Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Yes, It's Me! Whee! Napanee!!

Well, by now you are all probably thinking on a fairly regular basis that I've been abducted by aliens because I am only blogging once every ten or eleven years or so, but I assure you that I have NOT been abducted by any such aliens. 

I am, in fact, alive & well, free from any & all encumbrances & am doing just peachy, thank you very much. But thank you for being so concerned! 

It's actually a good sign that I'm not blogging, you see, because I'm so BUSY!! I've been traveling here & there & everywhere. At the beginning of June, I was off to Toronto, with a delightful little pit stop at my friends' place in Picton. 

Then, I did two or three gigs in the Toronto area, which is always fun! I did a small show for a wonderful bunch of ladies in Pickering, at a beautiful place down by the water. The name of the place is Hy-Tea. The owner's name is HYacinthe & she serves all kinds of specialty teas, so she calls it Hy-Tea. Get it? High Tea? Hahaha!!

I went to a concert with a friend later on that week, and I visited my cousin Jeannie, her hubby & her cutie-pie daughters. So that was neat.

And then, on the way home, I dropped in on Napanee, Ontario. I've been wanting to visit Napanee for quite awhile cuz I like Avril Lavigne & I like her music. Well, some of her music. She's Canadian, eh? And she's from Napanee!

Well, anyways, I had watched this documentary on Avril a few years ago, and there was this whole bit about how crazy Avril is about pizza. She has a fave pizza restaurant in Napanee & there are lots of pics of her at this restaurant, and they've even named a pizza after her there! 

There was a pic of her & the owner, and I said to myself, "Self, you should go to Napanee, find that restaurant & get a picture of you with that same pizza restaurant owner!" So that's just what I did! Okay, first, here's the sign for Napanee:

And here's the pic of Avril & the pizza store owner:

And here's the pic of ME with the very same pizza restaurant owner!!

Do you realize what this MEANS?!?!? It means that Avril & I are practically, like, FRIENDS!!! I mean, we've had our pictures taken with the very same man! How cool is THAT!?!? It's like the whole "six degrees of separation" thingy! (er, if you don't know what that means, go to Wikipedia and they'll explain it).
I guess I should have asked the Pizza Restaurant Guy what his name was, eh? Oh, well, he's Greek, so let's just call him Nick. Here's a pic of one of his pizza restaurant windows:

 Well, I spent several hours in Napanee chatting with the local shop owners, walking around Main Street or whatever it's called, and checking out the gift shops. It was fun!

Apparently, Avril comes back to Napanee unannounced every once in awhile to meet up with her Canadian pals. Good for you, Avril! Don't forget about us up here in the cold, frozen north! She probably has a couple of mansions in LA with swimming pools & doesn't have to worry about frostbite or blizzards (except the ones from Dairy Queen) or snow tires. 

Good on ya, Avril! Save a mansion for me. I'm gonna be famous any day, now....I can feel it in my bones (or is it osteoporosis? Not sure which....)

So that's my big news, folks...I went to Napanee & lived to tell about it. Hope you are all having equally exciting adventures as you laze around this summer. I am gearing up for my big tour that starts this September....would you like to see the lineup so far?

Joy in the Journey Tour 2011 with Wendy Farha:
September 15 - Burlington
September 16 - Hamilton
September 18 - Tillsonburg
September 23-27 - Timmins
September 30 - North Bay
October 1 - North Bay
October 3 - Sudbury
October 5 - Sudbury (to be confirmed)
October 13 - Peterborough
October 15 - Ottawa


All tour details are here: http://www.wendy.ca/content/view/52/71/

Goodness, where will I find the energy? Actually, it just seems to come when it's needed, so no worries. There are spots in the tour where I can rest up.

Well, I must be off to bed. Nite nite!

Love, Wendy (and Timmy, of course)

Monday, June 6, 2011

- Will Wonders Never Cease?!?!?

Oh, I'm sure you can hardly believe your eyes that it's me here - did you think I'd:

(a) thrown away my computer
(b) forgotten how to blog
(c) moved to a remote African village where there was no internet?

Well, happily happily happily, none of the above is true. It's true that I have not blogged since February 13, 2011, but I have a perfectly good reason for that. I've been BUSY!!!

Yes, siree, that's my story & I'm sticking to it. Busy busy busy me. Lots of opportunities to sing & laugh & share my goofiness with people....what fun! 

So what have you missed? Well, of course, my chemo treatments wrapped up in February, which is undoubtedly why I stopped blogging - I was FREEEEE!!! I started running around & haven't stopped for a breath yet! 

