Anne is, what is called in the metastatic breast cancer world, an "outlier." She's lived with triple positive metastatic breast cancer for seventeen years. And, for the past seventeen years, she's gone to sleep and woken up, not knowing when the other shoe will drop, and being out of treatment options.
What does this do to the psyche of the human mind? How does one even begin to comprehend the weight of this diagnosis and prognosis? So many unknowns and what if's...the overwhelm and weight of it all...I can't even imagine.
And, if you can't imagine what this is like either, be a fly on the wall of my conversation with Anne, someone who has been white-knuckling hope for nearly two decades. And who has, somehow, managed to find a sense of peace with what is.
This is a podcast for all; to experience the fragility of life and the depths of joy found in the most mundane things - all within two hours. And, you don't have to receive a diagnosis to feel Anne's words for yourself.
Take all of her sage wisdom in and, as a result, be, do, and create TODAY as if you won't have tomorrow.
CONNECT WITH ANNE:
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Victoria Volk 00:00
Thank you for tuning in to this episode of grieving voices. I'm very excited about this episode today because if there's any episode one episode that you listen to, I hope it's this one because I just feel very good about that. The hope that this episode will bring to people. I want this episode to cause self reflection and introspection for you. As you're listening. And after you listen, I want you to send this guest all your love and energetic hugs and vibes to her. Today's guest, her name is Ann Jacobs, she was born and raised in Michigan and has been living in California for the past 37 years. She has a wife and mom to three adult sons. And she was diagnosed initially with stage three breast cancer in 2003. Less than a year after her treatment ended, she had a backache, that wouldn't go away. And eventually was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer, which is the same stage for those who live with metastatic breast cancer beyond five years are called outliers. And today and is going to be sharing her story with us. And I'm feel very blessed to have her presence here today. And thank you so much for agreeing to be on my podcast and sharing your story. Thank you, Maria, for having me here. It's a I'm humbled, and I'm honored. I've enjoyed your podcast. So, it's, it's a, it's a treat for me to be able to share with you. Thank you, it's my honor, because we've had some email correspondence leading up to today. And it just, I didn't even get my tissues ready, but I'm thinking I might need them. I just feel like the state of the world, collectively, each person in this world is going through something right. And you could have passed me on the street and looking at you, you can't see her guests. But looking at you, I there's nothing that says your body is just full of cancer right now. Like there's there's nothing in like, I don't see that on you. And I just want to make that very clear to the listeners because we never know what people are going through. Truly. We never know. Let's start with your diagnosis. Let's start there.
Anne Jacobs 02:36
Um, well, the I found a lump in my left breast. I would by doing breast self examination, actually in November of 2002. And I have lumpy breasts. And I thought okay, well that's interesting. I didn't really pay any attention to it for for November in December it it was I couldn't find it. It was obviously still there, but I couldn't find it. And then in January, I felt it again. So, I called my gynecologist office and requested to come in to have a look at it. And then this sort of set the tone for my future cancer journey I you really had to push to get an appointment to I said, I have a lump in my left breast. I need to come in and get it checked out. And the schedule of gal said oh, you know, we're not scheduling ups for three weeks out. I don't I don't think you understand what I missed. I said when she said well, if you want to come in, I see that you can come in for your annual exam and I said great. You know, put me in for that. So, I went in in about a week that my doctor felt it sent me right away to get a mammogram. It did not show up on the mammogram because which I did not know at the time, I had dense breast and tumors are hard to see in a mammogram. So I walked across the hall, got an ultrasound, it was there plus some other questionable spots, had a biopsy. And by the time I had a biopsy, there were three lumps that they biopsied. And then I had surgery. Fortunately, my surgeon when I met with him, he understood the importance of or the urgency of me getting in. He said we can get you in for surgery for three weeks. So that's not going to work. I need to get in right away because I intuitively knew this was fast growing, which it was because when they did the surgery, and I actually had both breasts taken off. It's called a bilateral mastectomy. I had five tumors, and this was all within a month, I think so I did that. I'm I went through treatment, which was aggressive at the time from March until August of 2003. And then in 2004, we were up at our lake in northern cottage in northern Michigan and I got a really bad backache. But my kids were little I'm running around, I thought, oh, I tweaked my back. So, I got a massage that seemed to help I came back home to California and the backache didn't go away. So after 2x rays, it was determined I had cancer in my lower spine, in the L three l four l five area in my left hip. And then there is a questionable spot after some more scans or a questionable spot of a spot in my lung, which eventually turned out to be cancer. But in oh four, it was so small, they couldn't biopsy it, they just watched it. So that that's how my my metastatic cancer got diagnosed. They didn't do scans after initial treatments, back then they do now and I think if they had, I probably they probably would have found that the cancer was already there, just based on conversations I've had over the years and things I've learned, but it wouldn't have made a difference because if it was already there, I would have just started another treatment, you know, eight months earlier than later. So um, you know, sometimes you have regrets in life, but I don't worry about that part. So that's how it was diagnosed, and we just went from there, I've been on treatment ever since. And mine is called triple positive, which means in the, the cancer lingo, I'm hormone receptor positive, you can be estrogen positive, or negative progesterone positive or negative. And any combination of those, so I'm positive for both of them. And I'm also positive for it's called her h er, and the number two and then a slash and EU, her to new and sometimes they call it just her to cancer. So those characteristics are important because that dictates what type of treatment and drugs that you can have to fight your cancer. So I've been doing that since 2004, very humbled and blessed to still be here.
Victoria Volk 07:31
Okay, did you all catch that? It's 2004. It's amazing, it's really amazing.
Anne Jacobs 07:45
Yeah, it is, it really is. Every day, when I wake up, I say thank you for yesterday and thank you for today. And because I mean, truthfully, that the scary thing about the metastatic breast cancer is that I would be actually right now because I'm the drug I'm on is keeping me fairly stable, I'd be shocked. But it's not out of the question. Like in six months, someone could tell me it's, you know, riddled throughout your body now, because cancer has a mind of its own. That would be quite a surprise. But you that's one of the things you live with is you just don't know. Like, if or when the flip the switch is going to flip because there's tragically there's many there's actually a lot of young young women with young kids who don't live as long as I do. There's some women that are living you know, 2025 years out so I hope to be one of them at some point.
Victoria Volk 08:48
Wow, that's incredible.
Anne Jacobs 08:50
Victoria Volk 08:51
Anne Jacobs 08:53
It's not It's not like the quote unquote norm but it's also it's out there. So that gives everybody hope. You know, when you hear even for me, you know, I know when I talk to women who are first diagnosed in either you know, in person or online, that knowing that I'm 17 years out gives them hope so knowing that there's someone who's 25 years out gives me hope.
Victoria Volk 09:19
That's incredible. So as of today, where's the cancer at? you know?
Anne Jacobs 09:26
So, it's still the I had radiation on my left hip which killed it. That's what I say. Kill the cancer. My left tip at work. I still have cancer in my L three l four l five area. I've I've had radiation in that area as well. And then the spot in my right lung has grown to where I have. Well, I think I have about half of my right lung capacity. And it's it's It's active in my right lung, but again, it's stable. So, what that means for me is that it's not it's not growing in size nor intensity right now. And then my lower spine right now is what they call no evidence of active disease, or an E A, D, which means my last scan, you can see the cancer in the PET scan this PET CT scan, but the cancer activity is in the normal range. Meaning it could like if you saw it on scan, you didn't know it was cancer, it could be just some other metabolic thing happening in your body. So, I'm very, very grateful it it basically it hasn't spread from the original diagnosis front in 2004. Which, that's kind of unusual, too. Because if it's this is not, you know, usually the norm is it goes to your bones, and then to an organ and then it can go to your brain. So in the organs are usually the lungs or the liver. That's not grounds in stone, so to speak. But that's sort of like the normal, I would say, normal, or most common path. But there are women who have it in other places in their body as well. And then just in case someone doesn't know, once you have breast cancer in your breast, if it travels to your lung, it's not called lung cancer. If it goes to your liver, it's not liver cancer, or your brain. It's not brain cancer. It's still breast cancer in a different part of your body.
