In Mom's Heels

A shoe obsessed mom's Weight Watchers Journey with Celiac Disease

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My Mom

My mom died. Last Saturday. I was there. I watched as she took her last breath.

Mom’s been sick since I was 18. That’s when it first started. She would get this unknown, mystery illness every 2-4 years. We’d soldier through it.

In 2009 she told us she had cancer. A rare form of peritoneal mesothelioma. In 2010 she had surgery to remove the cancer, and was sent on her way.

She also had a blood cancer, called Multiple Myeloma. No, not the skin cancer melanoma. Multiple Myeloma affects the bone marrow and stops it from producing the necessary parts of the blood. This disease, when it’s in its “dormant” state is called Smoldering Multiple Myeloma. Once active, it becomes Multiple Myeloma. There are stem cell transplants – but that would’ve killed mom. In the end, we had about 2 more years with mom, one longer than they predicted. Even then, when the diagnosis came in at 2-3 weeks left, mom gave cancer the giant middle finger and said “fuck you, cancer” and lived almost 6 more weeks.

My biggest regret when my Dad passed in 2013 was that I didn’t speak at his funeral. I made certain to speak at Moms.

In my eulogy to my mom, I spoke of my memories.

My memories are of vacations to Florida and Alberta; the cruise with Nanny and my family where her biggest disappointment was not being able to see the stars. Our trip to Florida where she and Dad forgot to pick Todd, the girls and I up from Disney and we had to cab it back to the rental house at 1 am. Our trip down east with Todd, the girls and I.

My memories are of mom and I shopping; of her parading us through the hospital as kids introducing us to her co-workers like it was show and tell.

My memories are of Barenaked Ladies, Bon Jovi and Michael Buble concerts.

She loved old movies. She sat in the hallway of Toronto General one night during one of her visits discussing Turner Classic Movies with someone walking by.

My memory was watching her get all fan-girl giddy over the nice doctor at Toronto General last December. My memories are of her illnesses, but not the illness itself; but of the hilarious moments during and after.

Lets not forget mom’s love for impersonations; her impression of “tourist with camera” was Oscar worthy! Did you know mom had 52 photo albums? Not surprised? Me either. I had to move them. Twice. I’m sure she would’ve had more but we can thank the evolution of the digital camera. She has 18 SD Cards – FULL – of photos.  Some cards 64 Gig. Add to the nearly 60 USB sticks…It’s going to take me the rest of MY life to go through.

Over these past few years, I would help Dad when mom got sick. Since my father’s death, I learned to be there for her more, and although I doubted my strength from the beginning (I was scared shitless), I learned to have a sick mother, and later a terminally ill mother, go to work, be a mother and wife, have fun with friends and live my life.

After our father’s death, Mom was our rock; helping us through the grieving process. I admit, the gravity of his death was too overwhelming for me to contemplate what she must’ve been going through. It was only a few years later when I figured it out.

How incredibly strong was she? Did I know anyone stronger? She never gave up; she put her entire being into raising us alongside Dad, providing for our family where we could learn, grow and stretch as far as we could.

When my mother was sick and most concerned about how her illness and death would impact me, I tried several times to convince her that her lessons had been taught, her wisdom imparted. But she continued to worry and concern herself with how I would handle this—how I would move forward after this devastating loss. The toll it would take and the tears I would cry….

What I learned most from my mom was how to be strong. I started writing this before her death and know that my strength and her strength will get me through this. She fought through it all with dignity, showing her strength, kindness, compassion and empathy for others before herself the entire way.

I left her Friday evening with one last “I love you”.  She knew I couldn’t forgive myself is she was to die alone. She waited for the nurses to call me. She waited for me to get there. She waited for me to tell her one last time that I loved her. Her final gift to me, was to wait for me.

There are really no words to describe my closeness with my mother. I know this because the slow, agonizing decline and unpredictableness of this disease forces even the most optimistic and hopeful to think about and plan for this day. You start thinking about what you might say during a time like this. I realized that there really are no words.

There are only feelings, indescribable feelings. Feelings that make my heart burst and my whole being melt. Because my mother was my confidence. My bravery and my strength. My sensitivity, my compassion, my loyalty and even my laughter. She believed in me, and she believed that I always knew what was best for me.

She was everything. She was my mother.

I choose to believe that she is now with Dad amongst the stars. When I look up at the stars, I’ll know she’s finally found them and she and Dad are always shining down on us.

