Friday, October 7, 2011

Celebrate Brenda's Life

Throughout the planning process for Brenda's service, we keep asking ourselves "What would Brenda want?" The two of us never openly discussed her memorial service because if it was up to Brenda, there would be no service - she didn't like being in the spotlight!

With that in mind, we have planned her service for next Friday afternoon, so that it would be easier for people travelling or taking off from work - we will call it a compromise, on her behalf. The service is to be held on Friday, October 14th, at 1:00pm at Crossroads Church, located on the southwest corner of Hi-Way #2 and 32nd Street.

Additional details can be found on the following link to her page on Parkland Funeral Home's website:

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the 2012 Ride to Conquer Cancer, which I will be participating in again at:

Or at Amanda Lindhout's foundation, which she also felt very strongly about, at:

Brenda Marie Odovichuc
April 4, 1977 – October 5,2011

Brenda Marie Odovichuc of Red Deer, passed away peacefully on October 5, 2011, at the age of 34 years with her loving husband Carman at her side. After a courageous 3 year battle with breast cancer, she is now dancing in Heaven with her Saviour. She will be welcomed by her Granny Bendfeld, her friend Travis, her dog Rudy, and other grandparents, aunts and uncles, and friends. Brenda was born on April 4, 1977, the third of four girls, to George and Joyce Odovichuc, in Camrose, where she grew up playing with friends on her street, competing in volleyball throughout her school years, socializing with friends, and making the most out of life. Brenda met her soulmate, Carman, at the age of 16 and almost eight years later they eloped (in true Brenda form) and celebrated 11 years of marriage. She enjoyed travelling, camping, walking her dogs, singing, dancing, playing games, and hanging out with friends. She liked helping others, which led her to become a certified financial planner, organizing Operation Christmas Child, selling Caring Hands jewelry from Uganda, and campaigning for Tykerb coverage in Alberta. Brenda became friends with everyone she met. She had a twinkle in her eye and a tinkle in her laugh that sucked you in and held you tight. If there was a cause or a need, she was there to fight for it or help out. She has touched and inspired so many people during her life and especially the past few years with her journey. She will be lovingly missed by her husband, Carman Wilson of Red Deer, her parents, George and Joyce Odovichuc of Camrose, sisters Kari Mykitiuk, Jodi (Jason) Hilmoe, Tara Odovichuc; nieces and nephews, and numerous other extended family members. “Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is His unfailing love” Lamentations 3:32. A Celebration of Brenda’s Life will take place on Friday, October 14, 2011 at 1:00 p.m. at CrossRoads Church – 38105 Range Road 275, Red Deer County, Alberta (S.W. corner of Hwy. #2 and 32nd Street) with Pastor Dan Cochrane officiating. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the 2012 Ride to Conquer Cancer “Brenda’s Bravehearts” or to Amanda Lindhout’s organization, the Global Enrichment Foundation – Condolences may be sent or viewed at Arrangements in care of Dustin Goddu, Funeral Director at Parkland Funeral Home and Crematorium, 6287 – 67 A Street (Taylor Drive), Red Deer. 403.340.4040

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

My Dear Brenda

Today, October the 5th at 11:45 am, I had to say goodbye to the woman I fell in love with over 18 years ago. I was naive to think that after walking by her side as she battled this disease the past three years, the outcome would be easier to accept. How wrong I was - I am so deeply overcome by sadness and grief, it is indescribable, and I miss her so much already!

It is so very hard to watch someone you care for so much, suffer such a painful experience. Her little body was so full of cancer and so weak from fighting - she struggled for every last breath the last few days and for those around her, we felt so helpless. Her sister Tara comforted her with some Beatles music in her final moments and for some reason she found the most comfort and her breathing relaxed with the song "Hey Jude". I was able to kiss her and hold her and tell her I love her, as she left us very quietly and peacefully. I take comfort knowing she is now free from pain and suffering and that God is now holding her in His arms and kissing her softly.

Brenda Marie Odovichuc was an amazing person and I am so lucky to have shared a part of her life. She became friends with everyone she met. She had a twinkle in her eye and a tinkle in her laugh that sucked you in and held you tight. If there was a cause or a need, she was there to fight for it or help out. She has touched so many people during her life and especially the past few years with her journey. She leaves a huge hole in my heart, as well as many others.

Goodbye, my love...


P.S. Once arrangements have been made to celebrate Brenda's life, I will post them here on her blog.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Brenda's Condition

Brenda's last blog in August mentioned that she was still waiting for word on the phase 1 trial that she was to go on. We finally got a call a few weeks ago to come and meet with the trial doctor and have preliminary tests and scans completed to provide baseline information and to confirm that Brenda was capable of proceeding with the trial. Unfortunately, the test results confirmed that the cancer in her brain had grown and new spots had materialized and all other areas in her body were also out of control (liver, lungs, bones, etc.)

