Skip directly to content

Latest Blog Posts

Monday Morning Motivation

I've never done this before, but I think it's time. Because it's summer and I have a huge collection of Monday Morning Motivation quotations, I'm going to re-run a few of my favorites from the vault for the next few weeks. Enjoy!

Copyright 123RF Photos

Post new comment

Act with Love & Be a Part of Groundbreaking Breast Cancer Research

One of the best ways I know of to give back is to participate in research studies. The information we share today is of real value to the medical community and, more importantly, to us, our loved ones, and the patients and survivors who follow in our footsteps. 

I know you might not be a breast cancer survivor, but you don't have to be to be part of the HOW (Health of Women) Study, a program of the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation. I've written many times before about Dr. Love's Army of Women and am proud to be part of the groundbreaking research done by this organization.

From the HOW website:

What is the Health of Women (HOW) Study?

The majority of women who get breast cancer have none of the known clinical risk factors. This means we don’t know what causes breast cancer or how to prevent it. The HOW Study is a first-of-its-kind international online study for women and men with and without a history of breast cancer.  We will collect information about your health, your job, your diet, and your family history, among other topics that can help us get a better understanding of breast cancer and its potential causes.  Periodically, we will send you questionnaires about anything and everything. All you have to do is fill them out online. It’s that simple. This is a partnership and we need you for the long haul. The more questionnaires you fill out, the more information we will have that can help us have a better understanding of why women get breast cancer.

Who is HOW?

HOW is all about you and what you can do to end breast cancer. HOW is also about the researchers who can use this data to have a better understanding of ways we can prevent breast cancer. HOW is all of us, working together, to bring an end to this disease. The HOW Study is being conducted at the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation, in collaboration with City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Get Involved

All you have to do to be a part of this amazing research initiative is to register. It's fast and easy and you only participate in a study if you want to.

I just answered a survey for researchers at Duke University Medical Center, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology. The survey is specifically for women diagnosed with DCIS. I answered the anonymous, eight-question survey in under ten minutes and encourage you to check it out if you've been diagnosed with DCIS. The survey is intended to help researchers fill in the gaps in their understanding as to how to best take care of women with DCIS. Who wouldn't want to be a part of that? 

If you're a breast cancer patient/survivor, make sure to check out the Army of Women, the HOW study and the DCIS survey (if you qualify.) Filling out a survey or answering a questionnaire is a small thing that makes a big difference. And giving back always, always makes you feel good too! 

Now, I'd like to hear from you. Have you participated in medical research studies? What was your experience like and how did it make you feel to contribute and give back?

Survival > Existence,


Post new comment

Monday Morning Motivation

There are few people living today who are more inspiring than 17-year old Malala Yousafzai. Today is Malala Day and we have the opportunity to stand beside her to demand access to education for all girls and boys.

Together we can do this, because we are stronger than violence, stronger than fear and stronger than oppression.

What are you stronger than?

Post new comment

Post new comment

Love & Family & Building an Amazing Life from a Place of Gratitude

If you're in the USA, I hope you enjoy the three-day 4th of July weekend. There is a special place in my heart for small town 4th of July parades and fireworks. They bring me back to my youth and are just the sweetest things. 
 
Which, in addition to the fact that I just celebrated another birthday and watched my niece get married last weekend, could have me feeling pretty old right now. 
 
And yet, I'm feeling empowered and very much HERE, as in present and alive. Maybe it's the love and family high I'm still riding from the wedding. It was such a joy to celebrate with my HUGE family. (My mom, her nine kids, our eight spouses and 17 grandchildren!)
 
Sure, time is relentlessly marching on. That young mom in the picture is me with my first baby and niece. Twenty years later, those two beautiful babies are brilliant, accomplished, gorgeous women who continue to fill us with love and pride.
 
Some part of me wants to rail against aging, but I just can't. Instead, all the love and positive vibes of my niece's wedding have me focused on gratitude. 
 
I'm grateful to be here to see another niece married, and grateful for my large, close family - any one of whom I could call if I needed anything and know they would come running. 
 
