Cancer Diagnosis, finding peace with cancer, Inquiry, stress and cancer, the work of byron katie and cancer

HOW would you LIVE if you knew you were dying?

Flashback to 17-year-old me at a Tim McGraw & Faith Hill concert with my besties when one of our favorite songs comes on, “Live Like You Were Dying.” Jumping up and down, belting the lyrics (in perfect harmony, I’m sure), swaying side by side…

Someday I hope you get the chance
To live like you were dying
Like tomorrow was a gift
And you’ve got eternity
To think about
What you’d do with it

What would I do with it? Well, at that time, my main focus was obvious: try to capture a pic of Tim’s gorgeous butt in those wrangler jeans.

Now that I’m 36 and have rocked through the cancer party–it’s safe to say my priorities have shifted a bit.

One thing I didn’t expect is that Death has become a welcomed, fascinating meditation. You’re dying. I’m dying. We’re all dying. Let’s face it, bodies don’t make it. No medication, supplement, prayer, meditation, exercise, or amount of money will prevent you from transitioning out of this body.

So why do we spend so much time fearing it? Why is death looked at as a worse-case scenario? A bad thing? And why is it such a HUSH topic of conversation?

In my recent blog post, “Diagnosis = New Direction,” I talk about how I prefer to explore my nightmares now. And one of those nightmares is the cancer coming back terminally and being given those words, “there’s nothing more we can do. It’s only a matter of time.”

And here’s my favorite question to contemplate…

How would I live if I knew I was dying?

The time in between my diagnosis and waiting to find out how much the cancer had spread were 2 of the most amazing weeks of my life. All of the daily bullshit stressors completely dropped away and I found myself in an incredible state of gratitude for everything and everyone. I experienced joy in the simplest of pleasures ~ riding the trolley, watching our godson’s soccer games, cooking a meal, sitting under a hot shower, holding hands with my husband, stepping on acorns (not kidding ~ there is something SO gratifying about the crunch of an acorn!).

As I try on this scary future and let myself feel through the terror…I see an opportunity for even more presence, slowing down, deeply connecting with my loved ones. Appreciating every second that I am able to see my Godson grow up. Falling in love with my husband all over again.

I see sharing my experience of dying with others and learning from others. I see acceptance, peace, gratitude for every moment that I’ve been given. Forgiveness ~ making amends with others and within myself for anything that still hurts.

I see traveling more when/if it’s an option for my body. If I can’t travel, I see asking my friends from all over the world to send me short 30 sec videos of the inspiring places they go and things they do.

I’d say YES to adventure…I’d try that salsa class, jump on a surf board, go white water kayaking, float in a hot air balloon.

I’d snuggle. A lot.

I’d continue to take care of my mind with self inquiry and would question thoughts like “I am dying…can I absolutely know it’s true? Or is it truer that in reality, I am still here breathing? Is it possible that I am even more alive than I have ever been?” 

I’d love on my body with nourishing foods, movement, time in nature. I’d love the shit out of that piece of chocolate cake and glass of wine too.

Any part of aging would be such a privilege ~ finding a grey hair or wrinkle? Yes, please! That means I get to get older.

I’d probably have some pretty stellar freakouts ~ and just like I did during the cancer journey, I’d get to learn over and over again that I’m still ok in this moment…and this one…and this one…I could feel the intimacy of being with myself in that deep pain & suffering. And the intimacy of being held by someone else.

And there’s one more thing I would be super motivated to do:


(Yes, I’ve been writing a book! Woot! Woot! More on this later 😉

So…WHY wait? I can live ALL of this now.

Perhaps the turnaround to my question is truer:

How would I live if I knew I was dying living?

With an open mind, death can be a catalyst for truly living. This contemplation on dying is giving me the perfect prescription for how to fully embrace life. So what are YOU waiting for? #RxLiveLikeYouAreDying

Work with me…

Schedule a Private Session

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

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

Related blog posts…

How I Found Peace During “The Waiting Game”

A Different Kind of Breast Cancer Awareness

Diagnosis = New Direction

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


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

“You’re going to put poison in your body?” a good friend of mine innocently asked when I told her of my diagnosis and treatment plan. “Chemo only creates cancer and kills people” is what I heard from an “expert” in alternative care when I watched The Truth About Cancer on-line series in the beginning of treatment (you know, while it was coursing through my veins).

Seeing my bald head, an old man approached me while I’m was in the middle of a pedicure, “Are you in cancer treatment? My friend was too for xyz cancer and I was with him every brutal step of the way until the end of his life. Can I add you to my prayer circle?” 

CHEMO IS POISON.  Everybody says it, even some doctors. But have you ever stopped to really consider…is it actually true for you?

In case you haven’t noticed from my blog ~ The Work of Byron Katie has been THE most helpful tool in finding peace during my cancer journey. It’s a way to identify & question stressful thoughts ~ a way to notice the side effects of holding onto a belief and the freedom that fills your body & mind without it.

Stressful thoughts about chemo and conventional treatment came up often for me. A friend & fellow Certified Facilitator, Robyn Povich, facilitated me on the big kahuna thought, “Chemo is poisonous to my body.” After sitting in this meditation, I was able to walk (& often sleep) through treatment with clarity, peace, & even humor. I can honestly say that I ENJOYED much of my chemo experience ~ while I was IN it ~ not just went it was over. What???!!! Here’s how I got to this space…



Stressful thought: “Chemo is poisonous to my body.”

