Monday, January 30, 2012

"She's Down! She's Down!"

Susan going into triage mode!

As my sister would say, "Only you Yog, only you." And I had hoped that this journey would be free of a 'Yog incident' but apparently I just couldn't escape one; two days before the big surgery was my time! And now that you've officially met Susan and Sydney (AKA S & S), it might be time to come clean about such an incident and give you a little pre-surgery back story.

So, after seeing the plastic surgeon 3 weeks ago and meeting S & S for tea and dinner, they invited us back to their house to pick up some post-surgery items to help me out. We followed our new Cancer Concierge friends home and parked in their long driveway. As I squeezed out of the passenger seat (that was parked mighty close to their driveway column), I felt my right foot slipping off of their driveway and into a garden area. Feeling myself falling backwards, I saw a shadow in the dark that looked like a 'limb' so I grabbed onto it to help my body stay upright. As I quickly clutched onto it and as my momentum was pulling me backwards towards the ground, I couldn't seem to stop myself from falling back. Then, I felt needles in my hand as it slid down the 'branch' (AKA, cactus plant!). 'LET GO! LET IT GO YOG!' is all I heard screaming in my head. Falling back, I was suddenly aware that my left arm was going down on the driveway which I felt I needed to protect immediately since I had an armpit of stitches from lymph node surgery the day before. I tossed my iPhone onto the cement and landed straight down on my hand and elbow in the middle of our friend's cactus garden. YIKES! What was poking me underneath?

Hil came running around the car, while Sydney (still recovering from reconstruction surgery 3 weeks earlier) starts yelling at Susan parked ahead of us! "She's down! She's down!" Immediately, Hil ran over to me in the dark (mind you, she NEVER swears, and even when she does, it sounds so weak that I usually rate her - 4.5, 3.0, 6.5!), when I was greeted with her screaming at me as she knelt down beside me - "Gah Yog - WHAT THE HELL?! WHAT THE HELL?!" Shocked, I said, "Why are you yelling at me?" "I'M NOT!" (still heard yelling!). In the meantime, Susan, calmly walks towards us saying, "What do you mean she's down?"

Not able to roll over on my left side back onto the driveway because of my soreness from the surgery and not wanting to roll over to my right into more of the cactus garden, all I could think about were the thorns in my hand and whatever was poking me on my backside. Eventually, Hil got in front of me so that I could wrap one arm around her neck as Susan pushed with all of her might from behind me on the slanted driveway. Finally, they got me back up onto the cement and in a standing position. Whew!

I hobbled into the house with all three of them surrounding me in order to sit me down, when Sydney and Susan promptly went into triage mode (man, that nursing action is impressive!).  And may I say that it was so handy to have a nurse and a wound-care specialist on hand during this type of situation. Sydney got me my pain meds, Susan pulled out her soft-sided, red, wound care suitcase and swiftly went into I'm-on-Survivor-and-I'm-a-bad-ass-girl-scout mode. She immediately started washing my hands with antiseptic, brushing the cactus thorns off, unzipping my sweatshirt to take it off to tie an icepack to my hip with it while checking my stitches and giving me arnica to keep my hip from bruising (too late!). Sydney handed me a glass of water and my Norco prescription, while Hil kept comforting me from behind - this new 'Healing Dream Team' was kicking booty on my newest problem. Within minutes, we were all roaring with laughter, cracking jokes, feeding their dogs while doing a lemme-show-you-my-new-breast reconstruction-show-and-tell-session.

All in all, this crazy incident lightened my mental load and gave hope that on the other side of this in less than 24 hours, there would be life to live that was full of fun, laughter, friends and inevitably, another 'Yog Incident.' (I did not disappoint sister! Did not.)

