Friday, December 28, 2007

Happy New Year!

I just wanted to wish everyone a Happy New Year 2008! We've been so busy with moving, packing, cancer treatment and Christmas that we haven't thought at all about what to do for New Year's, also my birthday is 3 days later on January 3rd. All I can think about, otehr than getting myself to my appointments at the cancer clinic is getting our home organized. Thankfully as of today I'm half done my radiation treatments. It feels good to be half done. Though the radiation site gets more red and irritated with every treatment. Mostly it's the itchiness that bothers me the most. There is some discomfort, but it's the itchiness that keeps me awake at night. I have cortizone steriod cream to use, but I try to use it as little as possible.It's both my right chest and back right shoulder area that are effected, about a foot square. It doesn't look so great either, any V neck shirts now expose the "rash", but covering it irriates it more, so I mostly let it show. I'm more concerned about my comfort and less concerned about making others feel comfortable by not having to look at it.
We had a great Christmas with our girls and family. Chris's brother Colin stayed with us for a few days and we had company all three nights, Christmas Eve, Christmas night and Boxing Day. Chris did all the cooking and I just did some baking. We enjoyed hosting in our new house. We still get to have Christmas with my Dad tomorrow, the girls are looking forward to stretching out the Christmas celebration.
So much fun!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas to me!!

Well I decided I had enough hair to color blonde, since it was growing in about 4 different colors, and now I look like I actually have a hair-do.(a super blonde buzz cut) Most people would now think that I've intentionally done my hair like this. The two young women at the grocery store check-out said, "Cool shaved hair-do for Christmas!" I explained that it wasn't quite intentional but thanked them for the compliment. Then as I was leaving the cancer clinic from my radiaiton appointment today, a notably masculine woman smiled at me persistantly and said, "You are really beautiful, you know that?" I said thank-you and wished her a Merry Christmas. I'm grateful for ALL compliments!I wish for you that your holidays be filled with compliments and Christmas cheer!! God Bless!!!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

A Christmas Wish:“I want a Boy-Toy!”

This was not something we thought we’d hear from our 4 year old daughter quite yet! I had the girls playing at McDonald’s Playplace for some much needed exercise, when the Stawberry Short cake doll that came with the Happy meal, just wasn’t going to satisfy my child. She stood up on her chair and proclaimed, “I WANT A BOY-TOY!!” I scolded her, while stifling my laughter, and I stated, “I know Carmelle, Mommy’s already got her Boy-Toy.” (As I turn 36 in just over a week and Chris is still only 30!) Parent’s around me smirked as Carmelle calmly pleaded for a Boy-Toy (a transformer type robot) I explained that she needed to ask nicely and then I’d consider switching the toys. So I did. When she got the new toy, she gleefully opened the package, looked at it and said, “That’s it? That’s all it does? I want a Boy-Toy that does something!!” By now Auntie Lizzy and I were in stitches and others were entertained around us. As we tucked Carmelle into bed with her new toy, her last statement of the night was, “I don’t want my Boy-Toy anymore, I’m finished with it.” Ah yes…The life span of the average Boy-toy…alas…I have an exceptional Boy-Toy who will last a life time!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Merry Christmas to All!!

Merry Christmas everyone!! I wish for you and your family a memorable and wonderful Christmas season. For 5 days I have nothing scheduled (accept radiation treatment on Christmas Eve)I can plan my days around what we want to do and what we enjoy. I wish for you the same and time to rest and relax. Right now we are getting ready to take the girls to see "Alvin and the Chipmunks". Our Christmas shopping is done, the presents are wrapped, not quite under the tree yet, or else Cadence will unwrap them all:) But we are ready. Chris has been working so hard and he is as of today able to start his first recording project in our studio. It's looking amazing and we can hardly believe it's ours! We plan to have an open house party at the end of January some time, to celebrate our new house, the end of my cancer treatment and both of our birthdays.
Merry Christmas to all and to all the full joy of the season!!

Feather and Family

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

What the!?!?

When they told me my hair would grow back, they didn't tell me that it would grow in places it never grew before!!! I've grown back very think and bushy eyebrows and hair all over my face!! This is new and not the kind of hair I was hoping for. If you are praying for my hair growth, perhaps be specific, and pray for the hair growth on my head only!!! So off I went to an Indian Beauty shop today and had the lady thread, a Indian hair removal technique,pretty much my entire face. It hurt like stink, but as tears rolled down my face and my toes curled, I reminded myself that this is pain that I chose to have. I now have red blotches on my face, but much less hair, Yeah!!

Monday, December 17, 2007


I was asked today if I regretted not having my right breast removed when I had breast cancer the first time. The short answer is yes. I have asked myself the same questions a few times in recent months. When I reasoned not having it removed, before this diagnosis, I was content with my answers. I really strongly believed in the medical system, I had faith that they would catch any new cancer before it became invasive or life threatening. What I have learnt about medical testing and the effectiveness and readiness of our medical system has shaken me. I had false hope in the process and testing I was receiving. There is very little that is truly effective on young dense breast tissue. Mammograms aren’t very effective until women are about 50 years old. I didn’t know that I should have demanded MRI tests instead of the ultra sound, chest x-ray, mammograms and CT scans I was getting. These tests didn’t show anything until the cancer had spread. I was starting to wonder around the new year. I was suspicious that more was wrong than the tests were showing. I had a gut feeling and I acted on it. I met with a surgeon on February 20th,and discussed finally having the breast removed. I was done worrying about it coming back and the feelings only magnified once I became and wife and even more once I became a Mom. SO it was decided that I would have the prophylactic mastectomy, followed by immediate reconstruction, in the summer time. About 4 days later I saw a pucker in my breast tissue and figured I should go for a mammogram that week. I was to have a CT scan the next day, but it got cancelled. Good thing to because if I’d had it, it wouldn’t have shown my cancer and I would have believed I was just fine. Though the mastectomy in the summer would have shown the problem through pathology and I do believe if that had happened, it still would have been soon enough to save my life. Though early diagnosis would have been preferable, even by a year, but if we’d caught it even sooner there’s a chance I’d considered not have children or not having a second child. So considering that, I’m glad I wasn’t diagnosed that much earlier. My girls are so precious and the centre of my world.
When I chose to keep my right breast, I also said it was because I wanted to keep my breast to breastfeed my children. It was a way fro me to be hopeful about my future at that time, that I would get what I dreamt of for my life, to get married, have babies and breast feed them. I’m so glad I had the chance to breastfeed my girls, but would I rather that than my life, obviously not. If I’d been told that keeping my breast would mean risking my life, I’d have had it removed in a minute and never regretted it. I have never mourned the loss of my breasts or missed my old ones. I sure hope I never have to apologize to my girls for not having the breast removed sooner, because it ends up taking my life. I certainly could never understand why any women, with breast cancer, would risk her life to keep her sick breast. But I was keeping what I thought and believed would always be a healthy breast.(until about a year ago, then I really started to have my doubts)
Perhaps I’ve become quite radical with my views on how to treat breast cancer, but for good reason. I believe now that you can never be to aggressive treating this aggressive disease. So please be diligent and aggressive with your breast health care. DO your Breast-self-exam and GO for your mammograms!! PLEASE! I don’t want you to have any regrets.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Seeing spots!

So I just had Carmelle at the Doctor's office for the fourth time in two weeks. We had her in for a bladder infection, due to her having the stomach flu the week before with vomitting and diarhea. But the medication we had her on didn't work, so we went back and got another one. That one didn't work either and by last sunday she was peeing blood. SO I brought her to emergency. WE waited four hours to find out that she has a very serious bladder infection that was resistant to the other antibiodics. So we got a third kind. This morning when she woke up, she was covered in thousands of spots all over her body. So she's had an allergic reaction to the anibiodics. The Doctor figures she has a Penicillin allergy! Sick!! I have an allergy to penicillin, but it didn't develop until I was 21 years old after using in many times over many years. This was the first time Carmelle has ever had antibiodics in her life!This is upsetting for me, she's already showing signs of inheriting my medical genetics, I just hope it stops with this. She's now off the medication, please pray her bladder infection doesn't return and that her hives clear up. She's had Benadryl, Reactine, Advil, an Oatmeal bath and she's covered in Calimine lotion from her head to her toes. She seems to be feeling a bit better. It's hard seeing your kids sick. It's easier being the sick one.

I'm Still managing to have a social life!

As I was driving to Surrey on Thursday for my Radiaiton treatment, I was called and informed that my radiaiton machine broke down. I was in it just the day before, I wonder when it started malfunctioning?!?! So my appointment was cancelled and they assured me that it wouldn't interfere with my treatment, thought my oncologist had mentioned that the more treatments I miss the more they will tack on in the end. Thankfully this day I was heading to Tania's place in Surrey to drop off my kid's with her, to watch while I went to treatment. So instead I stayed at her place a good part of the day and enjoyed a nice lunch and long visit. It ended up working out very well. Most Thursdays now I'll be bringing the girls to Tania's while I go for treatment, the girls get a playdate and I get to visit with my friend of 25 years.
Since that machine is difficult to mix my Friday radiation appointment got bumped to 5:24pm, the traffic was terrible, but I made the best of it again by meeting my friend Maria for a movie at the Guildford theatre, instead of driving home in rush hour.Monday my appointment is at 5:24 again, but we'll go directly to my Christmas staff party at abc restaurant. I feel so touched that even though I haven't been able to work since April, they still consider me a part of the staff. Chris and I are looking forward to a great meal and a night out!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Christmas is a Comin' !!

It hit me all of a sudden that Christmas was less than two weeks away!! This put a fire under my butt to get it looking like Christmas around my home, even if it ment setting up around the boxes. Christmas is a comin' wheather I'm ready or not! I'd hoped to be completely unpacked and set up before decorating for Christmas, but I realized this just isn't going to happen, and that's okay! So out came the Christmas decorations and up they went. Chris took Carmelle to get a tree, and he siad she made it perfect when she started to sing "Jingle Bells" in the van on the way to get the tree. We will have a perfect Christmas even if everything isn't just the way we'd like it. We will experience the miracle of Christmas, even as we battle cancer.
Some how I managed to write many Christmas cards and got them sent. I've also got a basket of cards ready to deliver to our new neighbours, to introduce ourselves. Carmelle and I plan to do this together this afternoon. I've discovered that there are not one but three teenage girls living next door, yeah, babysitters!! Our new house is the best Christmas gift ever!! We love our home, studio and neighbourhood.
We feel so blessed! I was reflecting on six years ago when I was turning 30 and feeling sorry for myself because I was the only one of my friends that didn't own our own home or have children. Now I have all I could have dreamt of, two beautiful girls, an amazing home, a great studio(business)...but I don't have my health!?!? I do however feel great considering everything my body has been through, I'm grateful for that. I also realize that 8 months ago when I was diagnosed my biggest prayer was, please Lord please don't let us lose our house. Little did I know that he had something much greater in store. He knew we'd get this house and studio, more than we could imagine, but all part of His plan.

