In the previous blog post, Paula told you that she can’t compare to my experience and wisdom. I have to say, everyone that I have met from my first day working at the BC Cancer Agency—patients, families and colleagues—has contributed to my experience and wisdom and inspired me to take pride in what I do.  

Mindfulness

One major source of pride has been teaching Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction at the Vancouver Centre for the past sixteen years. Mindfulness has been a gift for me in my personal life and it is deeply connected with my work.  My presence with myself and others promotes empathy and compassion. If I am more attuned to myself and others with mindfulness practise, I have a much clearer understanding that my job as a counsellor is not to be the one who knows everything or can fix anything –but to be present, attuned, compassionate and open for resonance with what is and all its possibilities, no matter what is happening.

I’d like to share with you some patient perspectives on the Mindfulness Program: 

  • “It was the best thing that happened to me since I got the disease, gave me a new perspective on life”;
  • “For me, coming to the Relaxation group helped me get through the front door of the clinic. I no longer see it as just a place for chemo and radiation but also a place of caring and healing”; 
  • “This [program] is invaluable and must be integrated into primary care and offered to all patients at the beginning stages of treatment and especially immediately after treatment is completed for recovery and rehabilitation”.

These are just a few of the many patient voices I have heard over the years. Support programs allow many patients to find balance, calmness and centeredness through the emotional ups and downs of the cancer trajectory.  Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, Expressive Arts and Dignity Therapy are some of the programs that Patient and Family Counselling services have been able to continue to offer, to enrich therapeutic and creative programs from the generous donations through the BC Cancer Foundation.  

I’d like to leave you with one last patient voice, speaking about the benefits of the Mindfulness Program: “This program should continue until forever. It is awesome, not just for cancer patients but to everyone in the whole wide world.”

Thanks for reading,
Sarah

 

Sarah Sample and Paula Myers
Patient and Family Counselling, BC Cancer Agency