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.

Thursday, April 9, 2020

9-time Cancer Survivor Gets Good News

In 2011, I wrote (and published) the book Never Leave Your Wingman: Dionne and Graham Warner's Story of Hope. Dionne is one of the most remarkable, inspiring, fun-loving, hope-filled people I know.

Author/publisher Deana J. Driver with Dionne and Graham Warner, June 2011 

When I met Dionne in June 2010 to begin interviewing her and Graham for the book, Dionne was battling Stage IV liver, lung, and bone cancers - her fifth, sixth and seventh cancer diagnoses. She'd already beat breast cancer, brain cancer, and two bouts of liver cancer. With these latest cancers, she had been dressing in different costumes each week and dancing into her chemotherapy treatments, with her wingman (her husband Graham) similarly attired and dancing beside her. They brought hope and laughter - and occasional looks of confusion - to everyone they met during the 77 treatments and themes that occurred by the time the book was published in June 2011.

Some of the "themes" Dionne created for her chemotherapy treatments in 2009 to 2011

Dionne's story has inspired and helped thousands of people around the world and it has been my honour to write and publish book to share our mutual goal of spreading that hope.

And her story continues.

A few months after the book was published, Dionne went into remission. No more Stage IV cancer in any part of her body. To say that everyone was astounded and thrilled is an understatement.

How could this be, you might wonder. For starters, Dionne has a remarkably positive attitude - before, during and after cancer. She lives her life to the fullest in every moment of every day and encourages all of us to do the same - whether we are ill or not. Dionne also has a body that responds well to therapy treatments. She jokes that Heaven is not ready for her yet, but when it is her time, she will be bringing her own radiation-lit, disco-ball body with her! Dionne also received some unique treatment therapies in a hospital in Tijuana in 2010 and she changed her diet as part of that treatment too. (You'll have to read the book for more details.)

Unfortunately, in April 2012, cancer returned to Dionne's liver and she began treatment again. 

A few years later, Graham was diagnosed with cancer in his abdominal area. He successfully underwent surgery to remove the tumour and was cancer-free at his one-year checkup. As Dionne would say, "Woo Hoo!'

Still, how much more can a couple take? Well, these are the Warners ... so the answer - even though no one wants it to be this way - is "a lot".

Dionne had been taking various treatments since her Spring 2012 liver cancer diagnosis, but about two years ago, tumours appeared in her hips and other parts of her body. She has since had several different treatment regimens for these tumours, with differing amounts of success. Hundreds and hundreds of people - whom she calls her Earth Angels - continue to send best wishes, prayers and love to help her fight this evil disease.

And now for the latest news of her cancer journey...

Earlier this week, Dionne received a phone call from her oncologist to come in to his office to hear the results of the latest CT scan. She had not expected a call so soon after the test, so she was nervous. Not to mention having to take her immune-compromised body to the hospital again during these COVID-19 times.

"My oncologist wanted to share the news he had for me sooner rather than later," Dionne reported. "He shared with me that all of my tumours have shrunk.   I had him repeat it more than once as I was in complete and utter shock. Not just one tumour but all and trust me, ,there are a lot. The new chemo regime along with your love, support and continued prayers, Earth Angels, are working. Woo Hoo! "

When I asked Dionne if I could share her amazing, fantastic news, she replied in the affirmative.

"Let's continue to give others H💜PE, I say."

Absolutely, Dionne. And Woo Hoo a thousand times over!

Dionne and Graham Warner in April 2020. Bottom left, she's wearing a handmade mask to go to the hospital to hear from her oncologist.

And just in case you need another dose of happiness and laughter during these uncertain times, here's a video I took in 2011 of their amazing "flappers" theme. Enjoy.

** You can purchase the Never Leave Your Wingman book from SaskBooks and pay no shipping in April 2020. All sales from this bookstore of our provincial publishing group organization will go directly to the publisher members - in this case, my DriverWorks Ink publishing company.