No Return Policy on This Awful Gift

Sylvie Fortin and Michel Fortin

Since July, Sylvie has been suffering from a ceaseless bout of double pneumonia and a persistent cough, with occasional, debilitating coughing fits.

Something was definitely wrong. Several trips to the hospital and a battery of tests — from x-rays and CT scans, to blood work and sputum tests — were to no avail. Medications were unsuccessful to treat the infection.

Finally, a lung biopsy confirmed our worst fears.

Sylvie, the love of my life, my Soul Mate, the strongest woman I know…

… Was diagnosed with lung cancer.

It’s the worst time for it, too. In fact, Sylvie was diagnosed with breast cancer just three days before I wedding. And now this happens three days before Christmas.

(Yup, Sylvie’s health seems to have an impeccable sense of timing.)

We will let you know as soon as we know more. For now, all we know is that’s it’s “Adenocarcinoma,” which explains the pneumonia-like symptoms.

After the holidays, a new series of tests are needed to pinpoint the exact source and extent of the carcinoma, and chemotherapy should follow and begin in mid-January.

(Thank goodness Sylvie didn’t get rid of her wigs and hats from the last little joyride.)

Needless to say, we’ve got our hands full for the next few months.

Thank you for your good wishes on Facebook, by email, and via this blog. As we prepare for the long road ahead of us, I want to take this time to wish you peace, love and happiness in 2013.

Before I go, here’s a message from Sylvie’s Facebook page, which seems appropriate to repost here. Take it away, my love…

Thank you so much, all of you, for your thoughts and well wishes for me and for Michel as we step into a very challenging new year. It means so much to know that there are so many people like you who genuinely care.

Please know that, just like last time, we intend to fight this battle with all possible weapons at our disposal, and won’t quit until we have kicked cancer’s butt.

As I said to a very dear friend yesterday…

“We are fully expecting me to kick cancers ass again. I would have thought it should have learned its lesson the first time, but apparently it needs to be schooled again.”

For those of you who may be wondering what you can do for us, beyond the obvious prayers and thinking nice thoughts… I am happy to provide some suggestions. No Return Policy on This Awful Gift news  sylvie fortin soul mate scan lung cancer facebook copywriter chemotherapy casserole breast cancer biopsy adenocarcinoma

Here are some things that would be really useful for me in the coming months…

  • Send cookies
  • Send A fruit basket (Edible Arrangements. Yum!)
  • Send A box of dark chocolates
  • Send A “hurry up and get well” gift basket
  • Send some fresh flowers
  • Order us Maid service for a day
  • Send A pair of warm, fuzzy slippers
  • Send A pair of soft bootie socks
  • Send Soft cotton pajamas
  • Send A soft blanket (for chemo treatment days)

I’ve lost a lot of weight in the last few months, and I know I will lose a bunch more. So, don’t worry about overloading me with calories. I can afford them, for once. No Return Policy on This Awful Gift news  sylvie fortin soul mate scan lung cancer facebook copywriter chemotherapy casserole breast cancer biopsy adenocarcinoma

Michel will have a lot on his plate in the coming months, so if you’re in Ottawa, stop by with a casserole or some soup or offer to help with some housework.

Also, if you know of anyone who is looking for an amazing copywriter or wordpress developer, tell them about Michel. The less time he has to spend looking for clients, the easier his life will be.

I know from experience that it is really hard to know what to do to help. It’s hard to know what to say to someone who is scared and dealing with something terrifying.

So, many people say something like “If there’s anything you need, just let me know”. This is nice to hear, but really hard to respond to, because it means the patient has to be creative and come up with specific requests, which feels a lot like begging.

People like me (tough, cheeky, spunky, independent types) have a very hard time asking for help. So, we never get around to asking at all. And then we feel like we’re all alone dealing with this scary thing by ourselves.

So, the above list of suggestions is not meant as a request for free gifts.

(I’m not that greedy.) No Return Policy on This Awful Gift news  sylvie fortin soul mate scan lung cancer facebook copywriter chemotherapy casserole breast cancer biopsy adenocarcinoma

But if you want to help and don’t know how… consider this my “hint hint” post. LOL!

Now, a final thought…

To those who will inevitably suggest a variety of cures, potions and alternatives… Please read these two blog posts I wrote a while back, and it will help you understand why my response will always be… “Thank you, I’ll look into it”.

I love you all…


P.S.: So many people asked via Facebook and by email, so to be clear our home address is: 505 Harvest Valley Avenue, Ottawa, Ontario (Canada) K4A 0S3.


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28 thoughts on “No Return Policy on This Awful Gift

  1. So sorry to hear about this Michel.  I know you will both face this as well as the last time.  No one deserves this stuff and certainly not twice, but the two of you are as as able as anyone can be to take on the challenges of life.   I’m wishing you all the best for full recovery as easily and soon as possible.
    All the best,

  2. best wishes michel and sylvie…prayers and thoughts to you two

  3. Very sorry to hear of Sylvie’s new fight with cancer @michel.fortin .  And thank you for posting her great suggestion post.  Even when knocked about she can write with  amazing clarity.  Her post should be copied and put in every new patient kit.

  4. So Sorry.  Both of you are great inspirations to me.  I will be in the Ottawa area the first part of January assisting a friend who also currently has cancer, and if I get a chance, will drop off some fabulous soup.

  5. So sorry.  Both of you are a great inspiration to me.  I will be in the Ottawa area (Golden Lake) the early part of January assisting a dear friend who also has cancer and, if I get a chance, will drop off some fabulous soup for you.

  6. Such devastating news… my heart goes out to both of you and I wish you the best.

  7. wow, I’m so sorry to read this. Prayers and happy thoughts coming your way.

