Breast Reconstruction, Cancer Diagnosis, finding peace with cancer, Medical Updates, Post Treatment, the work of byron katie and cancer, yoga therapy and breast cancer

Update: Boobieversary, Cancer Camp, Retreats, & Book

Hiya friends! It’s been a while since I’ve posted a full update on what’s going on in my cancer world. I’m ecstatic to report: NOTHING. Ahhhhh, sweet nothing. Nothing new…nothing crazy…boring is my new fav thing when it comes to cancer. I am now 2 years cancer-free baby! Can you believe it?

It’s 6-month follow-up time. I met with my breast surgeon which entailed a very thorough boobie exam (is it strange that I wanted it to last longer?). I made sure to contort my body in various ways to highlight all of the weirdAF stuff that I feel around my breasts: lumpy tissue, band-like things in my armpit and under my breast, tightness, etc. I LOVE that ZERO stress lives in me about these new bodily discoveries. Because of my ongoing practice of inquiry, my mind just can’t put a scary label on any of it.

My job is so simple: bring body + weird stuff to the experts. Await the next direction.

The breast surgeon confirmed that it’s all just scar tissue and that everything is healing beautifully. I can continue to go to town with self-massage and stretching to break up the scar tissue. This month, I’ll also have follow-ups with my oncologist (bloodwork + feel up) and with my gynecologist (MORE feel ups + vaginal ultrasound which monitors the uterine lining and cyst on my ovary). Man, these boobies sure are seeing a lot of action! Speaking of….

Happy 1-year Boobieversary to Me!

Today, on May the 4th be with you, my girls turn 1. I am astonished by how much they have changed during their first year of life. They now let me sleep peacefully through the night from all angles – even on my stomach! They’ve adapted well to my active lifestyle and also know how to chilllllll out. They are beginning to look more like identical(ish) twins rather than fraternal googley-eyed sisters. They love touch – especially nightly massages with coconut & essential oils. They have their own personalities and quirks – I’ve just learned to accept and appreciate them for who they are and for what they’re not (full of cancer).

Cancer Camp, Retreats, & The Book

I took my girls to another cancer camp a few weeks ago in Austin where they learned to surf! Yes, surfing in Austin is a thang. The trip was led by First Descents, the same organization who hosted the week-long whitewater kayaking trip last summer. It was such a treat to hang with a group of young, fun cancer survivor/thrivers, spend time in nature at a gorgeous glamping spot, and then attempt the art of surfing. 

YO…surfing is HARD! In the few times I actually got up, I became so freaking excited…that I would then again lose my balance and bite it.

It. was. so. fun.

We are all planning to have a reunion kayaking trip in June.

Last weekend was our 2nd annual Inner Peace Retreat ~ a weekend of yoga, The Work of Byron Katie, organic meals, and a sweet, sweet community. The location was serene and beautiful, and I am so impressed by everyone’s willingness to explore the stressful beliefs systems that keep us from enjoying the beauty of life. I’ve been keeping retreats local for the past few years while going through treatment and I’m now inspired to get back to international retreats. Costa Rica always calls to me and we’ll see what else is possible!

This Monday starts a new online class series called “Making Peace w/Disease” which I co-facilitate with my friend, Helena, who has HIV. Like me, she has used The Work of Byron Katie as a way to experience disease as a wise teacher, a gift. There is still space if you’d like to join!

I love my work. It feels off to even call it that.

Going through treatment has helped me hone in my practice and career around Yoga & The Work and I’m loving that it’s becoming more and more mobile. This summer will be spent in Colorado where I can both continue to work with private clients over phone/skype AND finish my book. Also leaving free time for hiking, kayaking, and hanging with family & friends (and avoiding the crazy Texas summer heat! Woot! Woot!).

The writing process is a fascinating mental adventure and if you’ve been reading my blog, you know how healing it’s been for me to write and share. Well, it’s pretty darn funny that the moment you put the label of “book” on writing…the inner critic sure does come out to play. And yell. And terrify me. Luckily, the content of what I am writing about – how to find peace & joy with cancer – also serves me in dealing with the crazy places my mind goes about writing a book.

It’s a waste of my time! Nobody is going to read it! I’m a horrible writer! 

Awwww….Can I absolutely know it’s true? Nope. Do you know what is true for me? I feel called to write it. I have no clue what will come of it. I just know I need to write it. What happens next is not up to me.

I notice some days the writing flows out like (grade A, unfiltered) maple syrup onto warm, fluffy pancakes (gluten-free + organic of course). Other days, I impatiently stare at a blank word document on a screen. Bueller? Bueller?

There are times I LOVE what comes out of my head onto paper. Wow, she’s amaaaaazing. Other times…not so much. And yet, the writing continues.

As for the future of this blog – I’m open! I may continue to write monthly posts or maybe I’ll put it on hold until the book is finished. It’s not like me to “not have a plan” so that’s exactly what I’ll be doing. Challenge accepted.

Any questions or topics you’d like discussed? If so, feel free to post in the comments or email me at bethany@bethanywebb.com. Sending LoVe to you this summer!!!

xoxo,

Bethany

Work with Me

Schedule a Private Session over Phone or Skype

Create a Customized Workshop or Retreat

Join Making Peace w/Disease Online Series: May 7-June 11

 

Related Blog Posts

Diagnosis = New Direction

HOW would you LIVE if you knew you were dying?

Diagnostic Testing without Stressing

Advertisements
Cancer Diagnosis, finding peace with cancer, Inquiry, mental and emotional support for cancer, the work of byron katie and cancer, yoga therapy and breast cancer

The Work of Byron Katie and Cancer

I was asked by the Institute for The Work of Byron Katie (ITW) to share my experience with using The Work in my cancer journey and also share how I’m now moving this powerful form of inquiry into the world…below is the piece I wrote. If you or anyone you know is suffering from any type of diagnosis – and you’re ready for a way out of the pain – I would LOVE to work with you. For private sessions and customized workshops or retreats, email me at Bethany@BethanyWebb.com.

The Work & Cancer

In 2015, I felt on top of the world! I had just finished ITW’s Certified Facilitator Training and was ready to launch into a new career combining Yoga & The Work.

But life had different plans. Just after my 34th birthday, my greatest teacher arrived instead: Cancer.

Lucky for me, I had cultivated quite the healing “toolbox” for handling stress. In fact, I felt like I had unknowingly been preparing for this moment all of my life. Thanks to these skills, I was able to immediately drop into an unwavering state of peace and gratitude.

Just kidding! Nope. At first, I threw every single peace tool out the window and turned to the art of freaking out, ugly crying, self-pity, and depression.

After exhausting myself with this method – I just had to make sure self-torture and suffering didn’t work for me – I started to take all of my stressful thoughts about cancer to inquiry. I was amazed to discover that in a very short period of time, the nightmare transformed into a blessing. I was actually EXCITED about cancer. Whaaat?

It became clear to me—I’m not here to fight cancer. I am here to make friends with it, listen to its wisdom, to learn from it, evolve & grow. What if illness happens for our enlightenment? What if it makes my life even better? Cancer became my guru and has given me the ultimate invitation to LIVE this practice.

While undergoing 2 years of treatment (which I now refer to as The School of Cancer), I observed how the mental journey of cancer touches every aspect of life: health, body image, physical pain, relationships, sex, finances, career, parenting, creativity, spirituality, death. Beliefs like this invaded my mind: “Cancer prevents me from living a full life. There is something wrong with me. Treatment is poisonous to my body. I want the pain to go away. I need the doctors to cure me. I am a burden to others. I will die a slow, painful death. That child should know I’m a girl, not a boy.”

Bringing these stressful stories to inquiry through self-facilitation, calling the Do The Work Helpline, and working with countless facilitator friends – is where I have found true freedom from cancer. The overwhelming support from ITW has cracked my heart wide open.

What. A. Community!!!

