Any and all news about Candye Kane's cancer will be posted here as it comes in.
I am finally back home after six weeks on the road in Europe. The first four were with my cherished project, United by Music in the Netherlands, and the next two weeks were with the RUF records Blues Caravan show featuring Virginia guitarist Deborah Coleman, my new soon-to-be daughter in law, amazing UK singer, Dani Wilde and myself.
Before I tell you about my trip and the highlights and lowlights, I want to tell you about two very special benefits in my honor:
The first is August 17th in Tacoma, Washington at Jazzbones. My beautiful friends Amanda Gresham and Barbara Hammerman have organized a benefit to help my band with the lost wages and back bills that we all incurred while I was undergoing cancer surgery on April 18th. Some amazing musicians are performing at the benefit including guitar heroine Alice Stuart and Becki Sue and her Rocking Daddies. I sang a song with Becki Sue, on her last cd, which featured my close friend Les White on the bass. Also joining this incredible line up is Son Jack jr, Lady A and the baby blues funk band, and the Red Hot Blues sisters. If you are a fan or a friend of mine up on the Northwest area, please go and support this generous group of musicians who are donating their time. gigginthenarrows.com
The second benefit is actually a three day event at Safari Sams in Hollywood on Labor day weekend, Aug 30, 31 and Sept. 1st. This is the first annual dog and pony show and was the brainchild of my good friend Dave Alvin. Dave has organized an incredible group of musicians and started a fund to help me and other people in the music community who are uninsured or under-insured. Several mutual friends of ours, including Dave's best friend, Chris Gaffney who recently died of liver cancer, and our friend Drac Conley, have been devastated by unexpected life threatening illnesses and no insurance. Our whole country suffers from inadequate healthcare, but musicians and artists who often live hand to mouth, with no pensions or day job insurance, are especially afflicted. Dave has assembled an all star line up that includes Big Sandy, The Blasters, The Knitters, Peter Case, Dave Gonzales and the Hacienda Brothers, Levi Dexter and many, many more awesome musicians. I like daves concept because it isn't just me who is in a bind since I was diagnosed with cancer. So many of us are vulnerable these days, and especially musicians who move us with their music but often live on the fringes of society.
Again, I feel so truly blessed to be surrounded by so much love and so many beautiful, kind hearted people who want to help. My friend Lady Monster recently had an awesome benefit for me in San Francisco at the El Rio. Annie Sprinkle did a healing ritual for me onstage, on her birthday and many burlesque dancers performed routines to my songs. Jodie Woodward in Boulder Colorado did a benefit at Oskars in Lyon, Co. with all women on the bill. I just feel so honored and so humbled by all this generosity and love.
It was a long tour but I was very lucky because I was able to stay in the apartment of my dear friend, manager and long time companion Adam. Being able to stay in one place during the tour meant so much. I was able to have a juicer and make fresh juice almost daily. I was able to keep my stuff in one place without having to move hotels daily during the tour. I keep a bike there and was able to ride it almost daily to the Natuur Winkel (health food store) to get organic groceries. Without that luxury, I don't think I would have been able to do the tour at all. I was still so fragile after my surgery on April 18. Despite my health challenges, it was my goal to do the united by music tour. These students depend on me and they gain so much from performing music with a big band of professional musicians. I had to cancel a few of my appearances but my friend dani filled in for me on those nights.
It was the perfect tour to transition back to work, because I had so many people helping me with the shows. I didn't have to sing all night because my singing duties were divided amongst my students and my stellar group of musicians. I did sing my first 90 minute set since my surgery at the Big Rivers Festival in Dordrecht, Holland. I have to cheat a bit and use my legs to support my body when I really belt it out. All my muscles have been severed on my abdomen so its hard to use my diaphragm to project my voice. I am really having to think about technique and vocal support but I am getting stronger and better all the time.
I am just so grateful to be alive that any time I open my mouth to sing, I am blown away. I have been given a second chance on life and I don't want to waste it now that I know how fragile it is.
The Blues Caravan shows were a lot of fun. We played in Bejar, Spain in the oldest bull-ring in Spain. It was a terrific line up with John Lee Hooker, Jr. and Johnny Mars and Michael Roach. I was excited to see my friend Poppa Chubby and we took a bunch of pictures. Hopefully, I will get a few copies of them. We didn’t go on until 2 am, and most everyone was drunk by then (except me!), but we had a good time nonetheless.
Our last show was in beautiful Gouvy, Belgium where I have been before. It was great seeing my friends in Gouvy and I was so proud and happy to be back there. I met Benoit Blue Blue Boy there, who played at my benefit in Paris, France that Sophie Kay organized. It was so sweet to meet yet another kind soul who had volunteered to help a stranger. We had Joanna Shaw sit in with us and it was a beautiful last show for the Blues Caravan. It's so fun to have that much female energy on stage. We will be playing only a couple of shows in the USA in September, so if youre in or traveling to Virginia, don’t miss this magnificent show.
There is a lot of suffering and hardship going on around our planet and it used to really scare me. But now I know that all of us have tremendous courage and huge capacities for love and kindness inside each of us. I have had to tap into my courage recently to stay strong and overcome my cancer challenge. The love all around me made it easier to stand up and fight. If you are faced with an illness or an obstacle that seems too great to bear, try digging deep inside yourself for the strength you have, often laying dormant. There is a sleeping giant inside you, too. That sleeping giant is the human spirit and the will to live. I have another cancer test in September, but no matter what the outcome, I know I can face whatever lies ahead. I have incredible strength inside me. And your love and compassion has made that all the more evident. I am almost grateful to cancer for awakening my sleeping giant and reminding me of my own power and fortitude. I am a super hero and I am gonna keep on fighting. Thanks for being by my side.
