Interview with Talaya Dendy about learning how to advocate for herself throughout her cancer journey and how she uses this knowledge to support and guide other cancer patients.
Talaya Dendy is a 12-year Cancer Thriver, Cancer Doula, Independent Patient Advocate, Cancer Health Equity Consultant, Mental Health First Aider, and Podcaster who has dedicated her career to guiding, supporting, empowering, and advocating for people diagnosed with cancer. She developed a fulfilling career path from cancer patient to Founder and CEO of On the Other Side LLC, a cancer navigation enterprise that provides personalized support using a patient-centered and holistic approach.
Follow Talaya on social media- https://sprkl.es/ontheotherside/
Listen to Ep 18 Self-Advocacy in Cancer Care with Talaya- https://wellconnectedtwincities.com/podcasts/ep18-talaya-dendy-self-advocacy-in-cancer-care/
References on PTSD and cancer mentioned on the episode:
The book Talaya refers people to as it relates to listening to and communicating with your body: https://www.amazon.com/Secret-Language-Your-Body-Essential/dp/1582702608
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Ep 107 - Healing Through Cancer Trauma Holistically with Talaya Dendy
[00:00:00] Cynthia: You are listening to the Well Connected Twin Cities podcast. I'm your host, Cynthia Shockley, and I'm here to learn alongside you through meaningful conversations with health and wellness practitioners. This is your time to experience some mindset shifts, learn practical tips, and get excited about what is possible.
[00:00:22] Cynthia: We want you to own the power of choice in your personal wellbeing journey. Let's discover what's possible right here in our Twin Cities community. It's your host, Cynthia Shockley, and today we'll be speaking with Tle Dundee. If you or anyone you love, has had cancer or has cancer, This is a really wonderful episode to learn about the resources that are available that maybe you didn't know about.
[00:00:55] Cynthia: So Taya Ddy is a 12 year cancer thriver, a cancer doula independent patient advocate, cancer health equity consultant. Mental health first, aider Ann Podcaster, who has dedicated her career to guiding, supporting, empowering, and advocating for people diagnosed with cancer. She developed a fulfilling career path from cancer patient to founder and c e o of on the other side, L C A cancer navigation enterprise that provides personalized support using a patient-centered and holistic approach.
[00:01:30] Cynthia: So here we are with Tole Dundee. So happy that we can reconnect and have you on the podcast today.
[00:01:38] Talaya: Thank you so much, Cynthia, for having me. It's an honor to be here with you.
[00:01:43] Cynthia: Oh I'm so glad. I know we've been connected on social media and I've been able to see some of the work you're doing, but this is the first time we got to talk face to face, or at least on Zoom, which is really exciting.
[00:01:56] Talaya: Yes, it's so nice to see your face, so I'm happy.
[00:01:59] Cynthia: Yes. And speaking of. Happiness. I wanted to ask before we dive into all the amazing work you're doing and the wisdom that you have on the topic of trauma in cancer, let's start off on a lighter note and just, I wanna know what's been bringing you joy lately?
[00:02:19] Talaya: The weather has definitely been bringing me joy and just being able to take nice long walks and not worry about boots and hats and coats. That has definitely been bringing me joy.
[00:02:32] Cynthia: To be able to just walk right out the door, put on your shoes and you're good to go. Yes.
[00:02:36] Talaya: That's right.
[00:02:38] Cynthia: Yes. I think there is just this levity in the air with everyone being able to enjoy the nice weather.
[00:02:46] Cynthia: It feels like summer came early, which is nothing to complain about.
[00:02:51] Talaya: Exactly. I'm not,
[00:02:54] Cynthia: I'm so glad that, we can. Take this time today because you are actually the only cancer doula that I have in my sphere that I know of. You're the first person I met who I, that phrase ever came into my realm of knowledge.
[00:03:12] Cynthia: I've heard of birth doulas, postpartum doulas, even death doulas, but a cancer doula. Can you share what it is that you do?
