Archive for the ‘Family’ Category
Lynn’s Comments: On Saturday, March 16th, 2013, I attended the official launch and fundraiser of The Youth Code. It is a new non-profit organization that aims to help children of abuse live a life beyond surviving. Kalista Zackhariyas, the brainchild behind the organization is using her personal life experience to transform the lives of many, give hope and creating amazing futures for children.
The launch was held at the Grand Banking Hall of One King West. It was co-hosted by Supermodel/Actor Sam Sarpong from L.A. and Veronica Chail from Bollywood Boulevard. The evening entertainment included: The Winner from So You Think Can Dance, Hip Hop Artist and Former Child Soldier Emmanuel Jal gave a great speech and performance, along with singer Keisha Chante. I enjoyed every moment of the entertainment and was moved by all who graced the stage.
With an abundance of food and desserts, there was also a silent auction of great items!
We all have life experience for a reason, and it was so touching to see an amazing woman who made her dream to make a difference in the lives of others a reality!!
Please donate generously to this organization: The Youth Code.
My Prayer is that all children in the world have love, food and a comfortable place to sleep. AMEN
Lynn’s Comments: It was my birthday on Feb 6th and I turned 40 this year. I decided to keep it quiet and have a small gathering of friends and family at a South Indian restaurant on Gerrard St. It was a nice lunch and while I was at the restaurant, I felt my father’s presence and him saying to me, that this was your last hug. Little did I know at the time, but it indeed would be the last hug, as he passed away the same day. I only found out about his passing 2 days later.
Hearing about my father’s passing was indeed tough news, but not surprising. He had several strokes in the past several years and dementia overtook him. I was so grateful, I had the chance to see him one last time on Dec 11th, 2011. I had a challenging year recovering from cancer in 2012 and I never got around to going to visit him again. With him now gone, I savour every memory and moment spent with him. Our lunches spent in restaurants around Toronto. My favorite place to dine out with my father was at the Westin Prince Hotel near Don Mills and York Mills.
My father was my mentor and guide. He was there to give me the best advice ever, when I first dealt with cancer at age 24. He reminded me at that time, not give up on my dreams. I always enjoyed listening to his stories. What a great story teller my father was and maybe one day, I’ll write those stories in a book. The best gifts I ever got from my father was his time and of course, jewellery from all around the world!!
Hopefully, God blesses me with a man who is my life partner and treats like Gold as dad did! I declare that I am so LUCKY!!
Watch this video about a gift from my father:
Lynn’s Comments: With the Holiday Season in full gear and seeing friends and family, it is a time for reflection. It is an opportunity to give thanks, reflect where we’ve been and where we are headed in the coming year. As I think back over these holidays, I am amazed that I survived one of the biggest challenges of my life. Last year, on December 23rd, I left my surgeon’s office, and went to St. Michael’s Cathedral, and cried my eyes out lying on the church floor. Now a year later, I am in a completely different space.
I GIVE THANKS FOR:
- my beautiful new curly hair that has grown
- my breasts and my scars that have healed
- the ability to move my right arm and lift things
- reduced swelling in my right wrist
- the time I spend with family and friends
- my new home and new furniture
- all the support I received from family and friends in the past year
- MY LIFE and my renewed sense of being!
Sometimes, it take something like Cancer to put things in check and to know what’s really important in life. I encourage you all to Give Thanks this holiday season. Gratitude brings more abundance into your life and leads to pure happiness.
What will you give thanks for in your life?
Lynn’s Comments: During my recovery in 2012, I did some research and come across the Young Adult Cancer Canada organization and noticed some great programs that they offered. I attended their Retreat Yourself East in July 2012 in Nova Scotia, just 4 weeks after my breast surgery. After that retreat, I decided to submit my application for the survivor conference happening in Toronto early November 2012.
I arrived to the Radisoon Admiral hotel by the Harbourfront and got my hotel room swipe card. I arrived at my hotel and met my room mate for the weekend. She greeted me with a smile. I then proceeded to the Admiral Ballroom to register for the conference and head to dinner. I was felt a range of emotions—excited, scared and wondering what will unfold over the next 4 days.
