Publishing stories of fascinating Prairie People and Unsung Heroes

Welcome to the blog of Deana Driver - author, editor, and publisher of DriverWorks Ink, a book publishing company based in Saskatchewan. We publish stories of inspiring, fascinating Prairie people and unsung Canadian heroes - written by Prairie authors including Deana Driver. We also publish genres of healing and wellness, humour, children's fiction, and rural poetry. Visit our website to learn more about our books.

Monday, December 21, 2015

About Cancer, Hope, and Love

Hello, dear friends and supporters of our family and DriverWorks Ink publishing.

I am sorry to say I have some sad news to share with you.

My beloved husband and publishing partner, Al Driver, went into surgery around 9 p.m. on Thursday, December 17th. The purpose of the surgery was to get rid of the blockage in his bowel that has been causing him pain and preventing him from eating since he went to the hospital on Monday, December 7th. Around midnight on Thursday, he went into the recovery room after the surgery.

On Friday, December 18th, the surgeon (who also did Al's first surgery on August 20th and found the Stage IV colon cancer with a spot on his liver) told us that this bowel blockage was caused by multiple tiny tumours that have adhered to Al's bowel and are too small to show up on a CT scan. She could not remove the tumours because they are too attached to Al's bowel and she would have to cut the tumour or his bowel, which are not good options.

The tumours are on the site where the cancer was removed in August. There are also tumours on the lining of his abdomen. There was nothing the surgeon could do from a surgical perspective so, after three hours of exploring and trying to come up with a way to solve the problem, she closed Al up again because nothing more could be done.

The surgeon then spoke to Al's oncologist, and the oncologist said that neither chemotherapy nor radiation therapy are options. So there is nothing more that can be done. Al described it as “our last hope was severed.” Blunt but true.

Since Friday afternoon, our family has been reeling from this news but we are quickly gathering our strength (remembering Dionne Warner's 24-hour rule) to make Al’s last days on this earth as comfortable as possible. He has moved from surgery and oncology into palliative care, which focuses more on the comfort of the patient and quality of life rather than healing and curing.

He is in discomfort physically at times and last night, we were told he only has days left on this earth. 

Our hearts are breaking, but we know he will always be with us. God just needs another angel to spread love and hope in the world. Our Al will do that in his fine, deeply compassionate, humour-filled fashion.

Mentally, he is at peace with the situation. Unfortunately, he has had a lot of time to think about this possibility during these past four months of illness. He is hoping to be strong enough to be released from the hospital in the next few days so he is able to spend Christmas at home with our family. We will do everything we can to help him fulfill that goal and any others he has set. He is a strong, brave, wonderful man. We will cherish the moments we have left with him.

It occurred to me this past weekend that Al and I are "story people" so, without Al's knowledge but with the blessing of our children, I invited people to share a favourite story or memory they have of Al and/or what he has meant to them ... so that Al can enjoy these special memories and sentiments while he is alive. 

I called this a “submission request,” just as we have done with some of our anthologies. Ha ha! We plan to later compile these memories for our children, grandchildren, and family members yet to come. Everyone is welcome to share a story about Al. You can send your "Submission About Al" to me via the email address on our web page. Thank you in advance. 

As has been our desire all along, you are welcome to share this information about Al's health with others so they too can keep Al and our family and friends in their prayers.

We cherish all of you who have supported us, our family, and our publishing business. Thank you.

At the hospital with our son Dave and
our daughters Dani (left) and Lisa. 
My Al is a flawed human being, just like the rest of us, but his human frailties are far outweighed by the good he has done and the wisdom, love, caring, and compassion he has extended to others - especially me. That's what has come across loud and clear by all who have responded with a submission so far. It has been very special to read these stories and tributes to Al, enabling him to once more inject his quick wit and to verbally edit the remarks to make the facts fit the situation - as he remembers it! These memories have brought many smiles to him and us, and we have laughed and laughed and laughed these past two days!

Despite these being among the darkest days of our lives, we wish you and your family a happy holiday season. 

We plan to enjoy these next few hours, days or whatever time we have with Al. Cancer may take his life,  but there is so much that it cannot do.

What Cancer Cannot Do
Author: Unknown

Cancer is so limited...
It cannot cripple love.
It cannot shatter hope.
It cannot corrode faith.
It cannot eat away peace.
It cannot destroy confidence.
It cannot kill friendship.
It cannot shut out memories.
It cannot silence courage.
It cannot reduce eternal life.
It cannot quench the Spirit.

Take care.

In love and peace,
Deana and family


  1. Linda GunninghamDecember 21, 2015

    My most regular contact with All was at the Conference AGM, where, as floor manager, he was always on top of everything, always smiling, and always able to calm me down if things got crazy. He will be deeply missed by so many people, especially when we gather in Regina next June. May these last few days together be a time of peace and blessing for you all.
    Linda Gunningham

  2. I will miss Al's incredibly dry wit and his huge heart. I will miss watching him tease Dexter. Al's jokes were always told with this huge twinkle in his eye - very contagious - couldn't help but laugh along with him. He was so incredibly proud to be a grandfather and absolutely loved talking about his family. So even though I didn't know any of the rest of you - I certainly heard about you through the eyes and heart of Al. Take very good care of each other - and savour each moment as it arrives. Strength to all of you - and thanks so much for the gift of this post...Kathy Platt

  3. I only met Al one time at Lisa's wedding, but as we watched him dance down the isle both my husband and I said "what a happy man, we want to be just like that when our kids get married." It was a powerful memory and I know that Al will have spread more love and kindness then can be imagined...Lots of Love Clara

  4. Todd MalagrideDecember 21, 2015

    Uncle Al is always the life of the family gatherings. Either I would be in stitches from his jokes, his witty comments, or his unbeatable tickles. I believe his sense of humour and positivity has rubbed off on me in a positive way and he is always able to put a smile on my face. I love you Uncle Al, thinking of you guys constantly.