The last few weeks have been very difficult, to say the least. The trial drug was to be our last option for treatment and last hope for Brenda's future. We have since had to accept that God has a different plan for Brenda and that her future is with Him and not here with us.

Her condition has worsened considerably over the last couple of weeks and especially the last few days. She is still at home, but is now on oxygen, because of the cancer in her lungs and the large amount of fluid that has built up around her lungs and heart. She is not in pain, which we are very thankful for, and the discomfort that she experiences, we are able to control by medication.

Our plan is to keep her at home and so we have spent the past couple of days getting home care equipment installed and home care support setup. She is most comfortable here, in her own bed, with her family and especially her special nurse, Charlee (our dog).

We are so thankful for the friends and family we have - the endless prayers and support have made this journey so much easier and we are at peace with what is to come - she has fought a very courageous battle the past three years and has impacted a lot of people in many different ways. I am so very proud of her and honoured to have spent the last 18 years with her, as her friend and husband.


Sunday, August 28, 2011

Trial - making headway

On thursday I got the results from my blood test (to make sure my levels are fit for the trial). My hemoglobin was extremly low so I was asked to go th the Red Deer ER for a blood transfusion. We got there at 3pm and did not get home until 5am. This week the tests continue up in Edmonton. I am worrieed something else will come up _ it is making me anxious.

I will let you know how the rest os the tests go.

Monday, July 4, 2011


I am waiting to get into a trial study. I have tried just about everything on the product shelf that I can so the next option is to be a step above a lab rat - and I am happy to do so. Carman and I continue to pray that God would provide the treatment that I need.

In the meantime all we can do is patiently wait. Which is not easy to do. I have anxiety about the whole thing, but I have read a lot of great stories of people who have had amazing success with trial drugs, so we still have to hope.

Love is in the Air

I have another sister and her name is Janet. Josh picked a very beautiful bride and I loved going to Kelowna for their wedding. We stayed at our friend Fred's mom and dad's house (which is my dream house) and they spoiled me with great food, constant tea, and a backyard to relax in. I read Nicki Sixx's book the Heroin Diaries which was well written and very revealing - I recommend it if you were ever a Motley Crue fan.


A couple of weekends ago we were out camping and my leg was really starting to bother me. To the point that on Monday morning I could not weight bear at all on my left side. I maneuvered myself into the bathtub which probably wasn't smart. I have a totally new appreciation for what some people have to struggle with just to maintain personal hygiene.

Turns out a large bone tumor right above me knee (in my femur) finally had enough and wanted to make itself known. My left hip has also been bothering me for awhile, but some tumors in there also wanted to join the pain party. I was very concerned that I would be missing my baby brother Josh's wedding on Thursday (to clarify Josh is Carman's baby brother). But the oncologist said they no longer do 5 treatments for bone pain, but just one. That made me so happy that I wouldn't have to miss out on the wedding.

The day after radiation I already had relief and was walking without a limp.

Still Here

I know it has been a while since I have posted, but to be honest, I was just getting tired of sharing my business. I was starting to feel like just because I would post, 'the world' felt like it could comment or talk 'cancer' with me. I am private person and I was finding myself getting uncomfortable. I blog so I don't get a ton of 'how are you feeling' phone calls, and to share my experience with that other cancer victim out there. But I know there are a ton of people out there who love me and generally care how I am feeling. So I promise to do a better job of posting. I just request that people remember this is an extremely painful journey. I may easily share things on my blog, but it does not mean I walk this journey as an 'open book' ready to share anything with anyone.

Friday, April 15, 2011

3 weeks of chemo done

So i finished three weeks of chemo (every Thursday) and I am enjoying my week off. This chemo has given me a funny taste in my mouth so things don't taste quite like they should and my appetite is pretty much gone. Before Carman leaves for work he puts a small yogurt and a tall glass of water on my nightstand. I eat the yogurt as soon as a wake-up which I think helps keep the nausea away first thing. My balance and my movement has improved greatly! My ability to be in crowds or in room of people has not improved. Tara and I took a field trip to the mall and it was disastrous - I just about fainted (too much music and people moving around). So Tara's newest title might be personal shopper. I sleep really good and when we had some nice days I was enjoying walking outside. This latest snowfall is depressing - I hope it melts really fast. I've been really sad these dats because a young 30 year old friend of my has suffered 2 strokes. It just makes no sense. I've been reading a lot of Chicken Soup for the Soul and of course I enjoy General Hospital daily. I can't wait for the snow to melt so I can get outside and work my flower beds.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Charlee Wanted to say Hi!

I feel really loved

I have been getting so many great inspirational crafts - thank you. The picture is of just a few - an inspiration tree, my quote in a frame, and from my red-headed friend Kelly, a red-headed doll. The charcoal picture of the National Geographic cover Carman and I bought from a street artist in Thailand for if I remember correctly $35.