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Paying it Forward

Susan & Sydney - Mentors Extraordinaire
Well, this blog post is long overdue but full of the greatest gratitude for two past acquaintances Susan and Sydney. Two ladies and now dear friends who I don't know what Hil and I would have done on this third journey of cancer without them. Kind, empathetic, hilarious, positive, compassionate, creative and helpful are only a few words to describe these two humanitarians. Reconnected through a mutual friend at the onset of my diagnosis, we started emailing, then texting and now check in with each other with weekly regularity.

Sydney, a breast cancer survivor herself, faced her own challenges and odyssey with her diagnosis just a couple of years ago and came out of it with immense beauty, dignity and a force to be reckoned with. So, when we were reconnected over a month ago, we reacquainted ourselves fairly quickly like sisters-from-another-mister. Equal in a positive attitude and a vision to kick cancer's a$$, she became my cancer GPS directing me to doctors, nurses, community resources and tricks of the trade for recovery. And may I add that her labor and delivery band to hold all four of my drains in place was pure genius (thanks to her Labor & Delivery nursing skills). On top of all of this, she was also currently going through a re-do with her own reconstruction due to a setback and of course, came out of it with an admirable level of pep and pizzazz!

As for Susan, she quickly became my personal medical and wound-care specialist (her professional line of work - SCORE!). And, I've decided that everyone needs a Susan during this gig. Not only did she become my own personal stand-up comedian but her wit and brilliance kept me fueled. Because, let me tell you something, when you are standing on the battlefield with something like cancer, you need some LMAO moments and that's exactly what she did for me.

Collectively, they are the force and vitality that you need standing in your lane on the cancer highway. From giving me bags of goodies for my recovery, meeting me at doctor's appointments, showing up to the surgery prep room at the hospital at 7:00am on the morning of the 'big surgery', to scoring me a private room at the hospital, I felt beyond blessed to have these two gals and mentors by my side every step of the way.

So my point here is simple. Pay it Forward! I don't know what you're going through in your own life, and I know that we all get the wind taken out of our sails, but to do it with a mentor (or two!) and then be able to pay it forward is the ultimate reward. So, to Susan & Sydney, I salute them both and pay them the utmost respect and gratitude. And to you my friends and family, I hope you can find a Susan and a Sydney in your life or at the very least, pay it forward - their style!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

More Goodbyes! OYE!

2 Moms, 3 weeks, 2 goodbyes - enough already! I can't take this anymore! Just when I get used to having a mom in the house, they leave. The nerve of them, getting back to their own lives. And just because Cherie (AKA 'Mama') isn't my biological mom (Hil has claim to her), she's a mom nonetheless. And just as I was resurrecting from the surgical aftermath, she showed up in the nick of time after my mom returned to her own life. Chief cook, dishwashing maven and ruler of the laundry piles, Mama's got some mad caretaking skills. But, mid-week, she fell into the pain abyss alongside Hil and I as the three of us pulled an all-nighter when I spiraled down through the 'breast expander incident' (don't know what else to call that hell-ish episode). And after we all rebounded from THAT (I refuse to say it again!), she quietly and casually returned to her house-attendant responsibilities without missing a beat. So, a big shout-out to Hil's mom, Cherie, Mama, Caretaker Concierge for volunteering her time, her love and her heart! Forever grateful!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Cancer Reflections

Mirror, Mirror On the Wall

Mirror, Mirror on the wall
Who is this that I see?
I'm not the girl from weeks ago
I want to find that me

I ask myself each day and night
Where did my old self go?
But maybe there is light ahead
I'm hoping this is so

I can't deny the dread ahead
When I stare back at me
How long will this go on and on
Until I feel more free?

The pain and sutures in my chest
Please give me hope I pray
I still can't look too close, O mirror
Please heal my heart this day!

                                          -Yog, January 25, 2012

Monday, January 23, 2012


Click HERE to see what I CAN do!

