Why Stretch Heal Grow Is Life-Altering


A meandering dirt road leads us to the lodge. It’s exactly as I pictured. As everyone pours out of their vehicles, we wander around the property, taking it all in. The tranquil lake water, sandy beach and inviting hammocks, allowed me to feel peaceful, composed and sure. I think I made the right decision in coming to this retreat. I am worried about opening wounds, pain and crying too much. I am worried about being too old, too round, too talkative. I quickly realize, none of this matters.

Sitting at the lunch table, realizing we were all here surviving through this disease, kind of catches your breath. I looked around at these women and was in absolute awe. These souls showed up. They showed up for themselves, they showed up for each other, they showed up for me. Immense gratitude filled me

As patients, we go through the often painful physical treatments and the mental anguish. Sometimes we do it alone, sometimes we have support. Our lives can become something we don’t even recognize. Many of our people at home just can’t comprehend what we have been through.

Our paths may not have been the same, but the current of this disease amplifies in the same way. Community started to grow instantly. I heard nervous giggles around me as we met our roommates. Incredible care was shown by the SHG staff and volunteers. They created an intentional nest of safety and compassion to help us on our healing journey. I instantly realized that sometimes you don’t know you are thirsty for connection and community until you are immersed in it. I drank it all in. As the programming began, I dove deeper into parts of this disease that I was too scared to face alone. As a part of this community, I had space and compassionate understanding. These women listened, they nodded, they cried and they provided safety for me to feel the different feels. Through gentle yoga, guided meditations, workshops and conversation, I felt heard and empowered. Healing was no longer a distant thought, I was completely surrounded by it. We discussed how as cancer patients, it becomes necessary to put on a brave face to the outside world, for some of us that might mean reassuring parents, siblings, friends, spouses or children that we are ok. Even when we are not. There is no pretending, in fact, this retreat could also be named raw and real, because it is all that and more, so much more.

Upon arriving home, it took me a few days to re-adjust to my life. When I explain that this retreat was life altering and life affirming, I really mean it. Please don’t take this as an off the cuff remark. Living through and beyond this disease is complicated at best and absolutely horrifying at worst. To be blessed with the friendship of those going through the same thing is nothing short of miraculous. Trying to explain to my family and friends about my adventure was tricky. I actually could not put the magnitude of this experience into words. It surfaced in tears. Healing tears. Tears that I had not yet let flow. This grassroots organization held space for 25 young women with Breast Cancer. The SHG retreat surpassed expectations and has now given me a new strength to dive even deeper into healing. We arrived at this retreat to warm hugs from Shawna and Emily and we departed with loads of hugs and tears and new connections, friends and tools to move forward with our healing journey.

 At the age of 42, Stephanie Massey was diagnosed with breast cancer. This coffee lover, wife and Mom of two teens used every ounce of resiliency and strength to survive through treatments. With this journey becoming more and more of a memory, Stephanie is thrilled to explore and live through new dreams, like her ambition to become a Yoga teacher and a meditation coach, both of which played a vital role in her healing. Lending hope, inspiring with grace and giving back is her passion. Follow her journey that takes her through breast cancer treatment and beyond, into a life full of abundant love. Follow her story on Instagram, Facebook and at stephiemassey.com

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50 Carroll Street Toronto, Ontario Canada M4M 3G3
Phone: 416 220 0700
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