Raising Hope for Emma Lee Stewart

The Reason For Hope Compilation CD's can be ordered via email to TheReasonForHopeCD@Gmail.com payment can be made via Interact Email Money Transfer. Mail orders with payment by cash or cheque can be made to :
The Reason For Hope
170 Temperance Street New Glasgow, NS B2H3B1 ($20.00 Includes shipping)

Thursday, September 30, 2010

I Love When This Happens

Leah had me listen to a song by Sugarland the other day. It Happens. What a tune. I love when that happens. Now, I've got the bug for that song. Listened to it three times, doing the osmosis thing. Now to the car, as I drive to Stellarton for my life energy balancing session.

Ain't no rhyme or reason
No complicated meaning
Ain't no need to over think it
Let go laughing
Life don't go quite like you planned it
We try so hard to understand
Irrefutable, indisputable
The fact is
It happens

Peace to you all today,

P.S. I am interested in anything and everything surrounding stem cells. Send it along. emmalee@eastlink.ca

Emma Lee

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Mary Is Moving To Toronto! Seedling Order Form to be Updated!

Mary is moving to Toronto, at least until year's end so that she can complete a mentoring program with a music business company there. Pretty exciting for her. Pretty sad for Mom.

Before she left, she delivered to me the balance of the seedlings. On Monday I peat-potted many of them. I think there are around 75 seedlings left out of the order. Not bad. Unfortunately, although I would like to live to see a forest of hope grow, I simply do not have the room for that many trees in my little part of the world. Mary will get around to updating the order form, but until she does - 170 Temperance Street, New Glasgow, NS B2H 3B1 is the order destination. The seedlings will be fine now that they are potted.

I met with Dr. Kropp yesterday. We have a plan. I want to live.

Following this round of chemo, we will be starting an intense battle with natural supplements. First to detoxify my body from chemo, and then to battle the cancer that remains. Dr. Kropp is coming up with a dollar figure for the drugs that she will be recommending for me - just for me: things like shark liver oil; enzymes; Q10, Astragalus, among many other things. . . no sugar; no alcohol; exercise 5 times a week (or so); balancing my pH; she has already provided me with a meal plan to try to increase my metabolism and balance my nutrients. She will be connecting me with my inner child. I'm excited about this. I have made many changes since diagnosis on May 17th; however, I will now have someone walking this journey with me. Knowing she is there, supporting me, will make an incredible difference to me emotionally. And if I can, I also plan on continuing the life energy balancing sessions with Kathy Roy at Spirit Garden, listening to and taking counsel from my heart.

I'm having lunch with a friend today: Aileen. We have been singing together for many, many years. And laughing. And crying. Depending on the weather, we may get to go for a great walk too. And I'm looking forward to choir tonight. Any time I get to lose myself in music is therapeutic.

Peace to you all. I pray you manage your personal stressors. Find balance. Don't worry.

Emma Lee

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Potential for Inspiring November 25th

Okay - here's the scoop - I will be hosting Dr. Rob Rutledge for a public talk - Healing and Cancer on November 25th. He and Dr. Tim Walker have just released The Healing Circle:

“The Healing Circle offers those affected by cancer a compassionate companion for the road. By sharing the actual words of experts… people who have faced cancer themselves, Rob Rutledge MD and Timothy Walker PhD offer healing from loneliness, and practical guidance for the journey. A book for anyone who has ever sought their wholeness in the midst of a cancer crisis. Don’t go to your doctor’s office without it.”
Rachel Naomi Remen, MD, author of Kitchen Table Wisdom

See their website - Healing and Cancer - I haven't yet confirmed the venue for that talk, but will soon. I just wanted to pass this along so that the word can get out there. I am in need of positivity and hope, and Dr. Rutledge has agreed to come to New Glasgow and assist with that. I will also be updating folks on my attendance at the Metastatic Breast Cancer Conference in Indianapolis - very briefly of course, but I am hopeful there will be information that I will learn there that folks will be interested in. So, as soon as I confirm the venue, I'll be in touch again.

