Thursday, January 29, 2009

Cancer Journeys: a Place to Share Stories



By Kristen Spinning, Founder of Cancer Journeys


Six years ago, I had my world turned upside down with a cancer diagnosis. It was sudden, unexpected and life altering. It was also scary and a little grim, but I had a deep, inner knowing that I was going to survive, and in fact thrive. I just didn't know how. Family and friends rallied, and I was fortunate to find a local cancer support center where I met people in all phases of survivorship. At the time, I was unnerved by the people who told me that they were grateful for their cancer because of something it had given them. Though I was grateful to meet these people, and grateful to have new experiences, I was not ready to bestow gratitude upon a disease that threatened my life.

As the months of treatment, and then the months of recovering from the treatment progressed, I came to realize that many aspects of my life were better because of my experience, and the choices I made because of it. I stopped to take in the heady smell of the roses. I connected with my spirit. I learned the power of prayers from people I did not even know. I became involved in things I would not otherwise have ever done. I met people who inspired me, and met people who became important to me. Without cancer shoving me, kicking and screaming, down a different path, I would never have adopted my daughter, the greatest joy in my life. Now, despite all the losses it gave me, I can say I am grateful, not to the mass of mutant cells, but to the experiences gained and the lessons learned from my journey through cancer.

All along my journey, I learned about many other people who made positive transformations in their lives because of cancer. From clarifying priorities, to healing a broken relationship, from taking up a cause to reconnecting with their spirit, people can find silver linings in the ominous clouds of cancer. These changes may not "cure" but they profoundly heal. I felt it was important to have a venue that celebrates these transformations, and in so doing, inspire others to take control of their journey. There needed to be a place that demonstrates that how ever long or short a time we have, we possess the ability to dig down deep and find our inner truth.

There are so many stories, and so many places, one person could not possible scratch the surface. So the mission behind cancerjourneys.com is to find people who share the passion of learning, discovering, and ultimately writing about the people, places and events that exemplify those inspiring cancer journeys. There are many ways for people to get involved. They can share their own story, or they can become a Cancer Correspondent who regularly contributes articles. Non-profit organizations can highlight their activities, members or a person in their community. The site has a review section so that people can share their thoughts on a book or CD that has meaning to those on the journey. There are many people who committed to taking that "trip of a lifetime" because of their diagnosis. Sharing those trips, giving travel insights and making recommendations would be of great benefit to our readers. I also intend to cover food and dining, because there are so many considerations of diet, healthy eating, and most importantly, what is simply palatable during chemo or for someone with a chronic illness.

What makes cancerjourneys.com stand out from all the other great cancer related sites or blogs is that it ISN'T ABOUT CANCER. It is about the choices we make, the paths we walk and the difference we want to make in our lives. The site has just launched, and is actively seeking material. It will become what the community makes it. I cannot do it alone, but one lesson I learned from my cancer experience is that it takes a good team to be successful, and that I need to ask for help to put together that team.

2 comments:

Wiseliving said...

For the last 12 years I have watched people with cancer choose not to believe their oncologist...and live. They choose to work with their bodies, stop the spreading of cancer with nontoxic treatments like amyloxine (www.nochemo.net) and give their bodies the nutrition and time needed to heal. I am always amazed at their strength and how they reach inward and find their healing path.
When an oncologist puts a time limit on someone's life they are only considering their unsuccessful treatments. That is a strong, sometimes deadly suggestion. Many times I have seen people not only overcome their doctor's negative view but also heal.
So Live, Inc. (www.soliveinc.org) joins you in sharing life and the much needed information for those searching for the right decisions about their health.

mary said...

cancerjourneys.com is a great idea but I can't find it on the internet!