1. Is it true? (NOTE: the answer to the 1st 2 questions is a simple “yes” or “no.” ~ I’ve added mental commentary so you can see where my mind went)

Yes. (Look at how many people are saying it and remember all of the movies I’ve seen? I’ve read the list of side effects and attended the chemo class – HELL yeah, it’s true!)

2. Can you absolutely know that it’s true?

No. (I can’t 100% know for sure that it is poisonous to MY body….hmmmm…)

3. How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?

I freak out. Pure panic. A warning siren goes off in my entire body ~ my stomach feels queezy, my shoulders climb up to my ears, my jaw tightens, breath shortens. I worry I’m making the wrong decision and I treat myself as an uninformed idiot playing into Big Pharma. I tell myself I’m doing it all wrong. I feel shame and embarrassment when speaking to others, especially my “all-natural” friends. I’m angry and begin to distrust my doctors ~ they don’t really want to heal me. I take the horror stories I’ve heard from others + the movies I’ve seen and project them into my own future ~ tragically dying young. I get a case of the “what-ifs.” What if they’re right – what if it will kill me?! Or even worse, what if there’s a lifetime of side effects making my quality of life pure shit…forever. I see no possibility of joy, only worse-case scenarios. I treat chemo like it is the devil – it’s out to break me and ruin every part of me – mind, body, and spirit. I see my body as sick and frail, unable to “handle” the poison. I see it seeking revenge on me by giving up and letting the cancer spread further. I’m a terrified, lonely, hopeless victim.

(Sounds like an ideal state for healing cancer, huh?)

4. Who would you be without the thought?

I am back at home in my body ~ I feel my breath…my body is relaxed and strong. I see how well I am doing ~ I feel courage, pride, and gratitude. I realize that I am not experiencing all of the horrible side effects that I heard about in this moment ~ in fact, I feel pretty good. And the side effects I do have (no hair, weight loss, tired, achey) aren’t so bad after all. I remember all of the amazing women I have met who have been through chemo and are living happy, healthy lives. I am more present and positive. I am able to share my treatment plan with others with confidence ~ I trust that I am making the right decision for me. I see my doctors as kind, caring, and truly on my side. I remember my oncologist’s words, “I think we can cure this.” I feel my breast and armpit and can feel the lumps getting smaller and smaller. I am grateful for medicine and scientific research. I see chemo as a gift, as a healing cleanse that is working WITH me, not against me. My job becomes much simpler: show up for the next treatment, relax, and receive.

(Ahhhh…what a relief. But the 4 questions aren’t enough for my mind – it needs more PROOF which takes us to the turnarounds.)


A statement can be turned around to the self, the other, and the opposite. Sometimes more ways and sometimes less. For each turnaround, find at least 3 genuine examples of how it’s true. For me, the turnarounds really serve to open my mind to so many new realities.

Stressful thought: “Chemo is poisonous to my body.”

TO THE OPPOSITE: “Chemo is not poisonous to my body” or the extreme opposite, “Chemo is healing to my body.”


  1. I have no solid proof that right now, it is poisoning my body. I only see images in my mind and they are not real. How can I know for sure what’s going on in there?
  2. I’m getting good reports by the doctors. I can feel my tumors shrinking. I still have white blood cells.
  3. It helps me to slow down and get plenty of rest, which supports healing.
  4. It is part of a treatment plan where 85% of women are cured of this type of breast cancer. And oh yeah, it’s called chemoTHERAPY…heheheee, forgot about the therapy part 😉
  5. I am still able to exercise, do yoga, go walking, work, eat, take naps, have sex, and even travel.
  6. It is a healing cleanse – it wipes the body clean of what no longer serves it.
  7. My healthy lifestyle is protecting my healthy cells.
  8. I am not experiencing crazy, horrible side effects ~ I never even threw up once.
  9. Because of the side effects listed, I am more motivated to support myself with healing foods, supplements, and exercise. I honestly think I am healthier!
  10. I know many women of all ages who have rocked through chemo and now live happy, healthy lives.

TO THE SELF: (note – when you are judging an object, the turnaround to the self becomes “my thinking” instead of “I”). “My thinking about chemo is poisonous to my body.”


  1. When I believe my stressful thoughts, my body is tense, panicked, not breathing fully. It’s in stress “fight or flight” mode which may not necessarily help the healing process.
  2. I continue to replay the stories I’ve heard from others in my head and gossip about it to other people. This reinforces the “poison” image and leaves me feeling frustrated, confused, and hopeless.
  3. I heard a story, I believed it. The label “poison” lives in my mind, not in my reality.
  4. When I go into an imaginary future of pain, suffering, side effects, and an early death.
  5. Chemo itself is innocent, it’s a clear or red liquid. It’s my thinking about it that creates suffering in this moment.

TO THE OTHER: “My body is poisonous to chemo.” 

(This one sounds weird, but I’ll try it on…)


  1. Ah ha! My lymphatic system collects and moves toxins out of my body ~ it then releases it through sweat, urine, or poooo….
  2. My body is strong and healthy; the healthy cells have continued to rock regardless of what chemo does. Maybe there are parts of my body that rejected chemo?
  3. Oh, I did 5 months of chemo and am still alive, in fact ~ I feel pretty great. And there’s no more cancer!

YAHOO: “Chemo is poisonous to my body!” Yahoo! Sometimes the non-traditional yahoo turnaround is available. It’s a way to look at your original thought ~ and assuming that it is actually true, how could this be good? How could this serve you?

