Cancer can be a Scrooge!

Embracing Scrooge...with my dear friend & photographer, Marie Snippa

Embracing Scrooge…with my dear friend & amazing photographer, Marie Snippa

My dear friend, Cindy, was checking in on me after a particularly challenging week with pain management and radiation side effects.  “Cancer can be such a Scrooge”, she compassionately pointed out.

Every day that I sat at the Tom Baker Cancer Center (TBCC) getting my radiation treatment (RT), I looked around and I saw it there, too.
So many sad faces.
So much pain.
A loss of hope.
No joy during a season that is meant to be so joyful.
Yes, cancer can be a Scrooge!

Yesterday was my 5th Radiation Graduation. Yes, I’ve done RT FIVE times. With all my appts, tests, chemo, RT etc, it’s no wonder I’m beginning to feel like TBCC is my second home :(

My Radiologist pointed out that my treatments are a bit like Whack-a-Molecancer keeps popping up in a new area and they zap it down -  I love that imagery :)

I wanted to celebrate my graduation with the gift of a little joy. Gratefully, I have the best friends and they always play along with all my antics.  After my treatment yesterday, a few of us dressed up in our tackiest, ugliest Christmas wear (yes tree skirts make lovely capes HA) and caroled throughout the halls of TBCC handing out chocolates, a few songs and a little joy.

Tacky Carolers bringing Joy
Tacky carolers bringing joy & a giggle or two for the Tom Baker cancer patients

Yes, Cancer can be Scrooge….but not for me.   Don’t get me wrong – I can get grumpy.  There were moments this week with lots of tears and I had to dig a little (or a lot!) deeper to find strength.   However, I choose not to stay in the dark places and yesterday when we were caroling at TBCC – it brought ME great joy too. To be able to sing thru the halls (albeit hobbling with my cane), accompanied by my amazing friends and really seeing people’s faces change.  That was Christmas to me.

So, have yourself a Carpe Diem Christmas where you focus on what’s important…. you know what that is for you.  I plan to spend quality time with my loved ones and to focus on love, giving and gratitude.

Gratitude….wow, I have so much to be thankful for:

  • I can not say enough about the amazing medical team that supports me & my family….thank you to every doctor, nurse & support person at both the TBCC & in my naturopathic world that participates in my crazy game of Whack-a-Mole. You are remarkable.
  • Then there are my incredible friends & family, what an unbelievable community I have – with you in my world, I want for nothing! I love you all so much.
  • And most importantly my precious munchkins…not a day goes by that I don’t pause to celebrate how truly blessed I am to have you in my world.  The journey that has been put before us is beyond challenging and yet you both traverse the path with such courage, grace and wisdom.  I often laugh inside when I think about how “normal” you are despite all that’s going on – btw that’s a compliment. :-)   I truly couldn’t be more proud of you.
  • Lastly, I am grateful for you – all that follow my family and shower us with so much.  I feel truly blessed to have all my needs met on a daily basis and to be loved by so many.  Please keep us in your prayers.

Cheers to all of you!  Clearly we’re doing something right … this is my 15th year on a terminal diagnosis.  Take that Scrooge – Whack!

Merry Christmas friends and God’s richest blessings for each of you this holiday season.

With Love, Shannon, Kayla & Tyler xox

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a Good Night!  xo

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a Good Night! xo

On another note: We just received the best Christmas present ever….Childrens Wish Foundation is granting Kayla’s wish to go on a fabulous Scuba Diving trip with her family.   So on December 30, Kayla will be taking Tyler and her Dad & I to Jamaica for a week of fun in the sun.   There are no words to describe how happy I am to be able to accompany my beautiful angel on her trip…I know it will be pure magic.  Thank you so much Childrens Wish!



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. Becky Shaw says:

    What a great post! So happy to hear an update and your wise words really speak to me! Thinking of you this Christmas and look forward to seeing you in 2015! Merry Christmas!

  2. Brenda williams says:

    Love you Shannon! So incredibly proud of you!!! Xoxo

  3. Merry Christmas Shannon! You look great in your festive red! Enjoy your scuba diving trip with your family and may 2015 bring you peace & “joy” :-)

  4. What a great blog! Warm, sincere, funny, a little sadness, tons of joy and that wonderful sense of humour shining through!! You are a blessing. So thrilled for you all to be jetting off to Jamaica. Sending you love and light as always. Wishing God’s strength and love straight to you as you celebrate this joyous season together! Love Diana. x

  5. Judy Glass says:

    Merry Christmas to you and your lovely children. I shall be thinking of you in the sun and surf in Jamaica! With Love the Glass Family xo

  6. Jill Morrison says:

    Thank you for sharing your update Shannon, great to hear from you. Bless you and your sister carollers!!
    Have a most beautiful Christmas and amazing trip with your family. Love Jill Morrison