Yes, my treatments for breast cancer started in November of 2009 & finished in February 2011 - what a journey! Since this whole thing began, I have met many dear people battling cancer & many loyal family members walking alongside them. 

Some have made it; some have not. My thoughts go out to the families of John, and Laura, and Reidar, and Lori, who lost their weary battles with cancer. In fact, when Lori heard I'd finished treatments & was going to be doing a concert, she sent me this email on April 9th:  "Glory, Glory, Halleluia!!!!! So very happy for you buddy. I can't make it on to your wonderful concert because I am working evenings at the Jewish. Love you tons....keep going Wendy.  Thrilled for you.  Love Lori xxxx"

After a gruelling year, Lori had just finished her refresher course so that she could re-enter the workforce as a nurse, a job she just loved. Despite setbacks with her cancer, she persevered, graduated her course at Christmas, and started a job at the Jewish General. She died in her sleep May 28.

And life goes on. Hopefully those of you who are blessed with reasonably good health can learn an important lesson from those of us who have been afflicted with cancer - don't take your days, or weeks, or months, or years for granted. 

Appreciate life. Don't procrastinate. Seize the day. Live intentionally. Don't waste your energy on things that don't matter. Do what you need to do now, not later. Forgive. Keep short accounts with others. Tell someone you love them. Dance in the sun or in the rain. Don't sweat the small stuff. And don't assume you have forever here ~ think about the deeper issues of life.

 So in March 2011, as many of you know, I received a clean bill of health. Some of you have asked me if I'm "in remission". Well, I picked up this little gem on the net:

"Many people seem to have a distorted and incorrect definition of the word "remission," as it is used in relation to cancer patients. Most commonly people seem to believe that going into remission means that the patient is successfully treated and safe.

However, according to the American Cancer Society, cancer remission is a "period of time when the cancer is responding to treatment or is under control. In a complete cancer remission, all the signs and symptoms of the disease disappear...complete cancer remissions may continue for several years and be considered cures."

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/242550

All that to say that, for the time being, my oncologist is not aware of any cancer in my body. And that, as Martha Stewart would say, is a good thing! 

I'm not trying to be a pessimist here, but rather, a realist. I don't like the idea of getting all giddy about being "in remission" and then having all hope dashed to the ground if they find something else, somewhere else. I'm optimistic, but not naive, if that makes any sense to you.

I'm not going to assume that it's going to be all clear sailing from now on, healthwise. But those of you who know me, know that I'm determined to be chirpy, no matter what happens!

So in my travels, I am meeting lots of fun people who invite me to stay at their homes when I'm passing through. Here's Terri from Kanata, who, along with her hubby Chris, has blessed me sooo much with her warm hospitality:

In May I did a Ladies' Night Out in Prince Edward County (not Prince Edward Island!) just south of Picton. It was wonderful! 160 ladies came out to laugh, eat yummy desserts, and hear me do my stuff. I met some neato people there & it was fun! 

This Wednesday, I'm off to Toronto to do some gigs & I just HAVE to stop in Picton again & see those sweetie-pies....I miss them already! It also breaks up the travel so I don't have to drive 6 hours all in one day. 

I'm gonna drive to Kingston, take the ferry from there to the County, eat din dins with Gary & Priscilla, then sleep a couple of nights at Bill & Mary Ann's. Yay! 

And whoo-hoo!! Jann Arden, one of Canada's leading singer/songwriters, will be doing a short interview with me on her CBC Radio show "Being Jann" - she's such a hoot! I'll let you know the date it's going to air - I'll post it on Facebook & hopefully on here as soon as I find out. I'm really good at impersonating Jann impersonating her mother, which Jann got a kick out of, so she decided to have me on her show!

So stay tuned, my dear blog-followers....I shall certainly try to blog again and not let another 3 months pass before I update you again.



Sunday, February 13, 2011

- What Not To Say To Cancer Patients

Hi Everyone!

Goodness, it's been two months since I last blogged! Well, here I am, finally, so not to worry - I've been either too busy or too tired to blog, but it's about time I reconnected with you guys & gave you some news about myself!
First off - I'm just home from an international 50-city tour! Okay, it wasn't 50 cities; it was 4 and it wasn't an international tour - it was a tour in Eastern Ontario. 
And it was hardly a tour. More like a visit, or a trip. Anyways, the part about me being just home is accurate. Ha!

