Wisdom and Wellness
Anje Hartman says she feels certain Wellspring Calgary has been instrumental in helping her heal emotionally and spiritually after her cancer diagnosis in the fall of 2014. Anje learned about Wellspring from nurses at the High River hospital, who encouraged her to attend the Brain Fog course offered at that time in Okotoks.
“I’m so glad I found my way to Wellspring,” she said. “I have taken lots of really great programs and often when I come to Carma House I combine my visits with walks along the river path. Taking walks in nature has helped my recovery a lot. ” Anje goes on to urge others to make use of the vast assortment of programs and resources available to people who find themselves challenged with cancer. “I consider Wellspring programs part of my medicine – a way to help heal myself,” she explained.
Anje learned she had invasive breast cancer after discovering a mass in her left breast. “My family physician told me it looked aggressive and she referred me immediately to one of the Calgary hospitals. I was in shock and not able to concentrate at work and my HR manager advised me to take two weeks of sick leave and apply for short term disability. I thought I would have surgery within a few weeks but it took another two months, as I was offered immediate reconstruction as well.” Six rounds of chemotherapy were offered, followed by six weeks of radiation and 17 cycles of Herceptin.
In the meantime, the insurance company declined Anje’s short term disability claim because the surgery date was two months out. “They sent a four-page letter stating that I was able to work until the surgery date or if I really wanted to stay home, it would be unpaid.”
After a lengthy process of appeal, and one month post-surgery Anje finally received her first disability payment. “I was very stressed out about everything: the cancer diagnosis, the upcoming treatments, the insurance company’s reaction. I also felt ripped out of society- not going to work. I dealt with a lot of anxiety at that time.”
Anje’s husband took a total of 10 weeks off to be at home caring for her and the children after the surgery and during chemotherapy. “My husband was really strong and prepped me all the time to stay positive but he suffered too – I found that he aged 10 years in a short time. He is a self-employed long-distance truck driver and drives cross border into the United States. His contractor was very supportive for each request for time off and did their best to get him home.”
Anje’s two kids were 10 and 13 at the time – tender ages for such startling news. “My daughter was very quiet but my son asked a lot of questions and was always checking in to see how I was feeling. Once when I took a long walk he followed after me on his bike and brought me my cell phone – he always insisted I carry it with me.”
Pragmatic by nature, Anje approached her recovery with a rational view, signing up for a number of programs she felt required serious work and reflection such as the Returning to Work program, Healing Journey and Living Well with Cancer. Later she began treating herself to the greater spectrum of programs offered at Wellspring, including Tai Chi, iRest Yoga Nidra, Tuesday Tea Group, Cross Country Skiing and Music as My Therapy. “I learned that you need relaxation, social interaction, fresh air and fun to heal!” she noted.
Anje’s mom who was visiting from overseas also joined Wellspring and took programs with her daughter. She told a Wellspring Healing Journey facilitator, “This is a very good course also for people who don’t have cancer.”
Today, after forming many new friendships and experiencing a wealth of enriching programs, Anje trusts that the cancer is in remission and feels optimistic that she is making great strides on her wellness journey. “I feel privileged to live in Canada and have access to first world health care facilities. I am also so happy that I found Wellspring,” she exclaims.