I am going to try and posts some pictures over the next week.

Yesterday Tara and I went to the mall. I made sure to bring Ethel (my cane) and she is a nice trusty companion. I don't want to always rely on Tara and Carmans arm and using a cane does not bother me one bit . I find wide open spaces in the mall required me to also hold onto Tara's arm, and I couldn't carry a bag - so thank goodness for Tara.

My hope is the cane is just temporary and I can return it to my mom and dad - for when they may need it - haha!

I've been trying to get into a new book of the Bible. I have spent a lot of time getting to know Job and I got so much from his life. My faith feels so elementary in comparison to his, but he is someone I strive to be like. At first I was going to start reading Joshua (because my baby brother's name is Joshua - Josh isn't a baby he's 23), but after watching one of Pastor Dan's messages on Job I decided to turn to Jeremiah. And so far I can just say WOW! This is what I need. And, God just keeps showing up. Yesterday I found a little frame in my mailbox with the following quote:


"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." - Jeremiah 29:11

I also wanted to share:

I am not laying in bed all day

I don't feel like I am living the life I should be, but I see and recognize me/my life during my day

I am not in any pain

I have an appetite

I am having a hard time falling asleep, but I am waking up rested

I've been making the odd supper

I've been doing housework

I've been sitting at my desk and doing some work about every other day

My reading ability is improving ever day - I should very soon be back on novels

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Little by Little

Yep, little by little every day I see progress! Last night I started going up and down the stairs without holding the railing. My chin isn't as numb, I notice I am pivoting way better, and I've been doing about 20 minutes on my treadmill everyday(although I have to hold on to the railings and I can only do a speed of about half of what I used to). I also am doing a small little free weight routine to try and get these scrawny arms stronger.

I think it is weird that I am still a bit surprised when I shower that I expect my body to feel like it used to (from over 2 years ago). I used to have strong legs from how much I walked - I can't wait to have those strong legs again!

My brain is allowing me to read more and more all of the time. But novels for some reason are just too hard to process. The weird thing is I have no problem reading 10 Chicken Soup short stories with ease.

I don't know if I have already posted that my sister Tara is living with us. Before I found out the cancer spread to my brain I was just really worn out and was getting lonely being at home alone so much so I asked if she would consider coming and living with us. What a God thing. He knew I would need her so much more. Shortly after she came things got worse. I am SOOOOO HAPPY she is here! Thanks Tara for giving up your dream of living on the coast to come and be with me in cold, snowy Red Deer.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Crafters Wanted

I don't have a crafty bone in my body - I've always wanted to be creative, but it often ends up in a pretty good laugh. Just ask my brother-in-law Mitch what 'craft' he got stuck with this Christmas.

When I was up in Edmonton getting radiation one particular morning I was so devastated and I was getting out of the shower just bawlling - how was I going to face another day of this? And I felt Got say - If you could only see the future I have planned for you, you would be so happy.

I've been trying to remember this every time I get down.

So here's the call - if you are crafty, I would love little 'signs' of this statement I could put around my house to reminge me.

My address is:
Brenda Odovichuc
12 McCune Ave
Red Deer, AB
T4N 0H2

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Brain Mets

This is the hardest post I have ever tried to write - so please bear with me.

My last CT scan showed fairly steady bone mets but growth on my lives. Because I was exhausted from the chemo pills and Tykerb my doctor did not see any problem of taking a month off. We were even going to escape to somewhere nice to try and recuperate. Our eyes were on Panama.

Only a week later I started suffering from a really bad headache and I was struggling with my balance. I was getting really scared. Carman called the doctor and he sent us to the ER for a head CT. And ever since my world feels like it has completely shattered. The cancer had spread to my brain in several spots.

Days later we were in Edmonton an I was getting 10 rounds of full brain radiation. We also decided to radiate the lower part of my back to help elevate pain.

Cancer to the brain has completely brought me to the lowest point I think I can be. I fear it will rob me of who I am. It has impaired my ability to walk with steady feet. And if you know me you know how much I love to walk. The doctor is hopeful the radiation will help improve my steadiness, but it really frightens me.

But even as dire as my situation looks, I have hope that God will still completely heal my body. My God is that powerful!

Tykerb Covered - THANK YOU!

Thank you each any every person who signed my petition to get Tykerb covered in Alberta. Each and every signature counted to make a difference. Over 2000 were collected. A special thanks to those who went above and beyod in collecting signatures -especially complete strangers.

It was very disheartening when Tykerb stopped working for me, but I wanted to fight for those who the drug willl work for. Tykerb will prolong for so many women. Yoou helped give the gift of life.

So thank you, thank you, thank you. For signing a piece of paper. You just help save a woman's life!