Monday, May 30, 2005

Art of Healing Retreat

I spent a 3 day weekend last weekend in Madison, CT, attending Bernie Siegel's most recent retreat. We spent time talking, connecting to ourselves, to each other, doing drawings, yoga, making music, getting massages, reiki treatments, reflexology treatments, crying and laughing.

There were several cancer Thrivers there, as well as several therapists who were there to learn more about Bernie's message and methods for use in their respective practices. There were people from Missouri, Michigan, Indiana, Connecticut, North Dakota...... think that's all.

Some of us are cancer survivors, one woman there as a trainee had lost her son to a swimming accident, one of the cancer survivors had lost a daughter to a drive-by-shooting! One man, an airline pilot, was there with a tremendous story of his survival over great odds, and going strong. Another woman was there in what turned out to be her final days. She died two days after the retreat ended. She was 56, had ovarian cancer, and was very, very ill. Her participation was likely for her own emotional comfort, to confess her "sins", and make peace with life. She felt that she had made mistakes in being too critical to others, not offering a hand to help when she could have, and for hurting those she loved. I feel she made peace by talking about her mistakes, but she also helped others by her warning. Love those we are supposed to love. Help others, be kind, and open your heart.

I flew by Angelflight, which is an organization of volunteer private pilots who fly cancer patients to treatment when they can't afford to pay the airfare. I met 4 wonderful pilots, had an adventure, learned a lot about flying, had good conversations, and saw the Good Year blimp. My return trip was my own personal experience with planes, trains, and automobiles,, since I had to take a taxi from Madison, CT to New Haven, CT, then took the commuter train to Stamford, CT, where the pilot picked me up at the train station, drove me to the airport, where we flew to Allentown, PA for fuel, then to State College, PA to meet the pilot for my second leg, who flew me from PA to Lansing, MI. I left at 7am and got home at 6pm, an exhausting, but interesting day.

Today, Memorial Day, I am going to relax, sit in the sun, play with my dogs, and read. I may take in a movie later, and then I have my online support group tonight at 9.

I am thinking today of lost family members. I love you Mother, Daddy, and dear sister Judy. XXXXOOOO

Sunday, May 15, 2005

This is the deal....

I have cancer. Lung cancer. I was diagnosed 9 months ago. I have never smoked. I have been through 6 cycles of chemo, participated in a clinical study, am now on a new targeted therapy drug which has been proven most effective in persons such as myself (non-smoker, woman, young(ish) is Tarceva)

I've struggled, as you might expect, to move forward after the reeling sledge-hammer blow of the diagnosis. Today I feel well, have no symptoms, other than some fatigue, and if I climb stairs or carry something heavy or walk too far too fast, I get short of breath.

My daughter Jill gets married on June 11, and the biggest problem is which of the 2 dresses I bought I should wear.

Next weekend I am going to The Art of Healing Retreat, led by Dr. Bernie Siegel, MD and Ruth Vandenbosch in Connecticut.
It will focus on art and music and it's role in realing, as well as what can be revealed through art. I am kindly being flown by Angelflight from Lansing, MI to Connecticut and back. I will fly in a small plane for the first time, meet the author of the books that changed the way I perceive my illness, meet the wonderful woman who faciliates my online support group, and focus only on my healing and gathering tools to use in managing my life, both spiritually and practically.

Update on Therapet Group:

Newman admits he really wants to be Louis' friend, and he has been surprised at Louis' negativity about getting to know him.
Stewie has told us he wants to go outside more, so we let him sit in the front yard for an hour or two at at time. Since he was an adoption, we don't know his history, but he seems to be Outdoors Savvy. (yes, I know the dangers)
Louis is starting to relax a bit with the other cats, and after 3 months of living in the same house with them, he amazingly only raised his head and looked at Newman when Newman sniffed his foot while he was sleeping. No hissing or anything.
Jack needs more time with me, and wishes he could have more walks, but he's so big and so strong, and my strength just isn't there to do that. I think I've found a place to take him where he can swim, though, and need to do that one of these days.
Pogo is just Pogo. He's less interested in chasing the new kitties, and only does so if Ari does.
Ari is really enjoying being buddies with us. He hangs around me all day, and likes to nap in my room with my dogs.

(I borrowed those from Bernie...thanks, Bernie)

Lynne (wish I could change my blog name...can you do that?)

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Lost Weekend

Just kidding.... I didn't really lose it... I loved it.

I spend a weekend in Traverse City (MI), from which I've recently moved. I visited old friends, old job, and had a great time. I felt as if I'd stepped into my alternate universe.... my other life; my other home. I spent 5 years in the most beautiful part of Michigan, and I am fortunate to have friends there that I can visit. I had a great time at "Mary Lou's Bed & Breakfast", overlooking beautiful Grand Traverse Bay. I was treated like a Queen. I had my own suite, complete with fresh flowers.

It's not quite spring there, and a bit chilly, but the sky was blue, the water was everything from gray to blue to aqua. The water is still a bit low, the air fresh and brisk.

I thought I might be sad to leave there today, but instead I realized that it is still there for me, and now I have THIS home and THAT home.