About me

My name is Diane.  I’m retired, in my early 60s and living with my husband Warren in Prince Edward County – a beautiful rural island approximately two hours east of Toronto.   For many years I was a city girl, working in human resources  for a large municipality.

My retirement and current life choices were largely influenced by my health. I was diagnosed with an aggressive form of  breast cancer in February 2011. What a shock.  In spite of the fact that my mother had just died from breast cancer seven months earlier, I couldn’t believe it was now happening to me.   The following year was surreal.  Surgery removed a 3.5 cm tumour.  This was followed up with six sessions of adjuvant chemotherapy (FEC-D), five weeks of daily radiation and Herceptin chemo for one year.  I lost all of my hair!   This was the most difficult part of my illness and hair issues haunt me to this day.

I still take the drug  Letrozole, which  decreases  the amount of estrogen produced in my body.  This drug is really aging. My bones are brittle. My muscles  feel like they are 90 years old and my hair is quite horrible.  It is now frizz and  extremely thin (you can see my scalp).   BUT….(and this is a big BUT)… . I am alive, and recently, I seem to be thriving.

Cancer has changed me deeply. It is now supposedly behind me yet it is never far from my mind. I worry that it will return; that each season will be my last. It was with this frame of mind that we decided to change our lives and move to the country. We sold the family home. Gone went the cottage up north. We downsized, submitted our letters of resignation and waved goodbye to our grown children. We now live on 2.6 acres in a beautiful old pre-confederation home beside the lake.

The first year here we were very active gutting out the house, renovating everything and adding an addition to the garage. The garden needed a complete over haul. Attached at the back of the house is a large solarium so for the first time in my life I grew plants from seeds and started my own vegetable garden.   Warren has doubled the size of the existing garage and built himself an awesome man cave / workshop to hold all of his treasured street rodders.  (a ’62 cutlass, a ’32 model A, and his latest project a very old bantam race car chassis)

We are spending our time enjoying life at a slower pace.  There is so much to explore on this beautiful island.  We entertain a lot.   I’m visiting wineries, taking painting classes, attending book club and writer’s group meetings and experimenting with my cooking. I’ve met lots of wonderful new people and developed some real friendships. I now volunteer with the local Regent Theatre.    I’m out there with the dog (Libby – a crazy young Brittany)  enjoying the sunshine and walking under these magnificent soaring old trees.

This blog will hopefully serve two purposes.  I will use it to share my new world with family and friends.  I also want to document my thoughts and discoveries.  I want to leave a mark that I was here.  A foot print in the sand of time.    I hope you enjoy my posts and photos.

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25 Responses to About me

  1. Anne says:

    What a wonderful idea! Do I see a pair of Wellington boots resting under that tree big old tree?

    • Thanks Anne. I worked for hours last night drafting up my weekend activities, but it now appears to be lost. It never made it to post. Strange. I’m still learning how this works

  2. Ah! I really enjoyed perusing your blog. Hope you are enjoying the slower pace of country life… it certainly doesn’t look dull with all of your home renovations, gardening projects and beautiful nature. 🙂

  3. vsvevg says:

    footprint in the sand, lovely idea, Abby

  4. Sandi Nicholls says:

    Hello D 🙂 I’ve attempted to find you on FB, but have thrown in the towel. Your blog was way easier to find! I can attest to what a tranquil environment you are blessed to have found. I get the feeling that your welcome mat is always out. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and you spoiled us rotten. We’ll be back – sooner rather than later. Sandi xox

  5. Debbie Kennedy says:

    Great idea Diane, Glad to hear you are feeling better and doing something that brings you great pleasure.

  6. When I read the name of your site, I immediately thought of the county, but thought it must be a different west lake. What a small world! Your site is so beautiful and it is wonderful to hear that you are thriving despite the difficulties of the past couple of years. Pleasure “meeting” you! 🙂

  7. Ron Graves says:

    Diane, interesting blog. This will keep me current with your life without boring you at the Regent box office. All the best and keep blogging.
    Ron G

  8. Hi Diane – I nominated you for an award. Take it or leave it, but know the intent is to say “thanks” for your blog and I’ve enjoyed getting to “know” you. Hope you have a good holiday!
    http://thegreenstudy.com/2012/12/23/the-awards-show-part-3/

  9. Hi Diane,
    I’ve nominated you for a Liebster Award. Don’t feel pressure to accept, but if you would like to, you will find the rules here: http://cancerinmythirties.wordpress.com/2013/01/03/a-long-overdue-thank-you/
    Whether you decide to accept or not, I just wanted to let you know that I think your blog is great! And Molly is lovely!
    Thanks and warmest wishes for the New Year…

    • Hi: Cancer in my 30s:

      I wanted to privately thank you for nominating me for the Liebster Award. It is so appreciated. I’m always second guessing my writing. Everyone else is so much cleverer than me. I marvel at how articulate they are and wonder how they can keep cranking out the posts – most daily! What amazing imaginations they have to come up with new ideas. Having Westlakemusings publicly listed in your site is very affirming. It made me very very happy.

