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The Picnic and Camp Bluebird

Rocquie's picture
Posts: 857
Joined: Mar 2013

Last weekend, the physicains and staff of my oncology clinic held a picnic for staff, patients, and their families. It was amazing! My husband and I took our little 4-year-old granddaughter. There was delicious food, music, and all kinds of family games. They had those giant puffy, inflatable, jumpy things and our girl (and many other children) had so much fun on those.

It was so nice to meet everyone's family! The dynamic was so different from an appointment day in that clinic--no worry; no stress; no needles. I loved meeting my doctor's beautiful wife and his little boy. We have talked about them a lot since I have been his patient. I talked, at length, to the office manager. She does a fantastic job of running that office, but she always seems terse. At the picnic, she was so relaxed and cute in her capris, rather than her business suit, that she looked 10 years younger and like she had not a care in the world. 

It was so meaningful to us and I am talking about this to encourage others to participate in such events if the opportunity arises. My clinic held the same thing last year, but I was too sick to be interested. 

Next week, I am going to Camp Bluebird. It is co-sponsored by the American Cancer Society as a 3 day retreat for cancer survivors. I have known about that before too but was either too sick or otherwise not interested. Because of my experience at the picnic, I have decided to go. 

I will be staying for 3 days and 2 nights at a lodge in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina, not too far from where I live. There is going to be a costume party (love dressing in costume!), a lake for swimming, canoeing, and fishing, crafts, massage, reiki, and more. 

My husband has encouraged me to attend. He thinks my cancer recovery has been miraculous and inspiring and wonderful and that I am in a position to give hope to others. 

I want to go because I know how tender and vulnerable I still feel. How frightened I remain. The "after-shocks" I still feel. The people around me see this amazing, strong woman. When I think of what I have been through and what has happened to me, I suppose I am. But inside, I feel like a quivering and fretful and worried little lamb. 

I am going to Camp Bluebird in hopes of meeting and being around others who know exactly how I feel. And maybe, just maybe, there will be no bullies and know-it-alls in attendance. 

Love to all. . .




tall floridian's picture
tall floridian
Posts: 95
Joined: Dec 2011

Sounds like fun Rocquie- enjoy yourself and God's beautiful nature- I love NC mountains-I hope to go in July for vacation there- friends have invited wife and I to stay a couple of weeks in their huge country home. We use to own a cabin in Murphy, NC but it got too hard to care for it plus a couple in Florida loved it so much they paid us over the market value of the cabin so we sold. Like you I'm 2 years in remission from 4th stage lymphoma- just had my 3 month check-up today- my blood counts is 14.8 - gosh I can remember when it was down to 7 and blood transfusions were called for (18 of them total) plus Procrit which to me was a lifesaver. I thank God everyday for another chance at life and my beautiful granddaughter's to be with. Again, enjoy your time in nature- tell us all about it so that we can rejoice with you. Hugs- Steve

allmost60's picture
Posts: 3184
Joined: Jul 2010

Hi Rocquie,

 Sounds like a heavenly event and I'm sure your going to have a great time! My cancer clinic in Yakima had all kinds of fun events, but I only went to a couple. Steve and I did go to Seattle for a Lymphoma conference in Sept of 2011 and really enjoyed ourselves and learned so much. Stayed in a big down town hotel and treated ourselves to a wonderful diner down on the wharf. I think it's so important to make the effort to learn more, or participate in cancer related events. For me, it takes the extreme "scary" feeling down to a doable level. Fear of the unknown is hard, but knowing more about the unknown sure can make things a little easier. You have a wonderful time and enjoy every minute. Share back when you have time. Love...Sue

jimwins's picture
Posts: 2111
Joined: Aug 2011

I'm glad you had a good time at the outing with your medical care team - I think that is a wonderful idea.  Regarding Camp Bluebird, I'd consider it but it's short notice for me but maybe in October or next year :).

Regarding bullying, I think things are improving here and I'm sorry we've had some family dysfunction in the past but it is human.  A forgiving heart is a healing heart and that's how I'm looking at things and moving forward :).  Fighting and surviving cancer is hard and it takes it's toll on our sanity, nerves, and joy (I don't need to tell any of us that:)).

I hope you have a wonderful time on the retreat and make some wonderful new friends!  Take pictures and give us a full report!  You know you can message me anytime, sweet lady.  You have lots of friends here too!

Hugs always,


Anonymous user (not verified)

Sometimes I wish I were more of an event oriented person but alas I get bored easily. Looking back I realize what an exciting adventurous life I have lived. I live in Virginia but own a home on the water in the Outerbanks and my own secluded and beautiful house on a mountain in TN near the NC border. I just spent a week there alone (If you don't count my 2 wonderful dogs,  turkeys, squirrels, snakes (make that BIG snakes) otters, black bears, deer and many kinds of birds. Some of us need interaction, some need solitude. I tend toward the latter. I know the world is not all about me, and it shouldn't be. I am happy to enjoy this wonderful planet we live on and feel very fortunate. One thing I do need from others is info. This board is a good source. After I get my oncs recommendations I plan to float it on here and hope you will all favor me with your opinions and recommendations as to how to proceed. I will take the opinions you guys have and then go to a second opinion before deciding. Right now i feel good and am leaning towards getting no further treatment till its absolutely required.



illead's picture
Posts: 875
Joined: Aug 2012

Hi Roquie,

     That sounds just wonderful for you.  I think it will really boost your spirits.  There may be some sad stories but like you say, maybe you can be a support and comfort to them.  That is one of the best mental medicines.  Try to ignore any negativity, but like Jim says, it may be the only way some know how to handle things.  There's a proverb that says "an answer when mild turns away rage."  The picnic sounded really awesome, wish our cancer center did that.  They are so great and we think the world of them but a picnic would really be something.  Wishing you many happy years ahead, you are a good friend to us and a special lady.


girliefighter's picture
Posts: 232
Joined: Mar 2013


Enjoy the camp and embrace every moment of it.. Sounds like your picnic was a life changing event in a small way for you and I know that feeeling. Feeling like you want to immerse yourself in the other people and their stories, it heals the heart. Please take pictures and let us know how it was...I have a feeling you are going to come back re-energized and so free feeling


anliperez915's picture
Posts: 772
Joined: Sep 2011

Hi Rocquie,

I used to participate in events like that back when I lived in San Diego, not for cancer but for my other illness ") I remember how many wonderful good people I met. Some of them patients, volunteers, and professionals. I wish both my centers had something like that where I could and talk to people in person not just through a computer. I guess I just miss the human contact of it all "). Hope your 3 day stay may be a happy and relaxing one!!! Take care sweet lady (((Hugs)))


Anonymous user (not verified)

I was unaware of Camp Bluebird but looks good. Its not for me but I have a close friend who is a DLBCL survivor who I think would fit right in. I have sent her the info. Enjoy your time there.

Rocquie's picture
Posts: 857
Joined: Mar 2013

Thank you to everyone for the great wishs for camp next week. (I feel like a kid again--excited about summer camp). I am taking my camera but not sure yet about posting photos--maybe scenery, but not peope? 

Steve, Sue, Jim, Becky, and Liz. . .your continued support means the world to me and I can't thank you enough. Carie, great to see you showing your pretty face and is always good to hear reports from you. GKH, I'm not sure I'm an event person (anymore) either, but I will find out. Maybe your friend can come to Camp Bluebird in October, if not next week? 

Love and hugs to all my friends here,



jimwins's picture
Posts: 2111
Joined: Aug 2011

Get out the flip flops, the sun screen, mosquito repellant  and a great attitude and have fun fun fun! 


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