When I was diagnosed with early stage breast cancer in January this year, it was a shock to the system. I had no symptoms, no lumps or bumps or soreness, so it took some time to sink in. The weeks following my diagnosis were spent visiting specialists and getting my head around the ‘new normal’.
I recall a long session I had with my breast care nurse, Leanne, during which she gave me a pile of pamphlets and information about reconstruction options, living with breast cancer….. and then one pamphlet on The OTIS Foundation. As Leanne handed the pamphlet to me, she said
This is a great organisation! Every cloud has a silver lining…and when you’ve got the head space to do so, take a look at OTIS – they provide retreats for women living with breast cancer, at no cost.
After my mastectomy a couple of months later, I recalled what Leanne had said about OTIS…and I read the pamphlet again. I visited their website and sent them an email requesting some time in one of their retreats in the coming months.
I thought this would be a great opportunity to thank my girlfriends who had banded together to create a ‘food bank’ which provided yummy dinners for my boys and I for six weeks post my operation. It was my chance to show my appreciation for everything they had done for me and my family and to spend some time laughing and relaxing with them.
The three nights we spent at Alyonah were delightful. The house is gorgeous, and the spa great fun. The first night, three of us sat in the spa until 1 am having a wine (or two), telling stories and laughing. The next night, with more girlfriends arriving, we had a lovely dinner at home and jumped in the spa again – another night punctuated by laughter.
I sat back and looked at my dear friends, feeling blessed for their friendship and support, and thankful that an organisation like OTIS exists…for people like me, who need to get away, regroup and re-energise to face the world again.
A $50 donation will cover the cost of providing one night to a woman like Nikki.