Finding a shoulder to cry on

In November 2011, Kathy Kathy Yotingcowas diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma. While the upcoming chemo treatments loomed over her during the Christmas holidays, her larger concern was the care of her husband, Ray, who has Alzheimer’s disease. It was a stressful time in her life as she arranged to have Ray placed on a crisis list for a home, and requested time-off from her job for treatment.

Kathy initially refused her social worker’s suggestions to try the Wellness Program, before finally making an appointment in March. Wellness Program Coordinator Charlene Cheng suggested she try restorative yoga, a gentle practice suitable for people requiring a gentle approach. Kathy remembers initially declaring, “Yoga! I can’t do yoga.”

The following week she started yoga, enjoyed it, and kept it up twice a week throughout her six-month treatment period. Over time, Kathy tried massage therapy, reflexology, and became a regular participant in the Wellness socials where she met others like herself, living with a cancer diagnosis or life-limiting illness.

“The atmosphere is so warm and welcoming, and I met a lot of great people,” said Kathy. “Participating in the Wellness program really helped me through chemo. I never had a shoulder to cry on, but here, I could.”

Kathy retired early last year and is in the process of becoming a volunteer with the hospice.