I already miss you, Mom. I will believe in me, Mom, and I will be fine. I love you.



I borrowed words from a eulogy I read online during moms final days from a woman writing about her mother who died of cancer. She said the words I struggled to write. When I find the article again, I will give the necessary credit.


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Toronto Foam Fest 2017 Recap

O.M.G. I’ve run the MetCon Blue (Blue Mountain), Mud Hero (Albion Hills), Mud Run (Clairville Conservation), Badass Dash (Kitchener & York), and I have to say, the Toronto Foam Fest 5K was, hands down, one of the MOST fun OCR’s I’ve raced.


I think it’s because it was not competitive. There was no timing chip. No rush to get through the obstacles. Everyone was out for the sheer fun of it. It’s been a couple of years since I raced an OCR, and although I am not at the weight I was then, I feel like my strength was better and I was better equipped for this race. Plus, it looked like a lot of fun and not too many hills!!

The race started early, and as always I chose an early race time. At the start, you run through a wall of soapy foam and straight into the conservation area. Obstacles consisted of inflatable, jumpy-bouncy-type things to jump over & slide down, there were 2 water obstacles where you maneuver through inner tubes tied together through the river and a straight run on the lily pads through the river that runs through the conservation park. There was the crawl through mud (that honestly smelled like shit, literally), bungee cord mazes, cargo net climbs, I even slid down the death drop; a 2-storey water slide from HELL.

I was on a team of 5 other ladies. What a wonderful group. Some of us had only just met that morning. For 4 of them, it was their first OCR.

Some social media comments were that the shuttles took too long – we didn’t have a problem as we were so early in the morning. Some complained of the ruts in the ground – Listen, you chose to run a trail OCR in the middle of a conservation park. You should expect uneven ground. *Mental Head Slap*

I think this face sums up the whole experience. I had an amazing time. The medal was stunning and colourful as was the towel – a neat idea.

If you are thinking about trying this race, I highly recommend it. Now, which race is my next victim?? Muah ah ah!!



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Wobbily Bits and Perky ….

I weighed in yesterday. Down 0.9lbs. I know I can get discouraged and hung up on a number, and I know it’s more than just the scale.

I’ve been working out like crazy! I attend classes on Mondays (tabbata), Wednesdays (when I can, burn n’ firm) and Thursdays (boot camp). On my own, I’m at the gym on the dreadmill for 30 mins min – even before my classes, a min of 30 mins. I do weights at home mostly. Lately, I’ve been concentrating on doing abs nightly to strengthen my core. My core is quite pathetic, really. They’re in hibernation. For 20 years.

IMG_1244[1]I was dying, I mean, lying down the other night looking at my phone when I turned on the camera. I took a pic and thought – “ha! this is why all those fit Instagram people always take pics of themselves lying down! I look muscular!”

It’s such a hard thing to do. Not compare. I look at my friends and wish I was as skinny, perky (snicker), outgoing, muscular, etc. But I’m not. I’m me. I’m smart, introverted, kinda shy, round, jiggly, determined. I have NEVER looked like those friends (even back in highschool). I am not built like that. Those aren’t my genes. Victoria’s Secret & Spanx are my BFF’s. What I can do; try to live actively and healthy. Teach my kids the same while being decent, patient, kind, tolerant, understanding, empathetic, strong women and human beings. It’s a struggle. I don’t always practice what I preach, but I’m trying my best. Every day.



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Weight Watchers Week 17

I think it’s week 17. I last weighed in right before Christmas on December 21 and was even – I maintained from the last couple weeks. I missed a week over Christmas and due to lots of snacking/food and T.O.M. – I’m up 2.3 lbs. GAH!

You know what though? Unlike years past, I’m not beating myself up for it. I’m not feeling guilty for it. I’m picking myself up and dusting myself off and getting back on track. There’s no horse or wagon. I’m abandoning those. By saying that I feel like this isn’t supposed to be a lifestyle change but a fad. So as with everything in life, I’m rolling with it and doing something about it.

Even though I’ve been sick – I hit the dreamill Jan 1, 2 & 3. I sacrificed Jan 4 for sleep and was back on last night. Last night was another milestone for me in my attempt to run a full 5K without stopping (first goal) and then better my pace/time (second goal). Last night I was able to run in 5/1.5 intervals. I ran for 5 mins and walked for 90 seconds for 3.5 km. Hold on while I pat myself on the back! Celebratory drink!

