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

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 cliché, but I have couldn’t have done this without her. Actually, I could have…but I would have gone completely cray cray on many more occasions. Love you, mamma.

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

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

May the fourth be with you…NEW BOOBS!


Related Posts

Mental Medicine ~ The Work of Byron Katie

The Future of My Boobs (FOMB)

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

Self-discovery while in Recovery

Life with Tissue Expander Boobs

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


Post Treatment

BIG Update: Post-Treatment Life of Awesomeness

On September 4th, I celebrated my 35th birthday. I think birthdays will officially take on a brand new meaning ~ I’m just so grateful to have one! Now that it’s been almost a year since my diagnosis, I LOVE watching my mind compare this moment to one year ago…right now, I’d be getting ready for my biopsy, and two days after that (September 16th), I’d get the call that would change my life forever.

One year ago, if someone would have told me, “Guess what?!! Those lulu lumps in your boobies & armpit are CANCER and in ONE year, you will have been through 5 months of chemo, lost your mermaid hair, had your natural breasts surgically removed & replaced with boobs-of-steel tissue expanders, and floated through 5 1/2 weeks of radiation therapy…” I would have responded: “YOU CRAZY.” And then if you said, “And even more surprising, is that you will actually ENJOY a lot of it. It will open your heart in ways you never thought possible. It will open doors that you never knew existed. It will give you strength, purpose, presence, and gratitude. You will feel an enormous amount of love and support from so many. It will be one of the greatest gifts of your life.” I’d say, “WHAT? NOW YOU REALLY CRAY CRAY.”

Crazy. Awesome. Beautiful. Life.

After my last radiation treatment!
After my last radiation treatment!

So to catch you up…I am officially DONE with all of the major parts of cancer treatment! Radiation was so much easier than I expected. I’ll write a separate blog piece sharing details, but right now my skin has healed well and it feels as soft as a baby’s ass.

Last Friday, my plastic surgeon leveled out my fembot boobs so that they are the same size for once! I have to say, they look pretty darn good. Still indestructible ~ when you hug me, it feels like I am wearing armor. I’m having fun planning out the final surgery which will take place sometime next Spring or Summer. The surgeon usually waits 8-12 months after radiation which allows extra time for the skin to fully heal ~ it can sometimes continue to tighten and shrink. Lots of stretching and I apply a homemade cream w/Frankincense, Lemon, Argan, Jojoba, and Vitamin E oils daily.

I had another ultrasound to check out the cyst on my ovary…I’m ecstatic to report that not only is it nothing to worry about, my doctor doesn’t even see a need to continue monitoring it. What?!!! So that’s done too.

I have begun taking Tamoxifen – a drug used to prevent reoccurrence for hormone-positive cancers. It is a systemic treatment (meaning it treats the whole body) and if there are any remaining cancer cells, it will bind their mouths closed so that they can not feed on estrogen. No food = No life.

I had mixed feelings about taking any type of drug for 5-10 years, so I did my best to explore a well-researched alternative. Each doctor and naturopath I talked with had the same answer: there is no alternative. Because I am young and know this body is awesome at producing estrogen – aka “cancer candy” – it is very important to me to address this part of the cancer treatment plan. The way I look at it, Tamoxifen is the best option available for me now and I’m open to that changing. My oncologist put it nicely, “I don’t like to tell anyone that they will be taking a drug for 10 years…because we don’t know…new research could show up or circumstances may change…let’s just try it out and see how you do.” When I got the bottle from the pharmacy, I laughed out loud when I saw the pills. I was picturing some kind of huge scary, horse pill…it just looks like an innocent, little baby aspirin. So far, no noticeable side effects other than I’ve been getting a little hot flashy at night – and this is also summer in Texas, so who doesn’t?

Bachelorette Weekend
Bachelorette Weekend

August was incredible. I gifted myself a month-long sabbatical to celebrate the end of treatment. Zero doctor visits…I was just a regular gal living an amazingly free-flowing life of travel! The trip started with a few days in NYC with my sister-in-law, Annie, and then we joined our soon-to-be sister-in-law, Emma, for her bachelorette party in Brooklyn. We drank wine, ate great food, and danced until 3am! I was pretty impressed this body kept up with the girls!


My new friend
My new friend

We had lunch one day at Smorgasburg – an outdoor flea market with about 100 eclectic food tents. I was standing in line for some Vegetarian Venetian wrappy things and asked the woman in front of me if she would take my picture. She asked what brought me to Brooklyn and I told her that I was there for a bachelorette party and then blurted out that I also just finished a year of cancer treatment. She said, “Oh my god – ME TOO!” She just had her final reconstruction surgery and she asked if I wanted to feel them. Immediately, I said “YES!” and within seconds of meeting, I’m feeling up a stranger’s boobs with people all around us. Ahhhhh….I just love how going through this experience breaks down all boundaries. PS – they felt AHHHHHMAZING!

After the high energy of NYC, I took a train to Westpoint to stay with my girlfriend, Krissy, and her sweet baby. We’ve known each other since 3rd grade and had so much fun lounging around, cooking meals, and reminiscing about all of the crazy things we use to do when we were “young.” And how we still feel just as awesomely immature. Time is a funny concept.

Yoga in Boston

Then back to the train to Boston where I stayed with my brother, his fiancée, and my furry img_4567Niece. They just moved into a cool new neighborhood and we spent our days walking, doing yoga, and eating yet more amazing food. I abandoned my diet a bit and treated myself to local fresh breads, organic coffee, and some kickass desserts. And oh, pizza…how I’ve missed you. To my surprise, I felt really good! My energy came back although I would often take an afternoon siesta.

I then hopped on a bus to Burlington, VT, where I stayed with my friend, Todd Smith. He is also a facilitator for The Work of Byron Katie and hosts personal retreats at his home – I can attest first-hand that WOW, what an amazing home they have! And He and his partner are wonderful hosts. We ate Ayurvedic meals and at night we took a swim in Lake Champlain under the full moon. It felt cleansing and purifying.

The next day, I moved into the finale of my sabbatical: a week-long retreat called “Love is the Power” led by Tom Compton in Quebec. It was hosted at the country home of one of sweetest families I know – Sarah Maya, Matthieu, and Zia. Another great friend, Susan, helped to organize the retreat. Sarah Maya and Susan reached out to me when I was diagnosed and offered to do The Work with me whenever I needed support – and I said yes. In all of my “People are kind” experiences throughout the cancer journey, this one was over-the-top generous. They all invited me to join the retreat as a gift. And what an incredible gift it was on so many levels.

Quebec Retreat
Quebec Retreat

In such a loving and supportive environment, I was able to explore deep fears around cancer returning, judgements about me choosing conventional medicine
over doing all alternative, the fear of death, and much more. Vegetarian meals, walking meditation, dancing like no-ones watching…and I even led a few morning yoga classes in nature. It was the perfect experience for me – mind, body, & soul. Perhaps I will share more in a separate post (OK, I have a billion blog post ideas I want to write!!!), but one key takeaway I am continuing to explore is “who would I be without the label of right and wrong?” This was an invitation from Tom and it’s definitely taking root in me. I notice so much of my life is lived out of needing to know “the right way” and “the right answers.”

