Wednesday, May 07, 2008

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


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