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Turning Points — September 2010

In this issue:
Director's Reflections - by Jan Adrian, MSW

29_jan_091210_small.jpgDear Friends,

A heartfelt thank you to all of you who voted for my picture in the Pretty in Pink photo contest.  Although our picture didn’t win the contest, I feel like a winner because I experienced so much love and support.

The story about my cancer scare last month elicited comments of understanding and appreciation from many of you. I loved hearing from you and wished there was a way you could all read what others wrote to me. So this month we’re trying something new. You can comment at the end of my Director’s Reflections, and you will all be able to read what others write.

This feels like a year of paradoxes for Healing Journeys.  I’m curious to see what develops. There have been several occurrences that made me think it might be time to wrap up Healing Journeys. Our usual resources of sponsorships and grants to pay for our free conference weren’t available this year. I would have given up, but then an anonymous donor made a significant contribution as a challenge grant and many of you stepped up to the challenge, so we’re within $20k of having the money to meet our budget. I hope to close that gap through our raffle and donations at the conference.

Because I have worked harder to keep Healing Journeys financially viable this year, and I’ve been doing it for 16 years, I’m tired. Another indication it might be time to give it up. And then another generous donor gave us the funding to hire a new Executive Director to share the load.  Working with the right person, I would be delighted to continue. You can see the job description here.  We hope to start interviewing after the October 9th & 10th conference. If you know someone that might fit what we are looking for, please encourage her/him to attend the San Mateo conference. That’s how she will discover if she has a passion for continuing this work.

So, on the one hand the signs from the Universe have pointed to the possibility that the upcoming San Mateo conference could be our last one.  On the other hand, there are indications that the support, the need, and the passion are there to continue our mission to support healing, activate hope, and promote thriving.

When we started offering the Cancer as a Turning Point, From Surviving to Thriving™ conference in 1994, there wasn’t much available to people touched by cancer that would fulfill that mission. Since then, the Integrative Medicine movement has blossomed. Many cancer centers offer programs focusing on healing the whole person.  I wonder if Healing Journeys has fulfilled its mission and our conference isn’t needed anymore.  Judging by the excitement and registrations for the San Mateo conference, I don’t think that’s true. I’d love to hear your comments on this question.

The program planned for the October conference is awesome. It will truly be a Broadway show for the soul and I think you will be sorry if you miss it, especially if it turns out to be the very last one. As of this writing, we don’t have another one planned.  Please share your comments below on whether you feel there is a need for the unique role our conference plays in the world of healing.

In the spirit of healing,
Jan Adrian's signature
Jan Adrian, MSW
Founder and Executive Director


P.S.  We still need volunteers for the San Mateo conference, so please let us know if you can help.

Leave a comment, or read comments left by others.

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What's New?

  • Eat, Love, Survive! - A Benefit Dinner for Healing Journeys, with a menu created collaboratively by renowned cookbook author, Rebecca Katz, and Executive Chef, Rick Hackett, will be held on November 16, 2010.  Click for details.

  • We have a job opening for an Executive Director, a paid position.  You may read the job description, and if you know someone who might fit what we are looking for, please encourage her/him to attend the San Mateo conference. That’s how she will discover if she has a passion for continuing this work.

  • Beginning this month, you may leave comments for Jan at the end of her Director's Reflections.  She'd love to hear from you!

  • We need volunteers for the San Mateo conference. If you would like to serve in this way, please let us know by clicking here.

  • We have a new page of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about the conference.

  • Reminder - the last day to order lunch for San Mateo is October 3rd. You may see the menu here, and you may also bring your own lunch.

  • Reminder - the last day to register online for the conference is October 5th.

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Healing Story

Ann Lovell - sm.JPGNote:  When Ann was diagnosed with breast cancer, a friend told her about the Cancer As a Turning Point conference at the University of Washington. She attended and was so moved, that when she returned home, an hour west of Seattle, she co-founded a cancer support group at her church, Kitsap Unitarian Universalist Fellowship. The next year the whole group returned to the conference.
Ann retired from the Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation and volunteers her time on several boards and committees. She lives with her partner, Jan Williams, and Tucker, their special Bichon, in Bremerton, WA.