[00:03:23] Talaya: Yes. I'm so happy to share that and thank you for asking. The first thing I like to do, Cynthia, is break down what that means, a cancer doula, because like you said, a lot of people have not heard of it.
[00:03:35] Talaya: So as you mentioned, everyone basically has heard of a birth doula. I like to say that's the beginning of life. More and more people are starting to hear about death, doulas. They are helping people transition to the end of life. As a cancer doula, I work with my clients and we focus on the present that is helping them to get as cancer, the cancer that has shown up in their life.
[00:04:00] Talaya: And that is actually trying to, take part of their life, so to speak. And as a cancer doula, what I do is I walk with my clients on their cancer journey. I provide emotional support for. To them and for them. And then also I help them to work through a lot of the emotional challenges that comes along with cancer and also some other things that we talk about are their treatment options.
[00:04:31] Talaya: Of course, I'm not a doctor. I don't tell them what those options are, but I help them to understand what those options are, the potential side effects. Play devil's advocate and say if this, then that. What do you think about this? To really help them become educated about their options so that they can make the best decision for themselves and feel confident about the, the decision that they're gonna make.
[00:04:58] Talaya: Also, we talk about nutrition on a very high level. If it's something that needs more in depth. Expertise. I refer them to someone else in my network who can help them. And a very big piece that many people don't realize unless they've had to face cancer in some way is that communication is key when it comes to cancer.
[00:05:24] Talaya: Really with anything in life. But a lot of people tend to forget how important it is when it comes to cancer. And so I work with my clients to help them communicate in a way that's comfortable for them in regards to, talking to their healthcare team, talking to their employer, their family, their friends, their loved ones.
[00:05:45] Talaya: So in a nutshell, that's what I do as a cancer doula. And then of course, it's very personalized to each person's needs.
[00:05:55] Cynthia: Yeah, I know you do emphasize on your website that you support the whole person, which we're all about well connected. Taking that whole person integrative approach, so you bringing in the nutrition, the movement, the community, all of that is important in any health journey.
[00:06:14] Cynthia: And so of course it makes sense that's important in the cancer journey as well. So I'm just, So glad that you are bringing all of this in for your clients. Just in practice, with, let's say a client that comes to you, what are some things that might come up? Some barriers to making some lifestyle changes or, with nutrition, with community things like that maybe are common.
[00:06:44] Talaya: Sure. So some typical barriers are health inequities that typically come up. Also, knowing what's available to them, knowing what those resources are and other barriers are. Education, understanding what is being shared with them when they go into their doctor's appointments, that makes them feel like they are being talked at, I should say, instead of someone talking with them and explaining things to them, and then also making them feel like they are actually a participant in their care. So barriers are huge for a lot of people. Another barrier can be transportation for many people they don't have a way to get to their appointments.
[00:07:31] Talaya: So there's just. So many different barriers that come up for people. The other one is not having enough support at home. That can be another barrier, not having childcare. The list goes on and on. But for people that are newly diagnosed, that first barrier is communication. And that communication is typically with their healthcare team or even their family.
[00:07:59] Cynthia: And so would you say most most of your clients, are they coming to you at that phase when it's like a new cancer diagnosis and everything is new or, are you seeing people along different steps in their journey?
[00:08:16] Talaya: Say a majority, Cynthia are new and I, when I say new, like within the first three months.
[00:08:23] Talaya: Of their diagnosis. They've either started treatment or they're trying to make a decision about what kind of treatment. And then also I do get people who have already started treatment and they're like, wow, I didn't know it would be like this. No one prepared me for what I'm experiencing. And I also get a few survivors who, as we were talking earlier, they're like, wow.
[00:08:51] Talaya: I'm supposed to be happy right now, but I feel alienated. I don't know what to do. I'm sad. I don't know. My life is different. Hope, so there's a vast range, but a majority are people within those first one to three months.
