I think a lot in my work as a therapist, I had always incorporated a lot of mindfulness techniques to the patients who might be receptive so I did a lot of meditation, I started journaling. And reflecting just a lot on where I am now, what this means to me and what’s next … Because the unknown is too big of a monster to get tangled up in.
Why did this happen? What can I do to keep this from coming back? The fear of recurrence is very real. It sort of invades your whole life down to every time I eat a piece of chocolate. Should I be eating this? I feel guilty about this. A glass of wine. Is this bad? Red meat?
Having breast cancer, stage three triple negative, makes you fearless. I really am fearless. I'll go out in that bay and paddle board anywhere by myself at six o'clock in the morning.
I said, 'How do I know I'm stressed because I don't feel stressed?' She said, 'You are really stressed.' She said, 'How many times a day do you either think or say the word asshole?' I was like, 'Oops.' … She said, "You need to really get rid of the assholes." I realized I had to get rid of all the cancers in my life, not just the one in my breast.
Ricki, on Mindfulness
I did such drastic things, got divorced from my husband of 30 years, quit my job, sold my house and moved to the beach on chemo. They think I'm crazy, but I think they don't know what to do and they're stuck, or they have influencers saying, 'Don't do this. Do this. Don't do this.' A lot of it is just turning off the voices. You have to turn off the voices and go find your own voice.
Part of it was my fault again too because I think I made it my goal to not be that sick person and I never missed a track meet or a rehearsal. Their friends still came over. I still drove them everywhere. I still worked, I still ran, I still did pretty much everything I normally did. I don't think they knew.
I got in the car and I didn't really know where I was going. I had no plans. I drove to the beach. I shut my phone off and I just parked in Atlantic City, on a random street, and just walked a lot … I actually have a sea shell that I picked up that day that I have still and I carried it with me for every chemo. I just needed me time.
A friend of mine said to me recently, 'Have you always been this positive?' Which I thought was a funny reaction to a conversation where I was being what I think of as my pretty cynical self. But I think what he was noting was my level of acceptance … and I just can't use all the emotional energy to be angry or frustrated.
I love to sew, but my real passion lays outdoors with my plants. They're my pets.
Again, nobody cared, nobody looked at me weird. I think maybe if I was not in New York City, if I was anywhere else maybe the style would have been a little bit drastic, maybe a little butch or something. I think there was an article in the New York Times that came out around that time, it was the hip hairstyle of the moment, and I was like, 'Alright, well this is it.'
Kelly, on Mindfulness
I just looked into the void and accepted it that I'm going to die. Maybe cancer is what's going to takeme, maybe it's a bus walking across the street. But I'm going to die, and after that I found a pretty great measure of peace.
And the importance of slowing down, and listening to your body, and remembering that you're human. And I think that's one of the things ... We're all so intent on being superhuman. And until nature comes and slaps us down, ‘no!'
And then I just sat there and I went, 'Michael, you're stage four. What the hell are you worried about? Live. Get on the plane,' and I did.
But I remember at that point, I thought, 'I don't want to give fear all this power.' And that was when you could just feel the shift coming. And I just remember that after that, it was interesting. When I would feel that darkness coming, I'd say, 'Okay, but fear, you're not taking my power away.
Michael, on Mindfulness
It's like part of your meditation, like one of the first things I say in my meditation is, 'I am safe. I am well. I am brave. I am courageous. I am strong. And I am kind. I am passionate. I am compassionate.' And it's those things, when you say that, that's what it. does. It reminds you.