Marriage, breast cancer, a spouse with brain cancer, raising children, and finding a way to care for yourself.
Is it possible to manage all of this and find your way to a joyful life?
Meet Jen Delvaux, host of the wildly successful podcast show "Not Today Cancer" and the author of "Not Today Cancer: A non-typical guide for the girl who wants to thrive, not just survive.
Jen is an incredibly inspiring woman who’s been through it all and still found her way to create a life of joy, love, and time for self-care.
Check out today’s episode and pick up some priceless advice on how to support yourself so you can show up even better for those you love.
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Read the full transcript below:
Unknown Speaker 0:00 Hey friends, welcome to episode 284 of better than before breast cancer with the breast cancer recovery coach. I'm your host, Laura Lummer. I am so excited to bring you today's episode, because for the month of October, as I think I said on the last podcast, and as I've said on lots of social media posts, I really feel like we as survivors need to have inspiration. We don't want to get sucked into a lot of the sadness and triggers that can come along with breast cancer awareness month. There's a lot of great stuff happening out there. And I don't mean to sound like I'm bad mouthing Breast Cancer Awareness Month. That's not it at all. But I know our experience is different. And so for that reason, I want to bring on as much inspiration as I can. And today I'm going to share an interview with a guest, Jen DeVoe, who I think you're gonna love. So let me tell you a little bit about Jen, I'm very excited if I was a guest on her podcast, which you could go and listen to. And I'll put links into the show notes. And we talked about how to find joy, you know how to have fun how to do the inner work, that's so much more important than just diet and nutrition. A Jen brings a really special experience to the table, because she's not only a breast cancer survivor, but her husband is a brain cancer survivor. So they together do a podcast episode, Jen has her podcast episode. And I love that because I know and we all know how much of an impact cancer has on a relationship. And when it comes to breast cancer, and all the changes we go through, which can include doesn't always but can include the loss of or change of our breasts, menopause change, you know, the drugs that can bring on changes in libido, and just the overall body image that we have to deal with. And that in and of itself, is a lot, then we add on to it the desire to be understood, right, the desire to be heard and understood. And then also the stories and the thoughts we have about how we should keep showing up for our partners for our family, even when we're going through a really tough time. So I want to share Jen story because she's been there. And I think her perspective, which is one of real honesty, but also doing the work of finding the support that she needed, doing the work and having the conversations with her husband to develop the relationship they wanted, and that they are living now. And I just think it's a great story. And so let me tell you a little bit more about her. She's the host of the wildly successful podcast, not today cancer. She's the author of not today cancer, a non typical guide for the girl who wants to thrive not just survive. So Jen Delvaux, she's an integrative health practitioner, a proud mother of two amazing adult children, and a wife to Darren, her incredible husband who was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2009. So through Jen's podcast, she inspires others to live their best life. But her true mission is to empower women to navigate cancer, to take control of their diagnosis and to thrive after it such important work. And as a cancer thriver herself just like her husband, Darren, she's here to tell you that she knows firsthand what it takes to overcome the disease. She was diagnosed in 2021. And together, Darrin and Jen speak very candidly about their struggles, and they share how they've been able to stay positive and move forward. She firmly believes that she's here on this earth to be a beacon of hope for other women, helping them release their fears and reset and rise after a cancer diagnosis. So it's a lot of great stuff. And I think I know you're gonna love Jen and I'm going to put the links to her book to her podcast, to her social media links to all the places you can find her. She's a beautiful, inspiring person. And I hope you enjoy and find some inspiration in this episode. And here we go meet Jen. Hi, Jen, welcome to better than before breast cancer podcast How you doing? Good. I'm so excited to be here today. And excited to have you here today. And you know, this podcast will come out at the beginning of October, which for us it's not the same as it ever was before I watching football games with pink tennis shoes and pink ribbons and and I think it's so important that people like us who have actually been through this experience connect with others, especially in this month to give them inspiration and support to let them borrow hope to help them come up with some solutions because tell me after mean your experience with your husband, your experience with yourself that when that Unknown Speaker 5:00 month came around, and you see a lot of stories that come up that are terrifying, right. And so few that actually addressed those of us who've been through this, in the sense of support in so