Victoria Volk 11:47
Yes, I've actually learned that over the years as well, iit's where it originated. What does? What does a daily day like? What is your day like? Today? Like? What is a typical day like for you, man, if I could talk here?
Anne Jacobs 12:06
Well, I have to pull. I wish I could have a typical day. One of the things I do, like I mentioned that when I wake up, I just I've been saying it for so long. So, this automatic thought of thank you for yesterday and thank you for today and then I kind of just take stock of Okay, what's happening with how do I feel this morning? You know, it depends on what treatment I'm on, if that will allow me to function throughout the day. This one that I'm on right now it does. So, sometimes I can wake up and I'm exhausted. And I think All right, I'll get up and brush my teeth. That's all I can do. And I have to go back to bed. Some days, I get up, brush my teeth and say, oh, you know, I'm feeling okay. You know, I'll get up, I'll take our dog out for a walk. And then it's sort of like checking in with myself throughout the day. There's also days when I can be just going along and this happened about a month or so out probably before Thanksgiving, actually now. I was this was my baking day, I was gonna bake and I had everything out and I'm very messy. And something happened and I just, my body just went from I had to be on the couch for the for the afternoon and my husband came home and said, Okay, you've got flour and baking soda, you know, everything's out. But I have to be prepared. I don't have to be, but I am mentally prepared that I can make a plan and I have to call and cancel. So, it's kind of a roller coaster. But my my day yesterday I felt good today I feel good. So, I you know got up I did take our dog for a walk. And then I took our little dog for a shorter walk. I had to do some paperwork at home. You know, trying to get my mom the vaccine COVID vaccine in Michigan, we're all trying to do that. So worked on that. I cooked dinner. I was out in the garden, checking my plants. So it's a very measured kind of time. The days are kind of measured for me as far as my energy level goes, I'm just checking in and I've learned over the years. Okay, if I have a big day on Saturday, let's not have a big day Sunday. Just kind of a recuperation day, and then we'll see we'll see how Monday goes. And this the drug on mine now it's called in her to its I'm handling the side effects really well. The last drug that I didn't it was a true chemo drug. It's called abraxane and I it worked really well on my cancer I kept it at bay kept it stable. But my quality of life got to be, I literally couldn't even get out of bed to go brush my teeth, walk across the room, brush my teeth. So that was like an Olympic event for me. And then I said to my oncologist, okay, I'm, I'm at the fork in the road, I can't do this one anymore. Let's, you know what, what else? What other options do I have? So it's a, it can be an emotionally exhausting existence. It can be, you know, I can run the gamut of emotions in one day. Or I can just get up and like, Okay, I'm feeling good, we're just gonna power through, or I can get up and just feel good. And I don't have to power through. So, it's this balance of, what do I need emotionally? What do I need physically, spiritually? kind of combination of things. enough that that answers your question. I hope I didn't confuse too many people.
Victoria Volk 16:10
No, absolutely. But I think that's a wonderful point to bring across just for anybody, anybody to check in with yourself. Like you said, when you're having a big day, Saturday, maybe Sunday is not, you know, you take it easy. And I think that's a good lesson, just a rule of life. It's like, why does it take us to have a cancer diagnosis? To check in with how we feel you with what's going on with us.
Anne Jacobs 16:38
Yes, that's actually that's a, when you said that I kind of got it kind of got choked up a little bit. Because when I got the metastatic when we got the first diagnosis, it was okay. This is there's a beginning to treatment and an end to treatment. So, we will, as a family, we've got these bookends of, you know, beginning and a start. And then when I got the metastatic it was just like, oh my god, you know, everything when the calendar went from, you know, volunteering, carpool, helping friends, you know, everything just gets cleared out. And I just, I said no, to, I had to say no to everything, because the cancer gave me the permission to do that, like you just said, and during that time, it was, was actually very freeing. I remember this, and I thought, holy cow. I was really doing probably too much before. I could, but you know, I loved volunteering. I love being seen people I love carpooling with the kids. I wasn't doing anything I didn't love what you know, for the most part, but when I had to clear the calendar, it just felt it felt very freeing. Like, okay, now what, what do we want to put back in, purposely put back in. And that was an unexpected, and what I call almost like a non cancer feeling. because like you said, you can do that in. I could have done that at any time. But there was a part of me that felt like, well, I should do this, or I have to do this. When I really just clear the calendar and say purposely, you know, we have a family. So, what do I have to do? What are the priorities? Just take that time to sit down and, and focus on that instead of for me? I'd say yes to everything that made actually a big difference in the non cancer quality of life, if you know world, if you will, so
Victoria Volk 18:50
To force you to live with intention?
Anne Jacobs 18:54
Yes. Because I do. Yes, absolutely. That's perfect. Yes.
Victoria Volk 19:01
When you had then when that kind of hit you, when, when you had time to process some time went by and your kit, you said your kids were little, what was that grief that you experienced? And I don't want to impose that you had grief, maybe you don't recognize maybe you probably didn't recognize it at the time. But in hindsight, maybe what were the things that you were going through and feeling having young children and having this diagnosis and, and not maybe being able to do the things that you wanted to do with them? Right, and maybe your career I mean, that obviously probably changed or, you know, whatever you were doing with your life up to that point and the volunteering, like you You couldn't volunteer them. So, it's like, free and at first but then when you had some time pass, what was what were you feeling when that hit you?
Anne Jacobs 19:56
I think you're right. I didn't look at it as as grieving or grief, I use the word loss quite a bit. You know, I and I had sort of different categories of loss you know, restart with the the first surgery, you know, I wanted both of my breasts gone my right breast, you know, was fine, but I considered it to be fertile ground. And I wanted to do everything I could to, ironically not have the cancer come back. So, I didn't I didn't have a problem with that, but I shouldn't say but and it took me a long time to look at my scars on my chest. And it forced me to think about well, who do how does the breast define me? You know, as women. You know, my femininity, my sexuality, aesthetically, you know, you're wearing clothes. So there is a sense, this was like a brief sense. But I know for some women, it's a bigger sense, there's a sense of loss there, which then sort of segues into like your, your loss of self. Like, this is who I was before, who I who am I now? And it forced me to? Well, I did it for I actually chose to just think about this, who, who am I at my core? Who do I want to be at my core? What is my core, because as you know, my mom was younger kids, you don't have that I didn't have that time, I didn't really take that time. You know, I was, you know, put my, my son's name in front, you know, Collins Mom, you know, you're defined by other things. But you know, what defines me. And then, then I also had, like, the loss of being able to physically do the things I wanted to do. I stopped I was I loved running, loved, loved, loved, loved running, I just stopped running. Because my, I didn't want to do any damage to my spine. Again, I know there's women who have bone Mets, and they run in, and it works for them, which is I'm envious, but it wasn't gonna work for me. So, I had to stop and I had to rethink, okay, how am I going to keep physically active because that's important. And then, like the loss of future plans? We couldn't plan you know, let's take a trip to Europe next year with the kids? Well, that's out of the question. We can't plan that far ahead. And then there's, there's sort of the losses of you know, that nobody could see, like, like you mentioned earlier, if someone looks at me, they're not going to know I have metastatic breast cancer. And that's, that's true. So so so many women, there's losses that you don't see that are you know that I'm camouflaging or I'm not talking about to certain people or maybe I you know, I had a bad day and I just I keep it to myself so and then on top of all of that, the last category a lot now I know that that is grieving. But when the big grief comes is you know, I've been here for 17 years is this what if this is like next year is 18? And what's my time up and then I I can go down a rabbit hole kind of quickly, but I've learned how to pull myself out but it's um, I see my kids get married, am I getting? Am I going to, you know, miss out? Are they going to have kids? Or, you know, what are you know, I'm not going to hear about their tennis game, or the walk they took or you know what happened at work today and I won't be with my husband and I'll miss out on you know, what he's doing and sometimes I tease him I say you, you can't you have to retire before I leave. So, we have time. But that's when this that's when for me. I get a huge sense of grief when I think about not being here and missing out on what's going on with my kids and what's going on with my husband and and that will actually I will feel emotionally that grief and then I also physically feel like I can if I'm if it's a really bad day I will get lightheaded. I will get cold. I'll physically feel cold. And there's probably like a panic feeling that if I allow myself to get that far, but then I'll pull out of it. out of habit. I use one of my father in law's things that he told me he he's unfortunately passed away but he was alive when I was I was diagnosed with metastatic cancer and he lived out here close to us and he said he looked me over I can still see his face he looked me right in the eye and he said and right now you're here The boys are here Chris is here. You're okay. And tomorrow you're going to be okay so let's just focus on this focus on that and so when I feel myself going down the rabbit hole I'm sorry I I remember those words and then that just pulls me back up because you know he he was a world war two veteran and he he had nine lives and he was very strong strong man that he went through some some horrific things. And so if I feel myself I can't get out of it. If I'm down that deep I just think okay George Herrick I'm coming up I'm coming up you know to yes right now right in this moment I'm okay the kids are okay Chris is okay I'm here you know and then I start to look around Yeah, the house is a mess I don't care but we have a house we have a car we have dogs I have you know my mom is still here my you know my siblings are still here my good friends and so I got run through this checklist and I actually touch each finger every time I say something and that usually will that will bring me back up and I'll say all right, you know here we go. Let's you know again taking stock Alright, what do you want to do next? Um, I feel like I'm rambling I'm sorry.
