“Deep Canyon explores the journey of a wife, mother and career woman who receives the unexpected and terrifying diagnosis of cancer. As an ovarian cancer patient in 1989, author Annan Paterson experienced unusual but surprisingly universal situations and met people who influenced her life in a profound way. Annan’s love of theatre and passion for acting led her to create Deep Canyon to express these experiences and life lessons. Through both humor and drama, and a variety of characters, Deep Canyon explores how cancer was truly a turning point in her life and how it continues to deeply impact her life today.” (YouTube video description)
I saw an amazing performance of Deep Canyon at the Cancer as a Turning Point (TM) conference in California in Sept, 2001. The day after I flew home was 9/11. That morning the world turned upside down. Whatever I was going to write about all the amazing healing at the conference was lost in all that numbness.
But before that I wrote this poem inspired by Deep Canyon. (watch video)
After Deep Canyon
(At the Healing Journeys Conference)
Not behind me,
not behind me
this cancer, this disease—
the mistakes, the laughter
the judgment, the miracles.
Not behind me,
but with me,
the foundation upon which
all else was built fresh and strong:
the columns, the roof, the walls, the floor.
Not with me defining,
but with me as lattice, as bone,
to be built out from,
tendon, ligament, muscle, skin.
My skull unrecognized
for the face sculpted upon it.
It is not the bones that draw you to me,
but pure energy.
It is not my bones you see as beauty,
but it is the bones that support my form,
without my precious bones, I am Jell-O.
I would not wish it otherwise.
Margaret Dubay Mikus
From As Easy as Breathing:
Reclaiming Power for Healing and Transformation