(When Robyn mentioned this turnaround, my heart sunk a little. Eek! Then she pointed out the following example:)


  1. Chemo is poisonous to cancer cells. Isn’t that why you’re taking it?

(YES! One of the many gifts of working with a facilitator ~ they are often able to point out things that are hidden to the mind. Then I could find a few more on my own:)

2. It helps me stay really clear and consistent in my self-care ~ for me, this is a clean diet, daily movement, and taking my “mental medicine” ~ the work of byron katie.

3. It helps me to find all-natural cures for dealing with side effects (and sometimes I used medicine too) ~ check out this blog post for details.

Some additional thoughts that I have worked about chemo:

People who are evolved don’t choose chemo (or any conventional medicine).

People judge me for choosing chemo.

Chemo will give me a lifetime of serious side effects.

Chemo is making me too tired.

It’s been one year since I completed chemo. It just wasn’t poison for me; I actually gave it a new name: C-Love.

A friend once asked, “are you on the RD?” I had no clue what that meant. It stands for the “Red Devil” and is a nickname for the chemo drug called Adriamycin that is responsible for hair loss. I thought to myself…wait a minute, isn’t it the Red Savior? I mean, isn’t that why we’re doing this? Making friends with medicine is much kinder to me than fearing and hating it. And that may not be true for everyone.

Of the many C-Love selfies, these are my favorites!


And I sure as hell had a party when I was done. A full-on Nae-Nae dance party!

Right now as I sip tea in a coffee shop in Dallas, I am just SO grateful I chose this path. Once again, I got to see that the stories in my head were worse than the reality of it. I am humbled and no longer judge others for their choice of treatment. Everyone needs to do what is right for them ~ there is no one way to heal.

I’ve had many more thoughts about medicine as I went through surgery and radiation too. Even after treatment, my mind still comes in and tells me scary stories about the future…they are just thoughts and thankfully, they all have a home in inquiry.

I have been sharing this work in what I call “Mental Medicine” workshops at the Dallas Cancer Support Center and am working privately with clients who are recently diagnosed, have completed treatment, and/or have family members with cancer. It is SUCH a privilege, such an honor….to work in this space, from this space. I get it. I’ve been there. There is a way out of the suffering. And I’m still a work in progress too.

One friend who attended a workshop sent me this message:

“My experience this week (having her first chemo treatment) is a thousand times better than my thoughts about it last week. Thank you for all of your help and care!”

The work works. Now… where do you fear medicine? Are you willing to question your sacred beliefs?





Surgery Recovery, Uncategorized

The Gift of a Butterfly

About 2 1/2 weeks after surgery, I received a very special gift from a client & dear friend, Shelby. It was a small plant with a green gem-looking stone hanging over it. She had said that she searched all over for it and thought it was perfect for what I was going through. When I got it, I thought the green stone had some type of healing property ~ I set it on my kitchen island.

I was just starting to feel so much better – physically, mentally, emotionally. Pain was being managed really well (I still claim Midol as the drug that changed everything!) and I was starting to move and exercise my arms again. I noticed that the left side (where I had the armpit surgery) was more restricted & painful than the right. I could feel this thick tendon-like thing in my armpit and down my arm. I showed the plastic surgeon and he said to stretch more. And although it was painful, I continued to gently stretch and move my arms the best that I could. It hurt. But ok, trusting the process.

The next morning, I walked into the kitchen and froze. The green stone on the plant was now a huge, gorgeous monarch butterfly. Just chilling in the middle of my kitchen. My entire being lit up in excitement! Oh my God, what is this? Where did it come from? Turns out the green “stone” was a butterfly cocoon! IMG_3867

Shelby didn’t know this, but butterflies are kind of my thing. I have always loved them and felt a special connection with them. I wrote a poem in 8th grade titled, “I think of myself as a butterfly” and drew a picture of a woman with butterfly wings ~ it made the cover of a booklet distributed at school. I re-wrote the poem when I quit my corporate advertising job and moved to Spain.

For my wedding, we had a butterfly release. We lived at the retreat property where we were married for 4 years and created/ran the business ~ on our last day, we were down by the lake and a butterfly crawled onto our hands.

As I approached surgery, I made the decision that if it were my time to leave this earth as a Bethany, I would return as a butterfly. And I would definitely play adorable butterfly tricks on people and mess with them. In an effort not to freak anyone out before my surgery, I decided to keep this reincarnation plan to myself.

I brought the butterfly gift outside to my balcony and sat in meditation. Before I closed my eyes, I noticed a dragonfly had landed on the railing to my right. This sent “holy shit this is so meant to be” chills down my spine. You see, Shelby has also been deeply affected by cancer ~ she has been a caregiver for 3 of her family members’ journeys with cancer. Her son passed away at the age of 6. Her stories of his courage and wisdom through the process astonished me. She shared with me that there was a point when she was feeling torn about his treatment plan and Clayton said, “Don’t worry Mommy, don’t you know the light is in the doctors too? The light is in everyone.” This brilliant little 6-year old opened my eyes and heart to a new way of looking at surgery and it completely soothed any remaining nerves. Shelby and her family created a foundation – The Clayton Dabney Foundation – to support children with cancer. She said that after he died, dragonflies began appearing in the oddest places. They knew in their hearts, it was Clayton.