Experiencing the Miracle of Christmas,

Feather and Family

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Having Fun?!?!

As I headed out the door today for my 5th radiaiton treatment, my husband said, "Good-bye, I love you, Have Fun." I responded, "I'll have as much fun as I can while being radiated!" I think he half forgot where I was going. He says he was just trying to be funny! Though I do try to make the most of my outings. I try to run an errand, purchase a drink/snack or make it a social event by bringing a friend. So far I don't dread them, especially now that they go more quickly and aren't so uncomfortable. I get zapped 6 times, from 4 different angles for a total of about 45 seconds. The whole procedure from beginning to end is about 15 minutes with set up etc. So from when I arrive in the parking lot until I head out is about 30 minutes; Relatively painless. Am I having fun?!?! Not exactly, but I do try to make the best of it. I kind of view it as a part-time job for 6 weeks. I get more and more sore each day, which causes me some concern, but I'll just keep taking it one day at a time.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Not the kinda "Sun" I was hoping for.

So after only 4 radiaton treatments the entire right side of my chest, and right side of my back, look and feel like they've had a bit to much sun. When a shirt rubs it feels sensitive, like I have a mild sunburn. Sometimes some parts feel a bit itchy, but when I scratch it stings. I lotion generously twice a day, in hopes of delaying the sides effects, like a serious sunburn. It will come eventually no matter what I do, but I feel that the better I care for my skin the better it will feel. My situation of course is a little unique as the skin is thin and has much more scar tissue, which is more suseptable, due to the infection I had and the wound that took 6 weeks to heal closed, back in May. It also doesn't feel so good when the girls bump me or even give to tight of a hug. It's a good thing I don't need a bra, bacause that would be super uncomfortable for sure.So I'm a little nervous about how sore it will get; I'll just have to wait and see.

My Christmas greeting!

Janz Family Christmas Letter 2007
Well, this has been a year to remember and in some ways one I’d prefer to forget. Thankfully there were many shining moments that I’ll cherish forever that happened this year in the midst of our chaos. Through it all, God’s faithful hand has Guided, protected and blessed us, right into this Christmas season.
Our year began like any other, the New Year bringing new hope for our future as Chris and I respectively turned 30 and 35 years old. I thought hitting my mid 30’s was hard on me as I didn’t quite feel myself and was lacking the energy level I was use to. Little did we know, but I grew to suspect that I in fact was fighting a spreading and aggressive disease. After much ado, I was diagnosed with advanced Her2 positive Breast Cancer on March 16th. (We didn’t get the full diagnosis until after my Mastectomy on April 5th.)
I came home from the hospital on Easter Sunday afternoon and I shared a lovely Easter celebration with my family in the midst of many flowers and cards that had been sent by so many. The support never stopped pouring in through the year, through meals, gardening, childcare, housework, financial support, words of encouragement and most importantly prayer. We had three very successful fundraisers to help us with devastating loses and expenses; loss of income, childcare, housekeeping, prescriptions and other medical related costs. We first had “Tea Time for a Cure” on April 24th at abc restaurant, then “Friends for Feather” at Northview Church on June 24th and “The Janz Family Benefit concert”, featuring Kelsey, Colin and Chris Janz on Sept 21st. Through these events we were able to raised $20,000 for our family! Thank-you all for your support and willingness to be generous, you kept us a float during a very difficult time.Myfundraising for The Run for the Cure this year was very successful, $5,415 was my final total!
We had many prayers answered this year, some we didn’t even really know we had. Like the fact that we prayed we wouldn’t lose our house in the midst of my health crisis and now we find our selves owning and living in our dream house with a full recording studio for Chris to work from home in, that will save us so much in the long run. We are so grateful that we were contacted by caring friends who wanted us to have this house. They wanted to bless us and they have. We were also so happy to know that we could make over a $100,000 on the sale of our home that we’d only been in just over 2 years. We were even more excited when the house sold before we even listed it and saved us on real estate fees. Everything fell into place and we were assured that it was all meant to be!
We now call 34451 Thoreau Ave, Abbotsford BC, V2S 7H6, HOME! (As of Dec 1st, the snowiest day of the year, that’s a whole other story!!)The basement has a suite for Lizzy, my best friend who has been living with us since the beginning of Sept, and has been helping us with childcare and housekeeping and is just being a really great friend. Chris is excited to start working out of his own recording studio in the New Year. The girls, Carmelle (4 ½) and Cadence (2 ½) are growing, exploring and use to having more hair than Mommy. I’ve recovered from Mastectomy and lymph node dissection surgery, I’ve over come 6 months of chemo therapy treatments, I’ve just begun 6 weeks of 30 radiation treatments (each day traveling to Surrey cancer clinic) and I continue on with herceptin IV treatment, once every 21 days at the Vancouver Cancer Clinic, until August ’08. I’m over half way done my 18 month ordeal and I feel strong, healthy and healed. If you are interested in keeping up to date with our journey you can log on to my blog that I write regularly, through my website :www.featherjanz.comGod Bless you and your family this Christmas season, He has certainly blessed us!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

What's your issue?

People don’t easily anger me, but someone did and they knew it, when they informed me that the root cause of all cancer is people having issues. I abruptly pointed out that all people have issues, so how come not everyone has cancer?!?! The arrogance of this comment angered me, as the person saying it doesn’t have cancer, therefore are they pointing out that then they must not have any issues?!? And I obviously do, since I’ve had cancer not once, but twice?!?! Now I’m not saying I don’t have issues, I know I do, but I don’t believe I’ve ever met someone who doesn’t have issues and if they think they don’t, then I believe that their issue is denial! I must add to this, what about all the children and infants that have cancer, are they also riddled with “issues”?!?!?
This person shared with me many of her views, beliefs and opinions that made me feel uncomfortable, before making this final comment. I thought it rather interesting when I realized that if I freely shared my views, beliefs and opinions with her, I would have run the risk of being labeled a Bible Thumper. I suppose if we openly share what we truly believe then we run the risk of being stopped. I won’t stop sharing what I believe, but I will walk away when they are sharing with me something I could do without. Hopefully they won’t be too offended and they will just respect where I’m at.
I’ve learnt to embrace my issues; that they are a big part of making me who I am today. I’ll continue to work on my issues and quite possibly develop new ones. I hope I have plenty of time to create all sorts of new issues to deal with!!

Friday, December 7, 2007

PMS, Bring it on!!

Well…how do I put this…my fertility returned today!! I was very excited, I never thought I’d ever say that!! It is a sign that my body is healthy and bouncing back. The Dr said it would be 5 months to 5 years, if it returned at all. This was more like 5 weeks, so I’m very happy knowing that my body is doing what it should at almost 36. I realized that I’ll take PMS over menopause anyday, and hopefully for at least another 15 years. The hot flashes and night sweats have been gone for a few weeks and I’m hoping the extra weight will just fall off me as well. I’m also sleeping better. I think my poor sleep, partially had to do with menopausal symptoms.
Not that I plan to use my fertility for anything… but I guess it’s just nice to know it’s there and that I still have a choice to use it or not to use it, even if I don’t.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

1 down and 29 to go!

I got to shave my legs for the first time in months…not that I really missed it, but my hair has started to grow back fully in the last week. I’ve got full eyebrows and eyelashes, only the hairs are all 2-3 millimeters long. I’m sure I’ll have a crew cut hair-do by Christmas.
I went for my first radiation appointment today, it was much longer than I expected. It was just as difficult as the planning appointment, that was incredibly uncomfortable. My arm fell asleep and was very painful for about half an hour. When I thought I was just about to cry, the radiation therapist called out that I could move my arm. I told her those were the sweetest words I’d ever heard, it was a huge relief to move my arm. I have to stay perfectly still during treatment, can’t even move a millimetre or they have to start again. They assure me that the future treatments will go much faster, I sure hope so. As I was leaving the Surrey clinic, the first thing I saw as I left the doors was a rainbow. It was very uplifting, as I took it as a reminder of God’s faithfulness in my life.
I headed to Guildford to meet my friend Maria for dinner and Christmas shopping. We had a great time visiting and I got lots of gifts to check of my shopping Christmas list. It was a great way to make my day enjoyable and also miss the rush hour traffic on the way home. Mostly I’ll head to my appointments alone, some days bringing people with me. I don’t mind the time to think and be alone, though I guess I’ll see how a feel after doing this for weeks. One down, 29 to go!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Our NEW Address:
34451 Thoreau Ave
Abbotsford BC
V2S 7H6
*same phone number

Home Sweet Home

Our “Home Sweet Home” isn’t so “sweet” yet, though it is starting to feel like home. We have beds to sleep in, the kitchen basically functioning and some boxes unpacked. There is so much more to do, it’s very overwhelming. The move it’s self, I’ll try to forget. Many things went wrong and could have gone more smoothly, but do any moves go as well as you’d like?!?! I guess not. Moving an entire family and household is incredibly stressful, we plan to never do it again! We are grateful for all the help we had from the Trinity student volunteers, our family members and Mark and Rachel Thiesen. My cousin Chandra and her husband Willie came down from Dawson Creek and helped us unpack for two days. Lizzy has been a huge help as usual and she’s all moved into our basement.
The snow on moving day made us especially cold and grumpy. Last time we moved it was in August and the hottest day of the year, I don’t which is worse…the bone chilling cold or the feverish heat?!?
It’s hard for me to see the end in sight; Us being settled and actually being able to decorate for Christmas. The thought of all of this and getting Christmas shopping and cards sent, gives me a rush of anxiety. I’ve decided that if none if it gets done, it’ll be okay; Especially since I start radiation therapy tomorrow, every day for 6 weeks. That will be a big part of my holiday season, though I don’t want it to be all I remember about this Christmas. I’d really like for things to be as normal as possible.
I think I’m even blog writing to avoid unpacking. As much as I want it to get done, I find it very overwhelming. Right now I’m just tired and all I want is a nap. The girls haven’t been feeling great and were up a lot in the night. Chris is working long days this week and doesn’t have much time or energy to do much more right now. Thankfully he has a few weeks off over Christmas and will have time to set up the studio; that will be like full-time work for him for a few weeks.
Please pray that I have the energy, time and focus to get everything done before the week of Christmas.

