A Note From Maria O’Kane’ Husband

I am deeply touched by the many kind comments and tributes being submitted (on Facebook) about Maria. Her family knew her as Marie but in Canada, she was Maria! After so many years together, I’m still amazed at the various people she impacted.

Maria was cremated yesterday and she insisted that there be no viewing or mournful services. In keep with her wishes, Variety Village (3701 Danforth Ave, Toronto ) has generously donated their staff and facilities to host the memorial on Dec 9th from 11Am to 2PM. I will be inviting a group of people to speak about their personal experience with Maria. I will attempt to put together a list that best represents the wide range of people Maria knew.

The memorial will be includes speakers and a slideshow presentation from various points in Marie’s life. We will also include music that best captures Maria’s personality.

In keeping with her requests, the dress code is definitively casual but please no black…she was clear on that.

Rather than flowers, I would suggest donations in Maria’s name could be made to Variety Village. I cannot think of a place more deserving and I have no doubt that Maria would agree.

After the memorial, many of us will be gathering at the Tara Inn (2365 Kingston Rd, Toronto) ….all are invited!

Since many people may not use Facebook, please spread the word to all that might be interested in attending.

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This Might Give You Goosebumps

This might give you Goosebumps.

On Monday, after I posted my Tribute to Maria on Facebook plus the photo I took of her at St. Annes Spa, I opened my mail.

One was a letter from this very same Spa informing me that I WON their SPA Lotto Contest for a free Complimentary Caribbean Foot Rejuvenation.  Maria must be pulling some strings from up above.  We had always talked about going again.  We loved being pampered and we loved the food.

Lately, whenever I saw Maria the first thing she would say was, “How are you?”  and I would answer, “My feet are killing me because of the chemo drugs I’m on”.  Maria was a huge fan of foot massages.  My sister would often go over to the hospital/hospice and do this for her.

And now I get a free foot massage in the mail?  Explain that one to me?

Thank you Maria!  You knew I’d laugh when I saw that.

IMG_0379 IMG_0361 IMG_0366

My Tribute to Maria O’Kane

Monday was hard for me after I found out Maria had passed away.  Spent too much time crying, but I know Maria would tell me to stop it and get on with my life because she was in a better place.
Maria told me she wanted to be cremated.  Apparently there is going to be a Memorial Service for her at Variety Village in a few weeks.
She had a lot of friends there and her children were frequently involved in their programs.  Variety Village has their flag at 1/2 mast in honour of her.
I found her on Facebook page and wrote this:
—————————————————————————
My Tribute to Maria
Maria was a force to be reckon with. Wherever she went, she commanded people’s attention and was an inspiration to us all, especially cancer patients. She was genuinely kind and took an interest in everyone’s lives. And she always had something to say.In fact, she often made people’s jaws drop. The doctors sure as hell didn’t know what to do with her. Every time they gave her 3 months to live, she would say, “I don’t like that plan. You’d better come up with a new one”.At the hospital, whenever someone was told bad news from a doctor she would say, “Fuck them. What do they know? They aren’t God”. No matter how bad the news was, she always made you feel better after talking to her.And her views about religion? “Damn those catholics, the whole bloody lot of them. If they believed in Jesus Christ the Saviour, they wouldn’t be afraid of dying, now would they?”I loved Maria with all my heart. I will miss her terribly. She was a wonderful lady who lived a short but remarkable life. She touched a lot of people everywhere she went. She was different. She was special.

What can I say? Maria was just Maria. And we were all blessed to know her.

