Welcome! I learned about this site during my first visit to the metastatic support group at the Virginia Thurston Healing Garden in Harvard, MA. I had an intake interview there over three years ago but could not muster the courage to return to one of their support groups or to take a class. Last fall I dipped my toe in the water and returned to get some massage therapy for a frozen shoulder. I learned how calm and inviting the energy feels at this cancer support center located in the middle of residences, farms and forests a half hour west of where we live.
I deepened my awareness of “being held” by attending a sound and meditation class with my sister Alice, a recent lung cancer survivor. Having Alice and her extroverted charm accompany this old, quiet Dharma dog, gave me permission to “put my whole foot in” and attend my first support group. I feel relieved that I found these courageous, kindred spirits who are walking the same path as me. We can help each other by sharing our advanced cancer experiences with heart and humor while we are living on the edge.
My breast cancer has been a long and challenging journey; twenty-three years of treatments, surgeries, remission and progression. It has been scary and overwhelming, alienating and draining. Yet it continually offers up gifts of lovingkindness, support, humor and connection.
It began in June of 1995 when our daughters were eleven and seven. We lived on our farm in Walpole where our Hereford cattle herd and our retired bay thoroughbred, Five Alarm, had the run of the barn and all the green pasture grass they could possibly desire. Ken was always building some amazing piece of furniture in his cabinet shop. Our labs, Bear and Tess, followed by Chance and Bosco, always our protection-dogs, kept the girls safe on their swings. As soon as they heard Ken’s call to, “Get those Geese!” our labs would temporarily abandon their backyard post to chase a loudly honking gaggle of Canadian geese. Down flying everywhere, the gaggle would scatter upward and onward, and far away from the lush alfalfa fields below our house. Life was good.
The family has grown up. We have since moved from our two cattle farms to a rural suburb abutting a 14-acre town field west of Boston. And we still have two warrior doodles, loving and protecting us, and, as always, keeping us safe. Ken constructed the same post and rail fence he has been putting up over all his farmlands since childhood, to keep the town cattle out and Fillmore and Truman inside our yard. But that doesn’t keep these cuddly therapy dogs from responding to a similar call when they hear Ken yell from our back terrace to, “Get those turkeys!” Have you ever seen a turkey fly over a post and rail fence? It’s an amusing sight. Life is still good.
I want to make this a place where I can let my loved ones know how I’m doing as my cancer progresses. And I hope you will stay in touch with me about all your life experiences, too. I want to celebrate our shared human existence. We are ALL fortunate to be here at the same time, “in this” together.
Life is ups and downs, ins and outs, beginnings and endings. We are all living on the edge! I want this site to be an extension of my cancer support group. This is our Middle Ground, a safe container we are creating together. Let’s share and care, send love and be loved, no matter what.