Technology & Healing: The Perfect Match

Ever since I can remember, my older sister Kim and I (well, the only sister I have) kind of have our own language. We're not twins, although my mom dressed us alike for years and many people thought we were twins even though we're two years apart.  But we're just like our late father whenever we chat it up. We crack ourselves up at our own repetitiveness, kookiness, goofy jokes, and nicknames (we have the same one for each other - 'sister'). We also have the same off-beat humor and pop out our one-liners like it's the first time we've said it, look at each other and laugh 'til we're crying while everyone else looks at us in a completely baffled and puzzled way. But we could care less. The only bummer of it all is that we live 5 hours apart and so we don't get to see each other often which makes going through this whole cancer gig without my 'sister' a bit of a drag. I so miss her so much, so, we're doing the next best thing - FaceTime baby! She's a computer geek and I'm a Chatty Cathy (hence, the Speech & Language Pathologist job) so FaceTime on our iPhones has really helped us stay connected. It's way more personal than the old fashioned, auditory version of communication of holding our phones up to our ears. Plus, we get to do our sister gig in real time. She's always making me laugh during our face-to-face calls these days which so hurts these wicked breast expanders, but it's so worth it! Maybe we should switch to Skype so I can do my new yoga move when she cracks me up - 'down expanders' when I place my hands on my chest to minimize the pesty pain. But all in all, I'm loving my daily real-time chatter where we can rant, rave, chuckle and yak it up to our hearts content. So, a round of applause to technology (and to my sister) 'cuz as we always say, "that's just how we roll!"

Sunday, January 22, 2012

R is for Reconstruction

To say that my pain hit an all time high this past week would be an understatement. But without going into great detail, let's suffice it to say that the breast expanders for reconstruction that were inserted during the mastectomy surgery about brought me to my knees last Wednesday night. They serve a very important purpose and will for the next three months in preparation for the permanent implants; but before they come out, I've got to learn to befriend these things. However, staying up all night because of excruciating pain brought me to an all time low and I knew something wasn't right. Panic set in, the tears wouldn't stop and the pain was going nowhere but up. I had been told to go cold turkey on my pain meds by a nurse and manage the discomfort with Tylenol as this was typical protocol at this point in the game, but it wasn't touching my misery. The next day, Hil talked with both surgeons who saw me and decided that I was a tad too inflated. So, after having 180cc's drained, I was able to handle life again. Now my mission is to prep myself mentally and physically for three months of 'expanding' these things and my muscles before the final surgery in April. Cross your fingers and wish me luck because this is no pony ride!

Healing Blanket

A few days after I came home from the hospital, I received a big box in the mail from Hil's family friend, with a 'Gwen Blanket' inside. I was so excited as I have seen so many of her blankets over the years and her fine seamstress skills. I've always been envious of people who sew (just ask my mom and sister) as this is a skill that I simply don't possess. In fact, I use to pay my sister $1 per pattern in Home Economics in 7th grade to help me out. So, I was so appreciative to receive a personalized blanket from Gwen adorned with breast cancer ribbons and inspirational words and sayings such as loved, durable, thankful, I am invincible, positive, strong, resilient, winner, healing. I so love this blanket and sleep with it every night. Should probably wash it by now, but I'm not quite ready. So, thanks Gwen for your craft, care and visit this week.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Saying Goodbye to My Mom

I don't care how old you are or how independent you are from your parents, we still need them in the toughest and darkest times. So, when it came time for my mom to leave after almost 2 weeks, I just couldn't hold back the tears. I knew she needed to go but plain and simple, I just didn't want to let go of her. She helped nurse me back through one of the most emotionally and physically difficult times of my life. She helped me get up, sit down, changed my drains, propped my pillows, fed me, went to doctor's appointments with me, slept on the couch next to me because I couldn't make it upstairs, gave Hil the breaks she desperately needed, woke up every 2-4 hrs. to check on me, walked me to the bathroom and gave me my medicine. But mainly, she just nurtured and loved me with her constant hugs and sitting next to me even when I was sleeping with just holding my hand. I still shed a tear every day because I miss her so much and am so grateful for her. How can a daughter ever say thank you to a mom for simply being a mom. There are no words to express my gratitude. So for now, I simply say an eternal thank you mom, I love you and I look forward to our nightly Skype chat to say goodnight.