[00:09:08] Cynthia: And The reason you came to mind and I reached out cuz I knew we were talking about trauma and I was like, I saw one of your posts, I'm like, oh my gosh, Taya, I should totally talk to her because I would imagine trauma plays a huge role in a cancer diagnosis, in the healing journey.
[00:09:28] Cynthia: In the recovery journey. Can you share a bit about what your definition of trauma is and how that plays a role in the world of cancer?
[00:09:39] Talaya: Yeah, so for me, trauma is really anything that, Is impacting your body. You can physically feel it. It is impacting your thoughts. You're worried all the time. You have anxiety.
[00:09:54] Talaya: You basically feel like you're being attacked. To me, that is my def, my simple definition of trauma. Now, when it comes to trauma and cancer is riddled with trauma. You have trauma all throughout. Of course, hearing that diagnosis is trauma. You actually, most people are either so shocked that they don't know what to do.
[00:10:19] Talaya: They're just sitting there did I just, they're replaying what they just heard so many times to try to grasp, or they start crying or they get angry. So there's so many different reactions. Of course, each per, each person is different. But then there's also the trauma of feeling like your body is being invaded.
[00:10:39] Talaya: With the treatments if you have to have surgeries and things like that. The other phase of that trauma is when you start treatment and you're sick all the time when you were a very healthy person before you started treatment. So that's another form of trauma. And then also that phase where you're done with treatment.
[00:11:03] Talaya: You're into survivorship or you're post-treatment and nobody's around. Everyone that was there before is gone cuz they think, Hey, she's okay now. He's okay. Now the treatment's over. So that's another form of trauma as well.
[00:11:19] Cynthia: And it's such a unique thought. I feel like unless you've been through it yourself to think wow, surviving cancer in itself, that process can be trauma.
[00:11:31] Cynthia: Just to be in this new chapter where you're supposed to be happy, you're supposed to get back to normal and yet, So much has changed in your energy, your outlook, your just, I'd imagine so many of these layers. And then to also lose that support system that was so strong before and to leave that hole in your life that you didn't.
[00:11:54] Cynthia: You didn't really expect to have, I'd imagine. It's just all really difficult.
[00:11:58] Cynthia: So we've talked about how community is important in a cancer patient's experience, whether they feel supported. I wonder though, how does cancer affect the caregivers, the community of those who have cancer?
[00:12:14] Talaya: I. It affects them tremendously. Cynthia here are some recent numbers from cancer.net and they presented this information in July of 2022.
[00:12:26] Talaya: One study found that nearly one in four women who had recently received or had been told that they had breast cancer, they suffered from P T S D After getting that news, There was another study that found that almost one in five babies and preschoolers with cancer have P T S D. There's another study that found that almost one in five families with teenage cancer survivors had a parent with P T S D.
[00:12:58] Talaya: Those one in five, one in three. One in four. That is a lot of people. So that shows you the magnitude of how cancer impacts the whole family, the community, and it's really a ripple effect. A lot of people focus on the cancer, the person with cancer, rightfully but also there are communities involved, families involved, that are suffering as well, but in their own way.
[00:13:30] Cynthia: Do you have any experience supporting even the family members or community members of those who have had cancer?
[00:13:39] Talaya: Absolutely. I have had sessions with caregivers or family members, spouses, and the biggest thing that comes up, Cynthia, is I don't know what to do and I don't know what to say, those two things.
[00:13:56] Talaya: And the first thing that I lead with, Is, you don't have to have the right words. You don't always have to know what to do. But one thing that you need to be is a force of presence. Consistently be there for that person. Even if you don't have the words, I can guarantee you that you consistently being there will mean the world to them.
[00:14:17] Talaya: And I know this personally because. Years after my cancer diagnosis, actually maybe two, three years ago, my mom and I were talking about it and she said, I was really scared. I didn't know what to do. And I said number one, I didn't, you didn't show any signs of fear to me. And I said, you did everything that you were supposed to do because you were always there.
