Actually, I am thankful. Who wants breast cancer? Nobody.

BUT.

The gifts that have come to me in a multitude of ways, the new friendships that are developing as a result, from strangers I haven’t met, and a new strength and belief in myself, a boost in confidence, bravery and courage I didn’t think I could find, a feeling of being >completely< lifted UP up up, by the LOVE and spirt and prayers of literally hundreds of people .:: that ..: yes, I AM grateful for breast cancer and the struggles it flung me into.

I'm already a new ME, and I can't wait to see who I can become, as all of this unfolds over time.

My faith in humanity and in the kindness of strangers, is stronger than ever before.

I've seen people come forward and take ACTION to help me, offering, without me asking ... this outpouring of daily love, has been mind blowing.

Yeah, I'm grateful for struggle.

Love, Brenda

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A HUGE Thank You to Accent Inns Victoria B.C., for going above and beyond to accommodate me, during tough times with breast cancer, and making it possible, as a pet friendly hotel, for my to have my best friend, my buddy, Teddy my standard poodle, with me here in my room. He is my family. A pet friendly hotel is a blessing, when one doesn’t want to be away from family I start chemotherapy tomorrow morning. My first chemo treatment. Your staff has been SUPERB. Friendly, kind, professional, efficient, organized … and has made my stay here (I just arrived a little while ago) incredibly relaxing and comforting.

Thank you for making tough times, easier. I will be posting nothing but APPLAUSE and GOOD NEWS for this hotel, all across all social networks. I’m grateful.

Teddy sends a big ((hug)) Brenda Johima

P.S. As you can see, Teddy was pretty excited to arrive for his first ever hotel stay!

Teddy the standard poodle arrives at Accent Inns Victoria for his first pet friendly hotel stay.

Teddy the standard poodle arrives at Accent Inns Victoria for his first pet friendly hotel stay.

Treatment plan (if all goes well and as planned) …

They spoke of inserting a picc line or port, instead of and IV for chemotherapy.

We are going to try without doing this, even though chemotherapy can cause permanent damage to veins. This is scary stuff!

Treatment plan:

“only 4 pokes” … meaning:

1. Starting this coming Wednesday/Thursday, one chemotherapy treatment session every 3 weeks for 12 weeks. That’s only 4 times! I can do this!

2. I get a 3-4 week break.

3. Then, 3.5-4 weeks of radiation, every day, Monday to Friday.

That’s it! It’s still a long haul but about half of what they originally proposed, which would have been too intense for me.

Then … let the healing and recovery begin! At light speed. At GodSpeed, get me to a cure!

Love,
Brenda

they’re not yet meant to meet
maybe never
maybe sometime
powerful words
touching hearts
yet seems like
continents apart

— Brenda Johima

empty words
on papers found
love letters
that never really loved
yet she whispered words
on lonely nights
to self and dogs
cats and trees

— Brenda Johima

So let’s talk about some good news!!

1. A wasp stung me on my arm as I was getting into the vehicle to be driven from Fanny Bay down to Victoria.

I had a bad reaction. I’ve never reacted to a wasp sting in 53 years. I took Benedryl immediately.

We kept an eye in it at he cancer agency. It got worse. It’s on the arm they need to put the IV in for chemo.

My entire left upper arm swelled up and got hot and red.

What’s the good news?

The wasp saved me from having chemo!! Ha Ha.

Seriously. Thursday, the oncologist had a look, measured it, all the way from my forearm to my armpit, and cancelled chemotherapy and put me on antibiotics.

I’ll be rebooked for chemotherapy for next Wednesday/Thursday. Gotta psych myself up all over again.

2. A lovely friend took me out for dinner at Rebar (health food restaurant) … I almost never go out to dinner in Fanny Bay. It was like having a normal life. Thank YOU secret friend ;) you lifted my spirits.

3. Another secret friend met me for coffee in the morning and drove me to Future Shop and OMG!!! Gifted me with a brand new MacBook Pro!!! Seriously. We have been on Twitter and messaging on social networks for a long time but had never actually met before.

