The 10 Commandments of Survivorship

I. Thou shalt believe in thyself and thine ability to survive. 

               The foundation of survivorship is trusting in your own ability to cope with cancer.  You can find strength you never knew you had!

II. Thou shalt surround thyself with medical professionals in whom you believe and with whom you feel comfortable.

               You must believe in your doctors as much as you believe in yourself!

III. Thou shalt seek knowledge about thine illness

               The most well-armed survivor is the one who knows as much as possible    about    the illness he/she is battling!

IV. Thou shalt join or form a support group.

               It has been medically proven that women who belong to a breast cancer   support group live longer than those who don't ...sharing is surviving!

V. Thou shalt dust off thine sense of humor and use it often

               Spend time with people who make you laugh and uplift you...keep those    endorphins hopping around and you are healing yourself!

VI. Thou shalt keep as active and as busy as thou art able.

               Find something you really get excited about and do it as often as you can.               Fill life with positive thoughts leaving less space for fear and         self pity.

VII. Thou shalt count on friends and family.

               Let people know what they can do to help.  It'll give them purpose and a    way to show their love for you!

VIII. Thou shalt reach out to other cancer survivors

               If I can help one person to laugh, smile, or gather courage to keep fighting,             it gives me one more reason to stay excited about life!

IX. Thou shalt allow thyself to cry

               We can't enjoy the peaks if we don't descend into the valleys just don't let                yourself stay down there too long.

X. Thou shalt love thyself and be good to thyself

               Always remember you are a unique and special person.  Cancer cannot       take that away from you.  It's easier to love others if you love          yourself...            and love is one of the most important reasonsto survive!


Maggie Gray 6/96...Sparrow Regional Cancer Center

Why the Hummingbird?

Why the Hummingbird? Author, Alberto Villoldo, in his book entitled “Courageous Dreaming”, discusses what Hummingbird Courage and hummingbird consciousness is. On page 100 he states, “in hummingbird consciousness, we engage life from the level of the soul, just as that tiny birdfinds the valor to take his monumental journey, we can discover the courage to perceive ourown lives as a journey of growth and discovery, of spiritual maturation. We don’t fuss aboutthe details of our flight…we’ll make it to our destination.”

He continues on with “the hummingbird isn’t even supposed to be able to fly given the shapeand weight of his body. Likewise some of feel that we weren’t made to soar…but despitethinking that we don’t have enough …..”wings”, we each have a great journey that’s availableto us should we choose to accept the invitation from life and respond to the call”.

These words spoke volumes to me. When Alberto talked about how hummingbird courage “canempower us to rewrite our stories” and “look at life as a journey of discovery and growth”, itbrought tears to my eyes. That is what being a cancer survivor has been for me, a journey ofdiscovery and growth.

After the shock of the cancer diagnosis, I struggled through the world of decision making andquestioning every step of my journey, completed surgery and recovery, waited for the phone callto tell me whether I had cancer in my lymph nodes, prayed and prayed and prayed for help andcourage and then spent five years dealing with side effects of hormonal therapy to preventcancer recurrence.

I kept reading on and Alberto stated that “as determined hummingbirds willing to trust that we’ll have all we need on our journey… we can start to paint a very different picture of who weare and what the events of our existence mean”. I did just that. My new journey began with mydiagnosis. Along this journey I have met some amazing people that I would not have had theopportunity to meet otherwise. What a blessing for me.

But Alberto didn’t stop there, on page 102, he states “the saga of a loss or illness can now be one of initiation into the tribe of survivors, who can wisely guide others through this passage.” Iknew that I had a purpose in life and that I could use the skills and knowledge I had acquired asa physical therapist and educator to help in the fight for quality of life for cancer survivors.

My dear husband has always kept a hummingbird feeder at our home during the summer. Mymother had given me a hummingbird feeder that hangs outside my office window. Here I’vebeen surrounded by signs of hummingbird courage and didn’t even realize the power that it hadgiven me. I do now.

I challenge you to accept the invitation from life, respond to the call….

Embrace your Hummingbird Courage!