Remembering this brought tears. I closed my eyes and breathed. I could feel the warmth of the sun on my face. The sound of the wind whistling through the trees. A swell of gratitude overcame me. Look what I’ve done. Look what I’ve been through. And I’m ok! I’m here. Really here. I began to gently move my arms ~ opening and closing them like wings. When I opened my eyes, the butterfly was doing the same. Stretching her wings for the very first time. The dragonfly continued to watch. More tears fell from my eyes. This is my rebirth. I again remembered a deep purpose-filled connection to this journey and to myself.

I texted Shelby in crazy excitement to share my story along with a photo of Clayton the dragonfly. She said that she had no doubt in her mind that Clayton was with me. I then went for a nature walk with an extra pep in my step. When I returned, the butterfly and the dragonfly were gone.

Later that afternoon, I had a post-op meeting with my breast surgeon and I learned that the arm band thing had a name: Axillary Web Syndrome. An extremely rare complication that can occur after surgery and could last a few months or forever.


Can my butterfly come back?

Coming up….”When Complications become Blessings”


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

Before and after my diagnosis in September, I started using The Work of Byron Katie like crack. Ok, so I’ve never tried crack but you get the gist. The Work, also known as inquiry, is a way to identify and question thoughts that bring stress and suffering to our lives. I’ve been practicing The Work since 2009 and became a Certified Facilitator in January of 2015. The certification training program itself has absolutely nothing to do with “how to teach the work” and everything to do with how to work on your own stressful thoughts in every possible area of your life: relationships, parenting, health, finances, work,  fear, criticism, body image, etc. Because I experienced so much relief and joy in everything I was questioning, I learned to trust this process of inquiry 100% ~ there was no longer a lost feeling of where to go when I felt upset, angry, lonely, frustrated…I always had a clear direction out of pain: do The Work.

And being diagnosed with cancer has given me the ultimate invitation to really live this practice.

I can’t even count the number of stressful thoughts that I’ve taken to inquiry during this experience, but there are definitely a few that stand out as incredibly life-changing for me.

images“The cancer is spreading”
has been a re-occurring thought, especially during the 2 weeks between my diagnosis and not knowing if it was stage 4. The first step of inquiry is to isolate a situation when I believed the thought. For me, this thought has come up multiple times: when I found a new lump in my breast, when the breast surgeon told me the cancer is “traveling” since it has reached my lymphatic system, when I felt intense pain in the back of my neck or other parts of my body, or when I would get a migraine…all of these situations are the same: I feel or hear something and that means…the cancer is spreading. For the purpose of this inquiry, I’ll focus on the 1st time I had this thought:


It’s a few days after my biopsy and the night before meeting with the breast surgeon for the 1st time. I’m sitting on the couch in my living room and my mom and husband are there. I’m feeling my left breast and notice a large new lump at the top of it and the thought hits me, “The cancer is spreading.”

So now that I’ve identified the stressful moment in time and the thought, I take this thought to inquiry with Byron Katie’s 4 questions and turnarounds. The Work is meditation, so I continue to meditate on the specific situation, ask the question, and await an answer.



Stressful thought: “The cancer is spreading.”

1. Is it true? (the answer to the 1st 2 questions is a simple “yes” or “no.”)


2. Can you absolutely know that it’s true?


3. How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?

I feel the lump and a huge wave of panic comes over me. My heart races, breath shortens, I feel a constriction in my heart and my throat. My shoulders hike up to my ears and I slouch forward to protect myself. I frantically begin to press on it and around it and convince myself it’s a new tumor. Immediately, I have an image of the future ~ the tumors continue to spread throughout my whole body at a rapid rate. I see cancer taking over my body, my life, my happiness. I see an early, sad, painful death. I feel helpless, hopeless, out of control, & absolutely terrified watching these images. I treat myself like a victim and then I start to bully me for not getting the 1st lump checked out sooner. I could have prevented all of this; it’s my fault. I ask my mom to feel the lump and I study her face. If she looks panicked, then I will panic even more. She seems calm but she’s just putting on a show so I don’t freak out. I can’t listen to my mom or Travis as they try to comfort me. They don’t know what it’s like. I feel separate from them. I’m angry and confused at my body ~ how could it do this to me? Then I turn to God ~ what the FUCK lesson are you trying to teach me here, asshole? I want to crawl in a hole and just cry and cry. I don’t want to deal with this and at the same time, I feel a huge pressure/sense of urgency to DO something NOW before my body becomes one big tumor.

4. Who would you be without the thought?

I’m sitting in the living room. It’s quiet, I’m comfortable on the couch. I feel the lump and I’m curious. It’s new and interesting. My mind is open and calmer ~ I see many possibilities: maybe it’s inflammation, a cyst, swollen lymph, who knows? I add it to the list of questions I have for the doctor tomorrow. The future looks simpler. I feel more at ease taking things one step at a time. Right now, relax on the couch with my family. Tomorrow, go to doctor. Without the thought, I still may show my mom and husband as an FYI and there’s not a dependent need for validation from them. I love that they’re both here with me now and in this process. I feel supported and connected to them, to me. My body relaxes, breath deepens, throat softens. I appreciate my body showing me the lump so I can learn more. I don’t give the lump a label either ~ it’s not bad or good or cancer or not ~ it just is. There’s even a hint of excitement with launching into this brand new journey of the unknown. Don’t know. Don’t know. Don’t know. Much more relaxed and at peace.



A statement can be turned around to the self, the other, and the opposite. Sometimes more ways and sometimes less. For each turnaround, find at least 3 genuine examples of how it’s true. For me, the turnarounds really serve to open my mind to so many new realities.

ORIGINAL THOUGHT: “The cancer is spreading.” 