Do you think this is a good idea? As I said, I am in NEED of a good dash of hope, so I'm "hopeful" this will fill that bill.

And it will not just be pertinent to those with cancer or survivors of cancer. The strategies of meditation and so on will appeal to everyone.

Peace today, Emma Lee

Thanks Barb. I hope things are going well with you.

Emma Lee

Monday, September 27, 2010

A Great Start To The Week

Morning walk with Honey; before the town wakes up. Beautiful. The few cumulous clouds in the morning sky bathed with hues of sunrise. Restful. Peaceful. Berries, pineapple and banana smoothie. Practise. Chakra cleaning. Two Qigong exercises, with a beautiful meditation Cd as sound track. Feeling well. The potential is there for not only a great day, but a great week.

Yesterday was a busy day and I didn't have a lot of "free mind" time. Today, I will be making up for that. Putting all else in the background today. It is very easy to lose yourself. Not today. Today I am first. Repeat after me . . . Today I am first.

Peace to you all.

Emma Lee

Friday, September 24, 2010

Good Morning

So, I just realized that the neuropathy symptoms are pretty well gone. Hallelujah. One week since my treatment and that part is over. Tired, but tired is okay.


Shaun and I are singing at Trinity's Glenhaven service on Sunday and then in Hopewell at the Presbyterian Church. I am looking forward to that. A couple of numbers. I am also involved in Trinity's Sunday morning service, which should be a hoot and nourishing as well.

Honey ate something on her walk and is acting strange. She likes a certain kind of bug I think. She's, when she's able, constantly sticking her nose into the ground and then chowing down! Goodness knows.

Looking forward to sharing a meal with someone tonight.

I'm feeling better. Hopefully emotionally I will start to feel stronger as well. Countdown is on for Indianapolis!

This morning's walk was lovely, out just as the sun was starting to rise and the sky had the most gorgeous colors. Quiet, except for the construction dudes who like to start talking outside around 6:00 a.m. But, very nice walk.

When inspiration hits again, I'll be in touch. Come on inspiration!

Peace, Emma Lee

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

So, Report

My appointment is one week from today! Ha Ha Ha - hilarious - that made me laugh. Then, cause I was foot loose, I hit the highway, turned up the CD player (McCartney) and spent some quality me time at Greenhill. Very, very nice. Just what the doctor ordered.

On the advice of a good friend, I will be assigning cranky time as needed. Sorry.


Emma Lee

Is This "My" Life?

I woke up yesterday and today so incredibly cranky that I cannot believe it! I also woke up with the question on my mind, is this my life? Crazy. I'm so far into this and I'm still having to pinch myself and ask is this really happening to me? I have to confess that the mindless action of farmville has enticed me to waste some time, so that I can "focus" (if you can call it that) on something else. I have had terrible nightmares for the past two nights as well. Both times, demons entering my house. In the first one, Honey had positioned herself between two windows, the first of which was shattered, and she was barking, and barking, and barking, at what I had thought to be a young child. When I went to the door and opened it, a demon pushed in, wearing a bright lime colored shirt, suspenders, and wild pants. Hairless of course. With the most awful facial expression. Wakey, wakey. In the next one I was walking into the hallway, and spotted someone in a wheelchair with their back to me. They had long dark hair. When they spun around, well, you don't want to know, but I faced "her" and yelled, what do you want from me? I then woke up, without receiving an answer. So, I'm cranky, I'm pinching myself, and I'm wishing that I would soon come out of these side effects, which were the worst they've yet been last evening as midnight approached. Sleep was difficult but I must have finally dozed off, waking for good at 4:33 a.m.

This is my rant. I thank you for listening. Maybe I will feel better sharing this.

