Cancer

About me and Cancer…..

It seems like it was just yesterday that I got the news from my Doctor.   It was Aug 3rd 2009 and it was the last thing I expected to hear.   My husband had two broken hands and we had one and a half year old twins…how were we going to do this?   We created a community on “Lots of Helping hands” and learded to ask for help!   Just remember that God never gives us more than we can handle…(now if you are in the slightest bit like me, you might be inclined to say, “I sure wish God didn’t trust me so much!!”….)

When I was first diagnosed with cancer no one knew what to say and they just wanted to fix everything.   One of the greatest resouces I found along my journey is the reading below by Rachel Naomi Remen.   I didn’t want people to feel that they had to find a way to fix me…I just wanted them to listen. 

Just Listen by: Rachel Naomi Remen, (Kitchen Table Wisdom)

(one of my favorite reminders)

“I suspect that the most basic and powerful way to connect to another person is to listen. Just listen. Perhaps the most important thing we ever give each other is our attention. And especially if it’s given from the heart. When people are talking, there’s no need to do anything but receive them. Just take them in. Listen to what they’re saying. Care about it. Most times caring about it is even more important than understanding it. Most of us don’t value ourselves or our love enough to know this. It has taken me along time to believe in the power of simple saying, “I’m so sorry,” when someone is in pain. And meaning it.

One of my patients told me that when she tried to tell her story people often interrupted to tell her that they once had something just like that happen to them. Subtly her pain became a story about themselves. Eventually she stopped talking to most people. It was just too lonely. We connect through listening. When we interrupt what someone is saying to let them know that we understand, we move the focus of attention to ourselves. When we listen, they know we care. Many people with cancer can talk about the relief of having someone just listen.

I have even learned to respond to someone crying by just listening. In the old days I used to reach for the tissues, until I realized that passing a person a tissue may be just another way to shut them down, to take them out of their experience of sadness and grief. Now I just listen. When they have cried all they need to cry, they find me there with them.

This simple thing has not been that easy to learn. It certainly went against everything I had been taught since I was very young. I thought people listened only because they were too timid to speak or did not know the answer. A loving silence often has far more power to heal and to connect than the most well intentioned words.”

CREATING A COMMUNITY

This is one of the most important things you can do… create a community to communicate with your friends and family through your cancer treatment.    Great tool used to organize food drop off, driving to appointments, child care and lot’s more.   The best!!

Lotsa Helping Hands

This Website helps you create a free of charge, private, web-based community to organize family, friends, neighbors, and colleagues – a family’s ‘circles of community’ — during times of need. Easily coordinate activities and manage volunteers. In addition to offering you a site where you can communicate and share information using announcements, messages boards, and photos.   http://www.lotsahelpinghands.com/

GROUPS AND ORGANIZATIONS

I have been on two life changing retreats with the Callanish Society and still go to their monthly support group for young adults.  I can not say enough amazing things about the Callanish Society.   It is the most amazing group of women I have ever met in my life!

Callanish Society – is a small, grassroots non-profit organization dedicated to improving the emotional and spiritual health of our communities by assisting families with cancer, and their health care providers, to explore illness and/or death openly and consciously. Weeklong retreats and ongoing support programs are offered by a team of health care professionals and volunteers who believe that communities can develop resilience in the face of illness and healing, loss and death, by coming together in a process of authentic dialogue and in an in-depth exploration of what it means to heal emotionally and spiritually while living with, or dying from, cancer.  They are located at: 2277 10th Avenue West  Vancouver, BC  (604) 732-0633

THE CALLANISH SOCIETY RESOURCE GUIDE – FOR YOUNG ADULTS LIVING WITH CANCER AND THEIR SUPPORTS – http://www.callanish.org/ResourceGuide.pdf (12 pages of resources)

I have had the amazing opportunity to go on two retreats with YACC.   I would recomend these retreats to any young adult with cancer.    It is so nice to meet other young adults going through the same thing and share stories and know that your crazy thoughts are just like theirs. 

Young Adult Cancer Canada – To empower young adults diagnosed with cancer to live and love life.   To build a community of young adults diagnosed with cancer that provides information, support, skills, and opportunity.  Their offices are in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Calgary.

