Sunday, August 31, 2008

Starfield Canadian Tour!

The following are the tour dates across Canada for Starfield, Chris will be touring with them as their drummer on this tour. If you can make it to the concert, I'm sure you'll love it, and Chris will feel like he has fans too!!

Sept 05 – Belleville, ON
Sept 06 – Barrie, ON
Sept 07 – Newmarket, ON
Sept 08 – Sudbury, ON
Sept 10 – Thunder Bay, ON
Sept 11 – Brandon, MB
Sept 12 – Caronport, SK
Sept 13 – Prince Albert, SK
Sept 14 – Medicine Hat, AB
Sept 15 – Lethbridge, AB
Sept 17 – Lloydminster, AB
Sept 18 – Fort McMurray, AB
Sept 19 – Grande Prairie, AB

Quote for today!

"Let your heart look ahead and the rest will surely follow."
M. Fontayne

My tale of two verses...

Isaiah 40:31, "...But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on the wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary and they will walk and not faint." This verse is imprinted on my dear friend Carmen (Toews) Anderson's gravestone, beneath the wing span of an eagle. This week I had this bibical reference tattooed across my shoulders, with spanning wings (containing many "feathers"), wheather I'm running, walking or soaring, my hope is renewed in the strength of the Lord. I bear it on my shoulders as to never forget.
I also had added to my body the dates for Carmen's birth and passing in with the matching sunflower tattoo that she and I got done together almost 10 years ago. I also had two baby muscial notes, representing our girls, added to the two a joining notes I had done representing my marriage to Chris 10 years ago.
Are there plans for more, yes, but I'll wait ahile again for more. This painful and permenant act has marked the ending to this season of my life and to the beginning of anew one. This was pain that I got to choose and have power over, afer a year and a a half of feeling quite powerless and enduring much pain that I had to suffer to get well. As the physical pain for the last 18 months slowly lessens, I still have lessons.
2 Corinthians 4:8-9 "We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abadndoned; struck down, but not destroyed."
Though today I felt some despair, I felt struck down part of the day, I was not destroyed...I proclaim that we are not destroyed, not today, not for the last year and a half and not anyday to come!
I can't tattoo every verse that has touched my life on to my body, but the tatoos have a great tale to tell, of a young Christain woman's life and her walk with Christ and with those that she loves and has loved in this life.
I like to take what touches me most and make it mark my flesh forever, as well as the many scars of surgery that I have growen to embrace as my body, the body God intentd for me to have, and I'm just fine with it. It works, not as well as i'd like sometimes, but it works.
Find some way to make scripture make a mark in your life today, but you don't have to be as drastic as me, but do I do much of anything with out a little extra zing to it:)
Just Zinging along Singing a song, side-by-side,

Feather Janz

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A quote for this day of my life.

"I've learned so much from my mistakes that I'm planning to make more".

Taken from my mother-in-law's email; thanks for the read and thought provoking laugh.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Stronger each day.

