Archive for the ‘DEAR READERS’ Category


Three years ago today, my sister-in-law snapped this picture of my husband and me. Despite having been through a very difficult two weeks, I looked perfectly healthy. But this could have been the last photo ever taken of me. Three hours later, I would have have a heart attack commonly called the Widowmaker, given that name because 90% of people who have it don’t survive.

When this picture was taken, I had no pain, but was already sweating profusely. I was clammy. Two hours later, I had what I thought was heartburn. I took antacids but it only grew worse. Lying down to sleep made it worse. I got up, still thinking it was heartburn, and ate a few crackers. I tried sleeping again but by then the pain in my chest was like a vise. I asked my husband to call an ambulance.

They arrived within minutes. By that time, I was feeling pain in my left shoulder, jaw, and arm, but my back was also in spasm, and I was sure that it was the main source of my problem. When the paramedics arrived, I was writhing in back pain and they began trying to work out the knot. It was only while in the ambulance that they suspected I was having a heart attack. And of course tests at the hospital confirmed that.

Three days later, I was stabilized and they performed an angiogram to check for blockages. Later, the nurses told me that they almost took bets among themselves as to whether or not I would need a stent. The doctor doing the procedure thought not. He was mistaken.

My LAD, the artery feeding two-thirds of my heart, was 95% blocked. I looked perfectly healthy and up to the week before, I had no idea that a problem existed. Neither did my GP.

LADIES, NEVER ASSUME THAT YOUR SYMPTOMS ARE INSIGNIFICANT, especially if they’re coming at the end of a particularly stressful period in your life.

(Women’s symptoms are often atypical. Some only experience fatigue (a month earlier, I’d nearly passed out while driving on the highway after a particularly stressful day at the hospital). Sometimes, women only experience discomfort in their back, usually between their shoulder blades).

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Those of you who only know me through this blog might be wondering where I’ve been. Truthfully, I’ve been nowhere. I’ve not fallen into the vast cyberspace hole where neurotics, failed writers and disenchanted romantics go to brood. After a few years of obsession with my own misery, I am, quite simply, learning to think outside my own space again. I am like someone who’s come out of a coma. The wonders and woes of the world seem new to me again, and like the finest brew, they need time to percolate.

In a world where we are often pressured to make instant observations and judgements, I am allowing myself the luxury of time. I won’t take much longer. I promise.




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For those who’ve wondered what’s going on, life is very changed, but I am still living it. You will hear from me this week, I promise. It can’t wait any longer than that. I have so much in my head that needs to be written. Spontaneous combustion is a possibility if I don’t let some of it flow out and onto the paper.

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After my last post, I did a lot of thinking. I’ve learned some important lessons. This is what I came up with.

1. Never post an opinion piece in the wee hours of the morning.

2. If you’re putting your opinions out there, you’d better be ready for the fallout.

3. Read, revise, read, revise. One wrong word choice can completely alter the way your piece is perceived.

4. Timing is everything.

5. Realize that many will mistakenly think you’re writing about them, even though you’re not. One event might trigger you to reflect on a bigger picture, but they won’t know that. For example, you might see a mother reprimand her child in a store. Later, you think about similar situations taken to the extreme, and you write about the verbal abuse of children. You aren’t writing about the mother, but her actions caused an idea to snowball in your head.

6. Words are power. They can build up or break down. Exercise caution.

7. On the other hand, making people stop and think about something is worth the risk of making them a little uncomfortable.

8. If I worry all day because I suspect I’ve inadvertently hurt a friend, then perhaps it wasn’t worth writing.

9. Without passion, writing falls flat. Sometimes, we must draw on personal experiences for that passion, no matter how difficult that is.

10. Even the best journalists can recall times when something they’ve written got them in hot water. It might even be said that you can’t be good if you don’t occasionally take people out of their comfort zone. Rosie DiManno at the Toronto Star immediately comes to mind. If I’ve crossed a line, then at least I’m in good company.

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I’ve been distracted by life issues for a while now: my husband’s latest (and hopefully last) foray into reno work; our house back on the market; a friend’s lengthy illness; the crash of my PC’s hard drive and the demise of my laptop; personal health issues; my husband’s ankle surgery in the very week we listed our house, and the start of his new job while still on crutches. Have I said enough? It’s all combined to make life crazy and exhausting.

I’ve wanted to write – I really have. In fact, every time an idea would hit me, I’d save its title here in my drafts. But that’s as far as it went. Every time I’ve sat down with the intention of writing, some other obligation would pull me away, and once again, my muse would be shoved to last place.. Not fair at all, but that’s life sometimes.

I’m h-o-p-i-n-g that things are going to get a little easier soon and I’ll return to writing regular entries, but for now, just know I’m not completely MIA – I’ve just been kidnapped for a while by life’s more “pressing” issues.

Stay posted…..and enjoy spring!

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An online video of my interview with Mark Kelley is available here: http://www.cbc.ca/connect/2010/01/work-wanted.html

I enjoyed the experience very much. The actual interview was shorter than expected because one prior to mine took off in a whole different direction, and Mark couldn’t cut the person off. I guess that’s one of the drawbacks of live television. lol

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Yesterday’s Stats Canada report wasn’t good, so “Connect with Mark Kelley” has decided to do a show on the job situation. They’ve called me to come in for a live interview tonight. It can be seen on CBC News Network, between 7 and 9 PM Eastern time.

I should be on between 7:15 and 8:00 PM EST.

If it’s cancelled again, I’ll let you know. Otherwise, assume I’m on.

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