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)

Monday, November 29, 2010

Jakki and Me

The Hope of Advent Has Arrived

Yesterday we entered into Advent - a time of waiting. At Trinity United, as we journey in Advent together and prepare for Christmas we will be guided by the theme: A Fresh Start - Longing for a World Transformed. This really speaks to me. Lighting the candle of Hope yesterday, I was reminded that my hope has become tangible.

Boundless love. My heart overflows. Thank you.

Peace today and always, Emma Lee

Sunday, November 28, 2010

A Heart-Filled Celebration

On Friday evening musical friends and members of my larger community gathered together to fill my heart with joy. A spirit of love filled Trinity United Church and my cup was overflowing. It is hard for me to put into words really. The concert was unbelievable. Shaun and I opened it with You Raise Me Up and The Prayer; then Ross & The Romantics rocked the place with Lost in the 50's, Runaround Sue, Sweet Nothins and The Wanderer. Janice Alcorn, singer extraordinaie followed, and she had members of her high school jazz choir with her and they did two fab pieces; next up was Holy Potion (me, Aileen MacPhee, David Pos and Karen Crowley) and we did a wonderful arrangement of Amazing Grace. Sanctuary Singers were next (Jane Jones, Lori Miller, Karen Crowley and Shaun) and they did a couple of upbeat religious pieces and then the Trinity Senior Choir (of which I am a member) sang Creation Will Be At Peace. We then had an intermission when oatcakes and lemonade were served. The second act started with Anne of Boat Harbour - a skit that Shaun and Ross MacVicar wrote that was hilarious. After that Jakki Rogue performed and she took it upon herself to learn "When Emma Sings", the song Doris Mason wrote for my birthday. Then I sang with Jakki. Shaun and Ross were next and they previewed some of the songs that will be on their CD. My dear friend Lloyd MacLean graced our grand piano with a medley of songs he and I have performed together, including Masqarade (sp?). Shaun joined him for one song, and then I joined them and we did Baby It's Cold Outside and we ended the show with Bridge Over Troubled Water - standing ovation! It was fabulous. Everyone enjoyed it. But probably me the most. To have that support . . . .

The spirit of Mary and Lee were there in the room with me.

I am sincerely blessed. My heart is full. My eyes are teary. I am loved.

At Church this morning we will sing Creation again. Then I'm joining Shaun and Ross on the Christmas Fund for one number.

Listen to your hearts. Peace, Emma Lee

Friday, November 26, 2010

4th Annual Reason for Hope

Remembrances of Last Night

I just have to write these rambling thoughts down, so that I don't forget everything that happened last night. So many great moments. First of all the venue was great. Perfect place. Andrew Alcorn, one of the school music teachers, had two of his students with him - Nathaniel MacDonald and Devon Petroff - both from Trenton, who worked the show with him, helping him set-up, and run the show. Wow they did a great job. My surprise musical guest was Lennie Gallant. Even the sound check was great. Lennie has a new CD that is absolutely fabulous - If We Had A Fire - check it out at his website. Oh my - so many great songs. Extraordinary Ordinary Life in particular strikes a chord with me. Anyway, Janet Powerhouse Ervin and her team got there right on cue and set up. Dr. Rob Rutledge and his team arrived, again, right on cue. April helped us get the laptop geared up. I's being dotted, t's being crossed, and people began to arrive. So many new and old friends there. We had a great crowd - and they were responsive. After opening the show, I introed Lennie and he dedicated his second number to me - You Don't Know How Beautiful You Are (from his new CD). Oh my. Knees are weak. Jim and I got to dance to his next song. Can you believe it? And he ended with Peter's Dream and everyone sang and clapped and it was a "moment". It was a "great to be in the moment" moment. When the boys were changing the stage Janet and I drew all 20 door prizes which were great by the way. Then Dr. Rob Rutledge. Who was amazing. We started by doing "flying clouds", a Qigong exercise. It was a completely selfish night I have to tell you. Rob inspired me. He convinced me that acceptance of this disease is the very best way I can beat it. During his closing meditation, he asked all of those in attendance to send their love and positive thoughts to me. I'm crying. Okay, more later, but I just wanted to share these initial thoughts. When I got home, there was an email from an old, old friend of mine, with a picture attached from at least 66 or 67. Once I hear from her and have her permission I'm going to post it. Visit Codapop Studios website to hear a copy of Send Someone for Me!

Peace today - I'm getting ready for tonight and am trying to keep my excitement and emergy at a good level!