In many ways—it was so reassuring to be among a community of people who have been down a similar path as mine after all the first time, I had faced cancer I was 24 and then 14 years later, at age 38. I saw several familiar faces from the Retreat in Summer 2012 and also some strangers as well. In total there were 90 of us, including both survivors, supporters and those are just living with cancer and they have to been on treatment until they pass on. It really just moved me to meet those just “living with it” and I was without words to be honest.
We had workshop sessions which were useful that include topics such as sexy singles, dealing with anxiety and depression and managing brain fog. After cancer, I haven’t had the slightest clue on where to begin where dating is concerned. I had also been feeling anxiety about moving just 2 months after treatment has ended and wondering how would I manage brain fog at work. However, we learned some great techinques and suggestions in all the workshops, and I feel better equipped as I transition into this new chapter of my life.
One of the most touching moments, was when a young man (my age) shared his personal story of losing his wife to cancer and his journey as being caregiver to her. There was not a dry eye in the room and it brought me to tears, as I thought wow!—what a ride it has been to have my mom and my aunts be caregivers for myself in their senior years. Caregivers are the key to every patients road to recovery or last moments on planet earth.
The food was awesome, accomodations comfortable and the community became family by the end of the weekend. I am so grateful that this organization exists and all the work that the staff of YACC do. YACC has lifted me up! Lynn is back—so get ready to see me out in the world
Lynn’s Comments: It was on January 12th, 2012 that I walked into the the Mount Sinai Hospital Fertility Clinic with my mother at 9am. We had an appointment with a fertility specialist. As treatments for cancer often leaves young adults infertile and puts women into menopause after Chemotherapy, it was an essential appointment for myself. A lovely young lady greeted us and gave us an overview of fertility options—such as egg retrieval harvesting, fertilization of eggs to create embryos and using donor eggs. It was quite intense to hear about all the options.
My diagnosis was breast cancer at the time, so technically, I am supposed to take tamoxifen medication for 5 years and only consider pregnancy afterwards. However, when I met the doctor, she said the Oncologist sometimes lets you go off the medication to get pregnant. She also said it’s what kind of risk you want to take—in order to have a baby. I felt extremely hopeful, after I met the doctor.
The doctor and her assistant left the room, and I literally had to make the decision to go ahead with fertility preservation or not. I looked over at my mother and thank God, she was there. She said you’ll be doing this for your life and your future. She was right and I decided to take the plunge and go ahead with the procedure of fertility preservation. Through the grace of God and good luck, I had started my period the same day, so it was perfect timing to start the fertility medications.
Fertility preservation was not only emotionally draining, but financially a big commitment as well. It costs several thousands of dollars for fertility medication, along with the costs associated with the IVF procedure. Luckily, because I was a cancer patient, I received a slight discount on IVF. Can you imagine, being hit with a cancer diagnosis, and then having to fork out tons of money just three weeks later, in order to keep your dream of having children alive?
My decision to do fertility treatments meant my Chemotherapy would have to delayed just one week. So from January 12th to 24th, 2012, I went to the fertility clinic daily for blood tests, ultrasounds. I also had to inject myself daily with hormonal medications that could have led my tumour to grow bigger at the time. However, I couldn’t simply give up on my dream of having children some day and took that huge risk.
It was January 24th, 2012 that I had completed my egg retrieval procedure. I ended up with 13 eggs—I kept some eggs frozen and fertilized some eggs into embryos. With only about 10 minutes of counseling, I received during that time, I really didn’t have a moment to think about this big life decision I had made.
I recently just finished treatment for the cancer on September 13th, 2012. It was 2 days after treatment ended, that I finally had a moment to digest my fertility preservation experience. Chemotherapy did cause menopause for myself—whether it is temporary or permanent, I am not sure— but I haven’t had my menstrual cycle in several months. Then I started to wonder, “how on earth am I going to explain this all to a future partner?”
Life does have a way of working things out. I do pray that God guides me in the next chapter of my life and grants my desire to become a mother. And to all you mothers out there, please take me under your wings, and show me the way!
With that, I embrace the LOVE, as LOVE does conquer all the obstacles that may lay ahead on this road that I on!
Lynn’s Comments: It was Broker, Justin Dixon of the Property Boutique who kindly helped me execute a reunion meeting with my father on December 11th, 2011. A mere 9 days later, I received a diagnosis of cancer and my whirlwind of recovery soon began.