This person is an angel. I swear, one of the kindest people I have ever met.

Soooo, now I can work and be mobile while I am working on a cure!! My old laptop died in April 2013 and hasn’t been reparable. I have a desktop computer but I often need to lay down due to chronic pain, and now with cancer, I can keep my creative brain working, edit my photos on the fly, and work in creating a passive income while I am staying at the cancer lodge. It’s VERY boring, all the waiting and waiting. I’m ecstatic!! I can get my websites fixed up while resting and laying down, on and on. Technology changes lives and somebody very special just changed mine. I have so much gratitude and respect for this person. xx

4. A “Teddy Fund” has been started, from another new private donation!! So I can care for Teddy (or have some funds to pay for doggie day care or private in-home care if needed in a pinch) and make sure he’s well fed and cared for in my absence. And it’s a buffer in case I needed vet care visit while I’m in treatment. I’m saving all of these funds just for Teddy until I’m in the clear with cancer gone. Thank YOU!!!

Soooo my first stay at the cancer lodge and in Victoria was ooooozing with kindness and an outpouring of love, despite the financial stresses of drug costs and on and on.

I’m so HAPPY to share some good news with you all!! There’s a long long way to go with fundraising and all the rest that still had to fall into place, like a for sure placement for Teddy, but this trip to Victoria have me so much HOPE that everything is going to be OK.

Thank you Victoria! YYJ you’re a kind city and I’m grateful to have new friendships growing.

Love,
Brenda

Oh yes! P.S.

.5 My new friend and I came up with a little (doable) business idea I can do. I wanted to help others with breast cancer through this, but not something that will drain my energy. Something FUN is in the works! And will create a small bit of revenue in time.

OMG !!!!! The kindest person in the whole world just changed my life for the better!!

I was just gifted a new MacBook Pro laptop! So I can start my business(s) back online again and be mobile while dealing with my cancer cure!

I can now update my blog regularly while mobile, fix my websites effortlessly while on the road, or while staying at the cancer lodge for treatments, and work laying down when I am not feeling well in between treatments.

I can edit my photos again in comfort, like a pro photographer, and work wherever I am.

I can begin to generate some revenue again slowly, bit by bit, online.

There really are angels in this world!! You know who you are, and I’m so very grateful.

Technology can change lives and you just changed mine and gave me hope.

Never underestimate an act of kindness. This was a BIG one for this person to do for me. She’s heaven sent, I’m sure.

Loads of Love, and YaaaaHoooo!!
Brenda

P.S. I have a desktop computer but my MacBook Pro died in April of 2013 or so and hasn’t been reparable without tremendous expense. Now I can sell it for parts at least or recycle it in the electronic garbage.

P.S.P.S.

During our trip to pick up the new laptop, we also came up with a small business idea that can generate a bit of revenue for me, benefit other breast cancer patients at the same time, and give me a greater sense of purpose and accomplishment while kicking breast cancer out! It’s something creative and FUN, and won’t drain my energy while I’m in treatment or recovering. Stay tuned.

So I got the devastating news today from a medical oncologist that I have to come up with an additional $5000-$6000 to pay for cancer drugs that are not covered by BC Medical.

Yes, we are in Canada. In BC. This is not covered by medical.

Who has that kind of extra cash kicking around? ($1500.00 every 3 weeks for 12 weeks)

So we must up the fundraising efforts. I just found this out today and I’m shocked.

The pharmacist is waiting to hear back of possible eligibility to have some of this covered.

But if it is not, I’m looking forking out $1500.00 every 3 weeks for 12 weeks minimum, to boost my white blood cell count, in between chemotherapy treatments.

Add to that, hundreds for anti-nausea drugs also not covered by BC Medical.

Yeah, it’s been a bad day.

I have to have these drugs, as once they do chemo, my cancer cells, and good cells, white blood cells are compromised and I’ll be at great risk for infection, or worse.

Yes, I’m living a nightmare.

I never never ask for money, but if You have a blog or a website, or an email list, or Twitter, Facebook, anywhere you can share the fundraising link to the right, yeah, now I’m desperate.