Schooled by My Guru, Cancer

I love how The Work provides a compassionate inner support system; it’s always available to lift me out of suffering. When I wasn’t under the influence of BS (Belief Systems), I was able to meet each phase of treatment with presence, gratitude, and humor. Here are just a few of the many lessons from my guru.

Do you know what happens when a clear mind goes through the cancer journey? It is free to enjoy the ride…

Moving The Work in The World

Writing has been a huge avenue of sharing and healing for me. I chronicle my journey – from pre-diagnosis to life after cancer – in “My Guru, Cancer” blog and am also working on my first BOOK! Click below for the top blog posts, and heads up—I cuss like a sailor 😉

Mental Medicine: The Work of Byron Katie

How I Found Peace During The Waiting Game

“The Cancer is Spreading” ~ is it true?

A Different Kind of Breast Cancer Awareness

Diagnostic Testing without Stressing

What If Fear is Just a Fart?

It is a privilege to work with people affected by cancer via private sessions, workshops, and online classes. Through free “Mental Medicine Workshops,” I have brought The Work into Cancer Support Centers in Texas and hope to expand beyond. The response is so inspiring.

Some amazing connections have been made at our ITW Convention. One is with Helena Montelius, who discovered her own peace and freedom with HIV thanks to The Work. We have joined forces to offer an online class series called “Making Peace w/Disease through The Work of Byron Katie.” It’s for anyone with a chronic condition – from allergies to cancer to HIV to any physical injury. It’s incredible to see that regardless of the condition, the same type of stressful thoughts go through our minds. We get to discover that we are not alone, and there is a way out of suffering. Next series starts May 7th.

“The title for this class is very well chosen, I am definitely more at peace with my disease. I have seen, through our different inquiries, that resisting and being at war with my illness just creates more suffering. Helena and Bethany are very skillful facilitators. They establish a climate of honesty and acceptance that helps everyone to share and be open.” – Micheline

I’m also now connected with Meg Maley, the CEO and co-founder of CanSurround – an empowering online tool that offers mental and emotional support to cancer patients through The Work of Byron Katie, online journaling, meditation, helpful articles, and more. I created yoga therapy videos for their web site that infuse the practice of inquiry – for example, how to meet physical sensations with a curious, open mind, instead of with fear and stress. Something I practice a lot! Cancer has honestly made me a better yoga teacher. #cancerbonus

Inner Peace Retreats with Susan Vielguth also offer an invitation for participants to explore the mind/body relationship through Yoga & The Work of Byron Katie. Peace truly is possible regardless of the circumstances – we invite you to join our next retreat April 27-29th.

Closing with Gratitude

I am completely open to see where this journey leads me. I am truly grateful for all of it ~ the joy and the pain. I’m still a work in progress as this is all a continued practice for me. (We all know the real reason for being a “facilitator” – so we can stay in our own work!)

It is my hope that everyone finds true freedom from cancer. A freedom that exists with or without cancer cells in the body. Thanks to this beautiful practice of inquiry, I’m not a victim of cancer; I’m simply an eternally grateful student.

Like Byron Katie says, “Life happens for you, not to you.” Even cancer!

Work with Me

Schedule a Private Session, Customized Workshop, or Retreat

Inner Peace Retreat ~ Yoga & The Work of Byron Katie: April 27-29

Making Peace w/Disease Online Series: May 7-June 11

 

anxiety and cancer, Cancer Diagnosis, finding peace with cancer, mental and emotional support for cancer, stress and cancer, the work of byron katie and cancer, yoga therapy and breast cancer

You Can Have Cancer & Be Happy ~ article by CanSurround

CanSurroundHeadShotI was recently interviewed by CanSurround, an inspiring company who offers online mental & emotional support for cancer patients and thrivers. A few months after my diagnosis, I attended their presentation at the ITW Convention (Institute for The Work of Byron Katie) in Los Angeles. I was immediately moved to tears at the beautiful offering of this company and the kindness and passion driving their business.

They give cancer patients direct and easy access to so many of the healing tools I had been gifting myself: The Work of Byron Katie (thought inquiry), journaling, meditation, sound healing, helpful articles, and the ability to build an intimate support network.

Filled with that ooey gooey, goosebumpy feeling ~ I knew right away: I want in on this!!!

After connecting with the founders, I was given the sweet opportunity to create online yoga videos for the web site ~ 3 different practices that really supported me mentally, physically, and emotionally throughout treatment (one you can even do in bed!). And of course when I first saw the videos, all I could focus on were how uneven my expander boobs were from radiation…lol…moving on 🙂

If you or anyone you know would like to create a CanSurround account for free, please email me at Bethany@BethanyWebb.com. If you are a professional health organization interested in offering this healing resource to your patients, click here.

I have SO enjoyed my experience with CanSurround and hope to continue working together to help others find more peace and ease in the journey called cancer. Here is the Braveheart article written by CanSurround. xoxoxo

You Can Have Cancer and Be Happy

A young woman’s story of shaping her cancer treatment with gifts of self-care 

When former President Jimmy Carter announced his cancer diagnosis of melanoma in July 2015, he told reporters he was “surprisingly at ease” when doctors had diagnosed him, as written by Michele Gorman in a Newsweek article. “I’ve had a wonderful life. I’ve got thousands of friends,” he said. “I’m ready for anything, and looking forward to a new adventure.”

The former president’s description of his state of mind—surprisingly at ease—was the last thing many people expected to hear from the 90-year-old. Like Carter, however, cancer survivor Bethany Webb seems to have created a sense of ease while living with cancer.

After experiencing the initial disbelief and emotional turmoil of her cancer diagnosis, Bethany dove into the tough and continuous inner work that would enable her to meet each phase of treatment with a calmness, acceptance, and even excitement she had not anticipated at first. She made informed decisions (with the support of her medical team, family and other care providers) that empowered her to “have a great experience with cancer.” She said many people find it difficult to understand how that could be. In truth, Bethany worked incredibly hard to care for herself—mind, body and spirit—long before diagnosis and throughout treatment. She’ll do so for the rest of her life, because she knows it works.

The gift basket that continues giving

Facing an aggressive form of breast cancer at age 34, Bethany underwent many forms of conventional therapy—chemotherapy, surgery, radiation, breast reconstruction, and hormone therapy —over a two-year period. She appreciated the need for conventional medicine and the science and research behind it. Bethany also suspected she’d need help managing the potential side effects. “I was determined to gift myself with a variety of complementary therapies to help get me through treatment,” said Bethany.

Embracing the options that appealed to her, Bethany was able to design a creative and healing cancer experience. She is quick to add, “At times, going through treatment was very, very hard—both physically and emotionally. But I accepted that I had cancer and I had to undergo treatment.” Acceptance helped Bethany to change her perspective about cancer and treatment. “I looked at cancer as happening for me, not to me. What if it’s all a gift that is here to make my life better? What is it teaching me? These insights freed my mind to enjoy much of treatment and share my experience in a blog.”

Among the potpourri of complementary therapies Bethany placed in her gift basket were yoga, acupuncture, writing, art, breathwork, sound healing, meditation, and reiki. She also focused diligently on caring for her mind during treatment. For six years prior to her cancer diagnosis, Bethany had used The Work of Byron Katie (a form of self-inquiry) to manage stress. “When the mind is stressed, the body’s systems don’t work as efficiently,” she said. “Being diagnosed with cancer, was the ultimate invitation to do The Work.”

As she embraces life beyond cancer treatment, Bethany continues to use The Work to identify and question stressful thoughts to free herself from their grip. “I’ve learned that reality—even living with cancer—is so much better than the scary movies that are playing in my head. Cancer has been an incredible teacher and gift.”

Work with Bethany…

Schedule a private session

Making Peace with Disease through The Work of Byron Katie: Dec 4 – Jan 21 

Your Inner Guru Workshop: January 13

Yoga & The Work Teacher Training: January 14

 

Related blog posts…

Alternative/Complimentary Therapies for My Breast Cancer Treatment

Inquiry: “The cancer is spreading” ~ is it true?

