Winning Against Cancer – Taking the Time

Taking time to enjoy a rainbow over the rapids. Photo by Rike Burkhardt
Taking time to enjoy a rainbow over the rapids. Photo by Rike Burkhardt
Taking time to enjoy a rainbow over the rapids. Photo by Rike Burkhardt
Taking time to enjoy a rainbow over the rapids. Photo by Rike Burkhardt

THUNDER BAY – Health – Fall is freshening the air and lowering the temperatures for which I am eternally thankful. Wigs and toques are fun and all, but not so much in the heat!  School is back in and routines have been set in my house, routines that I am actually able to follow, given the fact that I’m not racing out the door with my children in the morning. Mornings that were, in the past, one part routine, two parts panic and one part chaos are now bordering on serene. I hug and kiss my boys in the morning and wish them a wonderful day and watch them board the bus, coffee in hand, and wander back into my kitchen, garbed in whatever housecoat I grabbed on my way down the stairs, and sit down to plan my day. This is a far cry from the mornings to which my brood and I were accustomed.

[sws_pullquote_right]Tanya Gouthro is a current cancer patient who has graciously agreed to share her cancer journey with us. Her column will be featured regularly in these pages. [/sws_pullquote_right] Where once the air was peppered with ‘WHY do we have to do this EVERY day?! I CAN’T be late for work, boys – GO, GO, GO!!‘ , the boys now are hugged, kissed and assured that they are loved as they start each day. I must say, for the first time in my life, I kind of get the stay-at-home mom thing. I am being granted an opportunity here to take a really good look at what’s important, and I have the time to think about it. Walks and wanders continue to take up my mornings, and I generally find some kitchen adventure to occupy my afternoons. When the boys come home, there is generally a made-from-scratch meal awaiting them, and I am happy to see them and ready to sit down and take care of home reading, and tick all the boxes that are simply sometimes impossible as a full-time-working-single-mom. There is a huge silver lining to this Cancer gig. It may be my best parenting year to date. Strange, but totally true. In life before Cancer it was kind of about surviving, which is not without its irony, I know.

On a hike over the weekend with my boys, I found myself frustrated because I wanted the walk to be about exercise, and get my heart rate up, etc, etc, and my youngest was slowing everyone down. My eldest is at the age where he wants to run with me, and so we had fun chasing each other up the uphills and ‘getting air’ off the roots and rocks on the downhills. I obsessively checked my pace on the app I use on my phone, very conscious of the fact that we were moving significantly slower than I normally would. We stopped for a picnic lunch on the rocks beside the Cascades, which were beautiful, and my youngest son fuelled up on pea butter and sunshine and kind of stopped me in my very rushed tracks with this:

“I know you thought I was slow, Mama. But you know what? I saw two rabbit holes and you didn’t, because you were in a hurry.”

Gulp. Out of the mouths of babes, as they say. I was in a hurry, and my priorities were messed up, and all I could do was laugh and assure my youngest that he was absolutely bang on. Lesson learned. Before continuing the rest of the hike, we made a point of stopping and looking for awhile, and on that particularly sunny Sunday it was worth it, because there’s something pretty special about watching your children’s faces full of wonder when they watch a rainbow dance in the mist rising above a rapid. 

I have these moments now. I have the time to appreciate them, now. I have learned a great deal from my spirited youngest – the same child whom I overheard one morning waking up his brother with: ‘Hey! Wake up! It’s a brand new day – we never had today before!’.

Food for thought, no? 


To learn more about Tanya, follow her blog at

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