Chemotherapy starts Friday morning.

Can you share this around please? There’s also a widget. Grab the code for blogs, websites.

Every penny helps. It doesn’t take much money to give, when it all adds up together.

http://www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/a-helping-hand-for-brenda/189216?utm_source=widget

Always Love,
Brenda

Yesterday I got a short new haircut, to prepare for chemotherapy, and as a “phase 1″ in order to not have bald be such a shock in 2-3 weeks.

So I took a couple of selfies, or self-portraits … I prefer that term, with my iPhone, of course. So, here you go, see them below.

Chemotherapy starts this week on Friday. I’m leaving for Victoria this morning. I’ll meet with my lovely (she really is lovely) oncologist on Wednesday (oops, that’s today!) and also with the oncology nurse, who will give me chemo education.

Apparently I will also learn how to give myself a shot in between treatments, to boost white blood cell count. That is not happening. Me giving me a shot?

Me, give myself a needle?

I’ll be calling my doctor, or a walk-in clinic, or the nursing centre near home, or even a stranger! (kidding) … poking myself with a needle between every chemotherapy treatment is part of the process, apparently.

They trash your system, kill off all the cancer cells with chemotherapy … and kill your good cells in the process, so you have to give a needle with some drug (I’ll know the right terms and drugs for the next blog post) that works to fight and boost your white blood cell count back up again before they … do it all over again, chemo.

This all sounds pretty awful to me, and I still can’t believe it’s happening to me.

But, “lymphatic space invasion” … if they got the right chart and pathology report on me (are they sure that they have the right person? (Brenda Johima has cancer, right? Not Suzie or Joanie or BooBoo or Jim?) … anyway, lymphatic space invasion with a high grade 3/3 cancer is nothing to mess with.

Lymphatic space invasion needs a systemic drug approach to tackle any possible remaining cancer cells in the body that may have traveled via bloodstream or lymphatic system.

(unless I had at least $10,000 minimum for starters, I could get treated in Mexico without chemotherapy. that’s another story, another blog post)

My buddy Teddy can’t be by my side during treatments, sadly. There’s something wrong with our medical system. Our pets are family. I’d love to have him at my side during chemo.

But … focus on gratitude, Brenda. (she talks to herself) I’m grateful! … for the BC Medical care that I DO have, and the experts who will oversee my care, recovery and cure!

I’ll miss the comfort that Teddy gives me for a few days, and the laughs and fun!

But I’m grateful! I’m grateful that I own such a lovely and smart, and entertaining and happy, joyful, silly, beautiful, handsome, gorgeous dog! Truly I am grateful for Teddy, every single day.

Next, I really hope I’m feeling well after my 1st chemo session, as it’s a 3-4 hour drive back home. I’m getting picked up to be driven home, so at least Teddy will be in the car for the car ride back home.

I’m grateful I have someone to pick me up and drive me home.

I look kind of healthy in these photos. I wonder if they’ve made a mistake and have the wrong person? I wish it were true.

There’s so much to be grateful for, even through all of this incredibly scary stuff.

I have a roof over my head, on an Island surrounded by nature and paradise. I’ve got healthy food in my belly each and every day.

I’m healthy. Yes, I AM healthy … with a little blip, a glitch of cancer thrown in my way at the moment.

I’m grateful for being loaded with creative talents and creativity that buzzes in my brain 24/7 … and … I’m super grateful! … for all the kind people, mostly strangers, and a few long time friends, who have come forward to pray, think good thoughts, and send me positive vibes, daily, to get through this.

Love can be felt through cyberspace. Never underestimate the difference you may make in somebody’s life.

Go now, spread some love, take an action that will help somebody. You’ll never regret it.

Be a love boomerang. It will come back to you. Send it out there.

Oh my goodness, all this spewing of words from a new haircut? I love the creative process.

And now I’m off, today, to chemotherapy and more, at the BC Cancer Agency, Vancouver Island Centre.

xxoo

Love always,
Brenda

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