Friday, April 24, 2009

One Year Anniversary since the Whipple!

Today is my one-year anniversary today from the cancer surgery I endured on April 18, 2009. I really am amazed that I am still here, alive and actually performing tonight at the Lionel Hampton Jazz Club here in Paris!! What an incredible year it has been.

When I think back to how fragile and sick I was the first few weeks after the Whipple procedure for my pancreatic cancer, I am really astounded to be feeling as strong and healthy as I am today. I feel that I have been given a second chance at life and want to use every opportunity to inspire others to fight their own challenges and stay strong. If I can be an example to others of how to take charge of their own bodies and how to make lemons from lemonade, I will feel like all the pain and struggle of the last year has been worth it.

Just one year after cancer, I have been chosen as an ambassador for the Electra Bicycle Company in their 2010 catalog and Way To Roll ad campaign. The WTR campaign celebrates individuals leading unique & inspired lives in the hopes of inspiring others and igniting a chain reaction of positivity, awareness, change and artistry to make the world a better or more beautiful place to be. The campaign will be rolled out across several formats: advertisements in US and international magazines (mainstream pubs and those endemic to cycling culture), the beautiful 2010 Electra Bicycles catalog, and online at I will be featured in the catalog and possibly in an ad!! Woo Hoo!!

I have also finished my new cd, my tenth, SUPERHERO, for Delta Groove records.
Its slated for a June 16th release and we are super excited. I leave for Memphis for the Blues Foundation Awards on May 5. I am not nominated this year, but my friend, guitarist and co-producer, Laura Chavez and I will perform at the Delta Groove Records showcase alongside my other labelmates and friends.
Pretty exciting stuff just one year after being cut open, scrambled and put back together!

I know how lucky I am to be here. Pancreatic cancer is one of the most deadly and many people die just six months after diagnosis. I was lucky to have a rare, slower moving form, the neuro endocrine tumor, and was lucky to have a brilliant and dashing surgeon Dr. Andrew Lowy at UCSD Moores Cancer Center perform my procedure. I have lost other friends to this same cancer so my future seemed pretty bleak at first. I still have to pinch myself that I am still here on this planet at all. I have very few side effects from the Whipple, other than losing 100 pounds. I have to be careful eating rich and fatty foods and that’s been a bit difficult here in France. I am looking forward to going back home to my juicer, my neighborhood health food store and most of all - my gorgeous yellow Electra bike!

Cancer has brought many blessings to my life. New friendships with other survivors and patients – bonding with others who are suffering health challenges, like my friends, Kenny Neal, Ann Rabson, Jenny Bohman and Michele Seideman. Cancer has made me reevaluate my choices and my lifestyle, helped me lose 100 pounds and taught me about nutrition and juicing. Most of all, cancer has made me appreciate the beautiful friendships and moments I have on this planet.

On today, the anniversary of the traumatic nine hour surgery I endured, I just want to thank you again for your kindness, white healing light and generosity. I am still hundreds of emails and thank you notes behind but little by little, I am getting caught up. Your monetary gifts, the benefits and beautiful words of inspiration you shared with me were essential and vital for my speedy recovery. People cannot believe how strong and vibrant I look, just one year after this cancer catastrophe. I feel great and am grateful to be around a bit longer to make music for you!
I realize now that every day I have here is special and sacred. There are no guarantees in life and so I cherish every day I am given.

May you fight your own struggles with courage and positive thought and may you also appreciate every day you open your eyes and take a fresh breath of air.

Your super hero diva,

Candye Kane

Candye Kane band shows

4/13 – 18 Paris, France/ Le Meridien Hotel
4/19 Purmerend, Holland/ Private party/
4/20 and 21 UBM workshops/ Holland
4/23 home from Europe
5/1 Bakersfield, Ca/ Double Tree Hotel Club Odyssey
5/8 Memphis Tn/ Delta Groove Records showcase at the National Blues Music Awards
5/9 San Jose, Ca/ Metro Fountain Blues Festival 2:30 pm
5/10 Orange County Marketplace/ 88 Fair Drive 92626
12 noon – 2:00 pm
5/16 Casper, Wy/ The Attic
5/17 Denver, Co/ Lannies Clocktower
5/18 Lyons, Colorado/ Oskars
5/20 Boulder, Co/ The Outlook Hotel
5/22 Dallas, Tx/ Pearl at Commerce w Cheryl Arena
5/23 Austin, Texas/ the Continental Club
5/24 Houston, Texas/ The Continental Club
5/28 Lincoln, Nebraska/ The Panic
5/29 Kansas City/ Knuckleheads
5/30 Eureka Arkansas/ Blues festival
6/2 Lincoln, Nebraska/The Zoo Bar
6/3 Des Moines, Ia/ Blues on Grand
6/4 Omaha, Nebraska/Murphys
6/5 Navarre, Mn/ Narrows Saloon
6/6 Chicago, Ill/ Fitzgeralds
6/7 Ann Arbor, Mi/ The Ark
6/9 Grand Rapids, Mi/ The Intersection
6/11 Macalester, Oklahoma/ Private event
6/12 Oklahoma City, OK/ Bricktown Blues Festival
6/17 New CD Super Hero! released on Delta Groove records!
6/20 Dana Point, Ca/ The Renaissance
6/26 Cloverdale, Ca/ Downtown Cloverdale concerts
6/27 Point Arena, Ca/ Arena Theater
6/28 San Francisco, CA/Biscuits and Blues
7/4 Portland, Oregon/ Waterfront Blues Festival (Mainstage)
7/5 Eugene, Oregon/ Sam Bonds Garage
7/10 Folsom, Ca/ Po Boys Bar and Grill
8/2 Chicago/ Halstead Market Days/Belmont and Halstead
8/4 Indianapolis, Indiana/ The Slippery Noodle
8/5 Cleveland, Ohio/ Beachland Ballroom
8/10 Rockland, Maine/ Time Out Pub
8/14 Woonsocket, RI/ Chans
8/15 Camton, New Hampshire/ White Mountain Blues and Boogie Festival w UK singer Dani Wilde
8/18 – 9/13 United by Music Tour of Ireland and the Netherlands/
10/3 Narooma, Australia/ Great Southern Blues festival

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Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Making of a Super Hero

We are on the homestretch now, finishing up the overdubs on my new CD for Delta Groove records, Super Hero. It is slated for a mid June 2009 release. This is my ninth international release and my first for Los Angeles based Delta Groove. It is a very raw, emotional project since I am still a bit raw and emotional from my struggle with cancer less than a year ago. Making this CD is a true triumph and victory for me and I am so grateful for this chance.

I produced “Super Hero” with my guitarist, 26 year-old Bay Area virtuoso Laura Chavez. Laura and I co-penned six of the fourteen songs on it, and we feel pretty proud of the results. We had my eldest son Evan Caleb playing drums on most of the tracks except for the two that feature percussionist Stephen Hodges of Mavis Staples and Tom Waits fame. My long time friends, guitarist Dave Gonzales of the Paladins/Hacienda Brothers and sax player Jonny Viau, lent their talents to the recordings as well as my label mates, the scorching guitarist Kid Ramos and harmonicat and stellar crooner Mitch Kashmar. Paul Loranger played bass on the entire recording and it also features Greg Rutledge on piano. Its been really fun recording this CD at Joey Altruda’s studio on Melrose. I have known Joey for twenty years plus, since my early days in Hollywood when he was known as Tupelo Joe and then later from the King King club where he often played with his swingin combo, Jump with Joey. He and engineer Donnie Whitbeck have been incredible to us and done great work on Super Hero. We recorded live to two-inch tape in this classic studio where George Burns, Gracie Allen, Eddie Cantor and Bing Crosby recorded their radio shows. It has been incredible to be in such a magical space.

Last year at this time, I didn’t even know if I would still be alive, much less making another recording! The title; “I’m a Super Hero” is the name of one of my songs. It was the first song I wrote after my Whipple surgery for pancreatic cancer on April 18, 2008. I was so fragile when I came home from the hospital and could barely open my mouth to speak audibly, much less sing. I had 150 stitches in my belly after an intense, eleven-hour surgery that removed parts of at least five of my organs. Frustrated at my inability to sing normally, I held my guitar and strummed it daily. I believe in the healing power of music and I knew the guitar vibrations would be good for my traumatized body in addition to helping me stay focused on music. Eventually, I was able to muster up the strength to sing just a little and I wrote “Super Hero” as a folk song. My voice was so vulnerable and fragile that it was hard at first to project, but I’m proud to say that I am back and belting like my old self again. Super Hero has been revamped as a funky song and it’s a fitting name for this recording that represents victory over the biggest hurdle in my life. I just hope that everyone likes it as much as we have enjoyed making it.

On March 20, we will embark on a four- week tour of Europe and Scandinavia. I am so happy to be alive that I took every single gig that came my way, once I started feeling better. I am so grateful to be working when so many are losing their jobs but I admit, I am a bit tired. I have scarcely had any time to rest and am looking forward to a few days off once the cd is complete.

