Winter Solstice 2020

This past winter, the FCT community came together for a celebration of the winter solstice. Please feel free to take a look at some of the beautiful writing shared during the program.

To see the video recording of the event, click here.

Winter Solstice

I want to tell you this story from my life. My older daughter and I were always very close but with her divorce 20 years ago she made big changes in her life, her mothering; she pulled away from her daughters and me as far as she could.   She became very cool toward me.  On the positive side, I grew closer to my grandchild who really needed my attention. But the heart of my story started 8 years ago when my granddaughter was rushed by ambulance to the hospital with a massive tumor in her brain. It had spread from the allegedly successful treatment for lymphoma.  At the time my daughter called me and asked me to come and give her some support. I took the first plane to Tucson and…

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Winter Solstice

Winter SolsticeKaryn Hoffman Why are the holidays sad?  It’s supposed to be a time of joy. It’s funny, when I think about the winter solstice, it brings me peace.  Maybe because the first three letters are S O L, part of solo, and it seems like a celebration, or maybe rather, an acknowledgement; that part of this life should be about the individual.  One whole person, feeling whole. The solstice also brings to mind quiet reflection.  Deep, calm breaths of solitude, meant for rejuvenating and finding inner strength.  The image of snow and cold comes to mind, and the purity of that.  A cold, crisp sunny day, or the mysteriousness of a winter moon.  The imagery is intriguing to me.  It’s almost like the quiet you hear after a snow…

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Solstice

I want to tell you this story from my life. In 2015, I was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer. I was told my 5-year survival rate was 20%. I plunged into a dark period of my life. When I had to fly back to Hong Kong alone for treatments, I assumed I was saying my last goodbye to my two young sons and husband. Hong Kong is where the best treatment is for my cancer which is particular and most common among Asians. During the treatments, eating was not pleasurable. It felt like a task, a job I had to do. Because of the radiotherapy, my throat was raw and my salivary glands were damaged, chewing and swallowing were not difficult but impossible. My taste buds didn’t work as they…

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Darkness and Light

Darkness and Light January 2020 — I was about to celebrate my 4th anniversary since my diagnosis. Pancreatic cancer. I never thought I would live so long, and I was planning ways to celebrate this event with my medical team and my friends. The celebration never happened. In less than 4 weeks, things went downhill: my cancer markers were up, I caught pneumonia and had to be hospitalized, the cancer progressed into the pleura and to one of my ribs; then, I had another hospitalization after the placement of a permanent drain for pleural effusion. To complete the picture, lingering pains for weeks. Within a short time, I went from wanting to celebrate the completion of my fourth year from diagnosis to thinking, this time, I am not going to…

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Winter Solstice

When I was having my radiation treatment at Newton Wellesley Hospital, I discovered an art therapist on staff.  Some kind soul had donated money to the hospital, so that there was no cost to the patients. I am someone who never enjoyed making art, because I was always so critical of my own creations.  In art therapy, I learned to let that go, to focus on the expression and the process rather than the outcome. Then I heard about a class in Waltham on making fused glass.  I enrolled in that class, several others afterwards.  After I found a post on Craigslist for a kiln, glass, and supplies, I created a “studio” in my basement. I have loved the process.  I learned so much from my alleged “mistakes”.  Fusers talk about…

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Winter Solstice

Pre-cancer diagnosis I was pretty disciplined about not eating bread or other carbs regularly, just a couple of times a week. My husband loves the ritual of making toast every morning, including generous amounts of butter and jam, and I unfortunately just can’t eat that way on a daily basis, even though I always want to. After my first chemo, my mouth was really uncomfortable and sensitive, and soft bread was one of the easiest things for me to eat. I had been warned that my appetite might not be great after my first chemo, but I didn’t know exactly what that would mean for me. One rainy night a friend brought over a beautiful dinner that, at the time of delivery, I just didn’t have any appetite for. I watched the rest…

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From Darkness to Light

From Darkness to LightIsabel Hanelin I want to tell you this story from my life. The darkness of a cancer diagnosis is undeniable like the darkness of winter.  Everything is still except the glaring statistics and frightening recommendations.  I looked for the light and heard an inner voice trying to guide me. My body was tilted away from the light.  I wanted to know what caused my cancer. Nobody knew.  How can I heal something if nobody knew what caused it,  I wondered.  That was the beginning of my journey toward the light.  I was drawn to the stories of exceptional survivors, those with radical remissions, and those with wisdom to share.  There were hundreds of books to read.  I devoured them and started a library. They guided my journey…

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What is lost? What is left?

What is lost?What is left? The new moon blueThe clouds blow by itAn armchair in the darkOne-eyed I spy it and sit downto drink the deep dark in On my left an open window On the other handan arm, my own, uponthe arm of that fat chair I’m sitting on (it’s become an over-stuffed fauteuil though in the last stanza   the chair that I imagined was   a straight-backed wooden one) the last stanzathe last standthe lost islandthe one that’s left standing the one that’s sitting down What is possible? The world around me turns and I turn with it,whether I notice it or not.The old ways die a bit each day. What new joys might I imagine?I am thankful for them all, though still unknown. Dana Maiben, 24 November 2020

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