At the age of 47, I was diagnosed with 2 cancers: uterine and ovarian. I underwent a full hysterectomy and chemotherapy treatments. The treatment period was accompanied with many of the difficulties, pain, stresses, and worries, which most - if not all - cancer patients endure.
I was surprised how my body reacted to each chemo session. I felt defeated and immobile, unable to perform the simplest of tasks. My body felt battered and beaten and achy throughout. The tips of my fingers and toes were impacted by neuropathy. I was also surprised at how my body rebounded and that I was able to go through another round of chemo and experience the same effects over and over again.
I discovered that when I was at my sickest and weakest that I was also receptive to many forms of healing therapies, such as: acupressure; acupuncture (even though needles and I never were compatible); therapeutic massage; deep breathing meditation; and guided/visual imagery. These healing therapies were of immense help to me. They alleviated nervousness, pain and anxiety, and helped my over-all well being in giving me the strength to fight the fight.
Complementary therapies were of great significance to me immediately after my surgery and later, in reducing and ultimately eliminating my neuropathy. Immediately after my surgery, I did not need pain medication for several hours as a result of focusing on breathing and visualization techniques and having therapeutic acupressure massages in the hospital. Later, as a result of chemo, I was experiencing neuropathy and my oncologist told me I may have to stop my chemotherapy treatments if my neuropathy persisted or got worse. I attribute my acupuncture sessions to reducing the neuropathy and I was able to complete the full chemo treatment as a result.
The healing therapies became an integral component before, during, and after my surgery and throughout my chemotherapy treatment.
Mindfulness and incorporating positive thoughts and energy were a huge part of my healing process. My attention was given to my ailing body to get through the cancer period and heal.
In the fall of 2008, I founded the Sandra J. Wing Healing Therapies Foundation. The Foundation provides funds so that cancer patients can experience the immediate benefit of complementary therapies to help alleviate the side effects caused by radiation and chemotherapy.
The Sandra J. Wing Healing Therapies Foundation is a 501c3 non-profit organization and is run entirely by volunteers. As of December 2013, we have issued 375 grants to cancer patients in our community. Our patients are referred to us from the various oncology centers in the Bay Area.
This foundation is established for all cancer patients.
Words by Sandra J. Wing and Tandy Bowman
Music by Tandy Bowman
© 2008 Tandiwae Reflective Healing
All Rights Reserved/Used by Permission
Listen to "Life's New Dance"
In April 2007, while driving to work for the first time after my last chemo treatment, I sang two lines over and over "Lord, you've given me new life. My Lord, you've given me new life." I could not get these lines or the beat out of my head. It was if the words became a mantra. I found myself struggling to encapsulate my thoughts around the song's two lines. In June 2008, I sang my lines, to my friend and musician, Tandy Bowman. I shared with her the meaning behind the song and my thoughts about the message. Then, the song took amazing form. Tandy's ability to capture the essence and keep the melodic beat was, and still is, unbelievable. I am amazed by her talent. I was "wowed" by the song. I hope you enjoy "Life's New Dance" as much as I do.
Tandy Bowman shares her talents of music therapy through her company, Tandiwae Refective Healing. She promotes healing through music for cancer patients.