Friday, January 20, 2012


grat·i·tude [grat-i-toodnoun.  the quality or feeling of being grateful or thankful
Dear Family & Friends,

How can a simple dictionary reference ever begin to describe the enormous amount of gratitude that I have in my heart for all of you. The past several weeks have been filled with a mammoth amount of fear equally matched with a colossal amount of kindness and gratitude that I have for all of you. The cards (both hilarious and sentimental), the unexpected gifts left at our front door, flowers, children's drawings, blessed bracelets, unexpected dinners, grocery store gift cards, hand-made blankets, texts, message stones, pictures of me with your children, e-mails, baked goods, vixen costumes (thank you Sue!), edible fruit bouquets, plants, worry dolls, chocolate, crystal bracelets, tear-off emotion sheets (today I picked 'faith'), aromatherapy lamps, pajamas (thanks mom!), stuffed animals, new clothes, etc. The list goes on and on. And behind every one of these items is the love that I feel from all of you. But what most of you don't know is that during the very first cancer diagnosis I had back in 1992, I hardly told a soul about what I was going through. 90% of my co-workers had no idea that I had cancer and was leaving work early every day for 2 months to go have radiation treatments. I swore people to secrecy, took the back stairs into the cancer center so I wouldn't run into anyone and always had the same answer when someone asked the casual question "How are you?" - "Fine." I simply couldn't handle talking about 'it.' The second time I was diagnosed only 4 years later, I told a few more people and opened my emotional door a tad more, but not much. I didn't swear anyone to secrecy but I didn't make any big announcements either. I had a couple of surgeries, was off work for a few days here and there, was 'out sick' for a week and simply went back to work and carried on like usual and as if nothing had really changed in my life. So when cancer diagnosis #3 came two months ago, I made a promise to myself to do things much differently this time around. No more secrets, no more keeping the hundreds of pages of journal entries to myself and swearing close friends and family to secrecy. I made a pact with myself to fully open the door so that I could gain the strength, kindness and love that I needed in order to kick this breast cancer thing once and for all! And may I say, it has most certainly paid off. So, please accept my deepest and most heartwarming thanks and gratitude to YOU, for not only helping me navigate my way through 'round 3' but for helping me dig down deep to 'knockout' and conquer cancer in order to rise above it and the lessons that I've needed to learn.

With love and gratitude,
Yog (AKA, Dee Anne)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Drains are Out!

Waiting to get the drains out!

The drains are out! I repeat, the drains are out! SIGH..... Let me be clear when I say the level of jubilation and relief I felt about getting these four things out of my body was equal to a choir of 1,000 angels singing! Enough said.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Words of Wisdom

"Is it that things are falling apart, or is it that they are falling into place?"                          -My Mom


Kim Grafton, Breast Cancer Surgeon. We initially bumped into Dr. Grafton in our friend's hospital room an hour before our appointment with her as she was stopping by to say goodbye to my friend who was being discharged. Dr. Grafton was our 'second opinion' surgeon who had come highly recommended by, well, EVERYONE! And my first-gut impression of her was how sweet, personable and thoughtful she was. An hour later, as we were sitting in one of her examination rooms at her office, she opened the door and greeted us as she always does now - with a story, mid-sentence as if we had been talking on the phone and were accidentally cut off and had to call back and just picked up where we left off... "So then I just realized, you were the case that was presented at the Santa Barbara Tumor Board yesterday and when I saw your MRI film I thought, wow, this lady has two completely different size breasts. That's you right?" Cracking up immediately, I responded, "Yes, that would be me," And there it was, the beginning of many mid-sentence conversations with Dr. Grafton about this third diagnosis, her impressions, her hopes, her plans, the latest research, her consultations with other doctors and mostly, her let's-get-this-cancer-out-of-you-and-let-you-live-a-long-and-healthy-life attitude. Sharp as a tack, resourceful, quick on her feet, passionate and chock-full of kindness, we knew immediately that we found our surgeon. I mean she should really have her own Facebook Fan Page or something because everyone that encounters her feels the exact same way about her. In fact, when I met with another nurse the other day at the Cancer Center and mentioned Dr. Grafton, she was in complete agreement about the fan page and said that she would be the president. Next thing you know, we were both arguing over who would have the honor of being president of the fan page. But in all seriousness, I will feel forever grateful to her for all that she's done for me, my health and my mental state of mind.