  7. Judy Bascom says:

    Love Your Blog! ! (: Wishing You a Very Merry Christmas to You and Your Family!! Hope You have An Amazin Christmas in Jamaica!!! Keeping You in My Prayers, Always.. (:(:

  8. Karen Holding says:

    Dear Shannon.Whack-a-mole has always been one of my favourite games and I even have a home edition! I will be playing it over Christmas and I’ll be doing some whacking on your,kisses and prayers sent your way. You are truly amazing!
    Love Karen,Don,Taylor and Paige

  9. Michelle Richardson says:

    You are a shining example for us all, Shannon… a beautiful soul, a wonderful person, and an absolute inspiration. Merry Christmas to you and yours… have an a-mazing time in Jamaica and know that you are always in my thoughts. I love you dearly and I always will! <3

    Lots of love & hugs from me and my family to you and yours.
    Michelle, Dan & Talia oxox

  10. Dear Dear Shannon.
    I know I don’t see you often (barely at all the last few years) but I want you to know that you are always in my prayers and I think of you often. You are an amazing woman of strength, grace, peace and joy, despite Scrooge’s plan. I think you might have kicked him in the nuts, actually :). I pray that you and your family have a wonderful, joyfilled Christmas and an awesome time away together playing in Jamaica. Sending you virtural hugs!
    Janice <3

  11. Cathy Graab says:

    Dear Shannon,

    Even though our lives have just connected recently. I feel so lucky to share in your joyous moment re this awesome trip. Have a fabulous time and simply take it all in. You and your entire family and friends are so strong together and I wish you the happiest Christmas ever!! Hugs….Cathy

  12. Dear Shannon… nice to see an update! You are truly amazing and only you and your wonderful family of friends could light up the TBCC with so much love and joy. Sending prayers your way for a wonderful, joyful Christmas and a fun filled time in Jamaica. Miss you loads!!! Love, Teresa xo

  13. Rebecca Willson says:

    Have a wonderful Christmas Shannon, and bless you for your incredible ability to smile and bring smiles through the suffering. Have fun in the sun! Love Rebecca and Tim

  14. Shine on Shannon! I’m THRILLED Kayla’s wish has been granted. Have fun, love lots and soak in every beautiful memory.

    Sending you healing energy to help manage your pain and support your body as you enjoy the holidays!

    Love, deep admiration and Christmas blessings to you and your family,
    Paula xoxo

  15. Thank your your beautiful words and a much needed reminder of what’s truly important. I wish you and your family a peaceful Christmas and safe trip. Xox

  16. Chancey Anthony says:

    So blessed to have you and your beautiful kids in my life. I don’t know where I would be if I hadn’t of met you. you are so special, my second momma. May this Christmas bring you warmth and comfort … xoxo Your Second Daughter <3

  17. Bob Brimer says:

    Shannon it’s been over 10 years when we met in the Amazon. You have been in Lorry and my prayers ever since. Merry Christmas to you and your family. I was so happy to get your latest update. You are a model to us all and are cared for very much. I am happy you have crazy friends around you. You deserve each other.
    Love from the Brimers’ in this joyous season and screw to Scrooge.. Enjoy Jamaca!

  18. Gorgeous and deeply moving post. Thank you, as always, for bringing what is truly important to center stage. much love to you and yours,

  19. Kim Johnston says:

    How wonderful it is to see an update and follow your sharing of love and cheer to those that need a lift in spirits. You continue to inspire and share the true meaning of Christmas.
    Have a wonderful trip with your family as you end one year and begin another on another adventure.
    From my family to yours, much love and peace delivered with a hug.

  20. Shine on Shannon! I love everything that you write.

  21. Cheryl Reimer Marr says:

    Shannon, thanks for this lovely and real post/update. I am thankful that you are finding joy in the midst of the storm. This Christmas has been at hospice with mom (Helen). It is such a gift to be able to laugh in the midst of sadness, experience peace in the storm. Much love, joy and peace to you and your lovely and brave family. I wish you a WONDERFUL trip!

  22. Michael Weiss says:

    Shannon, just wanted to let you know we’ve never wavered from keeping you in our prayers. Merry Christmas, happy new year.

  23. The Stepan's says:

    Merry Christmas & Happy New Year 2015 to you and your family Shannon!
    What an inspiration you are to everyone modelling bravery, courage, consistent humour and fortitude as you soldier on updating us with your blog so we know you are well and still our Sweet Shannon! I’m sure everyone who participated & had the pleasure to partake in the carolling appreciated and enjoyed it thoroughly at the TBCC. Such imagination and creativity in all your endeavours never ceases to inspire those around you as well as those who get to find out what your latest moves are!
    I agree I think you have insured the Grinch as well as Scrooge were Kicked well where required!
    Glad you are all going off to Jamaica to get some R&R as well as make some great memories. I’m sure between all of you there will loads of fun an great memories made!
    Hugs from all of us!
    Mike, Mary-Lynne & Carrie-Anne

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