All-Natural Remedies for Chemo Side Effects

Mental Medicine: The Work of Byron Katie

Alternative/Complimentary Therapies, anxiety and cancer, Cancer Diagnosis, Inquiry, Side Effects of Cancer Treatment, Side Effects of Chemotherapy, stress and cancer, the work of byron katie and cancer, Uncategorized, yoga therapy and breast cancer

Conventional vs. Alternative Medicine ~ can’t we all just get along?

Ok, I’d like to have an open and honest chat about different avenues of healing and how I’ve struggled. Us cancer patients/thrivers want to support ourselves in every way possible to both cure cancer now and forever ~ we see lots of doctors, read books, talk to fellow cancer peeps, and do research online. Actually, we do A LOT of research online which can sometimes lead to exciting discoveries and more often, it leads to a full on-set of Google-itus (panic attack + frozen in fear + holy-shit-everything-causes-cancer-including-the-treatments-I’m-going-to-die-and-it-won’t-be-pretty syndrome). Just me?

 

Cancer can be treated different ways. There is the more common conventional route, also known as modern medicine, which usually includes a combo of surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and/or hormone therapies. And there is the alternative route, also known as natural medicine, which treats cancer with various natural modalities such as nutrition, juicing, cleansing, herbs, supplements, mind/body work, vitamin infusions, and other therapies.

 

I’m noticing most people fall into one camp or the other.

 

I seem to be a rare bird. Someone who sees SO MUCH love, knowledge, value, and benefit in BOTH worlds. This is why I chose to do a combined approach for healing. I had a good experience while undergoing 18 months of cancer treatment and if you could see me now, you would have no clue that I have been through 5 months of aggressive chemo, 2 surgeries, 5 ½ weeks of radiation, and am currently on Tamoxifen. I look and feel great, and I attribute this to going into the experience with a clear mind and supporting myself with many natural ways of healing too: yoga, inquiry, acupuncture, nutrition, juicing, supplements, emotional releasing, and sound healing to name a few. So yes, I do drugs and nature.

I do drugs and nature 🙂

 

I’m a plant-based organic-eating yogini who also believes in science-based medicine, and this has been one of my biggest challenges: the war between conventional and alternative medicine. They trash the shit out of each other!

 

When trying to support myself in learning natural ways to heal and ease side effects, it was nearly impossible to find an article or study that did not bash chemo, radiation, and surgery. Statements like “chemo only creates cancer and kills people,” “the cancer will come back even worse if you do conventional medicine,” “it’s all a big pharma conspiracy ~ they are just trying to keep you sick so they can make money.”

 

As someone who said yes to what my conventional doctors recommended, this created a lot of fear and shame. I reached a point where it just felt kinder to myself to stop consulting the almighty Google and focus on being present with myself.

 

But then there’s a flip side. When reading articles about conventional medicine or talking to some of my doctors, I noticed many would immediately discredit natural therapies as pure “quackery,” and completely ignore the many accounts of people being healed, for years, without any use of conventional medicine. “That’s impossible. A total waste of time and money. How dare they take advantage of these vulnerable human beings.” Then there are also stories of naturopathic doctors who have mysteriously gone missing after claiming they found a cure for cancer. Or they are faced with legal charges making their medical practice illegal.

 

As someone who has experienced so many benefits from my yoga & meditation practices, eating a clean diet, doing acupuncture, and incorporating more supplements, this left me feeling frustrated and annoyed that doctors weren’t more interested in this. “Hey – look at me! I’m actually enjoying cancer! Don’t ya wanna know why/how?”

 

And if the overwhelming amount of conflicting information isn’t enough, I see people harshly judging each other for their choices in treatment, both in person and also all over social media, forums, & online.

 

It’s tough. I don’t know what is true and what is not. I see valuable points on each side. I’m not a doctor, a scientist, or an expert with healing plants. All I have is my experience of the cancer journey and this part has been hard for me. I have felt torn, confused, and overwhelmed…oh wait, stress causes cancer too! Ahhhhh!!!!

 

I know people who have died after the use of conventional medicine. I know people who are completely healed by it. I know people who have died after the use of natural medicine. I know people who are healed or in the process of healing from it. There are bonuses and risks in both paths; neither carries a guaranteed cure. There are good days and hard days in both paths too, neither is a joyous party 100% of the time.

 

So why can’t we all just get along? Why can’t we just accept that there is more than one way to heal cancer? Why do we need to put down another healing path in order to share and promote our own? Think about it. If you are really set in your beliefs about medicine (or anything), in which scenario are you more willing to change them? When someone comes at you with insults or when someone invites you to an open-hearted conversation rooted in experience and research?

 

In my medical utopia, I see both sides coming together as one. Dropping the judgments and criticism, the shaming and anger, and being more open to learning from each other. We all have the same goal: to cure cancer and live long, happy, healthy lives.

 

So how can we end this war?

 

Simple. I can control every word that is posted on the internet and every word that comes out of your mouth. Easy peasy. Right?

Or…

It starts with me. I can stop trashing conventional and alternative medicine for trashing each other. I can stop seeing them as two separate sides in my own mind. I can focus on the wonderful and helpful ways I have healed from cancer and share them with others. I can stop being defensive/taking things personally when someone questions my treatment choices. I can be open and excited to learn from others who did not choose the same healing path. I can be a compassionate, non-judgmental listener when someone complains about their experience. I can make peace within myself over any shame or guilt I have carried for my own choices.

 

Ok, this sounds great…but HOW?

 

The Work of Byron Katie. I take my stressful thoughts and judgments about doctors, medicine, treatment, myself, and others to inquiry. I sit in meditation with the 4 questions and turnarounds and I free myself from the war within. It leaves me more open, more available, and more authentic with myself and others.

 

When I read articles or watch documentaries, I not only take notes on what I’d like to incorporate into my own life or ask my doctors about, I take notes on stressful thoughts that come up from the words that I read. See…it all can be a gift. Bringing me back to my work. My awakening.

 

When I do my work, my mind opens to see that my “medical utopia dream” is actually more of a reality than I realize. I remember that my conventional doctors talked to me about nutrition, yoga, meditation, acupuncture…they even recommended writing. My Chinese Medical doctor encouraged my use of conventional therapies and he offered acupuncture and herbs that not only helped to ease side effects, they helped the medicine to work more efficiently. Last week, my Dermatologist recommended using essential oils for scarring. How cool!

 

My practice keeps coming back to this: There is no single right or wrong way to heal. We all do what is right for us. For me, the most important part of my healing path is peace.

 

If you’re looking to find more peace around any type of diagnosis (from cancer, to allergies, to low back pain), I invite you to join me and my dear friend, Helena, for our upcoming online class series, “Making Peace with Disease using The Work of Byron Katie” that starts December 4th. Save $30 when you register by tomorrow. You can join from the comfort of your home and even stay in your PJ’s. I won’t judge 😉

 

And let’s keep this conversation flowing…how else can we work together to create a more harmonious, healing experience for all?

Image result for byron katie quote defense is the first act of war

Work with me…

Schedule a private session

New online series! Making Peace with Disease through The Work of Byron Katie: Dec 4 – Jan 21 

Yoga, Inquiry, Gong Meditation: November 9

Yoga & The Work ~ Teacher Training: November 19 & January 14

 

Related blog posts…

Alternative/Complimentary Therapies for My Breast Cancer Treatment

Inquiry: “Chemo is poisonous to my body” ~ is it true?

All-Natural Remedies for Chemo Side Effects

Mental Medicine: The Work of Byron Katie

 

anxiety and cancer, Cancer Diagnosis, Inquiry, Post Treatment, Side Effects of Cancer Treatment, Side Effects of Chemotherapy, stress and cancer, the work of byron katie and cancer, yoga therapy and breast cancer

Diagnostic Testing without Stressing

Last week, I was lying in a twisty yoga pose when I felt some new lumpy tissue above my left breast. “Perfect timing!” I thought, since my next follow-up appointment with my breast surgeon was just around the corner. I felt zero anxiety, zero stress leading up to the appointment.

