STORIES FROM YOU
Welcome back! Below we have a special contribution to STORIES FROM YOU. Jan is not only a cancer individual herself, but also a certified Pink Ribbon Pilates instructor in Brooklyn, NY and a key member of InKind’s wellness advisory. Check out ‘Henry Street Pilates’ in InKind Resources to learn more about pilates for breast cancer and how to find a certified instructor near you.
Thank you, Jan!
Jan Leahy: Pink Ribbon Pilates Instructor, Entrepreneur, Hilarious Human Being, and Breast Cancer Individual. This InKind trusted fitness advisor shares her answers to InKind Space’s 5 Questions.
WHO DID YOU GET SUPPORT FROM?
My husband at the time, my best friend and my oldest sister were the triumvirate who handled whatever came up emotionally or logistically before surgery. I am also lucky to have a large circle of girlfriends and there a lot of lunches, glamour days (nails and hair) and shopping extravaganzas. For someone who is so “out there” I was rather private from diagnosis to surgery. I kept a low profile and tried to process much of my mental anguish before the surgery so I could concentrate more fully on physical recovery after surgery.
HOW DID THEY SUPPORT YOU?
After surgery my friends got together and alternated bringing dinner to me for a week. One friend made bag lunches for my kids for a week. Amazing and more than I ever did for them pre-cancer. One of my sister’s friend’s who had had a double mastectomy recommended getting a private nurse to help with the drains, wash my hair, and go over the exercises. She came the first three days after surgery and I relaxed knowing she was coming and that I could ask her whatever questions I had. I also felt loved and protected having her there.
WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE ITEM THAT GOT YOU THROUGH THE DAY DURING TREATMENT AND/OR SURGERY?
I popped a Valium before surgery and had a rather hilarious time in the waiting room. My best friend is a comedian so she did not disappoint but apparently I am quite the funny girl too.
SHARE A MOMENT OF LEVITY DURING THIS JOURNEY.
I met with my surgeon right before surgery. As always he asked me my name and birthday which is the meet and greet ritual at MSK. He also asked me why I was there and what I was having done. I believe I said, “Are you fucking kidding me?” When he then asked which breast, I remember saying “Seriously?” exactly the same way my three-year old son did when informed by my ex that some day, very soon, he would be responsible for wiping his own ass. Seriously?
WHAT IS YOUR MOTTO?
If you do not want cancer to define you, figure out what does, and move on. More shit is coming.