TO THE OPPOSITE: “The cancer is not spreading.”


  1. It could be inflammation ~ I did just have a large biopsy needle & anesthesia needle poking into my breast multiple times a few days ago.
  2. It’s a swollen lymph node or a cyst ~ I’ve had many of these before and they felt similar to this.
  3. It could be fibrocystic tissue or a fibroadenoma which is not cancerous.
  4. I have absolutely NO PROOF at all that I am feeling a tumor. It’s just a story I put on a lump. I mean really, where’s my proof? I can’t see actual cancer. I can’t even feel it ~ I feel skin, something hard and bumpy.
  5. Outside of the situation, when the doctor tells me “the cancer is traveling” ~ she also said she didn’t think it has taken root anywhere else. So the cancer is not spreading according to the cancer expert as well.

TO THE SELF: (note – when you are judging an object, the turnaround to the self becomes “my thinking” instead of “I”). “My thinking about cancer is spreading” or what fits better for me is, “The cancer in my thinking is spreading.”


  1. Holy shit, this is MUCH truer ~ right now, the only place the cancer is definitely spreading is in my mind. In my imagination, my entire body is full of tumors until my painful death. Yet, the reality is that I’m on the couch, very much alive, feeling a lump.
  2. It’s the story I put on the lump that is creating my suffering and panic. Not cancer. These scary stories are multiplying one after the other, just like cancer cells divide and spread.
  3. My thinking uses images that I’ve seen in movies of painful deaths from cancer and I imagine it’s happening/going to happen to me. This is the start. I scare me by believing these images and thoughts.
  4. Even outside this situation, when I have a pain in my body and think the cancer is spreading ~ the cancer is only in my thinking in that moment too ~ I have no proof that the neck pain, migraine, stomach ache is cancer spreading. But I do know it’s spreading in my mind.

TO THE OTHER: “I am spreading the cancer.” 

  1. When I believe the stressful thought “the cancer is spreading” ~ my body reacts. It panics, heart races, caves forward, I’m in fight or flight mode, the body’s natural healing may be affected. So even though I see my innocence in going along with this thought, I can also see that if I don’t intercept thoughts like this with inquiry, I am creating quite a hostile environment in my body ~ and possibly an environment where cancer can spread more easily. So I can see where “I am spreading the cancer” could be true in a way.
  2. I spread the cancerous thoughts to my mother and husband by showing them the lump and labeling it as “cancer spreading.”

YAHOO: “The cancer is spreading!” Yahoo! Sometimes the yahoo turnaround is available. It’s a way to look at your original thought ~ and assuming that it is actually true, how could this be good? How could this serve you?

  1. If it has spread in my breast, it hasn’t spread very far from it’s original source.
  2. I am thankful I already have an appointment with the doctor tomorrow and she is an expert with cancer cells. She will share treatment plan options which can give me a direction.
  3. So I can notice that even if it’s spreading, I’m still ok in this moment. In fact, without my stressful thoughts, I feel at peace. Happy. Healthy. Sitting on the couch.
  4. If cancer continues to spread, I feel like I would literally be forced to live in the present moment. Which could be…awesome.
  5. The bullshit things that use to annoy me (my husband being late, dirty dishes in the sink, my mom worrying too much) melt away. What’s important is life, together, now and I don’t want to waste another moment not appreciating everything and everyone in it.
  6. So I can identify what I’m believing about the cancer spreading: “I won’t live a happy life. Cancer will kill me. My life is over.” These thoughts can be taken to inquiry and I can already see they are complete BS (hahahaaa, BS is a “Belief System.”)
  7. I am more motivated to really clean up my lifestyle even more…it’s actually exciting. Healthier foods, daily yoga, acupuncture, rest, nature, more inquiry, travel when I can…all with the intention of healing. Living in my own retreat. This sounds nice, actually.
  8. Cancer has a right to live. How do I know? Because cancer cells are living in my body. That’s reality. And it’s not my business when it leaves. But I can do my part: get the best doctors, show up for treatment, take care of my body, thoughts, emotions. Whether it spreads or dies is not my responsibility ~ it’s in the hands of the doctors, medicine, and universe. I can take care of the cancer in my mind, right here and now with inquiry and actually live in peace whether the cancer spreads or not. Wow.

After this inquiry, my mind was completely blown open. I had no proof of cancer spreading ~ it was all in my mind. And look at all of the examples of how my life could be better even if the cancer spreads? What would stop me from living that way now? Getting the best treatment. Eating the healthiest foods. Living in the moment. Loving others and myself unconditionally. Questioning stressful thoughts. Cutting out the BS. This is my prescription for happiness now.

The ironic part about this situation is that the lump disappeared by the time the diagnostic testing began on October 1st. I still have no clue what it was, but it served as a beautiful foundation for the power of the mind in this process. The thought “The cancer is spreading” has come up several times over the past 6 months. In fact, just last week I had a weird pain in the top of my thigh and I watched the thought try to fly in ~ the difference was that this time, I laughed my ass off about it. It was like, “oh wow, look at that sweet mind go…yet here I am with just a sensation in my leg.”And the thought left. And so did the pain. And I still shared this with my oncology nurse at chemo yesterday.

After the series of diagnostic testing on October 1st, the oncologist walked into the exam room and said, “Good news ~ the cancer has not spread to anywhere else in the body.” I’m not going to lie, there was an audible sound of relief for everyone in the room. We all had tears in our eyes; our bodies collapsed back into our chairs. It was a very special, moment that I will always remember.

