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Today's episode is different. I have no expert or wonderful survivor story for you - all you are getting is moi!
Over the next few weeks and months, I will share with you some of the other bits and pieces that have helped me heal over the last few years.
As a cancer survivor, I have found much light and hope in meditation and mindfulness. As a teacher, I share poems, readings and I have decided that I will share some of those with you on the podcast. So that together we can practice tapping into the present moment, away from solely focussing on wanting to find solutions.
Helen Munro from last week’s podcast (listen here) has shared today’s poem with me - and it’s so wonderful I want to share it with you.
WELCOME TO HOLLAND by Emily Perl Kingsley
I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this……
When you're going to have a baby, it’s like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guidebooks and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.
After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland.”
"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy.”
But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.
The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.
So you must go out and buy new guidebooks. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.
It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.
But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned.”
And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.
But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things... about Holland.
c1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley. All rights reserved
Here are the highlights:
(07:52) Welcome to Holland
(10:39) The part of the poem that resonated with me
The Menopause and Cancer Podcast is hosted by Dani Binnington, menopause guide, patients advocate for people in menopause after a cancer diagnosis, and founder of the online platform Healthy Whole Me.
There is lots of information out there about the menopause but hardly any if you have had a cancer diagnosis as well. Many people say to me they have no idea what their options are, who to ask for help, and that they feel really isolated in their experiences.
I started this podcast because there was nothing out there when I was thrown into surgical menopause at the age of 39, which followed on from my cancer diagnosis aged 33.
Through the episodes, I want to create more awareness, share information from our fabulous guest experts, doctors and other specialists in the cancer and menopause field.
And of course, I will share stories from the people in our community.
So that together we can work towards a better menopause experience. For all of us.
More educated, better informed and less alone.
Connect with Dani:
Join Dani’s private Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/menopauseandcancerchathub
For oodles of inspiration, healthy recipes, yoga classes and all round positivity go to her website: https://www.healthywholeme.com/