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Welcome to the DebiLyn Smith blog site. If you like what you read here, check out her website at

Friday, October 21, 2016

Learning From 2016

Welcome to 2017 and another year of being cancer free with determination to remain so.

Looking back, I'd say 2016 was a year of learning. With the chemotherapy I had in 2011 came an issue with my left ventricle. Seems it's "ejection fraction" is going down, from normal pre-chemo to 48% in 2014 to 40% in 2016. I've learned not to grab the pack loaded with yams and frozen meat and instead take the one with the toilet paper and bread  as I attempt to scurry uphill to our cabin on the mountain. Is that a train coming behind me? Why am I so winded? Maybe I should lessen the scurry to a gang-plank walk. More learning...

I am still in monthly massage therapy to deal with whiplash issues and about twice a year Robin or Caitlin (Willow Massage Therapy in Smithers BC) help stretch out the scar tissue that re-binds every so often in my second armpit (from lymph node removal/mining in 2011). It's never a fun hour with these ladies as they dig deep and work hard to loosen up the hard lumps that refuse to go away quietly. Is that a screaming meme behind me? Why am I so sore? Anything to do with carrying packs up a mountain in the first place? Hmm...more learning.

Because I am still numb on the right side of the repaired breast area as well as beneath my right arm, I have learned that constant stretching helps everything work better. The hope is I can regain more mobility faster. When on skis I don't use my right hand to push with my poles on the flats, saving it for when I really need it (in the lounge later) for skiing downhill, shoveling snow off our deck or refilling the melted-snow pots for the wood stove. No lessening these jobs- you have to keep active so I've learned to accommodate, compensate and prioritize. It's working.

In 2016 I took a WHYMS course to learn about hazardous materials. I then ran around my house and properly labelled mysterious substances I had in unmarked bottles. Inspired, I next took on the Level 1 Food Course so I wouldn't kill anyone with my canning or cross-contamination habits anymore. New plastic color co-ordinated cutting boards. Learning and shopping- love it!

 Then it was hours job shadowing at the Hudson Bay Mountain ski school for my Level 1 ski instructor certificate which I obtained by going to Shames Mountain in December of 2016! That's right folks, not only an author but now I'm making $12 something an hour introducing people to what I consider to be the most fun sport of all time. Sliding on the snow with boards on your feet. What a joy to watch the lights go on for people struggling. To watch them when they catch on. To help them up when they fall  on top of me. Lesson learned? Wear rental skis when teaching beginners.

Now if I could get people to learn from what I've been through with cancer.

Authoring Running From Cancer was a labour of love to help people learn ways to lessen their cancer lottery tickets. Are you doing what you can? Are you on daily vitamin D supplements, taking any anti-oxidents like green tea capsules or fish oils, ground flax seeds and beefing -up the broccoli consumption?

Life is about learning, everyone. Never stop. And may you learn enough soon enough to make it through a long happy life! Happy 2017 to everyone.

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