Emma Lee

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Honey Loves Treats!

Yesterday, Honey was the recipient of some great little treats - dog biscuits and hot dogs - the two things in the world that can pretty well make her do anything! Blanche, a little gal that lives around the corner, arrived with them for her. Poor Blanche had to endure Honey barking the whole time she was here, but I guess I have learned to turn that switch off. Anyway, that package also contained a beautiful note for me. I have learned during this journey that receiving cards and letters is very powerful. I'm not sending this out as a request to receive them, but I think as a society we might be losing a wonderful gift. Maybe this is a challenge today to take the time to sit down and write a letter to someone. I know that writing for me has become very therapeutic.

I've been working on the program for tomorrow night and thinking about Friday night and I am so looking forward to everything. Now, if things would just settle down inside this body of mine . . .

Today will be a quiet day, for which I am thankful. Honey and I will have a few trit trots and I will enjoy some me time.

My tumour marker blood work was not completed prior to the 6th treatment, so I have no update. I do know that it was drawn and sent away before the 7th treatment, because Meredith did it and confirmed it with me. CT scan tomorrow. I'm going to go an hour early to make sure I check in, and then have the line put into my powerport at oncology and then head back down to the xray department. I don't want a repeat of last time. With luck, they will draw blood right away - they did at the last treatment, so . . . fingers crossed. The results of the scan should be ready to be reviewed with Dr. Kumar at my meeting with him in early December.

Peace to you today.

Emma Lee

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Everlasting Boughs of Joy Concert

Friday, November 26th, 2010, Trinity United Church

Friday night at Trinity is going to be special. Show starts at 7:00 p.m. The music planned is going to be special. That's all I can say. We're having such fun putting this program together.

Everlasting Boughs of Joy it's being called. Shaun McLean is putting his energy into this in a big way. It is to be a wrap up to the Evergreens for Emma Lee campaign that my Mary started earlier this year. Here's the program:

Shaun and I open the show with two inspirational pieces. We have formed a group called The New Hope Seekers and the name really speaks for itself. Then Holy Potion, a group that I have been a part of for over 10 years at Trinity United's Contemporary Services - David Pos, Aileen Grant, me, Karen Crowley, and perhaps Alex Lank will join us for a sweet song. Very jazzy. Cool. Groovy. Got it? Then we're turning the clock back to the 50's with Ross & The Romantics. Awesome harmonies and fun as we feature 4 great old tunes. I dare anyone not to be bopping in their seats. Then songstress extraordinaire - we don't hear her enough - Janice Alcorn. She and I go way back, she having gotten my musical education into full gear and I thank her for that. I recall fondly me and her dad George competiting at the provincial level. It was wild and believe it or not, we were good! Then Sanctuary Singers. Okay - that group is made up of Jane Turner Jones, Lori Miller, Shaun McLean and Karen Crowley. These guys are also a group that worships at Trinity's Contemporary Services and they will wow you. Can you say Powerful? And then Trinity United's Senior Choir will do a beautifully contemplative piece to end the first act.

During intermission oat cakes and lemonade! The raffle from the night before will continue - Janet Powerhouse Ervin will make sure of that. Then lights down for the second act.

I hear there is a guest or two coming to discuss a matter out the Pictou Landing way - Anne of Boat Harbour. I am interested to hear her message. Then my dear friend Jakki Rogue. Now, Jakki left here last night with Doris' song "When Emma Sings" and it may just make the show. Doris would sing it if she were in the province. Plus Jakki is becoming an extraordinary pianist and the grand piano will be resounding under her touch. Then Shaun and Ross are going to offer you some of their brand new tunes, which are in the workshop phase of recording. Finally, my dear friend Lloyd MacLean - whose music I can never get enough of - will play that grand piano for us. Just wait. Shaun and I will end the show with our thanks to you and then it's off for the rest of your Friday night.

So, do you think I'm excited?

