(250) 801-2798 shannon@healthisbliss.ca

A new look, a little setback… But nothing keeps this man down!

It’s Tuesday morning and Alan’s immune system passed the test, so he’s back on track.

Last week was meant to be treatment #10, but Alan’s immune system was rather low, his neutrophils were only at 1.2 and dropping, so no chemo for him. Chemo is known for knocking out the immune system so it’s really important you support it daily with good choices in food and stay away from things that suppress it. Did you know that certain foods influence this? This is something I’ve been meaning to write about as we can all benefit from this knowledge, especially with cold and flu season just beginning. There are two things I get people to cut out when they are trying to get well…


Yes, I know, how could I be so mean? If you’re just fighting a bug, then giving it up for a day or two is not that big a deal. Alan used to drink coffee all day long… Times have changed and he’s seeing results and it’s now a treat.

#2 – SUGAR

I hate to be the bearer of bad news again but sugar is NOT a food, people! it’s an immune suppressor and makes your body more acidic.  If you need something sweet then look for a clean Stevia as it’s from a plant, not a chemical. Alan is still learning where sugar lurks and he’s now armed with Stevia when he needs a sweet fix.

What to eat for a stronger immune system

Most of us have heard of Vitamin C and how it helps to keep us healthy. If you think back to history and the 15th century, you might remember a disease called scurvy… All due to the lack of vitamin C. We learned all those year ago how important Vitamin C is for us and our immune systems. It has many other benefits, including skin health, healing ability, repairing and maintaining bones and teeth. Many practitioners use high-dose vitamin C in cancer treatments to promote the production of Glutathione, our bodies’ master antioxidant. There are a few great immune boosters I use often in the kitchen… Yes, just plain food!

  • Oranges, lemons, limes, apples… All a good source of Vitamin C
  • Garlic and ginger are staples as both help to fight bacterial problems
  • Raw pumpkin seeds are a great source of zinc to help get those white blood cells activated
  • Water. Remember to flush those toxins! This time of year, hot non-caffeinated herbal tea or hot water with lemon and a tiny bit of honey

Which brings us to Treatment #11

I’m not sure where the time goes… Our lives are busy with work, planning parties and going to events. Anyone who didn’t know what Alan is going through really wouldn’t know he’s not well.

Alan has now completed his 11th chemo, which means he’s halfway through this regime. Each treatment seems to affect him slightly differently. It seems that 3 days of hydration with saline seem to be too much for his system, throwing out his electrolytes and creating a migraine. So now that we’ve figured that out, we’ll cut out the Thursday saline drip and add some electrolytes in earlier. This just really tells us that the body is ever-changing and no two people are alike; with each treatment, you learn what’s best for you.

Hmmm… Have I told you in past blogs what this type of hydration is used for? It’s an anti-nausea substitute for medication, so it made complete sense to me. Less chemicals and more flushing of toxins and cancerous debris.

Alan’s hair is growing really quickly and getting darker by the day… I think that’s a lack of sunshine as winter seems to be here. I know some thought he bleached his hair, but nope! That was just the sun keeping the grey away. He’s thrilled that he can now brush it and is starting to wonder what his first new hair style should be.

Long hair is not easy to part with… I know from cutting mine in years gone by. But every time I did, I got to experiment with something new! Any thoughts on what he should try first? He’s mentioned a Mohawk?!? Whatever he decides on should be fun… And of course there will be pictures.

I’ll try to be more timely in my posts going forward as I know there are people all over this lovely world of ours wondering how he’s doing. I have to report that he’s a good spirited as always and his positive attitude will get him through this.

Chat soon,

Shannon ❄️

An Autumn Update: What shall we create today?

Good morning world! What shall we create today?!

It’s another early morning start for me. I woke up wondering what I had on today and thinking it was time to get back to writing.

The last 6+ weeks have been busy; Alan’s parents came over from Scotland for 5 wonderful but crazy weeks. I’m not sure what Alan and I were thinking… No sooner had his parents arrived, when we find a property in Peachland that we see potential in. So we put an offer in and list our home… Were we nuts??? Yes, I think so!

If you haven’t moved in a while, think back to all that craziness of making the house ready for showings. Tidying every corner, putting away the clutter, finishing those leftover projects, etc… Our house was never a crazy mess but like most homes the odd pile of paper collected on the counter, reading materials needed putting away, shoes under the coffee table (and they weren’t mine), gardening tools to put back… Sound familiar?