PS: I played in Los Alamos, New Mexico last night at the county fair. My first USA show since the surgery. We did two sets. I had to do most of it sitting down. The exhaustion of traveling all day (with airline cancellations and lots of extra waiting around) plus the high altitude did a number on me. I really felt breathless the whole time. But I sang well and the band played great. It was really fun in spite of having to sing seated. I am glad though, that I don’t have to jump in a van and drive to Omaha today, as much as I love and miss my lovely Midwestern fans and friends. I think I made the right choice in just flying out to these festivals and canceling some of the smaller venues for now. I am grateful for the kind understanding of guys like Jeff Wagner at Blues on Grand in Des Moines who took the time to write me an email and tell me he forgave me for canceling. I know I will be strong enough soon to resume my normal touring routine. Everyone in my life says they can't believe how much I am working already, but singing gives me immense joy and makes my life feel meaningful. Singing makes my life feel normal. I know I wont have to do my sho w sitting down for much longer! Next weekend, we play in Wausau Wisconsin for the Big Bull Falls Festival. I am excited because my new daughter in law to be, UK Singer Dani Wilde will join me onstage for some songs. If you are in Wausau, you are in for a big treat! Hopefully I will be able to stand the entire show!
I am starting to feel better more often than I feel crappy! This is a real blessing. I am still dealing with daily nausea and stomach pain with my scrambled guts, but I am learning to live with it and go about my business. I rode my bike around here, for the last three days. I ride very slowly, only on the flat streets around my house and am very careful going over any bumps or dips. It makes me feel normal to get on my bike and feel the wind in my hair. It makes me feel like I am better even though I am still pretty vulnerable. It doesn't hurt to ride my bike. It seems to be easier on me than my walks on the beach or pier. There is less swelling in my abdomen afterwards and it feels low impact.
I can tell I am getting better because I am starting to think about my future gigs and trying to book some stuff locally. I am still writing thank you notes to everyone who participated in my benefits or donated money. It's a very slow process so please bear with me. I am also thinking about my next recording projects. I will start work on a country record next week, and am writing a bunch of survivor songs for a future blues record. My first gig back will be May 28th at the Belly Up in Solana beach when I sing some songs with Sue Palmers motel swing band. It's a show to benefit our friend, drummer Marcus Bashore. Marcus had surgery the same day as me, for a shoulder that was torn from the socket. I feel good about being strong enough to sing again for my friend. So many people were so generous with me during this ordeal, coming out singing again for Marcus is the least I can do.
Another exciting development is that my memoir, The Toughest Girl Alive has been adapted to the stage by my friend, Javier Velasco. Javier is the head of the San Diego Ballet. He applied for a special grant for us to be able to perform the play as a workshop at a prestigious San Diego theater in the fall! As a workshop, it will be open to the public and you will be able to attend the performance(s). It has music, humor, sex and heartbreak. All the essential elements for an interesting story.
My next tour will be the United by Music tour in the Netherlands with my special needs friends. unitedbymusic.nl. I am so excited to go back to the Netherlands and see my beautiful dutch friends. I love the canals and the windmills and all the old buildings. I love that even the senior citizens with blue hair are riding their bikes along the canals. I love broodje paling and broodje mackerel. I can't wait to go back. I hope I will be ready to ride my bike on the cobblestone streets of Amsterdam by then! It gives me something to look forward to!
I am still so grateful for everyday I have here on this planet. I love the sunshine and the ocean and the flowers blooming. I am so lucky to be here. I have been reading about so many people who weren't able to even find their tumors, much less have surgery. So many people have inoperable cancers. I am truly grateful to Dr. Andrew Lowy and the staff at UCSD Moores Cancer Center. I am grateful to all of you who sent me your love, positive thoughts and prayers. I know I am cancer free and that I will stay cancer free. I am still on my vegetarian regime and juicing regularly. I have lost 40 pounds and am down six dress sizes!! You won't even recognize me the next time you see me. I can't have chemo or radiation since that doesn't work with this weird cancer but I can kill it myself by staying alkaline, and that's just what I'm gonna do.
Thank you thank you thank you for being so wonderful and caring so much.
The ups man came and brought a gift to me today.
"Cancer patient" is how it was addressed.
I didn't ask to be a cancer patient and it still sounds weird sometimes to mouth those scary words. C-A-N-C-E-R P-A-T-I-E-NT. Yikes.
So I had a pity party. I cried and cried hard. I even sobbed a little. Why me?
I cried so hard, my eyes are all red and my contact lenses are all cloudy. I Felt nauseated again today. This is my third bad day in a row. I keep waiting for the good day but it seems elusive. I took a qui gong class this morning and it was really good. It was really blissful and I had a smile on my face the whole time as I connected to the white light energy. It was really beautiful. But then when I came home, I started having a stomachache. For breakfast I had kashi with soy milk and a banana. I had three teaspoons of hemp seed with the cereal. For lunch I had three shots of wheat grass and tuna from cream of the crop on 16 nut and rice crackers and an asian pear. But my stomach was churning so much I thought I would puke. I am tired of being sick. I feel like I can't get anything done. That's the hardest part. I have so much I want to do and only a few good hours when I feel well enough to do them.
