When Phyllis Sevigny is diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 36, the disease has spread to her bones, liver and lungs. But after her third chemotherapy treatment, the cancer is in remission. This is her first miracle. A year later, when the cancer returns, Phyllis buries her fears and puts on the mask of the "brave survivor." But when she attends a retreat for breast cancer patients, where storytelling is used for healing, the mask begins to crack. She shares her fears with other women through journaling, painting, and group discussion. At a clowning workshop, she and the other women share laughter and hope. By the end of the retreat Phyllis feels much better emotionally and spiritually. More importantly her physical pain has disappeared. Phyllis calls this her second miracle. Phyllis returns home, where she must resume her mothering and homemaking duties while undergoing radiation treatments. On the surface she seems to be coping well. In reality she is terrified-about her treatments, about the specter of death. But she keeps silent about her underlying battle with depression, sadness and fear. Gradually her body begins "shutting down." Phyllis isn't dying from cancer, but from the fear of death. Helped by a consular to express herself, she begins to eat again and regain her strength. She also attends a mask-making workshop offered by the Cross Cancer Institute where she articulates, through art, the "dangers" of maintaining a false positive attitude. Finally, Phyllis is released from palliative care. This is her third miracle. The documentary ends with Phyllis at home with her two children. As a night-time ritual, she invites them to climb into bed with her and she tells them stories from her life. PHYLLIS' MIRACLE IS A TESTIMONY TO ONE WOMAN'S STRENGTH, AND TO THE HEALING POWER OF EXPRESSION.
Transformed but Not Beaten by Cancer Documentary Celebrates Local Woman's Journey Edmonton Journal, Monday, October 9, 2000