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That Nasty "C" Word We All Hate

Updated: May 3, 2020

Cancer simply isn’t a nice word. It doesn`t roll of your tongue nicely – it sounds wrong and there is simply nothing good about it. I lost my father when I was 18 to a malignant melanoma. At the time, I didn’t really understand those words but sadly – over time – I have learned what those words meant due to so many others around me being diagnosed and fighting their battles with this nasty word. Sadly - I need more than 2 hands to count the number of people I have watched fight this battle. Some with success and others not, but all with dignity and pride. My father was diagnosed when I was in grade 12 and we lost him when I was in my first year of university in February. It was not a great time in my life and not a journey I wanted to repeat, nor have anyone I love repeat. He was a doctor, a family man, and a well respected man, who spent his life helping and healing others. Mostly, he was my dad. I love and miss him daily, as do all of those who knew him.

I have 3 sisters. All older and all living in various cities. Receiving the call from my sister Sue, telling me she had that nasty word, was a day I will not forget. You know you need to stay positive, and you need to be strong for the person you are supporting but you are instantly angry and fearful. Sue had her first biopsy in October, 2014. Keith, Sue's husband, and herself left to Peru to hike the Inca trail shortly after. Sue went with the mantra "It is was it is, I can't change it, always be positive." When she came home they learned the first breast was non invasive. Her second biopsy was in December. The second breast was invasive. Her surgery was scheduled for Jan 23, 2015 in which she had both breasts removed. January 24 is my sister's birthday. She arrived home on her birthday from her surgery. A day I know she will never forget. This was a journey I never wanted another family member to venture on. Sue is a nurse, a care giver, a wife, a mother of 2, a yogi, and just an amazing person. I just didn’t think this was fair. Sue has always had an amazing attitude and a healthy respect for mind, body, and spirit. She started this journey with a clear and positive mind. With the amazing support of her husband, Keith and their two strong children, Tasha, and Mark to walk each step along this path, Sue was ready to fight and ready to win. She had both breast fully removed and then a number of cycles of chemo therapy. Luckily, radiation was not required. Being a nurse, her understanding of the path that laid in front of her was very real to her and all too clear. As I mentioned above, Sue is a yogi. She is an instructor and a leader. Her practice became something very sacred and therapeutic to her. It allowed her to connect with her body and stay in tune with her mind, and body as she was changing. She would tell me there were days where she was so exhausted when she was climbing to the top deck at the cabin, she would need to rest on the way. She couldn’t even get up the full flight of stairs without an unexplainable sense of exhaustion. The concept of normality simply gone. Her digestion, sleep patterns, mobility, mindset, and body was changing so drastically from the chemo, meds, and surgery. I have always appreciated being in touch with oneself. Through whatever movement, belief, or practice inspires you. As Sue travelled this path, she dove deeper into her yoga practice. She practiced in one form or another every day. Independent practice, and group practice. She taught and inspired others and allowed others to inspire and teach her. Embracing the mobility it started to bring back to her shoulders. The breath it brought to her lungs, and muscles around the ribs that had been cut from the surgery. The lengthening it brought back to the areas where scar tissue had developed and restricted even the simplest of upper body movements. The mental and emotional rest and peace it brought the mind. The movements of solitude and quieting of the mind, that brought tranquility. The friendship and caring brought by the social support. For Sue, yoga had become a pathway to healing. Allowing her to socialize with others, offer others support who are on similar journeys, receive support from those who love her and are inspired by her , and embrace herself. Her body had changed drastically and she had chosen to be this amazing positive, beautiful being that had chosen to SURVIVE. Sue is now cancer free. We are all so blessed to have her with us still. I love you to the moon and back and love the path of healing you have chosen for yourself. Namaste. A connection of mind, body, breath, and spirit. Sue's mantra still guides her. She believes her journey would have been much different without her yoga. Yoga, breath, and meditation have become a part of her daily life and have provided her strength and insight to all aspects of her selfbeing. It is a continual journey as her body is still recovering, changing, and healing everyday.

The human body is like a wheel with spokes. Each spoke needs to support the circle that surrounds it in order to support the inner frame. Each spoke has a wellness attached to it – physical, intellectual, emotional, spiritual, and social. The body is a finely tuned machine. Sometimes we bend a spoke and need to call upon other spokes and the integrity of the rest of the wheel for support. We need to know that this is okay! We have the right to call upon other areas – our friends, our family, our beliefs, our faith – for support. Sometimes it feels like our entire wheel is broken and we need the power and kindness of others to rebuild our entire wheel. Be accepting of this and allow it. The balance can be tricky and allowing movement, mind, body, socialization, and emotional support to allow us to have the strength to keep the stability is key.

I am blessed to have my sister with me still and so internally happy and thankful she has found a way of connecting the wheel together with integrity and power. To have strengthened her spokes and to be riding strong! Find your wheel in life, strengthen your spokes to ride an amazing journey - find that integrity and power within yourself! LOVE YA SUE!!!!

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