We performed my stage play, The Toughest Girl Alive at the Diversionary Theater at the end of January in San Diego. It was sold out on all four nights! Thank you San Diego! People came from as far away as New Jersey and Seattle to see the play and everyone seemed to really like it. Many of you wrote to me and told me how inspired you were by the stories of my early childhood and life journey, thus far. The play was adapted to the stage and directed by San Diego Ballet director and acclaimed choreographer, Javier Velasco. We are hoping that the Toughest Girl will be picked up by other theaters and included in their season. Please wish us luck!

On a somber note, I lost two more beautiful friends this month. My friend Lux Interior of the Cramps left us at age 52, from a heart disorder. Lux was an amazing performer and he looked great in stiletto heels. He was brilliant, quirky and sexy. I appeared in the Cramps video The Ultra Twist many years ago and opened for the Cramps several times through the years. He leaves his beautiful wife, Cramps guitarist Poison Ivy.

I also lost my dear friend, Otis Owens. Otis lost his life in an accident on an icy highway in Texas on his way home to San Diego. Otis was a devoted father to his beautiful grown daughter, Olivia and was a true friend to anyone who ever asked for help. We met twenty years ago through our mutual friend, Country Dick Montana. Otis went on to become clean and sober and shared his wisdom and heart with anyone who needed a friend. His company, Otis delivers, was a fitting name for a man you could always count on. We will honor him and my other recently departed friend, Lorna Doone at Brick by Brick in San Diego this weekend.

Thanks so much to all of you for your kind support, emails and friendship. I am so lucky to be here and I am grateful for every morning I wake up alive. I send you positive energy and white healing light. May you transcend all of your life challenges and stay in the moment, as much as possible. May you realize that your strength is inside you and always there for you, as long as you are willing to tap into it. You can overcome anything that life throws at you and you can be stronger for it. I know it’s hard to believe that when you are suffering, but take it from me, you don’t have to be a Super Hero to overcome adversity. You just have to think like one.

Big Love and Stay Tough,


Candye Kane band shows

2/20 San Diego/ Tio Leos
2/21 San Diego/ Brick by Brick/ Otis Owens and Lorna Doone Hamilton Tribute show/
2/22 San Diego/ Dizzys with Sue Palmer/ Janell Rock posthumous CD release party
2/24 San Diego/ Hillcrest Mardi Gras Celebration 7 pm.
2/25 Leucadia, Ca/ The Calypso Cafe
2/27 Solana Beach/ Belly Up Tavern happy hour 5:30-8:00
Encinitas private party/ 8:00 – 10 pm
2/28 Dana Point/ The Renaissance
3/8 candye solo/Oakland ca benefit/
3/20 leave for Europe for Amsterdam
3/22 Stockholm, Sweden/ The Akkurat
3/23 travel day to helsinki
3/24 and 25 Helsinki, Finland/ Storyville
3/27 Umea, Sweden
3/28 Linkoping, Sweden/Great Jazz Festival
3/29 back to a’dam
3/30-31 off
4/1 travel to Vienna
4/2 Vienna, Austria/ Reigen live
4/3,4 and 5 Hornslet, Denmark/ festival
4/6 back to amsterdam
4/7 drive to basel
4/8 Basel, Switzerland/ Grand Casino
4/9 go to paris
4/10 Paris, France/ Euro Disney/ Billy Bobs
4/13 – 18 Paris, France/ Le Meridien Hotel
4/19 Purmerend, Holland/ Private party/
4/20 and 21 UBM workshops/ Holland
4/22 home from Europe
5/1 Bakersfield, Ca/ Double Tree Hotel Club Odyssey
5/9 San Jose, Ca/ Metro Fountain Blues Festival
5/22 Dallas, Tx/ Pearl at Commerce
5/23 Austin, Texas/ the Continental Club
5/29 Kansas City/ Knuckleheads
5/30 Eureka Arkansas/ Blues festival
6/2 Lincoln, Nebraska/The Zoo Bar
6/4 Omaha, Nebraska/Murphys
6/5 Navarre, Mn/ Narrows Saloon
6/6 Chicago, Ill/ Fitzgeralds
6/12 Oklahoma City, OK/ Bricktown Blues Festival
6/26 Cloverdale, Ca/ Downtown Cloverdale concerts
6/27 Point Arena, Ca/ Arena Theater
6/28 San Francisco, CA/Biscuits and Blues
8/15 White Mountain, New Hampshire/ Blues Festival Dani Wilde
8/18 – 9/13 United by Music Tour/

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Monday, August 11, 2008

Too thin for the fat girls and too fat for the mall - My changing body and changing times.

Too thin for the fat girls and too fat for the mall –
My changing body and changing times.

That dreaded summer of 1974 was the summer of transformation. My mom called me into the house from my sweltering game of kick the can with the neighborhood homeboys. Until that moment, you could find me running blissfully up and down my northeast Los Angeles cul de sac in cut off shorts, no shirt and vans slip ons. Suddenly my mom was informing me that I had to wear a shirt from now on. My breasts were growing and it was “inappropriate” for a young lady to run around shirtless. I spent the rest of the summer seated in front of the electric fan, stubbornly refusing to give into my moms’ merciless demands, my raging hormones and my blossoming mammaries.

By ninth grade, the rest of my body was starting to catch up with my now D cup bustline. I became an expert at hiding my size 12 curves under my dads baggy button down collar shirts and levis. I would never know the joys of the “5 -7- 9” shop. I carried my schoolbooks close to my chest and kept my eyes lowered, praying to G-d that none of my classmates would call me “fatso” or “chubby cheeks.” I really wasn’t fat, but my large, round breasts were the first thing that people noticed when we met. They were scary and intriguing for the boys at school, except for the one bully who pinned me against the lockers so he could cop a feel at their firmness.

With my first year of high school came my initiation into size discrimination. Even though I was often the best singer in the drama class, I couldn’t get the part of the ingénue or the princess in our school productions. My size dictated that I play the matronly teacher, or the matronly mother or the matronly nanny complete with grey wig. I was a matron and yet, I was still a virgin.

Senior year was the first time I actually started to enjoy my voluptuous body. A trip to Vegas proved to be quite advantageous when a peek at my cleavage and ample behind distracted the security guard from asking for my ID. I could play on the slot machines to my hearts content and hadn’t even had my 18th birthday yet.

Pregnancy and childbirth inflated my generous body further. My breasts swelled to an F cup. I was now a size 16. I couldn’t get jeans in the mall boutiques to fit me, anymore. I started shopping at Lane Bryant and discovered the plus size sections of the bigger department stores. Simultaneously, I was modeling for big cash in magazines that celebrated big women. Magazines with names like Hefty Mamas, Two tons of Fun, Curvy Gals and Juggs. I was a large sized sex symbol. I was working in a stigmatic business but at least I wasn’t invisible. I was acknowledged. I was beautiful and sexy. I started receiving marriage proposals and bonafide fan mail. I started embracing my curvaceous bounty and realized that there was a whole cross-section of people who enjoyed their partners with generous proportions. With money and out of state travel, came confidence and big dreams. I used the money from the skin trade to subsidize my musical career. I began hiring musicians to play with me and writing and recording songs and demos. I was a cover girl on Voluptuous magazine – why not take the next step and become the singing star I had always wanted to be?

Alas, lest I become overly comfortable in my own skin, the music business provided a rude awakening and reality check. I really wasn’t okay being a fat girl, or at least that’s what the record executives wanted me to believe. I was too fat to be a country star. I needed to lose weight and fix everything about myself that was unique, unusual and hence, broken. I was blatantly told by several powerful show biz veterans that I would never “make it” if I didn’t look the part. Didn’t I realize there were no fat women in country and western music? I could lose weight and play the game, or I could go back to my barrio with my muy grande nalgas and be a welfare mom. I went back to East L.A. from Nashville, but I didn’t go quietly and I didn’t stay a welfare mom for long.

I have always been a fat activist even before I knew there was a label for it. I was a fat champion out of necessity. I didn’t feel undesirable like many large sized people do. I had a ready fan base to tell me I was sexy and wanted. But I still had the same confrontations with prejudice and stereotypes in my daily anonymous life, as every other outsider. Rude waiters asking me if I really needed dessert or if I knew how many calories were in the pastrami plate - Dirty looks from old women in the supermarket when I lingered too long in the ice cream aisle- Laughter and snickers from store clerks in Victoria Secret - Teenage boys screaming from speeding cars when I jogged past: “Its not gonna help, fatty!” - Men in the singles scene who wanted to date me from my ad, but took off running when they saw how large I was in person- Well-meaning friends and relatives who told me I would be so much healthier if I just lost a few pounds - Countless people telling me that I had such a pretty face, because they couldn’t bear to comment on the rest of me – People telling me how great I looked and asking how much weight I had lost, because I couldn’t possibly look good if I hadn’t been dieting.