Which brings me to my brother, the father of the bride. I'm beyond grateful for the moment I shared with him at the reception. After he spoke beautifully of his love and devotion to his daughter, I had to tell him, with tears in my eyes, how I wished I had had a father like him. He hugged me tight and reassured me that I always had a big brother in him. Which made us both laugh, because I'm his "big" sister.
 
And that's the point, isn't it? I had a lousy father, miscarriages, infertility and breast cancer. I'd be lying if I told you I've never felt deprived, unloved and just plain screwed. But, when I look around and see all the wonders of my life: husband, children, brothers, sisters, mother, nieces, nephews, friends, dancing at weddings, birthday kisses, fireworks, small town parades and the many other joys I'm so grateful for, I tear up a bit and laugh. 
 
Enjoy and be grateful for the "little things." They are the things that create live out loud joy and get us through the big things (like a lousy father, miscarriages, infertility and breast cancer.)
 
And, ultimately, they are all that matters.
 
In deep gratitude and wishing you much joy, 
 
 
PS: Someone at the wedding had the brilliant idea of taking a picture of all nine of us - which I don't think has been done since I was 14. My mom and niece joined my five brothers, three sisters and me. It strikes me that we hit quite a few of my simple secrets from You Can Thrive After Treatment and How to Build an Amazing Life After Treatment. We practiced gratitude, created a sense of wonder, took every opportunity to laugh, practiced mindfulness, and moved our bodies (there was a lot of dancing!)
 
Photo by Cris Woodbury (dear friend, sister and mother of the bride!)
 
Related Posts:
 
 

Comments

janine's picture

I usually dont comment but this one calls for a AMEN SISTA!!!

Debbie's picture

That's a double AMEN from me too!

Debbie

Post new comment

Monday Morning Motivation

Copyright 123RF Photos

Comments

Facing Cancer's picture

Sometimes that is all we can do, and the warmth is a comfort.

Debbie's picture

Absolutely! And perhaps that warmth and comfort will help move us past a hurdle.

Debbie

Post new comment

Monday Morning Motivation

Copyright 123RF Photos

Post new comment

How to Ditch Fear & Get What You Need

“You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you might find, you get what you need.” Mick Jagger

I gave him the full mama bear hug and kissed the side of his head before sending him off with the usual parting words of a mother, “Have fun and be good.”

Only he wasn’t my child.                           

How did I know he needed mothering at that moment? Simple. He asked.

There were at least 30 of us at a neighbor’s house observing the pre-Junior Prom, picture-taking ritual. My son’s friend was there alone, his mother unable to attend. When it came time to leave for the prom, parents sent their children off with huge smiles, kisses and hugs.

As I released my hold on my son and sent him over to his father, his friend looked at me, extended his arms and said, ““My mother isn’t here and I need a hug too.”

As I hugged my son’s friend (for longer than I thought he would let me) it struck me that I had just witnessed this 17-year-old boy put the formula for getting what you need into action:

Awareness + Permission + Action = You Get What You Need

1.       Awareness: You can’t get what you need if you don’t know what you need. Are you as aware of your emotional need for affection, validation, understanding and support (just to name a few) as you are of your physical needs?  If not, is it because you don’t think you’ll get them met anyway? If you want to have any chance of getting your needs met, you have to own them. No one else is going to get real about your needs until you do.  

2.       Permission:  Once you’re aware of your needs, do your best not to judge them. Whatever you need is valid and has merit. Viewing our needs through the prism of judgment causes us to shame ourselves into silence and inaction. Had my son’s friend thought he was being silly or juvenile, he never would have asked me for a hug before he went off to his first prom.  

3.       Action: You know what you need and you know your needs have merit – now take action! Be brave and ask for what you need. You can be subtle or take the direct approach like my son’s friend, but you’re not going to get anything until you come out and ask for it.

Most of us let fear stop us from working the formula to get what we need. We’re afraid we’ll be judged, uncomfortable with vulnerability, or we’ve been rejected too many times before. Plus, fear keeps us playing small, believing we’re incapable of finding creative solutions to getting what we need.

The only way to ditch fear is to acknowledge it and then promptly ignore it. 

