Year 1, Week 35: Time to Refocus



As I continue my ‘new normal,’ it is time to shed, or at least place in the background, the cancer layer of my identity.

My writing, and your reading and comments, helped me tremendously through the rough and not so rough patches, and hopefully, helped a number of you as well. Putting this all together in book form was also a way to try to put this behind me, and have this reference material available to those who find it useful.

While I had originally planned to continue the blog until the two-year mark, the time when the worst of the odds are over, this increasingly seems artificial as I get on with my life. In many ways, as some of you have likely noticed, I am running out of things to say about cancer and lymphoma, and my weekly update is becoming rather artificial at best, narcissistic at worst.

And I have noticed from a number of other cancer-related blogs that I follow, that others have also scaled back, reflecting their need to ‘get on with their lives’ so to speak. So while I will continue to flag some articles of interest via Twitter, and post the occasional update should the occasion warrant it, I will no longer be compiling my articles of the week and writing my weekly updates.

I will still follow some of the cancer blogs that I have found particularly helpful, and tell my story where it can help fundraising or other awareness initiatives but, as we say in government, I will largely be in a ‘responsive mode.’

My other writing project, a book related to my time in government, is progressing and requires my focus and attention.

As you know, the nature of my lymphoma and treatment means that relapse remains a possibility. Hopefully, I will not need to reactivate this blog anytime soon. But for now, I have the luxury of signing off to pursue my other interests.

To the many of you who have followed this blog or dipped in occasionally, thank you for your interest and support. For those fellow travellers on the cancer journey, may you in particular be well, active and enjoy life.


28 thoughts on “Year 1, Week 35: Time to Refocus

  1. Hi Andrew: Great to read that you are feeling optimistic about your future without cancer. My very best wishes to you in achieving a new level of wellness in the days and months and years ahead. I’m looking forward to reading your book on government. Ah, the stories and insights you must have! I took an early retirement late in August as a result of the closure of all the CIC offices in Northern Ontario. I could have competed for fewer Multi positions in Ontario and moved to Toronto I guess, but I know I made a good decision for me. I finally accepted that I was out of alignment with the corporate culture and nothing I could do could change that. I am much happier today. I think of you and your health struggles at times and say a quiet prayer for you and your family. I predict great things ahead! Wishing you green lights all the way! Donna(former Multi officer in Northern Ontario) Date: Sun, 14 Apr 2013 11:12:30 +0000 To:

  2. Andrew we will miss you every Sunday morning! The best news is that your normal life is spreading out before you and I look forward to the occasional tweet and Linkedin peek at your life. You have helped countless people not the least of this nformation was your take on current books and movies! We will miss connecting with you regularly and hope that your government tome will refer to your experience in BsAs being one of the best of your life! (just kidding….) Onward dear friend, we will stay in touch. Bob and Vicky

    • Hi Bob and Vicki,

      So nice to hear from you and thanks for your kind words. BA was one of the highlights, not least the fun of knowing you both.

      Thanks for all your support and encouragement and best wishes,


  3. …and we say in government Andrew, its will “mixed feeling” that i receive your decision. the blog was has been instrumental in helping me implement a number of health related changes in my life – so that will be missed; but then you are moving on and that’s also good and should be supported…looking forward to the next weekend walk and hearing more about your new book project, as we used in say, before i joined the government, it should be a “doozy!!” you couldn’t have picked a more topical topic.

    • Bhagwant,

      Thanks for the kind words and glad it helped it some small way. Will catch up next week – now I just have to manage expectations ….

  4. I’ll miss being able to ‘check in’ on you every week, but can’t wait to read about your bureaucratic wisdom…

  5. Lately I wondered if I should put my cancer journey behind me as I near the five year cancer free mark. But I think there are articles to be written and information to make available for those who are looking for truth and the personal side to cancer. You and I both know when you hear those dreaded three words, “You have cancer”, most folks begin the hunt for information and hope. We can look at our stats and see what people are googling and the hits haven’t stopped yet so . . .

