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. www.singers.org and www.sweetrelief.org 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. www.bluesfoundation.org
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 www.xmradio.com 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.
BIG BIG LOVE AND GRATITUDE,
More cancer benefits:
May 13 Arlington, Va/ The Claredon Ballroom/ www.gottaswing.com
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 @ firstname.lastname@example.org