Welcome to Bucking Cancer Ranch!
Brought to you by our dear friend, Pam Lewis . . .
"A special teacher of mine has encouraged and pushed me to share. It is uncomfortable and frightening being vulnerable and I believe sharing my experience is valuable. So here I am, opening my heart to the world. Eeeek!
Cancer has allowed me to rediscover and reconnect with my hopes and dreams. To focus on what brings me joy and start doing more things I am passionate about! Cancer has pushed me to lean into fear. To do hard things and to listen to my heart more than my mind. My dreams are no longer in my head swirling around, going unanswered. I am releasing them to the universe and let’s see what happens.
I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer on June 8th, 2020. Covid-19 was new with so many unknowns. I was admitted into the hospital after the ER doctor delivered awful news. They had found a mass that was thought to be pancreatic cancer. I was alone. I cried. I remember thinking, “This is the bad kind of cancer….the kind no one wants.”
I underwent my first surgery to open up my bile duct with a stent and the surgeon took a bite of the tumor for testing. I was fortunate enough to qualify for the Whipple surgery that only 20% of pan can patients are eligible. Three weeks later, I underwent the complex 6 hours surgery that removed the cancerous tumor in my pancreas and other organs and innards. Google it if you are interested.
Next up was chemo. My
treatments were every 2 weeks and they went on for 6 months. That potion helped save my life. Don’t get me wrong, IT SUCKED!
As you may know, pancreatic cancer is one of the deadliest cancers. I try not to give that thought much energy. I know it looms and I live my life with the daily reminder that tomorrow is not a guarantee. This drives me to be a better version of myself and create something special. No more sitting on the sidelines, staying quiet, avoiding risk and fear. I’m all in!
So with that being said, I want to share with you my ideas for the next chapter in my life, my second act.
An idea came to me while spending time with my daughter at the barn where we leased a horse named Calgary. Being on the farm, I felt safe, connected and “normal”. I forgot about cancer, chemo and the thoughts of death. I spent time with the horses in this beautiful setting. I talked with the horses, brushed their dirty coats, cleaned hooves, fed them peppermints and gave them my love. The horses were like medicine. I was present. I was awake. I was alive. What a blessing it was to have that opportunity.
This experience helped me visualize how I can help people that are going through the cancer process by providing a special place to escape. A place where they can be in the company of horses and other farm animals. This healing place will be a retreat. People will come to my ranch to experience the magic of horses and nature.
The ranch will welcome cancer patients and their families in hopes that they will immerse themselves in farm life. Maybe they will forget about reality for a few hours. They can learn how to groom a horse, clean a stall, or sit quietly near a horse while they graze. Perhaps feed the goats or pet the cat. There will be many places to sit and be still and take in the beauty.
The ranch will also have a meeting area where we will host classes and support groups. It might be a nutrition class, meditation, sound healing or alternative therapies. We will have a resource area with books, clothing, food, hats, gloves, socks, and maybe wigs.
My place will be modest and impactful. There will be about 5-10 acres of land that allows the animals room to roam. We will have a large van to help transport people if needed. We will also have a horse trailer and a truck to tow it. I am thinking a white Ford F150 or 250. Russ will have an ATV to ride around the property and fix fences, stalls, and give people rides. There will be a big sign over the entrance of the property with the ranch’s name- BUCKING CANCER RANCH! It makes me laugh
I am at the beginning of my journey moving forward with this vision. I am motivated and passionate. When I had my first clean PET scan in February 2021, we immediately started looking for a horse. A few weeks later, we found our Mustang, Lazlo, who is now part of the family. I am learning so much!
I will continue reaching out to mentors, supporters and anyone with ideas that can push my vision forward. I would love some caring feedback. Maybe share this if you’d like. If you knows someone who has pan can, send them my way. It is always nice to have extra support.
Thank you for reading this. I appreciate you."