I smoked a big bowl in my vaporizer. Thank G-D for weed and especially for medical marijuana. Weed is the only thing that makes me well enough to put my pain aside and do something in spite of it. I can't stand pain pills because they make me constipated, give me headaches and cotton mouth. I only took pain pills the first few days I was home and then I quit them. They were causing more pain than I needed. Sometimes the pain is really weird and sharp. It comes suddenly in weird spots all over my abdomen. Its irratic. Everything I eat seems to disagree with me unless its miso soup or some other kind of soup. Even carrot- beet juice made me feel really sick yesterday but then who knows whether it was the juice or not that made me sick??
Anyway, now that I am stoned, ENOUGH pity party! I am going down to the pier to walk while I feel well enough. I know the wind in my hair will feel good even if I do have a bellyache. I don't want to give in to any more negative thoughts. I am doing amazingly well. It has been just 19 days since my surgery. I am strong and can get up and out of bed without trouble. I can drive. I can walk - slowly. I can cook. (I am making a chicken in the crock pot.) . I can't ride a bike or make love yet, but that will come eventually. I feel relatively good most of the time. I can bend down if I do it slowly. I will continue to get stronger and healthier until I am scurrying down the hill from pacific avenue and skidding out in Billy Watsons driveway again. Until I am going out to places, to sing because I miss it so much. Until I can make love like crazy for hours and not have to worry about how I move and where I am touched.
No more pastrami.
I guess I will never be able to eat a pastrami sandwich again. I like em' piled high and greasy on rye bread, with Russian dressing on the side. I like cole slaw on em'. sometimes. Canters deli on Fairfax has the best ones. There was a time me and my bf used to talk about getting married at Canters and having our wedding reception in the kibbutz room. That was long ago, long before carcinoid. Long before I was forced to give up pastrami. I suppose I can still eat matzah ball soup. I don't think that will be bad for my newly scrambled digestive tract. But I fear that my days of The Brooklyn sandwich (half chopped liver, half pastrami) are over now. No more ribs for me. No more Kosher hot dogs. No more fried zucchini. No more briscuit sandwiches. But hey, its all good. I am still alive. I can eat Tomberlies all vegan ice cream now. I can eat eggless tofu salad sandwiches. I can drink fresh juices and above all, I can still eat sushi!! Woo hoo! Life is good and I am grateful to be living it.
I lost the Handy award last night.
I knew it would go to Betty Lavette. That's okay. She deserves it. Shes older and she has a great voice. Evan went down to Tunica to be my representative. He had a fun time hobnobbing with all my blues friends. Tommy Castro, Lynwood Slim, Tab benoit, Bob Margolin, Bob Corritore, etc.. everybody was down there. I wished I could have gone too but Im still too weak to deal with crowds. My voice is really soft. If I had to speak over people and loud music, I wouldn't be able to do it. I am still too fragile. Its only been 21 days since the surgery. I know I am getting stronger little by little. Maybe I will get nominated next year and win. That would be nice. But just being nominated finally, was a real coup for me. I guess it finally proves that I am good enough in the blues world. I guess it finally proves that I am not just a former X rated big bust model and dancer. It proves that I have transcended my controversial past and am finally being accepted for the singer I have always been. That feels good. That feels vindicating. May all my sexworker friends be able to move on from sex work and be accepted for their own unique talents and virtues. May every one of us be able to live our dreams and pursue our true calling without being marginalized for the choices we have made. I am so blessed and lucky. I know I live a charmed life. Now I just want to keep on living it for a few more decades.
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 can't 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. It's 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 it's 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 can't 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 benefit's 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 benefit's 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. singers.org and 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. 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. I'm 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 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 benefit's. And they aren't done yet! On my calendar page is a list of more benefit's 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,
Today has been five days home from the hospital. Being at home post surgery is really great. I am so happy to sleep in my warm flannel sheets at night and have my own fireplace to snuggle in front of. I was even able to stick my foot in the ocean water the other day. The sand beneath my toes was divine! I am juicing daily and eating delicately. Four to five bites per meal is all I can handle. I take little walks and try to do at least one excursion a day to the store or the bank or the post office. I walk very slowly and take my time so sometimes people get impatient with me and scurry past me, grumbling. I just smile at them and send them blessings. I used to be that person scurrying past slow people and grumbling. Boy, it's different when you are the slow one! I am learning patience from the universe - Patience with my own body and it's slow, deliberate healing process; Patience with myself and with those around me. I have always been a most impatient girl, wanting everything now and not being able to wait. The impatience has served me well because I got things done myself because I was too impatient to wait for someone else to do them. But now with my body challenged in so many ways, being unable to bend over, open and close windows in my house, or do some of the simplest things like empty the trash, I am learning patience. I will get this lesson right.
My ex husband Thomas is building me a beautiful patio out in my back yard so I will be able to sit on a lounge chair soon and sun my scar in privacy. I am so grateful for every day alive. I am so happy to be here at home again and to see the friends and family I love and gaze into their sweet faces. I know I didn't let on how scared I was before the surgery. I am very optimistic by nature, always turning lemons into lemonade Every once in awhile though, a big dark cloud of doubt would park over me and I would allow myself the darkest thoughts: “what if I don't see my kids again? What if I can't kiss their sweet cheeks or see them marry or have children of their own? What if I can't sing again after this is over?” I am so glad that I am still here and that the universe still has some use for me in this life. I feel honored and blessed for every day I am here. The day I went int surgery though, I was surprisingly tranquil. I felt certain that I would be fine. I knew there were hundreds of glimmers of light for me all over the world. You kept me alive in there.
