“I may look like debris, but I’m a masterpiece.
My next heart beat deserves a press release”.
– Shane Koyczan
I can’t believe it’s been 4 months today, since my last chemotherapy treatment. Yay!
And it’s been 10 weeks since I competed radiation treatments. Yay!
9 months since I got my official diagnosis of breast cancer.
And 13 months since I was in the walk-in clinic showing the doctor the lump I’d found in my breast.
That’s a lot of life gone by. To deal with cancer.
The journey isn’t over yet, but soon!
I’ve got one more procedure coming up shortly and also my follow-up appointment with my breast cancer medical oncologist.
After that, *in my mind* I am FREE.
February 6/7 I’ll be in Victoria and at the BC Cancer Agency and I hope to celebrate in some way, the end of this long journey, setting it all aside, and beginning anew.
Love to see some Victoria friends while I am in town if you are available.
What after breast cancer?
My next goal? My dream?
To manifest at least one month (or 3) away in Hawaii or some other tropical, warm and sunny destination(s) … (open to suggestions) to heal and to recover, to get back in shape, to do yoga and fitness, to dance, to have some fun (what’s that?) and to begin to discover the next Brenda, whoever she is.
What perfect timing to close this cancer chapter and to begin anew, in time for upcoming Valentine’s Day.
This is an (edited) REPOST from my Facebook profile. I have SO much to say, so much to write and to blog about as it has been too long since I have been here, writing with you. I will be back soon to post more.
RE : Fundrasing Benefit Concert November 15th / 2014 :
(Before you ask me for photos, I did not take any. I brought my camera but decided to leave it in my bag and to not take photos. I really wanted to just “BE” … to be there, to be fully present with the music and to be present with my old friends and new friends I made, and to BE, to fully experience all of the emotions of all the performances. I made the right decision. I came away with a FULL heart.)
Sooooo, I really cannot find the words, and I am usually good with words … to describe what I felt last night at the fundraising concert.
There are no true words to describe an evening of HEART, from beginning to end.
Each and every speaker/singer/performer/artist was in their zone of heart and soul, and this continued to touch the entire audience, I know, from start to finish of the fund-raising concert.
By the way, I arrived late for my own concert. LOL. And those who know me, know that I am NEVER late. I was kind of freaking out in my car as I had left the directions at my hotel room, and I don’t have a cell/smart phone to check Google maps. I knew I was very close to the location of the church but going around in circles. FUNNY, for someone who used to be a limousine driver in Vancouver … but nothing helps chemo-brain in that situation. I was lost. Long story short, eventually I drove to a store that I have spent thousands in, over the many many years in technology, in both computers and cameras … London Drugs staff (6 of them) at 41st and Victoria in Vancouver, all pitched in to help me out, and to Google the church and to map out the directions for me to get there … I told them all that I had cancer and there was a fundraising concert going on for me and I was late. One of them shared about a family member who was dealing with cancer. Touched my heart. I was sooooooo close to the location of the church when I was driving in circles lost, but just had not quite gone far enough. I arrived late, and in minutes, Susan Summers had me on stage speaking with Teddy. LOL. And off we went!
At the concert, Teddy was a Rockstar! (…on and off stage ) … I am now even more proud then ever, to own this special guy.
Teddy got to come on stage with me a couple of times … and the 2nd time decided he was going to eat or shred the raffle tickets remaining in a basket. Ha. He added a little humour for sure
During the concert, at the end of a beautiful classical piano piece with Nancy McMaster, Teddy was in the audience with me and he let out a big deep and sexy bark to end her piece, almost exactly in pitch with the piano, when she played her final chords. Toooooo funny! Ha. Still makes me smile.
A HUGE thank you to Shannon Ingersoll, Susan Summers and Ernie Day for instigating this fund-raising concert and for working to pull it all together so beautifully. It really was a beautiful evening, filled with healing energy for performers and audience. I came away feeling healed. Truly. It was that good.
I could write a book, JUST on last night, it was soooooo WOW!
And, not only did I come away with a HEART filled with LOVE, I came away with some fund-raising dollars that will help me get through the next bit of time, AND … get this! You know what Ernie Day did??
I came back to my hotel room last with a new GUITAR from the concert!! (guitar and kitbag/case and a $75.00 gift certificate for accessories)
YES. And WOW. Thank you Ernie, for all the hard work and phone calls and cold calls you did to make that happen.
(Ernie was moved by my story that yes, I have sold all of my musical instruments over time, to pay bills … NOW, I can begin again, I have a GUITAR!!)
Ernie, maybe you can share in comments more about how you got the guitar and strings, who donated it, etc. I was so blown away with emotions last night I have forgotten which company donated.
The MUSIC of the concert was all incredible. Really a spiritual, healing, uplifting, gentle evening. The only word that describes it all, is HEART.
Susan Summers was a fabulous MC, who kept things rolling along, and with gentleness and respect. Well done, Susan!
And Shannon, it was SO great to meet you in person, and you put a ton of time and energy into making this all happen behind the scenes and at the concert also. Thanks SO much!
I had FUN. I laughed, I cried, I got lots of hugs, and have healed some of my ” Stinkin’ Thinkin’ ” that I shared with the audience last night. I will post this in more detail on my blog.
There you have it! For now. You are getting the first of my sharing on this. Then I will post publicly, after my favourite Facebook group (YOU!) gets to read it first.
Brenda is HAPPY and I feel sooooo LOVED.
I have decided to stay for one more night in Vancouver at the Sylvia Hotel. The weather is SO beautiful, and my location SO spectacular, I just want to continue to breathe it all in, all of this GOOD.