    Best of luck and happy health and longevity to you!!
    Cyndi Heath

    • Thanks for writing, Cyndi. In many ways, you are so right, as unfortunately the number of people with cancer keeps on rising, and thus the search for information and hope. I do review my stats and they have largely plateaued, but for me – and this is different for each of us – I really was running out of things to say about my cancer journey and some of the lessons learned along the way, along with the wish to focus on something else.

      Best wishes and good health to you.


  6. Andrew,

    I have enjoyed your thoughtfulness and insight into cancer and other issues. I look forward to the same in your book about government! All the best to you and your family.


  7. Andrew,
    I thank you for your thoughts and for putting your cancer journey “in print” for others to gain insight from. My husband has reached the 6 month mark post transplant. He is gaining strength daily aside from a setback with exposure to mold in an IV. Reading your journey helped us to understand his journey.
    Our best wishes to you and your family!

    • Beth,

      Thanks for the feedback and happy to hear that it was helpful to you and your husband. Good to hear that he is doing well (I also had a bump in the road around the 5-6 month mark).

      Best wishes to you both,


  8. Hi Andrew. As with others I will miss the weekly virtual connection. We are just heading home after 2.5 months in SE Asia, so maybe we can get together for an IRL coffee soon.

  9. Hey Andrew – I was really into my 3rd year before I started to truly assimilate what I went thru. It’s quite a journey we’ve been thru and it does warrant some reflection. But the truth is what you say – it’s time to move on. Just saw my oncologist for a follow up last week – he’s also of the same opinion. You don’t have to constantly relive it.

    When i started my blog, cancer was the primary driving force, if not in content, then in curiosity and energy. But other things caught my eye and I moved on. I tired to split off the cancer part and start another blog, But it’s tough to divide that energy.

    We’ll spend our lives reflecting on this – I’m certain of that. Once a cancer patient, always a cancer patient. No doubt the medical industry will always see us in that context – so we can’t help but do it ourselves.

    There are other greater and some smaller things in our lives that deserve our attention. We shouldn’t leave those behind.

    Wishing you continued health and best of success in your writing! I’m glad we had a chance to meet!

    – Jeff

  10. Nice reflections on the transition issues we face. While I have a great deal of respect for those who find almost their calling in continuing their reflections on cancer, and recognize the help this brings to others, just doesn’t work for me.

    In a different context, I remember one of the comments of one of my doctors, after I went back to work the first time, a bit earlier than she wanted, ‘we didn’t do all of this for you to sit at home and mope.’

    Best wishes to you as well. Continue to enjoy your musings and happy our paths crossed.


  11. I think this is great, Andrew. Your blog has been wonderful and your book a terrific resource. I’m also experiencing a similar lack of substantive things to share and, as you know, have cut back on my posts. When you’re in the thick of cancer, it seems there’s plenty to share that is not only informative to those who know you and care, but also helpful to those who may be walking the same road. I am so glad for you that you are at a place where cancer does not consume your every thought and action. It is a very good day when LIFE takes over and becomes the dominant focus again. I wish the very best to you and your family!!

    • Thanks Rachel,

      I think our blogs find a rhythm that reflects where we are in the diagnosis, treatment, and recovery cycle. But after a while, as it should, this recedes into the background.

      Happy that things are going well for you and wish you all the best.


  12. Andrew – wishing you nothing but the best and hope that cancer fades well into the background of your identity! Thanks for all your support and comments as I moved from private to public blogger.

    • Thanks Michael, glad to have been of some help! Best wishes on your journey and hope it too fades well into the background. You have a good sense of what is important, what not, and I enjoy your reflections.

  13. Dang! I just discovered your blog tonight via Marie’s JBBC Weekly Roundup.

    I totally understand the desire to pull back from the cancer experience. I’m 2.5 years out from diagnosis, and have been “getting-back-to-some-kind-of-new-normal” life just in the past 2 months. I look forward to reading your archived posts.

    Best of luck in this new transition!

  14. Thanks Tersia, for your nomination and ongoing support. I am honoured by your nomination and can only accept it on an ‘honorific’ basis, as I am no longer regularly posting and thus cannot continue the chain of flagging good blogs (of which yours is one). But your nomination is appreciated, and thank you once again for all your support, and pleased to have helped you a small amount through your extremely difficult times with Vic.


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