Love for Annie
My mum, Annie, is the kindest person I know. She is creative, intelligent, full of vitality and brings a love and warmth to everyone she meets. She also has lung cancer.
Mum is not a smoker and never has been. When she was diagnosed in February 2014, we were shocked and devastated: 90% of her right lung was blocked by a massive tumor and she was given 3 months to live. In June, mum had a successful surgery where her right lung was removed and she began chemotherapy. She had to stop working (my parents own a tiny bakery). After 3 sessions, mum was advised to stop the treatment because the chemotherapy was wreaking havoc on her body and the doctors were concerned it would be fatal. She chose to stop the chemo and began her journey of recovery.
In the following months, mum became strong and healthy. However, in June 2015, she had a follow-up scan, which showed the cancer had spread to her remaining lung. There is no option of surgery or radiation. The doctors have given her chemotherapy as the only option to attempt to slow down the tumor growth. However, mum cannot physically withstand more chemotherapy. She has been given six months to a couple of years to live.
Mum has been begun doing mistletoe therapy, which is widely used in Europe for cancer patients. Unfortunately, each shot is very expensive and it is a life long therapy. There are also other treatment options she would like to pursue, but she cannot afford to do so. In order to undergo all the treatments recommended by her naturopathic Oncologist, mum would have to pay over $2000 per month. Our family cannot afford this cost. So, we are reaching out to you to please help mum in her battle against cancer, to help give her the opportunity to exhaust all her options and, at the very least, to help her maintain a good quality of life for as long as possible.
Please share our story and donate if you can. Annie is the wife to a loving and devoted husband, a mother to two children and a new grandmother to a sweet little boy. Annie touches so many people’s lives for the better and brings so much goodness into this world. Please help her in her fight against cancer. We are forever grateful for all the love and support being sent her way.
It is with great sadness that I am writing to inform you that Annie passed away yesterday afternoon at our local hospital here on Salt Spring Island. The children and I were gifted to be with Annie as she took her very last breath.
We were tremendously fortunate to have Annie be at home throughout this illness, except for one night at the local hospital. She suffered no pain throughout this journey, but was heavily sedated to assist her breathing for these last few days.
The care and support offered to us by Hospice, The Home Support and The Home Care workers was nothing short of astonishing. A gift that will be impossible to repay. The support from both our children and all our immediate family has also been immeasurable.
Thank you for the many cards and emails. The good wishes and fond memories from friends and family both near and far were a wonderful source of nourishment for Annie. I will cherish them forever.
A memorial gathering to celebrate Annie and bury her ashes will likely take place in the Spring.
I will miss her terribly, as I'm sure you will too.
Wishing you all the very best,
It has been a long a time since I last shared an update with you regarding Annie's health. Now that the tourist season has ended, I finally have the opportunity to catch my breath. This could potentially be a very long note, but I will try to be as succinct as possible.
It is almost three years ago now that Annie received her cancer diagnosis, and about two and a half years since the surgery to remove her right lung. She has enjoyed relatively good health over the three years, with very few symptoms to hold her back from being her normal happy self.
At this time, regretfully, Annie is not doing as well. About six weeks ago, after one of the tri-monthly scans, Annie began to experience symptoms that we would have preferred not to see. They are primarily nausea, breathlessness, coughing fits, weight loss, and what she has described as generally feeling "yucky". The most recent scan unfortunately shows that the cancer has spread further on her remaining lung (another 20% or so since the previous scan), and that it has also now spread to her kidneys. There is activity too on the lymph nodes. Spots on the lung that were previously separate, have now come together to form one mass. A separate scan of her brain was also recently done to see if the cancer had spread there, but those results are thankfully clear.
We of course never know from day to day how she is going to feel, so it is very challenging to make travel or social arrangements. As Annie puts it : "I am not the person people once knew". Her energy level is way down, and she finds it challenging to sustain a lengthy conversation.
Annie has decided that she does not want to go through another bout of chemo therapy as it made her feel so ill the last time. She is continuing on with the Mistletoe therapy/shots and strongly believes that the mistletoe has really slowed the cancer growth (The oncologist at the BC Cancer Clinic says that she has defied all their expectations!). In addition to visits to the oncologist and our family doctor, Annie is continuing with acupuncture, massage, curative eurythmy (movement) and visits to her homeopath. The extreme kindness shown to her via the Go Fund Me website has made this all possible. Thank you.
Annie is determined not to "give over", and is doing all she can to maintain her health as best she can. We have established contact with the local Hospice, as well as the local Home & Community Care workers, for support when needed. Having both grandchildren here on Salt Spring is such a blessing, and appears to be the very best medicine for her! She finds their short visits to be very uplifting. In typical Annie fashion, she is more concerned about how I am managing and adapting to our "new" situation than her own health!