I can sing a little and have been playing guitar and trying, just for me. My voice has a very sweet, vulnerability about it. it's very different from the powerhouse voice I have learned to command and control. I may record a few songs this way just so I can remember what it was like to be so weak and fragile. It has a funny vibrato when I sing that reminds me of Kitty Wells.
The healing process is very slow but I am taking it one hour at a time, one day at a time. I have enough energy to make one or two phone calls per day. I have enough energy for three to ten emails a day. One minute I will be laughing and sitting in the sun on my terrace, and the next I will be in my bed crying in pain with the shades drawn. I really can't predict from one moment to the next how I will feel. My body just needs time and rest to get back to it's prior strength. I know it will get there. I have 154 stitches in my abdomen and 48 staples. I call it my car hood because it's in the shape of a big round upside down happy face smile. If I get a belly button piercing, that will be my car hood ornament. I have to laugh at it. It really looks like Frankenstein. I am glad I posed nude when I was younger and my belly was chubby but perfect. Playboy Magazine wont be a knockin' anytime soon! Now my big, scarred belly is a bonafide war badge. I have been through a war and back again and my body looks like that and feels it. I will get the staples out on Monday. I have lost a lot of weight but it's hard to tell how much because my abdomen area is still very swollen and distended with fluids. Day by day, I regain a bit more strength. Now I can stand some of the time and make my carrot juice, I don't have to sit the whole time. Day by day, hour by hour, one inch of progress at a time - restoring and renewing me to my former strength . But I will never be the same after this experience. I can never go back to pre cancer, because this kind of neuroendocrine tumor really has no cure other than surgery. They are fairly certain that they removed all of mine and we will review the pathology report next week and find out what it says. Like so many cancer patients, I will always have to be diligent that it doesnt return. I will be on certain medications for the rest of my life. I have been taught how fragile my body is, yet how strong it is too. I know I will be okay.
I want to thank again Bob Corritore and Kim Daniels for the great benefit they did at the rhythm room in phoenix. Also a shout out to thank Lorna Hamilton and Sooty for the benefit they did at O Connells in San Diego. Gina Sicilia and Bob Margolin just did a wonderful benefit this past weekend in Hoboken, New Jersey and Carlos Guitarlos and Desiree Martinez who organized the great benefit at Perqs at Huntington Beach; Thank YOU ALL FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART. You are keeping me and my family alive now and I appreciate it more than words can say... I am just starting now to write my handwritten thank yous to many of you. It takes me a lot of time to get even one done. Please be patient with me as I am learning to be patient with myself.
In stitches in Oceanside,
Yesterday I came home from the hospital!!!!!!!! Today is one week since I had the whipple procedure. I am still very weak and each day will be a fight for survival but I am so glad to be out of that place. My surgery, as my son Evan reported went well. It was a five hour turned nine hour ordeal, due to my amazing surgeon Andrew Lowy and his determination to remove an extra suspicious lymph node that didn't want to be removed. Many surgeons would have closed me up and just left the cancerous node there but not Dr. Lowy. He worked tirelessly until every cancerous node was removed and still found the time to meet with my parents and children and Adam after the surgery and brief them in a kind and considerate way. He is a compassionate and diligent man and I owe my life to him.
I am not out of the woods yet. I have more than a hundred stitches in a giant horseshoe shape on my abdomen. I am still in serious back pain from the epidural I had all week. But I was walking around the hospital daily and doing well and would have rapidly deteriorated had I not been allowed to come home and rest here in my comfort zone.
There were many amazing nurses at UCSD Thornton who cared for me with such kindness and love. I will never forget them. RJ, Jody, Karen, Rodney, I owe my quick homecoming partly to you. There were also a few nurses who were lousy and did a crappy job. One night they had me on such a fast IV drip that I had to go to the bathroom every five minutes. I didn't sleep at all that night and after more than 500 trips from my bed to the john, I realized that if I was that strong that I could get up and out of bed that many times, I would be better off at home. One very negligent nurse simply forgot to give me my pancreatic digestive enzymes on the very first day of my introduction to solid foods. It wasn't discovered until my second day on solids that no one had given me any digestive enzymes. That nurse could have made me very sick and again I started to realize that I desperately needed to be home where I can monitor and control my own medications. The food was another issue at the hospital or the crappy hotel, as I called it. The food was all from cans, jars or frozen. There was nothing raw, organic or even remotely healthy on that menu and when youre a person fighting for your life, healthy foods are everything. I met two amazing people in the hospital Rachele Fiore, my anesthesiologist assistant during my surgery took the time to visit me every day after the surgery and her friend Alan was another angel who made my stay bearable and better. Thank you to all my angels.
I am taking it slowly. No driving or riding my bike or lifting anything heavy. Today my goals are just to take a shower and maybe water my yard or walk half way down the block but every day I will get just a wee bit stronger until I am back to the feisty, passionate, fighting, kicking and screaming broad you all know and love.
