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In Loving Memory

 
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SENGES, Miriam Lynn (Stoddart)

December 31, 1962 - May 22, 2019

Miriam went home to be with the Lord in the early morning hours on May 22, 2019 surrounded by her family. Miriam was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010, battled through kidney cancer in 2013, bladder cancer in 2014 and lung cancer in 2015. After every course of treatment, she bounced back and was able to continue to serve her family like nothing had happened. She was a strong woman who could light up a room and who believed that she could beat cancer, and almost did. In October 2018, Miriam received a diagnosis of Scleroderma, but ultimately the cancer returned and took her life much too soon. Miriam was an amazing woman who had a very deep faith. The most important things in her life were her faith, her family, and her friends. During the course of her journey, she particularly loved sitting on her deck enjoying her beautiful backyard, which she considered her sanctuary.

Miriam was born in New Westminster, B.C. to Gordon and Marina Stoddart. The family moved around a lot, but eventually settled in South Vancouver where she graduated from Killarney High School in 1980. Shortly after graduation, Miriam, alongside her father and brother, founded their own sporting goods sales agency. This company was one of her proudest achievements and is now in it’s third generation. She married the love her life, Randy in 1982. Randy joined the family business in 1984 and the two enjoyed working together side by side in business and in life. They were blessed with three beautiful children and enjoyed many years of family holidays to the Oregon Coast, Palm Springs, and to their favourite destination, Ko Olina, Hawaii. All three of Miriam’s kids played high level and college sports, which Miriam found great joy in attending. She established many great friendships with fellow parents and athletes along the way and was well loved by many in the sports communities. Miriam’s entrepreneurial spirit never left her, as even in the midst of her journey she helped her youngest daughter, Victoria, establish her stationery and design company in 2015. Miriam’s background in sales was a great asset, as she assisted Victoria in bringing her stationery into retail stores across Canada. The two thoroughly enjoyed working together, and Victoria will miss her mother’s wisdom, advice, and talents greatly. Miriam’s desire to become a grandmother was fulfilled 14 months ago when she became an Omi to Emma Lynn Hamilton and most recently was able to share in the joy of welcoming her second granddaughter, Ivory Meta Elizabeth Senges.

Miriam is pre-deceased by her father, Gordon Stoddart. She is survived by her dear husband Randy of 37 years, her children Matthew (Alison), Stephanie (Andrew), Victoria and her two granddaughters Emma and Ivory, her mother, Marina Stoddart and siblings Dave (Kathy) and Pam (Mike), along with many nieces and nephews.

A Celebration of Life will be held to honour Miriam on Monday, June 3rd at Bethany Baptist Church 22680 Westminster Hwy, Richmond, B.C. The service will begin at 11:00am with a reception and refreshments to follow.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Scleroderma Association of B.C. in Miriam’s name. Over the years, Miriam and her family have been heavily involved in the Canadian Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. In the past year, Miriam’s diagnosis of Scleroderma greatly impacted her overall wellbeing and as a widely unknown disease, it is her family’s wish to educate people and assist in the research for a cure.

Merry Christmas!

As I look back over 2017, I have so much to be thankful for. With every passing day I always wonder what the day will bring and will Cancer return to my body ever again? December has always meant a lot to me as I love Christmas and it's my birthday month, as well as both of my parents. Thankfully, I have come through this year CANCER FREE! Never taking anything for granted! There were many highlights this year, too many to list. But there were also times of loss and sadness for many reasons.

I continue to be one of those people that looks at the glass half full and look at the many blessings in my life. We all know life is hard, whether we think about relationships, health, finances, loss, whatever it may be, we all have our challenges and hardships. But, if we focus on the good in our lives, they far outweigh the bad. I am thankful for my family, friends, my faith, my home, our health care system, and the country we live in.

I am thankful for the Christmas season and what it truly means to me. In 2010, it was the Christmas that changed my life, as well as Randy and the kids' lives forever. It was when I had my first Cancer diagnosis and had surgery on Christmas Eve. Since then, I have looked at life and the Christmas season with a heart full of love and gratitude that I am here and alive. Life is fragile! Try not to get caught up in all the stress and busyness of the season and take time to enjoy those you love. Take time to sit and reflect on your year and the many blessings you have received. Take time to watch some of those silly Christmas movies and look at your Christmas tree. Most importantly, take time to be with the ones you love and invest in your relationships because at the end of the day, that is all that matters.

Thank you for all of your love, support and prayers over the years. I will never be able to express the love and appreciation that I have for so many of you.

I want to wish you a wonderful holiday season and all the best for a great year of health, happiness, peace, joy and love in 2018.

Merry Christmas from my family to yours!

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Fall Recap

October is one of my favourite months! I love fall and all of the colours of the leaves and the harvest and especially thanksgiving. I once again I am so thankful for so many things in my life; my faith, my husband, my children, family and friends, the country we live in, and so thankful for the recent clear CT scan. I take nothing for granted and cherish everything that I have on this earth! We live in one of the most beautiful places in the world here on the west coast and have had so many warm sunny days that we have been able to really enjoy our gorgeous city.

I want to remind all the ladies out there with October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month to go out and get your mammogram. Please donate to the Canadian Cancer Society for more research on breast cancer as they have made so much progress over the years and I am one of those women that is a survivor because of all that they have done to date. 20 years ago, the survival rate on the type of Breast Cancer I had was extremely low, until they started developing a cure. They developed a drug called herceptin that was given by chemotherapy for women that had the breast cancer HER2. The most recent statistic is that 1 in 8 women in Canada will get breast cancer in her lifetime. I have met so many amazing strong women that have gone through breast cancer and have survived! I am currently walking alongside one of my close friends that is going through treatment. I encourage you to be proactive and if you have any concerns talk to your doctor.