What if it’s ALL right? ALL good? ALL Love?

Quebec Retreat – Yoga

After the retreat, Susan and I spent a few nights in the amazing city of Montreal before I flew home. I loved hearing French every day and am already plotting my return. Although I experienced sadness to leave, I was also excited to return to my “new” life in Dallas. No more daily doctor appointments – just some follow-ups here and there. Back to a new reality.

A new chapter has definitely begun. And the universe has already given me some really cool opportunities! I was asked to create yoga videos for CanSurround, a web-based tool designed to help with the mental & emotional journey through cancer. The videos just went live today!!! There are three: 10-min Yoga for Deep Sleep, 20-min Chair Yoga for Peace, & 30-min Yoga for Strength, Flexibility, & Presence. I had so much fun creating them with my own cancer experience in mind, and I hope it will help many others move through their journeys with more grace and ease.

I have also been asked to be a Yoga Coach for Reset Retreat, a company of like-minded ladies who create life-changing retreats across the globe. The first one is THIS weekend in Texas Hill Country and it’s sold out! And I just get to show up and teach the yoga!? Click here to read a recent interview I had with the company. It shares how I came to yoga, my experience with cancer, and how I weave in The Work of Byron Katie into my yoga teachings and life.

Speaking of The Work, I also just started my first e-course as a trainer in the Institute for The Work. I am co-training with a dear friend, Robyn ~ another amazing facilitator who reached out to support me when I was diagnosed. Travis and I will also be staffing the 9-day School for The Work in Ojai in the fall. My life is definitely calling me to share this work in many different platforms and I just love seeing what shows up for me.

So..yeah…life is good.!!!!

Bringing sexy back...
Bringing sexy back…



Surgery, Uncategorized

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

Now that I am 6 weeks out of surgery (bilateral mastectomy), I can sum up my experience in 4 sentences:

It was easier than I thought.

It was harder than I thought.

I did it!!!!

It’s over.

It’s all true for me. And ohhhhh, am I excited to share more of my story with you. This post focuses on my experience right before surgery and while in recovery for 2 nights at the hospital – Medical City in Dallas.

The day before surgery

It’s the night before surgery, and a complete calm has washed over me. Today, I posted this on FaceBook:


What I find mindblowing is not too long ago, I was absolutely terrified that I would never feel a sense of calm and acceptance around my surgery decision. Remember? Damn, I love when the mind is wrong.

It all feels so simple now. I’m ready on every possible level – mentally, physically, spiritually. I just show up and it’s a complete surrender. A sweet surrender. The FaceBook comments keep pouring in and each one tugs at my heart strings. Such a collective feeling of oneness.

Tonight, my husband, my mom, and I sat in a circle, lit a candle, and listened to a pre-surgery meditation that was gifted to me by the team at CanSurround. When it finished, we sat in silence, tears in our eyes.

I. Am. Just. So. Ready.

Surgery day

On Monday, April 18th, my alarm went off at 4:45am ~ it was pitch black and I could hear the rain pouring outside. Oddly, I felt excitement ~ it reminded me of going on road trips as a kid. My parents would wake us up at the butt crack of dawn; still half asleep and in pajamas, we’d pile into the car. I’d have a rush of “woohoo, a new adventure!” excitement and would then fall right back asleep. Yes, my parents are smart as this gave them a few hours of peaceful silence before the 3 of us started our “are we there yet? I’m bored! He’s bothering me” chanting.

And now here we are, another new adventure. My mom, Travis, and I gathered in the kitchen with our hospital bags in hand…let’s do this!

I felt this same sense of peace/adrenaline/curiosity for each moment leading up to surgery ~ I even declined the nurse’s offer to take a xanex chill pill before the procedure. “Oh yeah, I am so evolved,” I thought, “I don’t need those stinkin drugs.” (Note: future me said YES to every possible pain-killing drug after surgery). There was one exception where I lost my cool…When we first arrived, we all gathered in the pre-op room. The first nurse that walked in said, “OK, Bethany – what are you having done today?” My first reaction was, “Well, uhhh….shouldn’t YOU know that?! Why are YOU asking ME?” Panic, holy shit, they are so flipping disorganized, you have to be kidding me, how am I supposed to trust them with my body and this HUGE surgery if they don’t even know what the F I’m here for!??!!? 

Then I learned that this is standard protocol…hehehehe….They are required to ask you this question when you arrive and I would be asked the same question over and over again by each nurse, volunteer, the breast surgeon, plastic surgeon, anesthesiologist, strangers passing by… I then laughed at my mind and realized they are doing this to be helpful, efficient, avoid mistakes, and oh goodie – I know the answer!

I am here for “a nipple sparing bilateral mastectomy. The breast surgeon will also remove the chemo port, and in the left axilla, she will perform a sentinel node biopsy, with a possible lymph node dissection. The plastic surgeon will insert tissue expanders, with a possible allograft.”

Here it is in English:

  • Nipple Sparing: I get to keep my nipples. Because the original cancer was a good distance away from my nipple, I am a candidate for nipple conservation. However, this is not a guarantee. The surgeon swipes a sample of the tissue underneath each nipple and tests it to confirm there are no microscopic cancer cells found underneath. If cancer is found, bye-bye nipples. There is also a chance the blood flow to the nipples will not work properly or the skin can die.
  • Bilateral Mastectomy: the removal of all breast tissue (and cancer!) in both of my breasts.
  • Chemo Port: this is a medical device that was inserted during a day-surgery before I began chemotherapy in October. It’s a small plastic “plug” that goes under my skin, just above my right breast. Instead of sticking me with multiple needles each time I received chemo, the medicine was delivered directly into my bloodstream via the port. It’s completely painless and made me feel like a super hero being “charged up” with special powers each week. And I’m happy to see it go!
  • Sentinel Node Biopsy: This is a standard procedure where the sentinel nodes (the first few lymph nodes closest to the breast tumor) are identified, removed, & examined to see if any cancer is present. A dye is injected into the axilla (arm pit area) and it turns a certain color if something is cancerous. Usually 1-3 lymph nodes are removed.
  • Lymph Node Dissection: If the above procedure shows cancer, this procedure is done which involves removing additional lymph nodes and some of the surrounding tissue. I believe the typical average is 12 lymph nodes and could result in even all of them being removed depending on what the surgeon sees. (NOTE: my surgeon leans more towards the conservative side as there is a lot of recent research that confirms taking out less lymph nodes leads to less complications and radiation cleans up any remaining cancer cells).
  • Tissue Expanders: After the breast surgeon performs the above procedures, the plastic surgeon replaces the breast tissue with tissue expanders that go underneath the pectoral muscle – they are hard balloon-like temporary implants. After this surgery, they will slowly be filled with saline over 6-8 weeks to help stretch the skin and prepare the boobies for the final implant surgery. You literally get to watch your boobs grow and experiment with different boob sizes! They also hold well during radiation which can shrink the skin.
  • Allograft: If the tissue expanders do not fit securely underneath the pectoral muscle, the plastic surgeon will add extra tissue (called allograft) to help them stay in place. The tissue comes from donors which sounds creepy, but it’s so deeply cleaned & processed that there is no DNA remaining. Think of it as extra padding.

