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.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Keeping My Chin Up After My Husband's Death

It's been five months and 10 days since my husband, soulmate and business partner Al Driver died of colon cancer. Stupid cancer! I'm so tired of even thinking about it. So I try not to.

I try to get through the days doing some work for our book publishing company, spending time with family and friends, moving stuff around inside my house, and tending to my flower garden and small, new vegetable garden. I am thankful that it is summertime and I can go outside and take short or long walks or bike rides. I can sit in the backyard and ponder or look at the sky at night and talk to the stars.

A couple of weeks ago, I went for lunch with my dear friend Nadine - my girlfriend soulmate. After lunch, we went to a wonderful local garden centre and perused the aisles before buying a few plants for our gardens. At one point, Nadine pointed out this bench:

I started to cry. Heavily.

I turned away from the bench and my attention was drawn to a wall FULL of signs and sayings.

But I only saw this one:

I burst out laughing. I recognized my husband's wacky sense of humour jumping out at me from the many quaint, tender, and funny sayings on that wall. "Come on, Deana. You can do it!"

Thanks, Hon. I needed that.

Yes, I need to keep my chin up. The days will get better, the evenings will eventually be not as long and lonely, and life will return to a comfortable new normal some day.

Our daughter Lisa Driver, who is a gifted spiritual healer and author, sent me a link to the website of another author and blogger who writes about Second Firsts. I have been encouraged and inspired by Christina Rasmussen's blogs, her social media posts, and her changed attitude toward life after loss. I highly recommend her to anyone who has lost someone dear to them.

As I sit alone in my home-based office, I think of others who have come through this and I know I will do so too.

I will get through this with the help of people like you and my friend Nadine.

Thank you for your continued caring of me and our family.

I will enjoy the rosebushes that I purchased in memory of Al.

And I will keep my sense of humour and my love of life.

I will remember all the good times - and some of the tough times - that I had with my husband during our 42 years together. And I will continue to tell his story for the rest of my life so that no one around me forgets him.

And I will hold onto my faith and know that life will again be good.

Chin up, Buttercup!

Friday, June 10, 2016

Happy Birthday, Never Leave Your Wingman book!

Five years ago, on June 10, 2011, at Relay for Life in Regina, Saskatchewan we unveiled the inspiring, life-changing book Never Leave Your Wingman: Dionne and Graham Warner’s Story of Hope

Since then, much has changed and nothing has changed.

I am Deana Driver, author and publisher of this amazing, laughter-filled true story. I continue to celebrate this book and the people I wrote about – seven-time cancer survivor Dionne Warner and her husband/wingman Graham Warner.
Left to right: Al Driver, Dionne Warner, Deana Driver, and Graham Warner - launching the Never Leave Your Wingman book at Relay for Life, Regina, Saskatchewan on June 10, 2011.

Never Leave Your Wingman has changed thousands of lives with its inspiring messages of hope, love, and living life to the fullest. Thousands of people have changed their outlook when diagnosed with cancer, using Dionne Warner’s first-24-hours approach of “Why Me?” and then shifting it after that first 24 hours to her remarkable “Why Not Me and What Am I Going To Do About It?”

Dionne is still here. In bold, beautiful, living colours! Since the book was launched, Dionne has beaten Stage IV liver, lung and bone cancers - with strength, laughter, courage, and costumes too! She is a walking miracle.


In January 2012, she was pronounced in remission. In April 2012, Dionne went back to her volunteering at the Allan Blair Cancer Centre in Regina, to help give other cancer patients hope and encouragement. Unfortunately, in August 2012, cancer was detected in Dionne's liver. Again. This was the fourth liver cancer diagnosis for her. With typical Dionne feistiness, she was signing Never Leave Your Wingman books with me at the Pasqua Hospital gift shop the very next day. She had not even given herself a full 24 hours this time to let the diagnosis sink in. Her immediate reaction had been: “It’s only one cancer this time, not four. They did not say ‘Stage 4’, and it’s not in my brain – so bring it on!”

Dionne continues to fight this latest liver cancer while continuing to inspire others with her courage, strength, and her story. She celebrated her 50th birthday last October! She’s been fighting cancer for much of the last 20 years! Dionne continues to inspire.

The book’s title comes from a phrase (and philosophy) spoken by Graham Warner, Dionne’s husband. Shortly after Graham wooed Dionne to Regina from Toronto in 2001, she was diagnosed with her third cancer – liver cancer. They were engaged to be married at that time, but Dionne told Graham he did not have to marry her now that she was sick again. She said she would return to her family and her oncologists in Ontario and he could carry on with his life. An experienced pilot, Graham quickly replied: “You never leave your wingman.”

They have soldiered on together since, through better and worse, beating her two liver cancers and her Stage IV liver, lung and bone cancers, and now fighting liver cancer again.

In August 2015, my husband and publishing business partner Al Driver was diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer. On the evening of August 20, Al had an emergency operation for what we thought would be diagnosed as a ruptured appendix. It turned out to be a tumour. Al quickly adopted Dionne Warner’s 24-hour rule and he fought his cancer as long and as hard as his body would allow. Our family shared hope, laughter and much love with him for the next four and a half months. (See my December 2015 blog post about cancer, hope, and love.) Unfortunately, on January 4, 2016, Al passed away. His body could no longer fight. 

But the story and struggle and hope and love still go on.

Much has changed and nothing has changed.

This Never Leave Your Wingman book has been a blessing to many and will continue to be a blessing and a beacon of hope for as long as it exists.

I am proud to say that I wrote it. I am proud to say that I published it. I am proud that we launched it at Relay for Life. I wish everyone at Relay for Life celebrations everywhere the best event they could ever imagine!

Our family will not be participating in Relay for Life this year. It is too soon. Too raw. Instead, we will be gathering to scatter some of Al’s ashes in the Qu’Appelle Valley this Sunday, the day that would have been his 62nd birthday, just a week before Father’s Day. We will celebrate our Al and we will hold dear to the principles in this book. Live life to the fullest, as Al did and as Dionne and Graham continue to do. No regrets.