Thank you so much for your flowers in the hospital, the cards and letters and the emails. I have not felt well enough to respond to everyone and just writing this update has taken some big effort on my part but I know so many of you are waiting for email replies and return phone calls, I had to do something to reassure everyone that I am okay. I will get thru this thanks to my own spirit and resolve and to the vast amount of love out there for me. The benefit at Perqs was beautiful and so many people were generous and sweet to evan and shared their well wishes and concern. I am hopeful that I may be able to attend at least part of the benefit at Humphreys on May 5 if I continue to make such good progress. Then I will be able to thank you all in person for your love. Your healing white light is sustaining me, nurturing me and making me whole.
Much love to you all from the sancitity of my sunny Oceanside home,
Thank you to everyone who has supported my mother and our family during this trying time. Thank you for everyone's time and efforts, it really means the world to Candye and our family. The tumor was removed and the operation went according to plan. It was a 8hr surgery. The Doctor said the procedure went very well, and he is happy with the outcome. He expects a full healthy recovery. She is doing very well considering the major operation. Thanks for all your thoughts, prayers, love, and support, it really makes all the difference during this difficult time. I know people want to call and visit, but let's give her some more time, emails are the best for her right now, unless you are "close family." She is just constantly recieving calls and that's even too much right now! We will let everyone know when she wants visitors, and when it's ok to call as well. We will keep everyone informed as time goes on. Please, and thank you! She truly is the toughest girl alive. -Kane Family
Candye is doing good she is in ICU, one more day, and then she will have her own room. They took out the cancer, and she is in good spirit's. They just need to monitor her for a bit. She will be fine though. Surgery was 8-9hrs and we are all relieved it's over. She will be in her own room hopefully by later today or tomorrow. Thanks everyone for the thoughts and prayers during this trying time. Candye wants everyone one to know that she doing good and can't wait to see and talk to everyone. Hang tight and I will keep you all posted.
Hello fellow friends and fans of Candye
I'm Candye's webmistress and friend, Sossity, and I just wanted to post a note to update you all on her status.
I just spoke with Evan, who apologized for running out of steam before posting on the myspace blog, and who thanks you all for your cards and phone calls and support. Candye is still being monitored in the ICU, but is doing well and had been awake and aware post-surgery. Her doctor said that the surgery went as well as he could have asked for (even though it ended up being almost 9 hours long), and while they found more cancerous material than expected, it sounds like they were able to remove it all. I will let Candye decide what details to share, but so far it sounds promising.
I'm really grateful and relieved and still hoping for the best ... it was a fairly intense surgery. I expect to have more news by Monday or so, and she should be in a regular hospital room by Tuesday, which is when she'll be able to receive flowers and cards - I will post an address to send them to when it's approved.
Well, tomorrow at 7:30 am is my date with my cute Anderson Cooper lookalike surgeon, Dr. Andrew Lowy at UCSD Thornton hospital. I am feeling better than I have felt in years and I am confident that I will pull through this Whipple surgery just fine. I will be in a lot of pain I am sure, but hey, thats what morphine is for! Anyway, I know I will be fine and I can feel love and healing thoughts from friends and fans all over the globe. Just today I got phone calls and well wishes from amsterdam, new york, seattle, philly, portland, latvia and a host of other cities. Oh yes, I am one loved and lucky girl!
My confidence is bittersweet however, because of the loss of my friend Chris Gaffney. Chris died last night at a hospital in Newport Beach. He has been really sick with liver cancer but no one expected to lose him this quickly.
Chris was an amazing musician who played for years along side my good friend Dave Alvin. Check out their darling duet, Two Lucky Bums
Most recently Chris played in the country group The Hacienda Brothers. Chris always had this funny, dry, droll sense of humor and was a real sweetheart. He will be missed so much. A true original and a real gentleman. What a tragedy.
Also this week, Blues guitarist Sean Costello was found dead in his hotel room the day before his 29th birthday. Sean was a real sweetie and darling as hell. I played with him a few times through the years. He opened for me in Athens, Georgia . He was a real sweet kid who played his ass off and had a great new cd out on the Delta Groove label. He will be buried tomorrow in Atlanta. Georgia.
I am so sad about the losses of these fine people and musicians. It is so sad to bid these old friends farewell. At the same time, I must focus on getting well myself and surviving my radical surgery tomorrow as gracefully as possible. Thank you all so much for your kindnesses and your contributions to my cancer fund. Please keep the white healing light a'coming! Check my myspace page for a post surgery update from my son Evan Caleb:
May Gaff and Sean rest in peace and may I survive my surgery and come out swingin.
WOW! I can't believe I will go under the knife in just eight days. I am nervous but I continue to say my positive affirmations and visualize myself in my healthy, cancer free body when this is over. I am feeling great and stronger than ever. I have discovered some amazing new vegan foods to eat like raw vegan ice cream from coconut milk, vegannaise, Kamut yeast free bread and so many other delicious vegan foods that I don't miss meat, sugar or dairy at all! I continue to juice daily, lose weight and ride my bike about four miles daily. I am a regular at my local health food store, Cream of the Crop, and everyone there is wishing me well when I go in for my wheatgrass shots each day. I am in great shape right now, my skin is soft, my eyes are clear and bright and I know I will survive this surgery and recuperate quickly.