I have written in the past on my blog about my family's involvement in Relay for Life at McLeod Park in Langley. I was recently asked by The Canadian Cancer Society to join the committee for the Relay in June. We had our first meeting this month and I am looking forward to helping out as a volunteer to help and encourage others and raise funds and awareness for all cancers.

If you would like to register a team or get involved please let me know. I would love to talk to you about it! It is an amazing night!

Thanks again for your love, support and encouragement

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Cancer Free!

The summer flew by! What a great summer we had here on the coast. Lots of sunshine and very little rain. I truly enjoyed my summer and did lots of things around home and in the Lower Mainland. We live in such a gorgeous city that there is so much to do as well as lots of entertaining and parties at our house. I continued to live one day at a time making the most of it.

September is a difficult month for me. This is the month when I feel like my life is put on hold as I wait, worry, and stress about the upcoming annual CT scan and trip to the cancer clinic to hear the results from my oncologist. Many sleepless nights, lots of prayer, and a constant fight against anxiety and fear. This is always a place of surrender as I continue to put my trust in God for my future.

I am beyond happy to report that today I found out that my scan was clear and I am cancer free!!! Thank you to so many people that have prayed for me throughout my journey and for the countless people that have been praying for me specifically this month. I am so blessed and humbled to be sharing my journey with so many people that continue to support me and pray for me.

Something I have been thinking about a lot these past few months has been my heritage and how blessed I am. These past six months I have lost four of my aunts on my moms side. All of them were strong Godly women with many different talents and they each lived long lives. They all impacted me in many different ways. This past weekend I flew to Edmonton to one of my aunts funeral. While having time to reflect on her life, I realized that all of my aunts have one thing in common, and that was their love for family. They were all giving women that had the gift of hospitality. With all I have been through, I am very aware of my mortality and how short life is. I don't know if I will live into my 90's like my aunts did, but I hope I can leave this earth with the same legacy they did. 

I have once again been reminded that I wouldn't be standing today or surviving if it wasn't for my faith, my husband, my family and my friends! Thank you once again for loving me, supporting me, encouraging me and most importantly praying for me throughout my journey. 

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Mid-Summer Recap

June came and went so fast! What a month it was! It was a month of lots of parties and celebrations for us but the highlight for me was participating in the Relay For Life and speaking to all those who attended to share a bit of my journey. Team Senges raised over $6,000 this year and the Langley Relay for Life raised over 140K for cancer research, awareness and testing to make progress in finding cures for cancer. It was wonderful to have so many family and friends come out to show their support for me and the cause.

I want to thank those of you who made donations to our team and for those that walked or ran the track that night. I cannot put into words the appreciation I have for so many of you that have supported me and my family these past 6.5 years.

I have several people I know right now battling this horrible disease and going through surgeries and treatments. Cancer has no boundaries and it's hard to see so many people suffering. However, I am thankful that so much has been done already to help those of us fighting this disease. Once the C word has come into your life, it can never be forgotten and you are forever changed. I truly battle each and every day with fears that cancer could return. I continually keep giving it to the Lord and keep praying for peace and healing. I have to remind myself always that I am alive today and I have to continue to live each day to the fullest. I am going to enjoy my summer and try not to worry about the fall when my tests start all over again for my routine check up.

Enjoy your summer, take time to be with those you love. Relax, read a book, take a walk, and be thankful for all we have here in Canada. We live in a beautiful country! We are blessed!

Thanks for your love, support and prayers.

Below is a picture of some of us at The Relay for Life! Unfortunately we didn't get everyone in the picture, people were busy walking the track.

Join Me | Relay For Life

May is one of my favourite months! As Mother's Day approaches, I am so thankful for my mom and the wonderful heritage I have, along with many wonderful memories of my mother in law. I learnt many things from her and I am thankful that she raised such an amazing son who I have been blessed to be married to for 35 years coming up on the 15th of May.

Randy and I have been enjoying some time at our favourite place, Ko Olina, Hawaii. We have spent some time together celebrating our anniversary and some time with family as well. It has been a wonderful holiday and we are so thankful that we were able to get away.

Next month on June 9th, our family, friends and extended family will be taking part in the Relay for Life at McLeod Athletic Park in Langley. This is our 5th year participating in this event. My daughter in law, Alison, signed us up the year I had my kidney cancer so that we could help raise funds for all cancers. This year, I have been asked by the Relay for Life committee to share the story of my cancer journey. The Canadian Cancer Society does a great job with this event and it's a very special night for me. It is quite emotional I might add, but I am thankful that after all I have been through these past 6+ years, I am able to walk the track as a survivor remembering those we have lost to cancer and those fighting their cancer battles. If you would like to walk or run the track with us that night we would love to have join us. If you are unable to join us and would like to donate to the Canadian Cancer Society, you can click here to donate funds in support of our team - Team Senges. Everyone knows someone that has been diagnosed with cancer, we need to continue to bring awareness and raise funds for this horrible disease so that we can continue to help those of us that need treatment and surgery. I am so thankful for all the care that I have received throughout my cancer journey. We live in the best country and are so fortunate to have most of it covered through our health care system.