I am seeing Dr. Gabrielle Kropp for my first appointment this afternoon. She is the naturopathic doctor I have been mentioning. I am excited about that, but wish I felt better. I also hope my crankiness is gone by the time I see her, because the appointment will be intense, I just know it.

Okay. I think I'm settling down. I'll post later today, once I've met with Dr. Kropp.

I have to add peace to you. I pray you will have a great day!

Emma Lee

Sunday, September 19, 2010

It's Working!

I know the treatment is working. Started yesterday afternoon and is progressing nicely. I'm not complaining! Do your thing.

What a beautiful day yesterday was. The weather was exquisite and today appears to be following suit. By mid-afternoon yesterday, however, hot water bottle, magic bag, comforter and Honey were my closest friends on the couch. Oh, and Jim, walking the dog and making sure I was comfie.

Lynn and Linda held the first of their idea last night - "Friends For Friends", in my honour. I am so touched and thankful. I hope to be able to host such an event in the future for a Friend. Apparently left overs are on their way for me! Can't wait. Veggie lasagna, etc. Yumm.

Chemo was uneventful, other than my blood work had not been processed until 10:30 and therefore the drugs weren't ready, so an hour's wait, but the time flew by. Meg and I had a great chat. Then the drugs arrived! The port was hooked up and away we went. I even had the courage to watch the Abraxane make its way to my port. You must think I am a whimp, but I find it a little scary - scary and hopeful at the same time. My heart is telling me to relax, while my mind is saying run away, run away.

Alice went over the blood work which measures the tumour markers (CA125 I know that's wrong - I'll verify it soon). Very interesting. When I get my next results back, I'll fill you in on the details. But good results so far. The first test, however, came back very high. Not to be dismayed Miss Emma. I am wondering why any patient that has had cancer does not regularly get these tests, just as a monitoring device. The tests are not processed at the Aberdeen, rather the QEII Cancer Clinic and apparently the cost is high; however, if an elevated reading came back at a regular check-up, would not that be good to know? No one has ever discussed this test with me before. I am finding that odd as well.

The sun is coming through my window. I couldn't make Church this morning. I may be out for the count today; I'm taking it easy - it's Emma Lee Day! Couch, bathroom, Honey. That's all I need today. Oh yes, and friends. Lovely, dearest friends.

Peace to you all,

Emma Lee

Friday, September 17, 2010

Just Before I Head Out The Door- To Les and Mac (Julie)

The weather has changed. I can't believe how quickly it has happened. I had to turn on the heat this morning. Dressing for this now presents new opportunities. Today, I will wear the most adorable black hat sent to me from England- from our friends Les and Julie Cutts. It's a perfect day for that and I will take a wool hat to wear during treatment. I may also need a blanket. On my jacket is hung an angel which Julie (Mac) sent with prayer, hope and love. Same back at you Mac. My prayers are in the air heading to Halifax, Yorkshire, England.


Emma Lee

On My Way To The Chemo Department

On my way for the fourth treatment. Megan, my dear friend, is giving me a drive and sitting wih me today. I thank her for that. Meredith, another dear friend, was here at 6:30 a.m. to collect my blood specimen. My blood work has to be taken on the day of. Two specimens are taken - one for blood count, and the other is a tumour marker, which measures the cancer's actvity in my blood. I will be asking for the latter results today. I haven't been given those before. I will also be asking for a complete copy of my file, at their convenience, which I will review for accuracy. If I need to consult another doctor, or am lucky enough to become part of a trial, I will need it. It is my file.

My hope is raised this morning. I'm imaging The Hope Team in next year's dragon boat race. All of us paddling together, with hope and positivity, that I will slay this beast. If you ain't got that hope, you're out of the boat. I need people around me to buoy me, not sink me.