So, I began to own my fatness. I started writing and singing songs about it. “200 pounds of fun” “You need a great big woman to show you how to love” “Work what you got if it’s a little or a lot” ”Fit, Fat and Fine.” I wore bikinis and low cut dresses. I wore short skirts and skimpy gowns. I discovered drag queen stores where the sizes were bigger, the fabrics stretchy-er and the sequins shinier. I sought out other large sized and fringe communities and my music attracted them to me. I was featured in a book called “Real Women Don’t Diet” and appeared on talk shows like Roseanne, Maury Povich and Montel Williams, extolling the virtues of big women. I got new kinds of fan letters from new kinds of fans; Women who identified with my struggle as a fat girl in a skinny world.

I had another baby, gained more weight and grew to 270 pounds and a size 24. I was rejected from insurance companies because my weight was considered a pre-existing condition. I had low cholesterol and low blood pressure but was considered high risk by the medical establishment. According to them, I was morbidly obese. I was indignant. Did the insurance companies ask skinny girls how much they weighed? Were they discriminated against for being too thin? I was fat but I was still active – riding a bike, walking on the beach, dancing onstage every night and eating and drinking whatever I wanted. I was fat but I was still very sexy. There was more of me to love and more of me to celebrate. Yes, I was fat and I was proud. I rubbed my belly and spoke to it, “You’re soft and warm and cuddly. You keep me warm on a cold winters night. You’re good to grab onto during sex.” I loved my big body and I spread the word that fat was where its at. That we are all beautiful no matter what size we are. That fat is okay too.

And then one day, cancer knocked on my door.

Since being diagnosed with cancer and having the Whipple procedure done on April 17 in a nine hour surgery, I have lost 75 pounds. They removed part of my stomach, small intestine, bile duct, pancreas and my entire gall bladder. I am under 200 pounds for the first time in almost twenty years. I have gone from a size 24 to a size 16. I am thinner than some of my thin friends. I can buy the “one size fits all” fishnets and they actually fit! One of my friends said recently, “Now that you’re losing all this weight, do you think your fat fans will desert you?”

I was speechless after that question. I didn’t really think it was a possibility. Why would my fat fans desert me just because I had cancer? Why would my fat fans desert me when I was still a fat girl inside? I didn’t ask for cancer. I didn’t ask to be thinner this way and I certainly wouldn’t wish the cancer diet on anyone else. In my head, I still identify as a fat girl. I still shop in plus size shops and websites. I still opt for the table instead of the booth at the restaurant. I am still too fat for mall boutiques and I still shop in the specialty stores, only now I am a XL instead of a 3X.

My friends question though, really worried me. Especially after a blog appeared on a website called “The Rotund” challenging my songwriting integrity. The writer, Dr. Sheila accused me of lying about my weight in my song, 200 lbs of fun. Suddenly I was being accused of dishonesty when I had always prided myself on my fidelity. Would my big girl fans desert me because I no longer looked like them?

It’s a question with no real answers. I haven’t changed who I am or my philosophy that all of us are worthy and equal. I haven’t changed my belief that beauty comes in all shapes, sizes, ages and sexual orientations. I still feel like an outsider and I will always identify with the disenfranchised because I am still, one of you. No matter how thin I may become or how easy shopping may become, I still feel like a fat girl, now trapped in a slimmer body. I haven’t noticed that much difference since my surgery. I don’t move any quicker than I did 75 pounds ago. I do think more about what goes into my mouth, because my digestive system is fragile and I have to pay attention to what I eat. I do exercise daily because I want to be as healthy as possible and I don’t want the cancer to return. I do avoid sugar because cancer feeds on sugar and I don’t need it in my system. But in every other way, I am still the same fat girl I always was. Now, I guess I am truly an outsider because I am too fat for the Victoria Secret store, and too thin for the NAAFA convention. Does this mean that my large sized fans are going to dump me? I would like to hear from you and hear your opinions.

When a fat person loses weight because she/he has had a health crisis, is she still a member of the club? Or do we become some sort of invisible person – invisible to the large sized community we love and embrace, just as we are invisible to the culture, because we are fat? Am I part of the problem now, instead of part of the solution? Am I a former outsider looking in to my outsider community? How does weight loss affect how the fat acceptance community views us? Is all weight loss bad? Or just crash dieting and gastric bypass weight loss? Is all weight loss created equal? I want to think that my music is more important than my size. I want to think that large sized women and men will persist in buying my music and sharing it with others. I will continue to sing my size celebration songs because I love them and I know there are people who need to hear their message of inclusivity, no matter what size they are. I will continue to perform the songs because I still identify as an outsider in more ways than just the numbers on my scale.

If you have stuck with me thru the thick, then I need you to stick with me thru the thin, even if it happens to be a bit thinner than you. Who among you has the courage to look past my appearance and embrace who I am? Isn’t that what all of us really want from each other? Its not 1974 anymore and I don’t have the option to sit inside all summer in front of the electric fan rather than wear a shirt to cover my changing body. My body is changing on its own, from the trauma of cancer and the lifestyle changes that cancer has wrought. I love and cherish my body because it is alive and has so far, triumphed over a complicated surgery and a life threatening illness. I love and cherish my body because fat or thin, sick or healthy, it’s the only body I have. It’s the summer of 2008 and once again, it’s a summer of transformation. Hopefully it is also a summer that will transform not only my dress size, but also transform all the narrow minds who would judge me for my weight – be it 270 or 170. Think about it.

Candye Kane

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Wednesday, July 09, 2008

midwest shows cancelled, news from holland and blues in capetown

Hello everyone and happy summer!!

Our tour is going great here in the Netherlands. for photos. Sue Palmer left us Sunday and my son Tommy is here now to take her place on piano (tough shoes to fill!) and play some trombone for us, for the remaining two weeks. Yesterday we played in a big barn in Rotterdam at a petting zoo. It was an incredible place to have a concert amidst the hay and the goats. There was actually a peacock in the haystack with us and she just sat there the whole time during our rowdy and raucous set. She seemed a bit upset about my big feathery hat and she kept fluffing up her feathers, trying to look bigger. It was cute.

The United by Music artists are getting better and more confident each performance and that is really exciting to witness. I couldnt have done this tour without the help of my friend, UK blues artist Dani Wilde. I have had to cancel a few of my performances because of my health and Dani has been right there to emcee for me and perform her own amazing songs. The entire band is just awesome and everybody is doing their very best for our kids. Robbie Smith arranged all of the horns for me. Johnny Ferreira goes above and beyond the call of duty daily, playing his sax to the kids on stage and playing with them offstage too. He has such a big and friendly personality. The singers all love him. Billy Watson is another great friend and stage artist willing to do whatever it takes it get the job done. He sings a duet with J.A. Grace of "Hit the Road Jack" and sometimes he even lays right down on the ground during the song. His wild antics crack us all up. Harm Van Sleen has really helped the whole time, rehearsing with the UBM artists and he speaks dutch so its great having him there to communicate if things get confusing. The rhythm section features Paul Loranger and my son Evan on drums. Paul is just an angel and he has been so good to me. I love him and of course, Evan is right there for me all the time, keeping the beat and making me laugh. And finally, my girl Laura Chavez is just so incredible. The soul and heart that comes from her guitar playing is just awesome. I am so lucky to play with her and with all these great people. Our tour manager Nanda leaves tomorrow to go back to Singapore. We will really miss her. She is just a beautiful person inside and out. I am so glad we will see her again in Capetown.

On August 25, we will go to Capetown, South Africa for the World Congress for People with disabilities. I don’t know how on earth my body will endure a 15 hour flight but this is a realization of several years of hard work. It has been a dream of mine and Joris Wijngaarden to bring the United by Music project all over the world. It will be a chance for us to explain to caregivers and educators why we specifically use blues music to inspire special needs people to overcome adversity. Because the blues was partly born from the oppression of African Americans, I feel it is uniquely suited to inspire people who are challenged by physical and intellectual disabilities in their every day lives. Some of our artists have already written their own blues compositions. Mirielle wrote a song called “Im not that special. I am just like you.” When she performs that song, she demonstrates the honesty and heart that the blues is all about. It is my sincere hope that the United by Music project can someday be as big as the Special Olympics. By using blues as a metaphor, we can inspire others to create and enjoy music to pull them through their daily challenges. I will be doing a slide show and verbal presentation. The slide show will have photos of blues artists such as Big Bill Broonzy and Memphis Minnie alongside plantation pictures and photos of our special needs artists. If any of you can give me suggestions on where I can find archives for my slide show, please contact me at

I am feeling okay but sometimes food does a number on me. Food I used to eat without event has suddenly become indigestable. I got really sick the other night after eating some pad thai. The next day, I took a chance and I ate a salad with some bleu cheese. I thought I would get really sick since I have been virtually dairy free except for acidophulus and yogurt and yet, I felt fine after the cheesy salad. Then I ate a little tiny bit of ice cream and was up all night crying with pain. Its really weird and unpredictable. Everyday is a new gastronomical experiment. I also get really tired very quickly. On this show, I only have to emcee and do a couple of songs nightly. It wears me out! I do give a lot of energy to the singers and musicians in the show and lots of hugs, kisses and a shoulder to cry on sometimes. But still, it has been draining at times, and I have had to take a few nights off. Its really great to have wonderful musicians to rely on to carry me thru. I am also grateful for the kind understanding of the united by music crew and Joris Wijngaarden. They have been so kind when I have had to cancel and their gracious understanding really makes it easier. And of course, it really helps to have my friend and caregiver Heather here with me. She gives me massages once a week and makes fresh juices for me when she is staying with me. I should have probably stayed at home to convalesce longer but Joris and the UBM volunteers have made the tour so easy for me, I had to come and do my best. I didn’t think my special needs artists would understand if I didn’t make it.