I want to wish all the moms out there a Happy Mothers Day! Enjoy your day! What a privilege it has been for me to raise 3 amazing kids and to be blessed with the best daughter in law and son in law. I have so much to be thankful for! 

Thank you for your continued love, support and prayers.

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April | Daffodil Month

April is daffodil month. This is a month that the Canadian Cancer Society brings awareness and raises money for all of those who have lost their battle to cancer, those fighting their battle, and those that have won their battle. Each month I hear of more people diagnosed with cancer and it is a constant reminder just how fragile life is for all of us.

For me April is filled with many different emotions. I love April because it is spring and all of the trees and flowers are in bloom; the sign of new life and a new season. We live in such a beautiful city so I love seeing all the spring colours. It is also the month that we celebrate Easter, which has such a special meaning to me, celebrating the resurrection of Christ. I am so thankful for my faith. 

It is also a month that holds a lot of anxiety for me as it is a reminder of two years in a row having major surgery to remove more cancer from my body. Thankfully, I had excellent surgeons that were able to remove all the cancer and I am still alive today because of it! At the end of this month, it will be two years since my last cancer surgery and I hope and pray there will be many more years of a cancer free life for me. However, I have learnt that I cannot think ahead I can only think of today. Each day is a gift and we only have this day to be thankful for and live it to the fullest.

Everywhere you go you will see those daffodil boxes this month. It would be great if you would donate and wear the pin. You have no idea what that means to those of us that have battled cancer to see so many people you pass by wearing those daffodil pins.  It means they have known someone who has had cancer or have suffered from it as well themselves. Regardless of anyone's reason for supporting the Canadian Cancer Society and wearing a daffodil, we just want you to know that we appreciate it and it warms my heart with every person I see wearing one.

Thank you for your love, support and prayers. 

World Cancer Day

January came and went just like that! I always spend January reflecting on the past year and making some goals and plans for the New Year. I always find it a month of quiet and trying to figure out what I need to do or change in my own life and wonder what 2017 will look like for me on a multiple of levels.

Today is February 4th, which is World Cancer Day. It is a day that the whole world stands together and acknowledges the countless people that have lost their lives to cancer, those battling cancer, and those that have survived. Cancer knows no boundaries and although they have made many breakthroughs for this horrible disease, it is still showing up everywhere. I have felt like every week I am hearing of more and more people diagnosed with cancer and it is beyond depressing. Some of my closest friends have been recently diagnosed with cancer. It has been my desire since my first cancer diagnosis to try to do what I can in helping those going through their journey and yet I wish I could do more! If I can send an email or text or meet for coffee and just try to encourage those going through the journey to let them know they are not alone, then I feel like I am doing something to make a difference in the cancer world! There is a quote I like from the cancer site on line that says this; "You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.” Every person I have known that has battled cancer is just that - very strong on many levels.

Cancer never leaves my thoughts and daily I have to fight off the overwhelming sense of fear and wonder if or when it will return again. It’s a constant battle so I try to continue to focus on all the blessings in my life. In the church I grew up in as a kid, there was a song that we always sang and has come back into my memory. I find myself singing and remembering the words. "Count your blessings name them one by one, count your blessings see what God has done, Count your blessings name them one by one, count your many blessings see what God has done."

It’s funny - the older I get, the more the memories of my past flood my mind and all the old hymns that I learnt that hardly get sung any more are so powerful. I know it might seem corny or silly but when you have walked the cancer road for over 6 years you find that in order to keep going, it really helps to always focus on all the good in your life and to count your blessings. If I don't, then I find myself getting very discouraged.

There are no guarantees for any of us on how long we will be here on this earth but for those of us that have been on the cancer journey, we have to constantly against our thoughts and try not to let cancer rob us of everything this life has to offer and to continue to live each and every day to the fullest.

I hope and pray 2017 will be a great year full of adventure, happiness, joy and, most importantly, good health! That’s my wish for everyone!

Thanks for your love, support, and prayers

December

I can't believe we are in December with only a few weeks left in 2016! For so many of us 2016 was a year of heartache, pain, suffering, loss, diagnosis, and health struggles. However, it was also one of joy, happiness, peace, travel, job promotions, new babies being born, and celebrations of many kinds. The list of both hardship and bliss has been true for many of us. For me 2016 was a year waiting for many reasons. As I have said before, I did finally get some good news for my health which I am grateful for. It’s been a year of celebration and living each day to the fullest, all the while never taking for granted what could be around the corner and knowing how short and fragile life is. On December 6th, it will be 6 years that I heard the news that I had breast cancer. Every year since then when Christmas comes, I am more thankful and blessed to still be alive and am beyond thankful for the care that we receive in our medical system here in Canada when we are battling cancer. Christmas has always been very special to me and I love all the celebrating and decorating the house but since my first diagnosis it has taken a much deeper appreciation of what really is important and what Christmas really means. Spending time with those you love and cherishing each and every day we are given.

I have had many opportunities of getting to know countless people this past year who have also been walking their cancer journeys. There is an unexplainable bond you share with people walking a similar journey to yourself. Some of the people I have met have become new friends, while I have also reconnected with old friends/acquaintances, as well as some family, all of whom have brought a deep sense of connection. It has been a pleasure to get to know so many people and to support each other in many different ways. 2016 has also included the loss of some friends who were fighting cancer, which is very hard. I have been able to celebrate with those that have been winning their cancer fight along with praying for those that are just going through surgeries and treatment.

