So, you have breast cancer.

Dear Friends, Students & Clients,

I have Breast Cancer…

On Tuesday, March 12th I went in for a routine mammography. Even though it’s not recommended to start getting annual mammograms until you reach 40, I’ve been getting them since May 2011, when I found a suspicious lump in my right breast. This particular exam was a follow-up to the last one, which was done 12 months earlier.  After having a mamo every 6 months (following the watch and wait protocol) it was decided that the mass was nothing to be worried about (you have cystic breasts with fibrous tissue I previously was told), so I was floored when it was suggested on the spot that we do a needle biopsy.

On Friday, March 15th, 2013, I went up to Mass General Hospital with my dear friend Megan. Things unfolded in both slow motion and fast forward from there on out. The pathology from my needle biopsy arrived just 9 minutes before we walked into the exam room, confirming my Cancer, and when I was told “So, you have breast cancer” for a hot dizzy moment, I thought it was the end of the world. Bone Scan

I was in shock. I was freaked out. I was scared sh*&less.

But 10 days later I feel very differently. As weird as it may sound, I am confident this is the beginning of a bright new chapter of my life. I’m no hero, and I’m not going to say something inauthentic like “I feel blessed” that I have Cancer, or “It’s a gift”, but I do feel like it’s an amazing opportunity for growth. As my teacher, Elena Brower, says, we choose our parents, we choose our life lessons, “We pick them perfectly”. So following this, somewhat Buddhist train of thought, I must embrace the fact that I have chosen Cancer too. This is the new reality for me, one I have chosen so that I may learn from it, so that I may teach from a place of deeper wisdom.

That’s the new plan. The total and compete acceptance of Cancer as my new Guru.

You will be hearing a lot from me, over the next 14 months. I plan to blog. I plan to write. To document. To teach. To inspire. To bring awareness to Breast Cancer in the under 40 population. To make sure my Strong Girls know that self-breast exams are mandatory. That we are our own best health advocates… that no matter who tells you your self-detected “likely benign” LUMP is not worth further investigation, should your intuition tell you otherwise it is. I plan to stay around for a long, long time. To love my family and friends, to nurture my partner and to parent my son.

Flight Like A GirlWhen I first found out I was sick, I preemptively took a leave of absence from teaching and massage therapy. But now that my treatment plan has changed quite a bit, I am hoping to teach as many of my regularly scheduled classes as possible. I am lucky that my chemotherapy treatment will not be scheduled on days I would normally be at the studio, and I will have several days after chemo during which I can recover without missing classes. So for those of you who would like to know as to whether or not I’ll be at The Yoga Room on any given Monday or Tuesday evening, or Sunday morning, please just consult TYR’s online schedule. I am forever grateful to my TYR colleagues for accommodating me and my last-minute needs.

Teaching has always given me strength. Walking away from it completely, would feel like a surrender, and I am very much a fighter.

Some logistical stuff:

Many people have asked me how they can best support us through these challenging circumstances. For those of you who would like to contribute financially my friends Jason Bridges and Emily Molden have set up the Caitlin Marcoux Charitable Fund at Rally.org. This is also where I will post medical updates from here on out, instead of on FaceBook, as it is a more appropriate platform.

And for those of you who would like to contribute domestically, my friend Kristen Lewis has set up a SignUp Genius campaign, where you can sign up to deliver a meal, volunteer to help with my son’s childcare (pick-ups or drop-offs to school, or playdates*) or help out around our home. *Please note: Griffin will really need some small friends to run around with on Thursdays and Fridays after school, even if it’s just for an hour. This is probably the best way anyone can help us.

I know that I can’t do this alone. And I am so very, very grateful to both my local community and my global yoga community for all the ongoing support. I can’t think of a better place than Nantucket to have Cancer, and I couldn’t be in a better place both spiritually and mentally to survive it.

I am a lucky, lucky girl.

A few special Thank-Yous to the following people who have helped me through this initial phase of my cancer treatment (many more thank-yous to come):Health Alter

Thank you to Shannah Green and Elisa Allen for facilitating an amazing and much needed retreat at Kripalu this weekend. To Alison Alpert for coming with me to my first needle biopsy. To Megan Soverino for being there now and always,  but especially for being there to hold my hand when I got the news at MGH on March 15th. To my parents Joanne and Steve, and my sisters Ariel and Grey. To my ex-husband Paul Budzynski, for being a rock at a time of need, for accepting me once again despite my mistakes and with all my faults, and for taking such good care of our son Griffin. To my friends Jason Bridges, Emily Molden and Kristen Lewis for setting up, in record time, all kinds of online support. To Amber Hinds, my web-designer. To Jenny Bence, owner of The Green, for making me drink way more wheatgrass than I ever would on my own. To Darya Afshari of Dayra’s Salon, for helping me feel pretty (sister, you will be shaving my head soon). To Elena Brower for being an ongoing source of wisdom and support and bad-ass coach. To my friends Kate Greer and Richmond Dickson for giving us a warm bed to sleep in and nurturing food to eat on Wednesday night, March 20th. To my beautiful yoginis in crime Caroline Pope Peavy and Juliet Loranger, for coming up on Thursday night, March 21st, to hold me after a long day of bone scans and blood tests. To Rebelle Society for giving me a place to write (the words are on their way). To my son Griffin, who inspires me to be the very best mama I can be. And of course to my partner, Burr Tupper, who is always, always, always there for me.

