About 14 years ago I was diagnosed with Non Hodgkins lymphoma stage 4. It started in my stomach and invaded my bone marrow. I was working in a very high powered stressful job at the time (which I thoroughly loved) and was married with 2 kids and an elderly mother. The news pulled the rug out from under our family.

I am by nature a positive person. I was not going quietly into the night. I made up my mind it was an inconvenient time to die. I worked hard doing whatever I was supposed to do to heal. I was a model patient and blessed to have family and friends support throughout this ordeal. It was a very rough treatment. The drugs were awful with major side effects and lots of pain. When it was all over I was in remission within 6 mos and back to the same job within the year.

Unfortunately, I went back to the same lifestyle of stress, not eating well etc. I did ok for a short time, then multiple things started going wrong. Seizures, blood pressure, heart, memory and autoimmune issues started happening. I had to stop working and figure out what was causing this. It was a very long and difficult process. I started counseling as I lost my identity. I could no longer multitask and small things overwhelmed and confused me. My counselor told me about Healing Odyssey. I looked into it and was so intimidated I didn’t immediately follow up. I was wondering if I could handle it physically. I was scared because I didn’t know anyone. I was worried I would get sick or maybe have a panic attack . Ultimately I knew I had to do this in order to move forward. If I didn’t I was afraid I would be stuck where I was. I did not want to live in that space. So I did what I have often done in life – faked it till I made it. I faked strength and pushed myself! I am so grateful I did! Going to the retreat was a wonderful experience that changed my life path.

I was so grateful for all the Healing Odyssey offered me, like the experiences of the ropes and the edge.  It was empowering and I remember a very deep, guttural scream coming out of me that was such a relief. So much anger, so much fear, so much pain and hurt! All being purged through this process!

Over the course of the weekend, the program touched on subjects that were top of mind for me and everyone else! The whole team skillfully crafted sessions that spoke to us so deeply and personally! It was just what I needed. Plus the fun skits and silliness that allowed us to laugh and cry if we wanted to! I made friendships that have lasted to this day. I found wonderful mentors and have been blessed and called upon to mentor others. I am thankful to be able to help the organization that helped me!

It was an amazing experience and I am forever changed and forever grateful!

Debbie is pictured here with Mariana Andoniou, an HO48 Grad.