Vulnerability is a very good thing – especially when you have cancer

Vulnerability is a very good thing – especially when you have cancer

Sometimes you have to hit bottom to transform your life. It is a common theme in the 12-step recovery program, and it seems to have applied to me lately. The other night I was experiencing what could be called the dark night of the soul. A lot of scary and depressing things were happening at once: 1. My oncologist confirmed my scans showed progression. She is starting me on a new trial, which looks promising (will explain in next week’s post), but it was hitting me that I am again in uncharted territory. 2. I had just returned from a trip to see a friend who is suffering and dying. 3. To top it off, I was sick from and run down from all my traveling, suffering with a cold, nausea and a pulled shoulder muscle. I had one of those “I want my mommy...

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The Grace Project: A portrait of beauty, courage in face of cancer

The Grace Project: A portrait of beauty, courage in face of cancer

“Mom’s posing naked!” my husband Mike jokingly shouted out to my daughter like a bratty little brother. Those are three words I never think I’d hear, but it was true on some level. This weekend I was inspired by a photographer and group of women who bravely bared their mastectomy and lumpectomy scars for an amazing exhibition called The Grace Project, led by award-winning photographer Isis Charise. Inspired by the iconic Venus de Milo and the journey of a close friend who passed away from breast cancer, Isis’s mission is to help breast cancer survivors feel beautiful and whole because, not in spite of, losing parts of themselves to cancer. At a special cocktail hour and exhibit, which also featured wonderful author and screenwriter...

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Shades of gray … lessons from Lance Armstrong ordeal

Shades of gray … lessons from Lance Armstrong ordeal

One thing I learn as I get older and — hopefully — wiser, is that life is not all black and white. There are lots of gray areas. Nobody or no thing is all bad or all good. It may make us feel better for a while to categorize things in neat little packages, but eventually it can make us bitter and disillusioned. This has been true in my life, especially with the addiction and mental illness in my family. I remember when I started examining my past as a young adult, I would make sweeping declarations:”my childhood was terrible,” and, “I had awful parents.” I was mad as hell and wasn’t going to take it anymore! If I told you my story, you might agree, but it doesn’t take into the account the good. So I learned to...

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Healing: the miracle of transformation

Healing: the miracle of transformation

I had a trans-formative experience this weekend. I felt a significant shift in my thinking, my feeling. And it couldn’t have come at a better time. Back in November, the spiritual center we attend, New Thought Unity Center, held a silent auction. On a whim before the bidding was closed, I bid on a one-on-one healing session with Gary Pennington, a local healing practitioner. Typical to form, my life got busy and I didn’t take advantage of my session until this weekend. After my brother passing away suddenly and the flurry of events following, I decided I needed some serious healing. If you’ve been following my blog, you know that I firmly believe in the body-mind-spirit connection. I have always thought having cancer was a symptom of many...

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Finding strength, meaning in traumas of the past

Finding strength, meaning in traumas of the past

Last week I had the honor of being interviewed by Angela Schaefers, a remarkable, fellow  stage IV survivor; for her radio show Your Story Matters. Angela, a former counselor and career coach, created the radio show to share her and other’s stories of overcoming challenges from cancer to domestic abuse and addiction. One of her questions struck me as particularly insightful:  Were there events in my childhood that attributed to my perseverance as I heal from cancer? I’ve read a lot about how past traumas can often contribute to having cancer. It was the first question a naturopath asked me, who said there always seems to be a traumatic incident before a diagnosis. Recently, researchers at the University of Toronto confirmed that physical abuse as a...

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