My profile for Young Adult Cancer Canada – http://www.youngadultcancer.ca/community/profiles_archive/shannon_simpson_donohoe

I learned about Inspire Health through a freind that had just finished treatment.  I was so grateful to find out about this organization so early in my diagnosis as they gave me a tone of tools to give “me” some control over my cancer.  The two day life program is amazing!  

Inspire Health (Integrated Cancer Care) –  InspireHealth is a world leader in cancer care. InspireHealth focuses on our patients’ health using an integrative approach that combines nutrition, exercise, emotional and spiritual support with standard cancer treatments.    See more at: http://inspirehealth.ca/

After my first Chemo session I was in and out of the hospital for over one week.   I decided to go see Dr Alison for some acupuncture and two hours later I was eating and drinking for the first time in eight days.  Dr Alison is an amazing Naturopathic Doctor that was very involved in helping me through my treatment.  She never replaced my doctor or Oncologist but was another incredible member of my cancer team.  I had the opportunity to be part of Dr Alison’s introductory video – check it out http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8lS0M10_zHg

NATUROPATHIC DOCTOR

SCIMEDICA HEALTH GROUP – Dr Cai has been such an amazing help from me and my family.   I would recommend her to ANYONE.

Check out:  http://www.scimedicahealth.com/

Fort Langley Integrated Health Clinic – I have head nothing but positive and amazing things about this clinic. Dr. Gurdev Parmar (Naturopathic Oncologist) comes very highly recommended as do all of the other team members. Check them out: http://www.integratedhealthclinic.com/index.htm

MEDICAL INTUITIVE

Harmony Healing Centre –   Thomas is an effective and clear Multidimensional Healer and Medical Intuitive. His skills and abilities to hear and see into the human body for root causes of symptoms continue to expand. He provides clarity to clients who are puzzled by symptoms that no one else is able to identify.   To learn more go to:  http://www.thomas-moore.com/

HOLISTIC MASSAGE THERAPIST

Harmony Healing Centre – Mark Broscheit is an holistic therapist, massage therapist and qigong teacher. He has over 20 years experience and is one of the most amazing massage therapists I have ever been to. He is not your usual massage therapist as he works with energy, tension and elimination of toxins too.

OTHER GREAT RESOURCES / ORGANIZATIONS

Survive and Thrive: Expedition Ltd  –  with Mikey and Bonnie Lang who live in Calgary, AB- their mission is to help young adult cancer survivors identify, process and apply life lessons through adventure activities.  Check them out @  http://www.survivethrive.org/

Rethink Breast Cancer – the young women’s breast cancer movement.  Launched in 2001, Rethink is the first-ever, Canadian breast cancer charity to bring bold, relevant awareness to the under-40 crowd; foster a new generation of young and influential breast cancer supporters; infuse sass and style into the cause; and, most importantly, respond to the unique needs of young (or youngish) women going through it.

Cancer Fight Club – We ‘Fight the Fright’ of young adult cancer by providing the community instant access to the people, resources, and support services that matter.   Check out more @  www.cancerfightclub.com

Arts based support group for young adults with Cancer – I have heard great things about this program.  Check it out at the BC Cancer Agency.

The Thrive Alive Foundation – In case you do not know about this organization, you might want to!  They financially support (up to a maximum amount) a whole range of complementary therapies for people who are low income, and who have cancer.  The support includes naturopathic treatments, massage, acupuncture, counseling and more.  Check out their website to see if you are eligible to apply.  www.thrivealive.ca

The Canadian Breast Cancer Network (CBCN) is a survivor-directed, national network of organizations and individuals. CBCN is a national link between all groups and individuals concerned about breast cancer, and represents the concerns of all Canadians affected by breast cancer and those at risk.  More information – http://cbcn.ca/index.php?pageaction=content.page&id=41&lang=en

BEREAVEMENT CARE

A  friend of mine works for this amazing organization which was started by a young woman with a young family that was diagnosed with cancer.  She wanted to create a legacy and with that came camp Kerry. 