And some people do not get this news. I am very well aware that someday I may hear that I am stage 4. If it were true, the process would be the same for me. I’m stage 4 and that means? Make a list of the thoughts that come up and question them. Find your freedom now.




How I found Peace during “The Waiting Game”

The following was written in September during the two weeks between the mammogram and receiving the diagnosis ~ what I refer to as “The Waiting Game.” Did I jump right into peace & joy during this time? Hell, no. In fact, I went quite the opposite route at first and it showed me just how powerful the mind can be when you believe everything it thinks. Sometimes things need to get really bad before something arises in you to make a shift ~ I’m grateful to have a reference point for what it’s like to believe all of the stories in my head surrounding a serious illness. You’ll then see how I used The Work of Byron Katie to identify and question my stressful thoughts about the possibility of having cancer. And through inquiry, how I found peace, joy, and even excitement to hear the diagnosis. Click here to learn the simple process of The Work.

It was an emotional & mental rollercoaster. Out of nowhere, I would just drop into a ball and cry for hours. A pretty low point was when my extremely sweet, well-intentioned mother sent me a 700-page book titled “Dr. Susan Love’s Breast Book” and at the top it said, “The bible for women with breast cancer.” I know she meant well ~ just to educate me and help put my mind at peace. (Later, I would discover this was one of THE most helpful, incredible resources! Mother’s intuition maybe?). All I did was open the book and read the headings of the chapters..then I fled to my room to bawl like a baby. Emotions poured out of me. Anger. Frustration. Fear. Depression. Anxiety. I felt like a little girl, all alone in the world. The victim. More stressful thoughts began to reveal themselves: “I have cancer. I want the lumps to go away. Cancer will make my life more difficult. Cancer is bad. I will not be able to live a full life. I shouldn’t be so upset. It’s my fault. I failed at living a healthy lifestyle. I will be a burden to my husband. Cancer will ruin my marriage. I won’t know what to do. I need to know the results now. I can’t make any future plans. My career will be over. I won’t get to do what I love.” I knew what I could do with stressful thoughts – question them – but there were too many flooding in. All I wanted to do was crawl into a dark hole and cry. My husband was so patient and sweet through every tantrum ~ offering to hold me, pet me, rock me, listen. He offered to do The Work with me and was loving and understanding when I said I wasn’t ready yet.

One day, I finally found the courage to call the Do The Work Helpline, a free service available to anyone and everyone who is YogisofInspirationBethanyWebbexperiencing stress. Volunteers on the helpline are extremely experienced in The Work and can facilitate callers, answer questions about The Work, assist callers in finding stressful thoughts, and share their own experience of inquiry. I have served on the helpline myself, as a part of the training program to become a Certified Facilitator, and I continue to do so. I noticed unease being on the other end, that somehow by calling the helpline would reveal me as a failure at doing my own work, not living up to the “Certified Facilitator” imaginary standard I had set in my mind. As soon as I admitted that myself, I was met immediately with “that’s just bullshit Bethany, call anyways!” SO I did. And then I did again. And again. The volunteers were so helpful and supportive. They held me with a compassionate space of silence as they walked me through the simple 4 questions and turnarounds. The questions are:

1. Is it True?

2. Can you absolutely know it’s true?

3. How do you react, what happens when you believe that thought?

4. Who would you be without the thought?

Then you “turn the thought around” which is a way to look at the original thought from different perspectives.

The helpline volunteers stayed connected with me as the tears flowed through and they offered examples from their own life as I moved into the turnarounds. I experienced so much relief on these phone calls, that I was motivated to continue doing The Work with myself and I also asked my husband to facilitate me. I had no shortage of stressful thoughts, that’s for sure, and little by little, my anxiety and fear began to dissipate as I met each thought with understanding.

Through inquiry, I discovered that I did not have cancer. There was absolutely NO PROOF that cancer existed in my body. The only place it existed is in my thoughts. And how did I react when I believed these thoughts (question #3)? The cancer in my mind spread like wildfire ~ it painted a scary, doomsday of a future. I saw images of me and my frail body in a hospital bed, dying, in unbelievable pain. Gray skin, no hair, no boobs (I have grown to be quite fond of my hair & boobs ~ I kind of think they are my greatest physical assets. Now GONE FOREVER!). I saw images of saying goodbye to my husband, medical bills piling up, not knowing what to do, stress on my family and loved ones, no more travel, no more career that I love…dying young and becoming that “sad story” people talk about. The “I hope that never happens to me” story. I noticed while believing these thoughts, my shoulders, neck, head and jaw would tense up. I’d get headaches. My chest was caving in. I felt lethargic and didn’t want to move. I stopped my daily walks and yoga practice. I treated my husband with caution ~ not wanting to impose or ask too much. I treated my family like everything was great, afraid to reveal my fears. I refrained from announcing what’s going on to friends, embarassed that I was making such “a big deal” of this without a diagnosis. A dark, heavy cloud set over me. Everything hangs on the diagnosis: if it’s benign, I’m happy & free; if it’s malignant, I’m screwed. I became a victim and saw the universe as punishing me. I noticed small obsessions of trying to figure out what would have given me cancer ~ is it my cell phone, this face soap, or the Vitamin D supplements I’ve been taking? I began to turn on myself ~ surely, I did something to deserve cancer. I shouldn’t have drank so much in my 20’s, I could have been healthier, better, perfect. I got angry at myself for getting angry, sad at my sadness. I didn’t deserve to feel this upset. These thoughts felt so consuming, so powerful. In summary, when I believed my thoughts, it felt like SHIT.

