Complementary therapies and healing

I spent last weekend in Modesto, California, where I had the pleasure of speaking at the annual Daffodil Celebration for Memorial Medical Center.I spoke twice to accommodate all the cancer survivors who wanted to attend the gathering, and before each of the segments got under way, we were all serenaded by the Sounds of Heart Musical Ensemble, a ukulele orchestra comprised of survivors taking part in the music class provided by the center as part of The Healing Journey. Then there were readings of poetry and prose by members of the Writing Through Cancer class, and each survivor present was given a copy of the class's latest published works.I already knew this was a special place because I had met Community Outreach Coordinator Cheryl Casey when she and her video team came to Dallas to do a story on CURE magazine for the The Cancer Report, a half-hour community television program about all aspects of cancer.But there was more. In addition to music and writing, the room was ringed by beautiful art works created by survivors in the Images and Cancer Art Group. A collage that greeted those arriving for the Daffodil combined fabric, letters, mementos, and the sleeve of a shirt to represent 45 years of one woman's life. There is also the Hope Blooms Garden Club that takes field trips and explores the healing aspects of gardening. The Moving Towards Healing class takes survivors through stretching and strengthening as they move to music. There is photography and, for the serious exercise enthusiasts, the Triumph fitness program that offers cycling, walking, yoga, and Pilates.It was inspiring to hear Dan talk about being a construction worker who felt he had lost his identity when a cancer diagnosis meant he couldn't work. Now he writes poetry, does art, and plays music, arts he never imagined could bring him the joy they have.Memorial gets it. These classes have been created and are supported by the hospital, which is nonprofit. Their survivors take the classes together, forming a community of healing that is there to provide the support and love needed to live a full life after a cancer diagnosis.And these folks are having a great time. I wish we had more cancer centers that understood that healing includes much more than just the body.