Going into surgery, I was in complete surrender to the unknown. I love that during my pre-op visits with my surgeons, I asked them what the best ways were to prepare for surgery and they said, “The best thing to prepare is your mind. Trust us. We have your best interests in mind and we want the best possible outcome for you.” So, that’s exactly what I did.

Last kiss before the operation
Last kiss before the operation


I became child-like a curious. Each person who walked into the pre-op room was smiling, kind. I marveled in wonder while the plastic surgeon drew artistic lines all over my chest with a red marker. He made eye contact with me with a reassuring, “you’re ok. We’ve got this.” My breast surgeon looked so confident and well-rested as she tied her hair up in a bun. This is what they do and they do it well. I watched the fluids enter through my arm. I saw the care and concern in my husband’s and mother’s eyes. Neither wanted to leave my side. My last hug and kiss with each of them was special and intimate, not scary. I loved being wheeled around in a bed! And in a bed in an elevator! The last thing I remember is being wheeled into the operating room under these huge, beautiful lights that looked like colorful honeycombs. I said, “wow…those lights are so beautiful!” And that’s it. Goodnight.

I foundSurgeryMessageFB out later that right before I started surgery, my breast surgeon went to see my mother. She pointed out a special place to sit in the waiting room. She explained, “your daughter will be on the operating table just on the other side of this same wall. This is where you can be the closest to her.” Wow. The kindness. I also found out that my plastic surgeon wore cowboy boots with his scrubs through my surgery. Gotta love Texas.

Waking up

I woke up in the recovery room which was full of other patients. We were all separated by curtains. The first thing I remember is a huge intense, painful pressure on my chest; it felt like a giant elephant was sitting on me. I was unable to fully breathe, so I took small, shallow breaths and tried to focus on breathing in my belly. I could tell the nurse was under-staffed and whenever I could get her attention, I asked for ice chips because my mouth was insanely dry. I floated in and out of consciousness and could hear the moaning and groaning of other patients; one woman in particular, “nurse! nurse! It hurts! It hurts soooo much. Help me, please.”  Or maybe that was me? The typical amount of time in the recovery room is 1 hour and I was in there for 3 hours – I remember hearing staff members approach the nurse saying, “Bethany’s family is ready to see her now” multiple times. I could picture my mother & husband in the waiting room after 2 EXTRA hours went by saying, “Damnit! I want to see her NOW!” I smiled at the image and went back to sleep.

I awoke to being wheeled into my final recovery room ~ a private room with a beautiful view and this is where I’d stay for 2 nights. I watched my husband, mom, and mother-in-law rush in to see me. Travis reached for my hand, “hey baby, how are you…?!” I smiled and said, “Ok. It’s hard to breathe. It hurts. A lot.” And it did really fucking hurt. Way more than I thought it would, to be honest. I was given a pain pump of morphine ~ they said if I feel pain, I can pump it every 8 minutes when the green light turns on. I thought of some of the other women I talked to who had gone through this surgery, and they said that they didn’t even need the pain pump or maybe used it once. Well…I pumped that shit like it was a hand exercise. And later that evening when it still didn’t seem to relieve the pain, they asked me if I wanted a morphine boost. All of the “I’m so evolved and awesome and don’t need extra medicine” bullshit thoughts vanished and were replaced with:


One unexpected & uncommon side effect of the drugs was that I was unable to pee on my own. I would try and try…I pressed on my stomach, let water run in the faucet, put my hand in hot water, my mom played waterfall noises from her iPhone, I counted tiles to distract my mind…nothing. What’s cool about modern medicine is if you can’t pee on your own – they can do it for you! I had to get catheterized 3 times…each time, they removed about a liter and a half of urine. The mild discomfort was nothing compared to the sweet Jesus relief I experienced when it was done. After the 2nd day in the hospital, I finally began to go on my own which was one of the most exciting things in the world at that time. The simple joys…If you are ever in the presence of someone who can not pee, here are 3 things not to say/do:

  1. “Just try harder.”
  2. “We really need you to be able to go to the bathroom on your own.”
  3. If I politely ask for everyone to leave the room so I can try to pee in solitude, LEAVE THE ROOM instead of standing close enough to me so that my knee is brushing the back of your thigh while you make my bed. This is especially true if we just met 30 seconds ago.

Easier than I thought

All jokes aside, the staff was amazing. And even though the pain level was so much more intense than I expected, there were so, so, so many things that were BETTER than I expected. Examples:

  • The moment I saw my new breasts. Before surgery, I dreaded this moment. I imagined it on so many occasions and was brought to tears every time – I saw me standing in the hospital mirror, seeing the first glimpse of my creepy-looking-mutilated-use-to-be-beautiful-and-never-will-be-again breasts. Then horror and regret filled my mind. Well, reality turned out to be pretty awesome. I lifted up my gown, looked in the mirror and thought, “wow – they look pretty damn good! Hey honey, did you see these?” I had adorable little A-cup breasts. The clear surgical tape was wrapped around me like a bra and I could see some swelling & discoloring from bruising, which is expected.
  • The breast surgeon’s execution was brilliant. The only incisions she made were along the outer, lower part of each breast. I believe she has magical powers; somehow, she was able to remove the chemo port by my right collar bone AND do a half lymph node dissection in my left armpit through these incisions. The scarring is healing beautifully and is barely visible now.
  • The plastic surgeon is an artist and creative genius. He was able to secure the tissue expanders without any allografting and he noticed that I already had a scar on my belly (it was from having a mole removed when I was a teenager). He threaded the tubing for the two drains to exit through this scar so that I wouldn’t have any extra scars on my body. The drains were easy to keep clean and came out in 2 weeks. It did take a little creativity on figuring out how to hide my drains when in public – a sweet fanny pack I bought in Barcelona 9 years ago did the trick.
  • I can still feel my breasts. The skin on the inner & upper breast still has sensation! It’s very common for women to completely lose all sensation of their breasts after a mastectomy because sensory nerves are removed with the breast tissue. I jokingly had asked the breast surgeon, “you mean if my breasts caught on fire, I would have no idea?” I could joke but this was something I was depressed and anxious about…sensation meant a lot to me personally and sexually with my husband. I did hear from another woman that yes, she did lose sensation but “other senses are heightened if you know what I mean…;)”
  • The food in the hospital was incredible! Assuming hospital food would suck ass, I had called the hospital to let them know I’d be bringing my own food. She asked what my dietary needs were and I explained that I eat all organic, vegetarian + fish & eggs, and no dairy, soy, sugar, or gluten. She said, “sure, no problem – our chef (what they have a chef?) is starting to lean towards using more organic ingredients these days so I’ll make sure he has plenty of items on hand during your stay with us.” For breakfasts, I ate an organic egg omelette w/fresh veggies and a side of organic fruit. Soup & salad for lunch and one dinner was organic salmon, sautéed kale, and sweet potato mash – Travis and my mom ordered a plate too and we all enjoyed it together. I felt pretty darn pampered.
  • People are so kind. I have now collected thousands of examples of this throughout the entire journey and there was never a shortage of kindness and love in this part. In fact, I think it amplified. The staff, my family, friends, all of the flowers and thoughtful messages…. everyone and everything was/is here for me.