Victoria Volk 26:59
But as I wipe my tears
Anne Jacobs 27:02
Yeah, me too.
Victoria Volk 27:04
Thank you for sharing all of that.
Anne Jacobs 27:07
You're welcome, I kind of feel like I've lost track of what the initial question was but oh the grief, yeah, it's some you know, a lot of it's just constant that some sometimes I'll use the it's like a picture in my mind if I'm walking on a lake that's frozen over and the sometimes the ice is really thick to keep me from you know fall going down the rabbit hole sometimes it's really thin and I can you know, I see that I see all that the what ifs you know what if the treatment stops working What if I don't have any more options? You know, all that stuff? It's right there I can see it. But I don't allow right now I don't allow myself to like fall through the ice because I probably at some point, I'm going to I don't know that. But you know, I have stage four cancer. So, I hope I live to be you know what, there's survivors out there who are 25 years out and they give me hope and I know that I give I'm 17 years out and I know I give women who are you know, less have less ears I give them hope so. I don't know when my time is but I don't want to fall down that I don't want the ice to completely crack yet because I don't it doesn't have to crack yet. But with that said, all of that fear all of the what ifs it's it's always there. And then sometimes, you never know like a like a little drop in the bucket can overflow the bucket. And so, I have days like that as well. You know, some little thing can just be too much for me and I'll completely crack and have a breakdown and I'm sobbing for 15 minutes, which I don't mind anymore. My tears used to scare me because of the intensity. But now I know I just let it come out. It's what do they call an ugly cry? I have you know I have those. But it's I think for me dealing with the loss and the grief I've had to to reinvent myself and the lot you know, I have I guess I have these two categories, the losses. I can say okay, yeah, I couldn't go back to work when our youngest was in first grade. But you know, for a year and a half I could work part time because I felt good enough. And I could do that or for you know, two years when I was on it. I felt good enough. I could volunteer for my kids lacrosse teams, you know, I could drive up to see our oldest in college and, you know, you know, spend a day with him. So, it was okay, I can't do this. I can't you know, I can't run, but I can ride my bike and not in I can walk. Do I miss running? Yes. Do I watch other people run? And just go, oh, I wish that was me. Absolutely. But then the next thought is, oh, yeah, but I'm here and I can walk, and I can ride my bike. Because someday I won't be able to. So I replace a loss, I try to replace the loss with something else. And that's kind of what kept me going. I tried knitting for a while, when some of my treatments kept me in the chair for you know, six hours. And I have, if anyone needs 10, half finished scarves, I have them for you. So I would you know, I tried different things. when my kids were playing lacrosse, I took you know, I was on the field, and I took pictures of the team and then playing and I love doing that, you know. So try to find something. And I try to do this every day, I try to you know, find something that brings me a little bit of joy. It can be anything, it could be I'm out on a walk well, I'm always happy to be out on a walk. But I could see a rock that's in the shape of a heart. Or if I'm on Facebook, and there's, you know, there's a gal I know who she posts pictures of nature, she was two of them. They just post these beautiful pictures of you know, places that maybe I can't go And I'll just think oh my god, that's just the pictures beautiful. And that brings me happiness. So I've learned to find the little positive, positive things or joy, even in just the smallest. That's not to say I don't have my bad days. That's not to say, I don't there are days when I wake up and go this cancer, you know, expletive. And I get mad at it. And it's like an unwanted houseguests. It's never gone away and it's gonna rear ugly head.
Victoria Volk 32:22
You know what, you don't need my permission to cuss on here because I felt you've earned that right? I'll check bar, I'll check. I'll gladly check that box. That it's explicit, because I'll say fuck cancer right along with you because it took my dad and I'm just like go somewhere else.
Anne Jacobs 32:48
Cancer has taken too many people I know.
Victoria Volk 32:51
That just might be the title of this podcast episode. Maybe I don't know if I can do that, but I'm going to try, just for you. Just for you. I want I want to make a distinction on something you said because you mentioned a phrase that we say in grief recovery, and it's replacing the loss because that's, that's, that's a myth that we are. That's a myth of grief. It's one of the six myths of grief and that we learn to do that. But you're not doing that you're not replacing a loss. No, you're you're, you're looking for an experience that of something you can do. And I just want to make that distinction because replacing the loss is something that makes you feel better for what you're doing that to make yourself feel better. And for you, it's what your body is capable of doing that day. So that's the difference I want to share but your losses they that is grief because grief is by definition from the grief recovery Institute, a changing or and a familiar pattern of behavior. It's anything we wish would have been different better or more. And it's a loss of hopes, dreams and expectations. If there is any story that is the epitome of grief. It is your diagnosis and prognosis. and everything in between. From that bookend to the other. One back end to the other and what has been some of the unhelpful and hurtful things that you've heard along the way.
Anne Jacobs 34:30
It happened early on in mostly with with people who felt like they needed to say something they probably would have just been better off. Not to say anything or not approached me my kids were in elementary and middle school. So I was at school. You know your your kids are in school so you're around more people now. You know they're grown to her out working once you know finishing up college so you're not around other parents as much So they would say, they didn't understand the metastatic part of it, you know, everyone understands, oh, you're going through cancer treatment in the beginning, and then your hair grows back and you start to become, you know, normal looking. And so then people adjust to that and say, Oh, she's getting better. But then when you get the metastatic like you said, I don't look like I have cancer. I mean, there's days I do, but most days, if someone looked at me, they wouldn't know. So they would say things like, Oh, you know, you'll get over this soon, or you look great, you must be feeling really well. Or if I had to cancel an appointment, they'd get up set. And say, I'm sorry, I just can't make it. I'm not feeling great today. So there's a huge disconnect, because, well, you look good. So therefore you should feel good. So I went through that a lot. I learned early on how to deflect I had a sense of, Okay, here comes, here comes a mom that I don't want to talk to she's she's just is coming up to me, because maybe she feels like she should. Because she caught my eye and she doesn't know what else to do. She would start to say something. And if I felt uncomfortable, I would just kind of interrupt her and say, Oh, you know, how's your kid doing? Or, you know, how's baseball going? Or, you know, I would change the subject abruptly, just because I didn't want to hear anything else that that person wanted to say, you know, I've, I've had some people say, you know, well, everybody can die. You can get hit by a bus tomorrow.
Victoria Volk 36:49
Are you kidding me?
Anne Jacobs 36:51
No. And I say well, and I never know what now I know. Like, what I would say say Well, you know what, I'm actually playing in the freeway.
