Candace Weimer

July12th

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By Irene Seiberling, Leader-Post July 8, 2011

REGINA — Surprisingly, Candace Weimer is able to refer to her cancer “adventure” as “a blessing.” It’s this upbeat, positive attitude the Saskatchewan cancer survivor shares in her new book, When the World Dropped in On Me (DriverWorks Ink, $15.95).

“When I was diagnosed with leukemia, or myelfibrosis, I immediately went to the bookshelves and wanted to learn more: a) about my disease, and b) who else has made it through. I wanted hope. I wanted inspiration,” she explained.

When she was diagnosed with bone and blood cancer in 2005 at the age of 38, and given only two years to live, Weimer realized that even after receiving a bone-marrow transplant, she only had a four in 10 chance of survival.

“I was feeling a little under the gun,” Weimer admitted. “And I was looking for some hope.”

When she couldn’t find a book in the Saskatoon Cancer Centre library that would actually inspire her, she decided that when she was finished with her battle with cancer, she would write a book “to help cancer patients and their caregivers through the unbelievable times — to work through another day, good or bad.”

This week — six years after surviving a transplant and the many complications that ensued (two knee surgeries, a near leg amputation, a couple of near-death experiences, full right hip replacement, two eye surgeries — and a bad hairdo) — Weimer’s book was launched in Regina.

In When the World Dropped in On Me, Weimer shares her unusual cancer treatment experiences, so others can find hope in her survival. Through the 120-page softcover book, Weimer said she hopes to inspire others to take a good, long look at their personal attitudes, and how they choose to react to life’s challenges and opportunities.

“Once you survive cancer, you become more spontaneous,” she pointed out, adding that after she “hit the re-start button in life” she now lives a life with no regrets.

Recognizing that cancer patients and their caregivers tend to be fatigued during their “journey” with the disease and, as a result, tend not to have a lot of time or patience to read, Weimer made a point of keeping her book short, and easy to read. She chose a blog-style format.

Weimer didn’t publish her book to make money. It’s about raising hope, not dollars, she explained.

“Quite simply, I want to ensure that all cancer patients and their caregivers have a simple, real and humorous read when they find themselves in unbelievable cancer times. My goal is to have one of my books in every cancer centre and hospital library in Canada by 2013,” she said.

“While reading this book, you’ll feel like you are floating around in my head during my cancer treatment.”

Throughout her cancer journey, Weimer kept written journals and illustrations of her experiences — the ups and downs. Many are featured in When the World Dropped in On Me.

“It’s about a real person who has gone through it,” Weimer emphasized. “It makes us laugh and cry.”

“It’s humorous. I have a wacky sense of humour,” she added.

Because cancer patients can’t survive without their caregivers, Weimer’s book is dedicated to all cancer caregivers, to recognize the time and energy they spend focused on the survival of someone battling the disease. The book is designed so it can be read to patients by caregivers.

“Sometimes a patient and caregiver have awkward moments,” she said, suggesting her book provides a an opportunity to share a story and quiet moments. “And they can laugh at me instead of them.”

In her book, Weimer offers helpful hints, for both cancer patients and their caregivers, to help them work though the ups and downs of cancer treatment. For example, she emphasizes the importance of staying well nourished and hydrated, and taking drugs as prescribed. Surrounding yourself with positive people is good medicine. But it’s important to keep visits with well-intentioned friends and family short because visits tend to drain a cancer patient’s energy, she cautioned. “Caregivers are the gatekeepers of the cancer patient.”

Don’t lie and tell a cancer patient they look good, Weimer stressed. “When you’re a cancer patient, you’re probably not looking your best. Be honest with your communication,” she recommended, flashing a smile as she described some of her less-than-pretty, cancer-related looks.

In the foreword to her book, Weimer acknowledges “I am a cancer survivor and I am living on borrowed time.”

As she reflected on how her cancer experience has made her more appreciative of the life she enjoys today, she said, “I am so thankful that I have been gifted with life, and hopefully for another 15 to 20 years.”

Weimer’s book emphasizes the importance of donating blood and registering with the international bone marrow registry, illustrating how these gifts of life (blood and stem cells) can save or extend a cancer patient’s life.

When the World Dropped in On Me is 100 per cent Saskatchewan-made. The author was born and raised in the small town of Balgonie. The publisher, DriverWorks Ink, is Regina-based. And the book was printed in Saskatoon.

The book is available at Chapters Indigo bookstores, or online at www.candaceweimer.ca or www.driverworks.ca.

iseiberling@leaderpost.com

© Copyright (c) The Regina Leader-Post

Read more: http://www.leaderpost.com/health/Book+motivates+inspires+cancer+patients+caregivers+with+humour+candour/5074367/story.html#ixzz1RuDCfvcx

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