I took the liberty of canceling a few of my Midwest shows. I just had such a full schedule that I couldnt imagine having to help drive for four or five hours a day and then performing several shows a night. I still havent purchased a small RV because they are so expensive and my budget is limited; (and I simply haven’t had the time!) So I am really sorry to those of you who were looking forward to seeing me in Omaha, Lincoln, Ann Arbor, Navarre, Des Moines, Indianapolis, Columbus and New York City. We will still be flying out to the festivals in Los Alamos, Wausau, Wis and Marshfield, Mass and will resume normal touring schedules in September. I really hated to cancel anything and let people down. I know how much my agents at piedmont talent and the wonderful promoters and club owners depend on me so I hope people will forgive and realize that I am still healing and figuring myself out. With the Capetown trip looming, I just didn’t feel physically ready to do all of my dates and I had to make a difficult decision. I really hope my fans and blues friends can forgive me and understand that the United by Music Capetown trip can do so much more good for the blues in the long run.

I will have another round of cancer tests on September 6 to find out if all the cancer was removed in the surgery. 14 out of 20 lymph nodes were cancerous so there is a slight chance that some lymph nodes were missed. I am really hoping that my cancer is completely gone, that my strict diet is working and that I wont have to endure more surgery and treatments. In the meantime, I am trying to get as much work done as possible and enjoy the time I have here on earth NOW. I know I live a charmed life and I am so blessed to do this amazing work with these wonderful people.

I met an M.D. the other day and she was amazed at how good I look and how well I am doing since having the Whipple surgery less than three months ago (April 18th!). Comments like hers give me courage especially since I am faced with more fragility than usual. I am not used to feeling feeble and it has been hard to accept. But I am just so grateful to be alive and to be back here in Europe with both of my sons. And even though I look pretty good and feel good most of the time, I am still trying to take things one day at a time. The understanding and kind hearts of those around me really means so much.

xo candye

Monday, May 12, 2008

cancer pity party, pastrami and the handys

Pity party

The ups man came and brought a gift to me today.

“Cancer patient” is how it was addressed.

I didn’t ask to be a cancer patient and it still sounds weird sometimes to mouth those scary words. C-A-N-C-E-R- P-A-T-I-E-NT. Yikes.

So I had a pity party. I cried and cried hard. I even sobbed a little. Why me?
Theres a million jerks who deserve cancer and Im not one of them.
I have so much to live for -
So much more to accomplish.
Im not finished yet.
I have lots more work to do. Finish my book. Make a country record. Make a gospel record. Make a Spanish / French language record. Make a 50’s vato oldies record. See my boys get married. See my grandbabies born. I have way more LOVE LOVE LOVE to spread around this wicked plant.

I cried so hard, my eyes are all red and my contact lenses are all cloudy. I
Felt nauseated again today. This is my third bad day in a row. I keep waiting for the good day but it seems elusive. I took a qui gong class this morning and it was really good. It was really blissful and I had a smile on my face the whole time as I connected to the white light energy. It was really beautiful. But then when I came home, I started having a stomachache. For breakfast I had kashi with soy milk and a banana. I had three teaspoons of hemp seed with the cereal. For lunch I had three shots of wheat grass and tuna from cream of the crop on 16 nut and rice crackers and an asian pear. But my stomach was churning so much I thought I would puke. I am tired of being sick. I feel like I cant get anything done. That’s the hardest part. I have so much I want to do and only a few good hours when I feel well enough to do them.

I smoked a big bowl in my vaporizer. Thank G-D for weed and especially for medical marijuana. Weed is the only thing that makes me well enough to put my pain aside and do something in spite of it. I cant stand pain pills because they make me constipated, give me headaches and cotton mouth. I only took pain pills the first few days I was home and then I quit them. They were causing more pain than I needed. Sometimes the pain is really weird and sharp. It comes suddenly in weird spots all over my abdomen. Its irratic. Everything I eat seems to disagree with me unless its miso soup or some other kind of soup. Even carrot- beet juice made me feel really sick yesterday but then who knows whether it was the juice or not that made me sick??

Anyway, now that I am stoned, ENOUGH pity party! I am going down to the pier to walk while I feel well enough. I know the wind in my hair will feel good even if I do have a bellyache. I don’t want to give in to any more negative thoughts. I am doing amazingly well. It has been just 19 days since my surgery. I am strong and can get up and out of bed without trouble. I can drive. I can walk - slowly. I can cook. (I am making a chicken in the crock pot.) . I cant ride a bike or make love yet, but that will come eventually. I feel relatively good most of the time. I can bend down if I do it slowly. I will continue to get stronger and healthier until I am scurrying down the hill from pacific avenue and skidding out in Billy Watsons driveway again. Until I am going out to places, to sing because I miss it so much. Until I can make love like crazy for hours and not have to worry about how I move and where I am touched.


No more pastrami.

I guess I will never be able to eat a pastrami sandwich again. I like em’ piled high and greasy on rye bread, with Russian dressing on the side. I like cole slaw on em’. sometimes. Canters deli on Fairfax has the best ones. There was a time me and my bf used to talk about getting married at Canters and having our wedding reception in the kibbutz room. That was long ago, long before carcinoid. Long before I was forced to give up pastrami. I suppose I can still eat matzah ball soup. I don’t think that will be bad for my newly scrambled digestive tract. But I fear that my days of The Brooklyn sandwich (half chopped liver, half pastrami) are over now. No more ribs for me. No more Kosher hot dogs. No more fried zucchini. No more briscuit sandwiches. But hey, its all good. I am still alive. I can eat Tomberlies all vegan ice cream now. I can eat eggless tofu salad sandwiches. I can drink fresh juices and above all, I can still eat sushi!! Woo hoo! Life is good and I am grateful to be living it.


I lost the handy award last night.

I knew it would go to Betty Lavette. That’s okay. She deserves it. Shes older and she has a great voice. Evan went down to Tunica to be my representative. He had a fun time hobnobbing with all my blues friends. Tommy Castro, Lynwood Slim, Tab benoit, Bob Margolin, Bob Corritore, etc.. everybody was down there. I wished I could have gone too but Im still too weak to deal with crowds. My voice is really soft. If I had to speak over people and loud music, I wouldn’t be able to do it. I am still too fragile. Its only been 21 days since the surgery. I know I am getting stronger little by little. Maybe I will get nominated next year and win. That would be nice. But just being nominated finally, was a real coup for me. I guess it finally proves that I am good enough in the blues world. I guess it finally proves that I am not just a former X rated big bust model and dancer. It proves that I have transcended my controversial past and am finally being accepted for the singer I have always been. That feels good. That feels vindicating. May all my sexworker friends be able to move on from sex work and be accepted for their own unique talents and virtues. May every one of us be able to live our dreams and pursue our true calling without being marginalized for the choices we have made. I am so blessed and lucky. I know I live a charmed life. Now I just want to keep on living it for a few more decades.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Eighteen days since they cut me open!

I am still taking things one day at a time. I am slowly learning what foods my body can tolerate post surgery, and what foods it cannot. Sometimes I am in a lot of pain but most of the time I am feeling good and strong and oh-so-lucky to be alive. I still cant ride my bike yet but I am walking a bit each day. I walked the Oceanside pier the other day. I had to sit down a few times along the way but I made it to the end and back. I also walk around the neighborhood and try to walk as much as possible in my own house, trying to regain a sense of normalcy.

I had my staples taken out on Monday and got to read the pathology report from my surgery. I am still learning about this neuroendocrine tumor I have had. Its hard to get info because this is such a rare form of cancer. It is not even recognized by the American Cancer society! Weird how something that can kill me and is called “cancer” doesn’t qualify as cancer to them! Here are some websites about carcinoid and what it means;

Dr. Lowy told me that the tumor on my pancreas was non functioning BUT, this seemingly innocent tumor was able to infect fourteen of my lymph nodes with cancer! He removed twenty lymph nodes during my whipple procedure and fourteen were cancerous! This is very scary especially when you consider that all my cancer markers in my blood tests were normal. He thinks he got it all, but of course its pretty scary to think that a cancerous lymph node could have hidden somewhere in there, with all the guts and organs. I am just thinking as positive as possible; telling myself that I am cancer free and that I will be fine from here on in. I will have to be tested twice a year with a full body scan to make sure the cancer hasn’t recurred. I join the ranks of millions who are in the exclusive club that no one wants to join; cancer survivors.