Friday, November 30, 2007

My Fortune

We ordered Chinese food for dinner, as we've packed up our entire house and nothing left out to cook with. When I was done, it was time to read my fortune cookie.
It stated,"The strengths in your Character will bring you serenity."
Funny... because, "The weaknesses in my character were bringing me chaos" today as we were doing final packing and getting ready to move tomorrow! Perhaps serenity will come when I'm unpacked and decorated for Christmas!

Deal with it!

As we are busy packing, our 4 year old yells, "Somebody wipe my bum!"
Chris responds,"We are busy, you are going to have to deal with it yourself."
She states, "I don't want to deal with it."
As we laughed we realized how true this statement rings for most of us...
We don't want to deal with our own shit, we'd prefer someone else to deal with it!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Do you go to work with your spouse?!?!

Chris is performing tonight and I was feeling guilty for not going, because I'm so tired from packing, when my Mom pointed out to me that she never went to work with Dad! This made me feel better and helped me to realize that I can't do everything!!

Still Trying to do everything,


Strong hearted!!

I went to the Vancouver Cancer clinic for my IV Herceptin treatment, that I still recieve every three weeks until next August. They told me the results of my Mugga, heart muscle test. I have to get a nuclear medicine heart muscle test done every three months that I'm on the herceptin treatment, as it tends to weaken the heart muscle. The last test was done in August before I even started the treatment. I was thrilled to hear that not only has the treatment not weakened my heart but that my heart was one point stronger!!! I was a 64 in August and a 65 now!! I think it's because I didn't work-out at all from April-August because of surgery and chemo. Now in the last three weeks I'Ve been able to exercise again, lots of walking. So I'm even more fit now!! It's very encouraging!! I feel like my body isn't completely failing me, that my body is in fact strong and able to fight this cancer off totally.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Have a very Herry Christmas!

Oops! I made a typo...I ment to wish MYSELF a Very "Hairy" Christmas!
Lizzy stumbled with her words the other night and said, "Herry Christmas", instead of Merry Christmas. Her friends laughed and said, "Be sure to wish Feather a Very Hairy Christmas!" When I saw a little girl I knocked out my two front teeth at the age of three, they didn't grow back until I was 8! So for 5 years I sang at Christmas, "All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth." Now I'm singing, "All I want for Christmas is Hair." If you see me this season, feel free to wish me a very "Hairy" Christmas!
Merry Christmas Everyone!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

It is well with my soul.

My friend’s Rachel and Mark Thiesen lost their Children’s Grandpa, Mark’s Dad, Louis Thiesen, this past Tuesday. I attended his celebration of life service today. I was touched and moved by the life of this man. My heart ached and celebrated for his family as they miss him but know that he is in heaven with his Saviour.
Mr. Thiesen died suddenly as the result of a massive head injury from a fall from a ladder, he was 81 years old. Though I didn’t know him well it was clear that he lived his life, right to the end, with a strong soul, body, mind and voice. His family and wife have peace knowing that he lived his life close to the Lord. We were all touched to know that even the morning of his passing, as he often did, he started his day in prayer. What an example for us all, to live a life rich in spirit.
Just two days before his passing, Louis, read scripture during the Sunday service at his church, Sardis Community Church, the church I grew up in. I think the verses he read were so meaningful, especially considering that it was his last public statement. Deuteronomy 6: “These are the commands, decrees and laws the LORD your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, 2 so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the LORD your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life.”
One of the most touching parts of the service was hearing the voices of Mark and Rachel’s little boys sing a song that they would sing with their Grandpa. They are only
5 ½ , 4 and 2 ½ , and they sang together and then each a little solo. They sang, “Oh, How I love Jesus, Oh, How I love Jesus…because He first loved me.” What a wonderful testimony of the generations of faith in their family.
The service ended with the hymn, “It is well with my soul”, sung by Eileen Wiens, who was a soloist I heard so much as a child in church, but hadn’t heard in probably over 20 years. It especially touched me as I’d just spoken this very morning at the MOMS group at church, and quoted, “It is well with my soul”, in my talk to the ladies.
I was reassured today, knowing that it is well with my soul in this life and in the here after.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

When the grass you are standing on is the greenest

(the following is a talk I’ve prepared and have been asked to share at the MOMS group that I attend at Northview Community church on Tuesday mornings)

Saturday I attended a Christian women’s conference in Richmond with “Women Alive”. I was there because I was asked to model for a fashion show. I haven’t modeled for a few years now, especially not looking like a plus sized bald manuican. I probably wouldn’t have made it a priority to go to the conference, if I hadn’t been asked to work the fashion show. I still find it really hard to make time just for me; not me as a mother, or me as a wife, but just me, the woman that I am.

I wondered what I would leave the conference with, what God would press on my heart.
It ended up being the thought that, my grass is the greenest! And “no” I’m not referring to our lawn or the “grass” my parent’s grew to be 6 feet tall in the “back forty”. I’m talking about, “the grass not always being greener on the other side”.
I often catch myself thinking, “When this part of my treatment is over, then things will be better.” “When treatment is over, then I can really start to live my life and enjoy living it.”
God has shown me, and really revealed to me even more this weekend, that today and every day is the first day of the rest of my life and that today is a day to enjoy! After all, “This is the day that the Lord has made.” And we are to rejoice and be glad in it!”
Not just the good hair days, or the day when you finally fit into your skinny jeans, or the day you find a really good deal on a big ticket item… but EVERYDAY!
It’s usually easiest for me to think… Life will be better when treatment is over, or when my hair grows back it, or when I get back in shape.
Do you catch yourself thinking, “When we find financial freedom, or just catch a financial break, then I can rejoice.” OR “ When we get the bigger house…When the kids are a bit older and not so demanding…When the house is as clean and organized as you’d like it to be… or When you can finally get 8 hours of uninterupted sleep in a night…THEN, then you can rejoice, then it will be well with your soul.
When I drove away from the conference on Saturday I realized, “That’s it!! IT IS WELL WITH MY SOUL!!” And that is all that matters, that’s what makes the grass under my feet green, right now!
The grass won’t be greener WHEN….unless it is well with my soul NOW.
Obviously I realize that life isn’t always a bed of roses and that the “grass under you feet may perhaps be more brown than green”, but I urge you that even in those times, look for those few blades of green grass, something to be thankful for in the midst of your trying circumstances, what ever they maybe. (See my blog entry, “Perks to having breast cancer twice by 35.”)
I also realized, once again, the value of taking sometime just for me. As women this doesn’t always come naturally for us, even though we really need it. This doesn’t mean that we should attend women’s conference’s every weekend, but a little time here and there can go a long way. Especially when we catch ourselves thinking that the Grass is greener somewhere other than where we are.
One way I’m learning how to take time for me, is to take time everyday doing deep breathing relaxation exercises; or if you are comfortable you with it you can call it meditation. My therapist suggested that I create a one sentence mantra for me to repeat during this time. So as I breathe in slowly 4 seconds through my nose, I say to myself this truth, “I am alive, I am loved, I am well.” Then I breathe out slowly for 4 seconds through my mouth, “I am alive, I am loved, I am well.” Try to repeat this for up to 5 minutes at a time.
Why don’t you try to take a little time for yourself, and come up with a positive, truth to speak into your life. Even if it’s the only time you have for yourself all day, it will help you to relax, rest and have a healthy dose of positive thinking. And I think we all know that we could use some of that everyday!
IF you are interested in following my blog that I write a couple times a week or so, you can find it through my website,
I appreciate your prayers and support for me and my family, my blog also lists our specific prayer requests and my current

Saturday, November 24, 2007

My body is a battlefield!

I’ve realized that my body is battlefield! The enemy is cancer cells and we are working a 5 pronged approach to eradicate this foe. First we located it, then we cut it out with surgery and then we poisoned it; Not once but 8 times, with two different kinds of chemo treatment. Then we started a year long starvation strategy with herceptin and in 10 days we intend to burn away any remaining cells with radiation treatment. I don’t think this enemy has a chance! Usually I’m a pacifist, a peacmaker/flowerchild but now I’m ready for war. You may think that by now I’d be tired of fighting, but to be honest I know that the fight must remain in me for awhile yet. I won’t be giving up anytime soon!
I’m feeling much better after recovering from the stomach virus that debilitated me earlier this week. We’ve all recovered…Chris got it as well. Now we can focus on packing and getting ready for our move next Saturday. We are looking forward to the new season of our lives in our new home.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Feeling Discouraged

I have to say, I'm feeling rather discouraged. I just start to get back on my feet, feeling quite normal, and this virus strikes. I felt sicker and more weak than I did on chemo. I've had more naesea, stomach cramps and vomitting than I did with 6 months of chemo. At least then it would have been for a reason, this was for no reason at all.
I guess I'm just sick and tired of feeling sick and tired. I hold on to the hope that the worse is behind me.Right now I hardly have the energy to stay awake, and tomorrow I have a very busy day planned.
I have my Mugga heart scan at nuclear medicine at Surrey Memorial hospital, to test and see how my heart is handling the herceptin treatments I've been getting the last three months. If my heart has been weakened, it means a break from herceptin. Not great for my treatment plan and it means bumping the end of all of this until even later next year.Please pray that my heart is strong and hasn't been weaken by these treatments.
I'm just about half way done everything. It's a little overwhelming to think about another 9 months to go. It's times like these that I'm reminded to just take one day at a time. I must now get ready for my day tomorrow and head off to bed.
I pray for a restful sleep and that my body will get the recovery time it needs to have a high functioning day tomorrow.

Now I really feel sick!!

A nasty stomach virus has struck my family. First Carmelle with violent vomitting etc for 24 hours. The "etc" kept her on the toilet with the puke bucket. She was such a trooper, she would look up at me with her big eyes and state, "Mommy, I don't like being sick." I wore a medical mask while comforting and caring for her, while washing my hands every few minutes, but that bugger virus got through! The same hour Carmelle runs to me, "Mommy I'm all better.", Cadence throws up. I help clean that up and thinnk that the smell is turning my stomach, but that was it, I was down for 24 hours. Cadence and I sat on the couch both holding our puke buckets. I didn't keep anything down for about 18 hours. I was starting to get concerned that I may end up in the hospital, with this hitting me so soon after Chemo. But by 3am this morning the vomitting stopped and I was able to keep water down. I'm tired, weak and exhausted now, I'm heading off to a nap. Thank Godness for Lizzy being here to watch the girls. She's not feeling great either but it looks like she got the least of it. Chris started with a really bad headache yesterday, which I think is how mine started two days before. I hope and pray that Chris doesn't get sick like we did. We really can't afford for him to miss work right now. He already missed some time last night by taking Carmelle to see "Princesses on Ice". I was suppose to go with her, but the sickness kept me in bed. She had a blast and Chris enjoyed it simply because she did. I'm sure I would have enjoyed it more than him, but he was a good sport:)
I told her I'd take her to see the movie "Enchanted", just the two of us, to make it up to her. She dressed up as a Princess for the show last night, I think we'll do the same to go and see the movie:) Perhaps I'll dress up as well, adn we'll go as Princesses together! Now I'm going to play sleeping beauty and nod off to never-never land for a bit. I hope and pray I awake feeling normal.
Wait I think I feel a "pea" in my bed!!
We all need to feel like royaly in someway!!

