Jodi Newson is a registered dietitian in oncology nutrition who works with cancer patients. Jodi talks about the central role that food plays in maintaining our social bonds and how side effects of cancer treatment can disrupt our most cherished ways of showing care. She also talks about being drawn to meaningful work in which she has a positive impact in the lives of her patients and their families and explains how her role often extends beyond nutrition. Jodi also reflects on how she has personally benefitted from the life lessons she has learned while helping others.
Elissa Goodman is a holistic nutritionist, cleanse expert, and author of Cancer Hacks. Following her own experience with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 1992, and her husband’s death 11 years later from Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, Elissa turned to the study of holistic nutrition as a conduit to healing for herself and her young daughters. That path led her to reinvent herself, and at age 50 she launched a thriving nutrition enterprise. Elissa talks about her belief that we can all participate in our own holistic healing by incorporating a spiritual practice and attending to the body’s nutritional needs by eating whole foods.
Brian Wogensen is a high school English teacher and department chair at a private school for girls in Los Angeles. In 2005, his wife, Liz Ganem, was diagnosed with breast cancer, five weeks after learning that she was pregnant. Seven years after the successful completion of treatment—and the healthy birth of their son—Liz was diagnosed with and treated for a new breast cancer.
Patrick Norris is a television director who in 2003 was diagnosed with Stage III non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. In today’s episode, Patrick recounts the central role his wife, Jody, played in helping him find the right treatment and how he wore the same comforting shirt during each of his chemotherapy treatments. Patrick talks about losing his sobriety of 18 years during chemotherapy, and his subsequent search to find meaning and purpose by connecting with others who are in treatment for cancer and providing them with a measure of comfort and hope.
People undergoing cancer treatments often seek healing and support beyond the confines of oncology and traditional medical practice. Many seek to participate in their own therapeutic journey via a variety of other healing modalities.
Today I’m speaking with Sharon Holly, yoga therapist, who in 2010 began a journey toward finding a new professional path as she was undergoing treatment for breast cancer. Sharon talks about her work as a yoga therapist, working in an individualized way with people undergoing treatment for and living with cancer. Sharon explains the yoga therapy philosophy as an integrative process of looking at the person as a whole, helping clients develop agency to become part of the healing process, and discovering what will help that won’t harm.
How does one live with a diagnosis of incurable, metastatic cancer? How does one move forward with life goals and plans when the likelihood of a future has been deemed uncertain and tenuous.
Today I’m speaking with Jenny Pagliaro, singer and songwriter from the band Roses and Cigarettes, who—after initial treatment for Stage II Breast Cancer in 2015—was diagnosed one year later with Metastatic Breast Cancer. Our conversation takes place one week after Jenny had a PET scan that revealed her cancer to have receded by 90% compared to her previous scan. Jenny talks about living on an emotional rollercoaster during in the past two years, from initial diagnoses and completion of treatment, to a diagnoses of Metastatic Breast Cancer and receiving an estimate of six months to live, to this moment of hope for more time. She also talks about complicated interactions with family and friends who want to help her and the competing emotions behind wanting to maintain independence while knowing that she is reliant on the support of others.
Receiving a diagnosis of cancer is a shock, even to medical professionals who are well aware that cancer can happen to anyone. How does one cope with and respond to the changes in self-perception that occur when cancer intervenes?
Today, I speak with Catherine McDonough, yoga teacher and nurse practitioner, who in 2017 was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer. We explore Catherine’s use of yoga and meditation as complementary practices to traditional oncology protocols. Catherine talks about her coping strategy of simplifying and becoming more mindful, less external. She also explores how this dreaded diagnosis has given her a measure of psychological freedom that has promoted her to lighten her attachment to things and leave a smaller footprint in her wake.
Finding wellness during and after cancer treatment can be challenging. Given the physical and emotional rigors of treatment and its aftermath, how can one develop and nurture a state of wellness that encompasses the mind, body, and spirit?
In this episode I talk with Kris Ellenberg, who in 2011 was diagnosed with Stage 2B breast cancer. We explore Kris’s strategies for finding wellness during and after her cancer treatment. Kris talks about developing a practice around wellness that supplemented her medical treatments for cancer with less conventional approaches such as Gyrotonics, yoga, lymphatic massage, acupuncture, Chinese herbs, meditation, and hypnotherapy. We also discuss the roles that community and social support, spiritual practice, and simply taking care of one’s self play in the active pursuit of wellness.