many, you know, touching things, you know, bald heads and parades and things like that. So I'm really excited that we're doing this and putting it out. And I hope our voices reach as many people as possible. And I am really excited and honored and appreciate you sharing your experience. Because, you know, relationships after cancer, heart. And I see many clients and people that are in my Facebook groups that say this ruin my marriage, disrupt my sex life, as we know, if you go into menopause right away from the chemo, I don't have a libido and all of the things that come with menopause. So I would love to hear your story, give you your experience, what came first, how did you manage that? How did you handle second diagnosis of cancer with the other partner, you know, coming into life? And work through all that? So leave the stage to you? Yeah, thank you. Yeah, I we love to share our story. It's, it's a long one. And it has the roller coaster, a lot of ups and a lot of downs. It's been a really long journey. So it started with my husband, he was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2009. He was 36 years old, was blastoma. It was not so they thought it was actually they thought initially it was gonna be a glioblastoma. And they actually gave him 18 months to live without even Unknown Speaker 6:40 getting into his brain. Sometimes it's very upsetting what some doctors will say before they have the evidence or proof. So I always tell people to go slow. We don't know anything until they get in there. And but anyway, so we were young, and he had ended up being a grade two astrocytoma. But we think it was more like a grade three because it came back 18 months later, a lot more aggressive. So we actually went to MD Anderson. So after his initial Unknown Speaker 7:13 diagnosis, it was very strange relationship wise, it brought our family so close. And it was really interesting, because the things that used to bug me, you know, husband and wife like, Why can't he just put this in the hamper? Or, you know, whatever it is, it's driving you crazy. And like, oh, yeah, none of that matters. None of isn't that interesting? Yeah, he wants to go golfing with his friends, you go golfing with your friends. You want to watch football on Sundays, you go watch football on Sundays. And we became really close as a family. And I almost didn't want to let him go. And luckily, he healed pretty quickly after that first surgery. So 18 months later, he gets the second diagnosis. And or yeah, they it grows, go to MD Anderson. And this was a really lengthy, open Awake, awake brain surgery, went to grade three. And after that surgery, he had a couple of mini strokes. It was really extensive, like his journey with that whole year after that second brain surgery was maybe a caretaker, and him being a patient. So our marriage completely changed in that moment. It's interesting it in the first one, it actually brought us closer. The second one I saw so much, and there was so much involved. And you know, he had to learn things all over again. He didn't know how to read and write and like even getting into an elevator and knowing what to do. Like he didn't know how to do anything. So I basically had to teach him everything over again. He obviously didn't go back to work, so I became his caretaker. Unknown Speaker 8:56 I did you have children at the time also? Yes, two kids. So Drew Drew was at that time, probably six. And then Maddie was like, Unknown Speaker 9:07 like 11 or 12. Okay, so yeah, it was it was, you know, tough on all of us, including our marriage, because a year later, and honestly, I didn't know that he was even going to survive. Really like my mom even had like a deep conversation with me. Like, he may not make it and I'm like, I know. And so Unknown Speaker 9:29 you know, all this won't happen. And then he just slowly started getting better and improving after that year and getting better. And I'm like, wait a minute. Like he's becoming Darren again. He's learned all these things over again. And then he was like, hey, you know, hey, what are you doing? You want it you know what I mean? starts putting the moves on me and I'm like, Unknown Speaker 9:51 you know, I just like Unknown Speaker 9:54 I am not there like I was his caretaker. I Unknown Speaker 10:00 Did did not have any of those feelings. And the beautiful thing about Darren and i is, this was a little bit harder, I think I don't think I shared everything with him. But I knew something wasn't right and I'm like, are pretty open, but I didn't want to hurt his feelings. I didn't know what to do there. But I knew I needed therapy. Unknown Speaker 10:22 Did immediately I actually did EMDR therapy, so I could really look at some things that were stuck in my head. And we started dating again. Unknown Speaker 10:35 That's awesome. Yeah. And so we slowly got back into it. So we did get back to this beautiful relationship. And then, you know, I'll get into the next one when you want, but then after my diagnosis, but that's, it takes work. It's not easy. And I think a lot of times, people sadly end up in divorce, and they don't put the work in. And, you know, he's, he's my best friend. And I love him to death. And I want him in my life. And, and I knew I had to get that back in our relationship for us to stay together and have a healthy relationship. Well, you know what, I love what you just said that that you started dating, can you just click with how, after our diagnosis, there's so much resistance and