Warning: Expect the next few days worth of posts to be about my Bluebird Cancer Retreat experiences :)
I arrived at Camp Geneva around 12:30p on Friday a bit nervous, not knowing anyone or what to expect. After a quick check-in, I was given a shirt & goodie bag and was informed my roomie was also named Christy (spelled the same!). I scanned the room and sat at a full table (my tendency would be to sit at a vacant one) and immediately felt at ease. They were all so open and easy to talk to, I knew the weekend would be wonderful and I started to relax.
When most people had checked in, we started the weekend with opening circle (mini intros) and an art therapy piece based on the weekend’s theme of “The Road Less Traveled.” (side note: art therapy had to be done with non-dominant hand and there will be no pictures of this) We were introduced to the retreat staff and volunteers and then got some free time to explore our room and surroundings. When it was time to start again, we were introduced to Sister Sue Tracy and a session called “Celebrate Life.” Sister Sue, a nun and 4 time cancer survivor, quickly had us all laughing with her stories. I’m sure I will post more about her on a later date! Then we got some more free time and I decided to head to the beach!
Those steps were so much easier going down then up and I was immediately reminded that I was only 1.5weeks out from having surgery! It was worth it though because the sound of the water was relaxing and the sand was warm on my feet. :)
After dinner we shared our intros once more (some people arrived later because of treatments) and were treated to ice cream margaritas and hot stone aromatherapy foot soaks and essential oil foot rubs… ahhhh bliss!
As I was drifting off to sleep, I was reflecting on our group. We had about 19 (?) participants, all women (not a requirement, just turned out that way), aged 20’s-80’s, with diagnoses of: Hodgkin's lymphoma, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, metastatic melanoma, and ovarian, uterine, vaginal, brain, thyroid, peritoneum, and breast cancers. We were all in different stages of treatments and diagnosis (first timers to multiple reoccurrences)… But the overwhelming tone was not one of sadness or despair but of hope, joy and positivity… We were all connected immediately and simply by one word: cancer.