Then there’s showings! All your personal items have to be hidden, sinks polished, floors vacuumed and washed, dog toys away, and then you have to clear out too. That means two trips for us; one to take Lily, our Great Dane, to my son’s house, then we have to find something for us to do… All when we’re meant to be relaxing and enjoying our company who have come all the way from Scotland. Alan’s parents were troopers during their stay and so helpful… Not sure I ever wanted them to see that stressed-out, nutty side of me.

So here we are, the day before the last condition is to be taken off the Peachland property and our house is not sold, nor does it have any firm offers on it… Looks like we’ll be postponing our move. As disappointed as we are, I think we’ll start looking again in the spring and enjoy the little oasis we created here for the time being. Maybe even stay long enough to be part of a Kelowna garden show, as my talented young friend suggested for next year.

Our lives are typically busy with work and family… And of course Alan is still fighting this horrendous disease.

If you’ve been following us and waiting for an update then you’ll be happy to know he’s making steady progress… YAY!

It seems his doctors are amazed at his response to the treatment they are providing and are in awe that he’s working full time, his weight is coming back as he’s eating like a horse, and he’s back paddling. He really looks good.

It looks like I’ll have some free time on my hands as things calm slightly in the fall… It’s time to start creating again.

So what am I planning?

A new course to add to my online courses. It’s always about helping!

This one focuses on how to help our family and friends recover from disease… I’m sure you’re not surprised.

Here’s s few things it will cover:

  • What  foods are the best for recovery and what to avoid
  • How to boost your immune system with foods and nutrients
  • Real food recipes
  • What’s not working… A need for change (is it foods, lack of detoxification, not dealing with a symptom, stress, a mutated gene?)

I’m pretty excited about this as it’s been in my thoughts for too many years and it’s definitelytime to share.

I’ll keep you posted as to its release date.

Off to do a workout – sweat to detox and put stress where it belongs… Behind me!

Chat soon,


Thoughts, Updates & What you can do to help loved ones battling cancer

Thoughts, Updates & What you can do to help loved ones battling cancer

Today is CT day… The first since Alan has started his regime of chemo treatments. He’s pensive but I expect good news from this CT as all the tumours that we could feel have greatly diminished.

As we sit, somewhat patiently, waiting for Alan to be called, a young man with a head injury is wheeled by. He is obviously heavily sedated and it brings tears to my eyes as the memories of Shaydon’s injury flood back. This young man is a complete stranger to me but all I want to do is go hold his hand and to offer some comfort.

This makes me think of all the others with ailments and how this changes their lives and the lives of their loved ones. I hope you’re fortunate enough not to have experienced this but if you have, you’ll know there’s so much emotion and questions attached to any illness or injury.

I remember the questions flooding my mind when my late husband was diagnosed… How did it start? What created it? Lifestyle, poor food choice, poor immune system, radiation from his cell phone? The questions were endless but the most important ones were, How do we make him better? What was the plan going forward and what did we need to change in our lives to make him healthy and whole again?

A need for change always come to mind when someone is sick. Something has gone out of balance and the body is no longer coping. This is a time to clean up and reevaluate where you are in life and what you’ve allowed to creep in. When I think of illness and recovery, I look at what we have control over.

Nutrition & Hydration

What are we using to fuel our bodies and are the foods we’re choosing the best for us or have we become lax with our choices? Are we hydrating with clean, filtered water? Are we taking in enough? So many of us are dehydrated!

What happens to those toxins you’re meant to expel if you’re not providing enough fluids so they flush from your system? You get headaches, aches, pains, constipation, etc. You become a toxic mess.


Some of these ailments can be helped with exercise; did you know you expel toxins when you sweat?

When you’re sick or recovering from an injury, your body may not be strong enough to exercise at first. Often walking up a flight of stairs or just getting cleaned up for the day will seem enough or too much in the beginning. You need to make sure that you’re getting enough rest as this is when our bodies are meant to recover. How do you deal with stress? Do you hold it in or do you have an outlet?

Cleaning and Personal Care Products

Did you know there are so many toxins hiding in these which are not helpful to anyone’s system? Did you know that your skin is your largest organ and anything you put on it is absorbed? Your organs need to process and detoxify whatever is absorbed through your skin. This includes shampoos, soaps, perfumes, cologne, makeup, shaving lotion and cleaning products. I just posted a blog on my favourite cleaning products and I hope this helps you.

As for the rest, health food stores can be helpful but not everything there is clean. You’ll need to do your research. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has lots of information on their site that can help guide you.

Biannual Detox

It’s always helpful to do a personalized spring and fall detox to clean up some of these toxins and prepare for the coming months. As we’re heading back into another school season, this is an important time to get our children, parents and teachers ready for the sharing of germs by boosting their immune systems and doing a little clean up.

