Day 39: Sometimes warriors retreat… or rather attend retreats

Day 39: Sometimes warriors retreat… or rather attend retreats… and drum circles…

Today was a full day at the Harmony Hill cancer retreat.  I can’t say enough good things about this incredible program.  Now… I am going to keep it real.  I had to get rid of some of my own bias and prejudices and to be honest, I had a moments thought about backing out of this.  This is unlike anything I have ever done in my life.  Group sessions, drum circles, meditation and movement… art sessions.  In fact, looking at the schedule you had to wonder… how does all this come together?  All I can say, is that they do.  Mix in the sense of community and support with fellow warriors and it really is incredible.  I feel fortunate that I am able to attend just prior to surgery and so soon in my cancer adventure.

For those who are reading this and are in this battle, whether you are just starting, in the middle, toward the end of treatment or in remission, I highly recommend checking out this no cost retreat for you and your spouse or caregiver.

They say that each of us creates and fights off about 300 cancer cells per day.  That we are all living with it, but typically our immune system recognizes these rogue buggars and gets rid of them before they become anything.  This weekend has me thinking a lot about stress and immune suppression.  Not that you want to, or should accept “blame” or “shame” in getting cancer, I certainly don’t.  I do see an opportunity to ask myself what I can do better.  It is a learning opportunity.  In fact, the meditation and movement sessions were real eye openers.  I never sit still.  It was amazing to recognize how I felt after that session.

I took care of myself and still do, which is one of those reason I keep saying “how me?”  I am healthy, heck, cancer doctors keep telling me I am healthy.  I exercise, eat mostly organic food, no terrible habits (other than swearing on occasion… don’t hold that against me…).  But something I know about myself is that I find calm in the chaos of activity and quite frankly, I think I am addicted to a certain level of busy… a certain level of activity.  Now, I have a pretty compelling reason to look inward and slow it down a little.  To intentionally breath, to intentionally relax, to intentionally allow myself to find the stillness.

A common theme so far this weekend has really been about attitude.  I choose the word warrior… not survivor.  I have not met a lot of “victims” in my 39 day adventure.  I have met a lot of warriors.  Warriors who understand that the battle is won before it is fought.  Reinforcing that attitude is everything… which is also something my cancer doctors keep telling me.  🙂

#‎strongerthancancer‬ ‪#‎embracingtheadventure‬ ‪#‎killerleftboob‬ ‪#‎hawtrightboob‬ ‪#‎breastcancer‬

Day 21: I am doing a lot of future speak and succession planning.

Day 21: I am doing a lot of future speak and succession planning.

Cashmere Love 2 Brother Loves CashmereFirst I have to say thanks to some amazing people! My mother-in-law Joyce sent me another super fantabulous cashmere hat (modeled below by myself and my brother). Clint liked how soft the cashmere was. I was afraid I wouldn’t get the hat back!

Rock star Jolene sent me “Cooking at Harmony Hill, Recipes for Hope and Healing.” Mom and I are very excited to check out the recipes and I need to take mom and sis for field trip to Harmony Hill.

Amazing friend, fellow warrior and survivor Vanessa sent me “A Breast Cancer Alphabet” which looks like an amazing book! I can’t wait to read it!

My awesome bother and sister brought fresh flowers. Thanks Clint and Jennifer! And mom is getting us ready – she is definitely our project manager!

So much positive energy and love!

So as you guys know – I stay busy in the community and of course when we hear the word Cancer we think awful things. Some of us think this way from personal experience – some because of what we have read – and some is just us processing the information and looking through our own looking glass of our personal coping mechanisms. I spend a good amount of time on succession planning and in fact I told a friend my life is a long series of if-then-else statements right now because I don’t have all the data. For example: *If* MRI shows right boob is clear of cancer *then* I have a decision to make *else* decision is made for me. Pretty much everything in my life is like that right now.

Had a long conversation with a wonderful collaborator as we were looking at future projects and they were concerned with pain and me needing months away to recover. Reality is that I am going to be in pain for about the next year and a half. If I am lucky we are talking just three surgeries over the course of the year-year and a half. *If* Cancer in sentinel lymph nodes *then* more surgery *else* celebrate.

My personal value is derived from my work ethic and working in the community to help strengthen our community. I know I will be in the hospital post surgery but once I am out of that initial surgical fog I have to be busy or I will be climbing the walls.

I don’t know if this is a “small town” thing but businesses and community partners have just been amazing. Everyone has been supportive and accommodating. I am just blown away.

Super cool thing? Yesterday actually felt like a good productive day! No doctor appointment interruptions. Looking forward to another one of those today!

‪#‎strongerthancancer‬ ‪#‎embracingtheadventure‬ ‪#‎killerleftboob‬ ‪#‎hawtrightboob‬ ‪#‎breastcancer‬