Victoria Volk 37:02
Anne Jacobs 37:04
You're off on the sidewalk. You're just hoping some random freak accident doesn't happen. But like, I'm literally I'm in the road. But yeah, people have said that. And some, some people forget which, you know, they're good, good people, and they'll say, you know, are you done with treatment? And I'll say no, I'm I'm never going to be done with treatment. I'll be done with treatment when I'm dead. Oh, that may sound like kind of a harsh thing. But you know, I don't say it in anger. I tried it, you know, um, I tried to cover it up with like a smile or you know, ease him into it, but still make my point. Because I understand like, who the neighbor five Doors Down isn't gonna that's not their job to keep track of, you know, what I'm doing everyone's lives are so busy. So, people just forget. And so sometimes, you know, sometimes I'm very Matter of fact about that other times, I'll say, No, I'm still on treatment, I'll always be on treatment because and then I'll explain it I have cancer that's in my bones and in my, you know, long it's never going to go away. And I just hope that I'm stable for as long as possible. You know, it just depends on the conversation of how how I feel about the person that my energy level if I want to talk about it. Because there are times when someone will say something really stupid, and I'll take that time to educate them. Not that they're going to remember in a week, but you know, maybe something resonates but there's there's a whole list of of comments that that that people say cuz they they just don't know what to say. And sometimes it's just okay did that, you know, they say How you doing? And I'll say, yeah, I'm pretty good treatments going well, and all they would have to say is, you know, great. Well, I you know, I hope it's working. The comments of Oh, but you look so good. Those are like yeah, yeah, yeah, I know, I know. Don't focus on the exterior but ask about the interior. Like, how's your day going so far today? Or if it's if it's a relationship where they can ask Is there anything you need? I'm not good at asking for help. And I'll segue a little bit when I was first diagnosed, and my mom came out. My sister is out for a little bit and my mom came out for a while. My friends are thrilled that my mom was here because she answered the phone. Well doesn't need anything she say yes, I'm you know, going to target. Yes, we need a new twin mattress pad needs some orange juice, if she would, and they were Wow, your mom's so great, she's you know, she's letting this help you. Um, so then so then we just have like a here, here's my debit card, just give it to them or, you know, give them cash when they get back, but it kind of goes back into when people say silly stuff. When somebody isn't this is human nature, I think, you know, when someone's sick, everybody, they rally around, which is humbling and overwhelming and just full of love. And then when the crisis goes away, then you know, people go on with their lives, some people stay, some people leave new people come in. And that's, it's kind of an app, I know, I've gone off on a different little topic, but that kind of is part of the, when people say silly stuff or stuff that hurts me, you realize, okay, well, I volunteered with this person, they were really nice. We were worked really well together. But now I'm in a different place. And she doesn't want to be in my life, which is okay. And you know, she goes off and I and you could say there's a void there. But usually somebody else will come in like, there's a gal who knows and I was in my kids were in preschool, there's another mom and she knocked on my door and she said, I'm doing your laundry. She came in, she did my laundry, folded it left and I've I saw her all the time in preschool, but I never saw her after that. And it was just one of those she's you’d sit on the couch do not move, because she knew I would want to get up and help. She came in and left. And that's just it was just the best thing for me that day. And so, I've, I've learned that I don't have too many people in my life anymore that say the stupid stuff. So that's kind of a blessing. And any if anyone says, if only my friends say, you know, you look pretty good. I know it's coming from their heart because they've been through this journey with me, they know me at my worst. So that means something different than the superficial of, oh, you're still in treatment? Well, you don't look like it. You know, I know they're trying to be encouraging but after a while, it's just like, you know, heavy breath heavy sigh Okay, let's let's move on to talk about something else. Because they just, they don't get it and I don't want them to get it.
Victoria Volk 42:35
That's like definitely having to discern and cherry pick. And it's like this dance, a daily dance, I imagine with all the relationships. And if you think about, especially when your kids were younger, and you're out and about and you're doing things and lifeboat life was going on, and life was happening all the time. I can't imagine like I've never taken count. But when I do go out and about in a mountain in the world, it's like how many connections and interactions do we have in a single day. And I imagine that can get pretty exhausting. If every person is asking you or, or saying something insensitive and not really thinking before they're speaking and you must get home at the end of the day sometimes and just be like, oh, gosh, like people exhaust me, like, I just want to stay home. Like it's just easier to stay home. So how do you not isolate yourself and discern? How have you discern? Well, I guess you kind of answered that, like how you kind of figured out basically the people that have stuck around beside you since the very beginning? Is are the people that you lean on today? Is that true?
Anne Jacobs 43:48
Yeah, you know, last year, most of them were all in isolation COVID and the pandemic and for how this is good or bad. But for me, my my life interactions didn't really change a whole lot because I've always had you know, I've always had to be careful about my immune system. And so I developed habits you know, before the pandemic of learning how to be okay in in the house by myself for extended, you know, my husband, he gets up and goes to work every day every day. It's just amazing and but it's for his mental health too. He couldn't really work well from home. So his office is close by and. And then when our youngest went off to college, I'm here with our dogs. So I have to find ways to not feel too isolated. And there. There was a time when my immune system was super, super low. And it was like for everybody else last year with the pandemic of oh my gosh, we can't go anywhere. But this was for me it was before the pandemic and I said ask my husband Can I just I'm going to bring my laptop and just sit in your back room and you know work on my laptop for like a couple hours because I can't I can't stand being home by myself and then some days it during that time and I wasn't able to get out and walk he'd come home and be like Labrador talk Oh, we'll go in the car for a ride you know roll the window down and and you know maybe we'd go to have it burger and he could you know he'd walk in and get his dinner because I couldn't I couldn't be around a lot of people so it was again I go back to you know, just finding joy something positive in the day that I can do where I you know, feel accomplished even though I can't see people but with that, you know, I you know, I have a friend who I can just call and just start talking have a few friends like that and just start talking and you know, we already know what we're talking about. And and that's, that's really helpful.
Victoria Volk 46:09
You gave a wonderful piece of advice that was shared with you about having today and you know, just focus on that but what is Is there any other pieces of advice that you've received over the years that maybe would be helpful to someone else who's maybe been recently diagnosed or just for humanity in general?
Anne Jacobs 46:33
Remember to breathe that sounds like a very simple thing. But when when I was diagnosed with the metastatic cancer and I lost my ability to add just like okay, we're gonna attack this what do we do so I I just remember I had to just take some time and actually feel myself breathe take those big deep breaths it was grounding in it you know kind of brought me back to center and it sounds you know really basic and simple but it is because I would find myself tensing up and taking you know, shorter breaths when I would become anxious so it just has a natural calming effect it did for me and my body.
Victoria Volk 47:24
I was just gonna ask Is that something you still practice and and what are some other things that you bring into your daily life that keep you grounded and have sustained you what do you what do you Yeah, as far as like you mentioned the breathing Do you do meditation? Is there anything else you've incorporated into your day?
Anne Jacobs 47:49
Yeah, I do the breathing. I usually do it in the morning when I'm I get up and I'll make a smoothie and I take my supplements and I'm just sitting in I'll just breathe just to start the morning off. I also listened to affirmation visualization used to be a CD but now it's on my phone. I listened to it so much I can actually can just recite it in my mind and if that helps me kind of stay grounded to the other thing is that you know I'll text or talk with friends and sometimes I'll get distracted you know by whatever conversation we're having and and that's a good thing. I do stretches though that's like for my more of my emotional kind of centering for my physical I do you know, like I said, I walk I've worked up to being able to do squats because one of the treatments might left my left leg muscle super super weak to where I couldn't bend down to pick anything up. I fell over at the Rite Aid let's trying to get something off the bottom shelf with that oh my god, how am I going to get back up so I've worked up to where now I can do squats with 10 pound weights. And it's taken me I think, three years to get to this point. Weight routine with my arms. And then when I feel you know, good enough, I can be out in the backyard doing yard work. So that kind of helps me keep my physical strength up the affirmations, visualizations, it it really helps. I think, I don't know if it's your subconscious or it's maybe like a little tape that's, that's running in the back of my mind. It gives me strength because I don't know if it's a false sense of security, which I don't think it is because I believe that our thoughts affect you know, our emotions and our our approach in life and our physical well being as well. But it gives me the sense that I have control. I put that control in quotes because affirmation visualization is about my body in my immune system attacking the cancer and washing it away. It's just it's a really a there's so many out there and I found one that spoke to me, that's very, very helpful. The other thing and might sound kind of odd and I don't do this too often as I I'll sit down and I'll, I'll write letters I just wrote along with my mom. And whether it's a quick note, or, you know, a long letter, I just, I like the feeling of the pen to paper. And I always have, but that's something that kind of came back to me. It's like the flowing of the words out onto the paper. And that's different. For me, that's different than just typing in a journal. I don't do a lot of journaling. I know a lot of people do, because a lot of times I'm just the tapes are running in my head anyway, and I talking about it, and I don't want to like write it down, I'll write important things down. But the letter writing is helpful for some reason as well.