I am staying alkaline and staying on my vegetarian regime. I cant qualify as vegan yet because I am still eating sushi and organic chicken. I will try and give up chicken but I don’t know if I can ever give up sushi! Giving up coffee, starch and sugar was much easier than sushi! I do think that if I can continue my juicing and alkaline regimen that I may be able to assist my own immune system in beating any remaining cancer cells myself. At least, I hope so!

Money continues to pour in from the benefits for me all over the world. My friend, healer Louise Hay, donated $1000 at my benefit at Humphreys. That is the largest single donation I have received so far! I feel so blessed and so humbled to know how many people truly care and how many people have been willing to donate their hard earned money but also their time and talents to the various benefits around the world. It has really been inspiring to see people rise to their highest level of compassion and caring for lil’ ol me. It has meant so much to me and to my two sons, Evan and Tommy, to see how much people care and how willing they are to give of themselves at this crazy time in our lives. The generosity of so many has afforded me the luxury of focusing on healing without having to worry about the mounting bills. and have also been amazingly generous, helping me pay bills and survive this monumental health challenge.

Tomorrow are the Handy awards, or the Blues Foundation awards as they are called now.
I sent my son Evan and my guitarist Laura Chavez to Tunica, Mississippi on the off chance that I might win. I am nominated for Best Contemporary Blues Female along with Betty Lavette, Debbie Davies, Fiona Boyes and Teresa James. Im not confident that I will win because all the women in my category are so strong and talented. But if I do win, my son evan will deliver a speech thanking all of the blues people who got me to this point. It would really be a special coup to win, especially now, since I am still so fragile from the surgery. Wish me luck! You can hear the awards broadcast live at on Bluesville.

Thank you again to all who have written me emails, letters, sent flowers and plants, checks and money orders and pay pal gifts. Thanks to the musicians who donated their time, talents and energy to so many benefits. And they aren’t done yet! Below is a list of more benefits to come. I am so grateful for the generosity of so many people. When I start talking about it, I start crying. They are tears of joy to know that so many people love me and hold me close to their hearts. May I be deserving of all that love and admiration and be able to make more music to inspire you all, for many years to come.



More cancer benefits:

May 13 Arlington, Va/ The Claredon Ballroom/
May 14 San Diego Ca/ The Casbah/ Joey Harris, Years around the sun, Mojo Nixon Steve Poltz and friends
May 16 Paris France/ Le café Loom/ Sophie Kay, Little Victor, Benoit Blue Boy and many more!
May 16 Hartford Ct/ Black Eyed Sallys/Fade to Blues, Johnny Feds and guests
May 29 Austin, Tx/ Antones/ Kim Wilson, Billy Jo Shaver, Rosie Flores, Margaret Moser, Susan Antone, and friends
6/21 Boulder, Colo/ Oskars Blues/ Jodie Woodward and friends
6/21 Dortmund, Germany/ FZW club/ Baums Bluesbenders, Tom Vietht, Limited Edition, Dirty Blues
8/17 Seattle – Tacoma Benefit/ for info contact Barbara @

one hour at a time

One Hour at a time

Today has been five days home from the hospital. Being at home post surgery is really great. I am so happy to sleep in my warm flannel sheets at night and have my own fireplace to snuggle in front of. I was even able to stick my foot in the ocean water the other day. The sand beneath my toes was divine! I am juicing daily and eating delicately. Four to five bites per meal is all I can handle. I take little walks and try to do at least one excursion a day to the store or the bank or the post office. I walk very slowly and take my time so sometimes people get impatient with me and scurry past me, grumbling. I just smile at them and send them blessings. I used to be that person scurrying past slow people and grumbling. Boy, its different when you are the slow one! I am learning patience from the universe - Patience with my own body and its slow, deliberate healing process; Patience with myself and with those around me. I have always been a most impatient girl, wanting everything now and not being able to wait. The impatience has served me well because I got things done myself because I was too impatient to wait for someone else to do them. But now with my body challenged in so many ways, being unable to bend over, open and close windows in my house, or do some of the simplest things like empty the trash, I am learning patience. I will get this lesson right.

My ex husband Thomas is building me a beautiful patio out in my back yard so I will be able to sit on a lounge chair soon and sun my scar in privacy. I am so grateful for every day alive. I am so happy to be here at home again and to see the friends and family I love and gaze into their sweet faces. I know I didn’t let on how scared I was before the surgery. I am very optimistic by nature, always turning lemons into lemonade Every once in awhile though, a big dark cloud of doubt would park over me and I would allow myself the darkest thoughts: “what if I don’t see my kids again? What if I cant kiss their sweet cheeks or see them marry or have children of their own? What if I cant sing again after this is over?” I am so glad that I am still here and that the universe still has some use for me in this life. I feel honored and blessed for every day I am here. The day I went int surgery though, I was surprisingly tranquil. I felt certain that I would be fine. I knew there were hundreds of glimmers of light for me all over the world. You kept me alive in there.

I can sing a little and have been playing guitar and trying, just for me. My voice has a very sweet, vulnerability about it. Its very different from the powerhouse voice I have learned to command and control. I may record a few songs this way just so I can remember what it was like to be so weak and fragile. It has a funny vibrato when I sing that reminds me of Kitty Wells.

The healing process is very slow but I am taking it one hour at a time, one day at a time. I have enough energy to make one or two phone calls per day. I have enough energy for three to ten emails a day. One minute I will be laughing and sitting in the sun on my terrace, and the next I will be in my bed crying in pain with the shades drawn. I really cant predict from one moment to the next how I will feel. My body just needs time and rest to get back to its prior strength. I know it will get there. I have 154 stitches in my abdomen and 48 staples. I call it my car hood because its in the shape of a big round upside down happy face smile. If I get a belly button piercing, that will be my car hood ornament. I have to laugh at it. It really looks like Frankenstein. I am glad I posed nude when I was younger and my belly was chubby but perfect. Playboy Magazine wont be a knockin’ anytime soon! Now my big, scarred belly is a bonafide war badge. I have been through a war and back again and my body looks like that and feels it. I will get the staples out on Monday. I have lost a lot of weight but its hard to tell how much because my abdomen area is still very swollen and distended with fluids. Day by day, I regain a bit more strength. Now I can stand some of the time and make my carrot juice, I don’t have to sit the whole time. Day by day, hour by hour, one inch of progress at a time - restoring and renewing me to my former strength . But I will never be the same after this experience. I can never go back to pre cancer, because this kind of neuroendocrine tumor really has no cure other than surgery. They are fairly certain that they removed all of mine and we will review the pathology report next week and find out what it says. Like so many cancer patients, I will always have to be diligent that it doesnt return. I will be on certain medications for the rest of my life. I have been taught how fragile my body is, yet how strong it is too. I know I will be okay.

I want to thank again Bob Corritore and Kim Danielson for the great benefit they did at the rhythm room in phoenix. Also a shout out to thank Lorna Hamilton and Sooty for the benefit they did at O Connells in San Diego. Gina Sicilia and Bob Margolin just did a wonderful benefit this past weekend in Hoboken, New Jersey and Carlos Guitarlos and Desiree Martinez who organized the great benefit at Perqs at Huntington Beach; Thank YOU ALL FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART. You are keeping me and my family alive now and I appreciate it more than words can say... I am just starting now to write my handwritten thank yous to many of you. It takes me a lot of time to get even one done. Please be patient with me as I am learning to be patient with myself.

In stitches in Oceanside,


Theres no place like home!

Theres no place like home…..

Yesterday I came home from the hospital!!!!!!!! Today is one week since I had the whipple procedure. I am still very weak and each day will be a fight for survival but I am so glad to be out of that place. My surgery, as my son Evan reported went well. It was a five hour turned nine hour ordeal, due to my amazing surgeon Andrew Lowy and his determination to remove an extra suspicious lymph node that didn’t want to be removed. Many surgeons would have closed me up and just left the cancerous node there but not Dr. Lowy. He worked tirelessly until every cancerous node was removed and still found the time to meet with my parents and children and Adam after the surgery and brief them in a kind and considerate way. He is a compassionate and diligent man and I owe my life to him.

I am not out of the woods yet. I have more than a hundred stitches in a giant horseshoe shape on my abdomen. I am still in serious back pain from the epidural I had all week. But I was walking around the hospital daily and doing well and would have rapidly deteriorated had I not been allowed to come home and rest here in my comfort zone.