suffering and frustration that comes as the desire to go back to normal. And here you are deciding, okay, there's no going back, because we went from husband and wife to caretaker and patient. And that vibe is just not happening. So you really had to let go of the idea of going back and create something all new, which is what we have with ourselves, right? That also comes to my mind is the incredible amount of stress that had to be for you. Taking care of yourself to kids, your husband, the financial pressures, the intimate everything, and how often we hear that when someone gets a cancer diagnosis, we can look back two to four years prior to that diagnosis and see a tremendous amount of stress. Right? Totally, absolutely. Unknown Speaker 12:06 100% How long after that, were you diagnosed? So his. So he had a third brain surgery in 2019. And then I was diagnosed in 2021. So and, yeah, in 2018, that was another week brain surgery at in Houston, Texas. And this time, I went to grade for glioblastoma, and you know, and he here he is still a miracle. And he actually did really good after that surgery, and he is a walking miracle. He is the person that is proof that stats lie. Attitude is everything. But so when I was diagnosed, that changed everything to in our relationship. And I almost think from my perspective, and I think it's the female perspective, it was harder. So I think, I think men are like, oh, yeah, they can, you know, you know what I'm saying, for women, our breasts are supposed to be, you know, the sexual thing. And our breasts just tried to kill us. And it's like, not sexy anymore. And cancer isn't sexy, and our breasts change, and we may look differently and feel differently, and menopause. And all of a sudden we have all the things going on. And I what I did was then I could be really honest with Darren. And I was like, Listen, Unknown Speaker 13:31 do not look at my breasts as a sexual thing anymore. I do not feel good in my own skin. I'm not comfortable right now. I, I the menopause symptoms, like I was so honest with him about everything that I was feeling, which is still important, because I think a lot of women were embarrassed and we don't want to say these things. But Darrin knew exactly how I was feeling. He knew I wasn't engaging in it at that point, because it was me and I had to go through this and learn what I could do. So there are in the beautiful thing is there's things you can do, and you can overcome it. But again, you have to seek help for this. There's no menopause doctors out there, and therapists and OB GYN and there's so many things that you can do to help you get through menopause and have a healthy sexual life again. Yeah, and I'm gonna ask you more about that. But I just think it's two things you've said are so important one that you realize you needed to get therapy to work through your thoughts and process. And too many people I think, feel for some reason and think I should be stronger. I could do this on my own. I shouldn't have to reach out I hear people say I don't want to air my dirty laundry. I don't want to complain. And it's so sad because it's like this is emotional wellness. When you got ill with cancer. You reached out and you got support because your body aided support, you didn't know how to treat yourself you had cancer, right and now you have an emotional challenge at Unknown Speaker 15:00 illness for lack of another word, right? That is suffering. And you don't know how to treat that, because you've never been there. And it's so cool, totally fine, to get help. And then also, like you said, again, too, I hear this all the time, you know, oh, menopause did this to me and did that to me. And we think that we just have to live with that. But just like you're saying, you can put together a team, we put together a team, when our life is on the line with chemotherapy, and doctors and all that, we can put together a team for recovery as well. And I think coaches and, and therapists, and all the people you just talked about are an important part of that team. So tell me some of the things you did or help you manage? Like, how did you one transparency, I think is awesome. They really shared how you feel your voice? And so what kind of things did you do to help yourself feel the way you wanted to feel? Yeah, well, I think for me, when I got my diagnosis, I am the type of person that I am like, Okay, Unknown Speaker 15:59 this situation happened, whatever that is, and I could have my pity party for a minute. And then then I need to pick myself up and figure out what to do. So I am a researcher at heart as well. And I started looking into, you know, what could acupuncture do? What type of vitamins could I take, I even did energy healing, like anything to like, home myself, and figure out what I could do. I also met with my OBGYN and I was I'm luckily, fortunate enough to have a very open OBGYN, who is just out there and says all the things. So she was so helpful in helping me come up with some products that might help, you know, with dryness, and in even lack of libido. And I also look at nutrition, and exercise. In a mindset. It's like, I do it all. I'm not the type of person that will just sit back and follow the doctor's orders and do the treatment. And then that's it. I think people that don't take the initiative and do things. Those are the people that are stuck in. And I think those that do things, we have less fear, because we feel like we have no more control. 100% Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. And I think too, like, that's such an important point that you make, because there's a lot of people out there, I call them soft coaching, you know, where it's like, okay, honey, and we all feel bad. And I know we all go through that. It's like, ladies, we got to be honest, it's work. And it takes intention and energy and time and planning and effort. When it's frustrating sometimes, right? We're like, I shouldn't have to Well, that's a great story. But we do have to. Yeah, right. And so if you really want that rock in your life or something in anything that's in your life, you've got to put the energy into it. Yeah. How old? Were you at your diagnosis? I was 47. Okay. Yeah, I was 48. My original one, two. Yeah. So, so young, right. I know. I know. So just blasted into menopause overnight, and I had my whole entire life changed. And I went through all the emotions, you know, I was I was mad at first. My husband is in interesting. We're, he's just like this happy go lucky. Like, I'll be fine. And he just takes what the doctors say. And he his mindset is great. It's I always joke around that they tweaked something during one was brain surgeries. Unknown Speaker 18:35 And I had work to do I know myself, I would not feel comfortable with me just doing the bare minimum of what the doctor says. Say it says because I look at like, Okay, this happened to me. What was I doing? What can I maybe change? Because obviously, something was wrong. And I think a lot of it is our stress. Absolutely. I think that's I want to ask you about when you got your diagnosis. And I know you went through a lot of reflection, tell me what you thought about like being the loved one in the caretaker for someone who was sick. Well, did you take care of yourself during that time? And then with reflection? How would you say you would take care of yourself differently in any kind of stressful situation? Unknown Speaker 19:22 Yeah, I mean, this was this was really different for me because I am the one that takes care of the family. You know, I'm the one that honestly does it all. He is the light in our lives, but he can't work. And, you know, he's just, he can and so a lot of it's on me. And so when I was diagnosed, I was consumed with fear. I think most of us like we think the second you hear the words you have cancer, you're like dying in two weeks, or sick immediately. And my biggest fear at that time was not being here for my kid. Unknown Speaker 20:00 To my family. And I was like, Who? Who's going to? Who's going to take care of everything? Yeah. And you know, even me going through it, I am, it was still a lot on me. I mean, I love my husband, and he tries to do his best. But he doesn't really know how to take care of me. So again, I had to be the strong one. I had a lot of support from Ben's friends. But I really think it takes community it takes being connected with other women who've gone through it. I can't imagine going through this without other women watching other women a step ahead of me to see the light because they taught me so much, because I think a lot of it was on me. Yeah, who did you turn to? Like, where did you find support in that community? Well, I listen to a couple of different podcasts of women who were going through it that was very helpful to me, I met with an energy healer, she helped me process a lot. I had an acupuncturist he was on my team helped me through a lot. It was a lot of things that brought peace and calm to me. So honestly, like the podcasts that I listened to were silly podcasts of women making light of it. And it made it not so scary. Like I wasn't doing I didn't want to the rich in the original diagnosis, I didn't want to know all the facts, like I'm a researcher. But sometimes I think we have to protect our mind, and not maybe look at it all. And so I focused on things that I was like, what I could do, and you know, how I could heal, how I could help myself and really focus on that. I'm calming myself. And so Oh, meditation, meditation. Meditation was huge. And journaling. Journaling was massive. Like I immediately the second I was diagnosed, I just started writing down my story, and what was happening, and I had no idea I think, prior to my diagnosis, I was like, go, go, go, go, go, never slow down, didn't have time for meditation. And the second I was diagnosed, my world stopped. Unknown Speaker 22:11 And everything changed for me. And that's when I really started slowing down and like, oh, my gosh, even looking around and saying, Look at the beautiful flowers and the greenery. And like, you see things so differently from a different set of eyes. Yeah, absolutely. And I think that's, it's such an important point to make is that we just just like you said, with your husband, suddenly a petty things are like, it doesn't matter. I love the matter, you know. And so often it's like, really the petty things are what 5% of a relationship, and really just focus on that 5% of the 95% of everything. It's wonderful. The more intention we put into that tiny percent of negativity, the more negative it becomes. Yes. And same thing, like what you're saying with research is right for myself, and for the people I work with always say, make an informed decision, do the research, you need to understand the choice you're making. When then focus on people healed. listen to stories of people who survive, listen to stories of people treat themselves well. But what all the things that you offered again, I just want to keep emphasizing it's so