Monday, November 19, 2007

At least I'll look like a lady with hair!

Recently I asked my 4 year old if I should wear a hat or my wig out. She pondered my question, with her index finger on her chin, hmmmmm..."Wear your wig Mommy, because then everyone will think that you're a lady who actually has hair."

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Tattooed Momma!

Tattooed Momma

As of two days ago I now have 9 tattoos! That’s right…9!!! I’m such a rebel!! I got my first tattoos when I was 24 years old, one year after having cancer the first time. My friend Heather, a pastor’s daughter, and I got matching ivy tattoos. I’d thought about it long and hard before I got them, for a year, and I designed them myself. I got an ivy ankle bracelet around my left ankle. I’d heard that if you wore an ankle bracelet around your right ankle it means you are single and your left means you are taken. So I had mine put on my left to symbolize that I am a bride of Christ. The ivy held significance for me in that, when I was first diagnosed with breast cancer God gave me a vision relating to my experience that involved ivy. He showed me an ivy plant growing up and clinging to an old rock wall, then along came the gardener and hacked the vine down at the base and pulled it away from the wall. But then the vine instantly starts to grow back, richer and fuller and stronger….bearing more fruit. This was revealed to me to be the plan fro my life. The tattoos serve as a reminder to me to never forget God’s faithfulness to me in my life. That he will never leave me nor forsake me. That the pruning process He allows in my life, refines me for His plan.
At that same time, I got a second tattoo of an ivy vine wrapped around a cross. The cross of course representing my faith and it is on my right upper thigh. During the tattooing process I made a wonderful connection with my tattoo artist as I found out that his wife had just been diagnosed with breast cancer. I found friendship with his wife and a relationship with him, knowing he’d be the only one ever do my future tattoos. (Brian’s in Abbotsford)
After I got my breast reconstruction completed I only had one more step to complete and that was to have the areola tattooed to match the color of the other. So I had Brian do that one as well, with his wife present…he did hers later.
When I was 25 I got another tattoo of a sun with a fish symbol in the middle. I designed this one as well and have it on my very lower back. This reminds me that each day that the sun rises and sets, I am called to be a fisher of men. The fish of course is a symbol of my faith and also a reminder to me to “Seize the Day”.
Just after I was married I headed off to see Brian again, this time with another Pastor’s daughter friend of mine, Karla. This time I got two little joining music notes, to symbolize my marriage to Chris. I had them put on my reconstructed breast, which was great because I don’t have any feeling there!
7 years ago my best friend Carmen got the idea that she and I should have matching tattoos. I designed a sunflower, which was our favourite flower, and I had mine put on my left shoulder. Just over 2 years later, Carmen passed away suddenly. I’m so glad that I have the tattoo in loving memory of my best friend.
I often wondered what my next tattoos would be of, they are very addictive. I didn’t imagine that they would be three black dots on my chest, by which to line up radiation beams for cancer treatment. But they are now tattoos number 7,8 and 9. Even though they are small, they have earned their place on my body.
I intend to get some more tattoos when this ordeal is over. I plan to get two small music notes to go with the others, to symbolize my girls. I also want to get small wings on my lower neck, across part of my shoulders. With the Bible verse reference, Isaiah 41, “…mount up on wings like eagles, run and not be weary, walk and not faint.” Not to leave out that the wings have many “feathers”:)
I intend to walk, run and fly for a long time yet! I’ve also thought of putting a pink ribbon, for breast cancer, on my big toe. Perhaps sometime in a year or so from now, but in the meantime I feel that I can share much of my life story from my tattoos. I’ve never regretted getting my tattoos and they feel as much a part of me now as my scars do. They are markings on my body that I’ve had the choice to have. The tattoos and scars tell of the great work that God has done in my life.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Not fun at all!

Now that wasn't any fun at all! I had my radiation planning appointment today and had to lie perfectly still for a long period of time, while they formed a mold around my right arm up over my head and my chin off to the left. About a quarter of a way through my arm was completely asleep, but still of course able to feel absolute discomfort. Self pity set in as I considered crying and realized I had to stay that way or they would have to start all over again. I felt like I was in a modern day torture chamber as my arm ached more and more. I rarely feel sorry for myself, but I did today for about 20-25 minutes. I finally begged my nurse, how much longer, and she said 5 minutes. Then she came and gently massaged the life back into my right arm. I dare say it was the best massage I've ever had! Relieved, I realized it was probably the most uncomfortable I've been through this entire ordeal,and I just didn't expect it. The three small, black, tattoos seemed like a peice of cake, after that! I'm glad it's over and that Lord willing I'll never have to do that again!!
Perhaps the discomfort was so great because it wasn't forseeable and it wasn't an actual cancer fighting agent. It's easier to handle the pain when I know the cancer is being beating as a result. Anyway, I'm fine now and heading to bed for a nap.
My first radiation treatment has been confirmed for Wed. Dec 5th.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

My New Normal.

The last few days I’ve been feeling…well normal; though as soon as I say that, I realize that I’ll never be the same. So this will be my new normal. I’ve been feeling like I’ve never even had cancer treatment, physically anyway. My scars serve as a reminder of all I’ve been through, but I no longer feel the pain. I’ve been able to exercise as I use to and I’ve been sleeping much better. I don’t feel as overwhelmed with my circumstances and I feel much more in control of my daily activities. Having said all that, perhaps it’ll all go away with radiation treatment.
Tomorrow I have my radiation planning appointment, where they spend 2 hours lining up the radiation beams and tattooing where they will enter and exit. I woke up with a Kink in my neck that better be gone by tomorrow, since I have to lie perfectly still in the position they put me in, the whole time. I’m kind of hoping I fall asleep.
Yesterday I had the oddest sensation, hail falling hard on my bald head! Very odd but kind of COOL at the same time!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Today's Quote

"In the middle of difficuly lies opportunity." - Albert Einstein

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Perks to having breast cancer twice by 35...

1. Getting ready takes less than 30 minutes when it use to take just over an hour, because no washing hair, shaving, blow drying, styling or putting on mascara.
2. I don’t ever have to wear a bra again! (and not just because I’m flower child
3. I get to realize that everyone around me has something to offer me and in turn I get to realize that I have something to offer them.
4. I get to really embrace my inner beauty.
5. My weight fluctuates so much that I get to buy new clothes all the time.
6. I can be a blonde, brunette or red head any day of the week, and my husband has no complaints:)
7. I can say what I want and I finally don’t worry about what other people think.
8. I can’t remember the last time I did my own vacuuming.
9. I can get a prescription for the “medicinal” legal version of what my parent’s use to grow out back.
10. I can draw my eyebrows where ever and however I want.
11. I finally found ONE thing about Brittany Spears that I can relate to...being bald!

Who knew a walk could feel so good!

After 6 months of chemotherapy, today was actually my first official day off of treatment. As yesterday would have been another treatment, today is 22 days since my last one! I really do feel free from it. I felt normal all day today. I had a good nights sleep for the first time in a long time, and I woke up feeling good and rested. I felt ready to return to life as normal and what better way for me to do that, then to go for a nice long walk! So the girls, Lizzy and her daughter Leah, and Carmelle and Cadence and I headed off to the Theatre to see the Bee Movie. We walked about 45 minutes there and back, and I felt fine! It was very empowering and invigorating; it was like getting back on my favourite horse. I look forward to many long walks and work-outs on the treadmill. It’s so great to know that I can do it without foot blisters, shortness of breath, dizziness, muscles aches and joint pain.
Last night I went for a clothes fitting, as I’ll be modeling in a fashion show at Ladies conference in Richmond. When I was asked to model, I said, “If you need a plus sized, bald girl without real breasts…then I’m your girl!” If someone had told me that I’d be modeling at a size 16, and bald, I would have never believed them. But I will be in two weeks. I do intend to be a size 15 by then; with lots of walking and good eating It’s all about how you walk into a room and through it, that makes you a good model, not what size you are. I’m looking forward to the opportunity.

May they never forget.

People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
Quote by Maya Angelou

Thursday, November 8, 2007

You know you’ve finally cut yourself some slack when….by Feather Janz

1. You see your snotty nose kid and just smile:)
2. You go to the store and pick-up a new tube of toothpaste, rather than unpack the tubes you already packed to move to the new house.
3. You just pay the $10 to buy the DVD that is a month overdue.
4. You go to the grocery store with no make-up AND don’t hide from the people you recognize.
5. You don’t bat an eye when all the well intentioned people helping with housework don’t put anything away where it actually belongs AND you just leave it where it is.
6. When the “10 second rule” becomes the, “It’s our house so it doesn’t matter how long it’s been on the floor-rule”.
7. The only clothes you have to put in the laundry are your PJ’s because you’ve worn nothing else for a few days straight.
8. You can’t remember the last time you washed your hair or shaved, oh yeah…I don’t have any hair yet!
9. When your gym pass picture was taken before you were pregnant with your last child.
10. Someone writes, “This needs to be dusted.” On your entertainment centre and you laugh because you actually think it’s funny!

Perhaps you could think of 10 ways you could cut yourself some slack today and in the future!!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Genetic What?!?!?

