Sometimes it’s hard to process another person’s breast cancer story.
Olivia Newton John, Kelly Preston, Suzanne Sommers, or a personal friend.
We can easily get caught up in making their story your own and that never leads to a good place.
In this episode, I focus on celebrating the story of another survivor, on embracing and honoring her journey to make your life fuller, richer, and happier without focusing on the length of time involved.
There’s so much that we can learn from each other if we step out of fear and step into inspiration and living fully in the gift of today.
Read the full transcript below:
Laura Lummer 0:00
You're listening to the breast cancer recovery coach podcast. I'm your host, Laura Lummer. I'm a Certified Life health and nutrition coach, and I'm also a breast cancer thriver. If you're trying to figure out how to move past the trauma and the emotional toll of breast cancer, you've come to the right place. In this podcast, I will give you the tools and the insights to create a life that's even better than before breast cancer. Well, let's get started. Hey, friends, welcome to another episode of Better than before breast cancer with the breast cancer recovery coach. That's me, your host, Laura Lummer. Really happy to be here with this episode today, I kind of have mixed feelings about it, to be honest with you, I think about this episode as a celebration of life. And it's something I've been processing for a couple of days. And thought about is this something I want to talk about on the podcast. And, and yes, obviously, because I'm going to, but this week, I discovered that one of my clients passed. And this is the first time that I've lost a client to breast cancer. Now I knew obviously, when I went into this business as a breast cancer coach, I knew it was probably only a matter of time before something like this happened. And I did feel sadness, because I knew this woman intimately, you know, very closely we'd work together for for quite some time. And the more I thought about it, I thought, Gosh, I really want to celebrate her, you know, I want to celebrate her in a special way. And I want to share some things with you that I learned from my client. Her name is Linda, that I think are really powerful lessons for all of us who are going through the process of cancer, but more importantly, for all of us who are working really hard to embrace life, into create the life that we want, and to be brave enough to step into creating the life that we want. And I say brave because you really have to be brave, because we have to be willing to feel uncomfortable things when we're changing a life. Right when we're changing our life from maybe a life that didn't have boundaries, maybe a life where we thought that we had to do all the things because of the rules society laid out for us. But we want a life where we feel like we're living our truth, where we feel like we are authentically us. We want to show up with whatever sense of humor we have with whatever passions we have. We want to do work that we look forward to doing. We want to be open and transparent in our relationships, we want to save the things that we feel. And in order to do those things. We've got to be brave, we've got to learn to love ourselves. And again, that doesn't mean like Liggett or someone you're so hot, I love you you could look at I mean, of course appreciate your beauty as well. But that's not what I mean, right? It means know that you are a person of worth and value, who deserves care and love and deserves to live authentically as yourself, expressing yourself with kindness and compassion, following your dreams. Now Linda came to me, she had metastatic disease. When she came to me she was stage four. She was in I think, at that time, her third round of intravenous chemotherapy. And she was 75 years old. And I gotta tell you, when I look at that, that I'm so proud of her. Think about a 75 year old woman with stage four cancer, who decides I'm going to work with a life coach. And you know why she did that? Because she had had many traumas in her life. She had children, she had grandchildren, she had endured a lot of suffering and some abuse to be able to keep her family safe and provide for them. And here she was at 75 years old, with stage four cancer third round of intravenous chemotherapy. And what she wanted was more connection. She wanted a social life. And she wanted to know that it was okay for her to forgive herself for things she had done in the past. And I love that she came to me one day and said, Do you think that maybe I could date someone again? I think I'd like to be able in my future to have a romantic relationship. Do you think that's something possible for me? Of course, I thought it was possible for I love that so much. Because here's the thing. Why do we look at people over a certain age and say things like they're invisible? Oh, well, they're old. Really? You're that old? What difference does it make? But Linda didn't do that. She decided I don't care what age I am, I just realized I want to create something in my life. And then she reached out and said, Can somebody helped me do that and figure it out. And I was just amazed by that I was thrilled by that it was so wonderful to work with her. Because not only did she show up for every call, did she book private appointments, I mean, she was committed, really. And she did so much work for herself in these last couple of years. Like she changed and became so much more compassionate. She was so brave, she would step into anything, you know, and she'd say, What do you think? What could I do? And when we would come up with ideas of how she could be more socially connected, she said, Okay, I'll do it. I mean, she will do anything. And that kind of courage is something that's so inspiring, and so commendable. And you know, recently this has come up quite a lot this age thing for me. So most women that get a breast cancer diagnosis are 50, or over, I was 48. And it's