Today during my visit, I had two different doctors explore the lumps with their hands and then they did a sonogram. I noticed thoughts arise my mind, “The cancer is back! This can’t be good!” accompanied by scary images of the future. Yet, I didn’t believe them. I clearly saw that they are not real, in this moment it’s just imagination.

Do you know what I experienced instead?

Pure gratitude for reality. Gratitude for the lumps showing up, gratitude for the trained experts, and gratitude for the sonogram machine that can further investigate what’s going on in my body.

My breast surgeon then said, “It all looks good! See you in 6 months.”

5 Steps to Clear Scanxiety

Do you feel anxious, worried, & fearful when it comes to doctor appointments and diagnostic tests? If so, you are so not alone. Whether you’re simply scheduling the appointment, driving to the exam, sitting in the waiting room, getting your boob squashed, or being rolled in and out of a magnetic test tube…it’s possible to be at peace.

Here are 5 simple steps that have helped me deal with the oh-so-common Scanxiety:

  1. Connect with your breath.

Notice where your breath is in your body. Begin to focus your breath on your belly. Take a deep breath in through the nose, and a nice long exhale out through the mouth.

  1. Touch something solid.

Use your hands to touch something solid – the chair, a wall, the table. Feel the floor beneath your feet, your hips on the chair, or your back or stomach on the exam table.

  1. Notice your surroundings.

Become a witness of what is around you. See the shapes, colors, and textures. Notice the sounds – the voices, the music, the machinery. Take in the smells (ok, maybe not!). Observe the movement of people around you. See the kindness in people’s eyes.

  1. Question your thinking.

If you feel stress, pause and notice your thoughts. “This will be painful…The results will be bad”…and ask yourself these 2 questions from The Work of Byron Katie: Can I absolutely know it’s true in this moment? Who would I be, right here, right now without the thought?

  1. Remember it’s all here FOR you.

The doctors, the nurses, the staff, the needles, the drugs, the lighting, the equipment, the music, the warm blanket…it’s all here for you. To support you. To get a clear picture of what’s going on in your body. To help you heal. To give you the next direction.

And if you try these 5 steps and epically fail…that’s all good too! You are free to freak the f*ck out. There is nothing wrong with you. Forgive yourself. Begin again. There will always be another opportunity to practice in Life School, I promise.

Work with me…

Schedule a private session

New online series! Making Peace with Disease through The Work of Byron Katie: Dec 4 – Jan 21 

Exploring Mind/Body ~ Yoga & The Work of Byron Katie: October 21

Yoga, Inquiry, Gong Meditation: November 9

Yoga & The Work ~ Teacher Training: November 19 & January 14

 

Related blog posts…

What if Fear is just a Fart?

Inquiry: “The cancer is spreading” ~ is it true?

How I Found Peace during “The Waiting Game”

A Different Kind of Breast Cancer Awareness

Breast Reconstruction, Cancer Diagnosis, Medical Updates, Surgery, the work of byron katie and cancer, yoga therapy and breast cancer

Update: Prepping for the last Hoorah ~ Breast Reconstruction

OMG. It’s finally happening. After almost 2 years of cancer treatment, the finale is just around the corner. Breast reconstruction (ie – new boobs!) is scheduled for May 4th! AHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!! I am one big bag of emotions ~ overjoyed to be DONE, really DONE, with treatment (except 5-10 yrs of hormone therapy) and ecstatic to meet my new breasts. Yesterday I was driving between yoga clients and broke out into tears. I’m in awe. Wow. It’s really happening. I really did this. So proud of me!

What. A. Journey.

My thinking is also anxious ~ how will they look? How will they feel? Will I like them? What if something goes wrong? Dear God, that was a lot of potential “complications” I signed off on…including my own death!

And impatient & boob obsessed ~ are we there yet? Time for new boobs? I want them now! New boobs….pause. Come back to your breath. Inhale. Exhale…Boobs, BOOBS, boobs, NEW BOOBS!!!!

This past week, I had my pre-op visit with my plastic surgeon and underwent testing (bloodwork & EKG) to ensure this body is ready to go! We talked about the type, size, & projection of my implants. I’ve chosen to go with his recommendation of the newest round “gummy bear” implant ~ it feels the most natural, is leak-proof, and lasts the longest (20-30 years). I held one, squished it around, put it under my shirt, and tossed it up and down. Pretty nice…

The way he chooses the size is by measuring the width of my chest and then I have the option of choosing the projection ~ how far forward my boobs are (low, medium, high, ultra high). He was really into the ultra high, but after looking at photos ~ I’m going with high because they look more natural to me.

When I first met with my plastic surgeon, he handed me a pamphlet of his work and I remember one woman in particular stood out: Samantha. Samantha’s boobs are amazing. Give me Samantha’s boobs. Yes, please. Ironically, Samantha was actually the name of my alter-ego when I wore my sexy wig during chemo. Destiny? I think so.

My surgeon confirmed that mine would be similar to hers and that she is actually now a bikini model. New career in my future?

Breast Reconstruction Surgery

The surgery is much shorter (about 2 hours) and the recovery is supposed to be much easier than the last. He will go into the same scars from the mastectomy and make a smaller incision, remove the tissue expanders (SEE YA and won’t miss ya AT ALL), and replace them with the implants.

What’s super weird is that while I’m off in a deep, drug-induced sleep, he props me upright in the bed and tries on about 5 different implant sizes to see what looks best. And no, Travis can not watch this part and give the final “Ok.” Apparently that might be traumatizing for a husband.

He will then liposuction fat from my love handles and put it into my breasts for extra padding between the implant and skin ~ it also helps to shape the breasts. I have been diligently working very hard on building this fat with the help of nightly Coconut Bliss ice cream..I’ve gained 15 lbs back from my lowest weight in chemo, 108. How crazy weird is it that in less than 2 weeks, I will be wearing my muffin tops in my breasts???!!!

I try not to think about the procedure details too much…it creeps me out. Actually, it’s my thoughts that are creeping me out. The procedure doesn’t even exist yet. It definitely takes a certain type of stomach to do this work and I’m grateful for the expertise of my surgeon and his staff. And even more grateful that I get to show up, go to sleep, and wake up with new boobs.

The finals will be softer, closer together, and more natural looking than my expanders + the same anti-gravity perk. And they will not be perfectly symmetrical ~ because of radiation, the left side will always be a little higher and tighter than the right. Hopefully things will be pointed in the right direction. Or maybe I’ll end up with a set of googley eyes. We’ll see!

So now it’s my job to just let go and trust.

Getting Ready

In preparation for the surgery, I am also eating more pineapple and papaya ~ they have natural enzymes (bromelain & papain) that help the body heal faster and reduce scarring. I’ll also be taking 30c of Arnica ~ a homeopathic remedy for healing from trauma, bruising, etc. the day before surgery and for a few days after.

Other than that, my welcomed distraction has been planning our Inner Peace Retreat which is NEXT weekend in the Austin Hill Country! So the weekend before surgery will be spent doing what I love: relaxing in nature, teaching yoga, exploring inquiry, eating delish organic vegetarian meals, and connecting with an amazing community of like-minded folks. And I get to lead it with my dear friend and fellow facilitator, Susan…she’s amazing! I anticipate a lot of silliness & laughter, coupled with insightful, life-changing Mind/Body work. Still a few spots left if you want to join!

The property is Living Waters on Lake Travis ~ it’s where my husband and I were married 6 years ago. We loved it so much that just a few months after the wedding, we asked the owners if we could move there, take over, and grow it into a thriving retreat business. Which it now is! We rocked it for 4 years before returning to Dallas. The first week of May is our 10-year anniversary of being together + our wedding anniversary. So it’s safe to say this time at Living Waters is special to me in so many ways.