There are so many more blessings I discovered throughout the recovery process as well as extremely tough moments of physical & emotional pain. Much more to share with you.

Right now, I’m grateful to now sit in reflection of it all.


Me, post-op, and on a lot of drugs!
Me, post-op, and on a lot of drugs!
Surgery, Uncategorized

The Future of My Boobs (FOMB)

FOMB LogoOver the past 2 months, I have been contemplating surgery options ~ a lumpectomy, mastectomy, or double mastectomy ~ and a decision has finally arrived. I would love to tell you that all I had to do was sit quietly in meditation and watch this clear beautiful neon-sign-of-an-answer show up before my eyes.

This was so NOT the case for me.

The “peace with the unknown” I initially experienced about surgery options turned out to have a pretty quick expiration date. In fact, the whole “decision-making” process has been the most challenging, gut-wrenching, emotional part of this entire journey so far. Chemo was a freaking breeze compared to the turmoil my mind has gone through. There were times I wished I didn’t have a choice. There was even a moment I wished the cancer would show up somewhere else in my breast so I could know what to do. Why? Because I was believing the thought…

“I will make the wrong decision.”

Under the influence of this thought, I am paralyzed with fear. My mind can only see the worse case scenario of each option. It’s all shit and I’m forced to choose the lesser of two evil shits. For the 1st time, I truly feel like a victim and I am furious that I’m in this situation. I want someone/something to give me a clear answer. I worry what people will think of me if I choose this or that. I tell myself I’m a failure at being “peaceful.” I’m overcome with emotions and I tighten my body which leads to exhaustion, achier muscles, and headaches. In summary, when I believe this thought, I feel like complete, total, utter crap.

Without the thought – and it took some time get my mind here – I feel so much lighter. The pressure is lifted (literally) off my shoulders and I again, see the blessings in each option. I feel more motivated and open to learning more if needed, talking to others, sitting with myself, & enjoying my life. I feel empowered, open, free, and trusting of my own intuition and the universe.

Turn it around to: “I will make the right decision.”

Suddenly, I am reminded that each option has major bonuses. A lumpectomy is an easier surgery plus I found a plastic surgeon who can do another procedure so my boobs look similar. I get to keep my natural breasts and they’ll be smaller which is nice for my shoulders. A mastectomy gives me peace of mind that the cancer is 100% gone and there’s way less of a chance of reoccurrence. I don’t need to worry about monitoring my lumpy breasts with diagnostic tests & biopsies. My breasts will look more like they did before I began treatment and they’ll stay perky for life which is also nice for my shoulders! And looking back at my history, have I ever really made a “wrong” decision? Even the times I thought something bad was happening…it turned out to be even better than I imagined. I broke my ankle and then met my husband when he offered me a stool to sit on…we were kicked out of our apartment and ended up moving to a retreat property and creating a new business…I failed my first yoga training and then started my own private practice. The only thing that could go “wrong” is the label my mind puts on it. Also, I will make the right decision – something will feel really right at some point.

Hmmmm….feeling much better.

Here are some other stressful thoughts I have taken to inquiry:

People will judge me.

If I choose a lumpectomy, the cancer will come back.

If I choose a double, I will not like my breasts.

I should be more peaceful in this process.

I want the universe to give me a clear decision.

I am not “evolved” if I choose a double mastectomy.

I need to be at peace with my decision.

Doing The Work really helped to bring me back to the present moment and clear my mind of some major bullshit. And I noticed I still go back and forth to attaching to some of these thoughts. Here are a few other techniques that have supported me.

Clarifying My Intention

Sitting with the questions, “Why am I choosing surgery? What is its purpose? What do I want from this experience in the longterm?” helped me to clarify a clear vision to hold as I walk through different options. For me, it boils down to:

  • Cure this body of cancer cells
  • Prevent cancer cells from returning
  • Feel longterm mental peace
  • Look/feel good about my body

Gathering Information

I dove into learning as much info as I could about each option. This included asking more questions to my breast & plastic surgeon, getting a 2nd opinion for surgery and reconstruction, and talking with other women who have had each type of surgery. Some new info I learned was:

  • A much less invasive lumpectomy is an option with my 2nd opinion breast surgeon. Of course, clear margins are needed which could lead to more surgeries.
  • There is a higher risk of reoccurrence with a lumpectomy; a double mastectomy drops the reoccurrence rate from 12% to 1%. The survival rate is the same.
  • For a lumpectomy, “you get what you get” in terms how the breast looks is not true – there are plastic surgery techniques to help the breasts look even. In a separate surgery, the other breast can be reduced and lifted (which involves cutting out the nipple and moving it up). After a lumpectomy is complete, there is more monitoring of the breast tissue with frequent mammograms and ultrasounds.
  • For a single mastectomy, the plastic surgeon can make the other side match. However, over time – aging will make the real breast sag while the other remains the same.
  • For a single or double mastectomy, there are at least 2 surgeries. The 1st is when the breast tissue is removed and expanders are put in place to help stretch the skin and prepare the breasts for implants. The implants are done months after radiation and extra fat is injected between the implants and the skin for a natural look & feel. My 2nd opinion plastic surgeon offers a less invasive technique for reconstruction that includes the use of implants + liposuction. He would use fat grafting (liposuction) in more forgiving areas like “love handles” which leaves very little scarring and is an easy recovery. The 1st surgeon wanted to do implants + belly fat which involves a 3rd pretty intense surgery that cuts the stomach from hip to hip to gather belly fat to help build the breasts. After these surgeries, there are no more mammograms or ultrasounds – just the occasional chest X-ray.
  • Radiation will be recommended regardless of which surgery I choose because cancer was found in my lymph nodes.

Two things began to become clear: (1) I prefer my 2nd opinion medical team: Dr. Laidley (breast surgeon) and Dr. Antonetti (plastic surgeon) at Medical City and (2) doing a single mastectomy was not an option for me. It’s either a lumpectomy or a double.

I also have REALLY loved connecting with women who have been through this. There is an instant bond that exists with cancer patients and survivors ~ an immediate sense of connection and compassion. I also received a helpful reminder from each woman that it’s completely normal to feel everything I am feeling. Fear, worry, anxiety, doubt….these are all natural human emotions in life and in this process. I am not alone. Ever. For some of the women who chose a lumpectomy, the cancer came back and they ended up getting a mastectomy or a double. The ones who were very happy with their lumpectomy and are still cancer-free had a much smaller tumor initially with no involvement of the lymph nodes. For the double mastectomy women, most of them said the procedure was hard but not as tough as they thought it would be, and not one person regretted their decision.