Photo: My Tribute to Maria</p><br /><br /><br />
<p>Maria was a force to be reckon with.  Wherever she went, she commanded people’s attention and was an inspiration to us all, especially cancer patients.  She was genuinely kind and took an interest in everyone’s lives. And she always had something to say.</p><br /><br /><br />
<p>In fact, she often made people’s jaws drop.  The doctors sure as hell didn’t know what to do with her.  Every time they gave her 3 months to live, she would say, “I don’t like that plan.  You’d better come up with a new one”.  </p><br /><br /><br />
<p>At the hospital, whenever someone was told bad news from a doctor she would say, “Fuck them.  What do they know?  They aren’t God”. No matter how bad the news was, she always made you feel better after talking to her.   </p><br /><br /><br />
<p>And her views about religion?  “Damn those catholics, the whole bloody lot of them.  If they believed in Jesus Christ the Saviour, they wouldn’t be afraid of dying, now would they?”</p><br /><br /><br />
<p>I loved Maria with all my heart.  I will miss her terribly.  She was a wonderful lady who lived a short but remarkable life.  She touched a lot of people everywhere she went.  She was different.  She was special.</p><br /><br /><br />
<p>What can I say?  Maria was just Maria.  And we were all blessed to know her.
I also discovered that she was on CTV a few years ago when I googled her name.
(sorry I don’t know how to link it properly…this is as best as I can do if you want to watch it)

Maria O’Kane

It is with great sadness to tell you that my Irish friend, Maria O’Kane, passed away last night at 11:30 p.m.

She truly was an inspiration and affected everyone she knew.  Six years of battling cancer (esphophageal, liver, lung, brain, and lymph nodes); it’s hard to believe she is gone.  She just kept telling the doctors, one by one, when they told her she had 3 months to live that “she didn’t like that plan”.  And I’ll never forget when she said,  “Those damn catholics, why are they afraid of dying if they believe in God?”

I don’t think I have ever met anyone else with such courage, despite the tremendous amount of pain she endured.

There will be no other like Maria O’Kane.  I learned a lot from her.

May she finally find peace and comfort in heaven.

And may she look down upon the rest of us from there and guide us the rest of our lives until we meet again.

 

 

Dear Santa

My oncologist wasn’t there again yesterday when I went for my appointment on Friday so I requested the Mexican doctor again.  I really like him.

Told my needle nurse I was experiencing hand/foot syndrome and heart problems again (when I wake up I feel like I’m having a heart attack).  She told me to phone my new heart doctor and he would probably give me a Holter Monitor.  I’m not really interested in doing that because that thing doesn’t show much anyway.  I know I have irregular heart beats and the times when they occur.  Big deal.  It’s just an inconvenient gadget I get to carry around with me for 2 days.  I’m more interested in finding out my ejection fraction rate (how strong my heart is pumping) because I don’t want to have heart failure again.  It was a measly 42% a few weeks go and that was before the chemo. drugs.  It’s suppose to be at 55%.  That’s a bit disconcerting.  I’m hoping that the drug Bisoperol he put me on is helping with that.  The good thing is I haven’t flopped to the ground during the day because I’m taking it at night!

The doctor told me they were going to try one more round of chemo. and then check my spine to see if the tumours are still growing.  If they aren’t growing, I stay on Xeloda.  If they are, I’m going to be put on another chemo. drug, but it will be an I.V. one, not a pill. I’m hoping that my tumours have stabilized because quite frankly, I don’t want to be bald over the winter on some other drug.   I have a sneaking suspicion it will be Taxol (no hair, black fingernails) because I met someone else like me who couldn’t tolerate the Xeloda and they put her on Taxol next.  Yes, I know “Bald is Beautiful”, but it’s really freakin cold in Canada.

If I have to do an I.V. drug, that also means I would have to have another picc. line or a port, which is something else I don’t relish.  Remember the cow gloves I had to use every time I wanted to take a shower and the purple hives I got to boot?  No thanks.  This chemo I’m on that burns my feet better be torching those bloody spots on my spine too.

I asked my mexican doctor about any upcoming Clinical Trials because I wasn’t exactly loving the side effects I was having with this drug.  He said there are side effects on those trials too.