      I don’t want to hurt your feelings, but I have decided not to take your award. It’s the new me, the post-cancer treatment, life is too short and I’m only doing things I want to do now, me. I have been thinking this over for a few days. I love to be nominated. I want to post it publicly for my kids to see that their mom is a success; however, I’m not prepared to follow the acceptance criteria. It’s too much…. too many personal questions, too much research to find new blogs I like that will eventually add up to 11 future nominees. Finally, I don’t want to pass on these acceptance criteria to anyone else. It feels like a chain letter. I’m damned if I do and I insult you if I don’t.

      So…I have decided to take a stand. I am removing my other award and posting a notice for anyone interested that I no longer wish to be considered for any awards. Secretly I know ..I did qualify once and I thank you for that. You put a skip in my step. Thank you very much.

      Sincerely

      Diane Cole
      westlakemusings.com

      • Hi Diane,
        Thanks so much for your message. Please don’t worry about insulting me. I have mixed feelings about the awards, too, so I understand where you are coming from. It would be nice if accepting an award didn’t include a list of rules — and if you could only choose one person to pass it on to to give it less of a chain mail feel.

        Anyway, I applaud that you are living your life doing the things you want to do. I am not there yet, but I hope to get there one day. And I am sure your kids are proud of you regardless of a silly award. Just reading your blog should make them proud! I am proud of you — and I will keep reading…
        Warmest wishes…

      • That is so nice of you to understand and not be hurt.. You sound like a very kind person.

  10. Louise Gorby says:

    On the first day of your retirement…wishing you health and happiness in this new chapter of life…
    Louise

  11. Anne says:

    Congratulations, my friend Diane! Happy first day of what I hope will be a long, happy, healthy, adventure-filled retirement! Please enjoy this richly deserved new chapter to explore all that is important and interesting to you – this is YOUR time now. The City misses you and I do too! Congrats again! Love, Anne

  12. Andrea Cargman says:

    Diane,
    I hope the message finds you happy, healthy, and with plenty of things to keep you busy.
    Know that you are missed and that my very best wishes are with you on your retirement.
    I sincerely hope that you are enjoying this new chapter of your life, and that you will come and visit sometime!
    Sending you good wishes for health and happiness in your well-earned retirement Diane!

  13. Jenn says:

    Diane, you continue to wow me, now from afar! Congratulations on your well deserved retirement!Enjoy this new chapter filled with adventure, excitment, true love, good food, finding the meaning of life and nothing but happy endings!

  14. Eileen says:

    Hi Diane, I would like to wish you Happy Retirement – Congratulations ! I hope you are doing well. I truly enjoy reading your blog, love your pictures, especially the snow fall of yesterday (it reminds me of cottage life in the winter), and Warren’s garage to store his treasures. Enjoy this new venture of retirement – I miss working with you and think about you always.

  15. Lynne says:

    Hi Diane, I’m so glad you shared your website/blog with me. You have had such an interesting life, pre-cancer and now that that’s behind you, the world is your oyster! Get out the bucket list and start scratching things off! That’s what I’m doing, although my list isn’t that long just yet. Speaking of the list – walking a dog who is taller than me was on that list (haha) and now I can say I’ve done that!!

  16. Michael Topping says:

    Hello Diane,
    On this snowy day in Muskoka I thought I’d cruise my Facebook page, something I don’t do often and for the life of me I can’t explain why but just keyed in your name to see if you were out there.
    I had no idea of the trials & tribulations you were experiencing but most assuredly knew you could overcome them. I look forward to pursuing your blog and would appreciate a PM to catch up.

    Michael

    • Michael. What a surprise! You’re living in Muskoka now. It seems you have a story or two to tell as well. Last i heard from you you were heading to Belgium to live. I would love a visit to catch up. Pls leave me a message on facebook and we can arrive something.

  17. Diane, thank you so much for subscribing to my art blog! Just from reading this page here I can relate to so much of what you write. I’m glad that you have this chance to live your rich life, in nature. I am going to enjoy your blog, for sure! All the very best to you. Flora

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