There were many amazing nurses at UCSD Thornton who cared for me with such kindness and love. I will never forget them. RJ, Jody, Karen, Rodney, I owe my quick homecoming partly to you. There were also a few nurses who were lousy and did a crappy job. One night they had me on such a fast IV drip that I had to go to the bathroom every five minutes. I didn’t sleep at all that night and after more than 500 trips from my bed to the john, I realized that if I was that strong that I could get up and out of bed that many times, I would be better off at home. One very negligent nurse simply forgot to give me my pancreatic digestive enzymes on the very first day of my introduction to solid foods. It wasn’t discovered until my second day on solids that no one had given me any digestive enzymes. That nurse could have made me very sick and again I started to realize that I desperately needed to be home where I can monitor and control my own medications. The food was another issue at the hospital or the crappy hotel, as I called it. The food was all from cans, jars or frozen. There was nothing raw, organic or even remotely healthy on that menu and when youre a person fighting for your life, healthy foods are everything. I met two amazing people in the hospital Rachele Fiore, my anesthesiologist assistant during my surgery took the time to visit me every day after the surgery and her friend Alan was another angel who made my stay bearable and better. Thank you to all my angels.

I am taking it slowly. No driving or riding my bike or lifting anything heavy. Today my goals are just to take a shower and maybe water my yard or walk half way down the block but every day I will get just a wee bit stronger until I am back to the feisty, passionate, fighting, kicking and screaming broad you all know and love.

Thank you so much for your flowers in the hospital, the cards and letters and the emails. I have not felt well enough to respond to everyone and just writing this update has taken some big effort on my part but I know so many of you are waiting for email replies and return phone calls, I had to do something to reassure everyone that I am okay. I will get thru this thanks to my own spirit and resolve and to the vast amount of love out there for me. The benefit at perqs was beautiful and so many people were generous and sweet to evan and shared their well wishes and concern. I am hopeful that I may be able to attend at least part of the benefit at Humphreys on May 5 if I continue to make such good progress. Then I will be able to thank you all in person for your love. Your healing white light is sustaining me, nurturing me and making me whole. Please don’t call me at home unless its absolutely necessary. I am in a lot of pain and just trying to take things one day at a time and heal. xoxox

Much love to you all from the sancitity of my sunny Oceanside home,

Candye Kane

my bout with pancreatic cancer

My Bout with Pancreatic Cancer

Hello all,

Some of you may have already heard this thru the grape vine or thru close friends or family members of mine so forgive me if you are receiving this information again.

On Friday, February 22, I went to the Scripps Encinitas emergency room with abdominal pain. I have been having this pain about every four to six months, for several years now, The pain has landed me in hospitals all over the world including Belgium, Germany, Holland, Nebraska, Indiana and New Jersey. (I actually had to cancel a tour in Germany some time ago, with BB and the Blues shacks because of this problem, and left the stage at Skips in Angola, Indiana because of same.) Usually they have diagnosed the pain as acid reflux, and I personally thought the pain was gallstones but no stones have ever been found. On this feb 22 ER trip, they finally gave me a cat scan and found a 3.4 cm tumor on my pancreatic head. The report they gave me said that the “mass is presumed to be cancer or a pancreatic neoplasm unless proven otherwise.”

Since the finding of this tumor, I have done lots of research on the causes, symptoms and treatments for pancreatic tumors and cancers. There is a wonderful website that provides some amazing information for people with this cancer, if you are interested. This cancer is normally caused by excessive cigarette or alcohol consumption or family history. I have none of the above but I have been exposed to very large amounts of second hand smoke in my lifetime. I have met with a pancreatic surgeon at UCSD Moores Cancer Institute and have had an endoscopic fine needle aspiration. This is a fancy word for biopsy. The biopsy results are still not analyzed yet, but they took five samples of the tumor with a very fine needle. I had to swallow a camera and the camera introduced the needle thru my stomach wall to take samples of the tumor on my pancreas. The doctor who did the procedure, and my pancreatic surgical nurse thinks I have a neuro endocrine tumor (which is the same one that Apple founder Steve Jobs had). The biopsy made me very sick and further inflamed my pancreas, and so I was admitted into the hospital this weekend for complications and fever resulting from the biopsy. Hospitals suck and I am really glad to be back home now and am feeling much better.

Like Steve Jobs, I have radically changed my diet as a result of this tumor. I have given up coffee, sodas. meat, fish, starch and sugar. I have purchased a juicer and am juicing daily with wheatgrass, beet, carrot, parsley, ginger, cucumber, chard and many fresh fruits. I am trying to alkaline my body since I have learned that cancer cannot grow in an alkaline environment. I am staying active and upbeat and have enlisted my friends and family to surround me with positive thoughts and white healing light. Now I ask you, my fans and friends to do the same.

I still don’t know yet what the final results are of the biopsy but I should know something by the end of this week. I know that I am facing surgery, or chemotherapy, (although it is rarely successful in treating a neuroendocrine tumor) and maybe both. I am really strong and really healthy. In fact, I feel GREAT. Its weird when they tell you that you have cancer when you feel like a million bucks. Right now, I don’t know which of my upcoming shows will have to be postponed but I will make that announcement soon. I am definitely coming up to the bay area this weekend – see the schedule below- and will probably not have to have my surgery until after at least part of my upcoming European tour. Of course, I will do whatever my doctors advise me to do so I can recover as quickly as possible.

The good news is that neuroendocrine tumors are not as aggressive or deadly as pancreatic cancer. They move slowly and are much easier to treat. The prognosis is much better for these types of islet cell tumors so that is wonderful. The bad news is I have a tumor and it will definitely affect me, my family; the band; the shows and my fans in some way, at some point.

Since I have no health insurance, its going to be a real struggle financially to survive without working. Some of you have already been very generous and kind and sent me money through paypal. My paypal account name is Others have been wonderfully supportive with offers for benefit concerts. My friends in Austin, Rosie Flores, Margaret Moser and Susan Antone are reportedly already organizing one, and my friends Dave Alvin and Toni Price and many other musicians and artists have kindly offered to lend their voices and guitars to my cause. I am also applying for aid from many music cares organizations and I am applying for Medi-cal. Hopefully, with the help of my friends, family and fans, and a few kindly music relief groups, I will be able to fight this tumor and get back to the job I love – making music for you!

I ask you for your love, your patience and most of all, your positive thoughts during this difficult time. If you have any extra money to give, now is the time to give it. If you live in the bay area, please come and celebrate my life and music with me and my band.

Thank you for keeping me and my sons, Evan and Tommy in your prayers. Most of all, thanks for the gracious and gentle gift of your friendship and love while I fight this current bump in the road.

Sign me – still the toughest girl alive;

Candye Kane

Candye Kane band shows

3/13 San Francisco, Ca/ Biscuits and Blues
3/14 Phillipsville, Ca/ The Riverwood Inn
3/15 Concord, Ca/ Big Boogie Nights BBW Event @ Hangar Lounge/ Crown Plaza Hotel
3/27 Candye in Holland/United by Music workshops
3/29 leave for finland
3/30 off
3/31 Helsinki, Finland/ Storyville
4/1 Helsinki, Finland/Storyville
4/3 Tampere, Finland/ Downhome- Klubi
4/5 Linkoping, Sweden/ Great Jazz festival
4/6 Stockholm, Sweden/ Akkurat
4/7 band returns to states/ Candye and Laura stay for Blues Caravan shows

eight days till my cancer surgery

Eight days till my Surgery

WOW! I cant believe I will go under the knife in just eight days. I am nervous but I continue to say my positive affirmations and visualize myself in my healthy, cancer free body when this is over. I am feeling great and stronger than ever. I have discovered some amazing new vegan foods to eat like raw vegan ice cream from coconut milk, vegannaise, Kamut yeast free bread and so many other delicious vegan foods that I don’t miss meat, sugar or dairy at all! I continue to juice daily, lose weight and ride my bike about four miles daily. I am a regular at my local health food store, Cream of the Crop, and everyone there is wishing me well when I go in for my wheatgrass shots each day. I am in great shape right now, my skin is soft, my eyes are clear and bright and I know I will survive this surgery and recuperate quickly.

It was an amazing week when many of my musician friends, Sue Palmer, Paul Loranger, Sharon Shufelt, Jonny Viau, April West, Pete Harris, Melissa Hague and Steve Wilcox recorded with me at PH studios in Escondido. We recorded some standards I have always wanted to record; At Last, I got it bad and that aint good, He’s Funny that Way, and Joe Liggins I gotta right to cry (which was one of the songs I used to strip to as a young dancer in the early 80’s). We will go back in on April 16th to record a few more tunes before I enter the hospital. I felt like it was important to do this, because if something did go wrong in surgery, (which it wont!!!) at least I have recorded some of my all time favorite songs. I know everything will be fine but it felt so special and heartwarming to have my musician friends rally around me and donate their talents and studio time for free. I am one lucky girl.

