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Time stood still!! — suzanne-mcrae.com

Time stood still!!

Since early September it felt like time stood still. Yet, everything that needed to happen, did. There was no reason to panic about anything. I felt that time standing still was allowing me to drop into that place of nothingness, no panic, no anxiety, just being more able to be more present and go with the flow. It felt odd, but in a good way.

On September 3rd I went back to see the first surgeon again, to find out when my surgery would be. She told me within a month and that I would get a call the next week with a date.

In early September I began also taking part in a breast cancer program called Head Start at OICC (Ottawa Integrative Cancer Centre). When I signed up for this program it was July, it felt at the time that it was way too far away for me, but once I got there the timing turned out to be perfect. I was one of about 10 women in the group, each of us unique in what we were going through, and at a different place on our journeys.

“COURAGE” was the word that kept coming back to me over and over each week, as I saw what each one of these amazing women and how they were handling what they were each faced with. In seeing the courage in them, I also began seeing the courage in myself and acknowledging it. The truly compassionate and exceptional people who shared their knowledge and even life experiences with us in this program (all staff at OICC), delivered week after week to us tools, techniques, knowledge that was geared to empower us on our journey back to healing through breast cancer. We learned many relaxation techniques, about exercise and nutrition, healthy lifestyle, as well as body and mind therapies. I was so grateful to be there. I attended weekly support group meetings with these women making the 2 hr return trip into town weekly.

I highly recommend any women newly diagnosed with breast cancer to call OICC asap and sign up!! Their program is free, next one starts early November. Thanks to Babes4Breast who help raise money for breast cancer charities across Canada, OICC being one of those charities.

I also booked several sessions at OICC last month as I waited for surgery. I went for a yoga therapy session, and I’m going back again this month. Being in Anne’s presence alone is calming and healing, and adding yoga therapy to that is so deeply healing for the body and mind. Moira’s work is with hypnosis-visualization, this was another service that I was grateful to have gone for last month. Those sessions were incredibly helpful to help prepare me for surgery and to lessen any anxieties. This month I met the massage therapist Janet at OICC. She not only knows her profession very well, but she lets her intuition guide her in her session with you. Her compassion and deep respect for every human body shines through in what she does. The hour in her care has allowed me to drop into total bliss and deep relaxation where healing can occur.

(Note: services at OICC are not only for people who have cancer – call them if any of this interests you. They serve everyone… whether you have cancer, want to prevent cancer, are supporting a loved one with cancer, or you just want to benefit from their services for your own well-being).

Before the breast cancer diagnosis in July that I picked a few oracle cards… “Healing” and “Miracle” popped out of the deck for me. I’ve had them sitting on my altar ever since. It’s carried me through these last few months, to help me believe that I was healing, that I am already healed and its helped me to believe that miracles can and do happen… and to not lose sight of that goal for myself.

Last month we also got to spend another weekend at my sister’s family cottage. The weather was summer-like, a beautiful way to welcome the start of Fall. I also saw a friend almost every week the first part of September, and together she helped me focus on some specific issues I was struggling with and we did EFT (tapping), plus what I was already doing on my own at home. I experienced a few healing sessions with a few different people last month also. Both unique, interesting and felt incredibly healing and rejuvenating.

Not a week goes by that I don’t receive a surprise of some sort in the mail, from someone who lives somewhere on this planet. I’m beyond grateful to continue to be showered with cards, journal, books, quotes, flowers, etc. Some weeks it feels like it should be Christmas or my birthday. 🙂 I thank you all for your extreme kindness, and caring hearts… you truly brighten my spirit each of you.

See How Bright You Shine

Once I found out that my surgery date would not be until October 7th, my husband wanted us to get away for our 30th wedding anniversary… and we did. The past few years have been pretty intense in our lives so this break would do us both a lot of good. Our spirits getting an opportunity to rejuvenate, as well let go of responsibilities for a few days. Grateful for my sister once again for stepping up and offering to take care of our son so we could get this break and go and celebrate us, our 30 years of marriage to one another.

We didn’t go far from home… about 3 hrs away to Picton area and Sandbanks Provincial Park area. We love the sand dunes and spending time by the lake. We both wanted nature to be included as part of our weekend away. A few years ago we had dreamt for a while of taking a bigger vacation for our 30th anniversary just the two of us, leaving for a week or two perhaps. It wasn’t meant to be… there’s just been too much on our plates with everyone’s challenged health and situations in our family, and then the recent cancer diagnosis. Financially we’ve been affected a lot in those 30 years, but these last few years even more. So a big vacation was not meant to be this year and may not happen for a while.

The first day we drove to Picton where we stopped and had lunch before heading to the sand dunes at Sandbanks Provincial Park. It was a super hot day so we didn’t climb many of the sand dunes, but instead walked in the water, relaxed by the lake and walked one of the trails. Two monarch butterflies kept showing up and flying around us wherever we were. As we took a photo of our shadows in the lake, my husband notice the space between our heads in the photo was that of a butterfly. 🙂 We both knew that the monarch butterflies had a message for us. We both connect to the messages that animals or insects bring to our lives. God was showering us with gifts. 🙂

That whole day in nature wherever we went little insects and animals and their messages were everywhere, bringing a message. From the monarch butterflies, to the hundreds of dragonfly’s that flew near us in a big oval shape, the white caterpillar, the tiniest of snake I had ever seen, frog, centipede, and a raven. We welcomed these beautiful gifts and messages from nature. Everywhere we went, something else was around the next corner waiting for us to connect with.

One area in particular where we visited, had several trees. I guess its fair to say that in this mature age that we’re in we are becoming tree huggers. 🙂 We decided to go to each tree to feel into their energy, to see what could be felt. This one tree in particular we kept coming back to. I could feel a loud beating of a heart coming through the tree in through my hands and throughout my body it could be felt… my husband found the energy to be so incredibly powerful he could only put his hands there for a short while. What an amazing and powerful experience that was for both of us.

We walked on a beach… and then did a bit of math to figure out how many days we had been married. 🙂

We’ve really stuck through it all for the past 30 years. That’s an awful lot of days to wake up to be with one another, to do it all over again, to do the best we could each and everyone of those days even when we knew it wasn’t perfect we tried, and we never gave up on each other even when the going got really tough on some of those days. For me this felt like I was given a trophy seeing those numbers and knowing the story within those days that went along with all the days of our married life.

At that same place, every time we go there we’ve always enjoyed seeing the sunset… so we stuck around longer to see what reveal itself to us…

On day two as we left the motel and got in the elevator the door almost closing before we got in but we managed to open it and get in. There with us stood a bride and her maid-of-honour. What were the chances… it immediately brought me back 30 years ago that same weekend when got married. I congratulated her and wished her well, then told her that 30 years ago that same Saturday (not the same date), that was us getting married. It felt good reconnecting with that special day a very long time ago, by just seeing this bride preparing for her special day.

That day we were going out to explore a bit the Prince Edward Country – Studio Tour 2015. Both my husband and I were happy to get a chance to tour around and go visit many artists. So off we went that morning, with a handful of places marked on our map of where we thought we might like to visit, but it turned out we didn’t really follow the map very much. We mostly just allowed ourselves to be lead to different studios that we may not have gone to visit otherwise. We visited a furniture place, a blacksmith gallery among several others. I enjoyed the abstract pieces the blacksmith had hanging on the walls in his studio. That same couple also had a beautiful bed and breakfast at the same place. It was so nice to hear how they both were living what they were passionate about.

Two of the studios and artists in particular had an impact on me. One was an artist that inspired me when she showed me her bookshelf full of sketching/mixed media journals. She had used the idea of morning pages in Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way and had for years chosen mixed media as a way to express herself every morning. She told me to begin writing and doing my art right now. Just do it, she said that this would help me to heal. I enjoyed her beautiful abstract paintings. She had a beautiful spot next to her home that had separate studio dedicated just for her to create art out in a beautiful spot in nature.

I had found online about a winery and estate vineyard that also had a wood-fired pizza oven that we wanted to try. Off we went down country roads and eventually we found it.

We enjoyed a really delicious pizza. No wine though, hubby won’t drink and drive. I enjoy a glass of wine occasionally but my body doesn’t tolerate it very well, it loves to send me into reaction mode where I break out in a huge red rash so I avoid it. This was the dining area indoor. It was simply a concrete building, like an unfinished basement that was stocked with barrels of wine. It was very loud with lots of people drinking wine and enjoying good food. When we left this place there wasn’t much time to finish off our day of Studio Tour visits. We managed to squeeze in one more stop.