Peace to you this day. Emma Lee

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Day Before 7th Treatment

A bit of a transformation happening here. I have mentioned my cat of 11 years, Boobadee (it's a good rhymning name) moving upstairs when the "dog" arrived almost 2 years ago. (Boobadee may in fact be one of my Angels.) Well, since Puff arrived (another orphan from Halifax) a miracle is occurring. Boobadee is taking control of the downstairs again! Yesterday Honey was having her afternoon nap and Boo walked right up to her, gave her a good sniff and sauntered away. Boo is down here all the time now. Their fights are even becoming less frequent, and there have been occasions when they have tag teamed treat-getters. Boo knocked a keychain of St. Werburg that I picked up in Chester, England on the floor and it was quickly grabbed by Honey to be a great chew toy. Of course when we discovered what she had in her mouth, it was a different story, but I'm hopeful about this. I have dreamt of the day when they would co-exist. Puff may have been a "catalyst" of change. I may change her name. Puff is a beauty by the way, only one year old, gorgeous and a nice personality. She sits on the other side of the baby gate watching the proceedings. She and Honey glare at each other. She could take Honey, whereas Boobadee is much smaller. Anyway, there's that word "hope" again.

Rehearsals are going well for the various events coming up at Church,the Boughs of Joy Concert,the PTPTP and the New Horizon concert. What fabulous distractions! And don't forget Dr. Rutledge next Thursday night - the 25th AND the musical guest!!!!!

7th treatment tomorrow. Meredith is coming for bloodwork early a.m., and Megan is coming with me to the Hospital. Jim will be home tomorrow night. I am blessed. Will report on tumour marker progress.

Off to Antigonish.

Peace, Emma Lee

Sunday, November 14, 2010

When Emma Sings

Well, we brought my b'day in, in style. Lee arrived home as a surprise for me! Yay! He looks so great: healthy, fit. I don't know how Jim kept that a surprise for as many days as he did. Then I thought we were headed for wings at the Thistle and then a matinee, but folks started arriving at the Thistle and I thought it strange that these friends of mine would have chosen yesterday to go to the Thistle - co-workers and dear friends. So we shared some laughs there. Then headed home, where Doris played a song that she had written for me called "When Emma Sings". It is so wonderful. We all cried and then sang and sang, including Jim and Brenda and Karen. Jim hooked up the 4 track and we recorded it - 3 vocal versions and one instrumental so now I can listen to it when I want. I think Jim is going to try and get Doris into CAT so it can be professionally recorded. We shall see. I spoke with Mary and John and Mary, and Debbie brought over the greatest stuffed mushrooms.

Honey became Houdini in the night, escaping from her kennel. And, because we didn't have the baby gate up I was awakened around 4:30 a.m when Puff and Honey decided it was a good time to get vocal and get to know each other. I herded Honey back downstairs, but by then it was too late for sleep to return. Tonight will be an early one.

(Oh - my email has been completely wiped out. So if you sent me an email yesterday - please re-send. I'll call Eastlink later on.)

But what a beautiful day it is. We're singing Pacem in Church today - an SATB arrangement, with music by Lee Dengler. And the song fits the day!

Have a great one and thank you for the good wishes.

Emma Lee

Saturday, November 13, 2010

It's A Big Day

Well, here it is - my birthday. I can tell you when the news was delivered to me on May 17th did I think I would be sitting here, feeling like this? No. The treatment is working and I can't wait for the results of my CT scan on Nov 25/10.

I was recalling my birth day and my mom. I guess I was a c-section baby, and I guess my mother became "ill" following my birth and I was sent to live with my Godparents at that time. I don't know many things about that: why? how long? I do know that a life long bond of friendship was formed with Mac & Louise and I often dream of them. I am not worried that I don't know the answers to these questions - my heart is telling me all is well. Perhaps Mom had post-partum depression, but whatever, there was always love surrounding me. And the memories of those folks fill me with love today.

My birthday leads me to thinking of the birth of both of my children. Natural births all the way - both were phenomenal experiences. I think if I needed to, I could have moved mountains both times and I guess I probably did. Two young people, smart, healthy and compassionate - out in the world making their mark. Hallelujah!

I am having my own private celebration today. The cake has been made. The sun is shining and I have made it to 53. I'm not thinking any further than that. Thank God!

Peace to you all.

Emma Lee

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Paddles and Prayers Up

Paddles Up is the message closing Phyllis from Women Alike uses for all of her messages. She's the glue that keeps us connected. Sometimes though she is given a tough task. Today's message is such a task. One of our original boaters has left us. To Pearl. Paddles and Prayers Up.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Odds and Beginnings

The time change has me a bit confused. I haven't used an alarm clock for years and years, always waking with the dawn or pre-dawn. So I'm waking earlier than ever. That's alright. I think there will be a settling down of this soon.

