Well, it’s about time I’m back on the blog…after 4 back to back retreats in Montana + 1 in Italy this fall, I’ve been too busy living it to write about it. I’m looking forward to being a hOMebody for the holidays.
And, I keep writing this in my calendar: Cowgirls vs. Cancer blog post. But I keep procrastinating. This is the time of year that we take nominations for next year’s retreat, and while I couldn’t be happier to see them come in, they bring many mixed emotions. Compassion for the suffering, anger at the disease, hope and inspiration from the stories of the beautiful resilience of the human spirit, no matter how broken the body might be. I’m used to tackling things head on – but I’ve noticed that I sometimes push C vs C away. I fear not being able to make a difference. I fear having to choose next year’s group, because every single nomination deserves more than we can give. I fear the cocktail of strong emotions that reading these cancer experiences brings on.
Left: Unicorn OM cake by Elle’s Belles.
Today, I learned that one of the cowgirls that was supposed to attend this year’s retreat, but could not for health reasons, passed away. She was planning to come next year. And the mix of emotions that has tugged at my heart all day formed two words: do something. I started Cowgirls vs. Cancer to do something, because I hated feeling powerless every time the word cancer came up. Today, Laci’s passing reminded me to move forward. To keep doing something, however insignificant or scary it might feel sometimes.
After this year’s retreat, we got the best thank you note ever from Jennifer:
It took me awhile to craft this thank you note. I wanted to get the words just right to express my gratitude for the Cowgirls vs. Cancer retreat.
Cancer, at any stage and any type, has a substantial impact on your life. Once you get past the initial heartbreaking diagnosis, then comes the treatment.
My daughter once asked me which hurts worse, the cancer or the treatment. At that time, I couldn’t feel the cancer so I told her the treatment, for what it would ultimately put my body through. What I didn’t realize was the emotional toll it would take on me as well.
I pushed through treatments like a warrior; my coworkers told me I was not normal. I wanted to stay strong for my family, my girls and my husband. I didn’t want pity from others because I had cancer, I didn’t want to look in the mirror and see cancer. I wanted to keep living life.
However, five surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation and hormone therapy over the course of two years hits a person hard. The reality that your body is not the same, and that there is a new normal can be a hard pill to swallow. I didn’t want a new normal, I wanted my old life back. Now that I am not able to do some of the things I did before, it is hard to feel like the warrior I once was.
The gift you gave me was the opportunity to attend the most life altering retreat ever. I was able to connect with others who really understood where I had been and how I felt. This retreat provided me with time to just be me, without the shadow of cancer – an opportunity to experience real joy again.
Each and every moment during the retreat was a gift that I received and will forever cherish in my heart. On those occasions when I am feeling dark, I can reflect on this opportunity and take a moment to breathe in the memories and positive affirmations, and remember the Double T River Ranch.
See what it’s all about! We were recognized as as one of TheOneHundred.org’s 2017 honorees, and they captured Cowgirls vs. Cancer so wonderfully well in this video. Yeehaw and Namaste.