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Archive for the ‘Cancer’ Category

Spirited Women by Petrea King

Spirited Women by Petrea King

Spirited Women – Journeys with Breast Cancer by Petrea King

Spirited Women provides a wealth of practical information and support for women with breast cancer. It addresses the emotional and psychological reactions to diagnosis and treatment as well as focusing on the practicalities of living well, once you’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer.

It is packed full of information, suggestions, skills, tips and techniques and many refer to it as their ‘bible’ during their breast cancer journey. It is also a handbook for men and women who know someone with breast cancer.

Petrea has allowed women to tell their own stories in this inspirational book. She has conveyed the thoughts, hopes, feelings, joys and frustrations of the many thousands of women who have sought her counsel, either personally or in retreats during the past three decades.

In Petrea’s words

“My role with the women in this book has been one of friend, counselor, nurse, meditation teacher, group facilitator and naturopath. My function has been to minimise their emotional, spiritual, psychological and physical distress and to provide information and guidance about how to regain control over their lives and actively participate in their healing process”.

“Breast cancer can precipitate us into a journey of self discovery, self healing and self accomplishment. In this way, regardless of the outcome of the illness, the destination can become deep and profound peace. To achieve this peace is a victory beyond words”.

Spirited Woman was the first handbook for breast cancer published in Australia and it is equally relevant today.

It is a resource packed with information on the following areas and more:

Reactions to diagnosis

Choosing your healing team

Decision making

Support from family and friends

Work related issues

Peace of mind – what it is and how to get it

Relaxation and meditation – how and why to meditate/relax

Finding support in the community

What to eat and why

Reducing symptoms of disease and side effects of treatments

Managing issues around body image and sexuality

Women who love women

Children – what and how to tell children, rituals which help, understanding children’s behavior

What if I die?

Creating an environment for healing

Talking through the difficult issues in relationships

Unlike other available resources on breast cancer this book focuses on what women can do to help themselves when they are diagnosed with breast cancer.

Gentle, honest, informative and moving, Spirited Women is an essential resource for any woman whose life has been touched by breast cancer. It is also a valuable read for anyone who knows someone who is living with breast cancer or has had breast cancer.

If you are living with cancer you may like t attend Spirited Women An inspiring, practical, educational and experiential residential program for women living with cancer. The next program is in Bundanoon from 8th – 12th April, 2013. Visit our website for more information.

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Fear melted and wonderful new connections formed

Fear melted and wonderful new connections formed

I have recently returned from our ‘Quest for Life’ residential program and my heart is so warmed by the transformation I witnessed on the faces and in the hearts of the beautiful people who attended.

Naturally, some people felt apprehensive at the start, but as they shared their lives and experiences with each other, the fear melted and wonderful new connections formed.
People from all walks of life grappled with the challenges of living with the diagnosis, treatment and ongoing physical, emotional and spiritual challenges of life during and after a body threatening illness.

I say ‘body-threatening’ on purpose because I truly believe that while the body may feel under threat, life itself is not and life cannot and does not die.

Maybe we are just ‘renting’ this body for a while so we can have a human experience? Maybe we are only ‘tenants’ and if you have ever been a tenant, you will know that one day you have to move on. Only trouble is that we move into our bodies and develop a deep sense of ‘me’ in ‘my’ body and our identification with ‘me’ in ‘my’ body can make it much harder to leave peacefully.

Of course, resisting leaving, say with treatment, can be entirely appropriate, especially if you have received your ‘eviction notice’ premature to your expectations but resisting leaving by denying your feelings, avoiding reality or isolating yourself might add more pain to an already challenging process.

However there is hope and there is potential for personal growth too. If you can find a way to use the ‘early eviction notice’ as a portal into what life is really about, you may discover what really matters to you and I hope this might your version of love and living fully today.

Maybe when you resist your death, your pain, your body, your feelings, your illness, your electricity bill, your conflicts, your lusts, your aging or whatever, you miss out on the fullness of life? The good news is that you can learn to live in the present, feeling it all and living it all, fully alive with all of life’s joy and sorrow but nonetheless buzzing with life.

And yes it can be scary. Of course it can feel terrifying but you can find fellow ‘tenants’ who have also been given ‘notice’ and like you are on their own personal quest for life and this can really help ease the burden.