Genetic Testing was suggested by my oncologist today. I started with a new oncologist, as my other one has gone on maternity leave. My new oncologist is Dr. Karen Glemon, a leading physician in the field of Breast Cancer oncology in Canada and the world. The Dr. I was meeting with for the past 7 months was is a part of her team and she has had a hand in my care since I started. She said some encouraging things to me today, she said I looked healthy and told me that my blood counts were that of someone who hasn’t had any treatment. She also told me that I was beautiful with or without hair. She has known me for several years, through the breast cancer foundation we shared the podium many tines. It was great to get a hug from her and to feel like I was in such good hands.
She suggested to me today that I might have genetic testing done in the new year. Apparently there is a gene, that obviously I’ve never heard of, that causes young people to get sarcoma and carcinoma cancers, which are the two kinds that I’ve had. She’d like to have me tested for it in the new year but it’s up to me. Right away I said I’d want it done, then I thought about it some more. Do I want to know if I have a gene for cancer that may plague me with tumors for the rest of my life? Do I want to live knowing another cancer is looming around the corner? Do I want to beat this one just to feel defeated knowing it’s just a matter of time before it happens again? The answer to all of those questions, I decided was YES! If I am prone to getting cancer because if my genetics I want to know! I want to do everything I can to give my body a fighting chance at finding and detecting such cancers sooner. I know that almost all cancers if found soon enough can be beaten, I’ve experienced it once and I believe I will again! If I found I had this gene it could be used against me in getting a larger life insurance policy, but in my current circumstances I won’t ever be eligible for more life insurance anyway. I figure if they find out I do have the gene I’ll be watched like a hawk and more medical testing will become more readily available to me, like PET Scans and MRI’s. Having said that I guess I hope that I don’t have the gene and that when this is over, I can put it more behind me. But to be honest, I lived the last 12 years knowing that once you’ve had cancer it’s basically impossible to put it behind you most of the time anyway. So if there’s something to know, I want to know it! Knowledge is power! I’ve said it so many times when speaking and it’s so true. Knowledge is power.
The Dr. said if I don’t have the gene, it could just be related to something my breasts were exposed to while in my teens and my breast were developing. The only thing that I can remember them being exposed to on a regular basis were bust expanding exercises, “I must, I must, I must…increase my bust!” Remember Ladies! If every girl who ever wished for larger breasts got breast cancer, I think we’d have many more cases of breast cancer on our hands!!

Stopping Traffic

It occurred to me today, as a woman stopped to let me into a long line of traffic, that my bald head probably got noticed and she responded by letting me in. I realize that I’ve grown quite accustom to someone always letting me in; just before, it was always a man noticing my long blond locks and letting me in!
I was also paid a huge compliment today at the cancer clinic, as an elderly lady came up to me and said that she was so taken by my presence in the room that tears came to her eyes and she just wanted me to know that. She was a lovely lady, who made me feel very lovely. Just by being me, she noticed something remarkable in me and I didn’t have to do anything at all for the compliment. I thanked her and proceeded to have a very nice talk with her.
She shared with me a bit of her journey with cancer and also her heart ached attached to sharing her story. Her “closest” friend shut her out when she was diagnosed and now she’s afraid to share with others her experience. I told her of my openness with my journey over the last 12 years and how I have gained so many new and rich relationships. I shared with her that I have all but “advertised” my circumstances.
There has been some risk involved, that some may violate my “space” with their opinions. But mostly I’ve experienced nothing but respect. In fact I’ve been humbled by the respect shown by many and their willingness to give so much of themselves to myself and my family.
I have learnt in life, that trusting others with my “stuff” in turn makes me more trustworthy to them. Keeping things to myself and hiding “secrets”, doesn’t gain the trust of others or self-respect. I suppose self-respect reflects respect from others and trusting others, reflects that you are trustworthy. These things are such, the “stuff” of lif;, a life worth living. I carry them with me as I live my life.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Transition Time

I feel a real sense of transition in my life right now. It’s a shifting of sorts, in so many ways. As I feel the peach fuzz growing on my scalp, transitioning from bald to a short hair-do. I watched my brother transition from bachelor to husband and my parent’s have their last child wed. Our home is mostly in boxes preparing to move to our new house. We are so excited about making the new house our family home and business. I’m in between chemo ending and radiation starting and defiantly feeling like I have the worst behind me. The weight is starting to come off and I’m eager to start exercising and getting back in shape. I feel like the New Year has so many new beginnings for us. The future seems to get brighter and brighter each day.
Though I do realize I miss my husband more while he’s working out of town. I think I use to be so busy working and feeling well that it was easier when he was away. Now I notice his absence so much more and his loving presence missing from the home. I also acknowledge that what doesn’t break a relationship only makes’ it stronger and we’ve defiantly experienced a stronger and deeper bond ourselves. Being together for exactly 10 years now, a whole decade, probably helps. We are looking forward to Chris returning home to us tomorrow afternoon.

I was emailed this one....

There once was a woman who woke up one morning,
Looked in the mirror,
and noticed she had only three hairs on her head.

Well," she said, "I think I'll braid my hair today?"
So she did and she had a wonderful day.

The next day she woke up,
looked in the mirror
and saw that she had only two hairs on her head.

"H-M-M," she said,
"I think I'll part my hair down the middle today?"
So she did and she had a fantastic day.

The next day she woke up,
looked in the mirror and noticed that she had only one hair on her head.

"Well," she said,
"today I'm going to wear my hair in a pony tail."
So she did and she had a fun, fun day.

The next day she woke up,
looked in the mirror and noticed that there wasn't a single hair on her head.

"YEA!" she exclaimed,
"I don't have to fix my hair today!"

Attitude is everything.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

The Quote I found for today...

"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but by the moments that
take our breath away"

Thursday, November 1, 2007

You know you are getting old when...

My baby brother, Daniel, is getting married! Some of you may not even know that I have a brother who is 13 years younger than me. Most of you know I have a brother named Forrest who is 4 years younger, but mostly Daniel was mistaken for being my son for much of my life.(which would have been technically impossible, just for the record:) It started when I was 16 and would sometimes drive him around in the car seat. And when I moved out on my own I started having him come for over night visits when I was ages 20-25. Still to this day I have poeple who think I was a single Mom before I got married and have a son in his 20's now. Oh well...I'm proud of him for just being Daniel and especially now as we are looking forward to him making life long vows to his love, Racheal.
We'll be travelling as a family down to Seattle for the wedding. Please pray that we don't have any trouble at the border as Chris will be flying to St. Louis as we drive home Sunday morning. He's got a work visa to join the band Starfield for their concerts there. Chris hasn't been to the border since he was denied at the beginning of Sept.
I'm just starting to feel better after my 8th and final chemo treatment. I'm still having to take some medications for aching bones, muscles and joints. I'll have to take extra anti nausea meds for the long drive to Seattle, I don't handle being the passenger at the best of times:)Also our girls have never been on such a long road trip, we hope all goes well. The Wedding is on Saturday and our little Cadence will be the flower girl:)She'll be wearing the outfit that Carmelle wore at the same age to be Auntie Kelsey's flower girl:)
We are looking forward to making lifelong family memories this weekend!
What will you do with your family this weekend, to make lifelong memories?!?

Friday, October 26, 2007

Quote for my Day!

"Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat" Teddy Roosevelt

Quote for my Day!

"Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat" Teddy Roosevelt

Reflections of the Cross.

The following is an article I just wrote that will be published in the next publication of the "Reflections of the Cross" newsletter, put out by Rosslyn Delmonico(my mentor)and Valley Christian women's Network.

It's Entitled:

Living my miracle in the midst of the “C”-word.

Do miracles still happen today? Or were they just for biblical times? I know miracles are happening around and in my life often, because I believe it and I choose to see them. Big or small my Saviour Jesus Christ made them all and I do believe that they are even more prevalent in our modern times. Many of my life miracles can be condensed into 6 “C” words; Conception, Conversion, Christ, Cancer, Childbirth and Choosing. ( And NO I didn’t choose my name, it was given to me at birth by my Hippie Parent’s:))

I was first diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 23. Within the hour of being diagnosed I remember very clearly praying out loud, “Lord, whether in my life or in my death, I just want you to use me.” At the time the desire and prayer of my heart was that my life wouldn’t be over anytime soon, as I’d fully intended to find my true love,Chris Janz, get married and become a Mommy to our two girls, Carmelle and Cadence . I cried out to God, that I’d have a miracle in body and that the cancer would be gone. I do believe that the miracle came and I lived free from cancer for 12 years.

With in this time, I met my wonderful husband Chris, fell in love, had the wedding and just shy of 5 years later was expecting our first baby. I was so close to having everything I’d asked God for, I was living my miracle. God heard my prayers and answered them, in His time. The miracle of life was growing inside of me, which was soon to be discovered to be our daughter Carmelle. I embraced my time of being pregnant because, I realized it was the only time I was going to assist God in a miracleJ

When I went into labour with Carmelle, many things went wrong very quickly. When I realized that our baby was in serious trouble, I remember praying out to God, knowing that this child was His, but that I desperately wanted to meet him or her. I desired to love this child, even though I knew that the love I had to give was only a fraction of the love He had to give both of us. Carmelle was born as a “code pink”, an emergency C-section, with me under immediate anesthetic and Chris pushed out of the OR, so Carmelle could be resuscitated. She was born not breathing, with no heart beat and with her lungs and stomach full of myconium. They didn’t know how long she’d gone without oxygen, so she was in an incubator in the special care nursery for the first few days, while they observed her for any brain damage. She is now a perfecting healthy, active and precocious 4 yr. old, who’d sternly correct me and state that she is in fact, 4 and a half!

When I was pregnant I was also able to realize what a miracle my own existence was. Recognizing the miracle of my own conception, even though my parent’s marriage didn’t last and I was the only child, I wasn’t a mistake. My life was God’s plan from the beginning to the end. Now is that not a miracle that we can all claim in our own lives?!?

I found Christ and converted to Christianity, into a then non-Christian home, when I was only 7 years old. I discovered Christ and the Bible through my Great-Aunt Catherine, who was a Nun and a beacon for Christ in my young life and through into my 20’s. One Summer Sunday morning in 1979, I obeyed the Lord’s call, when He made clear to me that I couldn’t enter His house that day with out Him being “King” in the castle of my heart. This was the second Sunday school song I ever learnt, “Let His flag fly High in the castle of my heart”, the first was, “He brought me to His banqueting table, His banner over me His Love.” That day I prayed in my neighbour lady’s car, right there in the parking lot, and then testified in front of the entire Sunday school program of 100 of my peers. (That was met first speaking engagement.) I soon learnt my first Bible verse, which has been a theme verse for my life, Matthew 5:14, “You are the light of the world, a city on a hill cannot be hidden.” I received my very first Bible and entered an essay contest, “What the Bible means to me.” I won that contest, with my mother helping me write my words, and she received Christ as her Lord and Saviour soon after.

When I was 17, God called on me to serve Him in the mission field. Over the subsequent 10+ years I served in South Central LA, East LA, Australia, Camden New Jersey, Belfast N. Ireland, Germany, England and in my community. All of these experiences brought miraculous changes to my life and to my spiritual walk through it.

