Hi, I'm Tamera. I am now proudly certified in Yoga 4 Cancer.
I was diagnosed with breast cancer just after the New Year of 2015, at the age of 44. I had gone in about 6 months prior for an annual mammogram and the results came back suspicious. That led to more testing, monitoring, and a biopsy in December, which resulted in my being positive for DCIS in the right breast. It was believed my cancer was being fed by Estrogen, and I opted for a double nipple and areola sparing mastectomy due to have a family history of female cancers. I later learned my left breast was also showing unusual tissue changes, but was not yet cancerous when I removed the left breast tissue as well as the right.
A Learning Experience
A few years earlier in 2011, I had a hysterectomy and had my uterus removed, as it was looking as if I was headed for endometrial cancer. It has been a roller coaster of both positives and learning experiences. I have had many individuals in my family impacted by cancer or who have passed. This January after the New Year, we learned my husband who had just turned 49 was diagnosed with early prostate cancer.
Again, a learning experience for myself and my family. I have two children who have had to learn about cancer as a teen and adolescent. They are learning to be more proactive in regard to their own health as a result.
Yoga Teacher Training
A lifesaver was that in 2015, when diagnosed with breast cancer, I was two weeks into yoga teacher training. It was so helpful. It was challenging as I had to be driven to classes for almost three months, but it gave me time to bond with my new body emotionally, spiritually, and physically. I had setbacks after diagnosis such as an infection which put me back in the hospital and ultimately delayed by exchange surgery. I had expanders put in in January and did not have my first surgery for implants until June. In regards to my yoga, I modified everything and learned a lot about benefits of meditation, breathing, and movement under fire you could say. This led to my obtaining a scholarship by Lululemon to become trained one year later in Yoga 4 Cancer. I am now proudly certified in Yoga 4 Cancer and began teaching it about 6 months after being trained.
I have a supportive friend who owns a Judo Club where I offer private sessions off and on, but it has been a regular home for Yoga 4 Cancer Miami for almost two years now. I did some fundraising with support from a lovely client and this allowed me to offer some of the programming for free for individuals in financial need in 2019. My business Wellness, Therapy, & Yoga has funding and support from Pink Luminous Breast and LympheDIVAS to offer the free programming. I have brought on the help of other Y4C trained teachers.
I work full-time as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and provide Addiction and Rehabilitation Counseling, but supporting Yoga 4 Cancer and offering Private and Corporate Wellness along with Life Coaching is something I have fun with and doesn’t feel like work. I am not sure what my future holds. I write for Cure Magazine and have published a chapter in Experts in Pink addressing the benefits of Yoga and Meditation during and after Breast Cancer.
I may eventually complete my goal of providing a resource for mental and physical thrivership following a cancer diagnosis by publishing my own book. I can retire from my full-time job after 20 years of service with my current agency and have the incredible opportunity to work in the private sector for another employer. I would love to provide corporate wellness programming someday. My objective is to enjoy my children who are growing and are now in college and preparing for college. Both are studying in the medical field. I look forward to doing more traveling and enjoying friendships and connections. I love being anywhere near water where I can take out my Kayak or enjoy other water sports.
If you’re in Miami or plan a visit, I would love for previvors, survivors, and thrivers to attend Yoga 4 Cancer Miami or elsewhere if you find a class in another area where you live. Not all classes are free, but yoga teachers such as myself learn how to modify the classes to support the needs of those impacted by cancer. You can find classes at Y4C.com under find a teacher for locations and instructors. Lymphedema and other conditions are all part of the consideration in how classes are run and how poses are modified. If you’re interested in connecting with me you can contact me at www.wellnesstherapyyoga.com
My articles with Cure are free at https://www.curetoday.com/community/tamera-anderson-hanna. Part of my work is now also educating more individuals on the importance of conducting a monthly self-breast exam. To support the exam, you can use a new free app by Pink Luminous Breast and learn about the device which helps you see into your breast using infrared technology to visibly see any concerns or changes you would need to speak to your health professional about. I am using it to teach my teenage daughter about the importance of breast health.It is an important topic for me due to family history and wanting to teach my daughter to be proactive about her health.
Have a survivorship care team. My team includes my regular health professionals, but I have added a dietician, lymphedema specialist, acupuncturist, and I exercise of course with the help of yoga and walking. I have exercises I do while walking and practicing yoga to help against Lymphedema. As a mental health professional, I maintain mental health with positive self-talk and maintaining healthy sexuality post cancer.
I invite others to find a good support system that works for you.
No matter what you face in life, may your smile always be brighter than any obstacle you face!
Thank you for sharing your story, Tamera. SBC supports you!
SurvivingBreastCancer.org Resources & Support: