Victoria Pendragon's Photo; Her description, "A collage created this year as part of a series that will explore the complexities of early sexual abuse and incest. The face is me at about age 10."
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Victoria Pendragon continued the interview.
In her words, “Today I am living a life I would never have dreamt possible even 20 years ago. My family (all 11 siblings) has the most marvelous relationship. Family gatherings, which rarely took place prior to about 10 years ago have become regular events. My two children have manifested beautiful, creative lives for themselves. My daughter works as the executive director of an historical society and my son as a musician and an artist in wood.
Three years ago I met and married a beautiful, strong, intelligent, sensitive man who has provided me with an amazing home in the mountains of WV. He's also provided me with something I hadn't had since 1982: health insurance! He has three children whom I love.
Two months ago I was gifted with overseeing my closest sister who suffers from mental illness. She was the one of my siblings closest in age to me and my mother had been supporting her until her death this past September.
She and I endured a very difficult childhood together, one in which I was unable to help her at all. I was able to escape from my body, although she could not escape hers. My sister has now become a part of our lives as she lives not far from us in a small apartment that we found for her and finally I can help her.”
Victoria’s advice for others suffering, “Everyone is different. One person might need to hear, as I apparently did, that the experience could be treated as an adventure, another might get more out of the idea of simply surrendering to whatever is going on, knowing full well that although we may think we know what is going on, we never really do. Someone else might benefit greatly either from journaling or from recapping their life story in words or pictures.
The need for acceptance, for being in integrity with the events that are going on underlies this and probably many other possibilities. You don't have to know how the story will end, but you do have to have at least some idea that you are in the story and that you have chosen to be there.”
She discussed her cure, “I was fortunate to stumble across a physician at a chronic pain support group in Reading PA. I had joined to share what I called my active meditation process, which I used to alleviate my pain. He introduced me to an experimental program at the Hospital of the University
of Pennsylvania that was using extra-corporal photopheresis (commonly used to treat T-cell lymphoma) on people with radically advanced scleroderma. After just one treatment, I had made more progress than anyone ever had. In
one year, there was no trace of the disease left in my blood. But I was the only person with this success. The study was eventually terminated.
Is the disease in remission? Remission always sounds as if the disease is just sitting there holding its breath, waiting to return, and it isn't. It's gone.”
She talked about her triumph in transcending her life.
Victoria shared, “I think that a lot of people, my doctors included, would say that it was my positive attitude, but I think it's more complex than that. I think it's that ineffable something that I spoke of earlier, some kind of realization that I was an integral player in a story and it was a fascinating story so I just kept being interested
Prior to my walk with Scleroderma, I lived an embattled life. Childhood sexual abuse colored most of my challenges as I struggled through coping with out-of-control promiscuity that lost me custody of my children when they were 8 and 10. I had no focus, no desire for anything, no vision.
My experiences over the three years as I danced with the disease transformed me, expanding my consciousness in ways I couldn't have imagined. Surrendering to my body, to its pain, to the dreams that kept promising heaven on earth while I felt as if I were in hell, exposed the myth of reality for the multi-faceted illusion that it is and I went from shutting people out to opening my heart.
I wrote the book on the technique that my body seems to have been using on me because I had been blown away by the success that it was having for my clients from 2003 - 2008. I wanted other people to have the opportunity to change their lives in ways that would allow them to feel more comfortable being alive. I wanted the information out there and affordable! I struggled to get to the place where Scleroderma took over my body; I don't think anyone should have to suffer to have a better life.”
Her closing words, “My book, Sleep Magic, Surrender to Success is available from Amazon.com, http://www.amazon.com/Sleep-Magic-Surrendering-Victoria-Pendragon/dp/1886940274/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1360426399&sr=8-1-fkmr0&keywords=Sleep+Magic%2C+Surrender+to+Succes, and my memoir about healing from Scleroderma, My Three Years As A Tree is available on my website, www.VictoriaPendragon.com.”
Contact Victoria with questions or comments via e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org.