Monday morning David, Aileen, Karen and I got together to rehearse a wonderful version of Amazing Grace, which will be part of the Nov 21 contemporary service at Trinity - a reunion of Holy Potion. And, we will be performing the song as part of the Boughs of Joy concert Shaun is producing for Nov 26 - again at Trinity. We have so much fun together. I totally forget I have cancer. Aileen and I also started working on a fabulous arrangement of The Holly and the Ivy. I get to sing the wickedest part!

Then Monday afternoon I met with Dr. Eunice at the oncology department. I like him. He's very positive. Talked about my headaches etc. We're going to monitor things. But, my tumour markers continue to fall. I am responding so well to this chemo. CT Scan on Nov 25, same day as the Reason For Hope.

Then band, which was great - we are working on our Christmas pieces. Dec 19 at the deCoste and Dec 20 at the Marigold. What a blast I am having learning how to play the bass.

Monday was our wedding anniversary. Jim prepared a great meal and we talked about the future. When I met with Dr. Eunice, he ended that conversation by saying I should plan a great trip for the next year, so we talked about that. We spoke with both Lee and Mary. Family is it.

After picking up the posters for Nov 25 yesterday, I had a very positive life energy balancing session yesterday with Kathy. Check-in, Qigong, and Kathy's practice. She found my right side sluggish. So did I, but after a while it came around with a "rush".

Today will be busy. I am meeting with go-getter Janet, who is helping with Nov 25. Then I am going to Look Good Feel Better at St. Martha's in Antigonish. Karen is giving me a drive there and will come in with me. That will be a good session for me. If you want to know more about LGFB, I would be happy to share with you. Choir and singing tonight.

And now, piano and Qigong before I go out into the world. My mind is somewhat distressed today. I need to get grounded. I want to balance my "emergy". My white cell count is at its lowest today, so I'll be very careful, and pay attention to what my body is telling me, cause it is telling me something. Just need to listen.

If you are reading this entry, I am sending positive vibes your way. I pray that you take the time to listen to your body and pay attention to what your heart is telling you.

Peace today,

Emma Lee

Sunday, November 7, 2010

4th Annual Reason for Hope

For Immediate Release
November 8th, 2010

With DR. ROB RUTLEDGE, Radiation Oncologist and
Associate Professor, Dalhousie University
November 25th, 2010, 6:30 p.m. for 7:00 p.m.
North Nova Education Centre, 343 Park Street, New Glasgow, NS

November 25th will be an exciting night for the Reason for Hope Society. The Society will be celebrating its 4th Annual Event, this time, a free public talk. “It kind of feels like a birthday, in a way”, says Emma Lee Stewart, Chair. “Planning for this year was bitter-sweet, as we wanted to move forward, and at the same time acknowledge my latest battle with metastatic breast cancer. It was important for us to surround the event with hope. So being able to present Dr. Rob Rutledge, known for his compassion and real-world wisdom is a perfect fit, not only for those of us battling cancer, but for others who want to live a life filled with love and purpose”, adds Stewart, “which is, for me, a perfect birthday present”.

Dr. Rob Rutledge, an Oncologist with the Nova Scotia Cancer Centre and Associate Professor at Dalhousie University, knew he wanted to extend his help beyond his regular medical practice. “I realized early in my career that I wanted to understand the human side of the cancer experience and apply those learnings to help others,” he says.

Dr. Rutledge is known as a passionate and dynamic public speaker. He believes by choosing to lead a peaceful and fulfilling life, we can have a profound influence on our health. Presenting scientific knowledge and providing insights gained from serving people dealing with life-threatening disease, he has touched the hearts and minds of diverse audiences.

“This free public talk will offer life skills training and a unique perspective on mind, body and spirit that can transform the experience of illness into a journey toward wholeness” says Stewart. “It is our hope that many people will take advantage of this opportunity to be invigorated and inspired in ways that will improve their health and overall well-being”.

Surprise musical guest and door prizes in store for those who attend!

The 4th Annual Reason for Hope is honoured to be presented by Mac, Mac & Mac Law Offices. Other sponsors include close friend Fraser & Hoyt, and friend of the Society WearWell Garments. Country Inns & Suites provides accommodations for The Reason for Hope.

For more information, contact Emma Lee Stewart at the Reason for Hope, 752-1650 emmalee@eastlink.ca

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Life's Like That

Yesterday was a very strange day. Started off really well, as I had scheduled a rest day to make up for the hectic schedule on Monday. I awoke refreshed. Everything I ate tasted great. I found humour around me. I felt more wonderful than I have in days. Things started to sour at the noonish mark for me - but I realize today that it wasn't things souring, it was me, allowing myself to let fear and anger step in and rule my thoughts. Those thoughts then controlled my "emergy" for the day, evening and night. I awoke very eary this morning, having had an unrestful night, but determined to do some inner housecleaning.

