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chemo, covid, back to work

Hello beautiful people,

you know, I have about 55 drafts of blog posts piling up over here. When I took my medical leave I thought I could write every day, and do a light workout every other day, and walk the dog for a few blocks and do some things I put off, like play the accordion…But I couldn’t. Not any of it. I was half way through my chemo when I took my leave, and just in time too.

Now I am grateful. It’s a cool sunny day. I took the dog for a long walk. He stops at every shrubbery to flirt with the pheromones left by other dogs. I no longer have to stop and sit every few metres. I eat well. I pick up the kettlebells — the lighter ones now — and walk up and down the stairs. I think about the things I want to write about — women-only space and the erasure thereof; the beauty of the sunlight firing up the orange and yellow fall leaves; the wonderful people who checked in on me when I was sick — Lavila and Colleen in Red Deer, and my uncle Tom in the Kananaskis valley, my cousin near Saskatoon and my auntie in Ottawa and my friend in Montreal. Some of my friends and mentors from church basements came, too, with food and company for short visits across the picnic table. I thought i’d write lots of letters, but i didn’t. I slept and puked a lot. My partner’s son brought me ginger ale and crackers; got the dog out and cooked dinner. I tried to stay up until Su got home, and make tea for her. Sometimes I did, but sometimes i just stayed in bed.

The covid restrictions started mid-March. A year ago now. That day, sunshine still elusive, and cold, one of the women who goes to our tiny gym told us that her parents were quarantined in their home in Italy. That was our last session at the gym for many months. By the following week, the city was still. Restaurants, stores, dry cleaners, dentist offices were shuttering. Buses were empty, then few and far between. It was spooky.

But the birdsong! And the blossoms! It was amazing, the racket of music and riot of colour. I started really slowing down by then, sleeping more, and I couldn’t do the small light workouts Al from the gym sent me. Su brought home a zero gravity chair sometime late in the spring (early April?) and on fine days I lay in that, all bundled up in a blanket that one of my students gave me at the end of the 2016 fall semester. When it was a not fine day (and there were lots of those — it was cold in the spring); cold and rainy, then I took it personally and nearly wept that I couldn’t bundle up and lie in that chair like a burrito on a griddle. The dog came with me wherever I went and curled up near by.

December 30 2020

In September I started back to work. 5 days a week, 4 hours a day. Then gradually up to six hours a day, then by the beginning of November I was up to 7.5 hours (really more like 9). When you count the driving, it’s more like 10 or 11 hours.

Fall of 2019, some women started up a group for women concerned about the deliberate erasure of women-only space and organizations. The Vancouver Parks board, the Vancouver Library, City Hall, UBC now have signs on their washroom and change room doors that state that ‘trans and gender diverse’ people are welcome. What does gender mean, one may ask? There is no answer. Now we are hearing about young men at UBC taking pictures of women while they are on the toilet in these mixed-sex washrooms. sometimes, “Inclusivity and Diversity” means “including predators” and “dispersing resistance”.

I’m going to post this now, today March 10 2021. I write in my paper journal more often, work is consuming, and the drive to and from has become punishing. I am so grateful to have a job — to spend my days with people — though I miss my friends and live meetings and bumping into people (literally) on the sidewalk. I’m sad we don’t get to go to Vernon for the birth of Su’s daughter’s baby. But We’ll be together soon. And that child will grow up with all the love and encouragement and fun we all had.

lots more to say, but the dog needs out, the dryer is finished, I have to mail things to Shawn and Wendy and pack up for work. the quotidian details of daily life. Bit by bit falling in place, falling apart, coming together.



About easilyriled

My mom was Edith, my dad was John. I have a brother, who is Shawn. I have many friends and allies and mentors in my life. I'm white, over-educated, working in a field for which I am not yet trained, messy, funny, smart, lesbian, feminist "Not the fun kind", as Andrea Dworkin said. But I, like the feminists I hang with, ARE fun. Radical feminism will be the roots of our shared liberation. Rejection of sex-stereotypes (gender) and male domination will give us wings.

2 responses »

  1. Erin, thank you for sharing pieces of your big journey. I am so glad to hear you are well, have come out the other side of chemo, are back to work, being a woman’s warrior. That picture of you walking (I imagine it was more like trudging) up and down the stairs with your kettle balls is perfectly you in my minds eye. ❤️
    I send you a big, warm hug and a ton of love. xoxo Erica

  2. Best wishes to you Erin!


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