Women Rock for the Cure Retreat Update:
So, this will be a long post:) Everyone is asking how my retreat in Nashville went…and it was amazing! So much more than I ever thought it would be. I was so nervous about going and I’m not exactly sure why. These are my peers…they get me…they have all walked in my shoes…what is there to be scared of? I guess I just wasn’t sure if I was ready to deal with the emotional baggage that “is cancer” in a group setting. Most days I am crying or cursing, and I’m not sure if that is the “norm”‘or not.
So, I get there and it was really quite exciting. There are seminars, speakers, info, open discussion, and so on. For the first time since being diagnosed, I don’t feel alone. This is a Young Survivors Retreat and most of these women have a life very similar to mine. Certain times I open up and ask questions, other times I just want to sit and listen. We are all at different points in our treatment, and unfortunately at just a few months out I wasn’t feeling as good as I’d hoped. My leg numbness is no better, and some days it takes every bit of my energy just to get up and walk. I do not feel my feet when I walk and it is quite painful. So…. the bathtub at the retreat center was my friend:)
At some points it was very emotional…and other points it was very light-hearted and fun. We made music, listened to great music (had 3 song writers come and sing their music to us) had a make-up class, and just acted like girls at summer camp;) But…then there were also moments of tears.
I realized I had so much anger towards cancer I never thought of before. As I spoke about how angry I was at what cancer took from me….the tears came out. I was very very angry and upset about what this horrible thing did to me, my body, my family, my marriage…and my life. I didn’t feel like I deserved any of it…but, I was in a room full of women that didn’t deserve it either. I wasn’t alone. For once I could ask someone a question and relate to their answer. I am 32. I have small children at home and a life very different than a person in their 50′s or 60′s. Yes, we have similarities, but the women here were dealing with every issue I was…and it felt good to have peers. Having “peers” was a first for me.
I always knew I was angry at cancer, but I never realized the extent. In my mind I would act out a story that portayed a women who was going about her day to day life and then all the sudden she is walking and someone pulls out a gun and points it to her head. She is scared, she is taken off guard…but she listens and does whatever she has to do to escape with her life….and nothing more. She is told she must do certain things that will be horrible and painful, and scar her for life…but if she does them…she will be set free. So, she does it. She does everything she is told….and she lives. But she is forever scarred, she is forever changed, and she is forever scared it will happen again. That is what I felt, and for the first time I could put the right words to the right feelings.
But, it was a sadness and an anger I knew I had to let go of. I had to heal and move on, and stop being scared. This weekend helped me with that. I asked our group leader if there was a point at the retreat where we could “burn shit.” And what I meant, was for me I had to write down my feelings of anger…and finally let them burn away and be gone. Everyone thought the idea was great, and we all did just that. We burned some “shit.” And it felt good!
I felt so much love from the fellow Survivors, but also from all the staff and people working with WRFTC. They were so caring and loving and you could tell they do this each year because they want to, not because they have to. I have never ever felt that kind of generosity before….it was like Christmas for cancer patients at some points. We left with so many treats and gifts it was like nothing I had ever experienced. I couldn’t believe so many people wanted to help us, and treat us to all these nice things:)
So, the weekend was life changing. I let go of a lot and dealt with many emotions I stuffed down deep inside. I think if I ever had the chance to come back, I would be a different person. At some points in your life you are a “giver” and some times you are a “taker.” This retreat I was more of a “taker.” I listened, I kept to myself at times, and didn’t always participate in activities. I just took in the info and had my space to deal with it. Next time I feel I would be a bit more open and have the chance to “give” more to the group. My wounds were still fresh, and that held me back.
So, to wrap things up it was wonderful. There are not many moments in life where you can say something was “life changing,” but this was one of them. I could never repay them or tell them enough the gratitude I feel. It was the gift of a lifetime. It also allowed me to let go a bit and realize my girls would be just fine without me for a few days:) I very rarely ever leave them for the night, so it was hard. But, John made sure my babies were well taken care of:)
I couldn’t be more grateful. It was something I needed to move on from, and start the journey to healing. I realized Cancer does Suck…but I am never alone. I will never give up on this fight, and I will never allow it to have power over me. God is in control, and my faith is strong enough to know He will never lead me down a path I cannot handle. I may need a little help along the way;) but it is a journey I will never take alone.
Women Rock For The Cure is an amazing organization that I will forever have love for. Here is their site to learn more or Donate: