Love Songs for Lungs

Lung cancer doesn’t get much recognition. I’ve never been to a run for lung cancer, not even a walk. How many people know what colour the ribbon is for lung cancer, or that November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month?

Lung cancer is seldom talked about, even though it’s by far the deadliest cancer, killing more people every year than breast, prostate and colo-rectal (the next three deadliest cancers) combined.

Lung cancer doesn’t get a lot of love. Nor does it get much funding! In fact, lung cancer receives less than 0.1% of cancer donations from individuals and companies. That’s right: 99.9% of all cancer donations from people like you and me go to other cancers.

Lung cancer turned my life upside-down. It turned my family’s life upside-down. In the years since my diagnosis, I’ve met so many amazing people whose lives have been turned upside-down by lung cancer. Beautiful, amazing people. Too many lives cut short by this deadly killer.

And we know that research extends lives. We’ve seen it in my own life! Lung cancer patients are gathering together and funding research to try to extend our own lives!

We could use some help! Lung cancer patients could use some more support! Lung cancer research desperately needs more funding.

So this month our family is doing something crazy to try to raise funds for lung cancer research. We’re not fundraisers, so we’re starting with what we’ve got and trying to turn it into a fundraiser!

My musician-husband Jono and I are posting a love song on YouTube every day for the month of November in honour of Lung Cancer Awareness Month!  We’re calling it “Love Songs for Lungs“! It’s relaxed, minimally rehearsed, done ideally in one take in the living room, and so far it’s pretty fun! #30in30 #Hope

It’s especially meaningful for me because I love to sing, but lung cancer took my voice away. It’s only in recent months that I’m starting to find it again. It’s still not what it was, but I’m so thankful to be singing! You’re invited to celebrate with me!

Check us out! …and if you like what you see, or you want to encourage us, please share with your community and make a donation to lung cancer research.

I still haven’t figured out the fundraising part of this. I’m thinking about maybe starting a crowdfunding page (like gofundme) or something. I’m working on it and I’m definitely open to suggestions!

For a start, here are some links you could make donations to:

ALK+ Research (Patient-driven research into our own particular kind of lung cancer.)

Super Bowl Challenge (Funds go to support lung cancer survivors like me and research… and if I raise a LOT of $$, then I might even get to go to the Super Bowl!!!)

Thank you very much!  (For Lung Cancer Awareness Month 2017, I made a Jelly Bean video.)

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Rambling Thoughts and Reflections about Camp and this Past Year

Sittin’ on the Dock of the Camp

We came back about a week ago from a time at a Christian family camp. Jono did some music there, and I felt well enough to join him a bit, playing a borrowed flute and even singing a little. I still coughed, but my cough improved enough that I could use my windpipes to make music – something I hadn’t done in many months! (So thankful for the new meds, although the side effects are a bit rough.)

I love singing, but haven’t really been able to sing since last summer. This has been so hard for me. I’ve been standing with the congregation but unable to join in the singing without erupting in fits of coughing. This past week and a half my breathing and cough have improved so much that I can quietly sing a little bit here and there with only a bit of coughing. This is such a gift, but there is still grief as I can’t really belt it out freely. I yearn to be able to fully sing again, and I hope this time will come soon.

… but back to the camp …

The people were so lovely and encouraging. I was given the opportunity to tell a bit of my story to the 400+ people there one evening, and I’m so grateful for that. It was such a privilege to be able to speak to these dear folks, and in the following days, many of them introduced themselves to me and thanked me for what I said. Many of them told me they were praying for me and following this blog, and some even honoured me by telling me part of their story. I felt very blessed and surrounded with love and support.

One of the things I said is that all of us are touched by cancer, whether directly or indirectly, and if it’s not cancer then it’s something else: we all have something. We all can relate to each other. We all can help one another carry our loads. (Galatians 6) We all have the choice to be grateful or grumpy.

Some people have said to me that I’m so brave, so strong, but the truth is that I’m not! If ever I appear that way, it is the grace of God on display. I find reading Scripture and praying regularly to be a great source of comfort and encouragement, but sometimes it’s hard to focus. I’ve printed the words of Scripture and prayers on paper which I’ve taped inside my kitchen cupboard doors to help remind and encourage me. I have the privilege of being able to ask friends to pray for me and/or with me, and to have coffee with me, or go for walks with me when I’m up for it. My community is such a gift to me, and I’ve had opportunity to grow in humility and grace as friends have served us so generously in many ways, including cleaning our toilets… significant opportunity for me to grow in humility and grace!

I have found it frustrating to not be able to do the things I normally do. I’ve often wondered how to faithfully navigate this strange season of life. Months ago I asked my amazing small group for their thoughts on how I could live faithfully, and they reminded me that this is a great opportunity to focus on deepening my relationship with God. I can’t DO all that I’d like to do, but I can still BE in relationship, and it’s relationships that really matter the most.

I am so thankful for my support people who take such good care of us. I am thankful for the friends who let me cry with them, for those who bear with me in my limitations, for those who pray faithfully for me (many of which I’ve never met), those who’ve sent encouraging notes and gifts, and the many who have helped in other ways such as cooking and cleaning, childcare, transportation, … there are so many offers of help that we’ve not yet taken up! We feel very well cared-for and we are so grateful! In these (and other) tangible ways, God shows grace and love.

A year ago, I thought I had my plan for the next year pretty much figured out. Boy was I wrong! I never could have anticipated this. The Living God is the Lord of my life, and that includes my calendar (James 4). My plans changed. Though this has been a difficult year, there is so much for which I’m extremely grateful. The brief summary would be: God, family, friends, acquaintances and strangers. The many ways I’ve been deeply blessed are way too large to count.

… but back to the camp …

We are so grateful for a fun time away as a family, for lovely people who shared themselves so generously with us, for boat rides and hours at the beach, for delicious treats, for laughter, for great speakers, for encouragement and inspiration, for opportunities to watch our children have great fun and be blessed, and for so much more.

Sibling Rivalry?! ;)

Camp Fun: Sibling Rivalry?! 😉

Wagon ride

Camp Fun: Wagon ride