Victoria Volk 51:02
Have you written letters to the boys?
Anne Jacobs 51:05
That I have, I have written them, but not a lot for a while I have not written them about the cancer. But one of my sons asked me is if I would keep track, like when I get a memory from, you know, growing up or something, you know, college, or he says, will you write that down. So, I haven't been very good about it for the last year and a half. But I have I have done that writing the letters to my boys is actually something that is on, it's been on my mind. Because I know, when you read something, it's on paper, it's different than when someone tells you, I tell them, I tell all three of them. You guys are amazing. I'm humbled to be your mom; I don't know why I got chosen. Because I just think the world of them, and I love them fiercely. And they know that but I also know that saying that, which is good to hear is different than having this tangible piece of paper with your mom's handwriting on it. You know, it's from her I had you know, I, I have a whole box of my mom's letters and cards for you know, from the last third forever. And so when you open that card, and you see her handwriting, it's that's her, you know, I hear her words too, which are, you know, amazing. But here's this tangible piece of her right there. So, you know, it's, it's a great question, because I've been thinking about that. I thought about it all January, January is kind of a little crazy month for me, but it's still on my mind to do so. It's really interesting. You ask that question. It was intuitively known.
Victoria Volk 52:46
When speaking of intuition, and I'll just say this, too, that it's something you can do and just put in an envelope and save for them.
Anne Jacobs 52:54
Victoria Volk 52:55
Give them later. You know, it's not something you have to give right away after you write it. But speaking of intuition, I just Well, first of all, I want to just mention something with the breathing. I left I listened to a podcast episode with Lewis Howes, I think, and I'll put it in the show notes as well. But he interviewed James Nester who wrote the book, breath. And he talks a lot about how the impact of our breath and really if and how this, the diaphragm is really like the second heart and you talk in just, it's such a good episode. I've been so much more conscious of my breath. And in so many of us breathe through our mouths, which is horrible, horrible for us. I highly recommend listening to that episode. So I just wanted to mention that also, too. You mentioned about the visualization of feeling your body being like washed away like this cancer being washed away. And I thought of Lou Louise Hay, who wrote the book, you can heal your life and she talk a lot about like her she actually healed herself of her. It was a cancer of a reproductive organs, I can't remember which is uterine or, or which but talk that made me think of that. But she talked about visualization of it literally being washed away. And so I want to talk about intuition piece because intuition played a huge role. In our own email correspondence. You mentioned your intuition, how you fired your first oncologist, and you just had this instinct within you. And so, I mean, it obviously served you well, then. But how? And you mentioned even the mind body connection, which I just I love that as well. So can you speak just a little bit to intuition and how that has played a role and how you've navigated this?
Anne Jacobs 54:59
So I've I've had instances of this intuition before cancer and the first one I had I think was I don't know how old I was like I guess we could figure it figure it out but my my best friend growing up she she called she lived next door and she called in an answer the phone Of course it's the rotary phone cord in one phone in the house and she said Guess what? And in my mind I said oh my gosh you know her brother and his wife you know Jan they're gonna have a baby and I didn't want to spoil it so I said what she's Jan's pregnant and I said oh my gosh, that's great. And I thought well that was weird. And so I've had things like that happen throughout my life you know, I have a dream I had a dream about one of my nieces z years ago and she was on stage giving a speech and I can't remember the whole thing so but I I don't remember if I talked to her or I sent a text or a comment I somehow I contacted my brother and my sister in law and her you know, about her being strong and she can do this and and they said, well, there was some core there was some parallel activity happening at there and they're there they don't live near us they live states away and so that okay, well that's that's why I've had these little things. So I've learned to like tentatively, to sort of trust that voice in my head. But now cancer came what you're what you're talking about the way I got assigned, I just got assigned an oncologist and so my husband and I went and saw him and he was he did nothing wrong he In other words, he did everything right. He explained everything made sure I understood he wrote pictures on paper when I you know, he was great, he was kind he was compassionate. And during the appointment, my heart started beating super fast. I started sweating I couldn't wait to get out of the room. And when we got out of the building, at the time, I really really swore and I said to my husband, there's no effing way I'm going back to him I have to get a new oncologist and my husband who's very he's in tune with a lot you know medical stuff even though he's not in the medical field He's like, Oh my gosh, why this guy was great. I said, I don't know. I just can't have him so and i think i think i wrote in the email it was that mama bear feeling that you would feel for your kids where you will walk through fire for them that's what I was feeling about myself that was brand new. I've never felt that before. So I had to I had to pursue it I had to get a new oncologist at the time there was only one Oncology Group that I had access to and I called them and said I need a new doctor and they were just oh my gosh what happened you know and finally I talked to however many people at the group and I just said Look, just label me the crazy cancer lady I'm really sorry but I just needed a different doctor and so the oncologist that they gave me to I just attribute him to saving my life early on because we work so well together and he he he worked really well with my husband he's actually disappointed when my husband was the doctor appointments but I learned from him and he was the first on call just as younger and and my second one was he's a little older will older than me I think but he taught me about myself and cancer he taught me how to approach cancer he taught me and this was just through interaction you know what questions to ask what I needed to be focused on what you know my my numbers were going up they weren't going up that too far so we didn't have to change treatment if they went up to a certain level then we would so I learned all of this stuff. And I just have to assume that I would have not learned that with the other one. So I trusted my intuition there and that has that kind of put the big stamp on my intuition so now even my husband like if I have I said honey this I just think we should do it this way. How's it okay you know, I get it. And when you talked about the the mind body connection as well, you know, growing up I was always very active outside and growing up in Michigan, we had two acres of land our neighbors had three and four and five, no fences and we were just you just go out and play. I play soccer in high school. I've always understood. I've had this connection with my body like when it does this, then it means that I had to relearn that, specifically when it came to the cancer. But I've always, I've always had this sort of Mind Body connection. And I think it's really important. Regardless, if you have, you know, a disease or not, I just think it serves you really well, if you can understand what's happening, you know, with your body, like, okay, someone's talking to me about something I feel really insecure about. And now, you know, my heart is beating 100 miles an hour, you know, why is that? What can I do to calm down, and those kinds of things happen to everybody throughout life every day. So the, I think the earlier you start with that, and it's never too late. And it does take time. That's why the breathing helps, it does take time to just like, Ha, sit down, what's going on, you know, let's tune in. And then I think that gives you an advantage to then serve yourself better than you might have, if you if you had something stuck in my head from something earlier. I don't know if I said I think maybe it's something you said. And I was talking about, you know, when people would come up and, and ask me questions, and I have a dear friend who she taught me it was okay to set boundaries, when you feel uncomfortable, or when it may not be socially acceptable. And she's just a she's an amazing woman. And she would say, yeah, we, they go to see your daughter play a game and depending on how they're they just took care of themselves, maybe they sit, they didn't sit with everybody that day, they'd sit farther away for and I would just, she taught me It's okay to say no, she taught me It's okay to take care of yourself. Even you know, even with family members that you got to pay attention to what's happening inside you, and then make a decision of what how you want to move forward. So those things that those types of interactions I've had with people in friends have have balls bolstered Sorry, my confidence in my intuition in that mind body connection to say, yes, it is okay. And I've learned also over the years, when I haven't listened to my intuition, then I think, ah, shoot, I should have listened. So it's a try, you know, for me, it was a trial by error as well, you know, like, Okay, I get it now when the, the thought or the feeling comes up, I just go with it. Now talk about it to who, you know, if it's my oncologist, like I did that. And the most recent one was when I, I started this new cancer drug, and it's, I'm also taking a an infusion. For me, it's immunoglobulin. But it's an infusion, it's called IV big and it's to bolster my immune system, and I was getting this new drug and that one, either the same week or a week apart, and I was miserable, just miserable. And I said, You know, I can't do this, can we? Can we, like, separate them by two weeks, just to give my body a chance to, you know, catch up, and that's made a world of difference now. Like, I'm fine, after each no more, you know, relatively fine. After each treatment. I don't feel like I've been hit by a two by four. But that was from, you know, years of listening to my, the thought comes up. Oh, okay. I'm gonna pay attention to that. That Mind Body connection of you going through treatment? How do you feel? And again, this doesn't have to be treatment? It could be, you know, you have to give a presentation somewhere. Well, how, you know, I get stressed out, what can I do to calm myself down? So if you take that time to learn about yourself, I think it really serves you well, whether you have cancer or not, but I do start with the breathing.