It was an amazing week when many of my musician friends, Sue Palmer, Paul Loranger, Sharon Shufelt, Jonny Viau, April West, Pete Harris, Melissa Hague and Steve Wilcox recorded with me at PH studios in Escondido. We recorded some standards I have always wanted to record; At Last, I got it bad and that ain't good, He's Funny that Way, and Joe Liggins I gotta right to cry (which was one of the songs I used to strip to as a young dancer in the early 80's). We will go back in on April 16th to record a few more tunes before I enter the hospital. I felt like it was important to do this, because if something did go wrong in surgery, (which it won't!!!) at least I have recorded some of my all time favorite songs. I know everything will be fine but it felt so special and heartwarming to have my musician friends rally around me and donate their talents and studio time for free. I am one lucky girl.
I continue to be humbled and awed by so many beautiful gestures of friendship and love from you. I have received so many cards (many with checks!) letters, emails and phone calls. Pay pal gifts continue to stream in. I am overwhelmed with so much to do and have over 400 emails waiting for an answer. Thank you for your patience with me right now, and thank you so much for your huge hearts and your tender words of love. The benefit's are listed below that will help me pay for my living expenses while I am disabled. There are so many bills to pay and now that I cancelled my European tour, I am in debt for the airline ticket money the Finnish promoter sent me. I owe about $8000 in hospital bills that Medi-cal will not pay, plus another 5k to the Finnish promoters. Not to mention the lost wages of the band members who all lost work when I cancelled. The money raised at these benefit's will go a long way towards helping me recuperate in peace without worrying about how we will survive.
My long time friend, singer, songwriter, musician Chris Gaffney is also suffering from liver cancer. Go to helpgaff.com to help him. And my friend, Ann Rabson from Saffire the Uppity Blues Women, is facing serious cancer challenges of her own almost at the same time as me. She and I have already started discussing collaborating on some upbeat cancer survivor songs when we are both healed! I feel stronger knowing that many of my friends are suffering right along with me and I know we will all prevail and be better and stronger for having gone thru this experience.
I really feel like on some level, cancer has been a blessing. (I know, ask me again when I am groaning in pain in a hospital bed!) But for the first time in my life, I have really started to think about what I eat and when I eat it. I have always been proud to be a big, voluptuous gal, and have always been active and healthy in my 200 lb plus frame, but now I am really conscious of what I am eating, and what it is made of, and where it comes from. I believe I may have chosen this challenge on some cosmic level, so I could learn from this experience and improve and I know I have been given an opportunity to grow spiritually from this fight. Maybe I will start a workshop for cancer patients to learn how to write songs and journals to help them cope with their illnesses. Music is such a powerful healer and maybe that's why this has happened to me. I will use the cancer experience as a way to make my memoir even more powerful and meaningful. I will really be able to lay claim to the Toughest Girl Alive title now! I know my optimistic nature is coming in handy during this challenge. (Notice I refuse to say I'm sick!? I am just health challenged right now!) And it has been so helpful to know that I am not alone and that I have so many beautiful, caring people in my corner. So many of my friends around the globe are organizing benefit's for me. Thank you all so much for your continued love and support. I feel your healing thoughts and energy and I hope you will keep me close to your hearts on April 18th.
Don't worry about me people. You're not rid of me yet!!
Big Big Love and Gratitude,
UPDATE: 3/28/08 - The Good kind of cancer??
I met with my pancreatic surgeon, Dr. Andrew Lowy today. He says I need the Whipple. You can learn more here:
This operation is going to be very intense. They will remove 1/3 of my pancreas, 10 inches of my small intestine, part of my stomach, part of my bile duct and my gall bladder. They will reattach my intestine to my pancreas and may have to take a vein from my neck to rebuild the portal vein that goes to my liver. It is a five to eight hour surgery that will have me in the hospital for at least two weeks; longer if there are complications from the surgery. Often the pancreas tries to digest all the stitches inside the body and so there is good possibility of fluid leakage and I will have to have a port through my stomach so they can drain all the fluid out. It is very dangerous and intense and this is the GOOD kind of cancer!!!!
I have been offered two dates for surgery, one of them is april 18th. The whipple is the only way to remove this tumor 100%. I have read so much about it and many people have tried to eradicate the NETs (neuroendocrine tumors) thru vitamin C therapies, laetrile therapies and other alternative medicines to no avail. Now that I have had a needle biopsy the tumor may grow more quickly. I read about one woman whose tumor grew twice it's size in one month after a needle biopsy!! I am really worried now about my European tours because if I get pancreatitis again then they wont be able to operate on me for weeks. Pancreatitis is caused by stress and poor diet. Lack of sleep adds to stress. Being in a van bouncing around all day adds to stress. Long drives add to stress. Weird food at strange hours leads to stress. Jet lag leads to stress. I am still trying to decide if I am going or not. This news today was most upsetting.
I was supposed to do some workshops with my special needs kids in the Netherlands this week, in anticipation of our scheduled tour on June 21. I think now I will have to cancel the workshops, and tours and have this intense surgery on April 18th so I can get on the road to recovery and maybe resume working in June.
I am very worried about this surgery. Being a fat girl doesn't help things in the surgical realm. But I have lost 10 lbs so far just from giving up dairy, fried anything, red meat, coffee, sugar, sodas, starches, fats and bread other than Ezekial. I am staying active, riding my bike, still juicing and trying to be as strong as possible for this surgery. I will definitely be skinnier when this is all over and hopefully, cancer free!!