As I sat in meditation without these stressful thoughts (question #4)…sometimes it took a lot of time to get there…my entire being shifted. I felt lighter. My heart & mind opened. My shoulders dropped, neck & jaw softened. I had more energy. I saw a sense of simplicity in this process…how well I have been following the simple instructions: Feel lump. Visit doctor. Get mammo/ultrasound. Schedule biopsy. Get insurance. Do biopsy. Hear results. Re-visit with doctor. Next step…next…next…I wasn’t even the one doing it, I was being led. Without the stressful thoughts, my mind could open to how in reality I am doing everything right…everything is on time…everything has been easier than what I expected so far. I noticed that right
here, right now, I am healthy, in amazing shape, thriving. I have energy for walking and yoga ~ during my yoga practice, I gently caress my lulus (my new nickname for the lumps) and tell them I love them and am here to listen. My witty sense of humor returns and I can tell cancer jokes (ok, so I also learned that sometimes cancer jokes can make people feel uncomfortable too…learning!). Everything is welcome in my body and mind. I see my body as a friend. Emotions are allowed to flow through me and they don’t need a name. I see images of all of the amazing people who have already lined up to support me, how wonderful the medical system is, how I know exactly what I need to do in this moment: nothing. Reality is good. I felt supported, cared for, and trusted the future. It’s not my business if I have cancer. So simple. I don’t know what’s best for me. A full surrender. There’s even a sense of inspiration about diving into the unknown! Getting the results seemed exciting.

The DIAGNOSIS transformed from a doomed death sentence to a clear direction.

The biggest shift came when questioning the thought, “I want the doctors to tell me I don’t have cancer.” I did this the day before the biopsy with my husband. I held the moment of an imagined future: when the doctor calls me with the biopsy results. After we explored the 4 questions, my mind was pretty blown when we hit the turnaround, “I want me to tell me I don’t have cancer.” Well, shit, I want this from me right now, why wait until the phone call! It’s TRUE! I want me to remind myself that there is 100% absolutely no proof that I have one cancer cell in my body. How do I know? Nobody has told me. The tests haven’t proved it. There is no family history. And even if the doctors do tell me on the phone call that I have cancer, can I really know it’s true in that moment? No, I can’t. Yet, I can still follow the simple instructions of the experts ~ the surgery, no surgery, chemo, no chemo…I want me to tell me I don’t have cancer because “I” can never have cancer. I am not this body, I am much more. I can watch this body go through cancer and be here and support it in every way I possibly can.

Another turnaround is “I want the doctors to tell my I have cancer.” Oh shit, this turnaround is scary. I notice my superstitious ego coming in ~ it says, “don’t even think it…that’s how you’ll create cancer!” and then I am reminded to trust the process of The Work. How could this turnaround be true? Here’s what I found:

  • I want them to tell me I have cancer if it’s true. I don’t want them to lie to me ~ I want them to use their years and years of medical training to tell me very clearly what they think is going on in my body and how they recommend I handle it. I want pure honesty.
  • So I will have a clear direction on where to go from here. I will no longer be stuck in the “unknown” territory of waiting.
  • So I can continue to question my thoughts about cancer. I am already realizing that cancer isn’t the problem ~ it’s what I’m believing about Cancer (with capitol C!) that is scaring me in this moment. What if the reality of cancer isn’t so bad? What if it’s good? What if it improves my life??? How will I know unless I fully experience it? So far, the only negatives have been in my thinking…what if that is true throughout the entire process?
  • So I can see that other than what I am thinking and believing, I am still ok in this moment. And this moment. And this moment. So I can learn the ultimate practice of presence.
  • I have already seen my relationship with my husband deepen, I am truly experiencing him as my rock ~ he would be there for me every step of the way. I can see us giggling in hospital beds, watching tons of movies, telling each other how much we love and appreciate each other. How do I know? This is already happening just thinking that I might have cancer! No more petty arguments, a renewed focus on what really matters. Perhaps all of my relationships would deepen?
  • My career could take a shift into helping others cope with cancer. I see offering inquiry and therapeutic yoga in hospitals. I would have so much compassion and be able to truly connect. I have been here too. This could be amazing! Perhaps I am meant to get cancer so I can show the world what I am learning now, that cancer is not the “Cancer” you think it is ~ it is slowing down, self care, connections, meaningful moments, appreciation, gratitude, humor. The suffering is purely in the mind, it’s imagination, it’s not real.
  • My family would come visit me more….ha! I am usually the one going to them. I could see just cherishing the moments with each one of them.
  • So I can explore the relationship of physical pain and the mind. Through doing inquiry on my pain during migraines, I came to realize that my mind created more pain than existed in reality. The intense pain was an illusion ~ could it be the same for every step of the way in cancer treatment?
  • I will meet people on this path that will be important in my life forever: doctors, caretakers, cancer survivors…new friendships & connections.
  • What if I find a cure for cancer? Try some new experimental treatment that can help others do the same.

This inquiry was a complete game changer for me. I left it feeling the joy of a small child. Excited for the next step and discovering where my life will lead. Perfect timing ~ the core needle biopsies were scheduled for the very next day.

