If you have time to read only one Twitter thread today, you might want to choose this one.
My views on covid seem to have become a bit, well—radical. Please allow me to explain. I did not start out radical. I am lucky to have a settled, establishment-adjacent, career. Three years ago, on the eve of the pandemic, I trusted the establishment. pic.twitter.com/PktHgac8M5
When I was growing up, most of my friends went to church services of some kind on a Sunday morning and the afternoons were usually spent at a relative’s or at a cultural event with extended family. I had none of this. My parents were not religious or spiritual, nor did they particularly identify with their Scottish/English heritage. We also didn’t have any extended family in Canada. My connection with them was minimal at best. This left me with a sense of loss, a deep longing to belong somewhere and/or to something and/or someone and a fair amount of jealousy of my friends and what they had. I did try to fill the void on my own first by joining some of my friends’ church youth groups in my elementary and high school years, and then by attending several different churches as an adult, but nothing seemed to be a proper fit. I often felt like an outsider looking in, no matter what I was involved in when I attended a particular church. I even did a lengthy stint as a practicing Catholic, converting after my marriage, and raising our kids in the Church hoping that it would give them more than what I had growing up.
I now know that I married into a different culture because of my search for identity. Since I did not know who I was or have any strong feelings for my British heritage I thought I could change that when I married my Asian husband. But I did not become aware of this until my bladder cancer diagnosis in 2008. Like many people who hear the words, “You’ve got cancer”, I went completely brain dead and unable to comprehend the situation. When I finally came out of the brain fog, I realized that my life as I knew it was gone. I had no idea who I was and how I got to where I was in my life. I was at ground zero.
I have always said that I felt guided on my cancer journey and after a while I sensed that I would be okay. One part of my journey that was important to my healing process was to look at and into who I was. I started reading about my heritage. Who were the Scottish and the English? I knew of the British royal family and some basic things about England and Scotland but how did this relate to me?
I also started doing my ancestry search and thanks to a free link to Ancestry.ca through the Calgary Public Library I have been able to put together a fair bit of my family tree. Discovering who my family members were also led me to reading more British history and coming to a better understanding of what was happening in the world at the time that my family members were alive and how that may have influenced and affected them. By understanding them, it helped me understand myself.
That is why I’m glad to learn that in many health care settings, religious, cultural and spiritual practices are now allowed and encouraged as part of a patient’s healing journey. It is important to recognize the body, mind and spiritual connection of ourselves which is often fragmented upon receiving a potentially serious diagnosis like cancer. Just like they say, “It takes a village to raise a child,” the same can be applied to those that are ill. Religious, spiritual, and/or cultural advisors/support people can go a long way in offering support and helping that person hold it together when they are often facing one of the big challenges of their lives.
I did my cancer spiritual journey basically alone but that was what was right for me. After a lengthy time of reading different materials, participating in Wellspring’s Healing Journey program and doing my own ancestry search I would say that most of the void has been filled. I am who I am and for the first time at nearly 65 years of age have come to a place of peace and acceptance and have way more compassion, empathy and understanding for others.
If you are free on Friday, March 5th, 2021 from 11 a.m. – 12 p.m., (MT) why not join in the conversation about the home to hospital to home transition. What role can patients, family, and caregivers play in this transition? https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/patient-and-family-hospital-transition-guideline-orientation-tickets-140172582969?keep_tld=1