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If you've been diagnosed with cancer, you have a breaking bad news story.
And, you're probably never going to forget it.
Besides the usual who, what where and when, you also remember the how. How did your doctor break your bad news? Was he or she sensitive and compassionate? Or, was your doctor distracted, rushed, uncomfortable and insensitive?
It's hard to believe, but medical schools don't teach compassionate communication skills. To fill the gap, the BBN (Breaking Bad News) Model was created by doctors to teach doctors and other medical professionals the compassionate way to break bad news to patients.
I'm happy to celebrate the work of this organization and wanted to share an article I wrote about it recently for Cure Magazine:
The Art of Breaking Bad News
BY DEBBIE WOODBURY
At the age of 38, Lesley Andrews found herself in a breast surgeon’s office. She wasn’t too worried about the lump in her breast, assuming it was like the one she’d found three years earlier, which was benign.
After an examination and an ultrasound, the doctor took her into his office, sat behind the desk and said, “I don’t like the shape of this one.”
“My stomach dropped, and I got very upset and anxious,” Andrews says. “I was looking to him for guidance, but he wouldn’t look at me. He kept checking his beeper and wouldn’t answer my questions. Finally, he told me to go to the front desk to make an appointment for a biopsy. As I left, he said, ‘Have a nice day.’”
Read more at Cure
To learn more about the BBN Foundation, take a look at the video below. It was shot a few weeks ago at the 2nd Annual BBN Foundation Moment of Compassionate Truth Fall Gala, which I attended with my husband. (Lisa Marie Latino of Hip New Jersey and I talk at the end of the video.)
Today, and always, I hope all your news is good news!
Survival > Existence,
The triumph can't be had without the struggle. Wilma Rudolph
In the five years since my cancer diagnosis, I've struggled with a lot.
At first I struggled alone with loneliness, anger, survivor's guilt, fear, body image and grief. Even though I had supportive friends and family, no one really understood what I was going through. It took some time but, eventually, I found a tribe of fellow patient/survivors and empathetic medical professionals.
Not only did they save my life, but they taught me a life lesson.
Sharing is Healing.
Now, I'm asking you to share, because I want you to heal too.
I want to know what you are struggling with, even if you think it's not that big of a deal.
What keeps you up at night? What information are you looking for? Where are you in your emotional healing and what do you need to get to a better place?
Comment below or write me an email at email@example.com. Be specific, pour your heart out. I'm here to listen.
I'd also love it if you let me know what you think about a one-on-one mentoring program I'm considering offering.
I'm tentatively calling it the Hope & Tea, You & Me Mentoring Sessions. I know from experience that "There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you," (Maya Angelou) and I've experienced the healing power of sharing my cancer story. Now, I want to offer you what my mentors offered me: a healing space to be heard, understood, guided and inspired.
Topics to be shared over tea (or the beverage of your choice) include:
How to create more joy in your life
How to live your hope
Beginning a gratitude practice
How to reach out and be heard
Celebrating the "little things"
Practicing mindfulness to help you live in the here and now
Dealing with body image issues after cancer
How to embrace the new normal
What to do with difficult emotions, such as anger, loneliness and stress
Issues in my books, You Can Thrive After Treatment and How to Build an Amazing Life After Treatment, and
many other possibilities
What do you think? If you're interested in the program, which would be conducted over Skype, please let me know.
As always, thanks so much for being part of this community and I'm really looking forward to hearing from you!
Survival > Existence,
PS: I love the image above and especially love its title, "Tea Time for the Soul." It really speaks to what I hope to create with the Hope & Tea, You & Me Mentoring sessions. Image courtesy Jeff Kubina
After three years and eight months of blogging at WhereWeGoNow about my "new normal," I've come to the realization that cancer is just the latest of the life struggles I've had to face, move through and learn from.
To take me into this new phase of life, where cancer is no longer the center of my universe, I felt I needed a new vehicle. That's why I created DebbieWoodbury.com, where life isn't all about cancer. Instead, it's about living the life you have to the fullest.
We're all survivors of something (probably more than a few things.) For me, survival is greater than mere existence. It's about creating healing, wellness and live out loud joy (via yoga, mindfulness, gratitude, walking, writing, juicy relationships, interior decorating and all the other "little things" that make life worth living.)
WhereWeGoNow isn't going away and will continue on as a vibrant, caring community. I'm not done with cancer (will I ever be?) and it's certainly not done with me. But now, at DebbieWoodbury.com, I feel free to actively explore and expand beyond cancer.
This is your invitation to come over to DebbieWoodbury.com and check it out. If you like what you see, make sure to subscribe to my mailing list. And, if you have ideas or suggestions about interesting topics, make sure to let me know. (You can always reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
There's so much to talk about, and I'm honored to continue to share inspired healing, wellness and live out loud joy with you wherever you find me!
It's not for the faint of heart.
In fact, if you're like me, it's damn hard to cut through the pinkwashing and pink nausea to maintain your love of all things October.
There's pink on everything, from burly football players to massive fracking drill bits. There's The Singing Mammogram (a do-wop song and dance that starts out with, "Boobs, Boo-Boobs, Boo-Boobs, Ta-Ta-Ta." Check it out here, if you don't believe me.)
When I went to the Susan G. Komen blogger summit in May, I got the impression the ship was being righted and we would see less disgusting and demeaning shenanigans in the name of "awareness" and greater focus on more important things, like research.
I guess I was wrong.
Breast cancer isn't pink and it isn't pretty.
We don't need a song and dance to be "aware."
We're way past awareness.
We want answers.
We want to be able to use words like "cure" and "preventation" in real sentences about real women with real breast cancer. (Notice it's not called "boobies" or "ta-ta" cancer.)
One of those real women is my friend, Lockey Maisonneuve, who I was blessed to join earlier this week on a road trip to Woodstock, NY. A yoga instructor and creator of the Let It Go Workshop, Lockey was there to do a photo shoot with Robert Sturman, world class photographer and artist.
After a rainy session in which Robert got amazingly beautiful yoga shots, Lockey wanted to do something different.
There, in an open field in October, she removed her top to tell her truth about breast cancer.
The image above was taken by me. It was truly moving to photograph the photographer and his subject at such an intense moment. To see Robert's incredible image, make sure to visit his Facebook page.
You can read more about my day with Lockey and Robert, and see another picture of Lockey at my new blog.
I know I just wrote my Pinkwashing - Why I'm Not Buying It piece. But, for the record, this year I really wanted to avoid writing about the usual October storm of pink crap and critcism. It's getting old and so am I, I guess.
Once again, I couldn't not write about what was, for me, a pure statement of truth about breast cancer, this time juxtaposed against the decaying corn stalks of October.
It was the naked truth about breast cancer and I had to share it with you.
Survival > Existence,