Hello 2021! You have given me reason to dream again.

Dear 2020,

How can I sum you up? It’s easy to think only about the things “that didn’t go well”. I’ll acknowledge them because they have contributed to my growth, however I will also list all the good you have brought me.

In the “didn’t go well in 2020” column:

  • Spinal radiation aimed at my cancer tumour in my spine
  • The addition of a palliative treatment, a bone modifier, to slow the progression of cancer in my bones
  • 1.5 months of being bedridden in January and early-to-mid February, where I truly thought I would not have the energy to make it through another night and wake up to see the light of day again
  • COVID-19 lockdown
  • The end of my marriage in early spring
  • Not seeing my children for ½ of the year
  • 3 of my breast cancer friends were told their cancer had now metastasized, meaning it is Stage 4 and were also given an average life expectancy of 2-3 years
  • Lost my first friend to breast cancer since my diagnosis
  • At least 48 needle pokes
  • 22 cancer treatment infusions
  • 18 scans (MRIs, CT, bone scans, ultrasounds and x-rays
  • Having to ask my parents to use their vehicle as I needed transportation post-separation
  • Christmas was funded exclusively by my parents, my brother and Santa (of course)
  • Way too many hours spent crying
  • 42 counselling sessions to deal with “my year”

In the “good 2020 brought me” column:

  • Enjoyed (almost) every single minute I was able to spend with my children. There might have been once or twice I locked myself in the bathroom to have a few minutes to myself. 😉
  • Was a Terry Fox ambassador who helped raise awareness about cancer research
  • A true moment of pride finding out that my daughter was Terry Fox’s 6th best fundraiser in the country for the Terry Fox School day
  • Woke up stronger every day and fully recovered from the worst effects of treatment by the summer
  • Continue to participate in 2 studies relating to exercise, nutrition and general wellbeing and their effects on cancer progression
  • Learned to accept my life as a single parent with Stage 4 cancer
  • Realized that the cancer doesn’t define who I am inside
  • Am in better shape this year than last
  • Made new friends
  • Strengthened existing friendships
  • Rekindled old friendships
  • Took every opportunity to socialize with permitted outdoor physical distancing activities or through video calls
  • Shared my cancer story as it relates to dealing with living with cancer during the COVID-19 pandemic, as part of Alberta Cancer Foundation’s “Albertans helping Albertans Fund” fundraising campaign
  • Found myself smiling and laughing so much more these past few months.
  • I was reminded that I have reasons to dream again

So, my dear 2020, I won’t lie. I am glad our relationship has come to an end even though it ended much better than it started. I will now bid you “Adieu !”

And to the incoming 2021 year, I look forward to kicking off your arrival, not bedridden as I was last year, but by celebrating it with my parents, brother and a few family friends via Zoom. I can’t remember the last time I celebrated New Year’s with my parents and brother… It must have been in the early 1990s.

While some of the people in this picture are already in 2021, the rest of us will be there shortly.

With that, I will say “Hello 2021! You have given me reason to dream again.”

Happy New Year to all my readers!

Do you want me to keep dreaming? If so, feel free to buy me a coffee or contribute towards some of my uninsured medical expenses.

20 Replies to “Hello 2021! You have given me reason to dream again.”

  1. oh Natalie..what a nice blog and a positive outlook for 2021, you sound encouraged and hopeful..keep it up, and do start taking those nature walks again soon.


  2. Natalie,
    I feel humbled and privileged to follow your journey. Although this year has provided its fair share of lemons, I am inspired by your ability and determination to make them lemonade. I wish for positivity and light to guide you in 2021!

    1. Hi Shannon,

      Thanks for those amazingly kind words. I definitely feel like I was on a lemonade diet this year. I’m hoping it will be a little easier in 2021, but if it isn’t, I have learned how to make a decent lemonade and I have learned to accept the help of people willing to be with me on the production line!

      Happy new year!

  3. You are my inspiration for the year, Natalie. You remind all of us that there are so many things to be thankful for in life and you challenge us to step up and live as if it is so.

    1. Lisa,

      I am honoured to have gotten to know you these past few years. I think we challenge each other. I remember crying on the bench by the Elbow this past summer as I felt like my entire world had collapsed. You helped me reframe the way I was looking at things. I’m sure glad you came into my life! ❤️

    1. Glad you liked it. I have a sneaky suspicion that we aren’t the only ones happy to welcome 2021!

      Hope this year is full of positivity for you and your family!

  4. So glad you are starting 2021 with such a positive healthy spirit. What a bitch of a year we leave behind us. The best part is we made it through the year to begin the new opportunities and experiences we’ll find ahead of us. We made it!

  5. Oh my dear mentor and friend, I keep learning from your courage and determination.. Happy new year 🎉🎉

  6. Natalie, how very inspiring! Thank you for your vulnerability and encouragement! I shaved my head and donated my hair in support of my mom who also was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer this crazy year 2020 year. You are amazing! Thank you for sharing and my 2021 be the best yet to come for you!

    1. Hi Danielle,

      Thanks for your kind words! That is awesome that you shaved your hair in support of your mom. I hope you are both doing well and managing to stay healthy through COVID-19. I’m not sure if your mom will find value from this blob, but if so, she (and you too, of course!) can register to be updated on my new posts. I usually post ~12-15 post per year.

      I wish you and your mom a better 2021 than 2020. Happy new year!

  7. Natalie – from the moment you walked into the Zumba class at Repsol, you’ve brought a positive light to my life. I appreciate your thoughts and reality of where you have been and continue to remind me to look at what we do have. 2020 is one to keep in the rear view mirror to remind us to continue to look forward. I am sending you heart and soul positive prayers to keep you strong. Wishing you a 2021 filled with love and support xoxo

    1. Thanks Pam!

      I am looking forward to 2021 and am using 2019 and 2020 as extreme growth years. I can’t wait to get back into your classes! Zumba is good for the soul!

      Happy 2021 to you too!

  8. Hi Natalie,

    I just wanted to reach out and tell you that I’m thinking of you and your children. All the best to you in 2021!

    1. Hey Emily!

      I seem to have missed your message until now. I’m sorry about that. The kids and I are doing well. It’s been quite the year, but we are surviving and starting to enjoy the nice weather!

      Hope you are doing well!


  9. Your outlook on life is incredibly inspiring. I am a former cancer patient and survivor and I know chemo and treatment can be very hard. I never had the positivity and outlook you have and want you to know you are a true inspiration. Anytime I face adversity in life I will think of your positivity and strength, and I hope I can draw from it.
    Sending prayers your way. Continue fighting, staying strong and helping others like me to see the positivity in life.

    1. Hi Ally,

      Thank you for your comments. I get so motivated when I get this kind of feedback. I too hope you can draw from it. In fact, one of my upcoming posts will be about how I find ways to feel fulfilled, motivated and optimistic in a world where there are currently so many restrictions. I hope to write it in the next week and hope you will enjoy it.

      Stay strong too!

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