Chris and I got married in June of 1998 and we wanted to wait until I was 7 years cancer free before trying to start a family. Just as we started to put the “plan into action”, of bringing a new life into the world, my best friend Carmen (Toews) Anderson was called Home to Jesus. The tragic loss of Carmen left a huge void in my life and in the lives of so many who loved her. She was the sister I’d never had, she was my matron-of-honour, she was my sounding board for my life decisions and my side-kick. She was irreplaceable, but when my first daughter was born 9 months later, she was to bear the name of my childhood best friend, Carmen- Elizabeth (Carmelle). My 17 year friendship with Carmen was a miracle and so was her life. She taught me many things, but the one thing I reflect on the most these days, is how she truly embraced each day of her life in the face of her own mortality.

On March 16th, 2007, 12 years and 6 days after my first diagnosis with breast cancer, I was told I had cancer again, only this time a different form of breast cancer. I faced another mastectomy, 6 months of chemotherapy, 6 weeks of radiation and a year of IV herceptin treatment. I’m now half way done and the worst is behind me. I haven’t mourned the loss of my breasts or my long blonde hair, instead I have decided to choose to see the miracles. I choose to celebrate the miracles of each new day, each day being one that the Lord has made and I shall rejoice and be glad in it! Big or small, I sense His presence and hand in everything. Even in the fact that I have a nicely shaped bald head…that being bald brings out my eyes…that God guided the hand of my gifted plastic surgeon…and that my husband is a "butt-man" who appreciates my “Chemo-padded” one:)

I challenge you to look into your own life, find your miracles and to pray for your own “C’s”.

To follow my journey of “C’s” log onto my website and read my blog at:

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Suffering from uninspired chemo-brain!

I sat down to write on my blog, hoping something thought provoking and inspired would come to me. But alas...nothing. As my final chemo causes it's last amount of brain damage, brain cells not multiplying and dying because of the chemo drugs, I have nothing to write, offer or give. Even these few sentences have taken me several minutes to compile and I've had to correct about 8 words already. Sorry if I missed any:)It's a beautiful Fall day outside, Lizzy has taken the girls off for a walk and to the park, Chris is on an airplane to Calgary and I hardly have the energy to write even this. I'm glad at least that the lives of those I love, continues on around me. I'm happy that my cancer doesn't get to stop everything, just the cellular development in my body right now (including those dang cancer cells:)
Chris is going to the CGMA's (Canadian Gospel Music Awards) He'll be doing some workshops, presenting awards and hopfully winning for Producer of the Year, which he's nomoinated for the second year in a row! He'll also perform live on a local radio station, 3 of his new songs. Pray that he makes lots of new contacts and possible producing gigs that he can do in our new home studio in the new year!
I'm going to go eat something and rest my body, that's my job right now, and I'm doing it well:)!!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Packing has started...

When I'm feeling up to it, I pack as many boxes as possible. At this rate should go fairly smoothly over the next weeks. I pack a box or two and then take a break. It's A system that seems to be working and isn't very stressful. I'm starting to crash from the chemo. THe first couple of days aren't so bad because of the steriods. By tomorrow I crash for a few days. I hope to be feeling much better by next week and I'm looking forward to a few weeks of feeling pretty good. My hair will start to grow back around a month from now. By spring I should have a cute new short do. I'm off to sleep now. Last night I slept 16 hours, I'm hoping the same for tonight.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Who's the idiot...oh it's my husband:)

We were in Vancouver for my final chemo and it good Vancouver, West Coast, fashion it was pouring rain! So we stopped at a store where Chris could run in and get an umbrella. While I was waiting for him to return I noticed a guy walking through the down pour holding a closed umbrella. I thought, what an idiot, why doesn't he open his umbrella and use it!! Then I realized the "idiot" was my dear husband!! When he got in the car soaked, twice as wet as he should have been, we had a good laugh. As he too thought to himself half way to the car, I'm an idiot why don't I have my umbrella open?!? We laughed until our faces hurt, so we didn't care how wet and dismal it was outside:)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Dates set...

We signed the deal to our new house last night! My parent's came to see the house as well. They were very excited for us, as they walked through our soon-to-be home, they were impressed with how nice it is. We thought the house looked even better seeing it the second time, as our home. So moving day is Saturday Dec 1st. If you are available and willing around that date to help us with, packing, moving, cleaning and unpacking, please contact us! You can find my contact info atmy website:
I've just returned from my radiation oncology appointment. Treatment will start on Monday Dec 3rd. SO I have about a month of recovery time between Chemo ending and radiation starting. This is great for me, as treatment doesn't interfer with packing and moving.
This does mean that treatment will go over the holiday season and into the New Year. I'll have to have treatment on my birthday, but I'm glad with how it's working out. This will be what's best for me and my family.
The Radiation Oncologist was very encouraging today that I should feel quite normal on radiation treatment. The hardest part is going in every day for the 6 weeks. She said it will be a bit longer because of missing three days over the holidays (Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Years Day) and they will probably add and extra day, making it 29 treatments total.
Anyway, I'm off to a nap, as are my girls. All is quite, but never for long around here:)

Sunday, October 14, 2007

House SOLD!!

IT’s TRUE!! In less than 24 hours, we had an offer on the house, they saw it this afternoon, and we are signing the paper work tonight!! Because it was through people we know and not with our Real estate agent, we save the fees. Plus we only had to show the house once!! YEAH!!! We feel so good about all of this. We feel so reassured that we’ve made the right decision. We sure feel God’s hand of blessing on us and our new house. It’s all happened so fast, it’s a bit of a whirl wind, but very exciting!! We don’t know when exactly we’ll be moving yet, but they’d like to have the end of November. We still feel that even sooner is better for us, even though it’ll be crazy. I’d like to move before radiation therapy starts and Chris starts a big project in Mid- Nov. Please pray that this too will happen for us. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, anything is possible for God!!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

House for Sale.

It’s true, we are selling our house. It’s all happened very quickly. It’s a long story so I’ll try to shorten it. The move is good, in fact it’s great! We were given an offer we can’t refuse. People we know from our church contacted us and asked us if we’d be interested in buying their house. It’s a large family home with a full recording studio in it! When we saw it we couldn’t believe that we could have it, it just seemed to good to be true! We met with our real estate agent the next day and our mortgage broker. We found out that we can make over $100,000 on the sale of our house in just 2 years and we got approved for the mortgage, which is hardly more than we are paying now. We’ll be saving by using our studio instead of renting studio space all of the time, in some crazy way we’ll actually save money moving to this bigger house! Plus Chris will completely have his own business! Like I said it sounds to good to be true, but it isn’t. In my world that’s called a “God Thing”. Yes, we have the stress of moving, selling and packing, but I love having a big project to work on and something so great to look forward to. This is what’s best for my family. Chris can work so much more right from home, and the house is a great deal and is in a fantastic neighbourhood. The view is incredible and the property is on a cul-de-sac street and backs on to greenbelt. We feel so blessed and can’t believe that this could happen to us, especially during such a crazy time. It’s like an answer to prayer that we weren’t even praying. God knows the desires of our hearts and knows what’s best for us. The other great thing is that there is an –in-law type suite, where my best friend Lizzy will be living. She’s been helping us like a live-in Nanny, she’s a real God sent as well. We love her and don’t know what we would do with out her!!
Please pray that our house sells as soon as possible and that we’ll be settled into our new house by Christmas, before my radiation therapy would be even better, and even though some may think that’s impossible:) Nothing is impossible with God!!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Drainage Problem...

As the chemo continues to cause many changes in my body that I didn’t expect, another arises. You don’t realize how handy your nose hairs are until you don’t have any! You expect that when you sniff, everything stays as it should. But you don’t understand what a great assistance those nose hairs are, until you are having a drainage problem and you’ve lost control! I can’t get to the tissue fast enough, even when I often have one right in my pocket. Thank goddness for laminate floors and paper towel, as just tilting forward and hoping no one notices has become the most common and easiest solution. I’m just waiting for the day when my four year old is directly under me, when I can’t help but laughing out loud about the incident and she exclaims, “S’NOT FUNNY MOMMY!”

Sunday, October 7, 2007

God's Will?

I had a distressing experience this week when a well intended man, dropped off a book for me. The opening quote made me sick to my stomach. (sicker than the chemo made me feel)I believed that the theology was off...way off. I wrote my father-in-law for his thoughts on the matter, since he is a gifted, renowned, and published theologian. The opening quote was this, "God's perfect will is not to heal you...His perfect will is that you don't get sick!"- Henry W. Wright I won't read any further at that point. My gut reaction was to burn the book, or at the very least give it back to him, or just get rid of it.

The following is the written response of my Father-in-law, Dr. Paul D Janz. He was able to articulate very eloquently and intelligently, what I was thinking and feeling and knew to be right.


Dr Paul D Janz
Dept of Theology and Religious Studies
King's College London

My goodness, Feather, I can see how this would have been distressing! I'm very glad you didn't read any further, and God bless you for it! These kinds of things are always a 'false gospel', and a false gospel of the most insipid and devious and contemptible kind. You're probably right that the person who gave you the book was well intentioned, but the original perpetrators of this kind of thing not only pervert and destroy the very heart of the gospel but invariably also do it for selfish gain.

They are false and perverted to the core because they effectively deny the agony of Gethsemane and the Cross, from which Jesus himself asked to be spared but was not. They deny Christ's suffering without which there is no redemption for us (Heb. 2). They deny the example of the apostle Paul, who was throughout his whole ministry plagued with an illness so
severe that it was a 'trial' to those around him, an illness which he pleaded with God three times to be delivered from, only to be given the answer: 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness' (2 Cor. 12.9). In fact Paul says explicitly to the Galatians: 'You know that it was because of a bodily illness that I preached the gospel to you the first time; and that which was a trial to you in my bodily condition you did not despise or loathe, but you received me as an angel of God, as Christ Jesus Himself' (Gal 4.12-14). St Paul talks in fact about 'rejoicing in our sufferings because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope' (Rom 5.3). Hebrews 2:10 talks about Jesus himself 'being made perfect through suffering' and only through suffering becoming 'the author of our salvation'. All the Pauline epistles are full of this kind of language, and so are the gospels. Many of the most loving and selfless missionaries, such as David Livingstone, suffered deep and long from very severe and agonizing illness and were a blessing from God to the world for it! Or
think of people like Vern Heidebrecht who shine out the love and righteousness of God in new and more powerful ways because of illness, and in illness.