[00:14:46] Talaya: And she just looks wow. And that may sound simple, but that is a part of healing too, is having someone around you that loves you and love is healing. And so I think that's very important is even if you don't have the right words, you may not have things to give. Financially or otherwise, but your time, you being there is very important.
[00:15:16] Talaya: It's just important as everything else. So that's one thing you can do. Give your time.
[00:15:23] Cynthia: Yes. And a phrase that has been coming up a lot just in my calls with clients as well, people who are caregivers, is this concept that you are probably doing better than you think you are in supporting your loved one, because you might be self-critical about how you're showing up, but, Like you said, the fact that you are just there, they are feeling that support, they are feeling that love and that is doing, making a world of a difference for this person.
[00:15:55] Talaya: Yeah. Yeah. And one thing that was very apparent to me is that the love that was given to me and shown to me, that was a part of my healing as well. I don't think. Without all of those things together, Cynthia, I don't think I would have come through it the way that I did. And so just keep that in mind.
[00:16:19] Talaya: Keep the people around you that love you. Now, another thing that I'll add about families, community, friends, things like that, I like to warn people because this hurts. This hurts what I'm about to say. There will be people who you thought. Would be there that won't. Now their reasons. Who knows? Some people just are not good with dealing with those kinds of things.
[00:16:47] Talaya: Whatever. That's not the time to worry about that. Focus on the people that actually show up for you. Don't carry that anger, resentment. Focus on healing. Focus on the love that you're receiving. And so that's another very important thing that I wanna point out is that who you expect to be there may not be there.
[00:17:07] Cynthia: Such a good reminder and a beautiful message to let go of the resentment, any anger, focus on what you already have, the support you already have.
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[00:18:18] Cynthia: And I know you can also speak from your own personal experience. You yourself are a cancer survivor's, cancer thriver, as you say. And so I would love to hear too. Your own story of managing cancer, and also you mentioned in our pre-conversation that navigating corporate America was also a traumatic experience that led to you deciding to be becoming a cancer doula.
[00:18:49] Cynthia: So can you share more about that story?
[00:18:51] Talaya: Absolutely. So first I will start with how I learned that I had cancer and then my experience, and I'll try to make it, I'll give you the abbreviated version. 12 years ago I received a call. Indicating that I had been diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma, and of course I received this call on a Friday evening while driving home from work.
[00:19:14] Talaya: One very important thing for me to add is that a year prior, To my diagnosis in 2011, I went to my primary care doctor and shared with her that I had a lump on the side of my neck. She basically blew it off. She said you work out a lot. Maybe it's just a cold muscle. I wouldn't worry about it.
[00:19:37] Talaya: Cynthia, that lump did not go away. What I had done, From the advice of my mom was that I found a different primary care doctor went in for another physical the next year after the physical pointed out the lump. That doctor had a totally different reaction. She touched it. She asked questions and I could tell she was very concerned.
[00:20:01] Talaya: So right away she had me schedule for ultrasounds, some other tests, and that is how I got my diagnosis. So mind you, I had been walking around with cancer for a year. Wow. Yeah. And so my treatment consisted of six months of chemotherapy in a month of radiation. And prior to my diagnosis, I was very healthy.
[00:20:26] Talaya: I never stayed the night in a hospital, broke a bone, anything like that. the hardest illness that I faced was the flu up until that point. But when I started treatment, that's when I got that cancer diagnosis, that's when that changed. Now, because I was never sick before, other than going to my preventative screenings and checkups and dentist appointments, I was not a savvy healthcare consumer.
[00:20:56] Talaya: So I didn't, I wasn't always at the doctor. So of course that changed when I got a cancer diagnosis. And that's when it hit me. You have a huge learning curve if you want to win this thing so I decided at that time that there was no more just accepting, oh, don't worry about it. If I knew something wasn't right, I felt something wasn't right.
