The kick came for me in the form of breast cancer. Cancer has a way of showing up in your life, unannounced, and take up all the space in the house. It’s a visitor you can’t ignore. Rowdy. Overburdening. Demanding. Draining.  It derails your routine, your plans, your work, your sleep, and your relationships. You are called to muster enormous amounts of energy, self-discipline, resilience, and courage to endure its visit. Those of us who survive are forever transformed. In ways we could never have imagined. 

Cancer has kicked and transformed me in many ways. Some are still unfolding. I looked at my website and realized that I could not go back to what I was doing before. So here am I starting anew. A new blog. A clean plate. A new adventure. I’ve kept the domain, but removed all its content – except for one poem. Writing essays that don’t engage my heart seems sterile now, as a cancer patient. As if one could separate one’s mind, from one’s body and heart. More than ever, the experience of cancer give me the visceral understanding that they are all connected. (And we are all connected).

I joined a writing workshop for cancer patients. There I discovered a new voice I had never given space to speak up before. Out of fear of sharing my vulnerability. Or out of delusion. I mistakenly thought that a rational mind was enough to comprehend the world. (Isn’t it what our education teaches us?) When I made space from my heart to speak up, I was surprised to discover what came out, and how my writing touched others. With the encouragement of friends, I am taking the next (bold) step. Sharing my vulnerable voice publicly. For this, I had to share my cancer diagnostic. It was not easy. My motivation for sharing is to heal and support others. I was told that my writing would be beneficial to cancer patients, caregivers, and survivors. And possibly others confronted with the pain of loss and illness.

This blog is a journey towards healing and connection. Connection between my heart, my mind and my body. Connection between the personal (my story) and the universal (the human condition we all share). Connection between the land of the ill and the land of the healthy. Cancer is a black box that is hard to understand from the outside. As such there is often an understanding gap between cancer patients and people who’ve never had cancer. I hope that sharing my experience openheartedly will help create a space for deeper understanding.

I invite you to join me on this path of renewal and connection. Sign up here to follow my blog and be notified of future posts. I look forward to reading your comments and seeing where the conversation goes.

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26 thoughts on “When Life Kicks You: Let it Kick You Forward

  1. Dear Sylvie,

    I am grateful for your openness, vulnerability, and willingness to channel your pain into a broad compassion.

    I’m looking forward to reading more of your heartfelt writing.

  2. Sylvie,
    Your decision to shift your focus and your courage to do so are bold, beautiful, and strong–just like your writing. I look forward to seeing where this journey takes you and learning from you through it. Thank you for sharing yourself and your writing.

  3. Dear Sylvie,
    I’m truly delighted to read your posts. Having worked with cancer patients, I know your voice will be the voice for many. I trust that these heartfelt writings and poems will be like a new form of therapy that heals one’s body and mind. May these writings benefit many people in the world.

    1. Thank you Ying. I love how you wrote: “a form of therapy that heals one’s body and mind”. It’s certainly what writing feels like to me. I hope I can be of benefit to others.

  4. I too discovered how different the world appeared after getting a cancer diagnosis. Initially I wanted to hide it and myself, but slowly learned that there was healing in sharing with others. I so appreciate the beauty of your writing and expressing for me those thoughts that I am unable to perceive otherwise. And may more people grow from witnessing your courage and clarity.

  5. Sylvie,
    Grateful that you’ll be writing more and reading about the journey.
    I love the title of this post.

  6. Hey Sylvie,
    Your writing is awesome, just as you are. Am so glad you are a part of our writing group. You are an inspiration to all of us. Please continue sharing your adventure. We are looking forward to it.

  7. Hey Sylvie
    Your writing is awesome, just as you are. Am so glad you are part of our writing group. You are an inspiration to all of us. Please continue your adventure. We are looking forward to it. Many blessings to you.

  8. Your writing caused me to reflect on the power we have but are sometimes blind to. We have no power initially over the kick, and when it’s felt it often triggers negative responses. The response you’re recommending from reflection on your experience is “don’t stay there!” I’m hearing you say you chose an end – emotionally, socially, and physically. You chose an orientation – up or down, close or distant, open or closed. Then having done all that you turned your back to the cancer and said “gimme what you got!” In those actions you used up your energy but they also co-opted Cancer’s power for your good. The kicks now drive you up and not down; closer to your authentic self and to others. It’s expanded rather than diminished your world and mine. Thank you.

  9. Great writing, dearest Sylvie – so glad you are giving voice to your voice as this makes me stop and think, become more aware – thank you so much for this gift!

  10. Sylvie,
    Thank you for your blog this morning! You are reminding me of the transformative power of difficult times. Timely! Thank you,

  11. Sylvie! So grateful you are sharing your story! Really helps even those of us w/out cancer deal with difficult situations. I wish I had your courage. Much love!

  12. Thank you for your words Sylvie. When you mentioned bodies, hearts and souls, you made me think of Pierre Rabhi who talks about the healing connectivity between all living things on earth, from the air and plants to humans. It is all there for us and only needs to be nurtured a bit. The same goes with friends who are far away in places, spirits and health. With your story we can share a bit of your journey and surely find a path to wellbeing.

  13. Thank you, Sylvie, for including us on this. Deep bow to your courage and conviction to bravely share below the layers that we often cover ourselves.

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