Many of you would like to visit, but Annie has asked that we not have visitors at this time. Even with people staying elsewhere on the island and not with us, she finds it exhausting to have visitors and needs to conserve all her energy. She knows that people want to visit in part to say "goodbye", but she insists that she does not have the energy to go through the goodbye process multiple times. Visitors will individually say goodbye just once, but Annie would need to say goodbye multiple times - which would of course be emotionally draining.
However, for those of you who feel inclined or have a close friendship, Annie's request to you is that if possible you please write or email her with a memory or a thought about your friendship and/or relationship that you would be willing to share with her. You can reach Annie at: email@example.com , or via mail at: 131 Crofton Rd, Salt Spring Island, BC. V8K2R8.
Now that I will not be working twelve hours a day at the bakery, I will be home much more often to support her as best I can. I will fulfill standing bakery orders, and will participate in the local Christmas markets, but other than that I plan to be her support this coming winter.
I hope that I have given you a clear picture of how things stand right now. It is a challenging time for us both, as well as for our immediate family and friends. But we will meet this with the commitment, strength, courage and humour that has carried us for almost forty years together (March 27th) as husband and wife!
If your time permits, then Annie looks forward to hearing from you. Truly no pressure.
With our love,
Desmond and Annie.
Dear Family, Friends, and Friends of Friends,
It is now almost exactly two years since my initial diagnosis. Since that time I have had to create a new relationship to my health and well being. It has been a steep learning curve and I can’t imagine that I would have managed so well without the love and support from all of you.
I continue to feel well and my energy level is quite good. Last week I met with my oncologist to discuss my most recent scan. The small tumors in my remaining lung have regretfully grown a little, and have merged into what looks like two solid masses. However, there is no evidence of new tumors anywhere else.
The doctor reiterated that chemotherapy was still available to me but that at best, by a small percentage point, it could only slow the growth. The risk of infection would likely be higher than before, and the fact that I couldn’t tolerate it previously is unsettling. So once again I have decided not to pursue chemotherapy.
I am determined to live a productive, quality filled life for as long as possible. To that end, as many of you know, I have created, out of extensive research, my own program. My family, friends and many health care practitioners have helped in this process and I am grateful to each and everyone of them for their guidance. It is an holistic approach that demands focus, commitment and endurance but I feel good about this approach.
The circle of love and hope that surrounds me enables me to do what I feel needs to be done. My regime consists of Mistletoe treatment, Essential oil dispersion baths, Meditation, Biography, Acupuncture, Massage, Therapeutic painting, Therapeutic Eurythmy, Nutritious whole food, Medicinal Marijuana and various supplements. If you wish to know more, or are unfamiliar with these therapies, please feel free to call me or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am more than happy to talk about my situation.
I am slowly writing or calling to thank each of you for you kind and generous donations. Although I would love to be able to thank the many anonymous donors directly, I respect their wish to remain anonymous.
My deepest wish is that the tumors would just disappear and that I can have many more years with my beloved Desmond, my children and my grandchild(ren). Gemma and Andy’s baby is due in July.
My cancer has brought about many positive situations for which I am deeply grateful. The opportunity for further self reflection and self development has led me to a deeper understanding of myself. To learn to gracefully and happily receive what others wish to give, has been a new but wonderful experience.
Desmond (AKA Florence Nightingale) has been the best of caregivers, and together with my children, offers me unconditional love and support. My extended family are there for me at every turn, as are so many of my friends.
As part of my daily meditation I have been guided to 'imagine the most beautiful thing’. Every day the same images appear. Firstly, that I will be restored to good health and live beside Desmond until way into our dotage. Secondly that my children and grandchildren live healthy, purposeful and fulfilled lives. Thirdly that everyone on earth can experience unconditional love.
From time to time I will keep you posted on my health, but in the meantime I would love to hear from you all as to what is happening in your lives.
Thank you once again. My thankfulness knows no bounds.
CTV has written a great article about how successful this campaign has been and how it has allowed Annie to pursue her alternative treatments. Thank you Jeff from CTV for shedding some light on our mums plight to live a happy, healthy life for as long as possible!
Despite all the terrible tragedies we are seeing around the world, there is still so much kindness and generosity in humanity and it is something that should be celebrated and remembered.
Here is a link to the article:
You and your family members, which you have birthed and grown to be such a delight and light in my tenure here on the Island, are thought of almost every day. I wish you the best in this difficult time with continued presence with them
I am so touched by your words Annie. I had cancer too and faced the great dilemma of what treatment would be best for me. I am an unconventional gal and could not blindly follow conventional health care. It had to be a holistic approach for me and it sounds like for you as well. In the almost 16 years since I have not regretted the decisions I made then. May your journey be blessed in every way. Thank you for sharing with us. And congratulations about the babe coming. Andy will be a good daddy and of course Gemma is just divine. What good news.
Thank you. Thank you from all Annie's extended family for your generosity and love and for giving Gemma the best wedding gift ever by reaching the goal on her wedding day.