When I was in the midst of cancer treatment, I was overwhelmed by daily responsibilities. Afraid to acknowledge I needed help, I soldiered on, until it got to be too much. Finally, I talked with my oncology therapist who suggested, among other things, that I simply ask my husband to help me with the grocery shopping on the weekends, rather than continue to do it myself during the week.

When I heard her suggestion, it was like a cloud lifted. Why did I think I had to do it all myself? And, why had I forgotten that we used to do the grocery shopping together every weekend before we had children, simply because we wanted to spend the entire weekend together?

Of course, my husband readily agreed to shop with me on the weekends and we’ve been doing it together ever since. I often joke with him that our big date of the week is going to Whole Foods on Saturday mornings.

Finding the courage to ask for what I needed reminded me that most people, and certainly my husband, respond generously. And here’s the kicker – at the moment the openness it takes to ask for what you need comes together with that generosity, a beautiful bubble of abundance and gratitude is created.

Do you struggle with getting what you need? Have you had the honor of showing up for someone who needed something from you? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.

I'm going to practice what I preach and ask you to join the conversation in the comments below. I answer every comment and would also love to see you share this post on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Thank you!

Survival > Existence,

Image courtesy of Jeremy Brooks

Post new comment

Monday Morning Motivation

Copyright 123RF Photos

Comments

Julann Ashman's picture

Debbie, was our keynote speaker for our Annual Cancer Survivorship program at Lourdes Hospital on June 3, 2014. Words can not express our gratitude towards Debbie's insightful knowledge and support for our cancer survivors. She spoke in front of 89 cancer patients and they all commented on how she "spoke the walk". Her lessens on living through the cancer experience are hopeful and useful and will be utilized by all who listened to her. We purchased her books and have distributed them to our patients currently receiving cancer treatment. We deeply appreciate Debbie's inspirational and healing words. Thank you.

Debbie's picture

I was so honored to speak at the Lourdes Hospital Celebration of Life event! Thank you for inviting me and for putting together such an amazing program. I met many, many inspiring people and so enjoyed connecting with each one of them. Thank you again and I wish everyone at Lourdes inspired healing, wellness and live out loud joy!

Post new comment

What Do You Think About Getting Together?

It's been a great week getting out and meeting other survivors! Last Saturday, I was a survivor speaker at the Allendale, NJ, Relay for Life. On Tuesday evening I gave the keynote talk at the Celebration of Life event at Lourdes Regional Cancer Center in Binghamton, NY.
 
Jody, an 11 month survivor, and I met at Relay. Jody attended her first Relay for Life with her entire family (including her sister-in-law whose help was indispensable while Jody was in treatment.) We hit it off immediately as we talked, hugged and exchanged emails. My fellow survivor speaker Dan had an amazing story of multiple cancers. We cut the ribbon together to begin the Relay and walked arm in arm to lead the other survivors around the track.
 
Many blessings to Jody and Dan, who is expecting his first grandchild at the end of this month!  
 
At the Lourdes Celebration of Life event, I met Ike, Jacquie, Karen, Mel and so many other wonderful people. One woman stopped by to talk as I was signing books to share that she was 90 years old and still going strong despite cancer. Another woman talked about being diagnosed with thyroid cancer just a month before her teenage son was also diagnosed with thyroid cancer. A third woman and her husband spoke with me about TRAM flaps and tamoxifen (something I know a bit about personally.) One man told me about his prostate cancer and how he now chops wood to keep active. Another man was thrilled to tell me he is celebrating eight years as a survivor!
 
I truly love being with other survivors. It's a joy that never gets old. In fact, I'm so inspired I'm thinking about creating a webinar or e-course so we can spend some time together too! This is just in the planning stages and I could use your help. What topics would you like to talk with me about? How do you think I could best serve you? Would you be interested in a course at all?
 
Shoot me back an email if you have ideas (debbie@wherewegonow.com.)
 
Thanks so much for your input and I look forward to hearing from you!!
 
Survival > Existence,
 
 
PS: If you want to see my Fox40 TV interview from Binghamton, you can find it here. I'm not used to being on camera. Can you tell??
 
Photo credit above to my favorite daughter, photo credit left to my fabulous friend Lockey Maisonneuve.


Post new comment