I continue to be humbled and awed by so many beautiful gestures of friendship and love from you. I have received so many cards (many with checks!) letters, emails and phone calls. Pay pal gifts continue to stream in. I am overwhelmed with so much to do and have over 400 emails waiting for an answer. Thank you for your patience with me right now, and thank you so much for your huge hearts and your tender words of love. The benefits are listed below that will help me pay for my living expenses while I am disabled. There are so many bills to pay and now that I cancelled my European tour, I am in debt for the airline ticket money the Finnish promoter sent me. I owe about $8000 in hospital bills that Medi-cal will not pay, plus another 5k to the Finnish promoters. Not to mention the lost wages of the band members who all lost work when I cancelled. The money raised at these benefits will go a long way towards helping me recuperate in peace without worrying about how we will survive.

My long time friend, singer, songwriter, musician Chris Gaffney is also suffering from liver cancer. Go to to help him. And my friend, Ann Rabson from Saffire the Uppity Blues Women, is facing serious cancer challenges of her own almost at the same time as me. She and I have already started discussing collaborating on some upbeat cancer survivor songs when we are both healed! I feel stronger knowing that many of my friends are suffering right along with me and I know we will all prevail and be better and stronger for having gone thru this experience.

I really feel like on some level, cancer has been a blessing. (I know, ask me again when I am groaning in pain in a hospital bed!) But for the first time in my life, I have really started to think about what I eat and when I eat it. I have always been proud to be a big, voluptuous gal, and have always been active and healthy in my 200 lb plus frame, but now I am really conscious of what I am eating, and what it is made of, and where it comes from. I believe I may have chosen this challenge on some cosmic level, so I could learn from this experience and improve and I know I have been given an opportunity to grow spiritually from this fight. Maybe I will start a workshop for cancer patients to learn how to write songs and journals to help them cope with their illnesses. Music is such a powerful healer and maybe that’s why this has happened to me. I will use the cancer experience as a way to make my memoir even more powerful and meaningful. I will really be able to lay claim to the Toughest Girl Alive title now! I know my optimistic nature is coming in handy during this challenge. (Notice I refuse to say Im sick!? I am just health challenged right now!) And it has been so helpful to know that I am not alone and that I have so many beautiful, caring people in my corner. So many of my friends around the globe are organizing benefits for me. Thank you all so much for your continued love and support. I feel your healing thoughts and energy and I hope you will keep me close to your hearts on April 18th.

Don’t worry about me people. Youre not rid of me yet!!
Big Big Love and Gratitude,


Candye Kane Cancer Benefits (more to come in San Francisco, Seattle-Tacoma and Portland area)

April 14 Phoenix, Az/Rhythm Room/ Bob Corritore, Sistah Blue, Pete Pearson and friends
April 18 Candye surgery/ UCSD Thornton Hospital/ La Jolla California
April 20 San Diego, Ca/ O’Connells/ Joey Harris, Lady Dottie and the Diamonds, Mojo Nixon, Paul Kamanski, Behind the Wagon and friends
April 20 Huntington Beach, Ca/ Perqs/ Carlos Guitarlos, Janniva Magness, The Blasters and friends
April 27 Hoboken, New Jersey/ Scotland Yard/ Gina Sicilia and friends
May 4 Austin, Tx/ Antones/ Rosie Flores, Margaret Moser, Susan Antone and friends
May 5 San Diego, Ca/ Humphreys/ Chet Cannon, Toni Price, Sue Palmer, Joey Harris, Anna Troy, Billy Watson and friends
May 13 Arlington, Va/ The Claredon Ballroom/
May 14 San Diego Ca/ The Casbah/ Joey Harris, Years around the sun, Mojo Nixon Steve Poltz and friends
May 15 Hartford Ct/ Black Eyed Sallys
6/21 Boulder, Colo/ Oskars Blues/ Jodie Woodward and friends
6/21 Dortmund, Germany/ FZW club/ Baums Bluesbenders, Tom Vietht, Limited Edition, Dirty Blues

The Good kind of cancer?

The Good kind of cancer??

I met with my pancreatic surgeon, Dr. Andrew Lowy today. He says I need the Whipple. You can learn more here:

This operation is going to be very intense. They will remove 1/3 of my pancreas, 10 inches of my small intestine, part of my stomach, part of my bile duct and my gall bladder. They will reattach my intestine to my pancreas and may have to take a vein from my neck to rebuild the portal vein that goes to my liver. It is a five to eight hour surgery that will have me in the hospital for at least two weeks; longer if there are complications from the surgery. Often the pancreas tries to digest all the stitches inside the body and so there is good possibility of fluid leakage and I will have to have a port through my stomach so they can drain all the fluid out. It is very dangerous and intense and this is the GOOD kind of cancer!!!!

I have been offered two dates for surgery, one of them is april 18th. The whipple is the only way to remove this tumor 100%. I have read so much about it and many people have tried to eradicate the NETs (neuroendocrine tumors) thru vitamin C therapies, laetrile therapies and other alternative medicines to no avail. Now that I have had a needle biopsy the tumor may grow more quickly. I read about one woman whose tumor grew twice its size in one month after a needle biopsy!! I am really worried now about my European tours because if I get pancreatitis again then they wont be able to operate on me for weeks. Pancreatitis is caused by stress and poor diet. Lack of sleep adds to stress. Being in a van bouncing around all day adds to stress. Long drives add to stress. Weird food at strange hours leads to stress. Jet lag leads to stress. I am still trying to decide if I am going or not. This news today was most upsetting.

I was supposed to do some workshops with my special needs kids in the Netherlands this week, in anticipation of our scheduled tour on June 21. I think now I will have to cancel the workshops, and tours and have this intense surgery on April 18th so I can get on the road to recovery and maybe resume working in June.

I am very worried about this surgery. Being a fat girl doesn’t help things in the surgical realm. But I have lost 10 lbs so far just from giving up dairy, fried anything, red meat, coffee, sugar, sodas, starches, fats and bread other than Ezekial. I am staying active, riding my bike, still juicing and trying to be as strong as possible for this surgery. I will definitely be skinnier when this is all over and hopefully, cancer free!!

The first benefit for me is planned for April 20th at Perqs in Huntington Beach 117 Main St 92648 (714) 960-9996 from 1:00 pm to 6:00 pm. My friends Desiree Martinez and Carlos Guitarlos have assembled an amazing array of my friends to perform: Janiva Magness, Juke Logan, Cesar Rosas from Los Los Lobos, Phil Alvin, Billy Sheets, Lynwood Slim, Laurie Morvan. Kid Ramos, The Gears, Gil T, Jeff and Kurt Ross, Thomas Yearsley, Greg Boaz, Jungle Juice and The Kooks. If you can attend, please do. I wont be there since I will have just had surgery but I will be there in spirit.

The next one is May 5th at Humphreys in San Diego. Chet Cannon has organized this one and confirmed are Sue Palmer, Billy Watson, Ruby and the Red Hots, Michelle Lundeen, Chris Klich, Robbie Smith, Scottie Blinn, Juke Logan, Joey Harris, Heine and Missy Andersen. If you’d like to play contact chet at

My friend Barbara Hammerman is planning a benefit in the seattle area. If you would like to play, please contact

Rosie Flores is also planning a benefit in Austin with my friends Susan Antone and Margaret Moser. To play the Antones benefit, please contact Rosie at

My heart is so full from all the love and white light you have been sending me. I will be laid up for several months after this surgery and so all of these benefits will help pay for my living expenses and medi-cal co-pays, and help the band survive with no work. I am very pleased that I qualified for co-pay medi-cal, only because I have a child under 21. If I didn’t have a child under 21, I would have to apply for social security. When I spoke to the social worker about it, he said, “Yes, some people just expire while they are waiting for SSI.” !!!! He said people just EXPIRE like a carton of milk or some old lunch meat. It was so sad. It was a harsh realization that poor people’s lives don’t matter in this rich country of ours. Wow. I am lucky to have a kid under 21 but in just two years, it will be over and I will be ineligible. I don’t know how I will have the follow up care and scans I will need! Oh well, one day at a time…..

I am so lucky and blessed in so many ways. I have so many of YOU rallying for me. They found the tumor early. It has not spread anywhere. I have no symptoms. Im fat so I can stand to lose some of the weight thru this surgery. Other than being very scared and sad occasionally, I feel great.

I am still staying optimistic and I have written this little song I sing daily:

Im gonna be just fine.
Im gonna be just fine
Im gonna live till 109
Im gonna be just fine

Im gonna grow real old
Im gonna grow real old
A white haired lady with a lotta soul
Im gonna grow real old

Grandbabies on my knee
Grandbabies on my knee
I love them and they love me
Grandbabies on my knee

Im healing even now
Im healing even now
Show the world exactly how
Im healing even now.

Please keep those healing thoughts a coming….and any donations you can muster at user name,

Wish this were all an april fools joke….


cancelled my tour and scheduled cancer surgery

Cancelled my European Tours and scheduled surgery for April 18th.
Hello everyone!

