Norma Sutton

October 17, 2019
  • January 19, 2021
  • Member Stories

The road to healing


From April to July, while we were managing the surgery, radiation and chemo and the end to any sort of normal life, everyone at TBCC encouraged us to go to Wellspring. I say “we” because the patient endures and so does the primary caregiver. Both caught in a complex web to survive the life-threatening nature of the disease. Getting through treatment was enough for us. August and September were recovery months from the treatment, dealing with immediate side effects. We were exhausted, run-down, struggling to get back on our feet. We know we had it easier than many, harder than some.

Right from hearing the word ‘cancer’, Family and friends struggled to ‘relate’ to and understand what we were going through. They still do. They also have their own lives and problems to deal with.


By October we knew we needed support of a different nature.

The first program my husband and I hesitantly and somewhat nervously attended at Wellspring was on a Friday night in October. It was a music night featuring “Magnolia Buckskin”. We hadn’t been able to go out socially since April, the month the cancer diagnosis turned our lives upside down. We looked at the Wellspring program brochure. We picked the least challenging thing – 1 evening, 2 hrs, and a band meaning very little interaction.

So we took our first step – Magnolia Buckskin. Four women – Natasha, Emily, Corry and Kathy (i.e. Magnolia Blossom heralded the return of smiles and joy in our hearts. Full of humour, sass, great stories and heart. Souls full of music and lyrics. With their guitars, clarinet, mandolin, and accordion they brought that familiar light back into my husband’s eyes again. Ahhhh… Music – reconnecting to all the many ways and possibilities of experiencing joy.

And there we were amongst others who had endured like we had. Whose lives would never be the same. We had found a place with people wearing the same stripes; people who understood and were experiencing and coping with “the cancer journey”. Travelers on the same road. There is nothing that helps your perspective and deepens your wisdom more than sharing with those who have walked in your shoes.

Our gratitude has become so deep for Wellspring: for staff and volunteers committed to supporting and hastening our return to our best new versions of ourselves; ready and able with deliverables to help us attain WELLNESS as quickly as possible. An organization working hard every day to organize programs that science tells us will get us back on our feet. A respectful, caring community that “gets it”. Just knowing of Wellspring’s existence gives us comfort. ”No one has to go through cancer alone”. But to actually be there and participate in programs and share with our new friends has truly been an unexpected and beyond-value gift.

Struggle can produce good. I have realized a dream of mine. I can now play the ukulele and sing and pass on joy to others. It is another ‘go to’ place for peace. And it gives me a tool to better balance the fright and caregiving hours. Without Balance, say goodbye to your health and your partner’s health. My husband thinks I am amazing to be playing so well in such a short time. He loves to hear me play and we’ll see if there are 2 ukuleles in our home before the end of the year. Our well-being is so intricately linked. TBCC and Wellspring really understand this. Thank You so much to facilitators Barry Luft and Anna Carnell, and to my uke-jam group. I can’t begin to express my gratitude for the gifts given.

You will have to interview my husband for his Wellspring stories but know he is so very much better from all that he has participated in.

We are tough and independent. We both grew up setting goals and challenging ourselves. We have accomplished and experienced a lot in our lives. We have also experienced other serious illnesses. We have experienced the death of loved ones. We have endured. We are leaders in tough times. We have supported others most of our adult lives. We are not victims. We have learned that looking for something good to get us through the bad times works. Look for what you can do, instead of focusing on what you can’t do. We help ourselves.

And sometimes the best way to help ourselves is to let others help us.

That is Wellspring. They are on a perpetual path to study the science of what things work to help those whose lives have been altered without choice, dramatically in a short period of time. They research; they hear and act when members describe their needs, and they encourage suggestions and respond with program content. Very often, cancer, chemo and radiation are not health issues you can heal up from and return to your previous level of well-being. They leave scars of mind, body and spirit. We will gratefully accept Wellspring’s helping hands.

In my view, cancer is one of those diseases that is best treated with medicine, compassion, and a heaping dose of WELLSPRING weekly.

Strum on.

Lele S.

“My husband’s cancer diagnosis turned our lives upside down. When we found Wellspring, we picked the least challenging place to start … a one-evening 2-hour house concert, very little interaction would be required. Now we are at Wellspring taking programs every week. I have realized a dream to play ukulele – it gives me joy and is a tool to better balance the fright and my caregiving hours. Barry enjoys ?

In my view, cancer is one of those diseases that is best treated with medicine, compassion, and a heaping dose of WELLSPRING.”

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