Tonight at the Whitetail Pub in Westville, our good friend Alan Gerber will be performing. I am praying that I can get out to see Alan. He has stayed with us when he has passed through New Glasgow before. He rocked the Jubilee the first time he was here. The last time he played here he was in the wrong venue, but we still had a blast. Alan is one great musician - he's a master of guitar, fiddle and keyboard, and his voice - his voice. He is amazing! He's got the blues that's for sure. The Whitetail will be rocking, and he can do that, all by himself. I am praying I can hang out for one set tonight. His version of People Get Ready has to be heard! Alan was the keyboard player for the rock group Rhinoceros.

I also hope to get to see a wonderful person who is undergoing some medical complications right now. She is one of the kindest people I know - selfless really. What a supporter of me she is. She is in the Aberdeen and I hope to get to bring her cheer today. I'm also delivering a tree there today!

Alright. Here we go. I'll touch base soon.

Peace to you. Forgiveness, forgiveness, fogiveness.

Emma Lee

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Fantastic Friends Hold Me Up

I have a confession to make. I haven't been quite honest about my last meeting with Dr. AJ. In fact, what happened at the end of that conversation has been bothering me since that appointment on Monday. So bad that at one point, I thought I was headed to the valley of no hope.

See, when I questioned Dr. AJ about what was next, he ended that conversation by saying something to the effect that eventually none of the drugs will work, as the cancer will find its way around them. Bitter sweet - on one hand the CT scan results were great, and on the other hand, his closing comments were dark and my happy, hopeful parade was instantly rained on.

His words sent me for a tail-spin and I've spent the majority of the week working my way through this. I have also unfortunately burdened several friends already, and now you and I do apologize. But, I guess I need help putting this all into perspective.

I have had so many fantastic responses to this news and so many stories of miracles. Keep 'em coming.

I am powerful.

I think I will demand that no such comments are issued in my presence by any medical practitioner.

I pray . . .

I pray for peace to you all,

Emma Lee

The Change of the Seasons!

Day before next treatment. I'm freezing! I am pulling the blankets up, with a green tea and honey, and Honey. I'm also hoping this tummy ache goes away. I was hoping to take in yoga this morning, but I can't possibly. It may be a stay home day.

I'll touch base after treatment tomorrow. I've got some thoughts percolating respecting bedside manners and hope (or perhaps I should say lack thereof)! I am too easily influenced I guess.

Anyway, my comforter is calling and my tea is ready. Peace to one and all this day!

Emma Lee

P.S. The tree are going well. But, I still have 1/3rd left. I want them to go to good homes and grow. Just get in touch with me by email if you are interested (emmalee@eastlink.ca - 752-1650). Mary is moving to TO at month's end and will not be at the Halifax address to receive any orders. Today finds her in Whitehorse at a music festival.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Today's Visit with Dr. AJ Kumar, My Oncologist

Well folks, results from my last CT Scan are in: no new tumours; several have shrunk!; the others remain stable - which means they are not growing. Alright everybody - get up on the floor, and get ready to DANCE! Sing. Jump around. Jump around. Jump around.

I even broached the "what happens after Abraxane" conversation. Dr. AJ feels that I will need a break from chemo for a while. What? There will be an aromatase inhibitor that will be prescribed for "a period of time" and then back on Abraxane if that appears feasible. If not that, then there will be something else.

I have a feeling the Conference in Indianapolis is going to be very helpful as well, as far as other drugs available for me. I also have Dr. Kropp in my corner and the other naturopathic options, including diet. So, we are dancing, we are singing, and we are playing bass!

Peace to you all!

You've Got to Give It When Your "Em-ergy" is Good!

Monday morning. Today is going to be an exciting day. I'm back from a most wonderful, overflowing with gratitude two weeks at the Little Cottage in the Woods at the Merb. Honey loved it as much as I did. I love Melmerby Beach. I even went down there yesterday aftenoon with Honey, just to walk on those shores. Wow. The waves were much more vibrant than during Earl and Honey was completely exhausted by the time we arrived back home. A good dog is a tired dog. I've decided that shoreline is going to be a regular destination for us.

