Monday, November 21, 2011

Day of Diagnosis

The facts:

Today I was diagnosed with colon cancer.  I am 30 years old.  I am scheduled to have my entire ascending colon removed, along with the surrounding lymph nodes, on Dec. 8th, 2011.  It will be at that time that they can assess what stage of cancer I have.  I am a mother, a wife, a sister, a daughter.  I am a business women, I am an actor, I am a director, a producer, a Worship leader, a friend, a smiling face.  I am a story teller and this is my story.... :

So, where do I start?  How can I blog about something when it feels as if it's happening to another person? I'm going to live forever, right?  Well, maybe not.  There is an expiration date on this planet and when you are face to face with yours it changes your perspective.  That stain on one of your favourite shirts from the spaghetti you had for dinner doesn't seem like such a big deal anymore.  Peoples' facebook statuses don't seem so witty or, well, even worth reading.  I want to scream at them, "Stop your inane writing!  People are dying all around you!  I am dying! Can't you see?  Don't you care?".

But I'm not...dying.  Not yet.  It's all about attitude.  It's all about facing the challenge knowing that you are holding hands with Jesus and that you have an army of family and friends marching behind you into battle. There is no better feeling in the world than to know that you are loved.  That's what it's all about.  LOVE.  That's what it's always been about and will always be about.  Don't let anyone tell you different.

I am starting this blog to tell the story of my fight... and of my victory.  I have always loved a challenge and I walk into this one knowing that God never gives us more than we can handle.  God must think that my family and I can handle quite a bit, given the circumstances!  I look on this as an honour and an opportunity to trust that God is faithful.  I will come out on the other side of this a changed woman.  I will be stronger, more compassionate, perhaps even a bit more wise.  My character will be molded, some weeds will be pulled, and some flowers will be planted.  I know it will be a tough journey, but I believe that my spirit is prepared.


  1. Way to go Annette. I will stand right along with you. i made up my mind years ago that if I had to face cancer or any other health issue that I would do it head on with an attitude that it would become part of my story. Bless you! I will be praying for you. Wendy T

  2. We will be praying for you. Thanks for sharing.

  3. As always darling... we're here in each and every moment either in prayer or person. Lean into God... lean into His people... and focus on the TRUTH... love ya!

  4. You are an amazing and beautiful creation of God. This sharing you are doing may be a healing tool for you...but also for those who are reading it.
    I love you!

  5. I am a friend of you sister Katie's, and a breast cancer SURVIVOR/WARRIOR!! You are so right, it is about attitude! It's facing each day, even the tough ones, knowing it's happening for a reason, and knowing someone out there is worse off than you are. Some days it's hard to stay positive, but surround yourself with people who love you, and you WILL BEAT THIS!!!

    Good luck to you on your journey,
    Andrea DeYoung
    Stettler, AB

  6. Thank you for the great advice Andrea!

  7. So Annette, you don't know me. . . but I know you. . . kinda. Your mother and her family have been part of my life always. We haven't always been in touch but we always knew each other was there and, in our case, that seems to be enough. With that, I will say I'm very pleased your Mom forwarded your blog info to me. While I am very saddened to hear of your diagnosis, I applaud your efforts in finding a way to talk about it and share your story, from the very beginning of your road to recovery.
    I know how you feel. I know because I have been down your road. 19 years ago this very week, I had radical surgery for cervical cancer. I too was staged -- my surgery began in my chest. I know that was a long time ago but man, after reading your blog, it feels like yesterday! Everything you said -- the fear; the surgery; the staging; the questions; the BIG question -- am I going to die?

    You are (obviously) a smart girl so what I I have to say is, perhaps, a reminder to hang on to what you already know. need to find a way to channel the fear into something positive so you can focus all that energy in the right direction. It looks to me like you have figured that one out
    2. you need to remember, we ALL live one day at a time. I don't know about you, but death was the first place my mind went to when I got my diagnosis. It took me a week or so to remind myself that I was still a L O N G way from death's doorstep. Then I had to continue to remind myself that none of us have that crystal ball that tells us when we will draw our last breath -- and we really should ALL be making an effort to live each and every day as if it were our last. Most of us forget to do this.
    3. Let the people that are around you spoil you -- even just a little bit. They need something to do -- and in many ways, there is nothing more than can do for you. You, after all (even though you may feel your life is out of control just now) are in the driver's seat. Although your choices are limited just now, you do still have choices. . . those that love us just have to wait and see what choices we make, and then their job is support you in them -- so let them spoil you a little as their way of telling you how very precious you are to them.

    It is, I'm sure, very hard to believe but I often look at Cancer as one of the most positive things that has every happened to me. You will be amazed and overwhelmed at the outpouring of love, compassion, and carrying that is coming your way. If you ever wished for a warm fuzzy moment, you had better prepare yourself for MANY of them. It also reminded me of who and what was important in my world, It literally changed who I was and, I believe, made me a kinder, better person. I'm not a mom, but I am a wife, daughter, in-law and friend. I believe my experience made me a better companion tto my man of 34 years -- I always knew he loved me but he really pulled out all the stops for me when I went through my diagnosis and treatment. I love and appreciate him so much more for that. I think it made me a better friend and sister as it helped me learn how to reach out to and help someone even through really personal, difficult times. And I believe my cancer experience helped me be a better person to see my aging parents through their aging, illnesses and, finally, their passing.

    You are right -- you can beat this. While cancer continues to strike fear into the heart of the most brave, we have come so far in our treatment options and that is definitely to your benefit. But, the one thing that always has remained true is the benefits of positive thinking. You seem to me to be a very positive thinker. Keep that up and you will be the ultimate winner.

    I wish you a speedy recovery from your surgery. I wish you a very merry and blessed Christmas.

  8. We are always there for you Annette. Thanks for sharing your journey as I'm sure it will be inspirational to many.

  9. Belle Annette it's been waay too long but we think of you often and hope to one day meet your wonderful husband and cute as a button daughter my toughts,prayer and juju will be going your way from now on you are strong stronger then you think..... lots of love....

  10. Emilie wrote you the first one, this is Jeff.

    You feel that buzzing? That is the sense of some major cancer kicking PAH! in your direction. There are a lot of us out there who know about PAH. There are a lot of us out there who know about cancer. And there are a LOT of us out there who know and LOVE our Annette. I miss you though I am right beside you. We all are and don't forget that.

  11. My thoughts are with you and your family. Thank you for sharing your story with us.

  12. Sending you some warm fuzzy love as you venture down this difficult path! Know that there are so many people rooting for you, willing you to keep strong and fight. Keep writing! It will help. The lovely interwebs is full of amazing, inspiring people such as yourself who will help keep you going, because you will see just how possible it is to thrive & survive!

  13. Sending you prayers, healing vibes, and positive mojo, Annette!

    (PS--you may know me slightly better as Bob Tranquilli)

  14. Annette - You're attitude is amazing but honestly, I wouldn't have expected anything else from you. You are an incredible person it's always great fun when we get chances to see each other! Of course, Luc & I sincerely empathize for what you are going through but it's obvious you're going to show this shit who's boss (ok, there was no pun intended, but I'm going to leave it now!haha) Good luck with the surgery - we'll be thinking of you!!