Life is a journey. Life is a mystery. Life has many beautiful moments and tumultuous obstacles. The trajectory we calculate for ourselves is not necessarily the road that is followed. Vicissitudes of winding roads forces us off the beaten path. In the process, we momentarily lose ourselves then eventually discover more of what we truly want out of our lives.
In the summer of 1983 when I was 13 years of age, my mother had a malignant lump in her breast which needed to be removed. My mom spent weeks in discomfort following the lumpectomy. My father worked long hours and my brother, who was 15 years old at the time, spent most of those days hanging out with his friends. Instinctively yet unknowingly, I took on a caregiver role in helping my mom recuperate.
My mother would have ongoing health issues as I grew up. In 2004, she was diagnosed with colon cancer. I helped my mom in a different capacity with a more lighthearted approach as she slowly recovered from surgery and chemotherapy. In 2008, my mother underwent a bilateral mastectomy followed by breast reconstruction. I was there every step of the way to get her through the toughest hurdles.
My introduction to Reiki was not very memorable. Twenty years ago my best friend, Tom, began a journey to harness the subtle energy of Reiki. Initially I dismissed this practice, and I belittled his endeavors as a Reiki Master. As I matured and opened my mind, I gained an appreciation for this technique. Not shortly thereafter, I would request distant Reiki during marathon races as an extra boost of energy to help me cross the finish line. Later on, I would learn Reiki’s greatest gift is in helping others.
In 2012, I was diagnosed with a highly aggressive form of lymphoma. Tom mentioned that the hospital where I was treated offered Reiki to cancer patients. So I made arrangements for a Reiki session before each round of treatment. I have scheduled periodic Reiki work since finishing chemo in 2013.
The experience in caring for my mother and surviving cancer paved a path for me to volunteer at the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, The Double Hit Lymphoma Foundation, and to participate with Team In Training. It was also an inspirational way of paying forward to the patients and families battling blood cancer. I have managed online support groups and befriended many survivors and warriors of Double Hit lymphoma. And I have been trained at LLS as part of the First Connections program to provide peer-to-peer support for patients with similar diagnosis.
My continuing fulfillment as a volunteer and as a cancer survivor is to broaden and improve my skills in helping patients navigate their journeys through listening, relating, empowering and providing positive energy to those who are open and willing to receive it. Getting immersed in Reiki is a complementary path on presence, community and healing in the curriculum to personal growth.