The good news is that he gave me my report on that other Clinical Trial I was on (called Impact) where they sliced my tumour and analyzed it for DNA markers.   I got the report, but don’t really know what it means.  All I know is that I have a “somatic mutation called PIK3CA C420R (67%)”.  There is a clinical trial going on right now at PMH to figure out appropriate dosage amounts for drug target therapy, but he said we have to exhaust the “standard treatment options first”.  That means chemo.  However I’m hopeful that this means there may be something  else for me in the future that can help me.

My kids are off to the Santa Clause parade today.  I should have written him a note too… Please Santa, I don’t really want to be bald for Christmas!

Christmas Cat dressed up

The Better Business Bureau

Did I tell you I love the Better Business Bureau?

They really are wonderful.  They sent 2 notices to Honda Re:  my complaint.  Finally Honda issued a reply.    I don’t know who did the “responding”, but this person clearly lives in a make-belief world.  And they made it sound so good too…like they really give a damn.

———————————

“Two days after winter tune up, battery was dead in my driveway. Had to call CAA to install a new battery.

(Hondas response : It is possible that something drained the battery 2 days after we had checked the vehicle for service. It is very hard for us to confirm or deny battery failure when the vehicle was not brought back to us for further testing )

Was promised $130 compensation; have yet to get the cheque despite frequent visits and phone calls to service manager

(Hondas Response: The $130 cheque was a remibursement I offered to the customer in regards to the powersteering feed hose recall. the customer stated that she had to have an outside garage replace the line after us, But she had no invoice to offer me as she said she paid cash. I offered the price she told me in good faith).

Other complaints in the past include:

1. Car detailing (one mat missing)

2. Flat Tire after having it serviced there

( Hondas Response: Anything could have happened with a flat tire. If the customer can provide an invoice for what the concern was I would be more than willing to review it and see if I can assist at all.).

3. Car Part Recalled, mechanic nicked another line forcing me to come back to get it fixed. Mechanic made the situation worse by using a universal clamp instead of a Honda clamp. I had to go to another mechanic and get the whole line/clamp replaced.”

( Hondas Response:  Again this goes back to the $130 reimbursement that the customer has received as of now and it was refunded in good faith as she could not provide us with a receipt of replacement as she paid cash).

Ms.Pisani is a valued customer of Parkway Honda and we would hate for anything to come between our relationship with her and her family. I will do everything I can to locate a replacement mat for her and I would like to offer her a complimentary complete detail for her to use at her discretion.

2013-11-08   TSS EMAIL Forward Business response to Consumer

2013-11-12   WEB BBB RECEIVED CONSUMER REBUTTAL : (The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)

My Response

I was promised $130 for servicing at Honda in December 2012 by customer service manager  (RB) because I had my car serviced (Winter Tune Up) and the mechanic failed to tell me that there was anything wrong with my battery.  The battery was not drained or I would have simply needed a boost.  I decided to use that credit for $130 by taking my car in for detailing in the spring of 2013, except my husband ended up PAYING THE ENTIRE AMOUNT FOR IT.  According to the cashier, there was NO RECORD to be found of a credit for $130.  This is the money I would like reimbursed, as I owe it to my husband.  I received a cheque from Honda on October 15th ($146.90).

I was NEVER offered any money re: power steering hose.  In fact, I emailed service manager (AP) on November 4, A BILL FOR THE SERVICES RENDERED, plus the following letter. (Please note:  I would be happy to  email the BBB or Honda both the CAA Battery Bill the Power Steering bills, if necessary).

I wanted to let you know that I received a check from Honda with regards to the battery problem I experienced after having a tune up at your dealership.

However, there are still two existing issues which need to be addressed.

1.  My missing car mat after detailing work was done on my car

2.  Problems with my car due to servicing at Honda on March 27, 2013 (L54 Recall; installation of an updated power steering feed)

In the spring, I noticed something leaking from my car on my driveway and took my car to an ex-honda mechanic.  He asked me if I had taken my car in for a Power Steering recall recently because a line had been nicked in that location.  He then told me that I shouldn’t have to pay to get it fixed and to take it back to Honda and tell them to fix it.