[00:21:23] Talaya: So that's when tole that advocate was born, so to speak. And so I took that experience and that's another thing that's driving the work that I do today. Just because someone is a doctor and has a medical degree does not mean that what they say is it. Get a second opinion. And that is my biggest regret.
[00:21:48] Talaya: Is waiting a year now wrapped up in that Cynthia. Is the fact that I was very stressed out in corporate America. I was attempting to climb the corporate ladder. And I was in supply chain, which is a kind of a tough industry to be in. You're always traveling, working, doing things like that.
[00:22:10] Talaya: And I was just very focused on my career. My diagnosis also came at a time when. Your society says, now's the time to have kids in that nice white picket fence and get married, those things. But that wasn't my life. That wasn't what my life was going to look like at that time. Now, fast forward after my cancer diagnosis, I knew something needed to change once I was working on healing from the cancer.
[00:22:43] Talaya: I said, let me take this time to explore and evaluate other areas of my life. I started to learn more about mind body connection, how our thoughts dictate what our body does, how it feels and how all of those things are interconnected. I started learning more about that. I started getting more in tune with my own body.
[00:23:07] Talaya: I started looking at the relationships and the people around me. So for me, it wasn't just healing physically, it was healing spiritually, emotionally, mentally, whatever you can think of. I wanted to work on that because that was my time and that is what led me to make the decision not right away, cuz I had to have a plan, but that led me to make the decision that, hey, The work that I'm doing is not serving me.
[00:23:39] Talaya: I'm not happy. This is not the right fit. This is not the right culture that I wanna be in. And so I started making changes. Now, of course, those changes came slowly, but they happened. I had a plan and I recognized the need for me to make those changes. And it takes a lot of self-reflection. It takes a lot of looking in the mirror, and it's tough because it's at a time when you literally don't wanna look in the mirror at what you're seeing in some cases, because your appearance is changing.
[00:24:18] Talaya: For some people, they lose their hair, lose their eyebrows, they're losing weight or gaining weight depending upon the type of treatment. And so there's so much uncertainty. So many new things, so many changes, and all of that too. Cynthia is a form of trauma as well, because once you get one thing, you feel like you're stable on one thing, something else changes.
[00:24:47] Talaya: And so that uncertainty can be tough for a lot of people, and it was tough for me.
[00:24:54] Cynthia: Yeah. And what an incredible. Way to approach the struggle and the challenge. It sounds like you really were called to step up and take ownership of the process to learn to advocate for yourself. I love how you mentioned that, the tole, the advocate was born in this time and it sounds like.
[00:25:18] Cynthia: It didn't stop there. Then you decided to become a cancer doula and be that advocate for others, to empower them to be an advocate for themselves. At what point did you make that decision?
[00:25:32] Talaya: Yes, so I was on six months of disability while receiving treatment, and that whole time I'm thinking something has to change and when I return back to work part-time.
[00:25:47] Talaya: That feeling became heavier, that voice became louder, and it wasn't something that I could ignore anymore because mind you, Cynthia, I heard that before cancer, but I'm like, I'm getting paid. I can do this. This is my thing. And it really wasn't. It's what society said it was. Go to college, get a great corporate job and you'll be happy.
[00:26:10] Talaya: That is not true for everyone. It wasn't true for me. And so again, just really listening to that voice, but also paying attention to my body. Mind you, I learned more about that and once those things got in alignment and they started working together, there was no de, there was no denying what they were saying.
[00:26:33] Talaya: I had said, This doesn't feel right and I had to put together a plan. So I officially left corporate America at the end of 2018. So November, 2018, the very next day, after I left my corporate job, I hopped on a plane, went to Orlando, Florida to get my Do my coaching certification, do my last lesson and graduate.
[00:26:59] Talaya: And then at the beginning of 2019, after all of the holidays and at the start of the new year, that's when I really started pursuing being a cancer doula.
[00:27:09] Cynthia: yes. And I'm so glad you did. You took that leap of faith and listened to your body, listened to that inner wisdom, and now you're helping others find that voice and find and listen to that wisdom within.