actually sadly, becoming younger and younger, the average age of diagnosis. years ago, it was 68. Now it's closer to 48, which was, which was the age I was when I was diagnosed. And we need to look at that, right? We need to work on that we shouldn't see cancer affecting younger and younger women, we don't want to go in that direction. But more than that, something that's been coming up a lot is this idea that what's the point? Right? Like, I'm 50 years old, I'm 55 years old, I'm 65 years old, why bother? And I was in this seminar a few weeks ago, and it was a course on Facebook ads. And the person who's very successful, she's got a very successful ad business. And she was doing this course was a workshop. And in this workshop, she said something she was so I probably don't have any baby boomers out there. But if so, let me know. And I thought, Wow, isn't that interesting mindset. Like just the idea that someone 50 and over wouldn't want to be here learning something new, wouldn't want to step into technology. And I was reading this book. It's a series of books. It's the will Trent series. It's like a detective, the Atlanta Bureau of Investigation detective series. And I was reading this book, and one of the characters in this book, they're gonna go in for the kind of the sting operation. And she's in her mid 50s. And she says, I'll go in, no one will notice because I'm at the age where women become invisible. And I thought, What the hell, that is so crazy, right? That we would accept or adopt that belief that at a certain age of our life, even though we're alive, even though we have so many opportunities, and I think now obviously, I look back at my life now my kids are adults. I've raised my kids, I have grandchildren, I have so much more freedom in my time, I think, Oh, my God, the world is literally my oyster now. Right? I can do anything, I can create anything. And I loved that about Linda, like she believed she could create what she wanted. At 75 years old. She wasn't giving up. She wasn't saying I'm 75 I have stage four cancer. There's no point in this. No. Twos say I'm 75 I have stage four cancer. And you know what, there's a lot of life I still want to live. She and I were in a coaching session one time and we talked about the book, The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel Vander Kolk, because we were talking about traumas she had experienced and this book specifically addresses how the body stores trauma. And she loved that book. She got that book, she started reading that book. She read it, she reread it. She told me how much she loved that book, and so fascinating. 75 years old, and she says to me, I never knew what boundaries were. I never knew that I could set a boundary. I didn't understand what they meant. And I didn't know that I could decide how I wanted to be treated.
Laura Lummer 9:05
What a remarkable revelation, right? What a remarkable step into releasing so much sadness and trauma and changing her life. And she did. She released so much sadness, and so much trauma because of the work that she put into herself. And I look at this passing of Linda, which was peaceful and beautiful. According to her daughter, she was surrounded by her children and grandchildren that she loves. And I just think how wonderful that I had the honor of being her coach in the last years of her life. But how wonderful that she took those years and literally changed who she was that she became a different person who learned that she was valuable and worthy. That she learned that she could love herself, and that she learned that she could start to build believe that she deserved good things, that she deserved happiness, and she deserved to dream. And I think about that, and I thought I decided to talk about this on the show because too many of us don't embrace that. Too many of us think that we have to go through the experience of cancer on our own, and worse yet the experience of life on our own, that we can't reach out and talk to people about our traumas, and get help and learn new tools and adopt new skill sets, that help us to embrace our worthiness that help us to learn how to love who we are, without judging who we are, how we look, how we speak, how we laugh, how we walk, oh, my God, this self judgment is just mind boggling. And to learn that we can let that go is something that's so incredibly healing. You know, I, obviously, if you listen, this podcast, you know, I'm a huge advocate of the metabolic approach. I love nutrition. I'm a nutrition coach. I mean, my all my studies are in health and nutrition and long list of wellness degrees and certifications. But that's the easy stuff, right? That's the super easy stuff. That's the pieces that fall into place, kind of effortlessly, once you decide you're worth it. But it is in the deciding that you deserve love, that you deserve support. That what you think and what you feel and what you tell yourself isn't crazy. It's just truth. Right? Some things will come up. And that's true. I just had this thought. But is the thought itself true? Is the thought that saying I don't deserve this, I'm not worthy of this. Where did that thing come from? to believe that we have to go through a life on our own being led by an untrained brain that tells us shitty things about ourselves all day long is a horrible way to go through life. We have to learn that it's okay to reach out that it isn't these old school beliefs of airing my dirty laundry, or people will think I'm crazy, it's absolutely not. It's a matter of self love of being at a point in your life where you say, You know what, I want more. I'm grateful for what I have. I have a lot of wonderful things in my life. But I'm ready for more. I'm ready to step into abundance. I'm ready to feel better about myself. I'm ready to allow myself to understand how to process grief and shame and guilt, I'm ready to be able to figure out how to use my voice without thinking that my words and my actions cause everybody else's