fter being diagnosed with cancer, Limore Twena began recording an album. She performed recently at the Mod Club Theatre in Toronto and raised around $14,000 for cancer research.
“I coined the philosophy, ‘aggressive positivity,’ and what that means is that when you are faced with a challenge and you get slapped in the face with something really hard, the first thing you have to ask yourself is, are you ready to face it?” said Twena.
The 41-year-old wife and mother of three young children was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2016. “The first question I asked my doctor was, ‘Will it affect my voice?’ When the doctor said, ‘No, it shouldn’t,’ I announced: I’m recording an album,” she said.
Twena, who was trained in opera, studied in England with Kenneth Bowen, who taught Spanish tenor Placido Domingo, and in Los Angeles with Seth Riggs, Michael Jackson’s voice teacher.
“I started taking voice lessons when I was 16. When I lived in L.A., I wanted to be the female Andrea Bocelli,” said Twena.
Throughout 2017, she was undergoing treatment for her cancer.
“During my diagnoses, I created a body of music, in order to uplift myself,” she said. “Two days after my first chemo treatment, I was writing Alive, and a week later, I recorded it.”
Alive, which details her journey, quickly became a viral success on Facebook. Alongside her treatments, pain, stress and exhaustion, Twena worked each week with Canadian recording artist Kayla Diamond.
“With Kayla’s help, I wrote the entire album Alive that I released (last) September,” said Twena.
Alive is a collection of seven contemporary pop songs: Alive, Burning Lights, Think Good, Tear Me Down, All The Same, Thank You and It’s Over.
There was no stopping Twena’s determination. “The day before my mastectomy, I was in the studio for four hours. Four days after my surgery, I was on stage at Israel Day with drains hidden in my jacket,” she said.
On her last day of radiation treatment, she was given an information booklet.“I wrote the song, It’s Over, on top of that radiation sheet and recorded it a few days later, with a video one week after that,” said Twena.
“People go through denial, anger and finally acceptance,” she said of her illness. “Once you are ready to accept the situation, then you’ve got to flip it. My way of flipping it was to say, ‘I’m not sick – I am healing,’ and ‘it’s not chemo – it’s medicine,’ and ‘it’s not surgery – it’s that they are saving my life.’ ”
She said that the next step is to take an aggressive action to support a new way of positive thinking:
“You must find the thing that you love the most that fills you up and then you have to schedule that thing in such a way that you are constantly looking forward to it. What do I love the most? My family and singing!
“Aggressive positivity doesn’t mean that everything is cherry-coated, bright and sunny. It’s the ability to see those challenging moments and say, ‘hey, wait a moment,’ and take a deep breath and find a way to flip it and a way to overcome it.”
For example, she said that she cut her “hair short, so my kids could get accustomed to the fact that mommy doesn’t have long hair anymore. Then I started showing them videos of farmers sheering sheep and as I am explaining what the farmers are doing and why, my kids said, ‘Ema, that’s so cool!’ I said to them, ‘Guess what? You are going to do that to Ema. There is going to be a sheep-sheering day, but you are going to do that to me.’ We put on music and we laughed as my kids gave me a Mohawk.”
Twena is in the final stages of completing a book called Aggressive Positivity, with a goal of inspiring others like her.