It was such fun! Cornwall, Kingston, Belleville & Brockville are my new fave places on the Canadian map. Met lots of neat people I hope to see again when I return. Thursday night in particular was a real kick - I got to sing, do comedy & share my cancer journey with some lovely ladies at the Brockville Women's Network. It was great! 
Here are some of the gals from the BWN:

On another note.....I'm SO tired lately - my thyroid has been off, so my meds have been increased, but it takes awhile for them to kick in. Also, the cumulative Herceptin treatments have been making me weary, I think. And then there's the chemo-induced menopause - who knows what mischief THAT'S been creating in my system!

I think I just need more chocolate.

Well, I've been meaning to do a bloggy-blog posting on this subject for awhile now: "What Not To Say To Cancer Patients".

I think it's worth talking about, especially since SO many people are getting cancer these days & it's helpful if you know some of the cliches to avoid saying. 
Shall we get started? Everything that's in quotes is stuff I've copied & pasted from the web. There are lots of things I found that you shouldn't say, but for brevity's sake, I'm only listing three of them. 
Here we go:
1.  If there's anything I can do for you, just let me know.
Not helpful at all. "This statement puts the burden of asking for help on the cancer patient. Instead, offer to do specific things.....it shows the sincerity of your willingness to help out.

Offer a drive to a treatment, a trip to the grocery store or to do a few loads of laundry. Take the kids for an afternoon or even overnight. Bring dinner over. Offer to help with the patient's elderly parent or to pick up books or books on tape (they choose) at the library."

2. You should read about / take / eat these supplements / herbal medicines / miracle foods.....

Noooo! Personally speaking, I'm *really* tired of this one. If there was a single magic bullet to cure cancer, everyone would be taking it. Since being diagnosed in August 2009, I have received approximately 40 emails with this kind of stuff & I don't like it one bit. I know people are trying to help, but it gets REALLY tiresome to have constant suggestions like these. 

If you feel you absolutely MUST advise a cancer patient to try something, why not first let the person know casually that you've heard of something you think might be helpful, but you don't want to send it along unless the cancer patient is interested.

To me, that seems more sensitive than sending unsolicited information. We are most likely already overwhelmed with information, we're tired, and IMHO (in my humble opinion), many of us don't want yet another suggestion from someone who's never even had cancer themselves.

3.  Just stay positive!

Uh, excuse me? You're healthy & you're telling me to be positive?!? First of all, this can be really offensive because it's akin to someone standing on the sidewalk watching a train about to run me over, and you're yelling, "stay positive!!!" Definitely not cool. Step out in front of the train with me & then tell me if you feel positive.

Now, I actually DO feel positive, but that's not the point. The point is, I don't think it's appropriate for someone on the sidelines to give such advice.  And besides, hearing people tell me to be positive takes all the fun out of being positive! 

I've been very determined to maintain a good attitude, so when people tell me to be positive, it makes me feel like they can't see that I'm already positive and it bums me out!

To be fair, I think only two people in the past year & a half have told me to be positive, and neither of them knew me very well. So that's not been such a big deal for me.

Here's a copy-and-paste from the web: "Cancer patients hear endless variations on this “mind over body” theme. There are going to be days when a patient doesn’t feel positive at all, and you certainly don’t want him worrying that he’s sabotaging his own chances of recovery.

And what if he has a stressful job, or is a type A personality who reacts easily to stress — do you want him feeling guilty or worrying that his high-strung personality or tendency toward anxiety either “caused” or will worsen his cancer?

Unfortunately, an awful lot of the literature conveys, in one way or another, the underlying message to cancer patients that they may have “caused” cancer through stress, worry, or a negative attitude, and that they could heal the cancer if they’d only develop a mellow outlook or sunny disposition. All that really happens is that they feel even more anxious about trying not to be anxious, or they feel guilty for not feeling happy."

Finally, here's another good piece of advice: "If there is nothing to say, say nothing at all. Just offer a hug, a hand or a shoulder. Sometimes the most powerful comfort you can offer comes from the heart, not the mouth."

Now, having written this posting, let me say that I have been amazingly blessed by those around me who've been cheering me on and usually saying all the RIGHT things to me. So THANK YOU!!

I think in many ways, this posting is for others who aren't having the same experiences I'm having in that regard. This subject will hopefully help you to be more sensitive & supportive to those around you who've been diagnosed with cancer.

Well, I must toddle off....please stay warm (if you are living in a cold climate), don't get a sunburn (if you're living somewhere hot), and don't forget to hug the ones you love....

And remember....life is short....handle with prayer!

Blessings to you all,


Senior's Snow Plow ~ ha!