I had the good fortune of meeting real estate agent, Vijay Jhamat in early January 2012 at a friend’s home. A few weeks later, we had our first breakfast outing just a week after my Chemo started. And, a week later, I ended up in the hospital. Broker Justin Dixon at my request, kindly updated my Facebook wall to let everyone know I was in the hospital. Vijay, along with a few other friends visited me in the hospital the day of my birthday, which was simply the best! Vijay also came home on Easter Sunday, brought me a lovely plant and our breakfast outings continued on a few other occasions during my time at home. She also brought me an amazing cake with a lovely message at my End of Chemo party in May 2012. Lastly, when I needed a ride home from breast surgery in June 2012, Vijay was the one who picked me up from the hospital and drove me home.
Long time friend and real estate agent, Nalini Nankoo was with me, along with her partner and brand new baby, the day I lost all of my hair. She brought Chinese dinner for the whole family and was there, when my hair was shaved off as it had been falling out in clumps a few days before. She also brought food again for lunch on Easter Sunday and a lovely red velvet cake that said “LOVE YOU” at my End of Chemo party in May 2012. She truly cheered me up with her family and was there at key pivotal moments in my journey.
I received rides from the Canadian Cancer Society during my Chemotherapy treatment and was surprised one day, when a young good looking realtor showed up at my home and was indeed my Volunteer Driver. It was Ryan Hannah who worked in a real estate office in downtown Toronto. We have become Facebook friends and was really impressed that someone in the real estate industry who take time out of their day for cancer patients. In addition, I had other agents who are just Facebook friends like Abbas Syed who offered to drive me to appointments if needed.
One of the biggest highlights of my whole 9 month journey and best gifts ever, was from Anna Vora, partner of the Property Boutique. I wrote on my Facebook status, universe please send me Oprah tickets and miraculously, 8 minutes later, she responded online and took me as a guest to the “Oprah LifeClass Tour” on April 16th, 2012. It was one of those things I had always wanted—to see Oprah and I am so grateful for that great “pick me upper” gift!! It was tough waiting in line for 4 hours in the midst of chemo treatment, but so worth it! I’ll never forget that day ever! Thank you Anna!
I applied for the Cottage Dreams program to receive a free cottage stay after my cancer treatment is over. When I put out a request for references to support my application, Broker Justin Dixon offered to be one of my references. So, from October 7th to 12th, 2012, I will be going to my cottage stay by the Kawartha Lakes near Lindsay, Ontario. It will definitely be the relaxation I need after this 9 month long journey!
I’ll never forget the phone calls from new agent, Brian Persaud. He touched based periodically and always asked how I was doing!
Thanks to all the amazing real estate professionals who offered their support! You’ll never be forgotten!
Lynn’s Comments: The Hot Stove Club established in 1963, has a history associated with the Toronto Maple Leafs Hockey Club. The original location situated at Maple Leaf Gardens allowed members to dine and socialize before and after the games. My father was a member of the Hot Stove Club.
I was first introduced to the Hot Stove Club by my father when I was seventeen years old. My father was always a busy businessman as he had a budding architectural practice of Bregman & Hamann (now B & H Architects) and clients to serve. However, he would periodically make time to see me and spend some time. One afternoon my mother insisted that he take me out alone and he decided our afternoon outing would be at the Hot Stove Club at Maple Leaf Gardens.
I enjoyed the atmosphere at the Hot Stove and learned much when I spent time out dining with my father. He always made sure to get the name of the waiter and called him by his name. My father was once a bus boy himself. He never forget his humble beginnings and that’s how he made funds to get him through university. The respect that my father gave to those in the service industry was paramount. He would have a server feeling like a “million bucks” and the most important person in the restaurant establishment.
My father used to get tickets and I would go to hockey games as a child, but I only vaguely remember that. I just recall seeing Wayne Gretzkey long long time ago and getting a souvenir puck afterwards that I took home.
The Hot Stove Club is now relocated to the Air Canada Centre. I went to the new location only once with my father. I’d love to go there again — if anyone is a member and can take me there, you’d make me SO SO HAPPY!!!
Lynn’s Comments: My father has always been part of my life since I was a baby. The only twist of my family life is that I was the child of my father from his affair, so he never told his wife about me. He has kept me a secret all these years. In the entire time of growing up, my father has never allowed me to call his house or have his telephone number. I did challenge it at times, but then got busy with my own life and let it be. The last time I saw him was in 2007 as he had a few strokes and could no longer drive. It was in 2008, that I met with a private detective to see if I could get help to locate my father. The private detective just suggested that I let it go and leave it as is, as it would be costly and would take tons of time. I understood his points and let it go for the time being.
