Today I am tackling the topic of cancer. I wonder how many of you, like me, have had a cancer journey of your own. According to the American Cancer Society about 1,685,210 new cancer cases are expected to be diagnosed in 2016. It seems to reason that your life has been touched by cancer in one way or another.
What I thought about cancer changed drastically after I was diagnosed. I realized that prior to my diagnosis I thought that cancer was something that happened to other people. I was a vegetarian, who stopped drinking in college and worked out seven days a week, for God’s sake! How could I possibly have cancer?
Soon into my healing journey, I stopped asking why or denying what was and got into serious action mode. I am grateful my husband Vic (who was my boyfriend of less than 6 months at that point) was there every step of the way to help me decide on treatment options etc.
Today’s podcast is not about my journey but my pal, Jennifer Ford’s. She’s one of the founders of an organization called Bent on Learning, which brings yoga into schools. Jennifer also has a special needs child, which is part of what inspired her to create Bent on Learning. This enabled her to take something that was painful and give back by helping special needs kids and their parents use yoga for healing.
But this interview isn’t about yoga, or her son. This interview focuses on Jennifer’s cancer journey. She shares her own, you’ve got to be kidding me I’m so freakin’ healthy how can I have cancer, WTF?!, moment and how sometimes you need to just give yourself a few hours with a bottle of tequila on a deserted beach to re-group. I love her spunky spirit and bawdy sense of humor, and I think you’ll get a great sense of that in our conversation.
I’m always interested in how other people handle a cancer diagnosis and what they might learn that can benefit all of us. I wanted you to hear Jennifer’s story because she tells it with such openness, transparency, and humor. You might just learn something too.
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“You could have these identities defining you, but maybe because I’m just a curious learner I don’t want to pigeonhole myself.” – Jennifer Ford
- How she found her breast cancer during a self exam
- The emotional experience of her diagnosis
- How she learned to adapt and compartmentalize
- How her yoga has guided her
- What her special needs son has taught her
“We are all these many things, and for me it’s helpful to compartmentalize it.” – Jennifer Ford
- Why you have to listen to your own voice
- The input and output of yoga
- What surgeries and procedures she may undergo
- Her realization that she will be a patient forever
- How labeling her cancer made it a bigger deal
“Surrender to it and just be in it – you’ll have an easier time.” – Jennifer Ford
- Check out Flower Power in the East Village
- Connect with Jennifer:
“Let’s create two Jennifers: the one that needs medical care, the one who needs to get this done, and the one who’s going to feel it.” – Jennifer Ford
*image courtesy of Vladimir Agafonkin