Everyone I talked to reminded me that this is a personal decision; I need to do what feels right for me.

After many weeks of this information gathering phase, I started to get completely overwhelmed…I had thought that during one of the meetings, something would just click and my decision would be made. But I still felt torn. I knew it was bad when one day, my husband asked me if I wanted a salad for dinner. If so, he would go to the store and buy lettuce. I completely freaked out on him, ran into the room sobbing, “YOU make the decision! I can’t handle it!”

I had to take a break and step away from it all for a few days. Then Type A Bethany took over with…

The Good Ol’ PRO/CON List

Yep, I’m a dork and created an entire spreadsheet titled “The Future of My Boobs” which listed out the pro’s and con’s with each surgery option, along with the procedure recommended by each doctor, and additional questions/things to consider. I then scheduled a FOMB meeting with my mom and husband and we walked through everything together. At this time I was a week away from my last chemo session so chemo brain was in full effect. This process helped to better organize my thoughts and make sure I had a clear understanding of each option. Here it is in case it’s helpful for you too.

Lumpectomy Pro Con Bethany Webb Double Pro Con Bethany Webb

Trying it on & Feeling it out

I decided to “try on” my two different decisions as if I were trying on a new dress. Ok, I’m doing a lumpectomy. How does it feel? Do I notice any physical sensations? How do I feel as I imagine the next 60 years? Then I tried on the double.

This is what shocked me the most. When I try on a lumpectomy…I lose my breath and constrict my body. I feel anxious.

When I try on a double, I feel relief.

This is not what I expected to feel. I mean, after all – I ended up getting what I thought I wanted with a less invasive lumpectomy. But the truth is, it still didn’t feel right. I have what doctors call “Fibrocystic Breast Disease” which is a fancy term for “super lump boobs.” So for me, a lumpectomy feels easier this year, but harder in the long run with the constant monitoring of my breast tissue. A double feels harder now but so much better as I imagine the rest of my life.

I also noticed that when I would talk to people about it, I was looking for them to tell me it was ok to choose a double mastectomy. I mean shit, there was also that moment of hoping for more cancer to show up so I could make this decision. Instead of looking outward for that permission, I decided to give it to myself instead.

So yes, I have chosen to do a double mastectomy.

If you are surprised by my decision, so am I. If you are relieved by my decision, so am I.

Yet still…

Still I don’t know

I had felt so incredibly solid in my decision for weeks and then I found out the reconstruction process may take longer than I had originally thought – it could be NEXT spring or summer. This threw me over the edge and I began to second guess EVERYTHING. Am I making a mistake? Will I regret it? Are these just pre-surgery jitters or is my heart talking? Back to the ping-pong match of going back and forth between options. I’m not going to lie – the past few weeks have kind of sucked ass.

All I wanted was that feeling of clarity to come back and stay forever.

I discovered that I really, really, really needed to spend time with my emotions – give them the FULL expression. I’ve gone from feeling perfectly fine to sobbing within seconds. I had a hard time sleeping and would wake up in the middle of the night in tears. I felt like movement helped – longer walks, jumping on the trampoline, yoga, epson salt baths. One day, in a fit of anger, I tore up a cardboard box…I attended an incredible Somatic Movement + Sound Healing Workshop ~ I cried before, a little during, and a ton afterwards. My husband held me on many occasions and facilitated me on additional stressful thoughts. It was so clear that suffering started in my mind and then the body followed. But this awareness angered me even more – I was watching it happen and couldn’t just press the “off” button.

IMG_3636 (2)I also feel like I’ve been experiencing a natural mourning/grieving process for my breasts. They will never be the same as they once were. Well, actually – they are already not the same! But how do I know they won’t be better? The worse that can happen is my stressful story about them. I’ve spent some time drawing pictures of my old boobs too which was healing.

One day, I was journaling in nature working the thought, “I want the universe to give me a clear decision” and I was listening to Pandora. When I was in the turnarounds, I heard these lyrics:

Settle down, it will all be clear.

If you get lost, you can always be found.

Know you’re not alone.

I’m going to make this place your home.

Thank you, universe. Right now, what’s true for me is a double feels like the best decision. And I’m open to my mind changing. This Thursday, I am scheduled for a pre-op visit with the surgeons to go through the details of the operation & how to prepare for it. The surgery is scheduled for April 18th. I’ve decided to just spend my time doing things I love, be present with anything else that comes up, and see what happens.


And maybe…just maybe…Future New Boob Bethany will go from this to this!













Part 2: Meeting with the Breast Surgeon for Surgery Options

FlowFocusOn January 21st, I met with Dr. Ganaraj for the 2nd time to find out what my options are for surgery after chemo. I have been in chemo for over 3 months and the latest MRI from December has shown that the tumor in my breast went from 4.2 cm to microscopic in size and the cancer in my lymph nodes has shrunken from 3.8 cm to 1.2 cm. YEAH!!!

To mentally prepare for this meeting, I have allowed myself the time to discover the benefits of all surgery options: a lumpectomy (removal of the tumor in the breast), mastectomy (removal of one breast), bilateral mastectomy (removal of both breasts). Although I have been able to find perks (pun intended) for all options, I had my heart set on a simple lumpectomy.

In fact, here is exactly how I wanted it to go…

Surgeon swoops in with a huge smile on her face doing a happy dance and says…“Oh wow, we are all so blown away with your progress and the cancer is almost gone! I’m 100% confident it will be gone by the time you finish chemo. For surgery, we will only need to take just a little bit out to triple check the tissue is cancer-free. You won’t even notice a difference in your breast.” Then she would lay out the timeline for the rest of treatment so I can finally make other fun “life” plans this year.

Ok, so I see I was a bit attached to this specific outcome.

While working on my previous “Part 1” blog post, I began to re-live the thoughts & emotions from the 1st meeting and started to feel uneasy about the meeting this week. I was taking the past and projecting it into the future ~ that’s what the mind does. What if the news she shares is again shocking and not what I anticipated? What if I am, again, naïve about what I think is a surgical option for me? And the biggest thought, “I won’t be able to handle what she says to me.” After taking this thought to inquiry, I decided this is how I am walking into the meeting: my job is to show up, be open, ask questions, and the next step will be shown.

Meeting with the surgeon for the 2nd time was like meeting with a different surgeon. She was full of smiles and relief. She was absolutely blown away by my progress with chemo so far ~ I have literally “made her day” and am the success story she is telling many of her other patients. Look! I got exactly what I imagined for this part!

She said that I do have all 3 surgery options, which is great news. But the lumpectomy she described is not what I imagined. She could “try” to do a lumpectomy but she would still need to take out all of the tissue that was originally affected by the cancer to make sure we get clear margins. When she held out a ruler, it looked to be the size of a tennis ball. She said that it would leave my breast with a noticeable deformity and it would not match the other breast. Radiation could also further shrink the breast. Unfortunately, my left breast is already smaller than my right one ~ damnit, universe, why didn’t you cancer up my right boobie instead? I had thought they could put a little extra “fun” in there to even them out but apparently that’s not possible ~ you just get what you get.