It was an agonizing decision but I decided I had to cancel my european shows and my appearance on the blues caravan tour for the time being. I will endure the whipple procedure (pancreatic duodectomy) on april 18th at UCSD Thornton Hospital. I will be in the hospital for two weeks minimum. The address for the hospital is : 9300 Campus Point Drive, La Jolla Ca 92037.

It was a very difficult decision to cancel this tour. So many people depend on me for their income and so many people worldwide just wanted to see me sing. But I will sing again and by doing this surgery early, I have a better chance of recovering quickly and thus being able to do my other shows later this summer.

I am feeling great and this extra time at home will allow me to continue my juicing and exercise and get in optimum shape before I endure this very radical surgery.
Thanks so much to those of you who wrote me kind and sometimes funny emails encouraging me to stay at home. The permission slips you sent were hilarious!

I have already lost 20 pounds as a result of my dietary changes and will be lose probably another 50 pounds from this intense operation. I am sure I will be fine and will be in better shape than ever.

I am already thinking about the activism I will embrace when I am well; for the health care that should be available to all of us regardless of our economic status. Poor peoples lives are worth as much as rich peoples and if I hadnt had a child under 21 and been eligible for partial pay medi-cal, if I hadnt had generous friends, fans and family who are helping, I wouldnt even be able to have cancer surgery and would just be sent home to die! This isnt right and I will fight to publicize this issue. 

Right now though, I just have to fight to get better and beat cancer and survive this surgery.

I am strong and I can do it. I just know it. But I still need your love, prayers, support and healing white light. Keep those positive thoughts coming!

If you want to donate $$ to the cancer fund, check out my myspace for a benefit near you or you can send money thru My user name is

Or you can send a check to: candye kane cancer fund 315 s. hwy 101 #47 encinitas, ca 92024.

Please also keep my friend Chris Gaffney in your thoughts who has been diagnosed with liver cancer. Chris is an amazing singer and musician from The Hacienda Brothers and the Dave Alvin Band. His website is

Thank Goddess, I have partial pay Medi-cal insurance now but I will be laid up for months after this intense surgery and will still need to pay bills and survive with no income. Thanks in advance for your continued generosity and for keeping me, evan and tommy in your thoughts and prayers.

Much love and gratitude;


Friday, October 06, 2006

Disabled people - Unworthy of life?

Thirty-five bodies were found earlier this week in a western German town. The Catholic cemetery in Menden, near Dortmund, was long rumored to be a mass gravesite of Nazi victims. Another hundred and sixty-five bodies are expected to be unearthed as excavation continues at the Catholic Church site. Most of the innocents were children, believed to have been victims of Hitler’s program of forced “euthanasia” that killed tens of thousands of people with mental and physical disabilities.

Around 70,000 people, deemed “unworthy of life” because of their disabilities, were murdered between autumn 1939 and summer 1941 and tens of thousands were murdered in the following years, usually by injections and drug overdoses in hospitals and sanatoriums supposed to protect them.
This grisly discovery begs the question; What took them so long to investigate? The burial site was the subject of more than sixty years of rumor from surviving eyewitnesses who remember bodies being transported daily. Some of the victims may have come from nearby Wimbern hospital built on the orders of Hitler's personal physician Karl Brandt, who was in charge of the euthanasia program. Was it because these victims were disabled adults and children, that no one cared enough about them to investigate these heinous rumors? They had little or no voice in life and now they have had no voice in death, after more than sixty years! Astonishing!

For me, this story is especially compelling, as I get ready to embark on my tour of the Netherlands This tour features the amazing talents of several special needs people who will sing and dance onstage with me in a star studded musical line up. These are Dutch young adults, with various levels of disabilities, yet they will take the stage with American blues musicians, singing in their second language of English, many performing original songs that they have composed themselves. How many disabled Americans could sing and compose songs in Dutch? How many so-called “normal” Americans could perform onstage in anything other than their native tongue? How many Americans can even remember the words to an entire song, all the way through, much less perform it, in front of hundreds of strangers?

I have been astounded at the capabilities of these so-called “disabled” people. They speak better English than many of my peers and the joy and spontaneity they experience through music clearly shows them to be more evolved than the average person. I know now that the words “special needs, disabled, handicapped and retarded” need a thorough re-evaluation.

As a Jew, I have long known of the horrific history of Nazi Germany and the ruthless cruelty that was imposed on six million innocent people. But too often, it is forgotten how many others were brutally murdered simply because they were old, gay or gypsies, or simply because they were born with a different looking body or another invisible obstacle. Now, with the United by Music tour days away, it makes this an especially poignant story. Knowing that these courageous and exceptional people may have been put to death during WWII simply because they saw the world through a different set of eye glasses, makes me feel even more honored to be part of the United by Music tour.

Next week, I will take the stage with gifted human beings who will share their talents with grateful audiences. I will take the stage in memory of the tens of thousands of people who were murdered just because they were different; The tens of thousands of victims who died without a voice. And the 200 special needs people who were discarded like so much rubbish in the mass grave behind the Catholic Church in Menden. May they all, finally, rest in peace.

Jean-Paul Gaultier – Friend to big girls? I don’t buy it!

Jean-Paul Gaultier recently used a plus sized model in his Paris runway show. Velvet D'Amour, an American - Paris based actress and model, took the runway in an apparent statement about the Spanish ban on anorexic looking fashion models.

D'Amour was quoted as saying "Diversity is what is important. Whether you are saying a model is too fat or too skinny, it's still wrong." D'Amour, regrettably, seems to be missing the point.

To put skinny discrimination and fat discrimination in the same category does a disservice to people all over the world who deal with this issue daily. YES, occasionally a thin person is accused of having an eating disorder but generally, thin people are the ideal and are depicted in all media as normal and happy, while fat people are laughed at, scorned and made to feel invisible. Skinny people in general, as I am sure Velvet knows firsthand, are not ridiculed and debased, discriminated against and openly joked about in the workplace and in the world.

Although Gaultier may have used her once, to emphasize his outsider status, she was merely a punctuation mark to make an insider joke. Gaultier, who is most famous for the corset bra he designed for Madonna, has only used a large-sized model once every decade; maybe. He does not have a plus-sized line of fashion, or any plans to initiate one. Although large sized women comprise more than 75% of the fashion buyers in the United States, I doubt you will see a sudden trend towards inclusion of large-sized women in the fashion industry.

I have recently learned that D'Amour has been invited before to model during Parisien designer week, once for Galliano and now JPG. Unfortunately, she will likely not be invited back. Although she is beautiful and courageous for taking the runway in front of so many thin worshippers, she was a pawn in a game of sizist fashion politics. Jean-Paul Gaultier is simply part of the problem. He doesn't really care about large sized women or our invisibility in the fashion world. If he truly did care, he wouldn't have used a fat girl to make a negligible point. He would launch his own large sized fashion line in an attempt to include us in the dialogue, and put his heart and money where his mouth is.

The fact that other designers have finally decided to take notice and limit some of the unhealthy, anorexic, bone thin fashion models on the runway is a step in the right direction towards changing cultural attitudes about body type. I wonder if she used her ample opportunity with Gaultier to encourage him to start a large sized line that included her and her plus size sisters? He certainly has the clout and power to make major changes in the fashion world, but instead seems content to make provocative statements while doing nothing to change the status quo.

Lets face it; most of the time, no one is complaining when someone is too thin and wears a bikini at the beach. But when a fat girl does it, the public scorn is almost palpable. I have had girls laugh right in front of me when I walked into the public restroom. "Oh my God! Did you see what she was wearing?" they pronounced loudly from the stall next to me. (Suddenly because I am fat, I must be deaf too!) These same girls are kissing my fat ass after my show is over and gushing over the music as they buy cds in an insincere attempt at redemption. I have had teenage boys yell at me from passing cars, as I ride my bike down Pacific Coast Highway. "Its not gonna work, Fatty!!" they proclaim as I ride red-faced to my destination, pretending not to hear them.

At the same time, I have had fans who struggle with anorexia and bulimia cry as they tell me that my song "The Toughest Girl Alive," or "Big Fat Mama's are back in style" has changed their life and their attitudes about themselves.

The fashion industry's insistence on cramming ultra-thin models down the hungry collective throat of the world is a dangerous practice. Teenage girls grow up feeling inadequate and loathing their own bodies. Eating disorders are at an all time high. Some young girls have even resorted to suicide because they felt so ugly and fat. The fashion industry should wake up and smell the sweet n'low in their coffee and be accountable for the sickening trend they have perpetuated. People will still buy haute couture and prêt a porter fashion if its modeled by average, curvy and dare I say, fat women. In fact, I believe the high brow fashion designers will sell even more product when they market their wares to the majority of us who have imperfect bodies, instead of the anorexic few.

Jean- Paul Gaultier- a friend to fat girls? I don't buy it. Not only because it is insincere but because it doesn't even come in my size.