Love you all,
A Helping Hand for Brenda Johima Benefit Concert!
I was WOWED when I got contacted and asked if it would be OK for some musicians and music therapists to put together a fundraising benefit concert on my behalf in Vancouver, to assist with added costs and medical/travel expenses associated with my breast cancer. Of course I said YES!! I am incredibly HAPPY and so excited!
Three volunteers came out of the blue and offered to do this from their hearts. Shannon Ingersoll, Susan Summers and Ernie Day. I have only met one of them before, Susan Summers, and the other two are total strangers, and it is SO kind of them to be offering their help to organize this concert.
(P.S. Did you know that I used to be a musician, singer, and trained professional music therapist? YES. I graduated in 1987 as a music therapist from Capilano University, and then post-grad, completed an additional 1000-hour paid internship at that time, in Alzheimer’s care. I LOVED the career and rewards of helping so many people)
There will be other performers as well at the concert apparently, but even if just these few …
Sibel Thrasher!!!?? LOVE Her! I have loved her, forever, since my days at the Arts Club in Vancouver. Cannot wait to see her, to hear her!
Marcus Mosely!! A dear old friend from way back. LOVE him!!
The Sojourners!! Top Notch!! WOW. I have never heard/seen them perform but I have heard sound clips and seen videos and I cannot wait to see them live!
Edith Wallace! … another long time dear friend, from way, way back, from when I first started school studying to become a music therapist myself, in 1985!
Please do come, if you can be in Vancouver on November 15th, 2014.
However, if you cannot be at the concert in person, you can still donate right on this website >>> off to the widget in the right hand column>>> AND, apparently they will also be taking donations at the concert in person also.
Breast Cancer has cost a lot more than I ever expected. Cancer is NOT free, and it is not all covered by medical like some people may think.
Also, those who live rural, as I do, we get hit harder with cancer costs, due to the logistics and distances we need to travel for treatment, and to pay for out of town accommodations, while also taking care of regular bills coming, in, and in my case, while unemployed.
I also have a dog, a big 70+ pound dog, my beautiful standard poodle Teddy, who I have worked hard, with the support of so many people, to make sure he could be at my side as much as possible throughout my breast cancer recovery from treatment. So far, he has traveled back and forth to Victoria from Fanny Bay with me to treatment, each and every time.
Only due to the kindness of strangers, who have paid for our hotel bills in full, could I have stayed in pet friendly hotel accommodations with my buddy, Dr. T. (Doctor Theodore), who has now become known as my Chief Medical Officer
Costs not covered yet for Teddy : Doggie daycare, dog boarding, professional dog walking service costs are coming up, as I will have almost (not quite) an entire month of radiation treatments, beginning October 16th.
Costs not yet covered yet for me : Cancer Lodge (and/or hotel) accommodations for almost 4 weeks, commencing October 16th in Victoria, B.C., where my daily (Monday to Friday) radiation treatments will take place.
Please come to this Benefit Concert if you can! It would mean the world to me to meet you all, see you all in person. YES! I will be there in the audience.
I have a few more months of treatment (radiation is coming up next) and many more months of recovery and healing ahead of me, to be completely out of the woods with this breast cancer “glitch” as I call it.
I haven’t been working (at the advice of doctors and oncologists) or creating revenue (due to extreme and debilitating fatigue) since April 2014, so any funds raised will help me get through the end of 2014, and hopefully will cover Teddy and I for January 2015. After that time, it is my goal to be working again for February 2015.
Thank you to the instigators and organizers of this spectacular event.
Loads of Love,
I have been blessed with so much love and kindness online, via social media, and I am so incredibly grateful.
I have been shown the BEST of humanity, through the power of social media to do GOOD in the lives of others. Mine.
Thank you to EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU, who have supported me on this breast cancer journey. Thank you for your emotional support, your love, cash, fundraising, cards in the mail, presents and toys and treats for Teddy. Thank you for dog care and dog walking. Thank you for listening to my truth, which is not always pretty, and is often painful. Thank you for helping take the load off.
There are so many people online … hundreds are there for me, and most are total strangers … including a massive support network of standard poodles! My heart is full. Thank you.
I am a sensitive soul. I feel it when you send me prayers and positive vibes, and think of me in support. You are making a difference in helping me get through this.
It has not been an easy road, and I have many more months to go, to get through active treatment, recovery and healing.
Here is one example of a total stranger, going above and beyond, to try to help and raise funds for me. Professional Golfer, Alexandra Casi … please read her blog, follow her on Twitter and support her on the road to the LPGA also.
It all started with this Tweet:
This weekend’s birdie donation will b going 2 @brendajohima & her standard poodle Teddy. She is fighting a battle w breast cancer.
— alexandracasi (@AlexandraCasi) September 11, 2014
And today, this Tweet:
after a bogey-bogey start made 8 birdies to shoot 66 in rnd 1 here in Daytona Beach. That’s 8 birdies for @brendajohima and Teddy!
— alexandracasi (@AlexandraCasi) September 18, 2014
Starting today, I will begin to highlight one person who is helping me out, on a regular basis. Thank YOU Alexandra Casi! You are #1!
I just am filled with gratitude and love in my heart for so many of you people. I will survive this breast cancer, and I will THRIVE.
P.S. UPDATE :
Alexandra Casi DID donate to Teddy and I via YouCaring! What a doll she is.
Despite her own struggles, she raised $120.00 by making 16 birdies for Brenda Johima and Teddy the standard poodle! Thank you Alexandra and friends!
Read her Tweet:
— alexandracasi (@AlexandraCasi) September 27, 2014