  8. So sorry to hear this, Sylvie and Michel.  Best of luck in kicking this once again.  I’m wishing for sunshine and rainbows and lots of good fortune.

  9. Bloody bad luck, @Sylvie. Is this metastatic adenocarcinoma, or is it another primary? That can make a difference in how your treatment pans out.
    I know the feeling about wigs and scarves … I still have mine from 6 years ago. (If you’d like to borrow 2 x short blonde crops I will get them to you if it turns out you need them…!!)
    If you have an interest in Google Plus, please join my community, “Cancer Survivorship” – in there we are sharing experiences with people from all over the world, and there are some very interesting thoughts emerging from it. I discourage the woo-woo types and focus on positive, forward-thinking attitudes and information.
    If you want to know about my (voluntary) work in cancer survivorship check out my LInkedIn page, 
    I will be back in Ottawa this spring/summer visiting my folks there and also in Wakefield, so if you’re feeling up to it I’d love to drop by and take you out for some coffee and a chinwag.
    In the meantime have a peaceful and stress-free Christmas and get ready to beat that b*stard this time just like you did the first time around. WTG, gal!
    Sz xx

  10. Ouch… @Sylvie – really sorry to hear that. Wish you to celebrate your victory once again. Please let me know if you need any help, Tatiana

  11. Michel,
    Jonathan and I are so sorry to hear this terrible news. Of course we will keep you  in our thoughts and prayers. We wish both you and Sylvie the strength and grace you will need to face this challenge. 

  12. I am just one of your occasional readers but I understand so well your sorrow and your helplessness… I’m wholeheartedly with you. Good luck.WarmlyIvan P. Greindl, dds

  13. PhilBallard@facebook  Michel ~   So Very Sorry This Had To Happen AT ANY TIME, Especially Christmas time and after she’s been through so damn much!   She has the Attitude I would expect from her though!   I followed “SYLVIE’S” First Cancer Fight and it was rough on you both!   One Thing We ALL Learned though ..   Is That .. Wonderful ~ Sweet ~ So Thoughtful Of Others ~ Brilliant ~ TOUGH AS NAILS ~ WOMAN Of Yours …   IS ONE HELL OF A FIGHTER and IS A BELIEVER IN .. “GOD” .. “HERSELF” .. And For Sure In ..”YOU!” “That Got Her Through Before and IT WILL AGAIN!” ALSO, “HER WONDERFUL SENSE OF HUMOR”   SYLVIE  ..  “YOU WILL KICK CANCER’S BUTT THIS TIME TOO!”   “YOU GIRL” .. “ARE EVERYONES WINNER” ..   “We ALL LOVE YOU and ARE ALL BEHIND YOU and PRAYING FOR YOU!” ..

  14. Dear Sylvie and Michael: you are in my prayers now and in the future. Please pray to our Lady of Guadalupe and ask for a miracle with the help of San Josemaria in with Faith on your cure. Pray and trust. Lety Almeida from Mexico city.

  15. So sorry to hear this Michel and Sylvie. Will be thinking about you lots in the months ahead.

  16. I was almost tempted to type the usual “I’m sorry to hear that”, but then I thought about it, and realised that it sounds a little trite. So, I’ll say…. I’m sorry for the cancer, because I bet it doesn’t know what it’s gotten itself into. Kick it’s butt!

  17. Please accept this foot to help with the ass kickin.

  18. I’ve been following this on facebook, and while I certainly don’t want to mitigate the severity of this diagnosis I’ve got a sense that the two of you will stomp kick this in the face.

  19. So sorry to hear of Silvie’s cancer.  All the best in conquering this bad boy.  Lots of love to the both of you.  Stay strong in the face of affliction.

  20. Hi Michel and Sylvie,
    My thoughts and prayers are with you in this difficult time.
    Love, peace and blessings,

  21. So very sorry to hear about Sylvie’s diagnosis.  I’m sending my thoughts, prayers, and positive energy to both of you!

  22. Michael and Sylvie – If anyone can overcome this you two can do it, if just from the sheer power of will and the love between you.  I wish you a full and speedy recovery.  There is still much for you to do – hurry back to us.
    WIth love and respect,

  23. Sylvie and Michel,
    I’m so sorry to hear of your dilemma, I know you have beat this once before, and I’m confident you will beat it again.  My thoughts and prayers will be with you always.
    As a dark chocolate lover, I’ll send some love your way soon.

  24. Sylvie and Michel,
    You’ve both been such an inspiration to me. Glad to know you are on top of what’s happening and can fight the fight. Saying a prayer for good progress and remission.
    Steven Sanchez

  25. Not again, Sylvie… :(
    Stay strong (as you did the last time) and you WILL come out on top.
    Michel, you WILL get through this.

  26. In Sylvie Fortin’s own words: Just got back from the oncologist. News is not great, but it could be worse. It has been confirmed that it is, in fact, my breast cancer that has metastasized to my lung, liver and bones. I say “it could be worse” because they could have found major tumours and it could have been far more advanced. But it hasn’t and isn’t. There are a couple of “spots” on my liver and a couple of spots on my spine, as well as the phlegmy stuff in my lungs. So, prognosis isn’t as dire as it could be.Our first priority is clearing up the lungs. Chemo starts this week. No waiting. No delays. I’ll have at least 6 months of weekly chemo and regular checks to see how I’m responding to it. I’m choosing to think positively and deal with it one day at a time.

    • @michel.fortin … my first thought after reading that was “Dammit, not again” but one day at a time is the best course of action.
      My heart goes out to both of you, and Sylvie, I just know you’re going to beat this (again).

  27. Praying for grace and strength and healing for both of you, and that you would find peace and meaning from God as you go through the trial.

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