Church was also wonderful yesterday. The New Hope Seekers were born - Shaun, me, Karen and Alex Lank, our drummer. Our gift of music was an arrangement of Paul Simon's masterpiece Bridge Over Troubled Water. Standing ovation - that's a first. We had a time of fellowship following with some awesome fresh local corn. Life-giving.

Today I am picking up the trees and getting 150 ready to go to Halifax for the event tonight hosted by Mary at the Wooden Monkey. Then I am seeing the oncologist at 10:45 (ha!) at the Aberdeen Hospital. I should be getting my most recent CT scan results, which I will report later on. I will be home from 1- 4 so that folks who pre-ordered trees locally can drop by and pick-up and at 4:30 I'm off to try the New Horizon Band, where I will dust off a bass guitar that's been sitting in the corner and give that my best shot. I can anticipate some laughter and fun folks. David Pos is the leader of the group and man, he must have patience. I am a complete novice, no experience, but why not I ask myself? So, off I will go, bass in hand!Honey will have to be content to be back in New Glasgow and our trit trots around the blocks.

Tomorrow morning, there is a yoga class around the corner that I am going to take in.

Okay - I know - I'm keeping busy, but my "Em-ergy" is up as it is the week leading to chemo (Friday) and you've got to give it when you're feeling "Em-ergy". So that's what I'm doing.

I also believe you have to surround yourself with positivity and hope. I was given the most amazing candle holder last week, with four little votive holders that spell out the word "hope". I have it lit while I am here, while I am working around the house. It's beautiful. Surround yourself with beauty and fill your heart with hope, love and gratitude for all that you have been given.

My dearest friends. Have a great, great day.

Emma Lee

Friday, September 10, 2010


Yesterday was full of friends. During a conversation with Lynn and Linda at the little cottage in the woods, I recalled the last phrase my Mother said to me. In 1973 my Mother gave up on life. You see, that year my Father passed away from a dastardly battle with lung cancer. Mom's spirit left her that early morning around 3:13 a.m. Mom and Dad had been inseparable. One could only wish for that kind of love. They were married shortly before my Father and his brothers and their friends gladly enlisted to fight in WWII. Good, young PEI boys. Mom and Dad finally settled in Pictou, where my Mom kept house and my Father worked in the fish plant. Eventually for Mom, a diagnosis of dementia overcame her. My brother John and I had the opportunity to drive Mom to the Hospital from which she would never leave. As I was helping her from the car that day I took her hand. It was cold. I mentioned that to her. She looked at me with her beautiful, but sad blue eyes and said "Cold hands, warm heart". This phrase swept over me yesterday as I was filling Lynn and Linda in on my latest life energy balancing session with Kathy at Spirit Garden. Listening to my heart is a big, big part of my healing. My heart, I know, has the power to heal my body. A warm heart. A loving heart. Mom's words came flooding back.

Last evening I had the pleasure of Shaun and Ross's company for a fabulous meal on Sinclair's Island. Mom Nature offered a one-of-a kind soundtrack for that meal, in a cottage overlooking the Northumberland Strait. Honey was spoiled with love and food. What occurred to me then, and not for the first time, but with a more profound understanding, was that my Father passed away in his 49th year. His 49th year! Too young. I have out lived my Father. We were talking about our families and the legacies they have left for us. In that thunder and lightning I could almost hear his voice and his fiddle - he was a dandy player: a PEI player - they have their own style. He had his own style. Music is a long legacy I recalled: my great, great grandfather was the choir master in a little church on the Island, leading his choir with the benefit of a tuning fork. We sat in candlelight, listening to some awesome blues, eventually talking about how easily we let things slip away. And about listening to our hearts and getting ourselves back in line with our dreams and our goals. Cause it's fleeting. Get out there and grab it with all the strength you have.

Okay enough of that.

Have a great one - I'm going to sing at 11:30, getting ready for fellowship on Sunday morning as we welcome everyone back from summer break.