Our bodies are all going to die. Your fears will be validated at Quest and will not be denied. They are very real and you need loving care and support to process them AND it is possible to change your perspective.

When you come to Quest for Life, you may learn how to approach life gently and with acceptance.

If you have been given an ‘early eviction notice’, then please make your way to a ‘Quest for Life’ program to help you make sense of what has happened, to ease your resistances and to learn how to suck the delicious juice out of life for as long as you can no matter what your situation. In this way you may live as best you can amidst the circumstances of this life right now, today and in this minute.

Profound thanks to my fellow ‘tenants’ from last week and much love and life to all for now. Margie

The next Quest for Life program is 5-9 December 2012. NSW health subsidies available

Please phone Suzanne on 1300 941 488 to book your place.

Margie Braunstein

Margie Braunstein

Margie Braunstein

Margie is a somatic psychotherapist and counsellor providing psychotherapy services to the people of the Central Coast and Sydney.  Margie lives on the beautiful Central Coast with her husband, two children, two dogs and a cat.

Over the last 12 years, Margie has also been engaged in the design, delivery and marketing of transformational learning programs. During this time she has regularly facilitated personal development programs for up to 50 people on weekend workshops, week-long intensives and advanced programs of 3-4 months.

Margie has a Graduate Certificate in Adult Education from UTS, Diploma in Psychotherapy from the Australian College of Contemporary Somatic Psychotherapy and qualifications in somatic therapy, executive coaching and relationship counselling.

Margie has a passion for personal development and regards people with respect, empathy and compassion in the belief that while we all do the best we can, a little bit more kindness and care can lead to even greater peace and joy in life.

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Dear Doctor

Dear Doctor

I have been reading ‘Love, Medicine and Miracles’ by Bernie Siegel, a surgeon who advocates treating patients with equality and respect for their intuition, wisdom and choices.  He absolutely advocates conventional treatment options but he is also holistic in his approach and inclusive of the patient’s beliefs, dreams and feelings.  In this excellent book, he gives an example of what someone might write to their physician and I thought you might like to read it.

‘Dear Doctor

Please don’t conceal the diagnosis. We both know I came to you to learn if I have cancer or some other serious disease. If I know what I have, I know what I am fighting, and there is less fear. If you hide the name and the facts, you deprive me of the chance to help myself. When you are questioning whether I should be told, I already know. You may feel better if you don’t tell me, but your deception hurts me.

Do not tell me how long I have to live! I alone can decide how long I will live. It is my desires, my goals, my values, my strengths and my will to live that will make that decision.

Teach me and my family how and why my illness happened to me. Help me and my family to live now. Tell me about nutrition and my body’s needs. Tell me how to handle the knowledge and how my mind and body can work together.  Healing comes from within, but I want to combine my strength with yours. If you and I are a team, I will live a longer and better life.

Doctor, don’t let your negative beliefs; your fears and your prejudices affect my health. Don’t stand in the way of my getting well and exceeding your expectations. Give me the chance to be the exception to your statistics.

Teach me about your beliefs and therapies and help me to incorporate them into mine. However, remember that my beliefs are the most important. What I don’t believe in won’t help me.

You must learn what my disease means to me – death, pain or fear of the unknown. If my belief system accepts alternative therapy and not recognised therapy, do not desert me, please try to convert my beliefs and be patient and await my conversion. It may come at a time when I am desperately ill and in great need of your therapy.

Doctor, teach me and my family to live with my problem when I am not with you. Take time for our questions and give us your attention when we need it. It is important that I feel free to talk with you and question you. I will live a longer and more meaningful life if you and I can develop a significant relationship. I need you in my life to achieve my new goals.’

Bernie also suggests that it’s highly beneficial if you feel cared for and supported in your choices by your doctor.  We are not all lucky enough to find a doctor with whom we feel this way but there are some wonderful physicians out there and feeling cared for could be worth considering when you are next shopping for a doctor.

Love to you for now.
Margie

Margie Braunstein

Margie Braunstein

Margie Braunstein

Margie is a somatic psychotherapist and counsellor providing psychotherapy services to the people of the Central Coast and Sydney.  Margie lives on the beautiful Central Coast with her husband, two children, two dogs and a cat.