Julio Soares, Plastic Surgeon.  If you were to look up the word caring in the dictionary, guaranteed, you'd find Dr. Soares' picture right there next to the word. He was our second opinion plastic surgeon and we knew within the first five minutes that we were going with him. We could care less that he was an 'out of network' surgeon, we simply knew he had to round out our Healing Dream Team. Detailed, meticulous, knowledgeable, sharp and thoughtful, he was our guy. Explaining the process in detail nearly nauseated us both, but even that was handled with the utmost sensitivity. Stopping to ask us if we had any questions, he said we could call him back to let him know our decision. Immediately, I chimed in while looking at Hil and said, "I can speak for both of us and say that we'd like to have you as the Plastic Surgeon on the team." With a humble smile, we got things rolling and began to set things up for the surgery. Before we left his office, I nervously asked him for his fee schedule for the reconstruction as I knew how expensive this could be. Slowly pausing and empathetically looking at me, he simply tilted his head and said methodically and mindfully, "Oh, it won't be much, you didn't ask for this," and wow was he right. $15,000 less than 'Plastic Surgeon #1,' we were blown away by both his fees and his kindness; it brought tears to my eyes and a warmth to my heart.

Daniel Greenwald, Oncologist.    At some point in time during every visit and interview with a doctor, they would leave the room and Hil and I, in unison, would look at each other to quickly size them up and check in with each other. Doing things like gritting our teeth, rolling our eyes, smiling warmly, biting our lips, and giving hand signals to indicate our sentiments like 'eeeh' became the standard. We've always been in sync that way, so when that point and time came to our appointment with Dr. Greenwald, he left the room briefly to speak to a nurse about a private but urgent matter. When the door finally closed, Hil and I slowly looked at each other wide-eyed and whispered the exact same word - 'BRILLLIANT!' And by brilliant, I mean, brainy, gifted, genious in fact! But not the kind of brilliance where you feel like you need a pocket dictionary during your conversation because he explained himself with such clarity that we actually walked out of his office feeling like our own IQs may have been elevated ever-so-slightly.  He explained the latest research, this test, that study, my case, possible scenarios, why my case was a tad puzzling to the Tumor Board and the like. And by the end of the appointment, he even recommended another oncologist to speak with in L.A. in case I would like a second opinion. We politely declined and made our post-surgery appointment with him.

Megan McKenna, Genetic Counselor  (AKA, 'My Mad Scientist'). I met Megan within minutes of having my first needle biopsy as 'Surgeon #1 (the one I didn't go with) told me to walk down the street to the Cancer Center of Santa Barbara to talk to some lady about my genetics. Crying the entire way as I made my way down the sidewalk "just a couple of blocks away" (so not true!), I felt like I was miles away from my destination. As the pain from the needle biopsy started kicking into high gear, Hil diligently tried to convince me to stop walking so that she could go get the car to drive me there, but all I could say through my tears and gritted teeth was "I just want to get there, I'm walking!" Holding my breast the entire way, we finally found the Cancer Center, walked in and waited for 'the genetic lady' in the waiting room. Within minutes, the friendliest face walked around the corner towards me, extended both of her hands to me, looked me square in the eyes and asked if I was Dee Anne Barker. I couldn't even answer her as I knew I was going to completely break down from both the pain and the possibility of another breast cancer diagnosis. All I could muster up was a frantic head nod response as tears were rolling down my cheeks. So, she quickly introduced herself to Hil, held my hand and walked us back to her office to begin the discussion of breast cancer genetics and my family history. Although I don't really recall in great detail what we talked about that day, other than she gave me a mountain of paperwork to complete, I do recollect how impressed I was by her gentleness and intelligence. Since that day, Megan, Hil and I have spoken many times, had several appointments, received a Christmas card from her and now visit with her every time we go to the Cancer Center. In a nutshell, I would describe Megan as uber smart, kind, compassionate, and very, VERY, tender-hearted.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Green Drink Police!