Peace to you. Love,

Emma Lee


Thursday, September 9, 2010

An Update from My Mountain of Hope

As you know, not only the person affected directly by the disease can suffer throughout this process. All of my family are feeling this pinch. Jim works in Halifax. We are so wishing he was closer to home. Mary is being a beacon of strength, doing a variety of things to keep her busy. My son Lee sees the world through rose colored glasses right now, and he tells me "you're going to beat it". He just moved to Summerside, PEI with his new gal and is on the precipice of starting his new life. And my friends . . . what can I say. I am so sorry to burden them so.

The first part of my treatment is a chemo called Abraxane. I will have 6 of these. The oncologist told me by the time I get to the sixth, this cancer will have learned its way around it; transplant is not an option because it is metastatic breast cancer and neither is radiation an option. At the time I heard that news, I was numb. I thought the doctor was looking at me like I had two heads, apparently not realizing he was the first person to tell me my life was in jeopardy. I couldn't even ask well, what do we do then? I will at my next appointment. I am going out of my way to find out everything I can about cancer and available treatments and am seeking the help of those outside the medical profession as well. My mountain of hope lies in using a bit of everything.

I have been blessed to receive funding to attend a metastatic breast cancer conference in Indianapolis in October. I am more than certain that conference will hold many answers for me.

There is no cure at present. I will spend the rest of my life doing whatever I can to prolong a quality life and await grandchildren (no pressure kids)! I had wanted to have a choir singing night, but those thoughts have not yet finalized in my mind. I know all will become clear with time.

One of Mary's ideas is the evergreen seedlings. They arrived here yesterday. Half will go to Halifax on Monday and half will stay here to go to their adopted homes. Funds raised will go towards alternative treatments that I am now receiving, as well as ones that I hope to be able to receive in the future. From my mountain of hope, I believe I am making headway in finding my path to wellness.

Mary has suggested a $20.00 donation, but she and I have agreed that it is
more important that these little seedlings get to be planted and do their
thing on this earth. It's all about the thought - the support and, without being corny, the love.

Next week is my week leading to treatment and I should be full of "Emergy".

An early July blog entry describes Mary's idea. I have wonderful children. I am blessed in so many ways. Peace to you and your family today.

Emma Lee

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Quick Update - Pay It Forward

My heart is brimming over with thanks for all that I have been given. My mission is to pay it all forward.

August 31st - 2010
I sit here and allow my eyes to be dazzled by the sunlight drifting through the sitting room windows. It's reminding me of diamonds, or the way the sun reflects on the beach water. There are no sounds, other than the summer breeze rearranging the leaves of the cedars and poplars outside, a few busy chickadees and one as yet unnamed bird. It is mid morning and it is quiet. It is warm. A great relief sweeps over me. Honey loves this place as much as I do. Our morning walk takes us along a beautiful and quiet beach. This is turning out to be the hottest week of the summer. I can't believe that I'm here to swim and enjoy.

Today - Home to receive the trees. Come on trees!!

Peace to you all. If the opportunity to pay it forward comes to you today, take advantage of it!!

Emma Lee

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Still Out of Town - Trees Arriving on Wednesday

Just dropped into the house to observe the damage from Earl and to enjoy a shower! No power at the Merb. Could be 11:30 tonight. So . . .

Anyway, I have a list of things to write about, which I shall as this week progresses. The biggest news is that, with the help of some great natural products, I survived my last chemo with far less side-effects than the first two. I am so blessed.

Mary tells me the trees are arriving on Wednesday. I will care for them until they go to their new homes. September 13th ther will be an evening at the Wooden Monkey, which my Jim will attend on my behalf. Mary will be there, music, and Lil will give a talk on environmental matters. I will be here to meet friends who have made room to plant a tree, with a good dose of HOPE included.

Will be in touch soon. Peace to you all. I pray that you have weathered Earl without distress and with admiration at the power of Mother Nature.

Emma Lee