Every day this week I've gotten a little stronger. I'm eager to feel well again, like i did in July. Though I've been rather discouraged by this latest set back, I hold out hope in each day as I feel more and more like myself again.
My pain level is moderate and my body began to function more normally by yesterday morning.Today I was able to go for a 20-30 minute walk, and I'm able to think once again about enjoying regular summer activities with the girls. I can hardly believe the school year is just around the corner for us, and that I'll have Monday and Wednesay afternoons alone while both the girls are in school, WOW! Chris and I could actually have a date, or maybe even go to the gym?!?!? What will it be like...I'll let you know in two weeks:)
Today I met with the Cardio/vascualr surgeon who will be removing my portacath. The surgery is scheduled for October 2nd. I didn't realize that I'd be put under general anesthetic, but aparently taking it out is harder, because tissue grows attached to it and must be cut away when it's removed. I could have had it done Sept, 17th, but because Chris will be away working at that time, I decided to wait. Besides having the surgery in Sept. would have menthaving it done in Mission hospital and by waiting, I get to have it done in the new Abbotsford Hospital which opens this weekend.
Chris will be away working for a few weeks, as he'll be on tour with the Band Starfield, playing drums for them in a across Canada Tour. Starfield is the band that had the floor collapse during their concert in April, my Mom and I were there you can read about our experience back on my blog entries from April 25th-28th.
The guys from Starfield are very good friends of Chris's and they use our studio downstairs for practise sometimes. I know that Chris will have a great time on the road with them, I know it'll be a fun and positive experience for him. Besides he's been practising his drum playing and is getting in really good shape doing it!
It feels good to done all of my cancer treatment, to know that it's behind me. I'll still see my Oncologist every three months, and I believe that she'll keep a close eye on my health for the next 5 years plus. Have the portacath removed will be the final step of having all physical evidence of my illness gone. Though I hardly even notice it anymore, people often stare and I feel I should hide it and/ or explain. It's quite amazing how many people just comment, asking what it is, or they know because they know someone who's had one, or they've had one. I suppose in that way, I'll miss it as an interesting conversation i won't miss it, I'm glad it will be gone. There will be no more sign that I've ever been sick, that I can't hide. Having said that, obviously I'm not afraid to talk openly about my experience and I will welcome any opportunity to do so.
I've already been asked to re-write my updated story for the book "You are not Alone" that I co-wrote with 12 other cancer survivors, 5 years ago. It has been publisheed in French and Englich, across Canada and in Europe and will not be printed as a third updated Addition. I'm so honoured to have my story continued on in this book.
September 4th I'll be having a minor procedure done, to ensure Cadence's role as the baby of the family. The timing kind of sucks as Chris will be leaving right before and I maybe laid up some what for a few days; but we have great babysitters and Denise will probably still be living in our downstairs room at the time. If I haven't mentioned before, Denise is a new friend that we've extended a helping hand to during a difficult time in her life. We are happy to have her here for now, and the girls are loving her kitten Louie very much. So much so that we may have to re-evaluate their Christmas gift this next year:)
I'm getting this "procedure" done pretty much as soon as possible coming off of treatment. The stress of accidentally adding to our family, when we don't believe anyone is missing, will not be missed. This will be one less thing to worry about, and I'm looking forward to some stress-free living around the corner.
I'm feeling more "normal" as I think about the girls heading off to school, the fall season, warmer clothing, Christmas season, turning 37... and not puke buckets, a cold head, no clothes that fit, wondering if I'll turn 36, and a refining my body-image.
I feel more confident in this season of my life than I ever have and looking back i don't know that I would change very much. Perhaps a couple of details...but not very much.

Feeling stronger everyday, in everyway,


Monday, August 18, 2008

Back again...

Back in the hospital again that is. Thankfully I just had to visit the ER long enough to get two bags of fluid by IV. I ended up very dehydrated but I'm feeling a little more normal now. I have to make sure I'm eating and drinking regularly and making it a priority. Especially after treatment... but since Wednesday was my last one!! It won't be such a problem in the future!
It feels so good to have completed over a year of IV treatment at the chemo department of the cacner clinic. Though the women there are lovely, I hope to Never SEE their FACES AGAIN!!:) Now I am scheduled to see my oncologist once every three months. I'm hoping to have my portacath out as soon as possible, and plan to continue on with normal life...with baby steps.
Off to take the girls to playplace, with the babysitter and hope to sneak in a tan and nap later.
Thank-you for your continued prayers.

Sunday, August 17, 2008


I think the simplest way to describe the last week is that I crashed. After not sleeping well for over a month 3-6 hours a night, my body crashed. Last Monday I was in the hospital for exhaustion, desperately needing to sleep. So when I got home that night the sleep started, and now I feel like I can't wake-up properly all day. Now I'm sleeping 12-16 hours and still feeling tired. I do wish my body could find a happy medium.
I had my final herceptin treatment on Wednesdau Aug 13th, and I've been even worse since. I had my first run of vomitting in many weeks, a couple of months actually. It's been extremely physically exhausting and emotionally upsetting. I was feeling so well for a few weeks there, it's hard taking a set back.
No Dr's are surprised by this, especially since I was pushing myself to hard to fast. The reminder that I have to slow down is not one I enjoy. I'd love nothing more than to ba able to jump back into my old life, but baby steps I see are the way to go.
Looking forward to nap time,


Wednesday, August 6, 2008

My time to Dance!

To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven: A time to weep, a time to laugh, a time to mourn, and a time to dance.
Ecclesiastes 3:1,4.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Survivor: “I’m a Bag!?!?”

“Survivors are like teabags: You don’t know how strong we are until you dip us in Hot water!”

I have always said that I’ve seen myself as a survivor cancer right from the moment of diagnosis, both times I was diagnosed. I never really saw myself as a sick patient, rather I just saw myself as being “a-little-under-the-weather”. I always thought of myself as being strong and of excellent health, I just happened to be having a few bad days (that added up to about a year and a half).