I was want to encourage each of you to embrace these final weeks of this wonderful Christmas Season and to take time to enjoy your family and friends. It’s so important to not get so caught up in the busyness or the stress that the holiday season can bring but to remember what it is truly about, the birth of our Saviour, Jesus Christ.

I once again want to thank so many of you that continue to love, support, encourage and pray for me. My cancer journey has been the hardest years of my life, but also there has been countless blessings, rewards and little miracles that I have received in so many ways which I know has happened because of my suffering.

Merry Christmas

Thankful

October is one of my favourite months for many reasons. First, to see the season unfold with breathtaking fall colours on all the trees, all the pumpkins, getting cozy inside with the fire on and getting ready for the very special day of the month which is Thanksgiving! We are blessed to live in such a beautiful country. When you hear of all the devastation all over the world, we should never be complaining about anything. We live in a country where we are free to live and worship. This thanksgiving was even more special with the good news that I recently heard about my health. I certainly never take anything for granted and I am blessed with the things that truly matter in this life.

October also is pink month. Otherwise known as breast cancer awareness month. Did you know that 1 in 9 women will be diagnosed with Breast Cancer in their lifetime? That's a lot! I have spent a lot of time thinking about my first diagnosis with breast cancer, almost 6 years ago, and the journey I have been on since that day. The Canadian Cancer Society has put so much money and research into breast cancer awareness and have come a long way - especially in the past decade or so. I think about all of the incredible women I have met who have had a similar journey with breast cancer. It is a special bond we all share. For a woman, this is a hard cancer to have. There are so many obstacles within breast cancer that strip women down, and it becomes hard to cope with. Things such as losing your breasts, chemotherapy, hair loss, body changes, and more. As we go through all the physical and emotional changes to our bodies, the good news is the hair grows back! Life after breast cancer completely changes us as we experience the raw and real world of how amazing God made our bodies and how much we can endure to come out the other end not only surviving, but being a better woman because of it! Stronger and more beautiful than before both inside and out! 

I was honoured on Thanksgiving weekend to be invited back to SFU where my girls both played university volleyball. The team played that weekend raising money for breast cancer awareness and had a silent auction, 50/50 draw, and bake sale with all proceeds going to BC Breast Cancer Agency. Victoria's past teammates honoured me and another woman as survivors before the game and gave us a pink t-shirt and flowers. It was a very touching and emotional evening for me. 

I want to encourage all of you ladies to get your mammogram and be proactive with your bodies. We live in a great province where we have great screening and very aggressive medical system that looks after us women who battle this horrible disease. I continue to hope for the day when we will find a cure for cancer but for now I am thankful to be living and surviving even after all of the cancers my body has endured.

I am so thankful for each and every one of you and all that you have done to uphold me in prayer during my journey, I am for ever grateful.

Test Results

Well, after 6 years of countless tests, scans, blood work, major surgeries, procedures, radiation, chemo and the list goes on, I finally got some good news!!!

As I mentioned in my previous blog, last Monday I went for my CT scan and was supposed to wait over a week to get the results. Last Wednesday, my Oncologist called me. When I saw the number come up on my phone saying it was the cancer clinic I went right into panic mode! Why would they be calling me when my appointment was this week?

My oncologist was kind enough to call with the good news that my scan was CLEAR!

She knew the stress that comes with the waiting and wanted to deliver some good news to me.  The happy tears were flowing as I listened to her. I had to wait until today to find out my blood work results and to see how my one and only kidney is functioning, so I still felt some anxiety. Not to mention, the dreaded visit to the cancer clinic! For those that have been on this cancer journey, I know you can relate too well. Walking through the doors, hearing those sounds, and the smells that come from it, along with seeing the countless sad faces of the people battling their cancer. It is not a fun place to be but I am thankful for the amazing doctors and nurses that are there who take care of us so well.

Cancer has changed me. I hope for the better. I have worked hard on trying to always see the good and to remain as positive as one can, given the circumstances. I would never wish my journey on any one as this has truly been the hardest time in my life in many ways, but I am thankful for all the little miracles I have seen along the way. There have been many people I have met throughout this journey, and I have received many blessings regardless of the heartaches I have endured. I have witnessed so much growth in Randy and the kids and they have become better individuals because of it. So the question is, would I take back anything or wish for a different life? Well there is no simple answer, but no one wants to go through cancer. However, I am beyond thankful, as I have said before, that I have learnt to live in the moment, enjoy everything, and to not take anything or anyone for granted. I am truly thankful for each day that I am given and I choose to live it to the fullest!

My oncologist asked me an interesting question when she saw me. She said, “So what have you been doing this past year?” I said, “LIVING! I have enjoyed each and every day, spent time in Hawaii, have done lots of entertaining and spending time with so many people, and I am just so thankful to be alive!”

I keep clinging to one of my favourite scriptures; Jeremiah 29:11. ‘For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’

I continue to pray that all the future tests and exams I will have will be clear and that I can keep on living my life. No one knows how long we have on this earth, but I hope I am around for some years to come. For today, I will just be thankful for the wonderful news I have received and the relief of so much anxiety and stress. I am thanking and praising God for his goodness and faithfulness in my life.

Thank you for your prayers, support, and encouragement. I am so grateful to each and every one of you. This is a faith builder for all of us that God hears and answers our prayers.

Waiting In The Month Of September

As we enjoy the final sunny days of summer, we look forward to fall and all the beauty that it brings with the changing of the leaves.  Summer flew by for me but it was wonderful to go through this summer in good health and it was the first summer I wasn't recovering from a surgery or chemo so I embraced each and every day to the fullest.

