Q & A with Bernie – January 9, 2012

Question for Bernie:

I have been diagnosed with Stage 0 breast cancer-DCIS & LCIS. I am making the choice to have a mastectomy. My doctors are recommending tamoxifen for 5 years to prevent a recurrence of cancer. I am VERY leery about taking this drug after reading about the side effects. What do you think about it and is there another alternative?

Bernie’s Answer:

inner-peaceI will get personal. The choice is yours. It is your life and it is not just about quantity, but also quality.

My wife had a small breast cancer several years ago and was put on arimidex for 5 years. After 2 years I stopped it because it was affecting her in a negative way as she has MS and it made her weaker, among other side effects.

In making the choice to stop the medication, I didn’t question survival–I questioned the benefit and quality of each day. So you do what is right for you, or do what may help you to not die of breast cancer, just as you did by choosing a mastectomy. My wife had a lumpectomy.

I ask people to draw themselves receiving their treatment. By getting in touch you’re your inner self through drawing, sometimes you discover that what you don’t want to do, you actually intuitively know is good for you, and sometimes the opposite is true.

So draw the picture and email it to me. If you aren’t comfortable with drawing a picture, then pick the color you think of for tamoxifen and tell me that.



Question for Bernie:

How do I live with these fears that engulfed me after my daughter was diagnosed with a brain tumor at five years old? She is remission now.

Thanks for any help.

Bernie’s Answer:

child on swingThe answer to living with any overwhelming fear is to live like a child does–one day at a time and no worrying about the future.

Many years ago when he was just 7 years old, our son had a bone tumor found on x-ray. I thought he had a year or so to live. I explained to the family what was going to happen.

The next day he came to me and said, “Dad, can I talk to you?”

“Yes, son, what is it?” I answered.

“You’re handling this poorly,” he said, very grown up for only 7.

“What do you mean?” I asked him, very surprised at his words.

He then explained that “they” (our 5 kids) wanted to have a nice day, but I seemed to want them all to be depressed and stay quietly in their rooms.

He had a rare benign tumor at surgery, which of course was a great relief, but he taught me a lot about how children view each day—as an opportunity for joy. As adults we have to get back in touch with that perspective so that we don’t ruin our health and we don’t surround loved ones with gloom.

Remember potential is the key, so go for it! Your daughter has all the potential she’ll need to stay well, and you have all the potential to turn away from fear and worry and face the sunlight each and every day.




Related posts:

  1. Q & A with Bernie – January 2, 2012
  2. Q & A with Bernie – November 21, 2011
  3. Q & A with Bernie – Oct. 31, 2011
  4. Q & A with Bernie – November 7, 2011
  5. Q & A with Bernie – December 12, 2011
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