beautiful, you did that. But you had a team and we didn't. You didn't just put all your eggs in a standard of care basket, although you I'm sure like we are grateful that was there and saved our lives. But integrated care. And the simple things right? Meditation, journaling, and people poopoo it all the time, right? Can you see that? They're just like, that's just okay. Yeah, I've heard of that. Yeah, I tried that. It's like, No, it's not a trying. It's a you've got to do this on a regular basis. It is a therapy. It is I don't I don't know where I'd be without it. I really don't like the journaling piece of it. And I used to think I didn't used to journal because I'm not like the best writer. Grammatically, things are off. I may misspell words. And I thought journaling had to be this beautiful writing of poetry. It's not it's literally getting your thoughts on the paper. Even when things are driving me crazy, or they are hard in my relationship. Or I'm, you know, when I'm doing all the things, sometimes it can be frustrating. I will write it all out. And then I tear that piece of paper up and throw it away. But those those thoughts, and those feelings have left my body. And I think it's really important to get rid of any of this stuck energy. So good. So true. And I was just going to ask you that question. I would say a lot of times women are afraid to be honest, even with themselves on paper, because they're afraid people might see it. So I was going to ask you how did you deal with that? So you threw it away? Right? Oh, yeah. Listen, I've gotten a lot on paper and thrown it away. Sometimes I'm burned it. Unknown Speaker 24:49 I love that. Yeah, that's Michelle. I'm like burden if you have to drought you have to be out of you. Yeah. to that. That's kind of ceremonial, right you Unknown Speaker 24:59 up Unknown Speaker 25:00 Get it out. And then the throwing away is like I'm done with you. Right? Yes. I even think going back, like going back to like earlier trauma in your life and your childhood, and just sitting there like putting your timer on for 10 minutes, and I listen to some music in the background. And I will think like, what was what upset me as a child? And I might think one little thing that happened, and I will journal about it, and it feels so good getting it off your chest. Because back then we never did that. Yeah, how much emotion will come up when you do that? Yes. It's the simplest silliest things as a kid and you just feel the sadness come up anything worse that Ben has just been there? You know? Yes. Yeah. So when you think about now, you did all this stuff to heal and take care of yourself. When I mean, I'm not gonna say when you go through a stressful situation, life everyday is stressful, and you're still like managing a family. And you've got to take care of yourself and keep your stress reduced. You've got a business, you guys have a podcast, you've got a family. So how is the way you take care of yourself and your relationship with your husband different now than it was before cancer? What have you learned about that? Oh, yeah, great question. Unknown Speaker 26:14 Honestly, it's slow down. So we appreciate the small moments, Darren and I, we and we talk, we talk about things. I almost look at it as a gift that most relationships or marriages never have. And we've had the scary conversations, you know about death, like Darren and I've had gut wrenching, beautiful conversations about, like death. And what that means. And honestly, it makes it less scary. But we're just so open with each other. And when I noticed was much slower. Unknown Speaker 26:49 I feel like my brain is way less cluttered. Because I just move at a different pace. I, when I'm what I noticed that I'm like, getting into that old space where I'm trying to do it all and I'm feeling stressed, and I can't even think straight, I will go sit down and do a meditation. Or I'll go sit in my sauna and just let the sweat come out and just like feel it all. It's so important to slow down. Because I do believe stresses, like one of those things like, I'm not kidding you. So many women that I've interviewed nine times out of 10 it is a major stress before their diagnosis. Is that same thing for you. Yeah, absolutely. And I think you know, a great part of what I do. I mean, that's what we do as a life coaches help people look at their thoughts. You know, I don't care how good you eat, if you're a hot mess in between your ears, you are gonna get sick again, like life's not gonna get easier. And the clearing the clutter is something again, it's, I think people overcomplicate the healing process, right? Like all the supplements and all the treatments, and all the things and all the news. And it's like, if you just come back to Whole Foods, slow down your life, learn how to establish healthy boundaries. And those three things just in themselves could take you a lifetime to get good at. Right? And it's like, just come back to these very simple things, which are acts of self love for you and your people. Like your family's gonna be happier. You're not running around like crazy town and chaos every day, right? Yeah. Unknown Speaker 28:23 Yeah, because they know things for your own health. Oh my gosh, I say no to so many things. I used to be a people pleaser, I am not anymore. And the other really interesting thing is when you just slow down and you quiet your mind, you feel things like I literally feel the energy in my body. Like I can feel it when moving through my feet. And I