Now – all I want to do is run another OCR. I’m dying to get into an obstacle race…The 5K Foam Fest is one I haven’t tried yet…or the Polar Rush in February.

Go out there and CRUSH some goals! I’ll be right behind you cheering you on.



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Weight Watchers Week 9

WI day, down -2.5 for a total of 12.5 lbs.

This week was a tough one. I raided the kids Halloween bag more than once. I mean, this wasn’t mom stole A candy. It was ‘mom took ALL the Caramilk’. On Tuesday I messaged my fellow WW A. I wanted to quit, give in and give up so badly. I couldn’t do this anymore. I’m starving. She gave me words of encouragement and a Ryan Gosling meme that got me through the day. Admittedly, on Tuesday, every meal consisted of cocoa, milk and mint (pronounced York Peppermint Patties).

I know, you’re now scratching your head and saying, “but Steph, you were down this week!”. The secret is I busted my butt on fitness. My feet, shins & knees have been sore so I moved from the dreadmill to the bike (on a side note, I went and got a prescription for orthotics and was fitted for them last week). I pushed myself to use machines I’ve never used before. I went to the basement and did the Tony Horton 22 Minutes Hard Corps workouts. Oh, and I mowed my lawn for 3 hours. Yes we have a large yard, but usually it doesn’t take more than an hour or so to mow. Truth is, I haven’t mowed the lawn for months and it was REALLY long. I earned 116 FitPoints last week, 262 minutes of activity and nearly 62K steps.

My goal for this week…track my food and focus on the healthier options. Could you imagine what that loss could have been with all that fitness and no chocolate?? I want to find out 🙂

Have a great week! Cheers,


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Weight Watchers Week 8

I’m into Week 8 of a 3 month Groupon that will end December 13. This week I was up 1.7. I totally own it. We had a Halloween party and C told me about the amazing dip – and I may have eaten a little (way) more than I should have.


Then it was Halloween night and my little one, E kept bringing me candy she knew I liked. Ok – so maybe I could’ve politely refused, but it was my favorite candy!!

Needless to say – I stepped up my game this past week. My activity points hit an all-time high of 101 and my steps reached an all-time high of 63061! I chose to go to the gym at lunch when I knew my nights were busy. I went for 1.5 hours when A had hockey practice. That was the night my run was slightly derailed as the elderly gentleman on the treadmill beside me wanted to chat with me. So, we talked about his practice (accounting for 37 years), how he went back to school 3 years ago for a fine arts degree, his wife and children, etc. So I stayed on the treadmill for a bit longer after he moved to the machines. He invited me back for this week.

This week’s goal: to get back on track. Literally and figuratively. I need to be more diligent in my tracking and re-focus my food choices.

Have a great week! Cheers,



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Weight Watchers Week 6

PHEW!! What an utterly exhausting, busy week!!  Last Friday I left work at noon. Hubby and I hopped in the car and began the 461 km, 5 hour drive to Cleveland, OH, USA

for Game 1 & 2 of the American League Championship Series. We drove home after the Toronto Blue Jays LOST on Saturday and made it home around 2am.

I was up the next morning cleaning and cutting up veggies for a Steeped Tea ParTEA that I was hosting on Sunday. Monday morning i left early to drive 1+ hours north to facilitate a training session on Global Compensation at our plant in Aurora. Tuesday I was at another plant of ours, left work early to go to Game 4 which the Blue Jays won.

Wednesday was busy with early morning meetings for a committee I head up and leaving work early so the Jays could lose Game  5 and the ALCS. Thursday was another early morning meeting of a Women in Print presentation back in Aurora and tomorrow I am facilitating another training session in the morning at a different plant near the airport. Evening will see Hockey AND soccer practice for the girls and then girls night out. What I really need in a night in to sleep.

I did rush up to WW on Wednesday at lunch to weigh-in knowing I was headed to the Jays game with my Big Brother. I was down, -3.3 for a total of 10.8 so far.

Food was good this week. I made wise choices without depriving myself. While I wasn’t at the gym or in the basement gym, I did fit in a HIIT while sick with a cold and we walked everywhere in Cleveland. We never once took the car out of the Valet. We explored the waterfront, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and had our photo taken at the “Cleveland” sign. Unfortunately, my FitBit died and I can’t find my charging cord (*crying*).

