When I was growing up in Japan, I had an eating disorder after 14 years old, as well as substitute codependency, which I did not know about at all that time.
I was overweight.
Most people who know me now say,
“What? You, overweight? No way,” or “I can’t imagine you were overweight.”
But yes, I was.
My height is 5’3″ (which has not changed since I was 16 years old), and my weight was 150~160 lbs. That is heavy for a Japanese teenage girl for my height. I had big breasts, so Japanese bra did not fit my breasts so I was wearing an Italian bra size 38″ D-cup.
Can you imagine?
I can’t anymore…hahaha!
When I moved to America, I learned I have unhealthy codependency with food, cigarettes, alcohol, and later pretty heavy drugs with unhealthy people. It is a long story that maybe I will write about it someday.
But the bottom line is that 12-step programs helped me to learn I have codependency and I have a choice to live a healthy life, so I believe in support groups and communities for overcoming a problem.
We are not alone, even if we feel we are all alone here on earth.
Many times, when we go through challenges and suffering, we are living by the support of someone, always.
When I found out that I had very rare, aggressive cancer, Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma (DLBCL) Primary non-Hodgkin of liver, I looked for support communities. Thanks to the internet, I found Cancer Support Community two miles from my house. I do not drive, so I have to take two buses to go there, or ask friends or Eric to drive for me (I do not take uber or Lift usually because of my PTSD—but I am grateful to this community.
They offer support group meetings for cancer patients and family, as well as classes in Reiki, yoga, t’ai chi, qigong, writing, and more.
I went to their orientation and took one reiki class, but after chemotherapy started, I was not able to attend any classes or meetings because I was too weak.
After I finished six rounds of chemotherapy, I’ve started to gain my strength slowly, but surely so I attended the “Time to Talk” open group meeting, “Blood Cancer” closed group meeting and “qigong class”.
The only qigong class I’d taken was a long time ago in Michigan, while I was visiting friends there, so I was not sure how I’d feel or if I’d have enough strength to do it. The first time, I went with my new friend Kyoko (she found me through my blog, and we became friends). She drove for me.
I did not have the strength to do a whole class and a half, but I felt so relaxed.
I was feeling the air and seeing trees and touching the grass, which helped me feel connected to nature, even while living in the city and feel open and grateful to be alive.
I really felt this class is something that can help me now.
It’s at Clover Park, about a third of a mile from my house, so I decided to practice walking there with one of my dogs. The distance is 5–7 minutes for most people, but it takes about 15–20 minutes for me.
I walk there and catch the last part of class now, relaxing on the grass and doing my sitting qigong (I used to do wheelchair yoga, so I felt this was familiar).
I am happy for me.
My dog, either Happy or Nalu, are so good to be there with me.
Going there helps me not to worry so much about going all the tests and the results.
People in the class are kind survivors and/or family.
The teacher, Michael Sieverts, shows how to do qigong as he demonstrates.
He does not talk much, but I feel his passion and light of his strength.
He said, “My diagnosis was in 2000: a mixed glioma, right frontal lobe, stage 3. Resection, radiation, and chemo. No treatments since 11/2002. No recurrence, but I’m still feeling side effects of the treatments.”
He is a really caring person.
I did not take a walk outside for a long time since I got cancer again so my legs are hurting because I have nerve pain from a car crash I had in 2001, and also now side effects of neuropathic pain from chemotherapy.
But nothing is going to stop me.
I am walking with my dogs “one dog or two dogs at a time.”
I thank Cancer Support Community for being there and offering many meetings and classes without any charge.
If you are or know someone who is diagnosed with cancer, please share this Cancer Support Community!
Love, Sanae 💖