By Nancy Marker, Division of Juvenile Justice (and multiple cancer thriver)

Utilizing music, poetry, drama, inspirational speakers, nutrition and humor, Healing Journeys is a non-profit organization dedicated to inspiring people to move beyond a cancer diagnosis and back into living and thriving.

When I received a diagnosis of breast cancer, my first reaction was mind-numbing shock. However, I didn’t have time to think about what having cancer meant before I was thrust into a whirlwind of biopsies, x-rays, surgeries, treatments, procedures, radiation, pills and countless needles. Hair? Oh my!

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I spent more time with my doctors than with my family. And so I became yet another soldier focused on fighting the war against this invisible invader, and I fought the good fight for many, many months before most of the treatments were finally completed.

Afterward as I settled into my new normal of regular checkups, I found myself to be a very changed person and I was at a loss how to answer some pretty big questions:  How long would I live? Should I plan a future? How do I release all the fear locked up tight within my heart and still threatening to drown me?

Someone told me about an event devoted entirely to cancer survivors – and it was free!  So I went to my first Cancer as a Turning Point conference in Sacramento. I met the founder, Jan Adrian (a multiple cancer survivor), learned about simple nutritional strategies which could help keep me healthy, and laughed or cried with lots of other new survivors in the same predicament.

We started our day as mostly silent strangers but ended it chattering and hugging with almost-forgotten carefree laughter. Our shared future, while still uncertain, was more hopeful than we’d realized.

That was almost 14 years ago, and now I actively support Healing Journeys with a monthly contribution taken from my paycheck and volunteer whenever the Cancer as a Turning Point conference is scheduled in Northern California.

Cancer as a Turning Point helped me understand that I had gained far more from my cancer journey than I had lost – priceless wisdom.

If you or someone you know has been touched by cancer, I hope you find your way to a Cancer as Turning Point conference, too.  Learn more about them here  https://www.healingjourneys.org/

Learn more about Our Promise here: https://www.ourpromiseca.org/