Comments

  1. Jessica A Brown says:

    Oh – Caitlin – love your start here! Heading to Shira’s well visit – so haven’t read content yet – but wanted to compliment you on the layout & energy & feel of this blog page. I got such a good vibe the second it opened 🙂

  2. You have the right attitude! Cancer sucks, but it is a wonderful opportunity to learn and grow. For me, I decided to live the rest of my life sober. When faced with something that makes you reevaluate your life, when you have to make hard decisions and think even for a moment about death….I don’t want to live even a second of my life intoxicated. I want to be very present, each and every day. I wish you well friend. I know you’ll come out of this with clarity and a new vision of your life.

  3. heidi haigh says:

    Caitlin, I would love to sign up to grab griffen on a thurs or Fridaythat would be best for you..The boys would be so psyched to hang with him too… please let me know the date, and I would love to grab him…xoxoheidi e mail me hhhaigh@gmail.com

  4. I had breast cancer in 1996. Scared me sh–less also. But here I am, alive and well, in 2013. I wish you the best and hope you will still be writing in 17 yrs. from now (and beyond).

  5. Greetings from an (almost) 5 year survivor…Just sent a personal message to you on FB…it is in your “other” folder under messages…You go girrrlll…there are so many (too many) of us yogini survivors out here!

  6. Lindsay Green says:

    You just sucked the oxygen out of me and the room I’m sitting in.
    You are so brave to face your Cancer deadon and double brave to learn, teach and
    write about it.

  7. Caitlin,
    We’ve not had the opportunity to get to know one another – yet. But I know of you and found my way to your blog via a post by Caroline. So here it is – all light and love and healing flowing your way. Thank you for the clarity and generosity of your post.

  8. GOD! I LOVE YOU GIRL!
    Many thanks for your words…always love to read your blog.
    Namasté dear friend.
    xxoo

  9. steve marcoux says:

    that’s my girl!

  10. Hey there warrior sister,
    I am friendly with Trish Gallen, we run the same circle. I am also a warrior in this battle as well. I am sure you have a huge network of peeps but you will need some cancer friends. Trust me on that, I can help you in anyway you want. Email or link my blog, no question to crazy! I have a list of must haves that those docs never tell you about, I would be happy to share. Hope today shows you a little light, many good vibes to you my warrior friend, MANY,

  11. Caron Grossman says:

    Caitln, I may not physically know you however I am you and you are me. This was one of the most beautiful things I have ever read. You’re incredible grace and self-care is inspiring. You are in my thoughts and prayers and I am sending you loving healing energy.
    Peace and blessings…
    Thank you for being…
    Caron

  12. You continue to amaze me, thank you.

  13. You are fierce. I am so inspired by your strength and clarity. Whatever I can do from the distance of CT, let me know. Mama, these battles in life are how we get the feathers that make up our wings. Realize that this journey will only make yours stronger. Fly.

  14. Hi Caitlin

    Such a powerful way to start your journey with the cancer treatments. I’ve dealt with cancer twice both times living on Nantucket and being treated out of Beth Israel and then MGH. I felt so lucky to have been living on ack at the time with such much love and support from the community. What came out of it for me was how much love there was for me, the friendships that were strengthen and just how precious life is. Much love to you and to your family..I will be seeing you very soon. Roz xo

  15. You are so beautiful Caitlin! I believe in you and your magnificent strength and courage. xo

  16. Margaret Hallowell says:

    I thought to myself the other day: ‘….Caitlin is going to share & write & give through this battle…and I am so excited to learn from and be inspired by her words…’ but it didn’t feel ok to share that thought out loud…and then I read your post…and I knew it was more than ok…because it is what you do…share with breathtaking honesty the experiences of life…you will be in my prayers tomorrow…be gentle with yourself dear Caitlin…xo Polly

  17. Hey sweet Mama. As always, I love your writing. Thank you for sharing your journey so openly/honestly. Dylan and I would love to play with Griff anytime. Our schedule is always funky…would it be ok if we called with a day or two’s notice? I was also thinking of donating time to your hydrangeas 🙂 love you baby!

