Patti

    On Mon, Feb 10, 2020, 6:34 PM A Year of Weather, wrote:

    > janinecutting posted: ” It has been a year. A year since a doctor looked > me in the eyes and said, “I have bad news.” There is so much to say, and > nothing to say. I’ve been writing and writing. There are a thousand > moments, a billion thoughts, a zillion reflections. Canc” >

    • janinecutting

      Hi Aunt Patti, thank you so much for reading. Your support means so much. I hope all is well with you and Uncle Doug馃挅馃槉

  2. Joanne Adams

    Hello Janine,
    So happy for you to be coming out of the other side of this. You are an inspiration.

    • janinecutting

      Hi Joanne, thank you so much. I am so glad to be coming out the other side for sure!! I hope all is well with you 馃槉馃挄

  3. Fern Downey

    Oh Janine I am sooo glad you are coming out the other side of this dreaded disease….and you sound much stronger in your convictions that you have beat the “three headed monster”!! Happy that you get to celebrate your kids birthdays & to participate as an audience member and proud momma in their many events. You are truly an inspiration to us all. Hope to see you very soon!! Miss our little chats!!

    • janinecutting

      Fern, it is so nice to hear from you!! Thank you so much for reading and commenting. Yes, I am feeling stronger and better everyday.
      Looking forward to seeing you on Wednesday….馃挄

  4. annieasksyou


    This post is a gift to us鈥攁s it is to your recovering self. It is wonderful that you can taste food again; may all the other painful and soul/energy sapping treatment residue quickly fade.

    Thank you for your honest reportage. I look forward to your using your writerly talent to cover whatever you choose.
    All good wishes,

    • janinecutting

      Annie, my gratitude as always for your support. Taking the time to read and leave such heartfelt comments – it really makes my day when I see your name pop up馃槉馃挅

  5. Lisa Schuyler

    <3 <3 I can relate to so much of this. Thanks for sharing!

    • janinecutting

      Hi Lisa, thank you so much for reading and commenting! It helps to know we have a community of people who have been through this and come out the other side! I鈥檝e enjoyed watching your journey馃槉

  6. Beatrice Fillier

    Hi Janine….once again a beautiful read.. You have such a gift with your descriptive wording! So happy you are doing so well on your path of recovery. URod joins me in wishing you a future filled with good health and happiness, as you ,our precious niece are deserving of this!…love you….ABea. 馃挒

    • janinecutting

      Thank you, Aunt Bea, as always for reading and being in touch. I am feeling so much better all the time!! Much love to you both. 馃挆馃槉

  7. Greg

    M鈥檡 dearest cousin, reading your words gives me great comfort. Knowing that you are recovering and getting back to your old self. It makes me so thankful for you, thankful that you are sharing your experience (so eloquently btw), and thankful for so much more. Luv u!!

    • janinecutting

      Thank-you, Greg! It is so nice to hear from you and I so appreciate your support through this experience. It feels good to be getting back to myself. Every day is a little better!! Hope all is well with you and all the family. Lots of love!

  8. mistermuse

    Your ‘saga’ (for want of a better word) reminds me anew that “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.” For you, “what happens” was more than most of us bargained for, and emerging from it strong (blessed with the support of a loving, supportive family) is indeed inspirational….especially for those of us with health issues of our own.

    Be well, and take care.

    • janinecutting

      I was out walking today and loved hearing the little tinkles from my phone in my pocket that let me know someone was sending likes to me. It always makes me happy! Thank you so much for taking the time to read my blog and comment. I will do the same with yours, Mistermuse. I believe we are both friends of wonderful Annie, who almost single-handedly cemented my love of blogging. Thanks again, and take good care 馃檪


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Hello, I'm Janine

It鈥檚 nice to meet you! I write about the calms and storms we endure during this human experience.

I am a counselling therapist in private practice and a cancer survivor. Helping and connecting with others is a passion of mine, and I鈥檝e found that blogging is the perfect avenue.

I鈥檓 so glad you popped by for a visit today.

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