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Janelle Lamontagne


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Tumour Tuesday is back from summer vacation!  I spent this past weekend in Toronto with 14 other young adult cancer survivors from across Canada. We were all brought together by @yacancercanada with the mutual goal to raise awareness of the unique challenges that young adults with cancer face. Over four days of training, we learned to tell our cancer stories bravely and powerfully through public speaking, writing, and art. When tasked to describe cancer, I wrote the following: “Cancer is falling out of bed in the middle of the wonderful dream.  Being jarred awake from a peaceful slumber.  Arising disoriented and confused and unaware of who or where or what you are.  Cancer is wishing to return to the tranquility of sleep but being unable to pick yourself up off the floor.  Immobilized muscles refusing to lift you back into the comfortable cocoon of your bed.  So you lay there, in the fetal position, shivering in the darkness, until the sun begins to rise and slowly light and warmth begin to penetrate through the wall of ice encompassing you.  Slowly - so slowly - your tethered limbs begin to loosen and at last you are able to stretch and reach and pull yourself into bed.  Only to sit there, with your head on your knees, to watch the sun set.” This just gives a brief glimpse into the loneliness that comes with young adult cancer and no one should ever have to feel this way. Unfortunately, of the 22 young adults in Canada that were diagnosed with cancer today, only one will find the support of Young Adult Cancer Canada (YACC). Please help spread the word so together we can #findthe21 💜 #tumourtuesday #yacc #yacctivist #youngadultcancercanada #ayacancer #youngadultcancer #ayacancerawareness #youngadultcancerawareness #cancerincanada #canadiancancersociety #yaccers
My Mackey-Boy just living his best life ☀️ #macthedog #caninecopilot #dogdaysofsummer #brandonhumanesociety @brandonhumanesociety
Two years ago today, I was at the Health Science Centre undergoing a ten hour awake craniotomy. I wish I could say that was the most difficult part of my cancer “journey” (I really hate that phrase) but it was only the beginning. Over the following 18 months of treatment, the most difficult part was telling my family my 3-5 year prognosis. It was losing my sense of purpose and my sense of self; it was giving up all my dreams and goals for the future.  I naively thought that once I was done treatment, everything would return to a “new normal” (I really, REALLY hate that phrase) but little did I know, that the following 6 months would be the most difficult yet. I had to learn to adapt to a world that moved along without me. I had to learn that cancer didn’t make me a broken, or lesser, person. I had to learn that I wasn’t weak when I had a panic attack. I had to learn that it was okay to hope for a future. I had to learn to live again . . . rather than just exist.  I don’t know what the next year will hold and what I will be typing on June 29, 2020. None of us do. But I am in a place now where I don’t worry about that. I am in a place where life just is. It’s the easiest place to be. #craniversary #endbraintumours #endbraincancer #greymattermatters #greymatters365 #braincancerawareness #posttraumaticgrowth #healing
So I’ve completely dropped the ball the last couple weeks with my #tumourtuesdays. Now that I have returned to work full time, I’m finding it much more difficult to manage my time. It feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day and I’ve been feeling the pressure to be as productive as I used to be. Ironically, this has resulted in me shutting down for periods of time and not accomplishing anything at all.  Then I feel more behind and pressured . . . And the cycle continues.  It’s so easy to fall back into old habits. Pre-cancer me was all about the “shoulds” of life. Those pesky little thoughts in the back of your mind that tell you instead of relaxing and being present in the moment, you should be doing A, B, C, etc. The “shoulds” lead to guilt which subsequently leads to maladaptive behaviours like binge watching the show House (as I may or may not be doing as I type this). Anyways, my reason for sharing this is that I came across a book that I’m really hoping will help me be more present in the moment. As a means of holding myself accountable, my next few Tumour Tuesday posts will likely surround the content of the book and the lessons I learn. Stay tuned . . .  #tumourtuesday #abookthattakesitstime #creativemindfulness #endbraintumours #endbraincancer #endallcancer #greymattermatters #greymatters365 #braincancerawareness #anaplasticastrocytoma