I had a couple comments in the past years that resinated oppositely for me. The first being, “We are not survivors, we are Victors.” Was the word “Victor” posed as the opposite to “Victim”? Surely I never seen myself as a victim of cancer, but neither have I seen myself as a “Victor”; I am much more comfortable with the term “Survivor”.I’m not sure why, but this phrase, “We are Victor’s”, made me feel like“I-was-suppose-to-be-to-good-for-cancer.” Anyone can get cancer, and not just if you are bad. It made me feel like those that were not victorious, were some how not good enough to beat it in battle, which I don’t agree with at all. I’ve known many extraordinary people who have lost their fight against cancer and they will always be survivors to me.

The second phrase changed how I saw my life, not just my journey with cancer. It was in Fall of 2001, I was 29 almost 30 (a transitional age anyway) and I had the honour of sharing a dinner meal with an incredible muslim Doctor and his family in Niagaira Falls. I was there for some speaking engagements and I was enlightened by his words and his wife’s sharing of her journey with breast cancer. After an enjoyable conversation he said to me, “It appears to me that you are not just surviving breast cancer but thriving because of it.” I received this as a huge compliment and embraced it as a part of my life as I headed into my thriving 30’s.

I believe that I have seen myself thrive through most of this more recent journey and I have clung to much of what I learnt through the first experience with breast cancer over 13 years ago. I’ve said to others, “I wonder if God allowed me to have cancer the first time as a practice run, so I could be better prepared to get this time right.”
I saw a quote recently that made me smile and gave me a warm feeling inside. I suppose it touched me this way because I’m a tea-drinking Scottish/English lass at heart.

“Survivors are like teabags: You don’t know how strong we are until you dip us in Hot water!”

I suppose I’m embracing the title of “Survivor” a little more tightly now that I’ve received this , “cancer-free” diagnosis. “Cancer-free” is in quotations, because there’s really no such thing. Once your body has “failed” to ward off malignancy not once but twice, there are no 100% guarantees. For example, I’m still considered some what at risk of my first cancer returning, even after 13 years. Do I believe this will happen, no way. But if someone had told me, when I was approaching my 20’s, that I would face cancer not once but twice by 35, I would have never believed them. The Doctor’s would have said it was near impossible, “near” being the key word here. I’m not being dismal, in fact I’m feeling rather triumphant at the moment. I’m in a good place, even though today (physically) wasn’t a very good day.

Still Thriving as a Survivor.


Monday, August 4, 2008

Learning the hard way.

Yesterday I had a crazy busy day, even for my "normal" life. I was very much looking forward to the day and I thought if I had a couple rests in the day that I'd be okay. We had a wonderful morning at Agri-Fair, we arrived early for the pancake breakfast and got to hear our good Friend Lisa Adrianne perform, she did great!
Then we hit the fairway with the girls and they each won a stuffed turtle, which they love and they got to go on lots of rides. Carmelle enjoyed the haunted house with Daddy, and admitted it wasn't as good as Disney's haunted mansion:) I had the best time on the Ferris wheel with both the girls, we got a long ride, a little to long; as I started to feel nauseated towards the end of the ride.
I had a short rest when I got home and then I had to head out again. First to the store to buy stuff for a party and then off to the party. I went to a celebration party for a wonderful young woman in my support group, Young Canadians Survivng Cancer, who is facing a scary 4th journey with cancer. She was surprised and loved, and I'm so glad I was able to be there to show her support. Julie did a great job organizing this event:)
When I got home I tried to have a nap but I eneded up just having a long rest time. Then in the evening I figured I would attempt my first outing alone with one of my children in about a year. I headed out with Carmelle to go and see the fire works at AgriFire, to celebrate Bc's 150th birthday.
We got there as it got dark and I thought the fireworks would be right away, but they weren't for another hour. Since we were there I figured we'd stay. Carmelle had fun, I got tired. We sat to watch the fireworks, which were exciting for Carmelle, but very sad compared to the celebration of lights Chris and I'd seen at English bay (We were spoiled, they were amazing!)
Abbotsford's attempt last night was more of a smoke show unfortunately, especially for my lungs. I started coughing, and couldn't stop. This has never happened to me before. It was a sobering reminder of how bad my right lung actually is. As I stumbled, coughing and light headed, to the van with Carmelle, I got a little scared. I realized I'd bitten off more than I could chew, when I started to feel very weak and had trouble loading Carmelle and the stroller into the van.
I coughed all the way home and had a lot of trouble falling asleep even though I was so tired.
When I woke I felt like I'd been put through the ringer, my body ached, my muscles and joints were weak and cramped and the over all fatigue was overwhelming. Chris had to work and had clients arriving at 9 am. I had to get up, I started my day with a few ounces of coke, some anti-inflammetories and a bottle of water. I called a babysitter to come, who will hopefully be here soon. I'm sure with a good breakfast I'll start feeling much better....I BETTER!