Questions that have been on my mind…

With all of my knowledge on how to stay healthy, how did Alan become sick and where did his balance go so wrong? This is the big question I’ve been searching for the answer for. Of course, we have a similar diet and he would argue we eat the same foods, but it’s been in a very different balance. I love my vegetables and I use fruits as my sweets and I hydrate all day long. If you know Alan, you know he loves his chocolate and almost anything sugary sweet. He’s also struggled with his water. Yes, that’s past tense – he’s learning out of necessity! But these things are just a piece of the puzzle and not the whole picture.

Our food choices are very important to our health, but that’s just one important part of staying healthy.

There are so many causes of disease, all of which I will tackle in an upcoming blog. Right now my focus is on recovery, healing and happiness.

How can I help?

“How can I help?” A question I’ve been asked by so many.

We are surrounded with wonderful people, family, friends and neighbours, all wanting to do anything to help. I’ve always struggled with this as I’m rather independent. Finally, this time around I’m accepting help, at least during chemo days. These days are very taxing for my mind even if I take work to distract me.

There are usually so many appointments, consults, tests, hospital stays, etc. for someone who is sick. This is where help is huge! A second pair of ears and separate thoughts bring on questions so that nothing is missed. It can be such an overwhelming time for the whole family and most of us still need to find time to work. Being sick can be expensive and lonely. If you don’t know how to help, sometimes just being there is the best thing you can do. If you live away, then don’t be afraid to pick up the phone.

I remember when Shay was first injured and was heavily sedated or in an induced coma; we all gathered around and talked to him like he was awake. His buddies drove from Kelowna to Calgary to visit, knowing he wasn’t awake to talk to them but to wish him well all the same. We had 3 plus weeks of him in ICU and on constant medical and family watch.

I believe that we need to look out for our own. If you were in the hospital, who would be the first person you would want to see and be comforted by? And who knows you the best but your family.

I want to take this opportunity to thank all of those who have offered and helped during those trying times.


The update

Alan’s results are in! I’m so pleased to share our positive news that most of the tumours have shrunk considerably along with liver enzymes and tumour markers decreasing. With the good comes some bad; there’s a slight increase in his liver and lung tumours but we’re only looking at millimetres. Considering his first CT was 4 weeks before he started treatment, this is really positive news.  

All in all very positive news to share.

So the battle continues…

A Rare Day – Cleaning your home after chemo

A Rare Day – Cleaning your home after chemo

“A rare day…”

This is how my adoptive mother-in-law would describe the last two days of hanging laundry on the line. Of course, Alan’s parents live in Scotland, a much damper climate, and the trade off is the obvious beauty and history that is evident everywhere you look. We are fortunate ourselves for living here in the Okanagan, the beauty here is quite different in my eyes; lakes, wildlife and sunshine. But there’s no comparison with the history of Scotland.

Alan’s parents welcomed me with open arms almost 4 years ago. Me, a complete stranger, they welcomed me into their home and hearts… I truly adore them both.

I call Alan’s mom Nan, my adoptive mother-in-law, as marriage does not look good on Alan and I’ve already had an amazing marriage (something I know I could not duplicate) and we’re happy this way. I do sometimes joke we should maybe have an “Unmarriage” party… Not sure what that would look like, other than that the Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland comes to mind!

Alan’s 4th chemo day has come and gone, and so the cleaning began yesterday; a reason for all the laundry. We all exude toxins in our bodily fluids and this is even worse with chemo running through your veins. The cancer clinic advises you now that everything needs to be washed separately and twice… I always knew this as it made sense, but all those years ago with Tony it was never a concern or conversation that was had.

I’ve always been a clean, neat freak which my family can attest to… Even folding my dirty clothes before being washed. Now I just put them in the basket. I’ve relaxed considerably over the last years. Knowing this, it makes sense that I had a construction cleaning company years ago and that I use only non-toxic, non-chemical cleaning products.

It is so important that anyone fighting any disease have very limited exposure to further chemicals in the home; cleaning products, soaps, shampoos, even cologne and perfume. These are just not helpful to their immune systems. You should also remember this when visiting clinics, hospitals, or an ill family member or friend.

Of course, I have favourite cleaning supplies! They are baking soda/sodium bicarbonate and vinegar. A baking soda paste will clean off soap scum and tarnished metal, while vinegar helps kill bacteria, neutralize chemicals, softens fabric and helps keep static away. Can you see that all my washes include vinegar?

I do have a few basics I use for laundry; unscented laundry powder, borax to keep things white or bright, a natural oxi for stains, and my stand by vinegar. There are many recipes out there for natural laundry soap and fabric softener, all of which I’m sure work great but like many others my time is limited and my basics work for me and help keep the chemicals out of my home.