Nine Years of Healing
by A. Ann Lovell
I remember 2001 not only because all of our lives changed on September 11, but because two months prior, my life had already taken a major shift: I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Until my mammogram and subsequent biopsy that year, I had assumed that cancer was what happened to other people. All of the words associated with the disease—lumpectomy, DCIS (ductal carcinoma in situ), radiation, chemotherapy—were not in my personal vocabulary. They were scary words even for someone who had experienced gall bladder and hysterectomy surgeries. From these previous experiences, I thought I knew how to take one day at a time. But cancer was a bigger word than I had ever encountered and I realized I would have to write my own definition. . . . Read Full Story

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Healing Poem


Note: Nancy McKay gives spiritual direction in the progressive Christian tradition. She also practices and teaches Bio-Spirituality through Focusing.

She is a former presenter at the Cancer as a Turning Point, From Surviving to Thriving™ conference and a current Healing Journeys Board Member. 


by Nancy McKay

She laid back on

her pillow.  A few words

and the fact she was dying

mended a relationship

with holes in it.  She desired

freedom.  She intended to die

with no regrets.  One more

colleague to go then

she’d have only

herself to deal with. . . . Read Full Poem

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Book Review

My Own Country
by Abraham Verghese, MD

Reviewed by Sally Blumenthal-McGannon

My Own Country.jpgAbraham Verghese, author of Cutting for Stone, also wrote the book My Own Country in 1994.  It’s about his personal experience living in rural Tennessee and discovering the world of AIDS as it was unfolding, before there was even treatment or names for what he encountered.  He was feeling as alone medically as his patients were personally.

Many of the men who had HIV/AIDS came home infected after having moved elsewhere so they could live open gay lives. With no other support they returned to Tennessee, their own country. Verghese, a physician from India who lived and trained in Ethiopia before coming to the U.S., was equally concerned about being accepted.

Just as his patients’ lives became consumed with this horrible disease process, so did Abraham’s. The intensity of his commitment and connection to his patients is awe inspiring, and draining to his family.  His work is so demanding, and the needs so great and urgent, he can’t abandon his patients and their families. This is a rare insight into the early effect of the AIDS epidemic upon a rural part of our country and upon a remarkable physician.

His passion to do his best and be there for his patients, whom we get to know personally by name, partners, houses, family and church, is written exquisitely.  From describing the trailers in which they live to the colors of the leaves, it is a thrill to be part of this journey.

It will truly be an honor and a privilege to hear him speak at Cancer as a Turning Point
, in San Mateo in October.  I am really excited!

Additional information:
  • If you purchase this book, we'd so appreciate it if you would use our Amazon Associate link, below, or in the bottom left navigation on our website. Your price will be the same, and Healing Journeys will receive a small percentage of the sale. Every bit helps! Whenever you are buying anything from Amazon (books, CDs, even TVs and appliances), we benefit if you first go to www.healingjourneys.org, click on the Amazon link, and make your purchase.
Amazon Link

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1 more FREE Conference in 2010!

Continuing Education Available

October 9 & 10
San Mateo, California

More Information
Lunch Menu
Order by October 3rd.

  Register Online Now!
Last day to register online is October 5th.


The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen

New Live Workshop
Rebecca Katz
Jeanne Wallace

November 5, 2010
Napa, CA

The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen recorded March 19, 2010
at Santa Cruz, CA Workshop.
Featured Product of the Month

New DVD!

with Jeanne Wallace
& Rebecca Katz

Watch Sample - Important tests for cancer patients.



Using our Amazon Associate link benefits Healing Journeys.

Amazon Link

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  Donate Today

Your donations to Healing Journeys help keep our Cancer as a Turning Point conferences free of charge for those who attend.

Please make a tax deductible donation today to support Healing Journeys and those who need the services we offer.