never felt that before. Sir, my entire life. It's like, you have to like have the trust in your body and love on your body. I think I saw you even say something before. You have to. I saw it somewhere whether it was a podcast or on your website, maybe but just loving your body even though you had that cancer diagnosis. Yeah, yeah. Because I think that you know, I flipped a big switch between my first diagnosis and my second from being in the pink fight. In the book, radical remission is the one that changed the my perspective, too. That's my favorite book. Yeah, God, I've read as you're, as you're saying, like feel the energy, I think of that Japanese gentleman that they talked about. And he sat on his rooftop and said how he started noticing energy moving in him for the first time. And I love him. Like, if I could be anyone in the world. I would like to meet him even though he doesn't speak English. Unknown Speaker 29:37 When he was up, like in the hospital room, like dying, found that place outside amazing, like amazing chills. Yes. Such a big blessing. Right. So it's just that when I realize it's like when we talk about cancer, like can't screw cancer and that and let's just be honest, it sucks. It's hard. It's difficult. It's scary, but it's our body. Unknown Speaker 30:00 It's our own body cells, which is why it's so hard. And I tried to think of it like, I'm kind of metaphoric terms, right? And it's like, Wait, these cells are just connected. They're no longer part of the community. They're not functioning together. We're not connected to each other. And I think about that, in terms of me, where am I disconnected? How am I not part of my community? You know, where am I keeping myself separate? And I tried to think about the six cells are in Me, what are their attributes? What are they doing? And how do I love them? And I think he was the one that said it in that book, radical mission, I sent love to my cancer. And that was like, what? Yes. Because my first thought was, if you send love to, it's gonna grow. I love you cancer. Yes. Unknown Speaker 30:46 We send love to your sick kid, you're sick husband, you're sick itself. Right? And it's like, we send the energy for them to heal, not to grow totally. And that was everything. So everything you say, and how you were all those things we did to construct that team and love yourself. Is the connecting to this, everything in my body? Hey, I want you to heal. I don't want you to turn into cancer cells again. Yeah, yeah, absolutely. It is. So it's powerful. It gives somebody it should make somebody feel better about it, and gives them a sense of control and peace. Unknown Speaker 31:22 Yeah, and like you said, when you step in, and you take care of your nutrition, and you take care of your meditation, and you assemble your team, there's no more, there's not all the room for fear, fear will still be there, right? It's a natural part of this process, that it's not us sitting here powerless, wondering, When is this gonna happen to me? What is gonna happen to me what's coming that I don't see coming? And if we can get that ingrained into our people, right, it's like you have so much power. And I think instead we go to what we've been conditioned to from kids, right? Let me make you feel better with this treat. Let me make you feel better with this cocktail. Let me make you feel better, because you don't feel good. Right? So then we get ourselves into saying we're treating ourselves with things that are harming us even more. And then that takes away more power because we feel like shit. It really does. I we were on vacation recently. And my son said Mom, just splurge, like have these fries. I said, You know what? If I wanted to have the fries, I would, I don't want them. And the interesting part is like once you start becoming healthy, and you eat these amazing nutritious foods, the foods that used to used to look at it to treat you. They're just not anymore. Yeah. So true. And it takes a while to get there. It takes to change it. And then and then I think you kind of go through the fighting to not have any of it. And then the moderation of a little bit and then the you know what, I just surrender. I just don't want that in me anymore. Yeah, yeah, we finally find peace. Yeah. Yep. Maybe Napa with some friends over the weekend. And it was that kind of thing where I was still stuck to my diet routine, and just saw so many carbohydrates everywhere on the table and stuff. And I thought I'm good with it. You know? Yeah, that's cool. I'm happy for that and have it all, you know, but yeah, I just don't care. You know? Yeah, yeah. Yeah. It's interesting. Unknown Speaker 33:14 Yes, it is. It's very freeing. Yeah. What would you say to people? So one was your journaling? And I know, women have fear about putting their thoughts out on paper. And then the second one is, how did you find your voice to be so transparent with your husband, because I know that holds a lot of women back the fear that I'll reveal myself and put myself in this vulnerable position, and he won't accept it, defend it rejected, something will happen that I won't feel received in the way I want to feel received. So then they hold it in. Unknown Speaker 33:48 You know, I think it came very natural to me, it wasn't hard to find my voice. I knew it had to have be a conversation. I think, with Darren, we've always been open with each other. And so I think we've had that advantage. And I think also with him having cancer, he understood. Unknown Speaker 