I took my car back to Honda and told them about the nicked line.  When I went to pick up my car, the customer service rep. told me that the line wasn’t the problem, it was a clamp (which they replaced free of charge).   I brought my vehicle home only to find that the leak on my driveway was significantly worse over the next few days.

I returned my car to my mechanic and asked him to take a look at it.  I was told that the dealership took away my Honda Power Steering Hose Clamp and replaced it with a Universal Clamp that had groves in it that made the situation worse.  At this point, I did not have any time to go back to Parkway Honda (as I was driving to New York), nor did I have any confidence whatsoever that they would do the right thing, so I instructed my new mechanic to fix the whole thing. I was shown the damage from the clamp and the nick in the Power Steering Line after it was taken off of my car.

Please see attachment for this bill totaling $150.  I don’t see why I should have to pay for something your mechanics did to my car during the recall.

To add insult to injury, when I took my car in for an oil/filter change and car detailing service, I was told that I needed a lot of work on my car to the tune of $1,600.00.   I found it interesting that one of the “necessary” jobs included the flushing of the power steering fluid.   I thought that was ironic since that service was just completed on my car and all the parts were brand new.  When I asked the employee why that specific job needed to be done and he said, “Because it was “black”.   My new mechanic laughed when I told him that one because he said it was impossible to tell and that it is always black.

If you are unable to help me with the concerns I have addressed in this letter, I would really appreciate the names and email addresses to someone who can.

Sincerely,

Maria Brown

I hope that clarifies the situation.  I’m not really interested in coming back to Honda for free car detailing because the last time I was told that, my husband had to pay for it.

whine

Round 2 (Chemo + Honda)

Just finished my Chemo. Treatment Round 2.

Would like to say that it went off without a hitch, but it didn’t.  However, this time I was more prepared because I already experienced the same kind of side effects as Round 1.  I was suppose to be on the xeloda for 14 days.  Day 2, I couldn’t get out of bed; I was dreadfully tired.  I only made it to Day 5 when my feet started to burn again; so I had to go off my meds. for a couple of days to wait for it to subside.  My heart is getting messed up too.  I’m getting chest pains and irregular heartbeats again.

I guess in total I only really got 9/14 Days worth of the treatment this time.  I also experienced 3 days of migraines which I’m not sure was due to our weather or whether I have a brain tumour.  I’m afraid to mention that one to my doctor on Friday, in case they send me for more tests.  I don’t want to know, really I don’t.  Sometimes ignorance is bliss.

I also am not sure whether I need to tell them that the back of my head and neck are full of hives….either I’m allergic to the chemo. or I’ve got lice….or maybe it was Peter’s velour pillowcase which I was sleeping on and am allergic to it.  Checked my head with the lice comb and didn’t find anything alive in there, so I’m going for the allergic pillow excuse.  I don’t want to entertain the thought of being allergic to the Xeloda because I think the other chemo. drugs they may have in mind for me are worse and they are all intravenous (Xeloda is a pill).  I cannot even imagine having another pic. line inserted in my arm.  Bad memories of hives on my arm and one cow glove whenever I had to shower.  I would do anything not to go through that again.

I’m going to ask my oncologist to keep me in mind for any clinical trials.

————————————————————————————-

I decided to go after Honda for another $150.00.  Here’s my most recent letter to them.

I wanted to let you know that I received a check from your Honda dealership with regards to the battery problem I experienced after having a tune up at your dealership.

However, there are still two existing issues which need to be addressed.

1.  My missing car mat after detailing work was done on my car

2.  Problems with my car due to servicing  on March 27, 2013 (L54 Recall; installation of an updated power steering feed)

In the spring, I noticed something leaking from my car on my driveway and took my car to an ex-honda mechanic.  He asked me if I had taken my car in for a Power Steering recall recently because a line had been nicked in that location.  He then told me that I shouldn’t have to pay to get it fixed and to take it back to Honda and tell them to fix it.