My mom will be coming in town for the surgery to help me (she is the best nurse ever!) and to celebrate the end of our journey. She has probably been to Dallas 6-7 times over the past year and a half. Her unwavering support, ability to anticipate my needs before I’m even aware of them, and compassionate care has helped me IMMENSELY throughout this process. It sounds cliché, but I have couldn’t have done this without her. Actually, I could have…but I would have gone completely cray cray on many more occasions. Love you, mamma.

Recovery is about 5 weeks, yet I should be driving within 3-5 days and can lift up to 15-20 lbs. I plan to take 2 weeks off of work and then play the rest of May by ear. Many women have shared with me that the pain isn’t bad at all ~ they’re off heavy pain meds within a day or so, yet I’m also well aware that the pain level from the last surgery was wayyyyy more than I expected. So I’m setting aside the time to just be…

Ok, friends ~ YOU have been with me throughout all of this! Can you believe it? It’s happening!!!! Thank you SO MUCH for your continued encouragement, support, & inspiration. Send some healing vibes to me the morning of May 4th.

May the fourth be with you…NEW BOOBS!

 

Related Posts

Mental Medicine ~ The Work of Byron Katie

The Future of My Boobs (FOMB)

Gratitude, Elephants, & Going Potty ~ My Experience of Breast Surgery

Self-discovery while in Recovery

Life with Tissue Expander Boobs

Breast Reconstruction, Medical Updates, Side Effects of Cancer Treatment, Surgery, Uncategorized, yoga therapy and breast cancer

Life with Tissue Expander Boobs

After my double mastectomy last April, I remember reading an online article about how women are now forced to live with prosthetic body parts because of breast cancer. I thought to myself, “Wow, that sounds horrible. I guess I’m really lucky that I didn’t need to go through that too.” I even felt a little shame about it, “I got off pretty easy.” I had an image of these women in my mind: they are suffering, cancer victims.

Flash forward 3 months…I had just finished radiation and was planning a month-long celebration vacation. This was the first time I was flying post-surgery so I asked my plastic surgeon if there was anything I needed to know about traveling with tissue expander boobs ~ ummmm….do they set off the security alarms? Can they blow up at a certain altitude?

He said there’s nothing to worry about and his office could give me a letter explaining that I’m in breast cancer treatment. As I read through the letter in the waiting room of his office, my heart skipped a beat:

“Bethany is undergoing breast reconstruction and currently has prosthetic devices in her chest.”

Wait a minute. Say what? Prosthetic devices?

Pointing to my tattas, I asked the assistant at the front desk, “Are these prosthetic devices?”

“Yes,” she responded.

I burst out laughing. There I was imagining these poor victimized women with their prosthetic body parts and guess what? I’m one of them!

But yet, I’m not a victim ~ it’s not so bad having temporary anti-gravity boobies (which by the way, don’t blow up on airplanes). Are they weird as hell? Yes. And with clothes on, they look like boobs with an extra perk.

So…What are Tissue Expanders?

Tissue expanders are temporary implants that replace women’s breast tissue after a double mastectomy is performed (often, and in my case – it’s done in the same surgery). The outer layer is much harder than a regular implant and there is a small round area at the top of the expander for filling. They serve 4 main purposes:

  1. It emotionally supports a woman as she gets to wake up from surgery with some sort of breasts.
  2. They stretch the skin to prepare it for the final implants/breast reconstruction surgery.
  3. They hold the skin in place as it goes through radiation, which can shrink/tighten the skin.
  4. So the woman can be overly excited to receive her final implants because gosh darn…they’re gonna be better than these!

I also think tissue expanders could use a new name. Please choose from the following:

Boobs of Steel

Fembot Tattas

Basketball Boobies

Bionic Super Hero Breasts

Boobie Fill Tuesdays ~ the Expanding Process

From A to D ~ watch my boobs (and hair) grow!

Starting one week after surgery, I visited the plastic surgeon for weekly boob fills on Tuesdays. This is another way of saying that I got to see my boobs GROW a half or full size every week!!! He places a syringe full of saline in the top of the expander (the silver part). I don’t feel any pain ~ just a little pressure ~ and then sure enough ~ bigger boobs! Yes, I did take a video (how was I his 1st patient to do that???) and no, I’m not sharing it here.

I really enjoyed experimenting with different boob sizes. The expanding process happens until you reach your desired size, which for me is a small C. Anything larger than that would look a little too porn star on my small frame. He then blows up the “used to have cancer” side to be a size larger because it will be going through radiation which shrinks the skin.

So I spent the summer of 2016 with a leftie super boob!

The Hardest Part for Me…

I had heard from most women that tissue expanders weren’t painful ~ they were weird and uncomfortable at times ~ but not painful. So I was surprised to experience some pretty intense holy shit pain during the expanding process. Like I mentioned before, the fills were not painful. It was the time between fills. Because my tissue expanders are placed underneath my pec muscles, my pecs received an intense stretch when I got a boob fill. This then put extra pressure on my rib cage and surrounding shoulder girdle muscles. During this time, I also had a rare complication called “cording” which made it difficult to fully move and stretch my left arm. The fact that I’m a tiny person may have made it more difficult too. What supported me the most is physical therapy, yoga stretching, breathing, and yes – pain medication. Once again, I was confronted with my thoughts about medicine and you know what? It helped me immensely.

Life with Tissue Expanders

After the filling process was complete, the pain disappeared. The expanders did a great job of holding the skin in place during radiation. Now I am in “the waiting game” for my final surgery which is scheduled for May 4th. My plastic surgeon tends to wait longer than usual for the final reconstruction ~ 8-12 months after radiation. Since the skin can shrink during and even months after radiation, the longer time frame gives my skin plenty of time to fully heal, which will lead to a better aesthetic outcome and a less likely chance of complications, such as rippling and capsular contracture. I figure that I’ll have these boobs the rest of my life, so what’s a few extra months?

During the waiting game, I am still living a full life. I don’t really notice them much until I look in the mirror for my nightly ritual of massaging oils & lotions onto the skin to help the healing process.

Do I regret choosing this surgery?

To be honest, I have had moments where I have questioned my surgery decision. There has been a natural grieving process for my breasts ~ they have permanently changed (and they were pretty fabulous before!). I’ve had to be gentle with myself through many tears. Sometimes I feel insecure and not “natural” or as “feminine” as I used to be ~ more on this in a separate blog post. My mind has told me “A lumpectomy would have been easier. I made the wrong decision. I won’t like my final breasts.” Yet, is that true for me?

Actually, it’s not true. A lumpectomy + radiation would have made my left breast much smaller, so I would have needed to do breast augmentation on the right side to match (this involves more scarring as my right nipple would be removed and moved up). I am also reminded that my natural breast tissue was incredibly dense and lumpy ~ it was difficult to decipher the cancer lumps vs. natural lumps. I don’t know if I’d ever have cancer again, but I was guaranteed to have lumps again which means I’d need to go through a lifetime of “find the lump/mammo/ultrasound/biopsy/wait for results.” There are many ways to spend my time and if I have the option, less time in a doctors office works for me.

So…Do I regret it?

NO. I’m happy and grateful for this path. It’s the right choice for me. Without the stress, I’m free to be completely entertained by my boobs of steel. I show them off quite frequently. In fact, I recently spent a day at the Ten Thousand Waves Spa in Santa Fe and soaked nude in the women’s natural spring hot tub. I felt free, confident, and at peace. The other 2 women in the tub left 2 minutes after I arrived, but hey ~ no need to build a stressful story around that. I had the place to myself for 2 hours!

When a woman asks me, “what do they feel like?” I usually immediately grab her hand and place it on my breast or I’ll offer to show her what they look like in the bathroom.

When someone hugs me, they often ask, “oh – am I hurting you?” Dude – I’m the one with the hard-ass, indestructible bowling ball boobs that dig into your chest when we hug…”Am I hurting you?”

PS ~ they can NOT be used as massage tools. I tried with my husband and he wasn’t into it. However, they CAN be used to hold a plate of food while watching Netflix.

They keep me in my yoga practice. Daily stretching, movement, & some strengthening is choice-less for me.