The people who perpetrate this kind of thing (not the person who gave you the book, poor soul) are just like the 'name it and claim it' lot, whose god is their wallets and their stomach. If you really want to know what I think of these kinds of people, who prey on poor souls with less life experience and wisdom than you have, read Jude 11-13. Their website confirms even more strongly their status as purveyors of those kinds of perversions. You can see that this kind of thing really hits a nerve with me, because it goes to the heart of everything that the Christian life is not, and denies everything I believe about the life and power of Jesus Christ.

God bless you Feather! And thank you for writing to me about this. You are a shining light for people around you, even, and maybe especially, when you are most downtrodden. And in bearing your own suffering with the forbearance and hope that you do, you yourself are a 'participant in the sufferings of Christ' himself (1 Peter 4.13) and a 'reflection of his glory' to the rest of us!

You're in our prayers every day many times. God bless you again!

Happy Thankgiving from my 4 year old...

Thank-you for Jesus.
Thank-you for hugs.
Thank-you for unicorns ( oh yeah there's not such thing as unicorns:)
Thank-you for horses.
Thank-you for making us.
Thank-you for all the food.
Thank-you for water, and Choclate mail and juice.
Thank-you for fairs and rides.
Thank-you for candy treats.
Thank-you for our house.
Thank-you for Grandma's and Grandpa's.
Thank-you for friends and my best friend Miranda.
Thank-you for our babysitter Jessica.
Thank-you for Awana club.
Thank-you for games.
Thank-you for dress-up playtime.
Thank-you for Mommy, Daddy, Cadence and Auntie Lizzy.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Sometimes the Truth sounds like this...

A telemarketer called today and I answered. He told me the company he worked for and then said, "And how are you today?" I replied, very matter-of-factly,"I feel like Crap. I have cancer. I've just had chemo and I don't have the time or the energy to talk to you today. Good-bye." He simply said, "Oh, okay, good-bye" What could he say? I spoke the truth and didn't think twice about it. I wasn't emotional, it's just the way it is. Today was a particularly painful day. I pray that tomorrow is better.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

My new friend's "birds-eye-view" of the Run for the Cure...

I've made a new friend, Jillian, just in the last couple of weeks. I met her on facebook, she knew Chris through her siblings from MEI school days. I met her in person the first time when she came to our benefit concert. Then she came out to support me with the run for the Cure. She wrote me a very nice email about her experience with us at the event. I'd like to share it with you:

Yesterday was a special day for me. I wasn't going to miss it, no matter what got in the way.

I arrived at Rotary around 845am and didn't know what to do. I didn't know anyone and I couldn't find the sign you described in your blog so I sat beside a pillar and waited. It was raining so hard and everyone was trying to make the best of it. Not too much later, a mom and her daughter arrived with the famous signs you described on your blog. I was so happy to see those signs because that meant it was really happening. Your friend and her daughter put so much into making those signs. (they even put plastic over to protect from the rain). Then I saw you with Chris and your two girls (there were others with you as well). You both had your arms full of bags, papers, blankets and were pulling the little 'tent' with your girls inside. You arrived and set out blankets for us to sit on so we wouldn't get cold or wet from the rain.
You never asked to be put in the situation you are in. You never asked to have cancer or gain weight from all the different treatments/medications. You also never asked for your beautiful, long hair to fall out. Yes, you have cancer, but Feather, you have inspired me so much (my eyes are filling up with tears as I write this). I made two changes in my life last night when I was in Abbotsford and its because of you and what you have shown me the few weeks I've known you. Feather, thank you for being who you are and showing me there is so much more to life than trying to have all the latest clothes, cars...material things, you know what I mean.
I was very impressed because you did just have your seventh chemo two days prior. You have such amazing energy. You didn't stop moving around and going from one event/booth to another. Its was too bad Chris had to leave before the run even started, but it was nice to see him supporting you. (he even wore a pink bandana!) When I was at your house (later on) he told me his computer just crashed and he was trying to fix it before he had to go out. I wouldn't have known if he hadn't said something. He looked pretty calm and relaxed to me. Please thank him again for the cd and shirt - I haven't stopped listening to the CD.

Last comment - your mom. When she first arrived, she happened to be standing in front of me and I thought she was a friend supporting you. Nope, she introduced herself as your mom and I couldn't believe it. She was there supporting you and cheering for you. I'm sure your mom has been through many tough times along your journey, but when I saw her I was touched again. She was there with her 'fly' hat and 'birds of a feather fighting together' shirt on. I'm so glad I could meet her and get to know her.
Moms are the best, in every way!

Feather, I know you have so much on your plate, but thank you. Your facebook and email accounts are always open to anyone -even the door to your house. You don't turn anyone away and always find time for people like myself who just met you and want to get to know you even more.

All the best as you recover and rest this week. I know (if not already) you'll be on your feet organizing the next event trying to raise money for breast cancer as soon as you can.

3 quotes that inspired me today...

Live for today, Hope for tomorrow!

Don't hurry God.
The problems that we think may drown us today could be the stepping-stones to greater spiritual strength tomorrow. Max Lucado

Remember God is in control. Remember His Goodness in the past, His Closeness in the present, and His Power for the future. Max Lucado

Monday, October 1, 2007

Life is full of sweet things.

I found a shirt that I love. I usually don't wear shirts that say stuff on them but I loved this one. It says, "Life is full of sweet things."
Everyday I look for the sweet things, the things to be grateful for.

Then I was sent the following through facebook, which made me think and feel a little deeper today, beyond the chemo drugs:

Laugh when you can,
Apologize when you should,
And let go of what you can’t change.
Kiss slowly, Play Hard
Forgive quickly, Take chances
Give everything and have no regrets.
Life is to short to be anything but happy.

Life is full of sweet things!

Thank-you abc!

I stopped by my "work" place, abc restaurant yesterday. I had to fight back my tears, from the moment I walked in. All of the staff were wearing my pink "birds of a feather fighting together" T-shirts. I was so overwhelmed by their display of support. I felt such moral support and appreciation. Not to mention that they all look great in pink! They are some hot ladies working there! I snapped a couple photos of them and went on my way before I burst into tears. They will be wearing the shirts for the month of October, for breast cancer awareness month. The shirts are for sale at abc in Abbotsford and the proceeds go to support my family. My boss at abc, Terry and Blanche Dawes, are covering half the cost of the T-shirts and the staff are covering the other half. It’s a fundraiser for my family but also a wonderful show of support for me, what a moral booster!
I know that many of the staff have had breast cancer touch their lives through a mother, sister, Grandmother or friend. So they are doing it for their loved ones as well. Breast cancer strikes 1 in 8 women and I hope and pray that it’ll never affect the lives of any of my co-workers. Even though I’m not working there right now, I look forward to returning. Sometimes it’s difficult visiting the restaurant because I’m so looking forward to when I can return. Unfortunately the Doctor says it could be as much as a year before I can work again. I long for the time to work with my friends again. I miss them so much!
Thank you my dear friends at abc!!

Sunday, September 30, 2007

The CIBC Run for the CURE

This was the 8th year that I’ve participated in the Run for the Cure. Again this year I set my goal high for fundraising and I did well. I managed to raise $5,345, almost a thousand came in the last three days!! Thanks to all of you for your support! A group of my friends came out and got soaked in the rain. It was pouring so I wasn’t able to actually do the 1km, even in my wheel chair. I didn’t want to risk getting wet, cold and sick. My friend Cindy and her daughter Amber made beautiful signs that said, “Feather’s Flock”. We got lots of great pictures and we were all in pink. All the friends of Feather wore their, “Birds of a Feather Fighting together” T-shirts.(When I stopped by abc restaurant, they were all wearing my pink T-shirts as well, it was very touching)
My new friend Lori shared her story on the stage at the run. She is 36, newly married, and she’s got stage 4 breast cancer. Lori has been fighting for about 3 years. Her lungs and liver are full of metestatic breast cancer, please think of her in your prayers. I hope to connect with her more in the new future.
I thank God for all of my friends. I had friends come out today that I’ve known for 30 years and others for only a couple weeks. Not to leave out my Mom who’s known me the longest of all The support was overwhelming and lovely. I managed not to cry all day, but I chocked up many times. I participated in the survivor walk and got a special pink survivor T-shirt. I also got a big pink umbrella. I managed to stay warm, just as my hands were getting cold a kind woman gave me her gloves to keep. I had to sit down and rest a lot, my umbrella doubled as a cane and by the end the wheelchair came in very handy.
Over the past 4 years I’ve raised over $14,000 for Breast cancer research, treatment, diagnosis and awareness. It is my hope and prayer that this will literally pay off for me and that my cancer will be cured!! Even though my girls didn’t last long at the run today, they got to cold (they wouldn’t keep their mittens on) , Chris ended up taking them home early but we did get some great photos. By their small participation today, it gave me hope that theirs will be a future without breast cancer.

Saturday, September 29, 2007


Walking down town Vancouver a couple days ago I came across a printed statment on a board that made me stop and think. It said, " Be Kind...Everyone has their own battle to fight." For me it's my cancer...for others it may something else. But what every their battle, lesser or greater in my eyes, it's still their battle. They may be discouraged, not knowing if their battle is to be won or maybe lost. Wheather it's a battle with depression, addiction, abuse, childhood sexual abuse, financial bankrupcy, feelings of failure, suicidal thoughts, eating disorder, loneliness, seperation, divorce, health issues, death of a loved one, self-loathing etc. What ever their battle is, it is their own, it's what they know, it's their personal experience, that deserves to be respected. I believe and have for most of my life, but only more so now...that everyone I met has something to offer me. By their workds of their presence, there is something I can learn from them and take from their life experience. I also believe that I also am worth the same. Please take the time to be kind, even if it's a street person who deserves to be looked in the eye, told God Bless you, perhaps even needs some money for drugs so they can cope with their day, until such time they have the strength to find a healthier coping machanism. Don't we all need encourgement to get through our personal battles.
At this moment I'm struggling with issues about my weight, perhaps it's easier to think about that than my cancer. Once chemo's over it's soemthing I can focus on beating. I tipped the scales at 201 lbs yesterday. Not a great momnet for me. But a battle I will win in the new year.
Be kind and think about your own battles and the battles of others, let's be warriors for each other!!

Not YET!

The babysitter was washing Carmelle's hair at bathtime the other night, and as she started taking out her ponytails she said, "Hold still Carmlle, I'm just going to take your hair out." Carmelle replyed, NO not yet, My hair doesn't come out until I'm a big lady like Mommy!"
I'm sure she'd look super sute with a bald head, just like her Mommy does:) But I hope and pray she'll never have it as a her reality. I'm loving watching my girls hair grow nice and long:)

BC Christian Info news

Hey, check out October's issue of BC Christian info news, I'm on the front page. Apparently they used the great picture of the girls painting my bald head. Go get a copy and share it! I havent' seen it yet but I'm very touched:)

The Janz Family Benefit Concert ( warning, this a long one:)!)