Victoria Volk 1:04:11
I love all of that. All of it. All of it. All of it. And I know I briefly mentioned to you or email about how I'm a Reiki Master?
Anne Jacobs 1:04:19
Victoria Volk 1:04:20
The energy healing work and I'm just curious. Have you ever had a Reiki session?
Anne Jacobs 1:04:27
I have not. There were years ago, I was going to and then probably something. I'm sure it was, you know, something happened with me, and I couldn't. I couldn't go through with it. And then, um, you know, when you mentioned I thought, oh, I should I should look into that I have. I remember at the time I was asking around and I finally found someone that was recommended and I felt comfortable with but so I'll have to start that search over but I haven't,
Victoria Volk 1:04:59
They don't, they don’t, I’m right here. You got a hook up.
Anne Jacobs 1:05:08
Yeah, yeah I will take advantage of it yes after after the podcast but yeah it's it's kind of it's come back around and when I read that on your in the email, oh I should revisit that.
Victoria Volk 1:05:23
I yeah I bring that up because what you all shared and because I didn't understand that concept of how our body speaks right until I made the first of all in grief recovery after going through grief recovery I made the connection of how grief was manifesting in my body and in my life and tying that to grief that's definitely what is going on with us internally emotionally and like you said our thoughts is reflected within our bodies and our body speaks to us it's just we do things to band aid and feel better we might drink or we might do other things that just kind of enable us to numb out and that only obviously does more damage and then we have shame and and so compounds right and so I love that you brought that up and I just want to bring just highlight that in that it again Why does it take a diagnosis for us to make that connection? So, this leads me to the question of Have you ever found yourself just incredibly frustrated by people maybe close to you or in your life or maybe acquaintances or people that kind of maybe complain about this that or the other thing or or aren't taking care of themselves? That ever like have you ever found yourself like just really just frustrated with someone who you know who just isn't waking up in their own life?
Anne Jacobs 1:07:01
Yes, um it brings to mind this is years ago because I think both I think my son and my youngest was in middle school and the school is that the one of the teachers had breast cancer um, you know, in the stage two so she went through treatment she was doing fine thankfully. But she had a mom in her class who was diagnosed with breast cancer and you know and you want to talk to her it's like yes cuz probably as you can tell, just talk and talk and talk to anybody but so I talked with her and she had two little kids one was in I can't meet you'll say I don't know first or second grade one was in kindergarten and she was just diagnosed I don't think it was metastatic could have been but she was saying she did not want to see a can sometimes are called conventional oncologist she was seeing a just it may be integrative which is great because I just I see an integrative nurse practitioner but this was someone in the Bay Area who was it was more of the natural approach and when she talked to me about her cancer like oh, I said you I had to be very careful because I wanted to just scream at her oh my god are you crazy? You have to you have to start regular treatment. This your cancer is not getting any better. It's getting worse. I mean it was my head was screaming you have these two beautiful kids you got to do everything you possibly can to stay around like what the fuck but I could that's what was going on in my head but I couldn't and outwardly I was like okay, you know, well you might consider I really think you know your cancers progressing faster than you might believe I at least go talk to the conventional oncologist see what they have to say. And and she did she refused. I thought okay, I I talked to her a couple more times, and then I didn't see her anymore and I actually didn't I did not want to know selfishly I just did not want to know what happened I could have asked the teacher she would have told me because I was you know on good terms with her and I but I just could not handle the if, if she died I couldn't handle it. For me selfishly, I just didn't want to have that knowledge because in my mind she wasn't in again. This is just this is me. She was doing what she believed was right. I was like, oh my god, you're not doing everything possible. You can’t just stay around, you're not exactly exhausting all of your, your resources. So that is very frustrating for me.
Victoria Volk 1:10:08
I just want to make this key distinction to I just want to bring up for anyone listening who might be in that position. Even if you don't pursue that treatment, I feel like I have to say this. So, I'm going to say it, even if you do not pursue that treatment, it's coming from it with information. It's been fully informed and then having the confidence that you made the right decision.
Anne Jacobs 1:10:34
Yes. Yeah. 1,000% knowledge is power. You You are You are so so so so right. Just absolutely. And that's, I mean, that's how I that's just given me whether it's cancer or any other situation, give me all the information so I can process it and fully understand it to my capability, and then I'll know how to move forward that that's kind of like just a personality trait of mine.
Victoria Volk 1:11:05
Mine, too. Yeah. It's how I'm wired. We could talk about that's a whole another topic. Yeah, I'm going through a certification program right now. That's all about strengths and, and values and how we show up in the world and how we're wired. And really good. Yes, input is one of my top five strengths. Yeah, input. So I need all the information. That's how I, that's the fuel in my life. But yeah,
Anne Jacobs 1:11:30
I might have to talk to you about that later.
Victoria Volk 1:11:33
Yeah, I would love to.
Anne Jacobs 1:11:39
That that's for as far as cancer goes. That to me is is very, very frustrating. To you, to your point, exactly. Just get all the information and then make your decision. I also my, I've got two other frustrations. One is that the I don't know if you want to come celebrities, but people who are out there in the spotlight, and they're, they get diagnosed with cancer, whether it's metastatic or stage, you know, one through three, and they they come out, which I think is great. And they say I have breast cancer; they make it look so easy. Compared to the realities of what, and I know, I'm speaking for 1000s of women, because I'm on a discussion board. And whenever something like this happens, everyone just chimes in, they just make it look easy. And then they also have all these resources available to them that the common person doesn't have that doesn't get acknowledged. And so that might add to this sense of Oh, she's breast cancer, but it's going to be fine. Because, you know, there's movie star, the celebrity or this other person in the spotlight, they got it and they did okay, I know that it's very frustrating, frustrating. For me, it's also frustrating for many others, because whether they go through some really hard times, they don't really talk about it. It doesn't, you know, there's no commonality. It's like, oh, they're they're off here and another sphere. And then here we are left wondering, you know, do my kids have clean underwear today? Can't remember if, like, if I did a lot, you know, stuff to that level.
Victoria Volk 1:13:17
Oh, wait, did the maid do the laundry?
Anne Jacobs 1:13:20
Victoria Volk 1:13:21
I think, too. And I've actually interviewed an actress on my podcast, that's very down to earth. I love talking with her. But I think it's acknowledging, I think if they would acknowledge the knowledge, make all the difference.