Over the last 12 years, Margie has also been engaged in the design, delivery and marketing of transformational learning programs. During this time she has regularly facilitated personal development programs for up to 50 people on weekend workshops, week-long intensives and advanced programs of 3-4 months.

Margie has a Graduate Certificate in Adult Education from UTS, Diploma in Psychotherapy from the Australian College of Contemporary Somatic Psychotherapy and qualifications in somatic therapy, executive coaching and relationship counselling.

Margie has a passion for personal development and regards people with respect, empathy and compassion in the belief that while we all do the best we can, a little bit more kindness and care can lead to even greater peace and joy in life.

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Over the past twenty seven years I have counselled many doctors when they have a diagnosis of cancer or other life threatening illness. Our conversations have not been about whether to embark upon rigorous treatments but on how to resolve painful issues from the past, heal their relationships and improve their quality, and sometimes quantity, of life through utilising complementary therapies. This article highlights a common perspective from medical colleagues.

A Doctor on How Physicians Face the End of Life

Petrea King

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“I can’t imagine how you must be feeling right now but I’m happy to listen”.

“I can’t imagine how you must be feeling right now but I’m happy to listen”.

These notes have been put up to support a radio interview done by Petrea King on Monday 6th February on Nightlife with Tony Delroy (ABC local radio).

Introduction

It’s often difficult to know what to say when someone you love is diagnosed with cancer or a serious disease. Some people find it so uncomfortable that they’d rather cross the street than say hello to you. Why is this? The anguish of diagnosis is a big enough trauma without feeling that people have deserted you because they don’t know what to say. So, what is supportive when someone you love has been given a diagnosis? What should we say? How can we unobtrusively or, perhaps, obviously let them know that we’re here for them?

Petrea shares some supportive and meaningful insights into the DO’s and DON’T’s of what to say to someone who’s just been diagnosed;

DO say:

  • “I can’t imagine how you must be feeling right now but I’m happy to listen”.
  • Do listen without judgment.
  • Do something practical if you can. Perhaps pick the children up after school, offer to drive your friend to their treatment or support group or counsellor, take the dog to the vet if need be.
  • Most importantly, ask your friend what kind of support they might most value. Would they like you to research options, doctors, treatments or complementary therapies?

DON’T say:

  • Don’t tell people to be positive or keep their chin up.
  • Don’t tell people that they shouldn’t feel the way they do.  If that’s how a person feels then respect their feelings and don’t judge them. A person will not disclose what you might perceive as negative feelings if they feel they will be judged. It is not negative to talk about death, suicide, despair, depression, panic or fear. Talking about things gets the energy of the feeling moving and as soon as we are able to utter the unutterable we find the feeling diminishes in its intensity. Sometimes we don’t know what we feel until we hear what we say.
  • Don’t tell people about the people you know who’ve suffered with or died of the disease that your friend’s just been diagnosed with.
  • Don’t assume that you know how another person is feeling. For instance, for one person who has cancer in the breast, he or she may feel relieved that it is in a part of their body where it can easily be removed, whilst for another it may be devastating to her body image and sexuality.

Support available:

  • Sometimes the most unexpected people appear in your life and are wonderfully supportive be open to these ‘angles’ in your life. People are so willing to help.
  • For many people, perhaps for the first time in their lives, they realise how much other people really care about them.
  • Quest for Life Programs and support.

Should you or someone you love require further information on the programs and support Quest for Life provides please contact Quest for Life on

1300 941 488 or visit the website and you can always become part of our Facebook community.

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Freedom and Jeff

Freedom and Jeff

Petrea came across this story via email and we just had to share it!

This  is the kind of story that enlivens and nourishes our hearts.

Freedom and I have been together 11 years this summer. She came in as a baby in 1998 with two broken wings.  Her left wing doesn’t open all the way even after surgery as it was broken in four places. She’s my baby.

When Freedom came in she could not stand and both wings were broken. She was emaciated  and covered in lice. We made the  decision to give her a chance at life, so I took her  to the vet’s office.  From then on, I  was always around her. We had her in a huge dog carrier with the top off and it was  loaded up with shredded newspaper for her to lay in.  I used to sit and talk to her,  urging her to live; and she would lay there looking at me with those big brown eyes. We also had to tube feed her for weeks.