September for me is one of great anxiety! I have had it in the back of my mind always and have not looked forward to it. September for me is the reminder that it is a year since my last chemo and today I head back to the hospital for a CT scan and then some other tests and next week I walk into the cancer clinic after a year to find out the results of my tests. I am praying that this time I will have some good news and that I will hear the words I am cancer free!

Life is so fragile! I continue to battle the negative thoughts and fears that those of us that have had cancer face daily. I know if it wasn't for my faith I wouldn't be able to handle all that I have been through and for the army of people that continue to hold me up in prayer is beyond humbling and overwhelming. I feel at times like I can't breathe and that I am just holding my breath until I get the results that could be life changing in many ways. It is heartbreaking to hear of the many people that I know that are going through there cancer battles as well. The other night I watched a show called Stand Up For Cancer and, needless to say, I cried through most of it as there are so many things being done for those of of us battling this horrible disease.

On days when I am feeling sorry for myself and wondering why me? Why 4 cancers in 5 years, why so many changes to my body? Why did I have to quit my job? and on and on, I look at others and wonder why are they so lucky to be breezing through life, but then I hear of someone else's struggles and I am reminded that there many people going through hard times, not just with cancer, but other illness and heart ache and many people suffering much greater than me and I think to myself, 'Well why not me!' Regardless of all the hard stuff I have gone through, I have also experienced so many blessings and have seen what my family has gone through and how each of us are stronger more compassionate to others. There is always good that comes from everything in this life if you continue to choose the glass half full approach. I truly have to count my blessings and all the wonderful things I have had in my life so far.

I have learnt many things on my journey and am thankful that I have learnt to embrace each day fully, take time for others, serve others, don't sweat the small stuff, take time to enjoy nature and all the beauty around me, invest in my relationships, laugh a lot.

There is so much more I want to do in this life and my bucket list is long but for now I just have to get through the days that are ahead of me and put my trust in the Lord for this is all out of my control and he knows my future and the number of days that I still have here.

My devotions this morning were just for me. It was on peace and even in the midst of the fear and anxiety, there is this peace that only comes from Him that is so unexplainable. I am always amazed at how God brings songs, scriptures, and people in my mind and my path that have words for me and support and encouragement.

I appreciate your love support and mostly your prayers. I hope I will be able to update you soon with some good news.

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." - John 14:27

July

Is it just me or are the days going by faster and faster?! June was a busy month like it is for many people with lots of parties and celebrations and July is already half way over!

One of the great occasions I had at the beginning of June was The Relay For Life. My family and extended family, along with some friends, participated again this year, raising funds and awareness for cancer research. It is always an emotional time for me being able to walk the survivor lap with all other fellow cancer survivors at the start of the evening. As well as hearing others stories of their fight against cancer. Later in the evening we walked the lumineer lap - remembering those we have lost to cancer and those fighting the battle. With every lap I walked I thought of the many people that have touched my life in many ways with their battles with cancer. So, I prayed for all of those people I have known who have lost their battle, those that are currently fighting theirs, and those that are survivors! This was our fourth year doing the relay and it's something we all look forward to doing and I am thankful all of those that came out to walk or run some laps with me.

We had lots of BBQs at our house this past month and I am so thankful I am able to entertain - which I love doing. I am so very aware of how quickly our lives can change so I am trying to celebrate everything and everyone while I am still here and able to do so. Last summer was a hard one for me as I was battling through chemo and recovering from surgery, so I am thankful for a summer with a full head of hair and only a scar on my arm where my chemo picc line was last year. 

I cannot believe how busy I have been just trying to help so many people that have been recently diagnosed with cancer. It's like an epidemic! So many people my age being hit with so many different cancers. It is my desire to do all I can to encourage others who are going through their journey. If I can offer advice or help in any way, it makes me happy to do that. It's a scary, long, and hard road when you first hear the word cancer. For those of us who are doing this journey, there is comfort in talking to those who have walked before us. 

Cancer never leaves my thoughts. It continues to be a daily battle for me. I keep working on just living each day to the fullest and counting my many blessings in my life. I cannot let cancer rob me of the good things in my life.

I work on living in the present and trying not to worry what is down the road for me. I want to enjoy my summer and take time for others. September will soon be here, which is the month of tests and returning to the cancer centre to see my oncologist. I keep praying that this year I will be able to leave there with good news and that I will be cancer free. That is my prayer.

I still feel like I am in a season of "waiting" and wondering what is in store for me. I am not sure what I am supposed to be doing and that is a hard place for me to be, however I keep praying that God will give me a peace while I am in this season of my life. I hope there will be a new and exciting chapter right around the corner.

Enjoy your summer! Relax, take in all the beauty around you, not only in the scenery but also the people that you love, don't let time pass by not enjoying all that we have. Keep the balance in your life of work and play, family and friends. At the end of the day, that's all we have in this life. We are here for such a short time and it's clear that our lives are about relationships.

Last week I heard this song on the radio from Switchfoot - it's amazing! The title is: Live It Well. Life is short so live it well, take a moment and listen to it, it's so true life is so short.

May

I love the month of May!

