On 01.02.02, I was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. Too late for surgery, I had chemotherapy, which failed. In May the chemotherapy was changed and I was soon in remission which was celebrated and welcome and lasted nine years - until October 2011. There was progression in 2011 so more treatment was indicated and I am now back in partial remission. But I'm not only a cancer patient - I also enjoy my family, walk my dogs and am learning to draw and paint. Life is good!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Looking toward Monday

I seem to have turned a corner,  health-wise.  There was a heavy reliance on pain medications today, but I wasn't crying or throwing up or in out-of-control pain.  If tomorrow is similar, or better, I'll begin to trust that I really am recovering.

Last week I began a new module with the Juvie girls, one that I repeat often, about self-soothing.  They know how to flip out, but they have less skill about how to bring themselves back into reality with some sense of perspective.  They are teen girls, after all, full of emotion and drama.

Because so many are survivors of trauma, I frequently teach them grounding exercises, ways to bring themselves back after a nightmare or out of body experience.  Even more important, I remind them of the skills they already have but tend not to label as skillful.  "What can you do when you're upset?"  Remove yourself from the situation, write in your journal, call a friend to vent, take a nap, read a book, listen to music, take a hot shower, etc., etc., etc.  Just listing and labeling these as skills to help them regroup is useful because they know how to do all these, they just don't think of them as ways to regain control when they are feeling out of control.  Any of which would be a better choice than turning to alcohol or drugs.

And then comes Zentangle.  Depending on one's mindset, it can be an art form, a meditation or a way to simply calm down.  Anyone can learn how to tangle.  Anyone who tries will notice a gentle quietening of the tension.  Because there is no right or wrong, everyone can be successful. And so I bring in Zentangle as a new ability to add to their arsenal of self-soothing skills and remind them that, "Anything is possible, one stroke at a time."


  1. Here's hoping that you continue on the upward trend and the pain continues on the downward trend!

    And I really like how you write about Zentangling as a way of self-soothing / re-grounding. The more strategies we all have for that the better.

  2. Hi Rebecca - Somehow your note slipped by me. Thanks for your comments.... always.


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