By Guest Blogger Susan Wener
Resilience is a story of hope, faith, belief, and triumph.
At one point in our lives, no matter who we are, or how much we have, the rug will get pulled out from underneath us.
Resilience is my story, spanning over 30 years. It is one filled with physical, emotional and spiritual challenges as well as one filled with laughter, peace and joy.
I was diagnosed with colon cancer when I was just 36 years old . My three daughters were 8, 12 and almost 14 at the time. Although I knew if I died it would be very difficult and painful for my husband, he was not the one I was concerned about. What would happen to my girls? They were so young. They had barely begun to live their lives. Was it a possibility that they would end up watching their mother lose hers? That very thought took my breath away. There was still so much left to do, so much more to teach them. They needed to be armed with tools and strategies to help them become strong, independent and successful young women. I had to stay alive long enough to help them with that.
Initially I went to the library and to bookstores and read everything I could on colon cancer. Then I started reading books written by survivors who had experienced some kind of cancer. I wanted to model those who had made it. What did they eat? What did they think? What did they do? I was desperate for guidance. No matter how hard I looked, I could not find anything written by anyone who had made it ten, fifteen, or twenty years down the road. When a crisis happens, it is easy to write about it right away. When a plane crashes, a mine collapses, or a tsunami hits, we read remarkable heroic stories written almost immediately after the event. But what happens after the initial crisis is over? For someone who has had cancer, can it ever really be over? Would I always live a life in the shadow of this terrible disease? Would I become defined by it? Could my children ever feel safe in their skins having had a sick mother?
I went back to school and studied everything and anything I could on health and well-being. I needed to gather as much information as I could to get me back on my feet again. And then, just before graduating The Natural Health Consultant Institute, the unthinkable happened. At 41, three tumors were found in my right lung. My only chance I was told, was to have the entire lung removed. Cancer once was one thing, but twice was a whole different ballgame!
I knew that in order for me to survive I would have to integrate all that I learned into my daily healing regime. It was scary to do so much of this alone since, at that time, western medicine was not often supportive of my choices. The road to health may have been a long and difficult one, but the knowledge I gained throughout it reinforced my belief that anything is possible. Not only did my children emerge stronger because of it, devoting their lives to helping others, but their mother did as well.
Throughout my entire odyssey, I wrote down my thoughts and feelings. Out of these feelings, a book was born. Resilience came from these writings almost 25 years later.
Resilience has already been placed in 22 cancer centers across the country.
Resilience teaches us that life has never, and will never, be about what happens to us. The kind of life you live is determined by what you CHOOSE to do with what happens to you. If you are struggling now in your journey, I can promise you two things. One, is that you never have to do this alone and two, is that in spite of all you may face, you can still live a remarkable and extraordinary life. Resilience shows us that what makes us truly magical is our decision to pick ourselves up every time we fall.
It reminds us that the essence of life lies not in what is broken, but in what we can create.
About Susan Wener
Susan Wener is an educator, guide, and teacher to people coping with life-threatening illnesses. She holds a degree in teaching from McGill University, and is also a Natural Health Consultant with a certification in Multi-dimensional Healing. She holds Master Practitioner Certification in Neuro Linguistic Programming, Time Line Therapy, and Hypnosis with world-renowned Master Trainer, Dr. Tad James. She is a practicing member of the Canadian Association of Naturopaths. Susan shares her knowledge by speaking at educational institutions, at conferences, and on the radio. She is an active participant on the Board of Governors at the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal, the board of Hope and Cope (an organization addressing the needs of cancer patients and their families), and is a Natural Health Consultant on the Gynecological Oncology Tumor Board of the Jewish General Hospital. She lives with her husband in Montreal.
To pre-order Resilience, visit Amazon.com. Available in bookstores everywhere mid April.
Susan Wener is one of my mother’s closest friends and in honor of Women’s History Month in March, I have chosen to spotlight Susan’s story of resilience.
I’d love to know, do you consider yourself a RESILIENT woman?