  18. Caitlin..
    Your grace and strength continue to amaze and inspire.
    Lots of love and light coming your way from VT!
    TIffany

  19. Caitlin, We at Rebelle Society are backing you 100%. Even though the distance is far, close your eyes and you will feel our virtual hugs and our complete support. You are in our prayers and if there is anything we can do, be it in NJ/NYC (In case you have to come to NYC let me know), Spain, Copenhagen or any of the other places Rebelle has it’s army, all you have to do is whisper. We will be right there. Love and blessings my friend. ~Mamaste

  20. Caitlin – We have never met. I know you through Caroline and Juliet and a recent post on FB from Caroline. Since seeing the post about what you are going through you have been on my mind. Prayers and light and love are being sent your way. Thank you for being open enough to share what you are experiencing.
    JoEllen

  21. I am a yoga teacher too. I have triumphed through a double mastectomy, chem. and radiation.. Your attitude is a blessing to all, and who will be used mightily! Shanti, Gina

  22. Maureen OSullivan says:

    Dear Caitlyn, I just saw your blog post and wanted to let you know how sorry I am about your diagnosis. I found out I had BC four years ago when Aidan was only five. I just want you to know that you will get through this! Wish I was on the island to help you out in person, but I’m sending prayers and cyber hugs. Let me know if you ever need a place to stay on the cape if you’re traveling to the doctor. Hang in there! Maureen

  23. You got this girl!

  24. Thank to everyone who has posted words of encouragement here. I have been overwhelmed with the kindness and generosity of the yoga community, and of course my Nantucket community.
    For all the times I’ve questioned if teaching yoga was the right career choice, for all the 2-6 student classes I taught at the beginning of my teaching career, for all the 4:30am alarms I’ve set, the hours of class prep and one-on-one Seva work I’ve put in, the “payback” for lack of a more refined term, has come in two-fold, no, three-fold. I have been given something so much more valuable than financial compensation: LOVE. This is why I teach, to magnify the love on this planet- the most amazing revelation I’ve had recently is that I am APART of this world. I GET THE LOVE TOO! Why it took me this long to really feel that in my bones, in my TUMOR, I don’t know. Maybe I’m as “dense” as they say my breast tissue is.
    But I get it now. Loud and clear.
    So many, many pranams.
    I bow to you all.
    I bow down to you.
    Love,
    Caitlin

  25. my prayers and thoughts are with you. kristy

Trackbacks

  1. […] as I’ve said before, I’ve got breast cancer. Yikes. It’s a little scary… It certainly wasn’t […]

  2. […] Caitlin is teaching a limited number of classes while she focuses her energy on healing […]

  3. […] articles about her experience as a breast cancer ninja on her website. We encourage you to share her story with other cancer ninjas, survivors and caregivers. Additionally, please visit The Caitlin Marcoux […]

  4. […] is April 25th. It’s been one month now since I was diagnosed with stage 2 invasive ductal carcinoma. It’s a big day, there’s a lot going on and a lot to be grateful for, so when I sat […]

  5. […] in fact beginners are strongly encouraged to attend. Caitlin, who is a cancer caregiver and survivor herself, will lovingly lead you through restorative yoga poses to sooth your soul, guided meditations for […]

  6. […] those of you who have been following me since I was diagnosed with breast cancer back in March already know, I’ve developed a little pre-chemotherapy routine that helps me to […]

  7. […] everything is temporary, especially our bodies. This entire adventure with cancer has been one big lesson in giving up attachments and identity and learning to practice mindfulness: […]

  8. […] been 4 months since a core biopsy revealed I have invasive breast cancer. Since then, my days have been chock-full of research and reflection, so I’ve had plenty of time […]

  9. […] hard to believe that 2 weeks ago I had a body of disease and today I am making big strides towards a full […]

  10. […] in fact beginners are strongly encouraged to attend. Caitlin, who is a cancer caregiver and survivor herself, will lovingly lead you through restorative yoga poses to sooth your soul, guided meditations for […]

  11. […] reasons for riding. It wasn’t until reading her moving story, that I realized that through the blog I had started 15 months ago, I was reaching people like Sarah, people I barely knew. Reaching them and giving them hope. […]

  12. […] those of you who have been following me since I was diagnosed with breast cancer back in March already know, I’ve developed a little pre-chemotherapy routine that helps me to […]

  13. […] Society and the more spontaneous posts here on my blog, I took you with me from the point of my initial diagnosis (terrifying), on a chemotherapy roller coaster ride (tenacious) and through my surgical […]

  14. Dr. Vincent Malfitano

    So, you have breast cancer.

  15. […]  {My Cancer Story: The Beginning} […]

  16. […] hard to believe that 2 weeks ago I had a body of disease and today I am making big strides towards a full […]

  17. […] as I’ve said before, I’ve got breast cancer. Yikes. It’s a little scary… It certainly wasn’t […]

  18. […] been 4 months since a core biopsy revealed I have invasive breast cancer. Since then, my days have been chock-full of research and reflection, so I’ve had plenty of time […]

  19. […] hard to believe that 2 weeks ago I had a body of disease and today I am making big strides towards a full […]