The first benefit for me is planned for April 20th at Perqs in Huntington Beach 117 Main St 92648 (714) 960-9996 from 1:00 pm to 6:00 pm. My friends Desiree Martinez and Carlos Guitarlos have assembled an amazing array of my friends to perform: Janiva Magness, Juke Logan, Cesar Rosas from Los Los Lobos, Phil Alvin, Billy Sheets, Lynwood Slim, Laurie Morvan. Kid Ramos, The Gears, Gil T, Jeff and Kurt Ross, Thomas Yearsley, Greg Boaz, Jungle Juice and The Kooks. If you can attend, please do. I wont be there since I will have just had surgery but I will be there in spirit.
The next one is May 5th at Humphreys in San Diego. Chet Cannon has organized this one and confirmed are Sue Palmer, Billy Watson, Ruby and the Red Hots, Michelle Lundeen, Chris Klich, Robbie Smith, Scottie Blinn, Juke Logan, Joey Harris, Heine and Missy Andersen. If you'd like to play contact chet at firstname.lastname@example.org
My friend Barbara Hammerman is planning a benefit in the seattle area. If you would like to play, please contact Giginthenarrows@aol.com
Rosie Flores is also planning a benefit in Austin with my friends Susan Antone and Margaret Moser. To play the Antones benefit, please contact Rosie at email@example.com
My heart is so full from all the love and white light you have been sending me. I will be laid up for several months after this surgery and so all of these benefit's will help pay for my living expenses and medi-cal co-pays, and help the band survive with no work. I am very pleased that I qualified for co-pay medi-cal, only because I have a child under 21. If I didn't have a child under 21, I would have to apply for social security. When I spoke to the social worker about it, he said, “Yes, some people just expire while they are waiting for SSI.” !!!! He said people just EXPIRE like a carton of milk or some old lunch meat. It was so sad. It was a harsh realization that poor people's lives don't matter in this rich country of ours. Wow. I am lucky to have a kid under 21 but in just two years, it will be over and I will be ineligible. I don't know how I will have the follow up care and scans I will need! Oh well, one day at a time…..
I am so lucky and blessed in so many ways. I have so many of YOU rallying for me. They found the tumor early. It has not spread anywhere. I have no symptoms. I'm fat so I can stand to lose some of the weight thru this surgery. Other than being very scared and sad occasionally, I feel great.
I am still staying optimistic and I have written this little song I sing daily:
I'm gonna be just fine
I'm gonna grow real old
Grandbabies on my knee
I'm healing even now
Please keep those healing thoughts a coming….and any donations you can muster at www.paypal.com user name, firstname.lastname@example.org
Wish this were all an april fools joke….
UPDATE: 3/27/08 - Cancelled my European Tours and scheduled surgery for April 18th
It was an agonizing decision but I decided I had to cancel my european shows and my appearance on the blues caravan tour for the time being. I will endure the whipple procedure (pancreatic duodectomy) on april 18th at UCSD Thornton Hospital. I will be in the hospital for two weeks minimum. The address for the hospital is : 9300 Campus Point Drive, La Jolla Ca 92037.
It was a very difficult decision to cancel this tour. So many people depend on me for their income and so many people worldwide just wanted to see me sing. But I will sing again and by doing this surgery early, I have a better chance of recovering quickly and thus being able to do my other shows later this summer. I am feeling great and this extra time at home will allow me to continue my juicing and exercise and get in optimum shape before I endure this very radical surgery. Thanks so much to those of you who wrote me kind and sometimes funny emails encouraging me to stay at home. The permission slips you sent were hilarious!
I have already lost 20 pounds as a result of my dietary changes and will be lose probably another 50 pounds from this intense operation. I am sure I will be fine and will be in better shape than ever. I am already thinking about the activism I will embrace when I am well; for the health care that should be available to all of us regardless of our economic status. Poor peoples lives are worth as much as rich peoples and if I hadnt had a child under 21 and been eligible for partial pay medi-cal, if I hadnt had generous friends, fans and family who are helping, I wouldnt even be able to have cancer surgery and would just be sent home to die! This isnt right and I will fight to publicize this issue. Right now though, I just have to fight to get better and beat cancer and survive this surgery.
I am strong and I can do it. I just know it. But I still need your love, prayers, support and healing white light. Keep those positive thoughts coming!
If you want to donate $$ to the cancer fund, go to paypal.com. My user name is email@example.com. Or you can send a check to candye kane cancer fund 315 s. hwy 101 #47 encinitas, ca 92024.
Thank Goddess, I have partial pay Medi-cal insurance now but I will be laid up for months after this intense surgery and will still need to pay bills and survive with no income. Thanks in advance for your continued generosity.
Much love and gratitude;
Please forgive the group email. I am so lucky to have so many people who really want to know whats going on with me.
