I’m just back from Body, Mind, Spirit: The Canadian Breast Cancer Network’s National Conference for Young Women Living with Breast Cancer — almost 48 hours solid of education and encouragement with 340 breast cancer survivors from every province and territory across Canada.
What a gift.
I left the conference with 14 pages of handwritten notes, a stack of books and brochures, and my brain abuzz.
The speakers and workshops were first class, the food was free, the facilities fitting.
And above all of this were the women.
340 women on journeys just like mine.
The lump-finding. The bad news. The pokes, prods and zaps.
The baldness. The isolation. The decisions.
The uncertainty. The losses, the triumphs and lingering impacts.
The crazy mood swings. The shockingly thoughtless comments.
Young families side swiped. With meals to be made and dishes to be done.
I’m back home. But I’m not alone.
Here’s a tiny sampling of my learnings:
- Newfoundlanders rock. Thanks to Yvonne Jones for reminding me.
- Cancer cultivates compassion. Thanks to Joy Smith.
- I need to start each day with lemon water, add ginger to my daily matcha, and remember to eat 2 brazil nuts, 2-4 tablespoons of flax meal, some rosemary and 1 teaspoon of tumeric each day. Thanks to Dr. Natasha Zajmalowski.
- Love heals. Death and recurrence do not equate to failure. Thanks to Dr. Rob Rutledge.
- I won’t rule survivor advocacy out of my distant future. Thanks to Ryan Clarke.
- It’s about time I explored Venus Envy. Thanks to Dr. Sally Kydd.
- I can do my own lymphatic massage. Thanks to Anna Kennedy and Pamela Hammond.
- Even a sexy, hilarious, intelligent, compassionate, super down-to-earth rock star feels stupid and isolated when she gets hit by breast cancer. Thanks to Bif Naked.
- Sleep’s much more important than supplements and therapies. Thanks to Christine Maria Gross.
- Your honesty reflects your intelligence. Thanks to Carol Anne Cole.
Massive thank yous to 340 strong young women from coast to coast to coast and to the inspiring survivors who put the conference together and shared their wisdom. And thank you to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation for the scholarship that made this enriching experience mine.
I can’t wait for next year!