“Cancer reminded me of how strong I am, and that Spirit is stronger than everything. It helped me understand that sometimes we go through a dark period as a wake-up call to cause us to grow.” - Dr. Paulette Sherman
Dr. Paulette Sherman was diagnosed with Stage 2, Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC) the day before her 41st birthday. What has happened since her diagnosis has been extraordinary. She has written 22 books that have been translated into published in Korean, Chinese, French, Italian and German. She’s also embarked on a spiritual journey that has changed her life and is inspiring other cancer survivors.
MK: What was your mindset at diagnosis?
PS: I was completely shocked when I was diagnosed. I had always been healthy and had only been in the hospital for my two C-sections. I felt healthy. When I had the mammogram they were pretty sure that it was nothing and I was even told that by the surgeon before they did my lumpectomy, so I think that we were all surprised to learn that it was Stage 2 after they saw the size of the lump. Honestly, I also couldn't fathom how I would fit in a lumpectomy surgery, 8 chemotherapies and 33 radiation treatments and lose all my hair for over a year when I had two kids under 3 and I worked a lot as a therapist. My second thought when they were telling me all this was that I didn't have time for cancer and my third thought was probably fear and the thought that I might not be here for my kids and family.
MK: How has this experience awakened you to yourself and your purpose?
PS: I got such a clear message of what I needed to do. Even though writing books as part of my legacy, and connecting with Spirit seemed daunting, the clarity and purity of this command took the decision out if it, so I just figured out the next steps towards making it happen. And, when we act on our inspiration, doors open. I have learned to trust these messages and inspirations and to have faith that with persistence, things often work out. I have been able to randomly meet breast cancer survivors on my every day journey and I sent them my books about my breast cancer experience in order to help them with theirs. Those synchronicities where our lives have intersected at the right times are amazing.
MK: Tell me about your advocacy work.
PS: I am an advocate for healing as a psychologist, life coach, and author and breast cancer survivor. All the work I do is ultimately about helping people transform through challenges, healing and helping them to love themselves and others more. I hope that my books on breast cancer will help other women going through it. I donated copies of those books to cancer libraries around the country and my last book, The Book of Sacred Baths: 52 Bathing Rituals to Revitalize Your Spirit' seeks to help people connect to Spirit daily and to align with love. For that book I am donating 10 percent of the proceeds to water.org so hopefully my work will do good in the world in those ways too.
MK: What word do you wish you could take out of the breast cancer vocabulary?
PS: I can’t think of a particular word, but I wish that we could take away the immediate association of death with cancer, so rather than having the newly diagnosed woman think of a death sentence, she could view her diagnosis as an experience that could help her grow. Every time that I was in fea,r I tried to use tools to switch back into a state of love and inspiration and this is what I shared how to do in my book, The Cancer Path: A Spiritual Journey into Health Wholeness and Love.
MK: If there was one thing you could change about breast cancer and how people view it, what would that be?
PS: I think I would help people not to judge or blame people who have cancer. People sometimes think they got cancer because they are angry or stressed. Regardless of why cancer may develop, survivors are dealing with so much pain, loss of energy, loss of freedom, loss of their hair, loss of their breasts, and more, and they don't need guilt, shame and judgement from others. We need to offer compassion, love and support.
MK: Why is it so important to you to support other women with breast cancer?
PS: Because even with a great family and friends you can sometimes feel alone because no one else around you is bald, as scared or has gone through it. I enjoy passing on tips I would have liked to know before going through treatment and any lessons I learned afterwards that enriched my life.
MK: What would you tell a newly diagnosed young woman?
PS: I would tell her that she is not alone.
MK: What one word defines you?
PS: The one word that defines me now, is “Spiritual”.
To learn more about Dr. Paulette, visit her website!