Sunday, August 26, 2012

Three weeks since diagnosis

It is hard to believe it has only been three weeks.  Three weeks of having my life turned upside down.  On the positive side, I still cry a little every day- but it doesn't feel as overwhelming as it did before.  Not sure if I am getting used to it, or just getting better at denying it.  Whatever the case, I am liking it.

The biggest thing I did this week was to go to my first support group.  I sat in my car watching women with scarves enter the building and wondering if I had the courage to join them.  As a therapist, I have facilitated many a group in my life- but haven't been a participant.  I knew it would make it real.  I was terrified.  But I summoned all of the courage I had to get out of my car and follow them.  It was such a healing event.  To be surrounded by women who knew what I was up against, who were sad for me but didn't pity me, who were full of knowledge and experience.  In a matter of two hours,  I felt like perhaps breast cancer wasn't going to end me- but was rather going to open me up to a life that I couldn't have imagined... and not a bad one.  I loved these women I met.  Strong, funny, empathic, smart and connected.  And I was going to be one of them.  When the group was over, we gathered outside the door.  They were helping each other with hints around how to lessen the burns of radiation.  They turned to me and I thanked them all for making my journey seem manageable.  They all smiled and hoped I would come back to the next group.  Everyone hugged and we went our separate ways.  And I left smiling.  I can't wait to go back in a couple of weeks.

I wanted to do an art piece around support.  There is an art directive I use with my clients where I have them trace their hand and then extend each finger in their drawing to create a multitude of branches.  On each branch, they make leaves and fill the leaves with things that will support them on their journey.  I talk about how everyone has bad things happen to them.  Happiness isn't about living a life without struggle.  It is learning how to cope when things are hard and not losing sight of all of the things we have to be grateful for.  Each leaf represents the people, places, activities, coping strategies, and internal strengths that I am connected to that will help me to heal.  The more leaves you have on your tree, the better off you are.  I have a beautiful tree full of leaves, and for that I am grateful.

Plus- my PET scan came back and there is no additional cancer.  I know everything is going to be okay.
If anyone out there makes a tree of support, I would love to see it.
Much love,


  1. Deann, You are so brave. This is a beautiful blog. Thank you for allowing me to be part of your journey with this blog. Sending you my love and positive thoughts....Lety

  2. Love this directive! And enjoyed seeing your interpretation of it.

  3. Thanks Ari:) I love the idea that I have all of this support at my fingertips!