I try to hide from her, but she always seems to find me when it comes to the green drinks! Look how happy she looks. Unfortunately, I just can't muster up the same enthusiasm or share the same sentiment as her. Really, I'm trying and I know they're great for me and I'm sure I'll thank her for them later, but right now, I'd rather have a key lime martini being handed to me in a chilled bar glass!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Home, Sweet, Home

Coming home from the hospital was both exciting and a wee bit terrifying. But the beautiful drive home from Santa Barbara to Ventura made up for any angst that I might have been feeling. The ocean couldn't be any more sparkly and the sun was beaming its brightest yellow on this momentous day.

After arriving home, we realized that climbing the flight of stairs to the bedroom was not an option so, setting up 'Operation Recovery' downstairs on the couch was the next best option. Here, I'm at arm's length to everything necessary. And I was so excited on my first day back that I walked outside to greet more sun and make my way to our mailbox on this glorious day.  It kind of set me back a couple of days, but it was well worth the sidewalk stroll.

In the the meantime, camping out on the couch downstairs has allowed my mom and Hil the opportunity to keep a watchful eye on me and poke fun at my newest diagnosis - narcolepsy. Apparently, I fall asleep at the snap of a finger these days so please don't take it personally if I'm mid-sentence with you and you hear nothing in return from me except for a little heavy breathing. But no worries, I'll eventually wake up and join back in on the conversation.

But for now, nothing else matters to me because - I'm home.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Cleaning for a Reason

Did you know that there is a remarkable non-profit organization called Cleaning for a Reason? It was brought to our attention from our own housecleaning company Stel Housecleaning, just a week prior to me going in for surgery. Hil contacted the owner, Estela to tell her that we needed our house cleaned before I came home from the hospital. Concerned, Estela asked Hil why I was going into the hospital and was everything ok. After Hil told her about my situation, Estela immediately shifted into gear and told us about a foundation that cleans houses for women with cancer. We were both astounded and excited when Estela called us back a few days later to say that her company was one of the businesses partnered with the non-profit and that Stel Housecleaning was authorized to clean our house for the next four months at no charge to us while I go through recovery, treatment and another surgery. Can you believe this? This may seem like a small act of kindness, but let me say that when you are in the midst of cancer and all that comes with it, we were just over the moon with gratitude for this foundation and for Estela for setting this up for us. And an extra dose of help really does go a long way these days. So if you feel like paying it forward, go to their website to make a donation!

Hospital Milestones...

Seems like weeks ago since I arrived at the hospital for surgery at 6:30am to rid my body of breast cancer once and for all. With my Dream Team and family in tow, I walked into the medical/surgery unit with some apprehension and came out with some of that Barker determination to carry me through the next few days. Surrounded by my family, friends and my 'Dynamic Duo' (Dr. Grafton & Dr. Soares), I was determined to get going on the healing process. Sitting up in bed, walking laps around the halls, sitting up in a chair to be examined by my surgeons and getting a congratulatory hug from my mom, life moves on. Drains or no drains, it's time to get the next phase of this show on the road.

disclosure: this posting is me on drugs so I can not be held responsible for anything that's written.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Here I go...