Camp Kerry – A nonprofit organization specializing in bereavement care.  In an ideal world nobody would lose a loved one.  For families that do, we are here to help.  Check it out – http://campkerry.org/history/

LIFE COACH

Lee has been my life coach through my Cancer, Autism and so much more.   It is hard to describe all the support and love she has shown me.   I really can’t say enought amazing things about her.   Anyone could and would be a better person if Lee was in their life. 

Lee Chamberland – Wellness Coach & Inspirational Speaker.  For more information go to: http://www.powerofwellness.com

FOOD IS MEDICINE

I took this amazing food class with a young couple just recently and I have to say that not only was it educational it was eye opening. The class talks about cancer a lot as one of the instructors was diagnosed when she was 25 but really, eating healthy can benefit all of us, and any disease.

Feed life – Pure. Simple. Mindful.  – Advocates for health and designed to help you understand how cancer works and how to STARVE cancer through NUTRITION, LIFESTYLE and MIND-BODY CONNECTION. Check them out at: http://feedlife.ca/

I met Lisa at Inspire Health and she was really great at helping me understand how important food is.   I always knew food was important but I never knew that “Food was Medicine!”  She put together a food plan and shared many great recipies with me. 

Lisa Marie Bhattacharya (Whitaker) RHN –  Check her out a  http://www.eatingitreal.blogspot.ca/

The Gerson Institute – Dr. Gerson’s daughter, Charlotte Gerson, founded the Gerson Institute in 1977, to spread awareness of the Gerson Therapy and make it available to people across the world. The Gerson Institute is the true source of information on the original, proven Gerson Therapy. The Gerson Therapy is a safe, natural treatment developed by Dr. Max Gerson in the 1920s.The Therapy activates the body’s extraordinary ability to heal itself through an organic, vegetarian diet, raw juices, coffee enemas and natural supplements. The Gerson Therapy treats the underlying causes of disease: toxicity and nutritional deficiency. Check it out: http://gerson.org/gerpress/

WATER

Water Matters – Water is one of the most important things you need! Mary at Water Matters can help you with any questions you have. If you have cancer you might want to consider an ionizer to help with your cancer. Check them out at: http://yourwatermatters.com/vancouver-water/

SAUNAS

Radiant Health Saunas (Infrared Sauna) – Randy Gomm is the owner of this company and is a really great guy. Detoxification is very important on so many levels. Learn more about this and check him out at: http://www.radianthealthsaunas.com/

Great presentation from TED – http://www.dailygood.org/more.php?n=4181

Kris Carr was definitely someone who inspired me when I was first diagnosed.   She helped me to see that there is more to treatment than just surgery and Chemo.   I learned a lot from reading her book and her talks about retreats helped me  find The Callanish Society and Young Adult Cancer Canada.

Crazy Sexy Cancer – Kris Carr  tell of her amazing journey of cancer.  Her website is full of great resources and things to inspire you.   Check out her video that you can rent at the local library http://www.crazysexycancer.com/

EXPLAINING CANCER TO CHILDREN

Cancer in my Family –An amazing tool that families can use to help their children explore their feelings, worries and questions around Cancer.  Check it out at – http://cancerinmyfamily.ca

EXERCISE

Live well exercise clinic:  located in South Surrey, British Columbia serving the people living in the cities of White Rock, Surrey, Langley, Delta, Ladner and Tsawwassen.

http://livewellexerciseclinic.com/program/cancer/

Back on track Fitness – provides customized exercise programs for people overcoming a cancer diagnosis. These programs address the many side effects of cancer and its treatments, in order to help individuals regain or surpass their pre-cancer fitness levels. Our exercise therapists are certified as Cancer Exercise Specialists and are extremely knowledgeable in the field of cancer recovery and survivorship. Above all, they are passionate about moving people through all stages of their diagnosis to get, back on track!  For more information go to:  http://www.botf.ca/

DONATIONS…BEWARE

Just want to encourage you to be mindful and do your research before donating to certain “Causes.”  Many of the organizations that do fundraising  events require  a lot of organization.   Much…and sometimes most of the money that is raised goes to administration fees!!!  Personally I like to donate to the Callanish Society where I know 100% of the money goes to sending people with cancer on retreats…and much more.

