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[IP] Non- HTML "Sharing our Stories"

Greetings all:
   Thanks to George Lovelace who took the time to show me what my posts have 
been looking like in HTML vs what came through yesterday on the "this is a 
test" that I transmitted by signing on to www.aol.com. Having seen how awful 
this VERY valuable (but long) post looked & assuming that many of the 
digest-readers have just been deleting my posts, I'm re-posting it here. My 
apologies for all the dozens(hundreds) of posts I've sent in the past 3 yrs 
that may have also been equally "cryptically" received! Never realized that 
all those IP admins. requests for NOT using HTML were directed at ME! LOL
   Greetings all:
    Yesterday Mel and I attended a seminar sponsored by the Linda Creed 
Breast Cancer Foundation in Philadelphia. Although the 3 panelists were all 
BC survivors, the 2 keynote speakers' life experiences touched upon other 
aspects of the theme: "Life with Chronic Illness: New Challenges, Insights 
and Understandings."
    Dan Gottlieb, PhD is a family therapist whose life changed forever 
following a car accident over 20 yrs ago that rendered him a quadriplegic. 
His sage advice & cogent insights are well-known in this area through both 
his radio show & his newspaper columns. Linda Welsh is also a therapist and 
author, a BC survivor and the widow of a man who battled end stage renal 
disease for 9 years. Their stories & their journey & their life lessons 
touched every heart in that audience, as did the 3 BC survivors who also 
spoke. One was a young OR nurse, about to be married when she was dx'd. In 
the intervening 3 yrs, both her older sister and her aunt were also dx'd. The 
silver lining in her cloud was her sharing that she is 3 months pregnant with 
her first child, but the dark cloud was the heart-wrenching comments when her 
mother rose to speak too about the pain of watching both of your daughters 
deal with BC.  I was very touched after I rose to speak when a woman 
tearfully approach me & thanked me for my comments. I h
ad spoken about the AOL message board & meeting the 40 wonderful women in 
Vegas & what has happened since then.....and how through their battling & 
yes, even their dying, these women have taught me more about LIVING than 
about dying. I also spoke about Melissa & my diabetes involvement & how 
unlike my own treatment, her daily care for her chronic illness is NOT 
finite, but just goes on & on...and how that inspires me. 
  But what I really wanted to share were comments from the moderators that I 
jotted down because they "spoke" to me about things I hold so dear...For 
expediency sake, I'll just enumerate them, rather than be literary.
  1) Righteous indignation is TOXIC...all of us have encountered friends, 
associates, family members, etc. whose inappropriate reactions to our 
familial situation angered us....but "holding on" to that anger is corrosive 
to our soul
  2) chronic illness steals one's identity and "voice" & replaces it with a 
sense of "being different"....when my daughter was interviewed & asked if 
being diabetic had made her excluded, she said "not blatantly - but in my own 
  3) from the initial terror upon hearing a diagnosis can evolve depression, 
grief, mourning the loss of the "fairy tale road map" you'd envisioned, and 
then finally understanding, wisdom & compassion
  4) a lot of time was spent on "martyrdom" & the need to ALLOW others to 
feel useful..a BC survivor shared how she'd been so stoic & told everyone she 
was "fine", even going to all of her chemothreapy sessions alone. In her 
attempt to delude herself into believing she was doing great, she never saw 
how she had alienated her children & husband
  5) the need to "normalize" your "new" normal...remain connected to others, 
vent, accept, reach out & tell your story...I also related to the group one 
of my favorite lines that the reason I still remain so involved is that 
Cancer (or diabetes) wins TWICE if I don't do so - by robbing us of body 
parts & also robbing us of a VOICE that can empower & educate & liberate 
others who are alineted with their fear, suffering, pain, frustrations,etc.
  6) I loved this thought:  the "stories" that we share are in a sense 
ANTIBODIES against illness and pain, validating another's suffering & 
instilling HOPE
  7) the conference concluded with a wonderful anecdote about having planned 
for a wonderful trip to Italy because "everyone" was going there & raving 
about it...and how you'd studied the language, read all the guide books, 
researched your itinerary....only to awaken from a long flight to hear that 
you'd landed in HOLLAND! Holland! Hey - I'm supposed to be in 
Italy..."everybody" I know is having a great time in Italy...how did I get 
HERE? I don't want to be HERE!...but here you must stay & in time, you WILL 
"learn the language" and you will meet the wonderful people, and you will see 
the beauty of windmills & tulips & wooden shoes....and yes, you may regret 
never having gotten to Italy, but there's no need to "mourn" the loss of 
"Italy" when there is so much beauty to enjoy in Holland!!!!
regards, Renee   

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