Anne Jacobs 1:13:40
That's Yes. Thank you for saying that. That's, that's it? Yep. It would make all the difference. It really would. And then the other. The other one is, tragically when somebody dies of metastatic breast cancer. It's very, it's very rare. That the Artic in, and again, this is someone who's in the public eye. It's very rare that the article will say, she died of metastatic breast cancer. They'll say it'll say she died of breast cancer. But that's not the whole story. Because you you don't die from stage one, two and three, there may be under you know, there may be a coma. morbidities I think is the word. But if you're going to die of breast cancer, true, it's going to be because you're stage four. So, there's this balance of respecting the whoever is in the spotlight, their family and the privacy because it's just it's a horrific thing in balance that with the edge if you can educate the public more about that it was metastatic and how long did she live with the metastatic because Women lived less than five. And you know, like I said, there's women who are 25 out. And so you get a more realistic picture. And I've had discussions, you know, I for me, if I were in the spotlight, it would be Yeah, put it all out there, let everybody know what I went through so that other people can understand. But I also respect that some somebody’s family doesn't want to do that, because of the privacy, I totally get that it's like, but though those three things are, those are my frustrations. And I have the last two I can't really do anything about the first one is I can allow myself how much exposure Do I have to someone who, who isn't getting the whole picture who's just doing a very narrow? And usually, it's not it's it's a it's a narrow focus? It's the natural the natural way, which there's nothing I mean, there's nothing wrong with it. And I do I mean; I take supplements and I do conventional treatment. And I'm, you know, talking with the integrated nurse practitioner. So like you said, it's trying to get the whole picture so I can work with my medical team to make the best decision for me, but I can, I can affect that the other two, I can't really do any of those are just like peripheral frustrations. But the one that's sort of speaks to my heart is if you're not doing if you're just focused on the natural stuff, because there are there's me, I'm in another discussion board where the focus is more of the integrative more natural approach. And I'm, I joined that because I wanted to be educated because some of these women are, they are just so full of knowledge. I mean, it's it's an amazing amount of research and that they do and so I wanted to tap tap into that, and I was grateful that I could join. And I realized that there are some women who say, well, I've I've tried the natural path for a couple years and now my whole body's metastatic and like Oh, I can't read this. No, because that's an it's their choice. And I don't I'm not dismissive of it. I just know how it affects me it just it breaks my heart. Because I believe there's a bound for me anyway, I know there's a balance, but it's not for everybody. So I've chosen when I when I come across those discussions, many times I can't I just keep scrolling through the next one. I can't speak to any of that. Because it hurts me too much. I think probably because that's I mean, that's my fear. Deep down is I doing enough to keep the cancer at bay. But that comes full circle back to what you said, but I'm always trying to get as much knowledge as I can to make the best decision I can.
Victoria Volk 1:18:01
In the beginning, have you did you find yourself asking yourself why me?
Anne Jacobs 1:18:07
Victoria Volk 1:18:09
Did you have a family history of breast cancer?
Anne Jacobs 1:18:11
No, no and I actually got genetic testing done I don't have any markers for any cancer and I got the genetic testing done probably Oh gosh, I lose track of time maybe six years ago seven years ago so it wasn't right away at the time you know, I already had metastatic so what difference would it make but I talked with my oncologist I have now and I said but what about my sons and my nieces and nephews Wouldn't that be good information? She said absolutely so yeah, I have no markers my my mom's mom died of cancer but I think it was like stomach cancer and her one of my mom's cousins died of cancer but it wasn't breast cancer. So and there's but for my family tree there's no direct lineage that you know that I know of you know going back three generations that there's no there's no cancer so yeah, I did tape you know what what is going on and you know, I it's kind of like why am I still here? I you know, I don't know I can guess my guess would be that I didn't handle stress the most appropriate way throughout my life maybe that built up you know, maybe that affected my immune system broke it down so that it couldn't attack the cancer and it just started growing because you know, there's I do believe that everybody has cancer cells just kind of hanging out in their body but our immune system you know, gets rid of them. So for me, I believe is a break Just intellectually I don't know how else to go with it. I think it was a breakdown in in my immune system and my next thought is okay well why would that occur because I ate pretty healthy you know; I exercise but I really don't think I handled stress or things that really bothered me very well. I think I pushed it down too far. That's the only thing we can come up with.
Victoria Volk 1:20:27
Can I ask a question?
Anne Jacobs 1:20:29
Victoria Volk 1:20:30
How old were you when you were diagnosed with the initially with breast cancer?
Anne Jacobs 1:20:35
Victoria Volk 1:20:38
So had you had any traumatic experiences? Any trauma in your life? grief experiences? I imagine because I'm going to be 42 very soon. And I feel like I've lived three lifetimes in some ways.
Anne Jacobs 1:21:02
Victoria Volk 1:21:03
Are you open to sharing?
Anne Jacobs 1:21:06
Um, yeah, I am to a certain extent but yeah, in answer your question, yes. So one of the bigger ones which turned out just wonderfully was my husband and I were married and then we got a divorce and then got remarried. And that was just an awful awful time for me. Um, but we you know, we reconnected, and we got remarried and it's he's like he's just the absolute best i can't i mean i i wouldn't I wouldn't I don't think I'd be doing as well as I am if it weren't for him. He's allowed me to he provides for us so well he provides for the boys he's just an amazing dad. He takes care of me better than I mean he's such a wonderful man. We just couldn't get it together the first time we got it together for you Good for the second but that that was an awful time for me. I actually left California and moved back to Michigan I didn't know what I was like you know I just thought alright i'm i'm you know going back home so to speak lived with my mom for a while and and during a conversation that Chris and I were having probably about five months after I'd been there and he said you know I want you to come back so eventually you know without going through all the details yes I came back we got remarried and and so we're living normal marriage life with you know all of its ups and downs. You know, just because we decided to get married doesn't mean remarried that hasn't been a cakewalk but you know life life's just hard so you can make this commitment to something you know, we made this commitment and you know, especially with with calling being a little guy my stepson I said you know, if if I'm going back I'm not leaving because I can't do this to Collin he's just he's like two years old. And so we've you know, we've made a pretty good life and and that's a whole nother topic, but so that was stressful. Um, you know, growing up, everybody has, you know, family stuff. And I just don't think I don't think I was really understood how to handle the stresses in life when you're growing up and anxieties you have as a teenager and you know, then going off to college, and there's times I think I had guardian angels, like literally picking me there must have been 10 of them picking up me up on my shoulders and saying, Let's leave this situation and we'll just go over here for a little while. So there's many times when I look back, and I didn't follow my instinct, or I didn't follow my heart during those times when I think okay, maybe I should have and I don't mean this in a Pollyanna way. But then I don't think I would be married I would I don't I wouldn't have come out to California would have met Chris, we wouldn't have gone through our stuff. I wouldn't have these, you know, this wonderful family by making other choices so but within the everyday life, I believe I just didn't handle the stress appropriately for my body. I just kept pushing it down, pushing it down, pushing it down, and then it would come It would come back up maybe in inappropriate ways maybe I would burst into tears when the situation didn't weren't, you know, really warranted, but it was what was happening with me. That's the only. I mean, that's the only thing I can think of other than if you want to think of was exposed to some weird chemical or, you know, we didn't live we lived, you know, pretty clean life. You know, college, you I drank like everybody graduate, you know, I didn't, I didn't drink a lot because I mentioned that because they say, you know, alcohol consumption is one of the things you know, you need that can contribute to breast cancer. But, you know, I, when I got the metastatic diagnosis, I stopped drinking completely. Maybe I have three glasses or four glasses of wine a year. But so that's why I reflect upon how did I handle the stressful situations in my life? Not very well. gracefully. I try to do a better job now. You know, sometimes I don't. But when I don't that means it signals to me that I'm need to take more time to figure out well, what's really happening, you know, within me, because I do have to say that there is a certain part of me that, you know, takes it for granted that I'm going to like every you know, everybody, you know, before I had cancer, I just took it for granted. I was gonna wake up the next morning, and I can to a certain extent, but they're just some days I just say, all right, I can't it's not, I'm not trying not to think about it, and just, you know, pretend I don't have it. But I can't do that very often. Because that's like I mentioned earlier, it's just unwanted houseguests that's here. And I have to learn how to live with it. So if I ignore it for too long, it doesn't serve me. Well. I did, I did go through counseling. When I was in my 20s. And I'll never forget, you know, we were talking about the mind body connection, I was sitting, it was group counseling. And then you'd meet, you know, different timing, meeting one on one with the counselor during this group counseling. Someone was speaking. And I remember getting very agitated. I can't remember what the topic was. I had this thing on my chin like it, it just like, Oh, my skin just opened up. It was like a boil almost that appeared within a half hour. Because whatever's being said, in the group, I wasn't. I was afraid to, to, to share. And so because I didn't like let it out of my body with the words, it was coming out in this boil on my chin. That had never happened before. And I didn't take a clue from that, like, Oh, you know, a big enough clue. I don't think like, it wasn't a big enough moment to say, Oh my gosh, you know, I have to think about what's happening with me emotionally, my thoughts and how I'm handling all this stuff. But that I still think of that today actually can I can still feel it happening and looking in the mirror going and it was ugly. Looking back on that reflecting back. Yes, I was not handling whatever was upsetting me appropriately. So my body was doing it, you know, speaking out about it. So my body did it for me. And I think that and there's there's one other thing that happened, I can't remember but so hindsight, of course, 2020 I just have to believe that I wasn't handling the stresses in my life appropriately to when I say properly, I mean to like resolve them, get them out. So I wouldn't feel so anxious or, or guilty or shameful or you know, whatever was happening so that I could resolve it in some way that was in a healthy way. That's the that's the only thing when I say Why me? I don't really say why me anymore. But early on, I did for sure. That's kind of what I come up with.