[00:27:26] Cynthia: Cuz like you said, it's as, as easy as it might be to just say, okay, the doctors know everything. Just trust them. Just listen to them. They don't know how you're feeling. They don't know what's right for you. They haven't lived your life, and so for you to come through this process and provide that level of witnessing and empowering others is just beautiful.
[00:27:55] Cynthia: You
[00:27:55] Talaya: Thank you so much and you made a great point, Cynthia, is that I always tell people, you are the expert on you. And if you feel like something is not right, more than likely it's not right. And if the healthcare provider that you're going to is blowing you off, making you feel like you're crazy, anything like that, not taking you seriously, go somewhere else and you keep.
[00:28:23] Talaya: Searching for someone until you get the answers that you need, until you're satisfied with the answers that you've been given. And also make sure that you double check if they tell you this thing, go figure out a way to learn more about what they've told you. And that's another way to become a self-advocate, is to learn as much as you can about your diagnosis, whatever that is.
[00:28:51] Talaya: I'm not saying you have to become, get a doctorate's degree or anything, but knowing what vocabulary is used, writing down questions, talking it over with your friends and family, seeing you know what their thoughts are, but really checking in with yourself. And how you feel. You'll always know if you just pause and listen to what your body is saying, how your body's feeling, get in a calm state and you will know.
[00:29:22] Talaya: You will. You will know.
[00:29:23] Cynthia: And just knowing when you started your business in 2019 and a year later there was the pandemic. What was that like just navigating cancer diagnoses during the pandemic when the medical system was just so challenging to navigate?
[00:29:46] Talaya: It was tough. The people that I was supporting at that time, they were, that, that was another form of trauma, by the way.
[00:29:55] Talaya: Many of them were not able to get in to have. They're, weekly doctor's appointments. Some people were not able to get their treatment that they needed. And so that was another form of trauma and a high amount of stress for people. During that time, I did a lot of free work because people just didn't know what to do.
[00:30:19] Talaya: They didn't have money. And so out of that, I birthed. Monthly virtual get togethers where I would just talk about a different topic every month people could join in or an expert could come on and talk about a particular topic. But during that time it was tough. And Cynthia, still today, many people that were not getting their screenings.
[00:30:45] Talaya: People who didn't even have cancer, but just were not getting their screenings during that time. Many people now are learning that they had cancer. That they have cancer now, almost three years after because they weren't going in to get their screenings. And so there's a huge fallout from Covid and the pandemic and a lot of that's still being seen today.
[00:31:09] Cynthia: Wow. I didn't even think about that. The lack of access, what that can do, especially with something that feels so time sensitive like cancer. And I wonder if someone, If you know any audience member is a part of that population, someone who's been recently diagnosed or maybe is in the middle of it and still feeling a bit lost or needing some support, what does it look like to work with you?
[00:31:35] Cynthia: How do they start that process?
[00:31:37] Talaya: Sure. So the first thing that happens is they would schedule a virtual meet and greet that is a phone call and that call. We just talk about, what it is that they're experiencing, what challenges they're facing, what their needs are, and then I explain to them how I can support them, if I can support them at all, if I can support them.
[00:32:02] Talaya: Again, I explain what that is. They have the opportunity to decide at that point or later if they think it's a good fit for us to work together. Now, included in that call is a follow up email. They will get a summary of what we discussed, but then also they will get any resources or anything like that I may have mentioned.
[00:32:25] Talaya: And so they do get that follow up email. And if they're not a good fit, what I do is I try to find someone that may be a good fit for them or refer them to a different resource. So that's what that process looks like. It starts with that initial meet and greet call. If they decide that they would like to work with me and receive and get my support then, it's really about what package or service would you like?