May holds many special occasions for me, one being Mother's Day. I have been blessed by having an amazing Godly mom who has modelled to me the kind of mom I wanted to be, always putting her family first before her own needs, supporting us kids in all we did, being a great partner with my dad and modelling a great marriage. I was also blessed by having a great mother in law, I learnt many things from her while she was here on this earth, she was also a Godly woman who had such a servants heart. I always hoped that I would be the mother in law to my in law kids that she was to me, maybe I should ask Alison and Andrew :) 

Almost 30 years ago I was privileged enough to become a mom, there has been no greater joy in my life than having our 3 children and watching them through each stage of their lives so far and I couldn't be more proud of the amazing adults they have turned into. I am equally blessed to have two wonderful additional kids that my kids have chosen as life partners and I am thankful for the relationships that I have with each of them. There is just one spot left for my future son in law one day :)

I would never wish my cancer journey on anyone but what I am thankful for is to see how each of my kids have handled my journey and supported me in so many ways. I have seen how our family's difficulties has made our kids more compassionate towards others and their faith has grown throughout this journey.

I have had so many women come into my life throughout the years offering friendship and support in many different ways, I believe it takes a village to raise a child and I am forever grateful to the many role models, friends and family that have invested into my life and my families lives. 

On May 15th Randy and I will be celebrating 34 years of marriage, I am forever thankful and grateful that God brought this amazing man into my life at the age of 15. He knew what kind of life partner I would need to go through the many different things that we have been through together. Who would have thought that when I married Randy that I would end up working with him every day and living with him but somehow we made it all work. I am so thankful for the relationship we have and cherish it completely, my prayer is that we have many more years together but that is out of my hands so for now I am thankful for each day God gives me to be with him and enjoy our time together.

We are so thankful to be spending some time together in our favourite place, Ko Olina, Hawaii, for these celebrations I have mentioned. Although I will miss being with my mom and my kids on Mother's Day. 

Ladies, enjoy your time with your families this Mother's Day, there is no job harder than being a mom but no job more rewarding! I continue to strive to be that Proverbs 31 woman, although I fall short on so many levels. Take time to read it as it is a good reminder of what we can all strive to be especially as we approach Mothers Day.

I am happy to say that I made it through April this year with no surgery or tests or anything!! What a thrill for me you have no idea to survive an April after the last three years of surgeries is a miracle! The thoughts and fears of cancer continue to be my constant battle every moment of every day but I am so thankful to be alive and truly cherish everything I have and everyone that is apart of my life. I continue to keep looking at the glass half full and focus on all the good things in my life and the many blessings I have. Life is so short, make the most of each day you have.

Be Blessed, Happy Mothers Day ladies

Thank you for your continued love, support and prayers.

Victoria sent this amazing song to me and it is so encouraging. No matter what we are going through, it is all out of our control... but thy will be done. Please take time to listen to it and the beautiful lyrics. It is sung by Lady Antebellum's Hillary Scott.

April

April is a month filled with many different emotions for me. I have been thinking about the past few years and what I have gone through - physically, emotionally and spiritually. Last April I had surgery to remove my upper lobe of my lung and two years ago on April 2nd I had my bladder removed and a hysterectomy. There is a pattern here so I sometimes feel like I have to hold my breath to get through this month of April! I am battling a lot of anxiety and have to go through it all moment by moment and to try to appreciate and enjoy every day that I am given. I was thinking of that very difficult surgery on my bladder that lasted 7 hours and what Randy and the kids went through while they were waiting. I am reminded that even though I have gone through so much suffering and pain God has had his hand on my life and I am still here so I am thankful and blessed to be alive! I am a walking miracle! My prayer daily is asking God for His peace… His peace that surpasses all understanding so that the fear and anxiety don’t take over every thought and every moment of the day.

I know I am not alone as everyone has their “stuff” to deal with. Whether it is health, relationships, work, family issues, finances - it’s all hard. My friend just lost her husband at the age of 57 and I was at his memorial service the other day. As you can imagine, it is very tragic for her and her kids. Once again I have been reminded of how short life is and that there are no guarantees to live a long and healthy life for all of us. I have been to too many memorial services these past few months and when it is people your own age it makes you very aware of how fragile life really is. As I mentioned last month, when we stop to think about our lives and where we are going when we leave this place, I am thankful for the faith I have and the reassurance that one day I will be in heaven reunited with all of those that have gone before me.

I work hard on living each day fully and celebrating everything in life and spending time with family and friends. It truly helps me to focus on all the positives in my life and not allowing all the fears and negatives get to me! Joy and laughter really are the best medicine for the soul and mind and it is important to take time out of our busy lives and focus on all the good things we have.

April is Daffodil Month for the Canadian Cancer Society so if you can pick up a daffodil and wear one that would be awesome. I am so thankful for the Canadian Cancer society and all they have done for me these past 5 years. I have had such incredible care on every level and I am thankful to live in a country that has a great health care system that covers so many of the medical expenses. My family is doing the Relay for Life again this June 3rd in Langley and if you would like to make any donations to our team, please do so by clicking here. We would really appreciate it! We will be walking or running from 6:00 pm till midnight at McLeod Park for all of those who have won the battle, those that are fighting the battle and to remember all of those we have lost to this horrible disease. If you are free that night and want to come and join us for a few laps around the track we would love to see you. It is a fun night!

What a beautiful spring we are having, take some time out of your busy day to enjoy all the beauty around us, we live in a fabulous city!

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18

Thank you for your continued prayers, love and support.

March

I can’t believe we are in the month of March already! Does time go faster the older we get? I must say I am thrilled to see the first signs of spring out there. Daffodils, trees budding, even the cherry blossom trees are out which is early but here on the west coast we love our spring!