    Todd Malagride

  5. I met AL only 1 time at his beautiful daughter Lisa's wedding, however being close friends with Lisa and hearing all the stories, history, and witnessing the kind of person Lisa was, there was no doubt in my mind that when I finally met AL that one time, that he was exactly what Lisa said. Nothing short of caring, loving, funny, quick witted and so much more. The love that came from AL (and the rest of the family of course) was so abundant, pure and honest that it was unmistakeable; from the smile on his face that day, to the sparkle in his eye, an amazing man you are! Lisa does and will always exude that part of her daddy everyday.You are such an inspiring family, and i am so blessed to know you.So AL and family, be strong, be brave and never forget to love always. You will be in the hearts of all forever.

  6. Dear Al and Deana,
    I was shocked to learn of Al's recent setback. Al..I remember you as the nerdy kid at Coronation Park and the blondie at Thom collegiate. You were on the football team and in Thomfoolery.
    I would meet you on the walking path our conversation was always interesting and long. When I shared my story of my cancer journey, you and Deana were both good listeners.
    I enjoyed our brief visit in the hospital after your first surgery. I have been praying each and every day since that day and hoping beyond hope that your cancer would go into remission.
    Your caring personality has touched many people. Your love for your wife and family was so evident this summer ... they will miss you.
    May God wrap you in His arms at this stage of your life. You are so young and don't deserve this, but your faith has made you strong.
    Thy Will be Done.

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  8. Yooo Driver....remember the 6am morning and you hovering over me while I have my exacto knife out? Annnnndd "REPLAAAATE!" I won't forget those good ol' days. I know you will be an Angel in Heaven looking out for us earth people....until we meet again my friend...Biggest Hug...God Bless. Shannon Dean

  9. Dear Al and Dean, Wayne and I are so very sorry that Al is going to leave your family so soon. Wayne recalls Christmas's with their families, one year at the Lewis' and one year at the Drivers. All the "kids" had great fun, and I know Uncle Bill Driver was a real kidder and loved to goof around with the whole bunch of the kids. I remember when I joined the family in 1968, we still went back and forth, and then as the families grew, the houses just couldn't hold us all at supper, but the families still got together to visit over the holidays when they could. Ellen would tell us some hospital stories...we all would laugh. It was a good family with lots of memories. God must have a plan in place, and I know Al will be welcomed by the members of our families who have gone on ahead, and I know they will have room at the table to tell stories again. Hugs to you both and to Aunt Ellen. Wayne and Donna

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  11. An important legacy we all wish we could leave is that we have loved, taught and inspired others. Al has done those and much more. He has supported, entertained and comforted.

    Some of us have fond memories of Al's ministry to the United Church and particular Saskatchewan Conference. We remember that he "wrote the book" on being a floor manager. I most admire him for taking on the job of an administrative support in conference office.

    But the compliments to Al apply equally to Deana. You might say they were both in the driver's seat. This is a power couple who have made their mark in the community the way few have.

    May God be with you on this journey.

  12. Dear Al, Deana, Lisa, Dani, and Dave
    This was not the news I wanted to hear. I had not heard from you for a while and I dreaded and suspected why that was.
    Al, I shall miss our breakfasts at Sal's in Winnipeg. We had so much fun and laughs. And you paid. Your wit and charm will always be with me. One of the best memories I have of you and Deana is a day when Deana and I were arguing with Hal, my computer, and you were left to deal with Oliver and Maudie. You took the very best picture I have of Oliver. I do thank you for that, dear heart.
    To all of you, including Al's mom, my heart, soul, and prayers are with you.
    Deana, please stay in touch.
    Love from the bottom of my heart,

  13. Al, do you remember the time you, Bob Campbell and I were driving back from Arcola from a planning meeting. It was the same day they were choosing a new Pope. I said to you and Bob, if a helicopter flies over and attempts to land, pull over and let me out. The boys from the Vatican were coming to pick me up. You guys laughed and laughed. After that you started to call me Your Holiness and that continued to happen everytime I see you. Al, you are a great guy, someone who wears your faith on your sleeves and just makes people feel great no matter what. May your journey be peaceful and full of love of family, friends and community. You are blessed my friend.

  14. Al always loved to kibitz with the fellows in the sports department. When I started my short career with the Leader-Post, little could I or anyone else know what an integral part of my life he would become. Somewhere down the road (I tend to be verbose so I'm trying to keep this short) I was diagnosed with gallstones, which in those days meant the removal of your gallbladder not today's simple correction of removing the stones. Enter Al. One Sunday night I started to have minor pains which meant there was a pending uprising in my lower abdomen--I would need to get to the hospital. I told Scott Schill, sports editor at the time, and he said he'd get someone to drive me. I immediately said it wasn't necessary--I could drive myself. And then in walked Al who just said, "my car's this way". And before you could say "Bob's your uncle" we were on our way. Al should have the nickname given to the main character in Rudyard Kipling's book Kim which was "little friend of all the world" because this is what he is to those of us who God chose to know him. He has an immeasurable amount of love for all and he is always fun to be with. All of us who know Al must continue to do our best to spread love and fun to those we meet. This will show Al that the gifts he so willingly shared with us will continue to carry on like the ripples that spread out from water that has had a rock dropped into it. Love to all, Dave Ward.

  15. I love your very loud and contagious laugh Al, and I am also in love with my theron fleury rookie card. Thank you very much kind sir