[00:32:53] Talaya: They can do just one hour session. They can do monthly, get a monthly package, which is four sessions, or they can do a three month package, which is arranged from eight to 12 sessions, depending upon which one they choose. And I am at the time of this recording working on releasing a new offering, which is called Cancer Doula Pen Pal Support.
[00:33:20] Talaya: That is all via email. So that looks like someone that has a question, they have a concern. They need to voice their feelings. They will send me an email, explain what it is that they're trying to work through or any Questions or resources that they need. And then I will respond back via email.
[00:33:43] Talaya: And again, that could be just a one-time email or they could get a three email package or a month package that includes 10 emails. And that's where we get more involved. And we just talk about a range of things that they need support on. And so those are different things that I'm offering. So it could be virtually via Zoom.
[00:34:06] Talaya: Support, it can be now email support. And that email support is really for people who, maybe they just don't have the time right now. They're on a very tight budget and they, it just doesn't fit for them financially to be able to meet virtually. It could be for people who are introverted or shy and they may not like meeting on camera.
[00:34:30] Talaya: But it's also a way for people, Cynthia, to really take their time. And work through their thoughts and put it all down and get a thorough response. There isn't that pressure, there isn't that stress, and it's also a record for them to go back to later. And one thing, Cynthia, that helped me when I was going through cancer was, for example, say I made it to the one month mark.
[00:35:03] Talaya: Say I admitted to the end of radiation and I'm feeling down. I just don't feel well. I can look back in my journal and see how far I've come and that kind of gave me more energy to keep going. And so that's another purpose that email pen pal support can serve as well. And really, pen pal support is email support.
[00:35:26] Cynthia: I love the pen pal concept though. That's really sweet. Thank you. And yeah, what a wonderful offering. It makes it so much more accessible depending on, like you said, budgets, it could depend on personality or even ways of learning. Some people prefer reading and writing over face-to-face conversations just for how they process information.
[00:35:48] Cynthia: That sounds like a wonderful addition. I'm glad you're working on that and hopefully that'll be up and running pretty soon then. Huh?
[00:35:55] Talaya: Yes, it will hopefully by the end of this week. So thank you so much.
[00:36:00] Cynthia: Awesome. All right, then by the time this podcast is running, we'll have to lay's website linked in the show notes along with website, access to her blog, access to her own podcast as well.
[00:36:14] Cynthia: And just a lot of wonderful information. I wonder too, since we did talk about trauma in cancer and what that looks like, how do you personally address trauma with your clients? How would you say you take a very trauma sensitive approach to your work?
[00:36:37] Talaya: Yes. That's a great question.
[00:36:39] Talaya: I think Cynthia, the most important thing to do, With my clients anyway, is to, there's a couple things. The first one is to listen and listen deeply. Give them the floor. The other thing is to understand their history, and I'm saying this because a lot of times with cancer and other illnesses, there's something else tied to that.
[00:37:10] Talaya: Typically that's for some form of trauma that they've been holding onto. And I've learned also throughout my work and research and things like that cancer and other illnesses show up in different ways. And the root cause is typically trauma, stress, something like that. And so I think it's very important to get to the core of that.
[00:37:35] Talaya: If I'm working with someone for a month or three months, that allows me the opportunity to really understand what is going on. Because one thing I can guarantee you, Cynthia, the conversation starts out being about cancer. That is not where it ends. There's so many different things that come up. Many people are unhappy in their jobs.
[00:38:01] Talaya: Many people have faced child abuse. Many people have trauma and toxicity within their families. Many people are stressed out about finances. That is a form of trauma. If you're always worried about how I'm gonna pay for this, how I'm gonna pay for that. So there's so many different things tied to it, and that's why I say I take the holistic approach because it's not just always talking about the disease or talking about the medical piece of it typically.
[00:38:41] Talaya: And again, and I'll say in my studies I've seen, I've learned, I've explored the research, cancer in other diseases and illnesses are tied to trauma, stress if you're holding onto anger, so many different things. And so again, that's why I think it's so important during the healing process to look at as much as you can.