Peace, love, strength and gratitude. I'm just going to lean into this now and let the healing begin. Thank you to everyone for all of your love, prayers, texts, cards, flowers, message stones, gifts, prayer circles, behind-the-wall messages, emails and hugs. I am truly blessed to have each and every one of you in my life. I will be in good hands tomorrow. No worries for anyone. You have lifted me up and prepared me for this day.

With great love and respect,
Yog (AKA, Dee Anne)

Thursday, January 5, 2012


Nothing like having family around during a time like this. So, I'm am feeling more complete as both my mom and sister Kim, arrived in town today from Northern California. They, along with Hil, will be my rocks of Gibraltar and backbone when I go in for my double mastectomy tomorrow. We may be a small family but we are mighty in strength and fortitude. All is well.

Negative is the NEW Positive

I realize this sounds like the worst oxymoron in history coming from someone who thrives on staying as positive as possible throughout this journey, but in my case and in the case of cancer #3, there is something to be said about being negative. And while I don't want all of the tests to be negative, I was praying especially hard to the Lymph-Node-Gods that my sentinel lymph node biopsy results came back with a capital N - and they did! My wonderful surgeon Dr. Kim Grafton just called to say "I have some happy news to share!" So, enormous thanks and gratitude for more good news as I embrace yet another game changer on this journey which means most likely no chemo & no radiation again! Join me in a big WOOT! WOOT!

On Healing...

Healing is a matter of time, but it is sometimes also a matter of opportunity.   ~Hippocrates

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Lymph Nodes & Wholeheartedness: They go together right?

Inspiration Artist: Cindy Wunsch

By the time this is posted, I shall feel fully inspired and whole-hearted as I enter an out-patient surgery room for a Sentinal lymph node biopsy. With my iPod by my head (never go into surgery without it) listening to Hindu chanting music and my 'Two Feathers' in tow (courtesy of my late father), I will be praying to the Lymph-Node-Gods for some negative results so that I can cross them off the cancer list and simplify my menu of choices. Blue Dye Injection, check. Biopsy, check.  Lymph nodes, check. Good news, check.

Monday, January 2, 2012

SNAP OUT OF IT! A New Perspective

Brene Brown: The Power of Vulnerability

OK, I must admit that until early this morning, my T Minus 1 mindset had me a little shaken up as I face the first of two surgeries this week for breast cancer. But then I saw on my Facebook newsfeed a TED Talks clip posted from a good friend (thank you Louise!) that as always, was perfect timing (how does she always know what I need to hear?). And just like that, I kind of snapped out of my funk. I mean really, I WILL 'lean into the discomfort' as Ms. Brown suggests and then shake it up, chew it up and spit. it. out! You think I'm kidding? Well, I'm not! While I do realize that breast cancer is a serious matter and 'round 3' has been a tad daunting at times, this go-round is actually providing me with some much needed perspective as apparently I didn't have the right one 'BC' - Before Cancer.

As I head into surgery #1 of the week for a lymph node biopsy (which I KNOW will be negative!), I have been searching for the right mindset. Confused and baffled as to what to think and how to feel, it's clear now. Just do it! And in all reality, how does one properly prepare for what I'm about to face? Lymph nodes. Stitches. Double mastectomy. More stitches. Anesthesia. Reconstruction. Expanders. Implants. Blah. Blah. Blah! It's just too much, so instead, I will simply go with each and every moment, see how I am feeling and face this creature called cancer head on, and in my own way. And as a friend suggested to me just yesterday (thank you Mark!), watching some mindless TV and reality shows will aid me with the realization that these are most definitely a group of people with a real set of problems. At least I will be cancer-free in T Minus 4 days and well, their problems - are for a lifetime.

Take that cancer #3! I am not pretending here. Yes, I am scared as hell, but in my heart-of-hearts, I know I will come out of this even more durable, capable and alive than ever before.

And in the closing words of Ms. Brown's talk - I AM ENOUGH.