I had an amazing opportunity to participate in the Casting for Recovery program. This program is designed to help women fighting breast cancer gain new skills. It offers participants a chance to network with other survivors. The 13 other women who attended the program with me offered me hope and strength. The program I attended was in Arkansas.
Casting for Recovery
The program is in its ninth year. It has not yet expanded to all 50 states. Casting for Recovery is a three-day program for women who are at any stage in their battle with breast cancer. We had a chance to talk with each other, make friends, learn about fly fishing and fly tying. Workshops pertaining to health issues facing breast cancer survivors were given.
The program I attended was held at Gaston's White River Resort in Lakeview, Arkansas. It is a beautiful place. The cabins were clean and spacious. Our Casting for Recovery hosts provided all of our meals and snacks. Volunteers taught us about fly tying, fly fishing, lymphedema and other health issues facing breast cancer survivors. Most of the other women who attended are years out from their initial diagnosis. I was the only one there who just finished treatment--I'm still bald.
The finale of our weekend was a morning out fly fishing with a private guide followed by an amazing brunch at Gaston's. We fished the Bull Shoals Tailwaters, which is a catch and release area. It was tons of fun.
What I gained
Casting for Recovery gave me the chance to get away from the realities of my on-going cancer treatment. I had the opportunity to relax and talk with women who have already walked the path I am on. The weekend offered me the ability to know that I am not alone on this journey. Networking with other breast cancer survivors gave me insight into what others have gone through and what I can expect further down the road.
Every breast cancer is different. That is part of what makes the Casting for Recovery retreats so special. Every participant gains something different from the experience. I found new friends and learned about different ways to deal with the issues I face. There was a lot of acceptance--I did not feel so self conscious about being bald. Most of the women who attended the retreat had lost their hair at one point--they understood where I was and what I was going through. It was great to be able to share feelings about body image with others who truly understand where you are coming from.
The Casting for Recovery weekend is an experience I will never forget. I am glad that I had the chance to attend. The organization does amazing work--they really do make a difference in the lives of breast cancer survivors.
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