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 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?


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


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 clichĂŠ, 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”




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?





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


Surgery Complications, Surgery Recovery

When Complications Become Blessings

Once I began to move and groove my arms again after surgery, I noticed a tight band in my left armpit. I assumed it was some sort of tendon that was shortened in the axilla surgery (where 6 lymph nodes were removed). It restricted my movement and was incredibly painful ~ it felt like a tight piano string from my armpit down through my forearm and wrist. I showed my plastic surgeon and he encouraged me to keep stretching and massaging it with oil. Believing a gentle approach is always best, I was slow & mindful with it.

Cording in Armpit

A week later, I met with my breast surgeon and she examined it with a concerned look on her face. She said it was a fibrous band and needs immediate attention. I later learned that it’s also called “Axillary Web Syndrome” or “Cording.” Isn’t it funny how when a medical name is put to something, it sounds so much scarier? It’s a rare complication after a Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy or Axillary Lymph Node Dissection where scar tissue forms at the surgery site and then long, thick, painful cords form down the arm or chest. What’s weird is that they do not know for sure what the cords are made of ~ it could be hardening of the lymphatic channels (thus creating a greater risk of lymphedema), blood vessels, or nerves. It can last a couple of months or a lifetime. Although there isn’t much research yet, the therapy to address cording is still the same:

As the breast surgeon wrote the referral for physical therapy, she said that I could not begin radiation until I had full range of motion on the left side. You need to hold your arms above your head for 10-15 minutes during radiation. She said that she wants me doing handstands at our next appointment in 3 weeks. Gulp. I was also receiving weekly “boob fills” from my plastic surgeon which made the cording even tighter. It was a pretty intense process for me, yet also very cool to see my boobs grow every week! (more on this later)

After I left the office, I began to feel a tightening in my stomach and throat. Then Anger appeared for a visit. My internal dialogue went something like this“Are you kidding me? Another damn thing to deal with on top of everything else? I’m just starting to feel “normal” again and now THIS! And why wasn’t this band thingy listed in the MASSIVE amount of paperwork I had to read before surgery?!!! I signed off on EVERY possible side effect/complication, including DEATH!!! They didn’t prepare me for this!” And then Despair started bargaining, “I just want a break…please. No more universal tests. Enough. White flag is up.” A little whisper from Curiosity snuck in: “Hey, what if this is a good thing? You never know what cool things this could lead to.” Anger + Despair + Depression ganged up on Curiosity: “SHUT-UP Ms. Try-to-look-on-the-bright-side-of-everything and just admit it, this SUCKS BUTT.”

So Anger’s gang won for a few hours.

On the car ride home, I vented to my mom and my brother on the phone. Then at home to my husband who extended an invitation to inquiry (The Work of Byron Katie). Exploring two thoughts in particular really began to shift my experience:

Cording is going to make my life more difficult.

The surgeon didn’t prepare me for this complication.

Through inquiry, I came to discover I had no proof that cording would make life more difficult. In fact ~ I had more proof it would make it easier. There was nothing “new” I needed to learn ~ I had an expert physical therapist for that. And even though my job as a Yoga Therapist is working with bodies and helping them heal, I felt a little nervous with my own body after this surgery. So, now that’s my physical therapist’s job! In fact, it’s quite easy for me ~ I just show up and do what she says, ask questions, learn, repeat. Hmmmm….maybe this cording thing is better than I thought.

Through questioning my thoughts about the surgeon, I saw how well she did prepare me for this situation ~ the moment she saw it, she recognized it, and sent me directly to physical therapy. She was also very encouraging about me moving my arms right after surgery ~ actually, while still IN the hospital ~ I may have babied my arms more than necessary. “I didn’t prepare me for this complication” is truer ~ and when I was believing my thoughts, I was full of blame, anger, and guilt. I saw images of the cords multiplying until I have zero use of my arm for the rest of my life. They felt so solid and permanent. Plus, where did the label “complication” come from? My mind.

