I recently went to a cancer retreat full of women who have been impacted by the disease. We were all at different stages of our journeys and it was a pretty eye opening experience. There were people who were able to say that cancer is now in their rear view, and others who were in late stages of cancer.
One woman had recently been put on hospice. She was probably the most positive and at peace with her journey out of all of us. She told me how she had been planning her funeral and she was excited about a list of songs that she came up with for her family to play in honor of her life. For example, she said (in a joking but stern voice), her family better play that song by P!nk. You know, the one that goes, “I’m coming up so you better get this party started!” I couldn’t help but laugh when she said that and as sad as I had been at the start of my conversation with her, I ended the conversation with a different outlook. She was content with the life she lived and it was such a touching conversation that really put things into perspective.
Back to the retreat- It was at a really cute spot right by the ocean in New Jersey called “Mary’s Place by the Sea.” I wanted to share a little more about it because it was a great program for women who have been or currently are going through cancer and by the way, it was totally free! (Click HERE to check out their website. I can’t recommend this program enough so if you’re a woman going through cancer I encourage you to look into it or share with someone who this may benefit. Let me know if you have any questions and I’m happy to share more about my experience!)
I actually went with my mom who, as many of you know, is fighting thyroid cancer. There were two other people who came together as well, but most people came without knowing anyone. We all became like family by the end and I just can’t recommend it enough! Volunteers cooked us breakfast and lunch each day and provided a few activities which, again, were free of charge. Some things that guests could choose from included an oncologic massage, reiki sessions, guided imagery, or counseling.
One of the workshops I attended was called “expressive writing” and I loved it. I left feeling a renewed desire to get back to blogging, but also frustration with where to start. During the class I told the instructor how much I had loved writing while I was undergoing chemotherapy and how therapeutic it had been, but that I really struggle with writing now.
She talked about writer’s block and said that many times it’s not a result of us lacking information to write about, but it’s our mind’s way of blocking us from thinking about anything that may be a bit traumatic. BINGO! Cancer was traumatic and just reading my old blog posts will bring me to tears sometimes. No wonder I’ve been keeping my distance from my keyboard. She also told us how important it is to work through that block instead of giving into it She gave us some writing exercises to help work through those blocks and I feel like it was an invaluable session.
I wanted to just put this out there for everyone who takes the time to read my blog because I appreciate each of you so much. I’ve decided that this is something I need to get back to for my own mental wellness, but mostly because I want to keep sharing things that may be helpful to others, whether you’re going through cancer or not. I plan to jump back in full force and get this blog up and running again. I have to start somewhere, so here it is; My new (and sunny) era!
Stay tuned for more consistent posts, but in the meantime, you can subscribe using the prompt below and you’ll get an email whenever I post a new blog. No spam or annoying newsletter, I promise!