I decided to delay yesterday’s #tumourtuesday post to today - the first day of Brain Tumour Awareness Month. Every day, 27 people in Canada are diagnosed with brain tumours. These individuals may be male or female, old or young . . . fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, sons or daughters. Brain tumours do not discriminate. Brain tumours don’t care if you are the lead singer of a band who uses his voice to make change or if you are a politician who survived 6 years as a prisoner of war. Brain tumours don’t care if you are a young child revelling in all the world has to offer or an elder reminiscing on all the good times. Brain tumours just don’t care . . .  But we can. We can advocate for more research. We can spread awareness of the signs and symptoms. We can tell our stories and the stories of our loved ones. We can donate to organizations like @braintumourfdn  Today is the first day of Brain Tumour Awareness Month . . . But every day is a new opportunity for us to be the driving force behind a cure. #btam #braintumourawarenessmonth #endbraintumours #endbraincancer #gogreyinmay #greymatters365 #greymattermatters #anaplasticastrocytoma
After my craniotomy, I had a lot of difficulty using my right hand. The first problem I had was right neglect. My brain wasn’t even able to acknowledge anything on the right side of my body. I would often lose things such as cutlery, towels, soap, etc. but they were in my right hand the entire time. The second issue was apraxia. My brain would instruct my right hand to do something but wasn’t able to actually plan the motor movements required to complete the task. In the days after my surgery, I couldn’t type, print, or even sign my name.  It’s almost two years after my craniotomy. I still unknowingly carry around random items in my right hand sometimes. I can now sign my name, but that’s the only cursive I can write. My printing isn’t great, but it’s legible. For some reason, I have the most difficulty with writing the letter F and I often skip or invert letters in words. Sometimes, I find it so energy consuming and mentally draining to write a simple note. I get frustrated that I have to concentrate so hard on what used to be an automatic task . . .  but then I remind myself that my skull was cracked open and a chunk of my brain was removed. All things considered, I’m so grateful that I’m doing as well as I am! #tumourtuesday #gratitude #endbraintumours #endbraincancer #endallcancer #greymattermatters #greymatters365 #braincancerawareness #anaplasticastrocytoma
I’m using this Tumour Tuesday to shine the spotlight on my amazing friends, a relaxing spa, too much wine, and a ridiculously fun night at an Irish Pub. Cancer can be isolating but I’ve been so fortunate to have old and new friends to help me through it! 💜 #tumourtuesday #allthebooze #allthepampering #allthedancing #endbraincancer #endallcancer #greymattermatters #greymatters365 #braincancerawareness #anaplasticastrocytoma
Happy National Siblings Day! 💜💙 #nationalsiblingsday #siblingroadtrip2018 @shaniakrupa @shane_krupa
So I came across, “the secret to brain cancer,” recently. To say I’m horrified and disgusted by the trash presented in this article is an understatement. The worst part is that I see people indiscriminately sharing information like this ALL. THE. TIME. I’ve said it before but I am going to say it again - please, PLEASE, please critically think about the information you share BEFORE you share it. Cancer is hard enough without being force-fed crap like this. https://www.cancerwisdom.net/what-causes-brain-cancer/ #tumourtuesday #pseudoscience #useyourbrain #evenifthereisapiecemissing #braincancerawareness #endbraincancer #endallcancer #greymattermatters #greymatters365 #anaplasticastrocytoma  ETA: if you think this is too far fetched for people to believe, please know that I have been told right to my face that I gave myself my brain tumour by internalizing negative emotions. 🙄🤯🤦🏻‍♀️
April 1st-7th is Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Awareness Week. It’s fitting that I received a much needed and appreciated note in the mail today from a fellow @yacancercanada community member. 💜#tumourtuesday #ayacancer #ayacancerawarenessweek #yacc #endbraintumours #endbraincancer #endallcancer #greymattermatters #greymatters365 #braincancerawarness #anaplasticastrocytoma
I’ve had so many MRIs at this point that I know the rhythms off by heart. Yesterday, I even had to stop myself from moving to the beat. Luckily, I was able to stay still enough for the radiologist to determine that everything has remained stable! 🙌 #tumourtuesday #threemonthmri #endbraintumours #endbraincancer #endallcancer #greymattermatters #greymatters365 #braincancerawareness #anaplasticastrocytoma
For today’s Tumour Tuesday, I would like to shamelessly advertise the fundraiser that I have organized for @yacancercanada. YACC is an amazing organization which provides resources and holds conferences and retreats for young adults with cancer. Last June, I attended their survivor conference in Newfoundland and it was life changing. This fundraiser is to help other young adults attend this year’s survivor conference in May. If you are interested, book your spot now! #tumourtuesday #yacc #yaccsc #yacchasyourback #endbraintumours #endbraincancer #endallcancer #greymattermatters #greymatters365 #braincancerawareness #anaplasticastrocytoma
My gorgeous and talented sister @shaniakrupa painted these for me! 💜 It’s hard to believe that these beauties were painted by a mechanic 😂 #mysisterisbetterthanyoursister #mechanicswhopaint #imsorrythaticried #fallinlovewithyourself