feelings and emotions, that I don't have to take on the responsibility for everyone else's emotions, that I actually get to take care of myself. And when I take care of myself in a loving and compassionate way, people around me learn to take care of themselves in a loving and compassionate way. We learn to interpret the stories of our life differently, and in a way that serves us and helps us to create an even better life. So some of you might say, well, how sad you know, Linda was doing all this work for the last couple of years in her life. And now she's passed. But my truest belief system is that we are here on a journey of the soul. And I know that her soul evolved a tremendous amount in the 75 years she was here on this planet. And I think, especially in the last couple of years, she did so much to just allow her soul to open and to touch other people. You know, she showed up at all the calls, she had insightful words of wisdom, and I so appreciate the wisdom of people as they age in our community, which is another reason why this silly idea of being invisible over a certain age, because we don't look like a Sports Illustrated model anymore is just crazy. But we as women, and we as survivors, who oftentimes criticize ourselves a lot, because of the physical changes in our body that come along with breast cancer treatment. We are the ones that have to step up and not accept that we are the ones that have to step up and believe we are worthy. And we are seen and we are deserving of being worthy, unseen, right? We don't want to step into that role of I am the invisible generation because I'm over 50 Because I have an AARP card and a discounted IOP. All right, that doesn't make us invisible. And we have to reject that idea. I remember this one time, I had a friend over and my son was here at the house. He didn't live with me at the time, but he was visiting us and my friend and I were getting ready and we're gonna go out to lunch with him. I think it was. And he said to me, like, why are you guys go into all this trouble to get dressed? Like, who cares? I mean, you know, you guys are both married. And you know, you're kind of old, like, what difference does it make? And I just thought, How did I raise a child who thinks this way? Right? How do I raise a child who thinks that I'm 50 some years old? So I shouldn't care about myself, treat myself with care and compassion and gentleness, take care of myself and show up in the world the way I want to show up in the world What the hell, I schooled Him, trust me. But too often we think that about ourselves. And there was this one call, I appreciate it so much, because Linda talked about going to an event where she was going to see a lot of people that she had known in her past. And she said she was concerned, she was concerned because she was showing up, she would be wearing a wig, she was going through IV chemotherapy. And she was concerned that people would think about her like the cancer patient. And I know a lot of us have that. A lot of us have that thought, what if they think of me as a cancer patient. But what she decided was, you know what, it doesn't matter what anybody thinks, what's important to me is I go to this, and I connect to these people, and I enjoy myself. And she was just able to adopt such a beautiful, healthy mindset, and to create such a space for love for herself. And I think that was beautiful. And I hope we can all use that as an as an example. We are never too old to love ourselves. And we are never responsible for what other people think of us. So we have to make a decision as we go through life. Am I going to go into this life? And am I going to love this life? And am I going to live this life by my plan by my book, my my design and my dream? Or am I going to live this life, trying to make sure everybody else never gets mad, never gets happy, never judges me. Or worrying about anything. They think you shouldn't wear pink, you shouldn't wear orange, you shouldn't wear black. I mean, when are we going to decide to make life easier on ourselves by living our own life with joy, and compassion. I think Linda was an inspiration for that. And an example of that. And I just feel so honored that I got to share in that part of her life, that was a beautiful part of growth and exploration and compassion. And I wanted to share these parts of the story with you. Because I want that for each of you. I want that for me. I want that for all of us to be able to look and say, I am worthy. And life is beautiful. And as long as I'm here and living and breathing today, then there's a chance for me to do more of what I want. And it doesn't matter if that's only for six months, or if that's for six years. Or if that's for the next 60 years. It's every single day we wake up we say today, what do I want my life to look like? today? How do I find joy? Today? There's a possibility that I could create this thing that I've been really wanting? What steps can I take towards that. And I think that we can use the celebration of life of people who've gone before us to just step into that, to embrace that. And we can choose to look at it with fear and we can choose to take on their story. And we can choose to say oh god, maybe the next one is me. But why? Why not use people's lives as a celebration and a reason to live your life more fully. I hope that you do that. Because I think I believe knowing Linda's I did that. Gosh, she would be so happy to know that people were there enjoying their life even more because she inspired that. So this episode is dedicated to my friend Linda. May you be happy may be filled with joy. May your soul experience all things beautiful and wonderful. And May we all be inspired by your unending passion to enjoy life. Alright my friends, I'll talk to you soon.
Speaker 2 18:40
You've put your courage to the test laid all your doubts your mind is clearer than before your hardest phone won't be more your futures Give it all you know you've been waiting on this