Without these thoughts, I hear a sweet, calm, open-minded “follow the simple instructions” voice. Curiosity steps in (ie our true nature) and an openness to seeing the blessings unfolds. And that’s what I did.

Placing the blame or judgment on someone else leaves you powerless to change your experience; taking responsibility for your beliefs and judgments gives you the power to change them. ~ Byron Katie

Medical City has the STAR Program ~ a branch of Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation that specializes solely in working with cancer patients. After my first session, I was blown away by its awesomeness. It turns out physical therapy is super similar to yoga therapy and it’s paid for by insurance! Guess what cording led to? Free private yoga therapy with one of the coolest therapists ever, Tiffany. Her mother is a breast cancer survivor and she is a complete expert in this field. I freaking LOVE it! I’ve learned so much about my body, anatomy, alignment, stretching, and strengthening. I now even incorporate some of the new moves with my private yoga clients. Yep, it’s actually made me better at my job.BethanyTiffanyPT

We started with a lot of slow, deep stretching, followed by her manually stretching and massaging the cords (oh yes, more cords appeared!) ~ it was extremely painful at first…but the hurts-so-good pain that you can tell is making a difference. She also gave me a daily home practice that I followed to a T and incorporated into my own yoga practice. I loved getting creative at how I could blend it all together.

She had warned me that the cords can make a crunchy noise and even snap as they break up ~ this is a good thing. I experienced a small snap at home during self massage and then during one PT session, there was an extremely loud POP in my armpit as she was stretching me. It was the oddest sensation…like a firework exploded in my armpit…it actually wasn’t very painful in the moment but then the remembering of the unfamiliar sound & sensation led to an unplanned outburst of, “holy shit, fuck, shitballz!” in a room full of strangers. 😉

Within a few weeks, I experienced a drastic shift in my body ~ I had gained full range of motion back along with the confidence to move and use my arms in all daily activities. The cording was still present, but I felt unattached to the outcome – I saw so clearly how I could live a full life with and without this cording. The cording just keeps me in my yoga practice. (See – The Work of Byron Katie keeps working its magic!) And then within two month, the cording left me.

I chose to continue physical therapy as long as I could, which included through most of radiation…we began to work on more strengthening and flexibility in my upper body and core. I honestly think I have even better posture and more strength than I ever have before. I am also convinced that Tiffany takes pleasure in torturing me…perhaps this is “payback” for all of the times I have dug my elbows into clients trap muscles and butt muscles in thai massage & yoga. Well, IT WORKS!

Now I have “graduated” from the Star Program and I HIGHLY recommend physical therapy for ANYONE recovering from surgery or experiencing side effects from treatment. There’s no need to wait for a complication to appear, most doctors can write a referral for you if you request it. And most forget to mention this option to you. I’ll be doing it after next year’s reconstruction surgery (ie – Build-Bethany’s-Beautiful-Boobies Surgery).

So here I am, a strong, flexible, and even more educated yogini…thanks to that sweet little “complication” which is really just a huge blessing. The next time I face a similar challenge, I now have more proof that the universe is kind. It all happens FOR me.

Life is simple. Everything happens for you, not to you. Everything happens at exactly the right moment, neither too soon nor too late. You don’t have to like it… it’s just easier if you do. ~ Byron Katie





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.


Pre-diagnosis: a Lump & an Angel

Written on August 28th, 2015…

So I guess I should start writing..It’s 2am and the mind is fully awake. I just know that is what I’m supposed to do. Over the past month, I have experienced quite a shift of awareness. And I have cancer to thank for this.

Scary MountainLast November, I found a lump in my left breast. It didn’t surprise me or shock me, I had started to get lumps in my late 20’s. When I felt very the first lump, there was pure PANIC, “Holy shit! I have a lump. It means I have cancer! My life is over! I’m dying!” This is when I began to use The Work of Byron Katie to question my stressful thoughts about lumps. Guess what I discovered? A lump is just a sweet, innocent, speck of nothing. It’s the label I put on the lump that took me down a hysterical emotional rollercoaster. The silly mind had just made a mountain out of a boobie lump. Other than what I was thinking and believing, I was perfectly ok. Doing The Work allowed me to stay present and peacefully move to the next steps.

