13 YEAR CANCERVeRSARY
Let me tell my story, since this day, thirteen years ago, I was in surgery having a foot of sigmoid colon removed. I had a twitchy gut all my life, bloating and sensitivities. It didn’t feel very different, in the beginning, when I had reflux and bloating. I was 44 and otherwise “healthy”. I worked, was raising a daughter with my husband, took care of my aging mom, was singing, doing 12 step, doing yoga, weights and aerobics. But I felt tired. Unbelievably tired. I started napping long hours. My stomach pain grew worse. I went to the doctor and told I was depressed. I took the pills, and didn’t feel any better. I took time off of work, and started to feel bad about myself and my inability to cope with life. I was so damn tired. I started having back pain, leg pain, the cancer was eating through the nerves and outside my colon. I got night sweats and felt full, even though I stopped eating. Finally, I saw blood in my stool. Then, for sure, I knew I was really sick.
After six months of weekly chemo infusions of 5FU, so aptly named, with Leukovarian, I was totally depleted of any physical power. My spirit remained strong, but my body felt ready to leave the earth. I was tempted to go. But our daughter was now 16, and whatever I could do to stay, I would do. It meant learning to live in a body that was scared, painful, weak, unbalanced and almost certainly not going to live very long.
I asked the God of my Understanding to make my life, whatever time I had left, to be of purpose. My career path switched to training to be a yoga teacher for cancer survivors. Not many people were training, so I used my experience, my knowledge of teaching and my 20 year practice of yoga to help myself begin. I started with breathing. I had lost my breathing stamina. It took time.
It took willingness to start a class in San Diego for patients, family, and caregivers. I started attending advocacy trainings for crc and ended up making a CD to hand out to cancer patients.
I continue to make digital downloads, teach yoga, train yoga teachers from around the world on my online course, and use social media to reach survivors, like me, home in bed, and not knowing what to do to feel better.
For as long as I am able, my service if my passion.
Jean Di Carlo-Wagner, E-RYT500, Yoga Therapist, Survivor, Advocate, TT Yoga for Cancer Survivors
13 YEAR CANCERVeRSARY