Many people have contacted me wondering how the benefit concert went. I had not written yet because it took awhile to reconcile all of the numbers. But now everything has been counted and balanced. I’m happy to report that we met the goal we set, which was to raise $10,000 for our family. Not all the money was raised the night of the concert, we had some very generous donaters come forward before the event. In fact we had $6050.00 come in before the night even started! The most exciting part of that is that most it came from only 2 sources. A dear friend from back to my night school days, Jill and her Husband Scott donated $1,000! They felt that God laid it on their hearts to help in this way and we are so grateful for their act of obedience. Then we had our socks blown off when two sisters contacted us and wanted to financially bless us. They had heard me speak 5 years ago when one of them was going through her own battle with breast cancer. They also have been very encouraged and uplifted by Chris’s song “Found myself in you”, played daily on Praise 106.5fm. As a result, when they heard about our needs, they stepped up in a big way. When we received their email, we wept. It was the end of a very difficult week for us, with Chris being turned away at the border and losing out on $3,000 very needed income. I had peace that some how God would provide, but I just didn’t know how. These women were going to come to our fundraiser, but they felt we needed the money sooner. So they showed up to hear Chris sing at Northview Church’s HomeComing, and at the end of Chris’s set they came up to me and handed us a cheque for $5,000!! I cried, my Mom cried, Chris composed himself and there were lots of hugs. It was so great to meet Charlene and Jeanine, they were an answer to prayer, especially since our mortgage was due the next day and we were over drawn almost $2,000 in our account. This amount covered it all and then some. We got to do a big grocery shopping trip at Costco and stocked up on a lot of groceries that will last us a long while. What a relief it is to me and my family to not be caring around a financial burden. Financial stress is never easy, but especially not when you are faced in a health crisis at the same time.
Though the Benefit concert was a huge success in so many ways, it ended up that we didn’t sell enough tickets to cover the cost of the night. We were close but a few more people coming out sure would have helped. We were a little disappointed that, many people who said they would come and pay at the door, didn’t make it out. Having said that, we were so happy to see and visit with all the people there. We felt so loved, supported and bless. Those that came were blown away by the show. They were so impressed with Kelsey, Colin and Chris’s performances. They rocked and gave the best performances of their careers, as far as I’m concerned If you didn’t make it you sure missed out, to bad. Maybe next year? We are thinking of doing something very similar in a year, and hopefully it won’t be because we need the money. Lord willing I will be well on the mend and back at work. What I want is to raise some money for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation and also find a much needing family, who is our similar situation, that we can help out. So think about it now and we’ll keep you posted.
Thankfully for us, there were many donations that came the night of the concert that covered the costs and then so much more. We had one cheque come in the night for $1,000, friends that have already been so generous with us. Also another for $600 from someone who couldn’t make it to the concert but wanted to give, he was my summer camp director through out my childhood at Camp Squeah. We also had a couple donations for $500 each, one from someone I’ve only kind of met. We were overwhelmed with people’s generosity and felt very blessed. We couldn’t believe how many people donated time, energy, resources and supplies to make the night such and success and such a professional show.

Thank-you’s go out to:

Firstly we must thank MICHEAL WIPF/ Five Foot Six Productions for doing all the leg work, organizing etc for us. He pulled off a fantastic and professional event. And made my vision of the night come true and went above and beyond!! The final touch was him presenting me with a tear jerking painting of me and my girls, if you haven’t see the photo of them painting my head it was taken from that portrait. The painting now hangs by my bed and was crafted by BECCA GIBBONS. I must share with you an email I received by this gifted artist. It has given me a beautiful reflection on my life that I hold dear to my heart and always will. I must share part of it with you.

Dear Feather,

Although I have never met you, I must admit that having spent the last week or so staring into your face as I painted has been an incredibly profound and impacting experience for me. You have changed me. When Mike commissioned me to do this piece he just briefly explained to me what the concert was about and why he wanted this piece done. It seemed fairly straight forward and so I went to work on it. Suddenly, however, your name and face started popping up in the newspaper and from people, who knew nothing about my painting, mentioning you. I began to look more into your story and learn more about you and this project became so deeply meaningful to me that every time I would work on it I would cry. I too, am a mother of two children with a musician husband and although the daily hardships that you conquer are much more substantial then I could ever comprehend I really found myself relating to you. What I appreciate about what I have read about you is that you are a person who is inhaling life with every breath. What I have learned from you is to embrace moments, welcome life experiences, accept challenges as opportunities to grow, savour the gift of everyday, allow yourself to honestly admit what sucks, cherish those you love and to not lose your identity under the guise of a physical aliment. I have been trying to apply these things to my own life as I choose to laugh off situations with my kids which I would normally find frustrating or as I very intentionally love on my husband a little longer when he goes out the door. You have given me a gift without doing anything more then just being a truly remarkable person. Thank you.
Both my daughter, Bella (3), and I are sad that this painting is over. She likes to sit next to me and pretend to paint and she wants me to shave off my hair so that she can paint on my head just like the girls in the picture. I am sad because although I am pleased with the final painting, it didn't nearly reflect as much radiance that you and your girls actually emitted... I suppose that's the difference having me as the artist as apposed to God as the artist :)
All of that being said, please know that you and your family are in our prayers.

With much gratitude,

Additional Thanks to:

Marika- Intermission entertainment
Western Rubber Group- Mike Roberge and Mike McIntosh
Sapphire Sound- Harold Weins
Mt. Lehman Liquor Store and Lounge- Mr. Paul Esposito Sr. and Sons Frank and Paul Jr.
Perfect Tan- Lisa and Merv Byers
abc Restaurant/ Abbotsford- Terry and Blanche Dawes
Kamda Chiropractic- Tony Hiebert
Best Western Hotel/ Abbotsford- Mebs Tejpar
Jacquie Claggett Mortgage Broker
Rustic Soap Co.- Tonya and Sheldon Walsh
Nu-Tea Imports- Liz Bandelin
Rocky MT. Landscaping- Menno and Karla Koehoorn
Jeannine Boyd and Charlene Notman
Arbonne International- Lizzy Janz Vanderzwan
Charlene Groome
Suzanne Smith
Erin Mussolum
Mint Creative
Zaac Pick
Marika Siebert

Thanks to all the wonderful volunteers who helped out I hope I don't miss anyone:
Sherly Galpin, Lizzy Jane and her daughter Leah Vanderzwan, Caroline Byers,Cindy Best, Tracey and Jeremy Janz, Forrest and Amanda Wagner.
Special Thanks to the sound tech and lighting crew that gave of their time and talents. Thanks to Henry Wendt for staying to the bitter end to help me pack up. We all had to be out of there by midnight of we had to pay more. So because all the otehr guys were so busy getting all the gear out, I was worried but Henry came to my rescue:)
If I'm forgetting anyone I'm so sorry, just know that we know and we couldn't have done it with out you. God Bless you!! To be honest there were pople there helping that I'd never met before and didn't even recognize, what a blessing for you all!!

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Thank-you all for a night we’ll never forget.

We got fabulous pictures from the night and got it on video. I can’t wait to watch it with my girls and be able to send copies to Chris’s parent’s and sister. Chris is working on his live recording and planning to turn it into a live cd for release, with 5 new songs never before released. We hope and pray this could be another source of income for our family in the new year.

The money raised at the concert will help to get us through Christmas.
Other great news we got this week is that I got approved for CPP long term disability pension. This will pay me $1021.00 each month until I can work again. It’s only a third of what I use to earn, but it was more than we thought we could get, if any, so we are grateful!
I had my 7th chemo yesterday.( so is anything I am writing now doesn’t make much sense, it’s the chemo brain, though I’m proof reading the best I can) It takes about 24 hours for the chemo to really metabolize in the body, so I’m just now starting to really feel the effects set in. Once I’m finished writing this I’ll probably sleep until I have to wake up for the CIBC Run for the Cure tomorrow morning. If you can make it out please come!! The opening ceremonies start at 9am. Look for the sign in the stands “Feather’s Flock”, many will be wearing my “Birds of a Feather fighting together” shirts, which can be purchased at the abc restaurant at Clearbrook and Marshall Rd, in Abbotsford.
To date I have raised $4,925 for the Run for the Cure, Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. My first goal was to reach $5,000, I’m so Close!!! Only $75 away. My goal I set before I even knew I had cacner again, was $12,000, to mark 12 years of being cancer free. My ultimate goal is to be the top fundraiser for all of Abbotsford! If you’d like to help me reach any of these 3 goals, donations have to be in less than 24 hours. I believe it’s possible! Anything is possible in my world If you’d like to bring a donation by our house or to the run with you tomorrow morning, or donate on-line at: Click DONATE/ to a PARTICPIPANT/FEATHER JANZ/ run site: ABBOTSFORD
I’d be greatly touched by your support for myself, my family and for the support of breast cancer research, treatment and awareness. Tax receipts will be issued by the Canadian Breast Cancer foundation for the 2007 tax year and will arrive in the mail to you early next year.

Only one more chemo to go, after I recover from this one. I’m planning a kick-off to my chemo treatment the night before my last one on Thursday Sept 18th in Vancouver. It will be a celebration, with dinner, dancing, drinks and maybe even Kareoke!! If you are interested in joining us, let me know and I’ll fill you in on the details. I’m also planning a Halloween/End of chemo/ dress-up party at the end of my treatment, Probably a couple nights before Halloween. It’s a dress-up theme party that you’ll be expected to dress-up like something related to the medical system, cancer, breast cancer etc. Be creative, scrubs are fine, but I’d love to see some one come dress-up up like fake boobs I have a plan for my costume, it’ll be fun. Then when Radiation is done, it’ll be the New year and my 36th birthday. There, will need to be a big birthday party, no pressure The worst will be behind me at that point and the only 9 more months of Herceptin treatment ahead of me after that. ( which they tell me shouldn’t be to hard on me)
I want to have these things to look forward to, it’s very good for my coping and state of mind.
We also really hope to afford a family vacation next spring. We are thinking of doing around the girls birthdays and when I’m feeling up to it. It’ll also be our 10th wedding anniversary. I’ll be feeling much better and need a relaxing get away with my loved ones

Sorry for writing so much! There’s not much else I can handle doing physically right now.

Bed Bound by Believing in boundless Blessings,