It’s confusing for me because according to the latest diagnostic tests, the cancer is already almost gone and it will disappear even more over the next 6 chemo sessions ~ so why take out so much tissue? She says not all cancer cells show up in tests ~ only the microscope can tell so they take out all of the tissue that was originally affected. I asked, “what’s the point of doing 5 months of intense chemo to shrink the tumor if you’re basically going to take out the same amount of tissue anyways?”

Her response: “Think of the tumor as a glass mirror. When I throw it on the ground, it shatters into pieces. This is what the chemo is doing to the tumor ~ we hope that we are getting all of the shards but they tend to spread out. You did have a few satellite nodules too. And I would be taking out less than we would have needed to in the beginning. Remember that cancer is a systemic disease, so the chemo’s main goal is to kill the cancer cells in the entire body, and because we have seen how well your tumors have responded to the chemo, this tells us it is definitely working for the rest of the body too. This is good news! When you first came in and I saw the size of these tumors, I was really, really worried. So this is just amazing to see your response.” With a lumpectomy, there is a slightly greater statistical chance the cancer could come back and/or she may not be able to get clear margins which could mean a 2nd surgery.

I understand her point of view and at the same time, I feel kind of cheated. It seems like if chemo only shrunk the tumor to half its original size, there would still be the same recommendation for surgery? And something I thought of later and will ask her…after cancer treatment when patients are in so-called “remission,” scans are done to make sure the cancer has not come back or spread to another area. When the scans are “clear,” it means there’s no cancer and everyone celebrates ~ they don’t need to take tissue out each time to determine this. So why is it different now?

So it’s not the exact news I wanted to hear and it’s also good that I do have a lot of options. She said a mastectomy is the safest option from her perspective and the plastic surgeon would make sure that the other breast looks even. The chances of cancer coming back are decreased and I wouldn’t need an annual mammogram on my left breast. I’m open to this and will meet with a plastic surgeon soon for a consultation. Some questions for him are: Over time with aging, does my right boob grow down while the other stays up? Creepy. And is it really true there’s nothing you can do to fill in the breast from a lumpectomy?

A double mastectomy is usually what women my age do ~ that way the breasts are both perky and even for life and an annual mammogram is not required. She says it does not increase the survival rate ~ it’s more of an “emotional” decision according to the doctor. I am not a candidate for using body fat to build the breasts (I don’t have enough of it!) so implants would be used.

I’ll also need surgery in my left axilla (armpit) to remove the cancerous lymph nodes and there are 2 few different options for that. One would be a separate surgery but would involve taking out less lymph nodes and the other would be done during the breast surgery and would involve taking out 10-12 (or maybe up to 35). She is open to trying the first option and if more need to be taken out, option 2. My hubby was the one who brought up doing option 1 ~ GO HIM! And GO HER for being open.

I have been taking this all in and it has been emotional. Right now I see bonuses and downsides for all 3 options and I trust at some point, something will stand out as a YES for me. It’s just so crazy I’m even thinking about this!!! It would probably be an easier decision if I didn’t care what my boobs look like or I was super old… but yes, I’ll admit it: I want the sexy bikini yogini bod back 😎. Some people may say that’s vain but that’s how I honestly feel. Since chemo started and I’ve lost weight, I’ve experienced entirely different breasts ~ they’re smaller, kind of long & stringy. It seems similar to how my girlfriends describe their post baby/nursing breasts. Perky boobs for life may not be such a bad idea…

So my next steps are:

  • Keep gathering questions for the surgeon.
  • Visit with a plastic surgeon to get a consultation, see photos, find out what reconstruction could look like.
  • Get a second opinion for doing a lumpectomy (maybe another breast surgeon feels more confident about taking out less tissue so I can keep my natural breasts without a deformity).
  • Talk with other women who have had each type of surgery.
  • Continue to take my stressful thoughts to inquiry: The doctor misled me. She shouldn’t take out so much tissue. I will make the wrong decision. 

Luckily I have plenty of time to find out what feels right for me ~ surgery will be in April (they wait 4-6 weeks after chemo so the body can build its immunity back). A few weeks after surgery, she recommends the standard treatment of 5-6 weeks of radiation (5 days per week) ~ I have thoughts about this too but right now I need to pace out my mind and take things one step at a time.

Right after our meeting, I was standing in the hallway by myself, looking out the window. It was raining heavily and then started to hail. While listening to the Rain Photosoft thumps of hail hitting the floor and metal railings, I was overcome with a comforting feeling of peace and pride. My eyes started to tear up and I just breathed it all in. Damn, even though the meeting went differently than I anticipated, I handled it so well. And I wasn’t trying to be strong, it was a natural happening. And here I am not knowing what my decision is and I’m ok with it. Ok, with not knowing. Cancer is such a great teacher of making peace with the unknown.

I realize it might be crazy to announce this information before I’ve made my decision. There’s part of me that wants to preserve it so that I don’t unintentionally invite in hundreds of other people’s opinions. With so many other opinions floating around (and there have been many throughout this whole process!), it can be hard to hear my own voice. So I want to be clear: I love you and I’m not sharing this information to get your opinion on what I should do for my body.

It can be very easy to have a clear opinion on treatment when you have never been in this situation. I know, because that use to be me. Before I experienced any of this, I would have said, “people are crazy to even consider chemo and to remove a breast or two is even crazier!” Now my mind is open and I see there is no single “right” way of dealing with cancer treatment; this experience has completely humbled me. I don’t know what’s best for anyone else, ever. Treatment is a personal decision and I’ll no longer judge how anyone else chooses their treatment plan. And I am so thankful to have the expertise of these doctors ~ with years and years of experience with cancer cells.

With that said, if you have been through this experience, I would like to hear from you. Are you happy with your surgical decision? How has your life been affected? Would you do anything differently?

I love that I have the opportunity to share a transparent, “real-time” journey of what it’s like to have cancer and be in treatment. I love that I have the courage to do this and it honestly feels so good, so healing, to be so vulnerable. And if it can help just one person find more peace in this process, it’s so worth it.

So here I am, continuing to lay it all out on the table. Moving forward, the info I share may start to get even more “TMI” (can we say, nipple talk?). What I share is my business and what you read is yours, so I’ll leave it up to you!

Cancer Diagnosis, Uncategorized

Part 1: Meeting with the Breast Surgeon right after Diagnosis

The following was written September 18th when I had my first consultation with the breast surgeon. Part 2 will describe my 2nd meeting with the surgeon on January 21st to discuss surgery options.

This morning, I woke up at 5:30am (not like me at all!) and spent a quiet morning in the dark with my mom drinking tea and doing some gentle yoga. In the midst of hamstring stretching and hip opening, I just felt the tears begin to pour out again. I welcomed them. The body just needs to do what it needs to do. She placed her hand on my back while I was in child’s pose and stroked my spine. I am so beyond happy she is here. I love her so much and feel so close to her. I love how intimate we are and that I can share this experience with her. I fell into her arms and we cried together.

