Saturday, April 23, 2011

Wrong Way to Hope

On Tuesday, April 19, 2011, two days before my radioactive isolation, I attended a screening of a film called "Wrong Way to Hope". (Visit their website at: I remember that day as intense. First of all, I was exhausted from the little sleep I had the night before and from being so hypo. I had also had an appointment with my new specialist, a blood test, and a counselling appointment. Plus I was trying to plan a trip to Newfoundland for the healing retreat without any idea of how I was going to pay the new higher plane fare without my AirMiles. (The healing retreat is being organized by Young Adult Cancer Canada: I could have easily gone to bed and curled up and hibernated but, me thought, 'No, I must go.' And go, I did. Well, more like dragged my "hypo" self on to the bus...

The screening was held at Wellspring (Westkirk House at Sunnybrook), the cancer support centre. I wanted to see this screening especially since it was about the adventure trip that young adult cancer survivors took up a river in Oregon, USA. The trip was organized by Mike (cancer survivor) and Bonnie Lang (his wife and supporter). I especially wanted to be at this screening since I wanted to meet other young adult cancer survivors. Finding a young adult cancer patient or survivor is kind of like finding a needle in a haystack. We are so small in number that we are an underserved population in terms of services. In almost all of the workshops, yoga classes, and groups I attend, I am the youngest participant by several years. (I am 33 years old.) So that means many of the young adult cancer patients and survivors are not being served adding to feelings of isolation. I have felt this isolation too. Although I have many loved ones around me, I genuinely seek other people who have faced or are facing cancer. They completely get it!

What's even more sad is that if you have a lengthy cancer treatment (e.g., multiple surgeries, multiple rounds of chemotherapy and radiation that can last months and years), I can only imagine the intensity and length of this isolation. This issue and others were expressed by the survivors in the film. Changes to relationships, identity, and transitions all had a part to play in their cancer journey.

I commend Mike and Bonnie Lang for tackling these issues in their film and for organizing a national tour of the film along with Pat Taylor, producer/director of Chasing Rainbows productions. (You can visit her website at: Organizing a national film tour is a lot of work but very rewarding. (I should know. I organized a nationally touring film festival called ICED IN BLACK: Canadian Black Experiences on Film in 2002 and 2003.)

I am so happy I attended. First, I learned more about the community and support for young adults with cancer. Second, I connected with an anonymous donour to help me pay for my flight to attend the healing retreat in Newfoundland (see my post "Love, Medicine, and Miracles"). I'm so excited to go. Newfoundland will be my 9th province visited. (There are 10 provinces in Canada so Prince Edward Island will be next.)

Pat Taylor (left, Chasing Rainbows), me, and Mike Lang (right, adventure therapy facilitator/cancer survivor/Wrong Way to Hope)

Peter Laneas (left, National Spokesperson, The Canadian Testicular Cancer Association/cancer survivor), Pat Taylor, me, and Mike Lang

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