I would always get each lump checked out by professionals and they all ended up being either a cyst or swollen lymph node. I was told ~ yes, I have lumpy boobs and this is normal. I learned how to monitor them and they seemed to go away over time so I learned how not to freak out when a new one was felt.

Well, this November lump didn’t go away. It got larger and larger and then about 6 months later, I noticed another lump in my left armpit. So I went the non-traditional healing route ~ Breast Thermography (note: this is not the center I visited). Breast Thermography is a way of taking digital photos that measure the heat in the breast tissue. Because anything cancerous is inflammation ~ it will show up as heat on the images. The naturopath can then determine if a lump is likely to be cancerous or not. There is zero radiation, which really appealed to me. I had done Breast Thermography on the very first lump I detected back when I was 30, and the results were congruent with traditional medical doctors as well ~ just a swollen lymph node. So, I trusted this process.

The naturopath did not detect any heat in the new, larger lump, nor in the armpit. My estrogen did look a little elevated. He said they were likely swollen lymph nodes or a cyst and recommended lymphatic drainage therapy ~ a homeopathic remedy taken 3 times per day, and 3 sessions of lymphatic drainage to stimulate and drain my lymphatic system. He then said to come back in 6 months for a follow-up.

But after 2 months, there was no change in the size of my lumps. I asked him if I should get an ultrasound to make sure it’s not anything, and he agreed it might be a good idea. I honestly couldn’t tell if he just didn’t know what to do with me anymore since his therapies weren’t working or if he really was concerned. He didn’t know a place to do an ultrasounds which I thought was kind of bullshit.

I’m self-employed and without health insurance. I started calling around to see if I could get an ultrasound somewhere and what the out-of-pocket cost would be. I felt frustrated, inconvenienced, & annoyed that there wasn’t a clear answer. I was pissed at myself for not having insurance either ~ this is the exact situation of why people get insurance ~ to find peace of mind in unexpected events.

Angel_PrayingThen I found an angel in a woman who has been in my life for 8 years, my mother-in-law, Elaine. I had known she worked in a doctor’s office, but had no idea what kind and she jumped at the opportunity to support me. She literally swept right in and held my hand throughout the entire process. Before I knew it, she was setting up an appointment with one of her nurse’s for a manual exam free of charge; the doctor could then refer me to a clinic for the ultrasound.

During my manual exam, I learned that perhaps my lump was a little bigger than a regular lump looked at by doctors. When the nurse saw me turn to my side and the bulge popped out of the side of my breast, she immediately got the head doctor to come take a look. She agreed that I needed to get it checked out asap. The good news is that the lump in my breast was not fixed, it could just be a fibroadenoma. It worried her a bit that there was another lump in the armpit though. Angel Elaine made my appointment for a mammogram & ultrasound ~ apparently the clinic refused to do just an ultrasound by itself because I am over the age of 30. I had mixed feelings about mammograms and wasn’t crazy about the exposure of radiation. However, I heard that the combination of these two tools are my best option for giving an accurate diagnosis of what’s going on in my body.

After the doctor’s visit, the lumps started to make me anxious again (or rather, my thinking about them did!). I continued to question my stressful thoughts about them and decided to give them a cute new name: Lulu 1 (breast lump) and Lulu 2 (armpit lump). This just made me giggle 🙂 Now I could take my Lulus to get an ultrasound and mammogram. My new little buddies.

Up until this point, I didn’t experience much stress. I figured, I’ll save my freak-out until there is actually something real to freak out about…the doctors are just making sure it’s nothing to worry about. The biggest stress that showed up for me at that point, had nothing to do about health, a diagnosis, terminal cancer. It had everything to do with MONEY.

Next: questioning stressful thoughts about medical expenses.