I was so surprised to discover that the day of my biopsy, I continued to feel this joy, openness, excitement, & detachment about the outcome. I had morning yoga clients, a quick lunch, and met my husband at home so we could ride together. The whole process was interesting to me ~ driving up to the hospital and seeing the big blue sign “Building 3: Cancer Center,” the adorable woman who checked me in, the paperwork, the professional sonogram lady named “Joy” (how cool!) who carefully walked me through every step of the process and took more ultrasound photos…I made sure to wear comfortable pants and bring large cozy socks so my feet wouldn’t get cold. Joy offered to bring me a warm blanket too ~ how amazing is that? I felt the support of the hospital bed, the quiet atmosphere, the wealth of information she shared.

I began to feel a little nervous about the level of pain so when Joy left to get the doctor who would be performing my biopsies, I questioned the thought, “It will be painful” ~ the truth is…no, I can’t know it – I’ve never experienced it. Zero proof. Without the thought, I’m much more at ease, open…let’s do this. And I also did not pretend myself beyond my own evolution ~ I told the doctors BethanyWebbBiopsyPhotothat I preferred not to see the needle or watch any of the procedure so they offered to put a soft towel over my eyes. Perfect. The procedure was less painful and much quicker than I thought ~ there was a lovely sound of a large POP after each sample was sucked out from the needle. Lots of deep breathing. One my holes bled more than usual so I enjoyed the extra support of Joy applying a compress to it, then the doctor, then another stranger who came in.
Everyone was so sweet and kind ~ they said they were surprised at how well I did and I shared with them the work I have been doing. The doctor said, “wow, you can really help others with this practice you’re doing.” She especially loved hearing how I see the diagnosis as a direction now. Then they decided to wrap up my boobs into a tight cocoon with ice packs tucked inside (see left). Somehow I had upper and lower cleavage. I was briefed on how to take care of the wounds, how long to rest, and to take Tylenol if I needed it. The results will arrive this week. Done.

My husband drove me home and we watched movies all day and night, ate great food…I read, talked to my mom. Today is the day after my biopsy so the only thing left to do is to answer the phone and hear my next step. I have honestly been looking for fear and stress and I can’t find it right now. I am blown away by this shift in perspective. I am so excited for the phone call: I am at peace with or without a diagnosis of cancer. I see beauty in both ways and can be happy now instead of waiting for the news. I am still open to experiencing that deep sadness and fear again, who knows, it could happen and I love knowing how I will be here for myself in that too. I welcome whatever happens. Is it possible to fall in love with cancer? Let’s find out.



VideoScreenShotThis blog is dedicated to sharing my journey healing breast cancer. It will serve as a sort of “online journal” for progress, updates, inner & outer work, struggles, enlightening realizations, & more.

Join me on this adventure from pre-diagnosis to the cure…through all of the ups, downs, & turnarounds.

On September 16th, 2015, I was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer called Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (fancy name, eh?). I am young, healthy, and have no family history of breast cancer, so this news came as a big surprise! Watch this video to learn a little more about how I am handling this diagnosis.

I have chosen a path of healing that integrates traditional & alternative medicine ~ the perfect path for me. I feel incredibly blessed to already be fully equipped with incredible healing tools ~ The Work of Byron Katie (self-inquiry), Yoga, Meditation, Nutrition, Art, Acupuncture, Humor, & best of all…the Loving Support of Family & Friends. I’ve recently discovered the power of writing & a burning desire to share it…so here we are.

I am not here to fight cancer. I am here to make friends with it, listen to it, learn from it, evolve & grow. What if illness happens for our enlightenment? What if it makes our life even better? I am already learning so much from my new guru, Cancer: CRHeartSeated

  • People are kind.
  • Unconditional love does exist.
  • I am fully supported in every moment.
  • The cancer in my head (ie- my imagination) is way worse than the cancer in reality. Whew.

The universe doesn’t just pour a pile of shit on your head; there’s a bigger calling at work here and I’m open to fully experiencing it. Like Byron Katie says, “Life happens for you, not to you.” Here we go!

With Love,


How to navigate this blog

This Welcome Post will remain at the top of the page and the rest of the posts will be ordered by “most recent” at the top. Here is the complete list of posts in chronological order:

Blog Posts

Pre-diagnosis: a Lump & an Angel

By Request: Alternative & Complimentary Therapies for My Breast Cancer Treatment Plan

The Mammo & Ultrasound…I will finally know! Or not.

How I found Peace during “The Waiting Game”

Getting the Call ~ “You have Cancer”

Part 1: Meeting with the Breast Surgeon right after Diagnosis

Part 2: Meeting with the Breast Surgeon for Surgery Options

Medical Update

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

The Future of My Boobs (FOMB)

Update: Post-Chemo & Pre-Surgery

Gratitude, Elephants, & Going Potty ~ my experience of breast surgery

Self-Discovery while in Recovery

The Gift of a Butterfly

When Complications Become Blessings

BIG UPDATE! Post-treatment Life of Awesomeness

A Different Kind of Breast Cancer Awareness

All Natural Remedies for Chemo Side Effects

What if Fear is just a Fart?

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

Life with Tissue Expander Boobs

Update ~ Prepping for the Last Hoorah: Breast Reconstruction

Meeting BIG Emotions in the Cancer Journey

Follow-ups, the Boob Whisperer, Clear Scans, & Summer Fun

Diagnosis = New Direction

Diagnostic Testing without Stressing

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

You Can Have Cancer & Be Happy

HOW would you LIVE if you knew you were dying?


Permanent Links

Medical Updates

Yoga/Breathing/Meditation for Healing

Mental Medicine ~ The Work of Byron Katie

Nutrition & Supplements

Alternative/Complimentary Therapies