It's confirmed... I have a neuroendocrine tumor !!!! Which is very good news. it is less aggressive than other pancreatic cancers but it is still cancer. Dr. Lowy thinks i can safely go and do my european tour - march 26 to may 3 and then come home and have my surgery at UCSD cancer center during the first or second week of may. This means i will have to cancel my east coast run but it can't be avoided. I have so much work, something has to be cancelled. I am going to europe because DR. Lowy says they can't operate on me now anyway because i still have pancreatitis, which was caused by my biopsy. They cannot operate on me until my pancreas calms down. I will probably be having surgery right when my east coast tour was supposed to start. i will most likely be laid up all of may and june and may be able to resume working in late june, early july but i will have to wait and see at this point. I will be hospitalized for at least seven to ten days after the abdominal surgery and then will need lots of bed rest to get better from this very intense surgery. they may have to re- structure my portal vein which is the main vein that provides blood to the liver, and they will remove part of my pancreas and my gall bladder. I have to meet with a neuro vascular surgeon who does vein restructuring and I have to have another cat scan this week. THis has been so crazy. so many people are relying on me and waiting to see what happens. I wont know exactly what is happening until I have another test to really evaluate the vein structures. Theres a remote possibility it wont even be operable but it seems now like it is. like i said, everyday it's something new. I am leaving next week for europe and my surgeon says he should know more after i have these tests done later this week. it looks like i will probably have to be cancelling my entire east coast tour in may to accommodate my surgery. i am not certain yet but thats how it's looking right now. everyday there is some new news from my pancreatic surgeon and specialists.
I am so overwhelmed with information right now. I met a woman who has cancer and she said she kept a book of all the different remedies that people gave her or suggested for her cancer. she counted over 629 different remedies that everyone swore worked for them, including all kinds of fruit's and herbs, cayenne pepper, apricots, avocados, lemons, barefoot coral calcium plus, etc etc. I have hundreds of people telling me what they think cures cancer and i would go broke and be sick trying all these different things. I am just trying to do as much as i can without being overwhelmed. I have to find what works for me. i drink acidophilus all the time, fresh acidophilous. it's great. I juice daily with beets, ginger, celery, parsley and carrots. i know all about the yeast/fungus theory for cancer, as well as the alkaline theory and so many others now. it's really overwhelming sometimes and hard to know which persons remedy is the best. everyone believes in theirs so much and i am sure they all have some health benefit's. anyway, i am doing what works for me and the juicing is fun and really feels good. I also had wheatgrass several times this past weekend in san fran so that helped alot. I am really trying to stay alkaline as much as possible. right now, I'm at a about 75% alkaline, 25% acidic which is pretty good, considering i used to eat and drink whatever i wished. Everytime I go to europe, I always think "what would i do, if this were my last time here?" This time in europe will be all the more poignant in that regard. I will start the tour in amsterdam where I will do some workshops with my special needs friends for the united by music tour www.unitedbymusic.eu . I knew they wouldnt understand why i wasnt there so I am glad the doctor has given me the green light on this tour. then i will tour scandinavia with my own band for a week, son evan on drums, laura chavez on guitar and paul loranger on bass. After a few days off in amsterdam, I will take off with the blues caravan again with deborah coleman, dani wilde and laura chavez and play music all over germany, holland, austria and the baltics. I will come home on may 4th. hopefully I will be able to attend the handys and then have the surgery but I'm not too optimistic about that. I already feel extremely blessed to be able to do this european run and i dont want to push my luck.
There are a few beautiful people planning benefit's. Carlos Guitarlos is planning one on April 20th at Perqs in Huntington beach with my old friend Desiree Martinez. Carlos is inviting a bunch of my l.a. musician friends to participate. If you are interested in playing or attending, you can email desiree at firstname.lastname@example.org and volunteer. Already confirmed are Laurie Morvan, The Gears, and friends from the blasters, top jimmy and the rhythm pigs. But there is still more room on the bill if you are interested in helping out. In san diego, my friend chet cannon is also organizing a benefit at humphreys. sue palmer is confirmed and I am sure there will be many more people signing up. please write to chet at email@example.com if you are interested in joining in.
Stu Metzler is organizing one in pittsburgh at moondogs and mike joy is organizing one in washington dc. And I believe rosie flores is working on one in austin as well as barbara hammerman in the Tacoma/Gig Harbor area. I just feel so blessed to have so many wonderful people in my corner rooting for me. I am already over $10,000 in debt just from the hospital stay last weekend and the various tests and consultations. And when I can't work for a few months, it will be really difficult. All the help everyone is giving me is so miraculous and generous. I really am astounded by the kindness of so many of you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. If you can't play music for me, or attend a benefit and you still want to help, my paypal account is firstname.lastname@example.org and my address is 315 S. Hwy 101 #47 encinitas, ca 92024. I am applying for medi-cal and have an appointment with a social worker this wednesday but i hear they only pay for half of the medical expenses now so that will really be tough. I just couldnt do this without the kind help of so many of you. Thank you. thank you. thank you.
Anyway, I am staying optimistic and positive and trying to just take it one day at a time. Thanks again for all the wonderful emails, donations and prayers from your hearts. Your love means so much to me. I dont have a partner now so it really helps to be loved and supported by so many of you. I know youre there for me and it really keeps my spirit's up. Thank you again for being so good to me. I promise I will pay you back one day for all your generosities.
I got a great present this week when this quote was called to my attention:
B.B. KING, asked about other blues singers he likes, mentioned Candye Kane. She has that big, brassy voice, [it] has a lot of authority and sass, the kind of thing that men like because it's seductive and women like because it's powerful. You put her with a player like, oh, say Walter Trout, you might have a real big thing going, hit records and everything.
San Diego Reader 3/12/08
This was a sweet surprise and a lovely gift in it'self. Now if I can get an opening slot for BB after I beat cancers ass, that will really be a triumph for this tough ol' broad.
much love and gratitude,
UPDATE: 3/11/08 - My Bout with Pancreatic Cancer
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 pancan.org 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 fruit's. 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. it's 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 my tour schedule - 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, it's 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 email@example.com. 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;