No, you won’t smell like a chippy*, as Alan once thought. When my son was in Vancouver at GF Strong, there were shared laundry facilities and so much bacteria everywhere. So it was vinegar to the rescue, and thankfully it worked.

Happy natural cleaning!

*Chippy is U.K. slang for a fish and chips shop.

Alan Stirling, The most interesting man I’ve ever met

Alan Stirling, The most interesting man I’ve ever met

Alan is one of those people that captivates you from the moment he opens his mouth and starts sharing one of his many stories. He’s lived more lives than most and experienced so many adventures that it’s hard to believe that he’s only 61-years-old (his birthday is today).

A dear friend had deemed him “the most interesting man I’ve ever met” after getting to know him over the past couple of years and hearing the bits and pieces of his life.

Alan Stirling, Good-Guy Policeman

His stories begin when he joined the police cadets in Edinburgh, Scotland and he earned the nickname Loopy. This was the beginning of many adventures and the start of his career with the police. His parents tell me that Alan has pushed the limits since he was a child and entering the police was no different. Even then, Alan had longish golden hair, but it was not meant to be over the collar. His police career had him in very prestigious responsibilities when he joined the motor brigade. He escorted the Pope and Princess Anne during their times in Edinburgh.

Scotland is a very different world than the one we know in Canada and things are sorted out quite differently there. At the time, police carried only batons, no firearms; only clubs and wits to protect them from thugs, gangsters and altercations… Yes, gangsters still exist, even today.

Alan’s actions as a police officer did not go unnoticed as he was recruited by the government to work undercover. Of course, he couldn’t look like a police officer undercover, so this was the start of his even longer hair, which delighted him.

Alan Stirling, P.I.

His time with the government and police provided the training for his next career choice as a private investigator, which his best friend, Stewart, joined him in. Stirling and Peters Private Investigators was formed in 1991. These two shared a passion not only for the truth and what was right, but also of music… They had a studio below their offices on St. Mary’s Street.

Alan and Stewart were quite successful in business and caught the attention of the BBC, who did a documentary on them.

When Stewart suddenly died from heart problems, Alan was devastated and could no longer go on with the business, shutting the doors to the P.I. business and the recording studio.

Alan Stirling, Nightclub Empresario

Did I mention he also had a night club?!? Well, that continued as he had obligations to the previous owner’s family. When it was eventually sold a few years later, the proceeds went to support the children of the deceased owner.

This kind of action helps set the stage for your understanding of the kind of person Alan is; Rugged on the outside, but so very caring and sensitive on the inside. He’s touched so many lives and is always there to lend a hand or ear… Whatever is necessary.

Alan Stirling, Florist

Flowers were next… Yes, Alan became a florist with no formal training and, like everything else he touched, he was successful. His first shop was on St Mary’s Street, a few doors down from the old P.I. office, but he soon relocated to Glasgow in a hard area called Govan. He then moved to a bigger, more central location in Pollokshields.

When the Iraq war broke out in 2003, the neighbourhood became very tense and it became a dangerous place for a white man to be. It wasn’t long before there was an altercation in the shop and someone threatened Alan’s well-being. He decided it was time for a change and decided that Canada was the place to be.

Alan Stirling, Landscape Designer & Keeper of Fishes

In 2003, Alan immigrated to Canada and found his new calling making the Okanagan beautiful with all of his creations. That’s how Loopykums Pond & Koi came to be.

Through his business, Alan creates stunning landscape designs and water features that enhance people’s enjoyment of the outdoors. Whether he’s building a custom fountain, cascading backyard waterfall, or a harmonious koi pond, Alan always strives to do his best. His crew have been so wonderful during this time and Alan still loves going to work every day!

Tony’s prophecy and blessing

It was years ago… Tony, my late husband, and I were talking about our future. He was still recovering from surgery, an awake craniotomy due to brain cancer, and we both knew that the future had surely changed.

He started talking about how I must go on and be happy without him… Well, I wanted no part of this turn in the conversation, I only wanted to see and hear about recovery. People recover and go into remission all the time… Right?!?

He continued along these lines, saying, “One day you’ll meet someone to take my place and make you happy.”

I’m sure I cut him short… I was happy; worried, but happy. We’d get through this together.

It was a few years and some bad results later that this conversation came up again… “You’ll find someone,” he said. He even mentioned a blonde man…

Fast-forward to 2013 and I’m an emotional wreck. It’s been not quite 3 years since I lost my husband and my son, Shaydon, has been injured at work with a spinal cord injury that is life changing. I’m so happy and elated that he’s alive and well, and sustained no brain injuries. Still, there are going to be some huge challenges.