I am also free to LOVE the anti-gravity bonus…you see, I didn’t realize just how much my natural boobs yanked on my shoulders & neck until I had weightless breasts. There are tiny, strappy, tank tops and bras that I can now wear and I LOVE it! Most of the time, I don’t even need a bra (except to cover my nipples in some shirts).

They don’t move. At all. So rebounding on my trampoline doesn’t hurt anymore. I don’t need to wear 2 sports bras while running (ok, I actually don’t run…but if I did, major support was needed!). So I created this facebook video to showcase this talent…

 

Final Surgery ~ May 4th!

I am beyond stoked for my final surgery, which is coming up in less than ONE month! Time has actually flown by and I am so okay with that. I have had fun designing my final breasts with my husband ~ we googled boob images online and showed my plastic surgeon. PS – googling boobs can bring up some pretty disturbing images…

The final ones will be much softer, closer together, and more natural looking. I will actually be able to have cleavage again! I’ve longed for the day I can look down and see a butt crack on my chest again. I plan to wear a lot of slutty clothes after May ~ tube tops, backless shirts, bikinis…bring it!

I choose to focus on the bright side of this process, the cancer bonuses and what I’m learning about myself. How I’m becoming more loving, accepting, and patient with my body and mind. How I can find humor in anything. This isn’t painting an airy fairy image over everything ~ it’s actually reality. And when I’m feeling down, The Work of Byron Katie brings me back. It’s a kind universe.

Related Posts

Mental Medicine ~ The Work of Byron Katie

The Future of My Boobs (FOMB)

Gratitude, Elephants, & Going Potty ~ My Experience of Breast Surgery

When Complications become Blessings

How I Found Peace during “The Waiting Game”

 

 

Cancer Diagnosis, Inquiry, Post Treatment, the work of byron katie and cancer, yoga therapy and breast cancer

What if Fear is just a Fart?

I am truly grateful and blessed to be someone who can say the words, “I use to have cancer and now I don’t.” My latest CT scan showed no evidence of anything cancery in my body – cancer free baby! Cancer is over.

Or is it?

hellomynameisfearThe truth is cancer has come back many times….in my mind. The fear of cancer returning and returning terminally is a big practice for me. Yes, I’m aware it’s all mental and holy crap – it can take me for quite a ride! It’s like a vampire who sucks the joy out of everything. It’s the voice that says, “Don’t get too excited…What if…?”

And from the many women who I have connected with during this journey – I’m not the only one who experiences this fear.

Back in August when I was on my post-treatment celebration vacation, I attended a retreat in Quebec led by a friend & Certified Facilitator for The Work of Byron Katie, Tom Compton. Tom is amazing. I consider him to be one of those connected, special souls who was put on this earth to inspire others to live a fearless, joyful life, simply by being himself. Life has given him many surprises as well ~ his wife recently passed away from breast cancer.

Hearing him speak of his time with his wife as she transitioned inspired me ~ it showed me how death can be an intimate, heart-opening experience for a family. I also loved seeing how well he is doing ~ he moved to California and started surfing every day. He is happy and has somehow started to reverse the process of aging (he looks 20 years younger than the last time I saw him!).

What I have feared about death is how it will affect my loved ones, especially my husband. I shared this with Tom, and he said “it would break his heart. And then it would break it wide open.”

While I found comfort in his words, I also started to ask a lot of questions.

“How did your wife know the cancer had returned?”

As soon as the words left my mouth, my mind came in with, “EEK! Are you sure you want to know this? The answer is totally going to fuck with you. WARNING!”

And I still wanted to know.

He said that her stomach became very bloated and they found tumors all along the lining of it ~ from then, it was just a matter of time. I felt an immediate pain in my stomach. However, I acted brave and moved on to the next conversation.

So of course, naturally, for the first half of the retreat, my stomach became bloated. It was crampy. I started obsessively feeling it for lumps. Oh shit, this is it.

One of the main reasons I joined the retreat is to confront any remaining fear/unease around my cancer diagnosis. I could see that this was the perfect time for me to experience these sensations. It was happening for me. Throughout the retreat, I did a lot of inquiry on my fear of death, fear of having chosen the wrong treatment plan, and fears of my family suffering.

There was a lot of crying. It felt tender and kind to let the little terrified girl inside of me fully speak – fully express herself. I also felt very held and supported by Tom and the other retreat participants. It became clear that a bloated belly is not a problem – it’s what I’m believing about it that hurts. Cancer returning is not a problem. Death is not a problem. It’s the labels I put on them that create my suffering.

Then one afternoon, I took a bath. I looked at my bloated belly and caressed it. I wiggled my legs straight and began to lean into a forward fold. And then…something magical happened.

I passed gas for about 30 seconds…it was the longest wind relief I’ve ever experienced! I burst out with laughter – farts are always entertaining to me – I grew up with brothers and we have so many fond family fart memories. Did you know you can save one in a jar and give it to someone as a gift?

When I sat up from my forward fold, my stomach was flat and back to normal – my giggles turned into an overwhelmingly grateful big ol’ ugly cry. My fears. My terror. All along, it was just a fart. Then the next day, my menstrual cycle made an appearance after a 3-month hiatus.

So I share this somewhat mortifying story with you for a reason. How often have you experienced fear and it turned out to be absolutely nothing? Or maybe your fear came true, but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise?

Maybe fear is just an entertaining, farty friend, inviting you to get out of your head, let go, and enjoy reality.

If fear still has a grip on you, I invite you to identify what you’re thinking and believing and take it to inquiry with The Work of Byron Katie. I would love to hear what you discover. xoxo

14937456_10154171258169150_6888304646354980779_n

Alternative/Complimentary Therapies, Cancer Diagnosis, chemotherapy, Side Effects of Cancer Treatment, Side Effects of Chemotherapy, the work of byron katie and cancer, yoga therapy and breast cancer

All Natural Remedies for Chemo Side Effects

This post is for anyone looking for natural & effective ways of dealing with the side effects of cancer treatment, especially chemotherapy.

So here you are, about to take the next step into your healing cancer treatment plan: chemotherapy, which I affectionately now call “C-Love.” Take a look in the mirror at that sweet, beautiful face. You are strong. Fearless. Or possibly scared shitless?

If you’re like me, you may have heard 1,000 horror stories about chemo and I’m here to tell you that it just wasn’t my experience. Do you think your body has a better opportunity to heal when you are cursing and fearing your treatment or accepting it with gratitude? I chose to receive C-Love as a healing cleanse for my body. I envisioned my healthy cells being protected and anything that no longer serves me being washed away. I chose to see the good in all things ~ the needles, the nurses, the
drugs, the side effects. Chemo taught me how to slow down, focus on me, and love myself unconditionally. How to enjoy the simple pleasures of life and connect with others. How to see I am always supported, even when I’m not feeling so hot. There were some hard times, a lot of easy/fun times, and some hilarious times. Open your mind to the blessings that are always around you ~ I promise, they are there.

I noticed different sensations would come and go and I LOVED learning all-natural ways to support my body and mind. So here is a list of what worked for me. I invite you to see what you’re drawn to, clear anything necessary with your doctor, and find what works for you. You’ve so got this!

