Siok L

April 14, 2021
  • April 14, 2021
  • Living with Cancer Blog, Member Stories

Path to Acceptance, by Siok L

When I was first diagnosed with cancer, I was in shock. Then 9 months later, I had a relapse and had to go for stem cell transplant, I stayed in Foothills hospital for a couple of months.

A third relapse followed in less than a year after transplant. It was a very traumatic time of my life. I was given brochures about Wellspring on my first diagnosis. I didn’t want join as I felt that it’s a stigma, I didn’t want to be seen going to a support center and be known as a cancer survivor. When I was in the hospital, I was so afraid. I was in a lot of fear. I keep everything inside me.

On the third diagnosis, I could only cry.

It was my dear darling son who encouraged me to join Wellspring. He had heard it from a friend. He said, “Mom, I will go with you to visit the centre.” So my husband and son took me there. It was all a blur. I remember it was welcoming, we listened to how to get started, registered, my husband and son registered too, as my caregivers. And we took the brochures home. At home, I went through the programs and decided to give it a try.

The very first two programs I joined were Tai Chi and Qigong, then Visualization and meditation with Marilyn Day. Jane, Munira and Marilyn were very kind and compassionate. I had to go for treatments and they were very supportive and kind. Marilyn phoned and left a message on my phone to say she was thinking of me and would include me in the visualization in class while I was in treatment. This was so, so kind and caring.

The rainbow and open space tells me we have to allow and embrace what is.

The loving kindness and compassion shown to me helped change what I think of cancer support. I supposed very slowly I learn to accept I had cancer and there is nothing to be ashamed of. I think sometimes when Calgary Transit Access drivers would ask what Carma House was and I said, Cancer support centre … silence followed. I felt very awkward and embarrassed. There is no need for me to feel this way but I don’t know why I felt so.

Then, I ventured to join Kathie MacDuff’s Open Art class and had a lot of fun. Kathie is ever so loving. Participants there are full of laughter and so at ease. I look at them with admiration. Maybe one day I can be like them, I said to myself. It is a long road. I was always fearful and worried.

The last two years, under the encouragement of my kids, I’ve sought counseling. I tried one counselling session at Tom Baker… it didn’t go well, I cried even more and was even more frightened!!! Thank God, I had a very good session with a counsellor recommended by my darling daughter. Now, it’s just once a month.

I admire the facilitators, staff and volunteers at Wellspring. They are very dedicated, supportive and just so lovely. I now am very proud to be a member of Wellspring, a community where no one has to face cancer alone.

Yesterday, after a Zoom class, I suddenly felt these exact words: Yes I had cancer.

I feel like it is my first acknowledgment and that it’s ok. It’s ok if people know about it.

It is ok to share. It is in sharing that I can help encourage and give hope to those who are feeling lost and afraid. Wellspring has given me so much; it’s selfish of me not to give back.

*I would like to acknowledge all the facilitators whose classes I have attended. From every one of them, I have received kindness, compassion and encouragement. I am very grateful.

5 Responses

  1. Dear, dear Siok…I remember our conversations…and our hugs…You were always so sincere and so honest…I felt honoured that you would share your feelings with me…I have been well for 15 yrs now!!! I am so sad about our current situation with restrictions and isolations…I miss Wellspring/contacts, groups, relationships…At the same time, I would hate to put anyone at risk…I am so happy to read your comments…it gives me joy…!!! My adult children are well; my husband and I are well, but I miss our Wellspring contacts terribly…it is so “real world” to me…many, many thanks for your comments…So happy for you, and very happy that you have stayed in touch… you have warmed my heart…

    Warmly, with love,


  2. A wonderful reminder of Wellspring friends and the need to remain in contact…and the pleasure of doing so…In spite of the impact of our current situation…It has has a significant impact on me, personally…So happy that we can still reach out….So happy…My thanks, and very warm regards….

  3. Hello Siok,

    Thank you for writing this part of your story. It is not easy to sharing one’s deepest feelings. – especially when they feel sad and alone. I am so glad you found Wellspring, and that your family encouraged you to attend. Hugs, Marilyn Will

  4. Dear Siok, I want to let you know how inspiring I have always felt your story is, and how inspiring you are! I always look forward to hosting and seeing your smile, your warm voice. You are, by your story, your voice, your smile in programs (in person or online) a big inspiration to other members and the team! Thanks for being so brave! Anna Carnell

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