I was actually really looking forward to the appointment with the breast surgeon, Dr. Ganaraj…I had my handy list of questions to ask. I was nervous yet also excited to see the doctor and learn more…get a game plan…My mom and I had a great morning walk and I got all dressed up. I decided to wear super sexy underwear to my appointment ~ if things got stressful, I could remind myself that I was wearing a secret, doctor-not-approved baby pink thong…intended to bring some comic relief to a potentially stressful situation.

While in the waiting room, I met my Health Navigator ~ I had no idea that role even existed and wow, what a brilliant idea. She handed me this phenomenal binder of information ~ everything from cancer education to treatment procedures to tips for health and wellness. I was so excited to see recommendations for writing, yoga, acupuncture, healthy diet, humor ~ this is my wheelhouse! The Health Navigator said she is here to support me through the entire process. Their team cares about my wellness as a whole and they want to hear from me anytime ~ I have everyone’s cell phone numbers and they will always return my call the same day. She looks like everyone’s favorite Grandma ~ one you could snuggle with for hours. It was a wonderful introduction and again, very impressed with conventional medicine ~ it’s not what I thought it would be. (Side note: to this day, I have never heard from my health navigator…hahahaha.)

I decided that me, my mom, and Travis should take a “cancer selfie” in the waiting room. My first cancer photo….but wait, Cancer SelfieI’ve been taking cancer photos for almost a year now and had no idea. I have to say, so far I do LOOK pretty damn good with cancer. And even more confusing (but hey – it’s good news), I FEEL really great with cancer. Aside from the whirlwind of believing stressful thoughts as if they were some kind of addictive candy…I’m kind of rocking it.

I met Dr. Ganaraj in the exam room with a big smile. She asked, “how are you doing?” My response was, “well, I’m extremely happy to see YOU!” She was surprised by my reaction and said that usually she is the last person patients want to see. She then did a manual breast exam and I pretended to ignore the extremely worried look on her face. She took measurements of the large lump in my breast and a 2nd lump that I also noticed the night before for the first time (and nearly had a panic attack). Then she measured the mass in my axilla.

I got dressed and we all met in her office. Going into this meeting, I assumed the treatment plan would be pretty simple: we would talk about surgery and then maybe a little chemo…I’d be cancer-free by the end of the year, no biggie. Apparently, I was very naive.

She said that the cancer is extremely aggressive, which is common in younger bodies.

Gulp. Think of the sexy underwear….think of the sexy underwear….NOT working.

She went on to say that there’s a large tumor in my breast and it has spread to my lymphatic system, which means it is definitely traveling throughout my body. The good news is that she doesn’t expect it has taken root anywhere else yet. She pulled up a screen to illustrate how the cancer cells form in the breast and then multiply & divide ~ it was one big blur to me. Aggressive? Really? She said that the masses are too big for surgery now ~ if she did surgery it would be mutilating to my body and could result in possible nerve damage. A series of diagnostic tests will be ordered for October 1st (the day insurance starts) to confirm if the cancer has spread anywhere else. She then recommended doing 5-6 months of chemo first with the goal of shrinking the tumors and mopping up the remaining cancer cells in my body. Surgery would come next and hopefully, the shrinkage could make me a candidate for a simple lumpectomy. Then radiation. Then 5 years of hormone therapy.

Shit. That was wayyyyy more than I was expecting.

It’s a very ODD sensation…to hear someone tell you things about your body and not be able to feel it AT ALL. Then again, would I want to feel this? Maybe reality is kind in this way. It makes it so surreal though. Is she really talking about MY body? I have cancer AND it’s this serious, really? She said the survival rate is pretty good with this type of cancer…Wait a minute…SURVIVAL rate? Is there really a chance of me dying? Could this really be how my story ends? Dying of cancer in my 30’s? My mind already started to picture Travis with his second wife since the first love of his life died of cancer. This thought is unbearable. She’s gorgeous, by the way ~ very exotic looking with long dark hair and deep green eyes…she’s a wonderful mother…and he’s happy with her. I become just a memory.

Yet, here I am. Alive. Healthy. Still married.

I told the doctor how confusing it was to hear this information, because I feel so healthy. It was a very “out of body” experience hearing her describe what’s supposedly going on in there. And geez, I’ve built a career out of being “in tune” with my body. I guess I’m not as intuitive as I thought. She looked me right in the eyes and said, “You feel healthy because you are healthy.” Ok, I think I like her.

I then asked in a shaky voice, “will I lose my hair?”

“Yes. Within the first few weeks of chemo.”

I literally felt a dagger in my heart. My hair. My boobs. My two favorite parts of my body. I was known for these things!!! Don’t you know the girl with the mermaid hair, double D boobs, and a size 2 yogini bod? That’s ME damnit and this “me” is being threatened on all levels. In high school I had the nickname of “PT” which stood for “Perfect Tits” ~ some guys at another school created a jingle for them…”Beth’s breasts are the best…”


The surgeon said she would set up an appointment with the oncologist right away and schedule the tests. As we said our goodbye’s, I started to feel my body tremble. I was barely holding it together. As we walked out of the office door, I completely fell apart. It was like my legs stopped working. Travis held me up as we walked through the lobby and then parking lot. My mom grabbed the keys and told us to sit in the back together. I collapsed into the car and began whaling.

There was no stopping the mind from going all over the place. Fear of death, pain, suffering consumed me. Anger, confusion, terror, shame, panic. This was a necessary vomiting of the mind and although it was one of the hardest moments, I still felt supported in the car, being held by Travis, mom driving.

I have been able to revisit this moment and identify numerous thoughts:

The cancer is spreading.

I will die young.

I won’t know what to do.

This shouldn’t be happening to me.

Chemo is poisonous to my body. Evolved people don’t choose chemo.

I created my cancer.

My body betrayed me.

Chemo will make me look sick and ugly.

I will be in unbearable pain.

I’m not intuitive/evolved. Evolved people don’t get cancer.

I’m a failure.

I should have gone to the doctor sooner.

I can’t handle this.

Cancer will prevent me from living a full life.

Cancer will ruin us financially.

And this is why I love The Work of Byron Katie. I am able to go back into a stressful experience, identify thoughts, and one-by-one, question them. As I meet each thought with understanding, I gather more and more proof that suffering only exists in my mind. It’s what I’m imagining might happen that creates my stress. It’s what I’m believing about cancer, about chemo, about my body that sends me down the rabbit hole. And what I’m believing isn’t real in the moment. I was in the car, being held, and driven home. Reality is always kinder than the movies playing in my head.

In the upcoming blogs, I will begin to share the full inquiries that have impacted me the most ~ you may be able to relate to them in your own life even without an illness, and it will give you an insight into the mind of a cancer patient.

So even though September 18th was one of the hardest days I have ever experienced, it was also a doorway into living a more fearless, present life. Thank you, Cancer.




Getting the Call ~ “You Have Cancer”

The following are 2 journal entries written the day of and the day after I found out about my diagnosis.