As soon as we walked into this artist’s home/studio… we were welcomed at the door like we had been family or close friends forever. The artist immediately went and got a few small glasses filled with wine, my husband declined and before I knew it I was sipping on a bit of wine (no reaction miraculously, yay!!). Her art was hanging on all the walls in her quaint home and studio that was attached to her home. Her artwork was stunning. I found out that she was a retired teacher whose passion and profession had been art. Since retirement her focus has been on making art for sheer pleasure of having fun and exploring, but also to make a few dollar so she can go study with the best of the best, the art masters and then come back and create more art. Her joy in life was just bubbling all over the place as she spoke to me. She then asked, what do you do? Of course, my automatic and natural response is always I’m a stay-at-home Mom. But this response is starting to sound like a broken record I’ve realized it makes a while. When I say that and people see that I have grey hair and they must wonder how old I was when I had my children. lol It’s making me become aware that I need to find another identity for myself, not just me as a mom. Then she kept insisting by asking, who are you? I answered a bit about my role as a mother, but no she replied I want to know who are you? I figured that she had already asked me that question and that I had answered her, but she kept repeating it with a very inquisitive stand waiting for a response back. I couldn’t get out of answering that one. I told her that I loved writing, and painting also a little… then she was more satisfied. Artists are really curious people. lol She asked if I did a lot of writing or painting, I answered that I had not been doing so much the last few years and shared about some of the challenging times that we had been faced with, but also how I was trying to find my way through it all, including this cancer diagnosis. She grabbed me by the arm, and said you come with me. I thought what now, where is she taking me, what is she going to ask me next? Her heart overflowing with love and compassion, she told me, I want you to have a print of one of my paintings. I want for you to bring one home. I couldn’t believe what she was doing. Why was she being so incredibly generous? Then we walked back to where my husband was talking with a volunteer, and she began to ask him who are you, and what do you do? Naturally, he said what he does for a job. She said, no-no, what are you passionate about? With some help and coaxing… woodworking, music, creating with his hands was shared. She said don’t wait till you’re on your death-bed to do what you are passionate about in life. She meant that in a very good and caring way. We left, the last visitors to walk out of her studio that day with our hearts-full, and with several things to think about and maybe figure out how to turn somethings in our lives, the dreams into a reality.

September was a very different kind of a month for me. It felt surreal, dream-like, so calming and different in many ways. I could not believe the peace I was feeling knowing that my surgery date was coming up. Time really did stand still for a lot of that time. Yet when I look back at all this, its exactly what needed to happen to take me to my surgery date of October 7th.

I will share in a next blog post about my surgery and how I’m doing.

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  1. Dawn Conery says:

    What a beautiful story of your Anniversary vacation <3. You were and are blessed with many gifts of love and caring. How comforted you must feel. I find it so inspiring for all of us as we face difficult times. Thank you Suzanne. Huggs . I can feel your peace <3

  2. Rebecca Renkas says:

    As I read your post I could feel how beautifully the universe was guiding you on your vacation and with your life in general. It’s amazing how nature and animals speak to us if we only pay attention. What a beautiful beautiful story Suzanne. So many people love and care for you and your family, this alone helps a person to heal. I think of you often. Take care of yourself and keep writing and making beautiful art.

  3. Your process is beautiful and watch, Suzanne, and I’m so grateful you’re willing to share it. The grace with which you are moving through your divine steps is nothing short of amazing. Wishing you much love and peace as you continue to heal. ♥♥

  4. I love this blog post – thank you so much for sharing it! Your connection with the animals is wonderful – and the butterflies are so special. It was a beautiful story! Take care of yourself!

    • It really was a magical day with all the butterflies, and insects. This is something I was taught by a Reiki Master teacher years ago and for that teaching I am so grateful. It opened my eyes to the messages that animals bring us.

  5. I’m happy to hear this has been such a nourishing month Suzanne, and that you’ve allowed yourself to receive love and support. Your trip celebrating your marriage feels like such a rich and wonderful experience. Much love to you!

  6. Oh Suzanne! Your getaway sounds like heaven! I’m so happy that you and your husband were able to spend some time alone with one another and get back to just the two of you! My husband and I have been married 35 years now, and we have been through many trials. The death of our oldest son in 1991 was the hardest, but we are still here.

    I LOVE that the artist prodded you both into deeper answers about WHO you are! Like you, I struggled with this myself. I now know that I am far more than what I DO. Blessings to you dear! As always, thanks for sharing your heart with us.

    • Diane, I see strength in you, in your marriage, and in your life. You have been through a lot of challenges I sense and you and your husband are still together. That is something to be proud of. I have no idea how a parent even feels after going through the loss of a child, or even how life continues let alone get through this together as a couple. Many continued Blessings to you and your husband!! xo

  7. I don’t have much to say but want you to know that I love reading your reflections and seeing your photos from your travels. Happy 30th anniversary!
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