Last Saturday we went to a Gyne Cancer Survivorship Symposium. It was held in a magnificent historic sandstone building that had been immaculately restored and it overlooked the beautiful river that flows through Brisbane. A lovely setting where I met some truly amazing people.
There were numerous presentations, all fabulous, with so much helpful and hopeful information. Here are my three biggest takeaways from the day.
- The symposium was called survivorship rather than survival. Survival is making it to the next day. Survivorship is the art of doing it well, with quality of life. Hmmm…why does it take cancer for some of us to get that concept? Applies to everyone who is still breathing I would think.
- The doctors, advocates, and women who saw the best survivorship (and survival) all combined conventional medicine with alternative treatments. Conventional = surgery, chemo, radiation, etc. ‘Alternative’ = nutrition (since when did nutrition become alternative?), herbs, acupuncture, meditation and mindfulness, yoga, exercise (again, alternative?), etc. Again, applies to everyone who is breathing, especially as cancer prevention.
- And this was the really big one for me. EVERYONE emphasised that everyone’s journey is individual and that you have to do what is right for YOU and BE YOURSELF, no matter who is pressuring you to do otherwise. I didn’t expect that. Even the doctors there said that, including my own oncologist who is one of the organisers of this annual event. Again, why does it take cancer for some of us more dense folk to get that?
I’m currently exploring what my survivorship will look like. For sure I know that time with my horses, like my Miracle (above) is a crucial part of it.
What does your survivorship look like, cancer or no cancer?