Overall Health & Wellbeing thru the Cancer Journey

(click links for more guidance on each therapy)

Yoga

Breathing

Meditation

The Work of Byron Katie

Walking

Rebounding

Acupuncture

Nutrition

Supplements

Emotional Releasing

Writing

Art

Essential Oils

Sound Healing

 

Low Immunity

  • Eat organic, plant-based diet with lots of fruits and veggies.
  • Avoid meat, sugar, caffeine, alcohol, gluten, dairy, soy (ALL soy- especially for estrogen-positive cancers). If you eat meat, choose all-natural meats with no growth hormones or antibiotics.
  • Stay hydrated and drink at least half of your body weight in ounces of filtered water (alkaline spring water in glass bottles is best).
  • Organic Raw Vegetable Juices
  • Ginger & Turmeric Tea (click link for recipes)
  • Warm Water w/Lemon
  • Curcumin Supplement
  • Garden of Life Organic Multi-Vitamin
  • Garden of Life Raw Organic Vitamin C
  • Garden of Life Raw Organic Probiotic
  • Vitamin D
  • Calm Magnesium & Calcium Supplement
  • The Work of Byron Katie ~ Do you think your body has a better opportunity to heal when you are at peace and loving life or when you are stressed and angry? When you are cursing and fearing your treatment or accepting it with gratitude? Question your stressful thoughts and find peace during the cancer journey.
  • Daily movement like walking, yoga, dancing, swimming, rebounding.
  • Time relaxing in nature
  • Meditation
  • Acupuncture
  • Wash hands frequently and avoid touching face & mouth.
  • Keep all-natural hand sanitizer in purse.
  • Avoid crowded places, especially during nadir days ~ when WBC (white blood count) is lowest.

 

Nausea

  • Stay hydrated and drink at least half of your body weight in ounces of filtered water (alkaline spring water in glass bottles is best).
  • Ginger & Turmeric Tea
  • Organic Raw Vegetable Juices
  • Curcumin Supplement
  • Eat smaller meals multiple times per day.
  • Eat blander foods and avoid spicy foods.
  • Enjoy soups, smoothies with turmeric & ginger.
  • Avoid over-eating; stop eating before you are full.
  • Gentle belly breathing
  • Take ALL medications and supplements WITH food unless directed otherwise by doctor.
  • Acupuncture
  • Yoga: Practicing constructive rest position (lying on back, knees bent, feet flat on the floor) or reclining bound angle pose (lying on back, soles of the feet together, knees wide) has helped me with the stomach flutters. I place my hands on my belly and breath into them. Pelvic tilts, rocking the knees side to side, and child’s pose have been really helpful too. Avoid a lot of up and down movement.
  • Warm (not hot) showers and baths
  • Acupuncture

 

Fatigue

  • Daily movement – choose something you love – walking, yoga, rebounding, swimming, dancing – at least 30 min/day will help you to build & sustain energy.
  • Rest when you need to rest. Think of your energy level like a gas tank between each treatment ~ don’t over-do it in the beginning and pace yourself. This your time to slow down and be.
  • Master the art of napping ~ it’s AWESOME! The body heals when it sleeps.
  • Eat organic, plant-based diet with lots of fruits and veggies.
  • Avoid meat, sugar, caffeine, alcohol, gluten, dairy, soy (ALL soy- especially for estrogen-positive cancers). If you eat meat, choose all-natural meats with no growth hormones or antibiotics.
  • The Work of Byron Katie ~ Believing stressful thoughts can zap your energy; clear your mind and gain greater peace by questioning your stressful thoughts.
  • Stay hydrated and drink at least half of your body weight in ounces of filtered water (alkaline spring water in glass bottles is best).
  • Meditation
  • Breathing
  • Yoga: A short, gentle flow with supported back bends & heart openers (I prefer blocks & lots of blankets).
  • Acupuncture
  • Physical Therapy
  • Warm (not hot) showers and baths

 

Aches & Pains

  • Stay hydrated and drink at least half of your body weight in ounces of filtered water (alkaline spring water in glass bottles is best).
  • Ginger & Turmeric Tea
  • Calm Magnesium & Calcium Supplement
  • Curcumin Supplement
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Yoga: Gentle stretching & breathing with an extended exhale. If legs are extra achey, I will lie on my back and place my legs up the wall.
  • The Work of Byron Katie ~ Question your stressful thoughts about pain (ex/ – “I want the pain to go away.” “I shouldn’t feel like this.”) and question stressful thoughts about what you think the pain means (ex/“It will only get worse. The cancer is spreading. I can’t live like this.”).
  • Warm (not hot) Epson Salt baths
  • Acupuncture

 

Mouth Sores

  • MUST-DO for prevention & treatment: Homemade mouth rinse ~ Add 1 tsp or baking soda + 1 tsp Sea Salt or Himalayan Crystal Salt to 20 oz of water. Rinse mouth 5-6 times per day throughout treatment. This also worked for me at the first signs of a sore throat.
  • Avoid spicy and acidic foods.
  • Ask nurses if sucking on ice while receiving chemo would be helpful (it was recommended for me while receiving the red Adriamycin drug).

 

Constipation

  • Triphala Supplement ~ helps maintain healthy flow of digestion and purifies the blood.
  • Psyllium Husks ~ helps to soften the stools so they can pass through more easily.
  • Ginger & Turmeric Tea
  • Traditional Medicine’s Smooth Move Tea
  • Organic Raw Vegetable Juices
  • Stay hydrated and drink at least half of your body weight in ounces of filtered water (alkaline spring water in glass bottles is best).
  • Eat prunes daily or drink warm prune juice
  • Avoid foods with a lot of bread, meat, dairy
  • Buy a Squatty Potty!
  • Acupuncture
  • Yoga: incorporate gentle core strengthening and twists into your yoga practice.
  • With your hand, gently make circles over your belly in a clockwise direction.
  • For severe constipation, self administer an enema (uncomfortable and WORTH IT!).

 

Hemorrhoids

  • Follow above constipation remedies.
  • Replace toilet paper with all-natural, unscented baby wipes.
  • Add more oils into meals and smoothies (organic, unrefined coconut, olive, sesame oils are best).
  • Keep anus clean and apply a little coconut oil to it.
  • Acupuncture
  • Laugh on the toilet ~ come on, this is pretty ridiculous, eh? I can even tried “toilet yoga.”

 

Dry Skin

  • Keep skin well moisturized throughout treatment.
  • Use all natural (preferably organic) oil-based body products without harmful chemicals or plant-based estrogens.
  • I used organic argan oil, jojoba oil, and Juice Beauty products.

 

Chemo Brain

  • Acupuncture
  • Restorative Yoga: calming poses like forward bends, child’s pose, pigeon, legs up the wall.
  • Meditation
  • Breathing
  • Creamy Ayurvedic Spiced Latté Tea (w/Black Pepper)
  • The cancer journey can be so overwhelming with all of the new information, medical terms to learn, bills, treatments plans, mental/emotional issues…brain fog would be natural for any person going through this! Consider, where can you do less in your life? Can you make time to just relax and be?
  • Humor ~ Everybody forgets stuff, and I chose to laugh about it with myself and others instead of getting frustrated over it. Sometimes I’d remember things and if I didn’t, that’s ok too. This is an appropriate time for the mind to be mushy. Enjoy being more present – people spend a lot of money and time on forgetting the past and future!
  • The Work of Byron Katie ~ Question your stressful thoughts about memory (ex/ “My memory should be better. People will be angry with me (if I forget). My memory is permanently damaged.”) or about any stressful situations you may be experiencing.

 

Weight Loss

  • Increase healthy fats like avocados, olives, nuts, nut butters, seeds, coconut/olive/sesame oil.
  • Add more protein like organic beans, wild-caught salmon, and soy-free, pastuere-raised eggs.
  • Add vegan protein powder such as Hemp Protein or Vega.
  • Buy new clothes that actually fit. This was an emotional game-changer for me!
  • The Work of Byron Katie ~ question any stressful thoughts about your body image (ex/ “I want my old body back. My body is too skinny/ugly. People don’t find me attractive.”).
  • Remember, this too shall pass. Bodies are always changing. This is an opportunity to love yourself regardless of your outer appearance.
  • Acupuncture
  • Eat before and after exercise.
  • Yoga: focus less on cardio movement and more on grounding & strengthening poses Warrior Poses, Triangle, Chair, Tree, Half Moon, & Goddess Pose.

