Patricia Wellingham-Jones — On Saturday, August 25, 2012, Enloe Regional Cancer Center held its second Wellness Day in Chico, California. The focus was to create a personal wellness plan geared to each individual’s needs and tastes and to celebrate cancer survival. The event was staffed by volunteers from the cancer center and well attended by patients, survivors, caregivers, family members, and friends. Rebecca Senoglu, organizer, proved a gracious host, using casual humor to keep things moving smoothly.
The jam-packed day began with dietician Mary Hurd Aram sharing practical tips on cancer fighting nutrition, backed with a demonstration by Fred Marken, founder of Grilla Bites restaurants and proponent of healthy foods. He showed us how simple it was to blend a smoothie of kale, spinach, apple juice, banana and yogurt – sounded yucky, looked intriguing (a green drink?) and tasted delicious as a mid-morning pickup.
The group split to attend three of the five mini workshops offered: Writing to Survive (Patricia Wellingham-Jones) where we wrote and read together; Fear: The “Side Effect that Keeps on Giving!” (Terry Matthews); Asking for Help (Wendy Spalsbury); Skin Care During Cancer Treatment (Dr. Donald Richey); and Mindfulness-Based Cancer Survivorship (Steve Flowers). I led the healing writing workshop and witnessed enthusiasm about the program. Based on comments from people in the room, all the topics were interesting and pertinent to the people present.
Before lunch, the group reformed in the general meeting room for another demonstration by Fred Marken, this time the two sauces used in our lunch of Zen bowls and green ginger tea. The lightly cooked fresh vegetables piled on a mound of buckwheat noodles then enlivened with curry and/or peanut sauce exemplified the ideal cancer diet and tasted superb to this reviewer. The Büttants (Mikki Larrick, Ed Stopper and Dave Pearce, volunteers in theCancerCenter) serenaded us with folk songs and oldies while we ate.
After lunch, lest we fall asleep in our chairs, Mary Jo Brown and her class volunteers had us on our feet dancing along with them in their Healthy Steps demonstration, dance routines using exercises recommended for breast cancer surgery patients then expanded to include a few more – and fun. To further illustrate that “Exercise Is Medicine!”, Jennifer Stuart spoke about the benefits of exercise during and after treatment, giving practical examples and ideas. Leasa Davis read a brief tale of her cancer journey, written in the Telling Our Stories writing program at the cancer center.
Dr. Michael Baird, Executive Director of EnloeRegionalCancerCenter, introduced the online survivorship software that will be a part of the new electronic medical record installation, including a patient portal for direct access to staff and information. Topping off the day, prizes were raffled. We left, full of good ideas, good food, and good fellowship.
(photos by Rebecca Senoglu)
About the Author
Patricia Wellingham-Jones is a former psychology researcher and writer/editor with an interest in healing writing and the benefits of writing and reading work together. Widely published in poetry and nonfiction, she writes for the review department of Recovering the Self: a journal of hope and healing and has authored ten chapbooks of poetry.