Cancer Care

“The human spirit is stronger than anything that can happen to it.”
— C.C. Scott

Me & Cancer

It seems like it was just yesterday that I got the news from my Doctor. It was August 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 learned to ask for help! Just remember that God never gives us more than we can handle (now if you are 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 resources 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.

Here is 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 a long time to believe in the power of simply 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."

Rachel Naomi Remen (Kitchen Table Wisdom)

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. This can be a great tool used to organize food drop off, driving to appointments, child care, and lots more.

Meet 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.

Groups & Organizations

Groups and organizations can be very helpful during your cancer journey – I know they were for me. Below are some of my suggestions.

Callanish Society

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 – +1 (604) 732-0633.

Young Adult Cancer Canada

I have had the amazing opportunity to go on two retreats with YACC. I would recommend 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, Alberta.

My YACC survivor profile.

Inspire Health

I learned about Inspire Health through a friend 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) –  Inspire Health is a world leader in cancer care. Inspire Health focuses on our patients’ health using an integrative approach that combines nutrition, exercise, and emotional and spiritual support with standard cancer treatments.

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.

Interested in learning more or need some help?

Naturopathic Doctors & Support

Naturopathic practitioners are highly trained healthcare providers who specialize in supporting the body’s natural ability to heal.

SCIMEDICA Health Group

Dr. Cai has been such an amazing help to me and my family. I would recommend her to ANYONE.

Visit SCIMEDICA Health Group online.

Integrated Health Clinic

Fort Langley Integrated Health Clinic – I have heard 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.

Visit Integrated Health Clinic online.

Cinnabar Health Ltd.

Formerly known as the Harmony Healing Centre – located in White Rock, BC.

Medical Intuitive

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.

Holistic Massage Therapist

Mark Broscheit is a holistic therapist, massage therapist, and qigong teacher. He has over 20 years of 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.

Visit Cinnabar Health online for more information.

Other Resources & Organizations

Naturopathic practitioners are highly trained healthcare providers who specialize in supporting the body’s natural ability to heal.

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.

Visit Cancer Fight Club online.

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.

Visit Thrive Alive online for more information.

The Canadian Breast Cancer Network

The 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.

Visit The Canadian Breast Cancer Network’s website.

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.

Visit The Gerson Insitute online.

Kris Carr

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 tells her amazing journey of cancer. Her website is full of great resources and things to inspire you.

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.

Visit the Lumara Grief & Bereavement Care Society’s website to learn more about Camp Kerry and more.

Life Coach

Lee Chamberland – Wellness Coach & Inspirational Speaker.

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 enough amazing things about her.   Anyone could and would be a better person if Lee was in their life.

Visit powerofwellness.com to learn more about Lee.

“Cancer didn’t bring me to my knees, it brought me to my feet.”

– Michael Douglas

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.

Visit Water Matters’ website.

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 online.

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 about Cancer.

Visit Cancer in my Family’s website for more.

Exercise

So important for your mind, body, and soul!

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.

Visit Live Well’s website.

Back on Track Fitness

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!

Visit BOTF’s website for more information.

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.

Dr. Susan Love

A friend of mine just recently joined the armyofwomen.org initiative and wanted to share this current ‘Call for Action’ project.  Many people have 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 at 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 please visit their website and contact them for more information.

The Ride for Hope

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 illnesses 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.

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