In Summer 2008, I did connect with one of my father’s relatives and found them on Facebook. We became Facebook friends and I took some time before I revealed myself. The following year in February 2009 we met in person at Fairview Mall in Toronto. He asked if I met the family, if I would reveal who I am. I started bawling my eyes out in his cafe in the mall. Being a secret all these years, has not been particularly easy. I then composed myself and we caught up to know one another. It was such a blessing to meet at least one member of my father’s family.
A few months later in May 2009 on Victoria Day weekend, I got a hold of a cousin’s telephone number and called him at home and introduced myself. I asked my cousin for help to connect me with my father. He did not take it well, asked me to go away and threatened to hang up on me. To say I was hurt, is an understatement. It truly broke my heart and I had to take several months to recover.
Since I had no connection to my father, and missed him so much, I decided on one rainy day in October 2009, to go to St. James Cemetery in downtown Toronto. Just two week earlier, I had researched where the family gravestone plot would be, based on the knowledge I had of my grandparents. I showed up that rainy day, brought some white flowers and walked around and around crying until I found the family gravestone. In total, in took me about an hour, but when I found it, I felt I had come home. I was no longer alone and had a remote connection to my family. For the following 2 years, I would periodically go to St. James Cemetery and visit. It would make me feel better when I missed my father and any connection to my father’s family.
Two years later in October 2011, I had a meeting booked with a real estate agent who had invited me to this office. As soon as I walked into the office, his whole demeanour and way of being reminded me of my father.About five days later, I gave him a call as I got inspired to ask if we could use previous addresses to locate a current address. At the same time, I wrote the architectural firm, my father co-founded, and let them know I would like to connect with him. That night, I met with friends for dinner at a Morrocan restaurant and told them I needed help locating my father.
Miraculously, the next day, I received both the house and cell phone number for my father from an employee at his former company. I simultaneously asked the real estate agent, if he could help me execute a meeting with my father. I so strongly felt he was the right one to go with me, even though I meet him only 6 days earlier. And 2 days later, I received the full address of my father’s residence. When I finally decided it was time, I received all the information. I was happy and excited at the same time! A dream come true.
At the end of November 2011, the real estate agent made a call to my father’s residence and requested a meeting for us. The wife declined, as she mentioned, my father had signs of dementia. The real estate agent called to tell me the news that our meeting pursuit, was unsuccessful. My heart sank, as my dream of seeing my father one last time, was crushed. Luckily, the real estate agent was creative in his thinking, and suggested we just show up in Newmarket with a cake or pie and be really friendly.
It was December 11th, 2011 that the big day arrived and the trip to Newmarket to attempt to see my father one last time was planned. I met the real estate agent at Yorkdale Mall and with an apple pie in hand, we jumped into his car and off we went. My heart pounding and nervous like crazy we approached the town house complex where my father lived with his wife. We rang the doorbell and there was his wife. The real estate agent introduced himself and chatted away with my father’s wife. He also thanked her for the kindness when he called a few weeks earlier to arrange a meeting. She felt quite comfortable and invited us in. At the same time, she called my father over and he walked towards us. He looked great, well dressed as usual and he greeted us.
The real estate agent and I walked to their living room area, and I sat down in one of the couches. I sat beside my father and just soaked him in, as I knew this would most likely be the last time I would get to see him before he passes on. Even though he had a bit of dementia, he started to tell stories and sounded like his normal self. I was in my glory sitting in the home of my father and his wife. The real estate agent kept his wife engaged in conversation and they both had IPADs in common, so his wife pulled out her IPAD and showed us family photos. I got to see my half sister and her kids. It was so heartwarming. I never did tell the wife, who I was, while I was there. After all, why upset an 82 year old woman and turn her world upside down while she was the caretaker of my father— it didn’t make sense and I think my father would have wanted it that way as well.
Before we left my father’s home, we took photos and captured the last memories. We hugged them both and left. My mission was accomplished. I saw my father one last time. It took me 4. 5 years and a few years of crying by myself to get there. It was so worth it. I finished my duty as a daughter with the complicated family dynamic that I was born into.