[00:39:07] Talaya: Don't just focus on the physical when you have that time. To really focus on your healing, cuz I say when you've been diagnosed with cancer, it's about you. Now take that time to really look at your life because it's an opportunity to make some changes and you gotta make changes anyway when you're going through cancer.
[00:39:30] Talaya: So why not make the changes that will benefit you after you get through the treatment as well?
[00:39:37] Cynthia: Wow. What a concept to experience a cancer diagnosis as an invitation to reassess your whole health. Not just the physical, not just tackling cancer, but all the other areas of your life that are out of alignment with health and happiness.
[00:39:59] Talaya: Yeah, that, that's so true. And so that's why I prefer, I have those. Like one-off offerings, cuz some people may just have a specific question, they may not wanna dig that deep. But for people that I work with for a month or three months, that allows that time to really start to talk about those things.
[00:40:22] Talaya: Cuz as I mentioned, it doesn't start with that. But I'm pretty confident that there's something underneath that surface of cancer. It was for me, it was for other people that I've talked to. It's been for just about every person that I've supported. And so that's one thing I wanna make clear is that even before you get a cancer diagnosis, and if you haven't had one, hopefully you won't.
[00:40:46] Talaya: But always make time to stop and check in and say what's not working? What doesn't feel right? What do I need? Am I giving too much? Am I'm, am I not giving enough? Am I receiving enough? You gotta have that balance. So look at things that are not in alignment in your life, because all of those things play a part in your health.
[00:41:11] Cynthia: Yeah. What a wonderful reminder. It doesn't have to take a cancer diagnosis. There's always that opportunity to pause and reflect and realign yourself.
[00:41:21] Talaya: Yes. Always
[00:41:23] Cynthia: beautiful. Tole before we leave this, Just inspiring conversation. I love to ask our providers that we speak with, if there was one takeaway that listeners were to walk away from this conversation with, what would you hope that would be?
[00:41:46] Talaya: Yes. One takeaway for sure is that when you receive a cancer diagnosis, now more than ever, it does not mean that you are going to die. Now, do people pass away in diaphragm cancer? They do, but survivorship is higher than ever before. More people are living with cancer or they are in remission. A lot of doctors and things don't like to say cured but I'll say cured in quotations.
[00:42:16] Talaya: You can't see me, but I'll say cured. So don't automatically just write yourself off. That's the time to really show up for yourself now, more than ever. And the other thing is you are the expert on you, as I said earlier. So those two things. Always trust your intuition. Trust what your body's telling you.
[00:42:40] Cynthia: Wonderful. Oh, thank you so much tole for diving into this topic with me today. And as I said, just as a survivor, thriver yourself. I think that just hearing all these different layers of what the trauma experience can look like with cancer on either end of the spectrum can really help.
[00:43:05] Cynthia: People feel seen and understood and your calming energy and presence is very much felt and I'm sure just serves so many people. So thank you so much for everything that you're doing.
[00:43:18] Talaya: It's my pleasure Cynthia, and thank you so much for having me and your interest in the work that I do and I just love what you're doing as well.
[00:43:27] Talaya: This podcast, it is just wonderful. So thank you for that. Also.
[00:43:31] Cynthia: Of course. And as I mentioned, we'll have everything you need to connect with tole and learn more about her in the show notes, including a podcast that she did way when the podcast just started years ago. So we'll link that in as well if you wanna learn more.
[00:43:48] Cynthia: That Thank you again, tole.
[00:43:50] Talaya: Thank you, Cynthia.
[00:43:53] Cynthia: Thank you so much for listening to the Well Connected Twin Cities podcast. Did you learn something new? Did you feel that spark of hope and excitement for what is possible? Because so much is possible. Tell us about it. In a review on Apple Podcast, not only would we absolutely love hearing from you, but these reviews help our ratings and help other curious minds like you find this resource.
[00:44:18] Cynthia: We are always better together. Thank you again and see you next time.