Bustin’ outta here!

Once again Kayla astounds as she leaves the hospital only 2 days after brain surgery #6!  Rockstar status secured :)

Shannon Duke, Kayla Schewe leaving Alberta Children's Hospital

Kayla lookin’ good & leaving only 2 days after surgery #6.
Note: ACH famous Moooovin’ Out Cow cheering us on.

She is doing really well and it’s SO great to be home.  We were discharged shortly after lunch and even though we arrived home early, soon after walking thru the doors we were both nestled all snug in our beds, while visions of Maui danced in our heads.

Aaah yes, that is our Christmas gift….when Kayla’s surgery was set last fall and her surgeon gave a time frame for post-surgical travel, I booked flights for Kayla, Tyler & I to leave December 23 to Maui.  My best friend from high school, Dawn, lives there. (ASIDE: who was the smart one….I moved to Calgary & she moved to Hawaii?….seriously, Shannon, what were you thinking?!!)

We are SO excited to be spending Christmas holidays with Dawn’s beautiful family & as our kids are all close to the same age, it’s super fun for everyone!  My sis & her husband are flying over on Dec 26, as well as a couple other sets of friends so there will be lots of fun to be had on the beaches.  Kayla the adventurer wants to do paragliding, surfing, scuba diving etc – we’ll see what she actually gets approved for next week at our followup appointment. :)

As an act of self-care and a desire to focus on what’s really important, I made this a gift-free Christmas (so for those of you expecting one…don’t. ;)

I talked it over with the children and our trip to Maui is our gift. I believe there is no greater present than the chance to spend quality time together with each other, family & friends, in an incredibly beautiful place.

With other friends we’ll be doing sleepovers, parties & dinners to celebrate our connection vs ‘stuff’.  As I look at all the stressed out faces in the malls, struggling to buy things for people who already have all the things they need….it seems crazy to me.  Our culture is so rife with rampant commercialism that it seems we’ve forgotten what’s important.  <end rant>  For me, removing this obligation has eliminated so much stress….it feels great.

The one thing we are buying for is our 12 Days of Christmas family. What is that you ask?

Last year was an incredibly challenging time for us all as Kayla underwent 3 brain surgeries in December.  One of the highlights during this dark time was the amazing baskets that arrived daily from Secret Santa, based on the 12 Days of Christmas song.  It was pure magic (see a couple of my old blog posts that refer to it 12 Days of HealingSurgery#3)  

As I considered our Carpe Diem Christmas this year, I decided the 12 Days baskets were a perfect pay it forward this year. I easily found 11 other families eager to participate, so we each took a day. We then each create a basket based on the theme of our day in the song.  That’s the kind of shopping I love….to know it’s going towards someone that will truly benefit from it.  FYI Our day is 12 Drummers Drumming so we’re trying to find useful things that tie into that theme.   Any ideas are welcomed…

Once again as we go through another Christmas surgery, these baskets are again a major highlight of my day. I am so excited to hear of what went into the daily basket, what the secret delivery was like and the news of joy & excitement from the recipient family as they receive & open the gifts (as fed to us by our ‘insider agent’ ).  This is Christmas magic.

So, as my wonderful friend says “that was a short story long”….the net is Kayla’s home, doing great and life feels really good as we snuggle into our own comfy beds tonite.

Thanks for your love, prayers & support!  Carpe Diem!



About Shannon Duke

I'm Shannon Duke and I’ve combined my business skills with the wisdom that literally saved my life and have built a system that redefines success. Today I am passionate about helping you achieve life-fulfilling and life-enhancing success in both your business & personal life. Read My Story


  1. Michelle Richardson says:

    WOO HOO! <3 <3 <3

  2. Cindy Schaber says:

    I can feel the energy and love in that message. I love the short message gone long. It was worth every word read.

    Thank you for the reminder of gifts of time. Something I too truly believe in. Experiences vs things. This is what makes life.

    Wishing Kayla a speedy recovery and some well needed rest for you both.

    As Michelle says……Wooohooo….

  3. Lonnie DeSorcy says:

    Wonderful to hear, and I share your philosophy completely! Enjoy. Prayers being said for clearance to undertake the scuba, surfing, etcetera.

    Hugs to all of you.


  4. As Leonard Cohen would sing …. “Hallelujah!”

  5. Wahoo. Way to bust outta there ladies. So happy you’re in the peaceful presence of your beautiful home. I’m only a step away – give me a holler if you want/need anything.

    It’s been a blessing for us to be included as Secret Santa V, Five Golden Rings. There is definitely JOY in the giving for my girls and I, David and extended friends who generously contributed to our baskets of GOLD.
    Thank you for including us.

    Rest up my beauties… your warm beach and warm friends await you shortly.

  6. Carolina Oxtoby says:

    Hello my gorgeous ladies and Tyler. What a wonderful Christmas present – to have Kayla back home safe and sound. Love you tons and cannot wait to see your brown little bodies, complete with tats of course, when you return from Maui. Tyler we need to get you a tat!

    Enjoy your trip and Carpe Diem.

    With tons of love, Carolina and Doug

  7. Belinda Horvat says:

    Fantastic news Shannon! It’s wonderful to hear that Kayla is home and you’re making exciting plans to see friends and family Maui. Carpe Diem lovely lady. XOX

  8. Great news! You will have a great holiday that is for sure! I have always felt the same way about the commercialism of the holidays. In the spirit of spending time with loved ones, I would suggest gifting a workshop to make a drum, or sit in on a drum circle. Healing and connection! Two things I know you value so much.

    Take Care and enjoy Hawaii!

  9. Cassie Head says:

    Awesome!!!!!! Have a wonderful Christmas, and please go “boogie boarding” for me. Hope Kayla gets to do everything she wants to, and that you all have a relaxing trip. :0)

  10. Jean Bascom says:

    Yahoo!!!!!!!!!!!!! Soooo, happy for you.!!!! Way to go girl!!! I hope you have a great Holliday
    God be with you and take care.

  11. The Stepan's says:

    Glad to see all went well and you are now mending Kayla!

    Cheers over the holiday season!

  12. Barb Myers says:

    You both continue to amaze me! How wonderful that you are able to spend quality time together with great friends. Beautiful people in a beautiful place at a beautiful time of year. I’m sure that you’ll love every minute of your Christmas gift. So glad to hear that you’re doing so well Kayla. I look forward to reading about your trip.
    Sent from the deep freeze in Ontario! :-)

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