How often do you take an entire weekend to focus on yourself? If you’re anything like me, the answer is rarely if ever. But that’s how I spent the first weekend of February. I was surrounded by other cancer warriors, and had the most amazing weekend of self care at Mary’s Place by the Sea.

For those of you that are not familiar, Mary’s Place is a beautiful retreat house for women going through treatment for cancer. Located in Ocean Grove, NJ, the women of Mary’s Place offer a free weekend of healing and relaxation to women that truly need it.

Before I checked in, I was a bit nervous. Would I get along with the other women visiting this weekend? Would they be open to listening to me talk about my struggles since my diagnosis? Would my body cooperate and allow me to enjoy the experience and relax?

From the moment I entered Mary’s Place I was met with a warm, welcoming energy. The volunteers and staff were amazing and so accommodating. The fellow guests were friendly and kind. Everyone was hurting, but we all brought so much positivity and support for each other. We laughed, we cried, and most importantly we bonded.

At the end of the weekend, the women exchanged contact information and created a private Facebook group so we could stay in touch. We promised to all meet at the Jersey Shore again in the future. I now have a new group of women cheering me on and I couldn’t be more thankful.

I also allowed myself to feel everything I’ve been through over the last few months. I let my guard down and let my emotions out. It’s not that I’ve been putting on a brave face throughout my journey, but sometimes I just don’t want to feel and acknowledge the emotions that come with this diagnosis. I embraced the sadness, anger, and fear. And I was reminded that taking the time to feel these emotions is an important part of healing.

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