I am taking in all of Gods beauty and cherishing everything. Each and every day is a gift. February was a month of many celebrations, lots of parties, and so many enjoyments to be a part of but there also have been some sad times and my heart has been very heavy. We lost a dear mentor in Randy’s and my life. Alice and her husband Donald were an amazing Godly couple that impacted us as a young couple starting out in married life. Alice lived a long and amazing life and her memorial was one of celebration as she died at 98. This to me is the way life should be lived; long and full and accomplishing so many things. She was an incredible lady and as I came home from her memorial all I could think about is I want to live longer so that I can do so many more things however we have no guarantees do we? On the other side of that, Randy lost one of his childhood friends at 55 which is so tragic. I also found out that one of my cancer friends lost her battle to cancer, she was also 55. This is unfair and tragic! It’s been hard  for me… every time one of my fellow cancer friends loses their battle to this horrible disease it once again hits too close to home and fills me with fear and anxiety about my own life. Unfortunately there are no guarantees in this life. None of us know what lies ahead for us or how many days we have on this earth.

I have been at this place this past month or so of looking at life through a different lens, so to speak. I listen to people complain about their jobs, spouses, kids, lack of money, weight, hair, aging, the economy, the weather, and on and on. There are some things we can change in many ways but it saddens me. When you have been hit with cancer, or any other life-altering event has occurred in your life, you see life differently. Those things in life that stress us out are not as important. Those of us who are fighting against anything in our own body tend not to worry about the things in life that are not that important. We just want to live, survive and see one more day, one more sunset, one more season.

I would never wish my cancer on anyone. The journey of countless tests, surgeries, chemo, radiation, hair loss, body changes, ostomy bag, etc., but what I can say is that through this journey I have learnt countless things that I wouldn’t trade for anything. I realize that life is short and precious and that we need to take time out of our busy hectic lives and see what is important. I feel like an old soul... I have learnt in my 50s what seniors learn, which is to live each and every day that we are given to the fullest with no regrets as we don’t know what tomorrow will bring. There are really just two things we need to think about in this life. One is our faith... if we don’t have a faith we don’t know where we are going when we leave this place. I want to make sure that whatever time I have here on this earth is to let people know that there is much more to this life and that is our eternal life. The second thing is about relationships… we are here to build relationships with people and take time for each other. Don’t get caught up in the busyness of life and miss out on so many opportunities to love on people and invest in the ones around us that we love.

We went to Randy's childhood friend's memorial service last week and I was in awe of the body of Christ. Our friend was a lonely man and had very little in this life but he had a church and a bible study group of people that took him in and loved and accepted him and supported him in countless ways. I was once again reminded of the many blessings of belonging to a church. I wonder how people get through life without a faith. I was humbled to learn that Randy’s lifelong friend had asked his bible study group, who I didn’t know, to pray for me. It blows my mind to think of the many people that are strangers to me whom have prayed for me so many times these past five years. If you are one of them, thank you!! What a blessing!!

When life is getting you down, try to look at all the good in your life and count your blessings. You will be amazed at how much better you will feel. We all have so much to be thankful for.

January

Wow! January has flown by! I had made my list of goals that I was going to tackle for 2016 but it didn’t start out as planned as January 1st I was hit hard with this cold virus so many people have that lasted 3 weeks.

I did manage to check some things off of my list but I keep adding to it! My goal for this year is to purge! I have started and it doesn’t look I have gotten rid of anything! After 33 years of marriage and in our home for over 20 years you tend to accumulate so much its ridiculous! The past five years I haven’t been able to do much of it as I am always recovering from treatment or surgery so I am hoping this will be a different year for me.

I battled a lot of anxiety and fear during the month of December about what lies ahead for me and my health.  I made a decision at the beginning of January that I was going to put off my tests until the summer. I have a peace about it. For the last three years every spring I have found out that I have another cancer and another surgery and treatment.  This year I have no idea what lies ahead but I wanted to change my spring if I can, I want to enjoy a spring, see all of the trees and flowers bud and bloom and all new life that will soon be here.  I just want to simplify my life and enjoy the little things. I just emotionally could not go through any more news that is bad.  Having said this who knows what lies ahead these coming months for me but this was something I could put off until June and my doctors were very supportive of it.

I have been helping Victoria get all of her new products ready to ship and we will be looking for more stockists (this is a new name for retailers) to carry her line. I find myself in that place like I have been often these past five years, a place of waiting…..there are many things I want to do and try but I am not sure what direction to take. It is a weird place to be, a place of uncertainty and being totally out of control of where life will take me. I continue to look to the Lord for his guidance and direction and continue to live moment by moment day by day. The verse that continues to come to mind is Psalm 46:10, "Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."

I have many days of quiet and stillness to wait and see what God has in store for me in all areas of my life like business, pleasure, relationships, health you name it! It is a privelage for me to live each and every day and I am so thankful to be alive so I look forward to the next chapter in my life.  There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of the many I know that continue to battling the horrible disease of cancer and for those that have lost their battle to cancer. It isn’t fair and we don’t understand why so many people suffer from it so on days when I feel sorry for myself or look at all my scars and continue to deal with my ostomy bag I count my blessings and know that God is with me and isn’t finished with me yet so while I am still here on this earth I am trying to cherish everything and focus on all the good in this life :)

The quote I have below is one I have posted before but it is one of my quotes that I hang onto and I had Victoria print it up for me to see and read daily in my family room... this is my hope and prayer for 2016!