34:09 So when you say to someone who feels like that they want you, but they are scared. How do they get to that place? What do you think they need me to do? How can they support themselves? Yeah, you basically just have to, you have to have that conversation. Because, you know, there's a lot of things in life that we don't want to do. You know what I mean? Like, we're not always motivated to exercise and you know, but if you don't, Unknown Speaker 34:36 you know, but so I would just say that, there you have to do it for your marriage, or your relationship and it's, it's a disservice to him not to tell him because he doesn't understand what you're thinking. And the second you have that conversation, he's gonna say, Oh, I got it. Okay, like, how do we move past this? Like, there's things you can do, but Unknown Speaker 35:00 It's just making yourself have that conversation. It's uncomfortable, maybe get in a situation where you guys are having dinner together or you know, it's a date night, and you're just, it's just a conversation that you cannot ignore. Because that if you ignore that, that can affect your marriage. Right? Absolutely. And then what about what would you say to? You do that and you get a response you don't want? Like, you're not you're hoping for a different response. But you don't get it. Then what? Unknown Speaker 35:33 I don't know. I mean, I don't know. I've just sold lucky, like, I knew that he would understand and appreciate it. But gosh, I would I mean, I think you'd have to go to therapy. I think both of you together, he would have to get it to like, maybe even have separate conversations. But he needs to understand the world that you've just entered. And I think they don't. If they have not gone through a diagnosis, it's really hard to understand what's going through a woman's mind. So yeah, I think for sure, hands down. You need you would need to see. seek therapy, for sure. Yeah. Talk to yourself. And I hope that people start to adopt that mentality of it's like, I think people think of therapy with this old school mentality of I'm not crazy, I don't need therapy. Or if we go to therapy, just to prove I'm right before we get divorced. Unknown Speaker 36:23 It's not about that, right. It's about what tools to communicate. Oh, my gosh, so important. So important. I mean, Darren, and I look at therapy as like, as I mean, it's been part of our marriage for a long time. So I think we've just always had that in us. I've never, I think people who don't get therapy, like, every single one of us needs therapy at some point in our life, if not forever, an ongoing thing. And we just had to get through some tough stuff, you know, because I have a lot on me. And, and we went through some things where he was almost Unknown Speaker 36:59 preparing me for his own mortality, like death, like, even like, here's who I think you should bury. And I was like, This is too much like, because I'm sitting here now in this waiting game. It was very strange. So we had to go to therapy over it. And He now understood like, Okay, that was probably taking it too far. And so therapy is it helped us get through all of that. Awesome. Yes. So good. That's just such a great tool. Because how do we can't get through what we don't know how to get through, right? No, no, no, no, no. I think also this mistake stinkin mentality or expectation? That things should be easy, right? Why do we ever think things should be easy when things ever been? Easy? Right? Right. No, right? No intention? Yeah, yeah. If we live the easy life, what does that mean? Sit back, don't exercise, eat whatever you want. Fight with people say whatever's on your mind with no filters. You know, it's not fun. Well, yeah. Yeah. It takes a lot of work. Yes, that's awesome. So what would you say? Like, what would be your best advice, someone came to you and said, Here I am, I just got diagnosed, I don't know. I'm so afraid of what this is going to do to my marriage, or even after the fact of saying, I'm having all these menopausal symptoms, and it's affecting me and I'm unhappy, and he's unhappy. Where do we go from here? Well, I think number one, you need to start taking care of you. Unknown Speaker 38:30 Put yourself first, and that is exactly all the different pillars that we've already discussed. I think it's connecting with a community, having that support, talking to somebody else who's been through who gets it was getting through it in a positive way. I mean, there's some people who, who maybe are not the best to follow, but somebody who is getting through it in a positive way, meditation, I mean, by you working on you, it's going to make you feel better, which then makes your relationship better, makes everything in your life better. When you're taking care of yourself by looking at you know, and don't get overwhelmed by it. I know a lot of people get this diagnosis, and they're at square one with their health, and they've never exercise. They didn't eat healthy. They didn't do any of these extra things. It's just taking one thing at a time. And I think one thing that was super powerful for me was meditation, and calming down my brain. And just by doing that, you're going to feel better, and then maybe it's starting to get outside and just walking. Yeah, and looking at nature. And then it's looking at your diet and maybe looking at things that maybe you can add, instead, always taken away right away, you know, like adding fruits and vegetables into your diet and just looking at how you can de