survivor

The diagnosis left me in shock. In fact, it felt like a surreal out of body experience.
Growing old gracefully is not just a matter of coasting into the sunset - it's constantly treading water. Elite runner and writer Jean-Paul Bedard shares how his philosophy of movement, gratitude and forgiveness helps him to stay young at heart and mind despite a difficult past.
My wife Evva of 17 years and I live a quiet, beautiful life in Sechelt, British Columbia. We enjoy walking our dog and manage the local women and men's clothing stores. Six years ago, however, our lives changed forever. I was diagnosed with follicular lymphoma, an incurable form of blood cancer.
My sister Yasmin took this picture on Jan 7, 2013. It was after my six-hour long emergency brain surgery. No one knew if I would wake up, but she took this picture. After months of living in the hospital and doing more weeks of therapy that I can count, I did recover from having a stroke and brain surgery.
Having been a counsellor and crisis interventionist, I have supported people who only began dealing with horrible experiences after a trigger in their environment. And far as emotional triggers around sexual abuse go; this election is a doozy.
I can't remember a time when breast cancer didn't cast a shadow over my life. For more than three decades it has been a constant, unwanted and unwelcome companion. When I was 14, my mother passed away from breast cancer. She was 39 years old. Prior to that, the disease took her older sister at the age of 42. I'm not sure why I was shocked when I was diagnosed in 2002, in my thirties.
I desperately tried to HIDE my story. After my stroke, I hated the attention I received. I was lucky to have had a successful recovery but I did not understand why it was such a big deal, why newspapers wanted to write about it and why every single person I saw would make it the focus of a conversation.
My personal journey reconnecting with myself after sexual trauma was long and sinuous. I went through different phases as
I had to be in the moment because my brain would not allow me to think ahead. As I was speaking, it terrified me. What if I would forget my next line? But it was a blessing. I was forced to be present, in that moment and think about the emotions in my story.
As I suspect is the case with many other people across the country, I am closely watching the Jian Ghomeshi trial. There were times yesterday when I found myself holding my breath, wishing that this very public trial might be a pivotal moment in our society -- one in which we can finally begin to openly and honestly address the prevalence of sexual violence in our communities.