In May of 2017, Rev. Paulette Thompson-Clinton was the featured guest on a radio show and podcast called Rich Answers. Rich Answers, hosted by Rev. Dr. Shelley D. Best, is a production of the Conference of Churches in Hartford, CT. During her interview, Paulette discussed her faith, family, cancer journey, and the creation of Still on the Journey, her Living Well Ministry. Listen to the full interview by clicking below.
Beloved friends, as many of you are already aware, Paulette died peacefully at her Bethany, CT home on Tuesday, September 5. Family and friends from around the globe will gather today and tomorrow (September 15 and 16, 2017) to celebrate her beautiful life.
I came home from the hospital this past Wednesday evening after a six-day stay. I had developed a couple of infections that were treated. I have been sent home on antibiotics to continue the treatment. During my stay, my medical team and I (including my medical oncologist of 8 years) came to the decision that I will no longer be receiving active conventional medical treatment. I have been released into home palliative care, which focuses on comfort, pain management and increasing my strength through physical therapy.
Twelve years ago today was one of the most joy-filled days of my entire life. I married my love Marc Clinton at my home church in Buffalo, New York. My father officiated the ceremony that was attended by 400 of our closest friends and church family members. Our day was extraordinarily special, happy, and love-filled. It represented a union of love, family, and friendships that spanned the years.
One year ago, God saw fit to have me go through a literal brick wall. I emerged on the other side, unscathed, to continue to fulfill my mission in the world. If God brought me through that, then surely this year as I face a figurative brick wall, I will again emerge unscathed.
I was admitted on Saturday (July 1) to the Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale University in Downtown New Haven, CT. As I am sure you can imagine, it was a setback for me. As I have shared in my past few blog posts, I have spent the past few months doing significant research into alternative cancer treatments. I was ready to move forward on the next stage of my journey. My setback is certainly a disappointment, but it has revealed some beautiful things. In these past days, this bump in the road has shown that I am blessed beyond measure.
I have spent much of the past week in a doctor’s office. I had four appointments, to be exact. It all started on Tuesday when I saw a new (to me) oncologist in Trumbull, CT. Let’s call him Dr. F. I sought out Dr. F.’s opinion upon the recommendation of a member of the Exceptional Cancer Patients (ECAP) support group of which I am also a member. Our leader is the internationally known surgeon-turned-author and spiritual guru Bernie Siegel. The purpose of my appointment with Dr. F. was to seek a second opinion about the next course of treatment on my metastatic breast cancer journey. Our first meeting can be summed up in one word: FABULOUS!
Hello friends, as always, it’s good to be back with you this week. This is a milestone for me – my 20th blog post! Thank you all for following my story and supporting me on my cancer healing journey. I’m writing you today from the beautiful, picturesque mountains of Vermont, where I’ve come for a few days of intensive therapy for my lymphedema, one of the side effects of my treatment for breast cancer.
Women for Healing and Networking assembles women of various faith traditions to help us find unity. I spoke to the group about healing the various cancers in our lives. I compared my cancer healing journey to the different cancers we find in locally and globally, noting that the traditional ways we have been treating physical cancer have worked at the superficial level for decades but do not get to the root of the disease, and thus often recur. The same applies to the cancers in our society. We’ve been talking about some of the same societal diseases for a long time – such as racism and sexism - and pretending that we’re making advances by treating them in the same traditional ways when the truth is we are not progressing. If we are committed to healing our society, we need to move beyond our traditional remedies; they do not work.
The past several months on my metastatic breast cancer journey have been challenging ones. Earlier this month, my husband Marc and I visited my former naturopathic doctor, Dr. Aviva Wertkin, in Brattleboro, VT. It has been almost four years since I last saw her.
Thank you for following this four-part series about Metastatic Breast Cancer (MBC) entitled “Hear My Voice.” It is such a critically important topic to all of the women and men who are living with the disease. It is also critical to the family members of those who have lost loved ones to MBC over the years. We all know women and men who have earned their angel wings, and we are strengthened and inspired by the legacies they left behind. Finally, it is important to our children, because we want them to inherit a breast cancer free world. We want their world to be free of deaths from breast cancer and diagnoses of it.
Primary Care Physicians (PCPs) have a lot to learn about breast cancer - both early and late-stage. And guess who their teachers are? That’s right – WE ARE! I speak from personal experience on this one.
The lens you look through significantly affects how you interpret something. I have chosen to look through the lens of MBC with a positive viewpoint instead of a negative one, and this is what I’d like to share with you today. My hope is that my thoughts will encourage you no matter what you are going through on your particular journey.
Today’s post is only a fraction of the wealth of knowledge I gained from the Thriving Together Conference. As a Hear My Voice trainee, I’ll be completing at least two outreach activities in the coming year specifically to increase awareness and education about metastatic breast cancer. One of my activities is to write a four-part series on this blog entitled Hear My Voice. What you have just read is the introduction to this series. In the coming weeks, I’ll address issues like men and breast cancer, the invisibility of people with MBC, resources for people with MBC, and what role YOU can play personally in the epidemic of metastatic breast cancer. It’s going to be an information-packed series, so I invite you to follow it and share it with others.
This week, I’m going to talk about the meantime. As you know, the meantime can refer to the time being, the here and now, or the interval between two phases of one’s life, whatever those bookends are for you. It’s that period before something anticipated happens, or before a specified era ends. The meantime can be a space that is fallow or uncultivated if you allow it to be, or conversely, it can be a space where seeds are planted that bear fruit for you to harvest, fruit that will last.
Friends, I teamed up with my friend Jaimie of I Am Free Agent to create this video blog about being resurrected body, mind, and spirit. We are all on the resurrection journey.
While in the hospital last week for my elective procedure (called a pleurodesis), I looked forward to the result, which was the removal of the tube attached to my side to drain the fluid that accumulates daily between the lining of my lung and my chest wall. Although the tube is not painful, I do consider it a cross, and I’d like to get rid of it. The process takes time, so, unfortunately, the procedure has not yet achieved the desired result, and I still have the tube for now. While I am disappointed that we did not meet the goal we wanted, I am hopeful that within the next week or two, with the actions my pulmonologist has prescribed, we can remove the tube. I am ready for my resurrected body. In the meantime during this week, Holy Week, I continue to carry the cross of the tube. Allow me to reflect a bit on Holy Week and how it relates to our personal journeys.
Last Thursday night, March 30, when I was folding laundry and watching MSNBC, it must have been divine intervention that led me to turn to ABC after I’d had enough of the so-called news talk for the day. The time was 8:05 pm, and unknowingly, I had turned to Grey’s Anatomy. Although I can’t tell you the last time I saw this show, from the moment I saw the title, “Be Still My Soul”, I was intrigued.
There are many definitions of faith, but the one I choose to stand on comes from Hebrews 11:1. “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” I don’t see my healing right now, but I’m certain of it. I hope every day for my healing and I’m sure of it, even when I feel bad, even when I have epileptic seizures, even as I sit in the doctor’s office getting my blood drawn or having a scan, even when I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.