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Posts Tagged ‘breast cancer’

I, napkinwriter, have been looking at Soul Collage for sometime now and deciding if I want to add that to the services I will provide through SOULjourner at-large LLC as I add a workstyle to my life once again. I am quite excited about how I will serve the people and the Earth through the talents and gifts I have discerned, prayed over, and chosen to be part of SOULjourner, indeed part of who I am.

I even have the good fortune to have scheduled a little spring road trip with my husband back to North Carolina for a few days, so I can be a student in wondrous artist, Catherine Anderson’s workshop on SoulCollage.

Below is a story written by a woman who survived cancer and in the process, used the process of SoulCollage to help in her healing.  The website for the source of this information is also listed.

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December 2001. Breast cancer was the furthest thing from my mind. I was busy. A husband, a home, three stepchildren, a good job. Then…

A routine, suspicious mammogram. A phone call. Mammogram #2. A stereotactic core biopsy.

Diagnosis: breast cancer, stage 2, infiltrating, ductal, HER2.

All of the above happened within the fearful, anxious, unbelievable time span of 7 days. Bing. Bam. Boom.

And my life has never been the same.

The next nine months held a most strange quality of disbelief and exhaustion. It also held two surgeries, four chemotherapy treatments spaced three weeks apart, and 47 radiation treatments (spaced daily, over the course of 9 weeks).

It’s been three years since my life was turned upside down and inside out…. Three years. My prognosis is very good. I hear this every three months depending on which doctor my appointment is with: breast surgeon, medical oncologist, or radiation oncologist.

Three years have passed. I look good. I feel good. And yet nothing has been able to quiet the storms of fear that threaten to overwhelm me from time to time. The insidious fear that the breast cancer might return. The intimidating fear of another fateful diagnosis.

I have meditated and prayed about this. I have talked about it with my wonderful therapist and with other breast cancer survivors. I have tried guided imagery, journaling, and art journaling. These have all tempered the fear to some extent, but only for a very short while.

Then I began practicing SoulCollage® and my inner dynamics began to change. At first I made quite a few Committee cards. The teacher. The good parent. The happy inner child. The writer. The artist. Then I made some darker Committee cards. The angry one. The lonely one. The rebellious child.

Breast Cancer SoulCollage® Card #3

A few weeks later, I came across the beautiful snow angel that you see in the card below. It lay on my art table for several days before it came to me that whoever had created that angel in the snow had gotten up and walked away. And then I added the other images which speak to me of my breast cancer surgeries/treatments, and did the following writing exercise with it:

Who are you?
I am the one who survived breast cancer. I am the one who underwent two surgeries, 12 weeks of chemo, and 47 radiation treatments.

I am the one who saw the chemo dripping into my own veins, who allowed the fatigue to consume me until I was lying down and sleeping most of the time.

I am the one who continued to grow and blossom even while all of that was happening, even when my body was so weak and unfamiliar to me.

I am the one whose inner strength, wisdom, and courage was like that of the core seed of a white flower blossoming in the dark.

I am the one who survived nine months of breast cancer surgeries and treatments.

I am the one who was held in the arms of a beautiful angel while enduring those harsh, cold treatments.

I am the one who got up and stood on my own two feet and walked away from cancer when the treatments were over.

If you ever doubt me, the footsteps are right there.

See? I am the one who walked away from cancer after being held in the arms of a beautiful angel.

What do you want from me?
I want you to know, to believe, that you could do it all over again if you had to.

What do you have to give me?

I give you the memories of those nine months.

I give you pride in knowing that you are a breast cancer survivor.

I give you continued courage and inner strength.

SoulCollage® & Breast Cancer

So there you have my three SoulCollage® cards which have helped me to put some closure on my breast cancer experience. Making these cards, writing about them, and dialoguing with them has given me a centered base of courage that could have accessed in no other way. You can read more about my personal journey with breast cancer here.

If you are dealing (or have dealt) with a similar diagnosis of breast cancer, or if you are a breast cancer survivor wanting to integrate your experience into your spiritual life, here are some suggestions for creating SoulCollage® cards that will help you do just that:

  • Decide what aspects of your breast cancer experience you want to process and/or honor.
  • Give yourself time to gather images that speak to what you are experiencing.
  • Try to visualize what you are feeling. If you are feeling fear, pretend it is a movie character, or an animal or cartoon character. What does it look like, sound like, smell like? If you are feeling relief, do the same.
  • How about exhaustion? Can you make a card to depict the part of you that is/was so tired during treatments?
  • Don’t forget anger. It was many months into my own breast cancer treatments before I realized how angry I was at what was happening to me. What does your anger feel like? If it was a color, a food, a smell, a taste, an animal…what would it be?
  • If you live in New England, consider a trip to The Healing Garden, which is an alternative treatment center for women with breast cancer. The staff at The Healing Garden work hand in hand with your medical team, and provide the following services to breast cancer patients/survivors with no worries about cost: massage, acupuncture, therapy, workshops, guided imagery, facials…and more!

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