It was early August 2017, I was several weeks out of chemo and starting to feel so good (comparatively, of course). My sister, Lindsay had signed up months before for a "dream yoga trip". She had asked me a few times if I could join her, and I always had to say it will depend on my treatment schedule, but I probably can't make it happen. We talked for hours about this trip. It was no regular thing. This was a 109world Women's retreat featuring the one and only Rachel Brathen aka Yoga Girl. I am not going to lie, Rachel is a big deal. She was for sure a super exciting part of this retreat, however, there was also big mission. Everything for the retreat was donated, and ALL funds went to support the Panzi Hospital in The DR Congo. This hospital is instrumental in repairing women's lives as The DR Congo is one of the most dangerous places in the world if you are a girl or a woman. As it got closer to her trip, I started to wonder if I was healthy enough to travel. Yoga and my physical strength was not even on my mind. The thought of sharing this experience with my sister and helping women who are in need of help was my driving force. However, I had to think of my health. So I asked my Oncologist about traveling. I got the all clear! She knows that embracing all that life has to offer me is a huge part of who I am. August 2017 was my full month without treatment and I was determined to make the most of it. The morning my sister got on a plane to Stockholm, I was accepted by the 109world team and I booked my ticket to Copenhagen. I am going to be honest here, I paid an exorbitant amount of money for that last minute, direct flight. But, I was in a rush, I needed to get to Sweden! Both of our travels were long. Lindsay arrived earlier than me and I joined the opening circle just after it started. I sank into the joy of being in that moment with my sister as we helped change women's lives on the other side of the world. Our retreat group raised $40,000 USD to donate to The Panzi Hospital. This was such a great feeling for me. Although I was in the middle of fighting for my life with treatment for Breast Cancer, I was uplifted and empowered by being able to support women through some of the most horrific times in their lives. Lindsay and I spent 4 very full days immersed in Yoga, community, cultural celebration (with Congolese live music), food and education. We met some of the most amazing and courageous women. This experience that we enjoyed together changed my life forever. This experience created memories I never knew could even exist! It renewed my strength to move forward in my cancer treatment journey, reminding me that the human spirit is stronger than we give it credit for.
Who was I, to think that 8 weeks after my last chemo treatment, I could be in the Swedish countryside, bunking with my sister and doing yoga with Yoga Girl??? But then again, who wasn't I?
Stay strong my friends,