A friend of mine just recently joined the armyofwomen.org initiative and wanted to share this current ‘Call for Action’ project.  Many people have all been diagnosed with this disease under the age of 40 and it seems there are more and more each day.  The army of women group was started by Dr. Susan Love in an effort to research and find out how to PREVENT breast cancer.  They are working with a huge team of researchers determined to find out HOW it starts and what it is that is causing it in order to stop it from happening it all. (Rather than throwing money at researching what drugs can cure something that has already started).

I just recently watched a documentary called Pink Ribbon Inc. that really got me riled up (for a lot of reasons!). I don’t know if there are many people out there who knew that right now out of all of the funding and money donated for ‘the cause’, only 5% is actually being put towards Prevention Research. And that (this is very upsetting) most of the money raised is going towards ‘Awareness campaigns’. I know I am personally not OK with that. Especially since I think you would have to go to the ends of the earth to try to find someone who isn’t actually ‘aware’ of breast cancer.

If the Army of Women mission interests you and you are comfortable with providing a blood sample here is the link to a study. It’s a current project put on by the army of women to help find more information about breast cancer risk in young women.  Here is the link to sign up for the study: http://www.armyofwomen.org/current/view?grant_id=356

Ride for Hope– is a bike ride that was developed to raise awareness and funds for Canuck Place Children’s Hospice.  The first ride was held on July 4th, 2007 encompassing over 200 kilometers, the ride starts in Morgan Creek, South Surrey and finishes in Hope.  Canuck Place Children’s Hospice, is a health care facility that provides specialized care for children living with life-threatening illness and support for their families throughout British Columbia.   This is organized by volunteers and all the proceeds generated from the Ride for Hope effort are paid directly to Canuck Place Children’s Hospice.

VIDEOS

The Beautiful Truth – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ZmV8b1wr10

Top 10 cancer documentaries:  http://foodmatters.tv/content/top-10-cancer-documentaries-of-all-time

Food Matters – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r4DOQ6Xhqss

The Gerson Micacle – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=obBuQVaynrw

Dying to Have Known – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OEPRoMGidNE

Hungry for Change – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3MvAM97VDE8

Forks over Knives – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O7ijukNzlUg

Food Inc – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rjh5aZKgtSY

Crazy Sexy Cancer – Kris Carr – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=umnbB9QKr2Y

Pink Ribbon Inc – http://www.nfb.ca/film/pink_ribbons_inc/

Cut Poison Burn – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SCmr2OGmMDQ

What the Bleep do we know – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ioONhpIJ-NY

Genetic roulette – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vv96D_ZURzs

Vitamin D Prevents Cancer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TQ-qekFoi-o

BOOKS

Kitchen Table Wisdom – Stories that heal – Rachel Naomi Remen

Healing the Gerson Way – Charlotte Gerson and Beata Bishop

Dying to be me – Anita Moorjani

The Anatomy of Hope – Jerome Groopman

When things fall apart – Pema Chodron

Cancer Smart – The consumer guide by Sean Griffin

Integrated Cancer guide – great book you get from the Life program

The biology of Belief – Bruce Lipton

Molecules of Emotion – Candace B Pert

The four Agreements – Don Miguel Ruiz

How to Ride a Dragon – Michelle Tocher

Tuesdays with Morrie – Mitch Albom

COOK BOOKS

Staying Alive!  Cookbook for Cancer Free Living – Salley Errey

The Cancer Fighting Kitchen – Rebecca Katz

One Bite at a time – Rebecca Katz

Grains of Wisdom – The Callanish Society Cookbook

Julie Daniluk  – Meals that Heal  Check out: https://www.juliedaniluk.com/

 

MUSIC: One of my very favorite songs…moves me every time

Ludovico Einaudi – Einaudi  (Two Sunsets) –  Makes me think of Callanish every time!

http://songs.to/#!pl=7a9ef29084af2607ca6e499501c06cc1aa417ff9

 

 

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