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Meet Judy

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It's time to meet another one of our community members. I'm excited to introduce you to Judy better known on our community as hkjudy. Read more about her travel adventures, retirement, and experience with breast cancer below.
 
 
At 65 years old, I look back on a fascinating life and feel incredibly lucky to have been born in Canada, to have experienced other regions and cultures, and to have had amazing friends and family that have enriched my life.

 
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As an “army brat”, I started in Whitehorse, Yukon and moved on to Regina, Ottawa, the UK, Ottawa and Montreal.  I spent most high school and university years in Montreal and then moved to Calgary with my first husband.   In my 20 years in Calgary, I worked as a corporate librarian, an information consultant, and then started a company (a spin-off of the University of Calgary) that consulted and sold information services.   We developed a product that we sold to universities across Canada and that’s how I met my second husband – a professor at Queen’s University.  He encouraged me to move to Ontario and I set up an office of my company in Ottawa, but shortly after (just as he turned 50) he was offered an early retirement package.  With that gift, we decided that this was an opportunity to live in a totally different region of the world and we set off on an adventure.
 


Adventure
We spent nine months in Tokyo (Tony as a visiting professor at University of Tokyo), then moved to Hong Kong.  Tony settled into a management position at an HK university and I started a few companies (it was the dotcom age!), eventually settling into a publishing company focussed on the environment and history of the old fishing village and country-like area in which we lived.   We travelled extensively in the region whenever we could.  Thirteen years in Hong Kong and we decided to do something completely different:  my husband was offered an opportunity to help start up a new (progressive) university in Saudi Arabia.  We both worked for the university and found that our three years there was a wonderful way to learn more about the various cultures of the Middle East while living with people from all over the world.  I wouldn’t have missed that adventure for any money!  


 
Retirement
We retired to Vancouver Island almost 6 years ago and life has been full and rewarding.  I spend much of my time volunteering as communications director for a local charity – setting up and maintaining a website, monthly e-News, and social media feeds to give residents an understanding of the needs of their less fortunate neighbours and, ultimately, solicit donations.  


 
I thrill in time with my two grown “kids” and my grandson (soon to be joined by a baby brother).  I play golf badly, enjoy yoga, and my husband and I also spend at least two months a year travelling, trying to reduce our “bucket list”.  
 


Health Issues
Last fall a spanner was thrown into the works: I found a lump in my breast just as we were embarking on a river cruise in Europe.  It grew throughout the cruise, and upon return I had it examined and was very quickly given a lumpectomy.   It was diagnosed as Triple Negative, so 8 chemo sessions and 16 days of radiation were prescribed.  I can’t say enough good things about the BC Cancer Agency.  Whether Victoria or Nanaimo, the staff were incredibly caring and attentive and, now that my active treatment is over, I still feel that they are interested in keeping me healthy.  


 
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Celebrating Return to “Normal”
My husband and I had a "celebration" in July to thank friends and family for all their support.  He spoke of our thanks as well as our intent to change our wills to give what we can to cancer research.  I mentioned the tough times (fear, waiting, hair loss, unbelievable fatigue, having to ask others for help, etc. etc. – you guys know it all!) but I also mentioned the fun times.  Like looking at my husband covered head to toe in flour (not to mention the kitchen) after a valiant attempt at homemade gnocchi (he who had hardly cooked an egg before my diagnosis).  Like the night that I danced at our local theatre with Les Grande Ballets Canadiennes! I’d had chemo that morning and was wearing my wig for the first time and the lead dancer pulled me out of the audience!  
 


Philosophy for the Future
Last week a friend of mine passed away merely one week after diagnosis of metastatic pancreatic cancer.  He was one of the most positive people that I have ever known. While I spent quite a few days depressed and feeling helpless to understand why the best are taken so quickly – I’m now trying to recognize that he would have told me to keep my chin up and think about the good times. He would have wanted me to be happy that he didn’t suffer very long and, ultimately, that we’d had the chance to know each other.   
 

So, I’m trying to celebrate myself, my friends and family and I’m trying to emphasize the highlights of my life, to live in the now and not let myself get caught up in what the future could be.  If my cancer experience has taught me anything, it is to live every day as a very special one.


Judy
Nanoose Bay, BC


Thank you so much judy for sharing your life journey with us. You have a wonderful outlook!




Comments

Hey Judy - if I could triple LOVE this, I would!  I counted at least 4 times that I said "WOW!" out loud while reading this.  I am humbled and inspired. You go, girl.  XXOO
  • Posted Thu 12 Apr 2018 12:00 PM EDT
Thanks everyone!
  • Posted Mon 11 Sep 2017 03:17 PM EDT
thanks for sharing your life story, Judy...you have led a fascinating life...
  • Posted Sat 09 Sep 2017 10:04 PM EDT
What an amazing story of your life's journey, thanks for sharing with us all. You certainly have a wonderful attitude and I hope you get to do everything on your bucket list, it appears nothing can keep you down, way to go!
  • Posted Sat 09 Sep 2017 11:07 AM EDT
Judy you were born with roller skates on! And shame on you for not writing a cookbook for honey to follow
  • Posted Sat 09 Sep 2017 07:57 AM EDT
Judy, I just st read about your life’s adventures while enjoying a morning coffee.  After I finish my post I am going to leave this site and focus on your positive vibes to enjoy this beautiful day.  I am perhaps in the beginning or maybe half way in my unexpected Breast Cancer journey.
This is my very first post.  I am currently recovering  from left mastectomy surgery and waiting for a call from the Cancer Centre in Victoria to see what follows next.  I really like your idea of holding a special Thankyou gathering for all those who have been supportive and helpful to you.  You have planted the seed for us to plan such a celebration.  Mostly, THANKYOU for sharing such positive thoughts gets.
 
  • Posted Tue 06 Nov 2018 12:17 PM EST
Love the roller skates analogy, happyhooker - definitely feel like that at times :)   I actually did write and publish a book but.....it's in the remainders bin now.  Not exactly a best seller :)
  • Posted Mon 11 Sep 2017 03:20 PM EDT

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