Carla’s Journey through Breast Cancer

Last week, we introduced you to Aga, our writer on the
Beautiful, Precious ME retreat. This week, you get an update from Carla.

Both Carla, founding member of Shine Retreats, and our Retreat author, Aga Lesiewicz, join forces to create an opportunity for you to see into their lives and cancer stories. 

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Shine Retreats Founder, Carla Octigan shares her story.

When Aga suggested running a retreat together, with a cancer focus, I jumped right in. My role at Siliano Alto is very much one of a host and facilitator, I am not a retreat leader but this is a retreat reality close to my life and my heart. 

It has been 7 years since my breast cancer diagnosis and although having been given the “all clear”, anybody who has had a diagnosis will know, recurrence is a lifelong fear.

Fear becomes a part of you, in the same way that “loss and grief” become a part of you. You don’t get past these things, you learn to integrate and live with them. People who know me well, may be surprised to read this as my life is a busy and full one. All is true, both are true, I am happy and successful, I am sad and scared. “Yes, And” as a good friend often muses with me, it can all be true. The world is grey and it’s a positive. There is no right or wrong, no black or white any more.



I think this is what  this retreat will be, a space that can acknowledge all sides of the individual. A Cancer patient, living with anger, fear, sadness and also joy, gratitude and hope.

For me, 7 years ago, I wanted first hand experience, I was not interested in your Aunt’s cancer journey, I wanted to speak with your Aunt. Even though there are a million different experiences and a million different realities, each of those first hand experiences I was able to share or read about, added something to this important jigsaw puzzle that I was making.

I took what I needed at the time and it is now an honour to be able to give back and hold the space and the hands of friends and clients who need to connect, share or cry through their own time of need.

So, if you or someone you love is in need of support and wants to join us in Italy in May, we will be waiting for you.

Read Carla's journey as shared with Shine 7 years ago.

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We welcome you to what wonderful possibilities has come out of this process:

Beautiful, Precious ME Retreat
May 1st - 8th 2024

A retreat that sees our resident writer Aga Lesiewicz and one of our founders Carla Octigan, bring their personal experience of breast cancer to a week of acknowledgement, writing and joy. 




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The incredible reality of the ever changing hot springs. ...

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A few miles from our hilltop home, we have what the locals call “The Millennials” Olive trees dating back 2000 years.

We often take a wee detour on our way out to our morning coffee and enjoy a walk among these 4 majestic trees.

It’s impossible not to take a moment and wonder about the history these trees have been witness to.

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The joy of getting back to retreats in May is so close!!! We are so excited. Sunshine, country walks, epic views, creative pursuits, wonderful people, delicious food and the best holistic treatments.
La dolce vita!
Join us! Link in bio


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Carla’s latest blog is in the bio. Why she fasts, what it does and then how she loves to indulge. That to her is balance. That is joy. That is la Dulce vita 🍦


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Hear about the last day’s adventure on the writers retreat.
Link in bio for more information and for the latest blog featuring @sophiemcnic experience of writing fiction for the first time, guided so wonderfully by @aga_lesiewicz


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The joys of being on the Creative Writing Retreat. Learning, writing, eating, exploring, playing, giggling, writing some more, forging fun connections with like minded people in the joyous lands of Umbria and Tuscany. Join us in May!! @aga_lesiewicz
Link in bio


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