I have recently learned that a relative of mine, a young woman, has been diagnosed with breast cancer. Jim tells me she is my first cousin, once removed. Okay - I need a primer on all of that. This info was definitely one of the things that precipitated the current episode of fear and anger and the resultant consequences i.e. listlessness, fatigue (over and above the side effects), self-pity, surliness, impatience. Need I say more? At least I was 50 the first time round, and had the opportunity to live a life of love, mistakes, joy, sorrow, attempted dreams and everything else that gets lumped into it.

This morning as I worked to turn the tables on this mindset, my mind returned to 2007 when I was in Halifax receiving radiation treatments. I walked alot, as it was Spring and surprisingly Halifax is quite beautiful in the Spring - especially the Public Gardens and historic Citadel Hill, which both seemed like magnets to my feet. One day walking towards me was a lovely young family: a smart young couple, a little boy and a little girl, happy, dressed-up and excited to be going wherever it was they were going. Could have been a Hallmark picture. Joyous. It made me feel happy just to see them. Then, the little girl tripped and fell, cutting her bare knee under her pretty dress. Joy was shattered, and their day was suddenly altered. As my walk continued, it occurred to me that Life is just Like That. But that thought was followed by another, Emma - if it is happiness you are looking for, look no further than within. I felt it. I had to stop. I had to stop and experience real happiness right there. I should have known that already right? After 50 years? I guess I did know it on some level, certainly having been told that by various sources, but that day, right there, alone on a city street in Halifax, I felt true happiness. I will now add this thought to my daily healing regime.

Another practice in my daily healing regime is chakra clearing. I try to do this every morning, and I can tell you the days when I do not practise it are different. I didn't yesterday, because I felt so great. Well, I did practise it this morning. Here are some key mantras for this day, which will be accompanied by some deep cleansing breaths and quiet solitude. I thank God for Doreen Virtue who shares these words in her book and on her CD "Awakening Your Spiritual Power to Know and Heal". This book was loaned to me by Kate, who just knew that I could benefit. Thank God for Kate:

"I know that I am perfectly safe as I follow my inner spiritual guidance. I allow this guidance to lead me to beautiful opportunities where I share my true nature as a powerful, loving, spiritual being".

"I allow the light of my holy spirit to dissolve away all barriers to Divine wisdom and guidance. I release all fear about listening to my higher self, God and the angels".

So right now and for this day, I am allowing that light . . . . . .

Peace, Emma Lee

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

When I'm In Music, I Do Not Have Cancer!

6th Treatment under my belt. 7th on the 19th and 8th on the 10th of Dec, if all goes well. Massive headache continues. Saw my optomotrist yesterday - and as I already knew, healthy eyes. I've developed this strange "aura" I guess you would call it. Started back in August and I attributed it to chemo side effects. Perhaps it is a new side effect. A "smoke-like" aura, both eyes, lower field of vision, especially in bright, out doors light. We'll get to the bottom of it - but my eyes are healthy and that's a very good thing.

And, big news, my tumour markers continue to fall - last week results, which were before my 5th treatment - down to 298.1. Can't believe how this chemo is working.

I connected with an old friend again last week. Had a great chat over the phone. We go waaayyy back and have had some pretty crazy adventures together. Man oh man! How wonderful to catch up with Gwen.

I was able to post a picture of Marie and I from Indianapolis on Facebook, but so far, it is escaping me how to get that picture on here - but I'll keep trying, because I have one of David Pos planting my evergreens on his property that I want to share!! It is priceless.

Nov 26th is back on - this time at Trinity United Church, and I am doing little other than singing! When I'm in Music, I do not have cancer. My friend Shaun, who owns Lolly's Gifts, downtown New Glasgow, is leading the charge and he is putting together a wonderful musical evening. He's calling it Boughs of Joy, a finale to the Evergreen Campaign. Lots of friends taking part. We started rehearsing a few songs we will do together - they will be quite special.

Band yesterday was very enjoyale too - our Christmas concert, at the deCoste on December 19th. I am making Jim attend!!! Should be a riot. Adult Beginners - David Pos is made of patience.

So, I pushed myself yesterday. Today is a gentle, restful day. Hopefully get this headache under control. Could I have a permanent Migraine? We shall see.

I am sending loving thoughts.

Peace to you all,

Emma Lee