September 16th, 2015

imagesIt’s hilariously insane how many times I checked my phone today. Today could be the day I get the call. I wasn’t experiencing fear ~ it was more like an excited/anxious anticipation. The feeling I use to get right before a big basketball game in high school or before starting one of my yoga retreats.

I taught a morning yoga class and the rest of the day was open. I thought about going to get my car washed and decided to stay at home instead and dive into some Netflix Therapy while I continued my Phone Stalking. I successfully distracted myself with a new series on Netflix called “Rectify” (highly recommended!) and then Travis came home.

I was on episode 4 when I got the call. “Holy shit! This is it!” It was in the afternoon and Travis was next to me on the couch. (Thank God I didn’t go for that car wash!). The home was quiet. I answered the phone & put it on speaker. The doctor said she just got the pathology report and wanted to call me as soon as possible.

“This is the part of my job that’s really difficult. I’m afraid I have bad news. They did find cancer in both the breast and lymph node.”

Time stopped ~ there was a quiet stillness that’s hard to describe. It was as if someone else’s life was being described to me. My hand grabbed Travis’ hand. “It’s called Infiltrating Ductal Carcinoma, grade 3, and it’s the most common form of breast cancer.” Good, I thought ~ that means doctors will know how to deal with it. She shared how she recently had a patient who was 27 years old and diagnosed with the same cancer ~ she is now doing great and just had her 1st baby. “People make it through this and live very happy lives.” She said she would send the pathology report to the breast surgeon, and then find out if the surgeon recommends I wait until my insurance kicks in October 1st to have a consultation or begin now. Unfortunately, with biopsies you can not tell what stage the cancer is, or if it has spread to other areas. It started in my left breast and had definitely spread to my left lymph nodes.

My lulus have cancer. I looked down at my left breast. Really? It looks so connection2divinefine, it feels so fine other than some soreness from the biopsy. That’s cancer in there? How is this possible? As soon as I got off the phone, I turned to my husband and the tears began to flow. The best words I can use to describe how I felt were…. “surreal” and “fucking weird.” I loved how my husband held me, both crying/trembling together. I love him so much my heart could burst.

Then all of the sudden, my body got extremely hot. So hot, that I had to take my shirt off. I paced around the living room…Wow. What? Really? I remember actually pinching my arm multiple times to see if this was some sort of crazy dream. Me? Cancer? Realllllllly?

I called my mom on facetime. That was really, really hard. Nobody wants to get this phone call from their child. Seeing the tears in my mother’s eyes while I told her the news made it more real. She nodded her head, “Okay, okay.” I love that the moment I asked if she could come to Dallas, she responded with an immediate “Yes, of course.” Her ticket was booked within an hour to arrive tomorrow. We agreed that she would call my Dad and that I would call my brothers.

What started to plague my mind the most was…HOW is this possible? Why is this happening to me? How did I get cancer? I had thought that perhaps all of the inner work I did up until this point would have given me a “cancer bypass” ~ I already learned all I needed to know, right?

I’m 34. Young. Healthy. Happy. Yet, this reality is still true. I hear Byron Katie’s words, “who would you be without your reasons?” It really is the best time for me to have cancer, isn’t it? I have a healthy vehicle and the time and support to take care of this now. I have the tools to fall in love with it. I gently caressed my lulus and thanked them for showing up.

It wasn’t until 6pm that I realized how bad of a headache I had and that I hadn’t eaten lunch. Sweet Travis jumped to prepare dinner for me. Earlier, he had said, “you don’t have to do anything around the house anymore, honey. I’ll do all the cooking and all of the cleaning. I’ll go get your car washed too.” How amazing is he? I was more than happy to receive. My Dad and I traded texts ~ he said how proud he was of me for how I am handling this. I agreed. Then we texted hilarious images back and forth….my favorite one being the poop emojis with big eyes and smiley faces.

The doctor called back and said that the breast surgeon thinks that it’s fine for me to wait until October. The surgeon offered to clear time in her schedule Friday (in 2 days) for the consultation so that we can begin testing on the 1st. She said she would comp the visit since I don’t have insurance yet. Wow. Kind. Universe.

I cleared my work schedule the rest of the week. It feels like my “healing team” is all coming together.

Around 8:30pm, the body and mind just fully let go. Let Out LoveI started in a child’s pose and the tears began to pour out. Deep whaling, shaking, moaning…I just let it all out. At one point, I was hovered over the toilet, dry heaving. It
wasn’t painful, it just felt like the body needed to do its’ thing and luckily, I have had a lot of experience with emotional healing to know that all I need to do is to get out of the way. Then I laid in bed while Travis massaged my head.

Right now, it’s 3:47am. I’ve been up since 1am or so. My mind is active and I felt the need to write. I have no idea what I’ll be doing with these words. I don’t know if another eye will see them. I just know I am supposed to write. My head is starting to feel better too. Breathing.

September 17th, 2015

My mommy is here! My mommy is here! I picked her up from the airport ~ one of the BEST hugs I’ve ever experienced. There is something so soothing and comforting about being nestled into your mothers chest. I. Am. So. Happy. She. Is. Here.

BeforeOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA she arrived, I had the morning to myself and it was magical. I did my morning “steam & tizzle.” This is a new tradition for me ~ I’ll boil ginger and turmeric root in water, place my face over the steam and breathe it in for a few minutes. Then I’ll add clove and steep a bag of decaf green tea. I love to drink the tea with unsweetened vanilla almond milk and raw honey ~ it’s incredible and is anti-inflammatory, helps with allergies, boosts immunity, cleanses, & is high in antioxidants. After my steam & tizzle, I went for my morning walk. I felt so much more present ~ like the best high I’ve ever experienced ~ the colors, sunlight, sounds were so much more alive. There was this lively sense of quiet inside of me. I’ve had similar experiences when I attend Byron Katie’s workshops & schools. Life is simple. Life is beautiful.

At the end of the walk, I talked with the property manager at our condo. He said, “I don’t mean to pry, but you’re in such great shape and you’re so beautiful ~ do you really just do yoga? I mean, you look like you’re in your 20’s.” I remembered that he had just had a mini phone consultation with my husband last week, getting tips on food/exercise/stress relief. I told him, “yes, it’s yoga, walking, and I do love rebounding and swimming. Organic foods are important to me and I’ve learned to listen to my body and eat what feels good ~ I’ve been known to rock pizza and a burger too. I also think the most important thing is to take care of the mind ~ and we use The Work of Byron Katie to deal with stress. When the mind is stressed, the body’s systems don’t work efficiently.” But then I could feel myself begin to turn “my experience” into “advice giving.” And then I blurted out, “But shit, what do I know ~ I just found out yesterday that I have cancer. So yes, you can do all of these amazing things for your body & mind and still get cancer!”

It felt good to be blunt and honest. I mean, really…what do I know about health for anyone else? Living this way feels right for me, nurturing for me. I will continue to live this way to support healing cancer. I’ve come to realize that I have created a wonderful vehicle to support cancer healing: I’m young, healthy, strong, open-minded, and know exactly how to deal with stress.