My son was well on his way with his early recovery and beginning a boot camp for spinal cord injury at Project Walk in Carlsbad, San Diego. I helped him get settled and organised with his personal equipment and daily care aids before I set off for home. I’m sure I wasn’t prepared for what or who was to come next.

And then came Alan…

I met, or rather rescued, Alan at the LAX United Airlines counter. The lady behind the counter had a strong Filipino accent and Alan has a thick Scottish accent… Neither one was able to understand the other!

I overheard this blonde Scotsman say that he was trying to get home to Kelowna… What?! Our previous delayed flight out of Carlsbad, along with a drunk Englishman, had created this mess, so I stepped in and sorted it out. I became the official translator for the conversation and took Alan under my wing as I worked out how we could both get back to Kelowna.

I was not looking for a relationship or another friendship. This is how most things that are meant-to-be begin.

So here we are, not quite 4 years later. Alan, the man who changed my life and allowed me to have emotions again, is sick…

Alan Stirling, Cancer Survivor-to-be

Alan received a call late one Friday night from his GP, a woman in her early sixties that comes across as being very thorough. She wanted Alan to go for another blood test, even though he’d been for several that day. He wrote down the name of the test and proceeded to ask me if I knew what a CEA test was for.

Cancer markers… Yes, I knew and I hoped he wouldn’t Google it; I didn’t want him to worry more and it was bad enough that I knew what she was suspecting.

Knowing that we were now at the weekend and nothing would happen until mid-week at the earliest, I set off to my office to do what I do for so many others… Help them with health issues. I put a homeopathic bowel cancer protocol together and had him start it directly.

The following week, I was in Nelson for a clinic when Alan’s doctor ordered a colonoscopy that was meant to be a few weeks out. Of course, an opening came up while I was away… It was over as quickly as it started. A tumour was found.

I’m over four hours away, feeling helpless, and Alan is scared… Who wouldn’t be? Okay, so it’s a tumour. Now what? Now we wait for a consult with a surgeon and a CT scan. WAIT… Yet again… Thankfully, I’d started Alan on a natural protocol and there were already signs of improvement.

We had friends over one night to discuss our upcoming trip to Scotland and Alan mentioned he was waiting for a CT. Our friend, Frank, questioned why he was waiting at all. Not waiting for our response, he picked up his phone and started texting someone… Within minutes his phone pinged with a reply; his friend could fit Alan in now if we could leave right away. Guess it sometimes pays to have doctors as friends… So off we went.

It seemed like we were there forever, waiting for his CT results. We knew we were dealing with bowel cancer but the CT showed that it had spread into the streets; lungs, liver, lymph nodes, abdominal wall… Fuck!!!

It’s crazy how quickly life can change.

Ok, now we must endure that all consuming sinking feeling again. We were also told surgery was off the table, that chemo was the only option medically open to him. Chemo. Oh my, here we go again. All I could think was “Hold it together, He needs you. These have to be his choices, not yours.”

One of the hardest lessons I’ve learned came many years ago with my late husband; you have to let each person make their own choices when it comes to their health. Even if you don’t agree with them. It’s their journey not yours. Be supportive, as most disease is not only physical but mental as well.

Alan, receiving his chemo treatment on his 61st birthday. Doesn’t this look like an optimistic face that’s going to kick Cancer’s ass?

There is a chance!

Alan wrote a song years ago, There Is A Chance, a phrase that he held onto while our friendship was growing… Even though I kept pushing him away!

There is always a chance for recovery with this disease and all diseases… Our bodies are amazing things.

We were booked to go to Scotland the week after the CT Scan to visit his family… Well, my family too now! His son’s partner was expecting a baby while we were there, the real reason for the trip just as Alan’s season was to start. We were very happy to get the all clear from his oncologist, so off we went with two of our amazing friends.

As with most births, this beautiful baby girl, Penelope, made us wait  for her arrival. Meantime, we stayed busy visiting and with rehearsals. Yes, rehearsals… Alan’s old band, plus two very talented young ladies, were to be putting a gig on at The Voodoo Rooms. Maybe you caught some of my Live footage on Facebook?

Our trip seems like months ago now. Alan is patiently sitting through his fourth chemo as I write this… He’s calling it his poison for his birthday. I’m thankful for all the chatter around his birthday; well wishes, FaceTimes,  etc., as I’m usually losing my mind and any kind of friendliness about now… Becoming that person I don’t even want to know, let alone be.

Tonight is party night at KYC with a wonderful group of friends and family. We’re looking forward to it. A well-deserved night out to celebrate this interesting, loving man.