Thanks again for your love, support, and prayers.


Five Years

December 6th 2010 was a day that changed my life forever. It was the day that I heard those dreaded words... the "c" word! The day I was diagnosed with breast cancer. The whirlwind of emotions… it was so much to take in and process. From that day on my life has been forever changed in so many ways. I have overcome so many fears while facing countless appointments, tests, surgeries, radiation, chemo and many other things. To not only survive all these things, but to also adjust to the many physical and emotional changes has been a lot for me to take in. I can't lie there has been many, many hard times. Days when I wondered how could I go on, but I continued to battle through it all moment by moment day by day. I have changed in many ways… how can you not change when you have 4 cancers in 5 years. It is not common for one to go through this in such a short time. There are many people battling their own cancer journey and it is a hard and long road. I am so thankful for the many people I have connected with as we all share that bond of battling a horrible disease.

On days when I am discouraged there is always someone that has an encouraging word for me. I ran into a woman that I have met through one of my friends. She told me that she always prays for me and that I am her hero... I was overwhelmed and very humbled by her words. She said that I am here on this earth like each of us are to encourage others through my suffering and my journey, to offer hope as Christ did on his days here on this earth. If my journey has given hope or faith or encouragement to others then this has been God's plan for my life and if I have made a difference in one persons life than I am thankful for that. 

I don't know what the future holds for me and I continue to battle the fears and thoughts of cancer returning again to my body. It is all out of my hands so I have to live life enjoying every day that I am given and cherish the many blessings that I have in this life. I am so thankful for my family, friends, and my faith. That is what continues to get me through each and every day.

I want to encourage each of you at this wonderful time of the year to enjoy the season, take time for others, don't get stressed about all that needs to get done before Christmas but to enjoy all of what Christmas truly means to each of us.

Isaiah 9:6

For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be upon his shoulders, and he will be called wonderful, counselor, mighty God, everlasting father, prince of peace.

Taking A Leap Of Faith

It is hard to believe it’s been 7 weeks since my last chemo and I am starting to feel more like myself and getting back more energy. I am still waiting for my hair to start growing since I lost half of it but that is the least of my worries.

I spent this past month of October focusing on all I have to be truly thankful for in my life. 

Even in what has been a very hard year to say the least, I still try to focus on all the blessings in my life. Randy and I spent two weeks in Hawaii at our favourite spot, Ko Olina, the last few weeks of October. We had to cancel our trip in May, but we were able to change it to October, which was wonderful. There is something so healing about the ocean and the waves (and Randy's mai tais). I was thinking about the fact that every year as I have battled each cancer, the light at the end of every one of those tunnels was being able to go to Hawaii to heal and rest. What an incredible blessing. While I was there, I read a few books and one that I loved was called Live Love Lead by Brian Houston of Hillsong. It challenged me on many levels and came at an important time in my life. There are many decisions I need to make and this book helped me and motivated me to continue to follow my dreams and the desires of my heart. It showed me that it is not to late even at my age and the best is yet to come! He talked about Living Fully, Loving Completely and Leading Boldly. This applies not only in our faith walk, but also in our personal and professional lives. 

I am finding myself at a crossroads with many decisions to make and I feel like I am starting a new chapter in my life, which can be both exciting and a bit scary. With what I have gone through I have learnt a multitude of things, too many to mention, but one thing I have learnt is not only is life short and you need to make the most of it, but also that you need to weed out the toxic things in your life and do the things that you love. I don't want to waste time on things that don't matter. While I am still here on this earth I want to do what I can take make some sort of difference and take time for others and help people that are going through their own cancer journey. I have met so many wonderful people battling this horrible disease, and with each one I have a special connection that cancer patients share.

While these past seven months I have been off work, recovering from surgery and going through chemo, I have been helping Victoria with her graphic design company & stationery shop. Even though my contribution is small, it has been such a blessing for me to be able to focus on something other than my health and see my daughter's company grow and succeed. I have great passion to see what is in store for Victoria and I want to do all I can to help her do this. This is why I have made a difficult decision to leave my job and continue to work with Victoria and help grow her business. I find myself conflicted on many levels as I loose a paying job and go to a volunteer position but I feel such a sense of peace and excitement as to a future of greater things and to do things I love. At times when I doubt the decision I want to make there are people that offer me words of encouragement to take that leap of faith and go for it! I am thankful for the many that have spoke into my life encouraging me in many ways, just when I pray for God to show me a sign I am making the right decision I might not get a thunder bolt that hits me but what I do get is others walking along side of me and believing in me and telling me to continue on my faith walk.

I have learnt these past five years that I have to trust God in everything and that most things are out of my control so I have to continue to look to him for his guidance and trust that he has great things in store for my days ahead which applies to my physical health, emotional well being and wherever he leads and guides me and whatever doors he opens for me. I have to surrender to him.  This continues to be a "faith walk” for me and although I have excitement about where the future takes me I continue to fight off the fear of the unknown and the securities I am leaving.  I have witnessed and received so many things the many times I have been off work. God will always provide our needs so I need to continue to trust and believe in that. What's the saying... nothing ventured... nothing gained!

So, I find myself at the same place I have many times these past five years, to put my trust in God that he has my life in his hands and knows what the future holds for me so I will take that leap of faith and trust him and see where it takes me.

Phil 4:6-7

Do not be anxious about anything but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving present your requests to God and the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Once again thank you for your love, support and prayers