This went on for 4-6 weeks and, by then she still couldn’t stand. The decision  was made to euthanase her if she couldn’t stand in a week.  You know you don’t want to cross that line between torture and rehab and it looked like death was winning. She was going to be put down that Friday and I was supposed to come in on the Thursday. I didn’t want to go
to the center that Thursday because I couldn’t bear the thought of her being euthanased; but I went anyway and when I walked in everyone was  grinning from ear to ear. I went immediately to her cage and there she was, standing on her own, a big beautiful eagle.

She was ready to live. I was just about in tears by then. That was a very good day.

We  knew she could never fly, so the director asked me to glove train her. I got her used to the glove and then to jesses, and we started doing education programs for  schools in western Washington. We wound up in newspapers, on radio (believe it or not) and some TV. Miracle Pets even did a show about us.

Freedom would also come to me in my dreams

Freedom would also come to me in my dreams

In the spring of 2000, I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s  lymphoma. I had stage 3, which is not good (one major organ plus everywhere) so I wound up doing 8 months of chemo. Lost the hair – the whole bit. I missed a lot of work. When I  felt  good enough, I would take Freedom out for walks. Freedom would also come to me in my dreams and help me fight the cancer. This happened time and time again.

Fast forward to November 2000 the day after Thanksgiving, I went in for my last checkup. I was told that if the cancer was not all gone after 8 rounds of chemo, then my last option was a stem cell transplant. Anyway, they did the tests and I had to go back for the results. I went in the following Monday and I was told that all the cancer was gone.

So the first thing I did was get the big girl out for a walk. It was misty and cold. I went to her flight and jessed her
up and we went out front to the top of the hill. I hadn’t said a word to Freedom, but somehow she knew.

She looked at me and wrapped both her wings around me to where I could feel them pressing in on my back (I  was engulfed in eagle wings), and she touched  my nose with her beak and stared into my eyes. We just stood there like that for I don’t know how long. That was a magic moment.  We have been soul mates ever since she came in.  This is a very special  bird.

On  a side note: I have had people who were sick come up to us when we are out, and Freedom has some kind of hold on them. I once had a guy who was terminal come up to us and I let him hold her. His  knees just about buckled and he swore he could feel her power course through his body.  I have so many stories like that.

I never forget the honor I have of being so close to such a magnificent spirit as Freedom.

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1 Million Kilo Challenge

1 Million Kilo Challenge

Here’s your chance to improve your health and support others who are dealing with challenges trauma, grief, depression or cancer at the same time.

What better way to support your new years weight loss and health goals than by doing it with hundreds and thousands of others!

Channel Ten’s 1 Million Kilo Challenge is a 10-week healthy lifestyle challenge that aims to equip all Australians with the resources, advice and motivation they need to achieve and maintain their healthy weight goal.

The challenge will run for 10 weeks (starting Monday 30th January) and promotes healthy eating, exercise and happier lifestyles for everyone that participates.

You pledge how many kilos you will lose and set health related goals.

1 Million Kilo Challenge also offers participants the chance to raise funds for a charity close to their heart, upon completion of their registration. All you have to do is follow the steps and create your very own online fundraising page.  The process only takes a minute and you can upload images, post blogs and set yourself a fundraising target.

Set healthy goals

Set healthy goals

Step 1: Register for the challenge

Step 2: Create your fundraising page and select the Quest for Life Foundation as your recipient charity.

Step 3: Tell your friends about your pledge and encourage them to donate to support your efforts! You will be given a unique url to your fundraising page to share with friends, family and colleagues.

Step 4: Follow the advice and support offered to you to achieve your goals

Your support for the Quest for Life Foundation will provide people living with life’s greatest challenges, the opportunity to regain control of their life and find peace and wellbeing. We support people facing life changing crises and provide them with practical tools and strategies to heal and grow through their challenges. Your support makes these programs possible. For more information on our programs please visit our website.

We’d love you to share your progress and wins on our Facebook page.

And most importantly……have fun and stay healthy!

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