Embracing my health and finding compassion for myself and others.
After my surgery, I sought support in an organization called Wellspring, which provides programs and services to cancer patients and their caregivers.
I was aware of this group through a close friend, a cancer survivor herself, who had made sense of her cancer through her experience with Wellspring. And also through a friend at work whose husband had died of cancer just a few years ago. She exuded peace and contentment when she talked about the support she and her husband received from Wellspring.
I had never been one to seek out these types of organizations. I had attended some groups in the past, but I never felt comfortable and resisted because I didn’t have any interest in hanging out with sick people. Sick wasn’t a word I ever used to describe myself and I tried in my head as much as possible to not spend time there.
But my husband and I went to take a look at the Wellspring Centre in our community and we found it to be a very welcoming place. Its walls and the people we met within them seemed to radiate a sense of lightness and comfort. So I decided to give it a chance.
I attended a few programs and in a short time, found great comfort from its programs and its people, both its volunteers and its visitors who I fondly refer to as “my Wellspring people”. They added a new dimension to my life. Being with them represented a time and place where I could voice my doubt and fears without creating new ones for those that loved me. They understood the waves of doubt and fear that overcame me at times, but also understood my sea of calm and quiet confidence in this new place of uncertainty.
And I also learned that these Wellspring people weren’t defined by their illness. They were first and foremost people, who had families, friends, hobbies, professions, beliefs, memories, dreams and yes, were coping with trying to ‘be’ in all of this while dealing with a cancer diagnosis. In these people, and the experiences we shared, I found truth in the words “Be kinder then necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle”. I am not partial to the analogy of the battle, but the message here is poignant and I allow it to guide me now in my every day.
Cancer didn’t define any of the people I met at Wellspring. “My Wellspring people” are defined by a lifetime of joy and sorrows sheltered deep within their hearts. And cancer is only one part of them. While yes, cancer was one of the experiences I had in common with these people, and is what brought us together, I too have family, friendships, hobbies, a profession, beliefs, memories, dreams…joys and sorrows that I hold close within my heart. And all of this together is who I am and what I am about. Thank you Wellspring for helping me find my compassionate heart.