I took my car back to Honda and told them about the nicked line.  When I went to pick up my car, the customer service rep. told me that the line wasn’t the problem, it was a clamp (which they replaced free of charge).  I brought my vehicle home only to find that the leak on my driveway was significantly worse over the next few days.

I returned my car to my mechanic and asked him to take a look at it.  I was told that the dealership took away my Honda Power Steering Hose Clamp and replaced it with a Universal Clamp that had groves in it that made the situation worse.  At this point, I did not have any time to go back to Honda (as I was driving to New York), nor did I have any confidence whatsoever that they would do the right thing, so I instructed my new mechanic to fix the whole thing. I was shown the damage from the clamp and the nick in the Power Steering Line after it was taken off of my car.

Please see attachment for this bill totaling $150.  I don’t see why I should have to pay for something your mechanics did to my car during the recall.

To add insult to injury, when I took my car in for an oil/filter change and car detailing service, I was told that I needed a lot of work on my car to the tune of $1,600.00.  I found it interesting that one of the “necessary” jobs included the flushing of the power steering fluid.  I thought that was ironic since that service was just completed on my car and all the parts were brand new.  When I asked the employee why that specific job needed to be done and he said, “Because it was “black”.  My new mechanic laughed when I told him that one because he said it was impossible to tell and that it is always black.

If you are unable to help me with the concerns I have addressed in this letter, I would really appreciate the names and email addresses to someone who can.

 

 

Tarot Card Reader

I’m feeling normal today…probably because I’ve stopped taking my chemotherapy drugs on Thursday, due to my redder than red feet.

Last night I went to Sheridan Nurseries with my older sister because they were having their “Ladies Night Out” event in support of the Children’s Wish Foundation.  People set up little booths to sell things (ie:  lotions, make-up, reiki, yoga centres, etc).  I like to go see the Christmas decoration stuff, and you can win some door prizes too.

This year, there was a tarot card reader.  “Hmmm…”, I thought.  “This could be fun.  I’ve never done this before.  Wonder what she’ll say about me.”  It’s kind of like when I was younger and got a kick out of winning prizes at the “Guess my Age” Booth at the Ex.  They never figured me out…I was always a lot older than they thought.  So I thought, what the heck, what have I got to loose besides pulling out the death card?  Big deal.  My training in University (paranormal psychology) taught me to be a skeptic, so I thought I’d have a bit of fun with this.

“So what do you want to know,” she asked.  “I would like to know about my future”, I told her.  “Can you be a little bit more specific”, she asked.  “Sure, I would like to know my future in terms of work and health” I answered brightly.  Picked out my 6 cards and voila, I’m apparently going to be prosperous in both areas and a lot of people love me.  “That’s good, I could use some money”  I smiled, “Are ya sure about my health?  I’ve got cancer”.  She told me I should have been more specific with my question when she first asked me.  (I mean really…did I not ask her about my future in health?).  Armed with this new piece of information, she asked me if she could redo my tarot card reading.  “Sure”, I said, thinking now I have twice as many chances of picking the death card.  Not so, though.  She said everything was good with regards to the cards I picked.  In other words, I AM GOING TO LIVE!

Just thought you’d like to know.

 

P.S.   She also said I am suppose to adhere to boundaries in terms of food.  That’s too bad I told her because for the last 4 years I’ve been eating organic foods, staying away from sugar, and most meat that isn’t grass fed and I’m sick of it.  Over the last couples of days, I’ve said the hell with all that and started eating French Merlot cheese, which really is quite delicious, and smidgets of Halloween candy and truth be told… I LIKE IT…I like it a lot.   She told me I needed to stick within the boundaries.  Hmmm……

eat them too