Tonight was 30 mins on the dreadmill and a 45 min arms session with the Arnold exercises with a couple more added in for good luck. I may not be able to lift my drink tomorrow…

My goal this week; more activity.




EDIT: After a week of searching, I bit the bullet and bought a new FitBit Charging cord. Then my husband found mine 3 days later. Of course. *eye rolling* 

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Weight Watchers Week 4 & 5

Oops! I forgot to post Week 4 and since it’s Week 5, I’ll double the fun!

Week 4 saw an increase of 3.5 lbs. Boo. I can attribute to a number of reasons (not excuses). First was T.O.M. and the other was I ate a large dinner RIGHT before going to my weigh-in. Lesson learned!! Never eat right before!! D’Oh!

My goal for week 5 was to refocus on the healthy foods and try to be less intimidated at the gym.

I mentioned previously my insecurities/fears of the gym. I faced those fears and joined the City recreation centre (again).


My first outing was…intimidating. Talk about Bambi on ice….I walked in wide-eyed and intimidated as hell. All the muscle guys crowding all the equipment, taking selfies of themselves. So I picked a bike. The first one I picked kept turning off on me before I could start the workout. I should’ve taken that as a sign not to do it. Instead, I picked another bike and thought “ok, I’ll do a 5K”…well, that killed 15 mins, now what? I walked the track – but everyone was going in different directions! So I stopped at the rowing machines. After 5 mins I was BORED. I haven’t figured out how to tune into the TV’s while there. I felt very overwhelmed and out of my element, so I left after a half hour.  BUT!!! I went back the next night for the elliptical and a walk.

I also went to they gym and ran 35 mins on the dreadmill and leg weight machine while my oldest A was at hockey practice. The flexibility of the City rec centre.

Week 5, down 4.7lbs. So, not only has T.O.M.left for the month the refocus on food and activity contributed to my success (and not eating right before my weigh-in)!

Next weeks goal, more activities at the gym (get out of the comfort zone) and make my lunch…atleast once…




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Personal Development 2

I spent some time texting with my friend, and PiYO trainer K about how I was feeling and about possibly joining a gym. I mentioned that while I knew it was all in my head, I have this fear, or insecurity about going to a gym. I always feel like someone is looking at me, mocking me, silently judging me…”look at the fat girl”…and with so many instances of body shaming happening in the world – look at that Playboy Bitch Danni something who took a pic of an older lady in the gym in the locker room – I mean, she was at the gym clearly trying to work on herself…I digress. It’s a fear-slash-insecurity of mine. Whether founded or not…it’s mine.

And then this popped up on my Instagram feed, another wonderful FitWithVicki Instagram post:


It’s none of my damned business. Have a great week.



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Depeche Mode, Toronto 2013

Sunday night, September 1, 2013 my hubby, E and her hubby A and I went to see Depeche Mode at the Molson Amphitheatre in Toronto. WOW.

At first, I was not a fan of the new stuff – I personally found it awful although I am sure if I listened to their new material a little more I may grow to love it. But it was their old school songs that really grabbed me and had me bopping up and down singing along. There were so many favorites that they didn’t play like Master & Servant and People are People they did give up Personal Jesus, Just Can’t Get Enough, Barrel of a Gun and Never Let Me Down Again.

I haven’t been to a large outdoor concert in a long time.  In recent years I have stuck to smaller indoor venues, except Bon Jovi with Mom, that was at ACC. Or Michael Bublé at ACC with Grandma, or Barenaked Ladies with J & E at ACC, but I also saw them around Christmas before Stephen Paige left the band at the Music Hall with Mom. I’d still love to see Madonna and Maroon 5.

I digress. The Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) was also on it’s second last day Sunday which meant that there was NO PARKING anywhere! We drove around for some time looking for parking and then found that they opened the parking back up on the CNE grounds.

CNE from the Molson Amphitheatre

CNE from the Molson Amphitheatre

Unfortunately this meant we had to walk quite a distance to the venue. I didn’t really mind since I had the opportunity to earn activity points for the walk to and from the venue. Lucky for me that E is my workout partner because she was challenging me to race the many stairs with her and walk a quick pace.

I would definitely see Depeche Mode in concert again, hopefully they pick a venue that is indoors or pray that it doesn’t rain that day. Although in fairness to Mother Nature, she didn’t unleash on us what she unleashed on the surrounding areas. Thank you!