Share a little bit about yourself.
Prior to starting my own business, On the Other Side, I worked in the supply chain and manufacturing industries for medical device and aerospace companies. I love basketball, reading, and traveling. I hope to travel outside of the US soon. So far Hawaiian is my favorite vacation spot.
What drew you to work with cancer survivors and/or caregivers?
I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 2011. Having been a healthy person all my life, I was not a sophisticated consumer of medical services. Other than my annual exams, I did not have a need to go to the doctor often. The lessons I learned along the way were invaluable so I decided to use those lessons to help others that have been diagnosed with cancer. Even though I had a great oncologist and the support of my family, there was still something missing and that was the support of someone who knew what it was like to live with cancer. I want to be that person for others. I want to bridge the medical and emotional sides of cancer.
What is the biggest challenge in working with cancer survivors and caregivers?
The biggest challenge in working with caregivers is getting them to understand that they need care too! They are so focused on taking care of their loved one that they neglect themselves and over do it, which results in them feeling resentment, higher levels of stress, not getting enough rest or sleep and they eventually become sick, depressed and anxious themselves.
How do you help people with emotional recovery and what interventions do you use?
I help people really get in tune with what they are feeling and why. So many people are suppressing a lot of emotions not realizing that they are doing more harm to themselves, their bodies, and overall health. Yet, it is so important to acknowledge those emotions and work through them. One of the interventions that I use is mindfulness, helping them understand how the body and mind work together as powerful allies and what you put into your mind flows down to your body.
What is it like to be caring for cancer survivors during the time of covid-19? How has your role changed?
Listening is so important and being present. The cancer patients that I work with have more questions and of course feel a lot more uncertainty and anxiety. I spend more face-to-face time with them on Zoom and send random supportive text messages or emails. My role has not change too much. It has required DOING more and GIVING more of the support and resources that I normally provide.
What self care practices do you recommend for recovery and healing?
Journaling, it helps us to process our emotions and connect with our inner voice. Creating a spiritual practice, whatever that looks like for you. Getting rest and quality sleep. Exercising, healthy-eating, and spend time doing absolutely nothing, just be.
Is yoga or meditation part of your own self care? What other self care practices do you use?
Meditation is a big part of my own self-care in addition to walking/exercising, journaling, reading and listening to audiobooks, and practicing gratitude.
WILD CARD: What talent would you most like to have and why?
I wish that I could sing. Singing has a number of physical, mental, and emotional benefits. It is another way to have a deep connection with others. Even people you don’t know. Music in general touches and speaks to the soul!