stress but by taking care of yourself. That's going to then take care of your relationship. Yeah. And so true, and I think we too often think we'll have to fix that other person. Unknown Speaker 40:00 If I make them do what I think they should be doing, and we completely overlook the work and care for ourselves, yes, right. And that's such an important starting point. Even in having those tough conversations, like you were saying, the worst thing that can happen is you're going to feel uncomfortable. Yeah, that's it. But if you don't have it, you're never going to know what's on the other side. I know. And maybe you'll get what you want on the other side, and maybe you won't, but in the process, you'll learn to take care of yourself, whatever the outcome might be. Absolutely, it takes time, it takes time, when you start something new, you are not going to just like let's just take exercise, for example, if you have never worked out and you start exercising, you're not going to want to do it. Every day, for the next 30 days, you're not going to want to do it. And exercise isn't for 21 days, or 30 days or 90 days, it's for the rest of your life. And you have to fight through that when you don't want to do it. Because then it eventually becomes just ingrained into your life. Living that healthier lifestyle. But it doesn't come easy. takes work. So basically, our message to everybody is work harder. Unknown Speaker 41:08 Sorry about that. Yeah. So like, it's hard. I'm like, I know. It's hard. Yes. It's hard, but in a good way, right. Like putting your effort into the relationship. Now you're sitting here going, Oh, God, we dated again. He created a whole new relationship. How cool is that? So cool. That's so neat. Like just say everything off the table, we got to figure this out and start fresh in everything changed for us. And it was for the best it was it was tough. That whole year was hard. Unknown Speaker 41:38 And then it got in then it was just the best it had ever been. Mm hmm. I love that. That's. So if people want to hear more about you, you have an awesome podcast. Tell us about that. Tell us where to find you. Yeah, I have a podcast show not today, cancer. And I'm interviewing people. And in fact, I will have you on my show. And then I also have an episode that my husband and I did and I do together on Fridays. It's lighter. He's hysterical. He's funny. And then I will do a breast cancer 101, which is brief, just a brief topic about breast cancer and how you get through it. I also have a community of incredible women supporting each other with tools to talk about a lot of the things are that we talked about a lot of things we discussed, we've got live calls in there. I have a book not today cancer and Instagram account is under my name Jen, Davao, I kind of do it all that well. And I'll put the links to everything in the show notes for you. But I just really want to encourage people listen, like especially if you're struggling in that relationship, listen to you and your husband and understand. You know, because I think hearing a man's perspective, right? We borrow from each other as survivors as a women. Yeah, men have a totally different perspective and think in a different way. And we can't expect them to think like women because they're not. Right, right. So hearing, I think the perspective of the man who has supported someone who's gone through it, I think is such a cool resource to have. Yeah, so is it right, listen, he's great. I love that. Right. Well, thank you so much. And I can talk to you forever. So yeah, thank you. Unknown Speaker 43:15 Yeah, yeah, of course. Thank you so much. It's been a pleasure. Thank you. Unknown Speaker 43:21 All right. I hope you enjoyed that interview. And you know, for me, the big takeaway from there was, when you care for yourself, and you put yourself first which comes out to sound so selfish to some people, right, that's the first place our minds go to selfishness. But I hope you've learned from Jen, that it was only in putting her needs first and putting herself first, that she was able to heal from all the things, and she was able to figure out what her needs were. And by doing that, she was able to have a richer and happier relationship. I think the bed is a message that cannot be stated enough. And that whatever thoughts you are working through, that bring up stories that say to you that selfish, I don't deserve that my money should go somewhere else. First. You know, therapy's expensive, that I hope you find someone that there's some champion in your life you can go to, to help you work through those thoughts and help you understand that to live the life you want to live to live a life that's better than before breast cancer better than before brain cancer better than before cancer hits our lives at all. We've got to do the work, to change the things that brought us to the place where we didn't take the best care of ourselves, so that we can step into that future version of us who is madly and radically in love with ourselves compassionate with ourselves. And in doing so, we show up so much better for everyone else that we live in this life. Unknown Speaker 45:00 All right, so follow Jen. All her links are in the show notes for this podcast breast cancer recovery coach.com forward slash 284. Or scroll down where you're listening to this podcast and you'll see all the links right there too. I know you'll love adding, not today cancer to your inspiring repertoire of podcasts. I'll talk to you soon