 

Hair Loss

  • Before hair loss (which occurs about 2-3 weeks into treatment), consider cutting and donating your hair to a charity.
  • Have a hair shaving party with close friends and family!
  • Keep an electric razor on hand for when hair begins to fall out. When you’re ready, GI Jane that shit off!
  • Buy a wig, invite some girlfriends to come along!
  • Buy cute scarf’s, hats, wraps – I loved these: chemobeanies.com.
  • Throw a hat/scarf party.
  • If you really don’t want to lose your hair, consider getting the “Cold Cap” treatment, which may be covered by insurance.
  • Acupuncture
  • Embrace being bald ~ there are so many bonuses!
    • The most low maintenance hairstyle you’ll ever have
    • Best head massages
    • Shower at least twice per day
    • No need to buy any hair products – no shampoo, conditioner, styling spray, combs, hair ties, razors
    • Travel just got way easier
    • No more shaving! (people pay a lot of $ for this)
    • Smoothest legs you’ll ever have
    • Feel like a true badass walking around bald – OWN IT – you’re beautiful. Plus people are soooo kind when they see you’re going through cancer treatment. If we all treated each other like we were going through cancer, the world would be a happier place
    • Enjoy the fun process as it grows back – it starts with the super soft fuzzies and then maybe a new color or curlier or straighter!
  • The Work of Byron Katie ~ Question any stressful thoughts about your body image (ex/ “I want my old body back. I look like a sick person. People don’t find me attractive.”).

 

Hot Flashes

  • Acupuncture
  • Wear layers that can easily be stripped off in public.
  • Sleep naked
  • Sleep next to a fan
  • Apply a cold wash clothe on forehead.
  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Breathing

 

Acid Reflux or Indigestion

  • Avoid acidic foods like citrus, tomatoes, and vinegars.
  • Take Papaya enzymes before meals.
  • Eat small meals more frequently.
  • Drink warm water with meals.
  • Sleep with the head elevated above the heart.

byronkatiequote

© 2016 Bethany Webb. All rights reserved.

Cancer Diagnosis, the work of byron katie and cancer, yoga therapy and breast cancer

A Different Kind of Breast Cancer Awareness

I remember this time last year…just 2 weeks after I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I was inundated with OCTOBER: Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Yep, I was definitely aware of it! Cancer was EVERYWHERE. Since I decided to “go public” with my diagnosis, many of my sweet-intentioned friends would send any article my way that had the word “cancer” in it. The message would be the same: women are victims of this horrible disease <insert horror story that would give anyone with a diagnosis a panic attack> and we need to fight, fight, fight it!!!

Well, that’s not my story of cancer.

I experienced a different kind of breast cancer awareness…what if it’s not bad? What if it makes our lives better? What if there are fun parts of treatment? What if the reality of cancer is better than the scary stories in my head? What if cancer is a friend, a gift, a wise teacher?

Byron Katie would often ask, “do you think your body has a better chance of healing when you are at war or at peace?”

I choose to see the blessings. This is why I have been so inspired to share a new story of cancer. One that I wish I heard when I was first diagnosed. I wrote the following article for Reset Retreat ~ I hope you enjoy it!

My greatest yoga teacher: Cancer.

What kind of qualities do you imagine when you think of the BEST yoga teacher? Someone who embodies compassion, awareness, and presence? Someone who challenges your mind and body to bend and move in new and creative ways? Someone who teaches the art of self-love, non-judgment, and how to tap into your inner wisdom?

We all come to yoga for different reasons; we have our favorite classes and teachers. We’ve experienced the side effects of the “yoga buzz” after class…we’re stronger, more open, and gosh darnit – everything on the inside and out just feels awwwwwwesome!

And then BOOM. Life happens.

I’ve been practicing yoga for 20 years and am blessed to call it my career for the past 10. I’ve explored various styles of yoga from Vinyasa to Yoga Therapy to Somatic Movement to Iyengar to Yoga Nidra to Kundalini to Power to Viniyoga…I’ve studied with incredible teachers and felt huge shifts in my life as a result of my practice.

costaricaheartseated

And then one year ago, life threw me a big surprise right after my 34th birthday: an aggressive form of breast cancer.

Lucky for me, I had cultivated quite the healing “toolbox” for handling stress. In fact, it felt like I had unknowingly been preparing for this moment all of my life.

The most effective tool is The Work of Byron Katie ~ also known as “yoga for the mind.” It’s a way of identifying and questioning thoughts that create stress…ANY kind of stress…relationships, romance, jobs, parenting, fears of the future, health, physical & emotional pain…by exploring these stressful thoughts, I came to discover that when my mind is open, inner peace is possible in any situation.

A different perspective on “illness” was revealed. What if illness happens for our enlightenment? What if it makes my life even better? The inspiration I experienced while contemplating these questions filled me joy and purpose.

Cancer became my greatest yoga teacher, my guru. I made a conscious decision not to “fight” cancer. Instead, I made friends with it, listened to its wisdom, and used it to grow myself in ways I never thought possible. Here are a few of the many lessons…

Cancer teaches me to be present.

I noticed how quickly my mind would jump into the future…and not just any future…a crazy, scary, painful, horror film of a future. And then I’d notice…wait, is this real? Or just a movie? Each and every time I felt fear and stress, my mind had left the present moment. Cancer gave me this continued practice of noticing what is real now: I’m here, healthy, breathing, the sky is blue, the chair is holding me, the medicine is doing its job, the doctors are kind. Reality was always better than the stories in my head. I just get to be present and follow the simple instructions. Whew.

Cancer teaches me to slow down and listen to my body.

As I walked the path of cancer treatment, I created space in my schedule to be present for anything to arise. Living a fast-paced life simply wasn’t possible ~ I was forced to slow down and be. My yoga practice deepened as I would show up to the mat each day ~ I’d breathe with the various sensations that appeared ~ and I’d be led into different stretches and poses. Some days were more active than others. When my body needed to sleep, I let it. When it was hungry, I fed it nourishing food. When it wanted to binge out of Netflix, I let it. When it needed help from others, I asked for it. And I was pretty impressed to watch it continue to teach yoga classes!

Cancer teaches me self-love and acceptance.

My physical appearance changed very quickly ~ my long, mermaid hair disappeared. I lost my curves and my body resembled a c-lovetreeposeskeleton. After surgery, my natural breasts were replaced with tissue expanders. It gave me an opportunity to look at my own beliefs around beauty, body image, and what is “feminine,” and I found that these concepts are just BS. Although it was challenging at times, I learned to be gentle and love myself regardless of my appearance – I even began to embrace the changes. I jokingly referred to myself as my husband’s “little man wife.” I loved the ease and freedom of being bald and am now fascinated with my new anti-gravity boobs! This body will continue to change throughout its lifetime – that’s just what bodies do – and cancer has shown me how to see the blessings. I know that I am so much more than this body.

Cancer teaches me how to open my heart.

For the first time in my life, I was filled with inspiration to share my experience in a big way – in real time – through a blog on my web site. Writing became an incredible form of healing. The unconditional love & support I have received has cracked my heart wide open. People. Are. So. Kind. My relationships have deepened, new connections have been made, and I continue to authentically share my heart. Cancer has given me a new, passionate direction in my career, and it has instilled a strong sense of trust that we live in a friendly universe. I have never been a victim in this process; I am an eternally grateful student.

And the blessings continue.

On September 16th, while leading my first Reset Retreat in the Texas Hill Country – I celebrated the anniversary of my diagnosis with an amazing group of women. Now cancer-free, I affectionately call this day – New Direction Day – the day my life took a beautiful, new direction. We all raised a glass of wine at dinner and cheered! I couldn’t imagine a better way to celebrate.

So here’s my invitation to you.

Look at the challenges you are facing in life ~ whether it be low back pain, a disability, death of a loved one, an illness, car accident, relationship challenges, a big career change, money issues…how could it be possible that this is the best possible thing for you? What is it teaching you? Patience? Kindness? Slowing down? Speaking up? Asking for help? What are you learning about yourself? What new doors has it opened?

I’m not trying to negate that there are tough times and struggles…this Earth School thing can feel REALLY challenging! I’m inviting you to notice what else may also be going on…open your mind to the gifts that are all around us.

Perhaps you already have the greatest yoga teacher at your feet. Just waiting to be discovered.

byronkatiequote