Learning slowly as my body teaches me,


Saturday, August 2, 2008

Mother's Words of Wisdom

My mother feels that I've not made it clear enough, how weak and physically limited I am. I'm just so excited to be up out of bed for more than a few hours a day, I perhaps make it sound like I'm doing more than I actually am. Mom feels that people may percieve that I am now functioning "normally", when I am not.
I must proclaim...Even when I do regain more energy it is never my intention to live anyone's definition of a normal life, or to even resemble my own old "normal" life. I am slowing defining my new normal and hope and pray that my life will continue to be anything but normal. Wise words from my dear, step-Dad, Gary Wagner, resinate in my head, when I remember telling him as a child that I wanted to be normal; he told me to never strive for a life of normalcy, that it would be boring. Well, I did it "un-real Dad", My life is anything but normal,and I like it that way. You were right!
To the left of this writing is a list of prayer requests, where I have highlighted my weaknesses, struggles with pain and discomfort. It is not my intention to focus on them and write about them regularly. I cope and deal with them the best I can each and every day and I don't wish for it to interfer with my spirit and hope for the future, the future even being every passing minute.
The last couple of days have been much slower for me, I was moving to quickly for a few days with not enough sleep and my body was getting angry with me. So I took the advice of my nurse friend, Amber and have taken medication to assist me in getting more than 3-6 hours of sleep a night. I've also had to take long naps of 3 hours these last two days. I have many sore muscles right now, it feels like i hit the gym really hard, when all I've been doing is simple household chores. This is my body's way of reminding me that I still need help and humbly I need to ask for it.

Graciously accepting continued help and support,


Greatest compliment

"Joy seems to me a step beyond happiness -- happiness is a sort of atmosphere you can live in sometimes, when you're lucky. Joy is a light that fills you with hope and faith and love." Adela Rogers St. Johns

The greatest compliment I remember receiving in my life was when I was 25. A friend who knew me in highschool, but got to know me better years later, after I had cancer the first time at 23, said this:

"I remember you always being happy, but now I see you are full of Joy."

Thank-you Brigetta Beer for this wonderful memory!

I see happiness as something you can choose to have, where as Joyful is something you are.

Joyfully Yours,



As my body is detoxing, I am also detoxing my house. I have surrendered my home for a year and a half, to other people. I am now able to claim my home back and make it my own.I can finally work towards having things the way I want them.
Don't get me wrong, I've appreciated every bit of help I've received in the last 18 months, but there is something so rewarding about having your home the way you like it.
Men take pride in their ability to provide for their loved ones. Women take pride in their ability to keep a home. Through this experience I learnt how to give up and give in to how my house was being kept and be gratefult for it. When things weren't put where I'd like, I learnt how to keep it there and be alright with that. But now I'm done that and I have the energy and capacity to put it where I'd like it to be.
I've found much joy this week in putting things where they belong.
I've also found much excitment in being able to clear out boxes and bags full of stuff. This is the home detoxifiying process. What makes it easier is that I'm setting aside many things for a fund raising garage sale that I'll be having Sat. Sept 6th. I'm going to put all the monies made towards the Run for the Cure. When poeple purchase, they can give me their name and address and i'll put it on a pledge form and they will get a tax receipt for it. I did this once before and it worked really well. Some people came just to make a donation and to talk to me.
I had a very busy day yesterday and i pushed myself very hard. Today I was mostly recovering from yesterday. My nurse friend has told me that my immune system is probably compromised right now and I need to slow down a little bit. That's hard for me. It's not easy for me to put on the brakes when I want to move full steam ahead.
I feel as though I know my body so well now, so much better than before. I can feel it telling me stuff i need to hear, I just need to listen. I can tell now when my white "T" cells are getting low, I know all the signs now. Getting a good night sleep is one of the best things I can do for myself. So why am I up so late writing, when I should be sleeping? Some bad habits die hard.
I'm going to take some melatonine and head to bed shortly here.
I feel as though I suffer from "chemo brain" sometimes. I also understand that it could take many months before all of these toxins leave my body. Sometimes I till feel like a toxic waste land, but the journey to the promised land is upon me.