Victoria Volk 1:29:20
Thank you for sharing. I think it's a good message that people need to hear that. Again, we don't need to get a diagnosis, to tie in with ourselves until, like, step back from our lives and take a bird's eye view of why am I feeling this way? What is going on. It's like when we don't go to the doctor when we're feeling well and healthy. We go to the doctor when we're not feeling so good.
Anne Jacobs 1:29:51
Victoria Volk 1:29:52
That is also true of our mental health. So, let's not get to that point, right? like you mentioned support many times throughout this interview so far, the message boards that you're on a team that you surrounded yourself with the medical team, it's like you have these you have a lot of different teams, don't you like the medical team, your family team, your friend, team, the online team. And obviously, that's been a huge contributor to your success so far in managing things. What has given you the most joy in the future?
Anne Jacobs 1:30:35
Probably my kids. Um, there's such there's such amazing people that I you know, like our oldest was over for dinner last night. Our our middle son, we're going east coming back in two weeks for family game night, and our youngest right now was that he's living with us, you know, for COVID going to school and online, but he's in he's taken a week vacation. So he's not at home. And, you know, I just, I just love being around them. I mean, and then, you know, I look forward to when my husband comes home at night because he keeps just keeps me afloat. He's so smart. He's a great sense of humor. But when you know the first word when you ask me joy, it just, like, it goes right to my kids. And they've always been a reason why I you know, keep moving forward. Like I'm not, I believe for me, and it's not true for everybody. Sugar is not good for me, but I love I love ice cream, and I love cookies. I literally I'll open up the cookie jar, and say, no, you know, if you can't do it for yourself, just do it for the boys. All right, and the cookie jar, like goes back on. Okay, and I'm not saying I'm perfect, you know, I, I have, I eat cookies, and I have some ice cream that you know, all that stuff. But when I know I'm really not supposed to be doing something, you know, I already know it's not good for me. But I just want it that they are the ones that pull me back. Because I want to be here for as long as possible. So that I can just be part of their lives. So, I mean, that's that's the, that's the big thing. Little things are like yesterday, I was driving out to my appointment was just a regular point with my oncologist. And the spinner song that gets called out. I'll be there something. Anyways, spinner song came on, and I love it. And I just cranked it up. And I'm at the stoplight, and I'm just dancing in my seat. And there's all these people around me, but I don't care anymore. Like before, like, well, I don't want to do anything, I'll be embarrassed. You know, it's like you say it took the cancer diagnosis. Like, it doesn't matter if people are looking at me funny, because I'm, I'm enjoying the song and I'm just kind of dancing and moving in my seat and the song played for most of my drive out. And that gave me joy, you know, a little peace of joy. Um, there's, like I said earlier, there's these two gals who post on Facebook and they take pictures too. And there's some but what she takes pictures of rocks that have been painted, someone has taken the time to paint rocks, and they place them around our you know, our area. And I think that is so cool. You know, part of me, that part of me, I think is always been there to find these little moments, and to tune in into really acknowledge what's happening. But I just do that even more. And if I get one of those a day, then that's pretty cool. And actually, actually I just I honestly, I seek something out every day. That's gonna be bringing me a little piece whether you want to call it happiness or joy or positivity. Even if I'm laying in bed. And I you know, I can't even move my it's gonna take it just like okay, I got a roll over. Here we go. And it's so hard to imagine how can you feel so awful and weak that you can't even roll over in bed, but that's where I was. And, and I hear in this, you know, maybe I'll hear my husband downstairs on the phone, or you know, earlier days. I'll hear my kids and they're all talking and laughing and I'm I'm so so sad. I can't be down there with them at that moment, but then I'm so so happy I can hear them laughing and talking because I'm still here.
Victoria Volk 1:34:45
You can FaceTime in the same house.
Anne Jacobs 1:34:50
Yeah, yeah. Well, they'll come up I mean, they would come up when they're, you know, younger they come up, you know, they'd sit in bed with me and maybe we'd watch a TV show or movie, or they just talked to me, so things like that. But it's, it's those little times like, oh, I can't be downstairs, but I can hear them or feel like you said FaceTime last year, I've been able to see my mom in over a year, but we can FaceTime and we were playing hangman for a while, you know, on FaceTime. So, I think for me, it's really important to find something every day that it just has, you know, Ray of Sunshine that comes through. And some days, it's, you know, clear skies and sunny and some days, it's cloudy, but you know, that, you know, you can still see a little bit coming through, and I think that that's what has, that keeps me going, you know, like, my kids, my husband and and, you know, going from the core and then quicksort is the opposite of, of peeling an onion, you start like with the core, and I'll just ripple effect out the metastatic diet is such a huge, it's, like part of my life now. And I thought, you know, the first diagnosis, like I said, you know, I had surgery, then I had started treatment in March, it was over in August. And I thought, all right, here we go, you know, not totally back to normal, but I didn't have to fear the cancer. At that point. Is that, okay? I'm done. And at that time, they weren't, they didn't even tell you that, oh, you got to watch out because, you know, 30% of stage one through 330 percent of the women. I don't know how it placement, but for the women, they'll get metastatic cancer. You know, 70% won't, but that 30% kind of a big chunk, they will get it. So, but no one talked about that then. Because it just there hardly anybody with stage four met at this stage for breast cancer.
Victoria Volk 1:37:01
You’re warrior, you’re like wonder Women, your cancer, Wonder Women defying the odds? How about how, as far out as you like those who have lived, maybe 15 years or more who have survived who are surviving 15 years or more out?
Anne Jacobs 1:37:17
That actually is something that that they're working on, like I know, the University of Wisconsin a couple years ago, they were doing a study, trying to figure that answer out. There's another, I think it's called the I don't know if it's the MVC project. I don't know if that's the type of the official name, but that actually they're trying to figure that out. It's not I haven't been kept on that. So they don't, they don't really know, like, of the metastatic population, what percentage is, you know, how many years? I think they say, and again, and I don't really look at you know, I tell if I'm talking to someone I'll say don't look at when you go online, don't look at the percentage of mortality, because one it's not you, which is the biggest thing in tos there. You know, some of this information is really out of date. Because there's so every woman's body makeup is so different. And you're going to react differently to whatever medication you have. So for example, I'm called what's triple positive you know, got her hormone receptor positive and her two new positive so those er estrogen progesterone and her two positive this triple positive when I was on this chemo drug abraxane is all I could do to squeak out a year. But there's another lady who I know on the boards, she's been doing it for five years. It note with no problem. So her body cam, her chemical makeup, she can handle it, and then I couldn't. So that's why I tell women don't don't look at survival rates. Because it's not who you are. It's not nice. Yeah. It's not taking into consideration everything about you. But so that Yeah, so anyways, they they're working on those numbers now because they up until I think I answered the Wisconsin survey four years ago, and I don't know where they are, you know, on it. I signed up. Yeah, give me the results. But I haven't gotten anything. But that's, that's a big question out there. That's getting more and more attention. So, which is good.
Victoria Volk 1:39:36
I want to read something that you share it in your email, and it's, I had asked you the question, having lived this long with cancer in your body. Is it the will to live? Or is it just not your time? And in part of your response was and I just want to read this out loud. You mentioned m Scott pecks book the road less traveled and you said the first line His life is difficult and goes on. This is a great truth one of the greatest truths is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult, once we truly understand and accept it, and life is no longer difficult because once it is accepted the fact that life is difficult no longer matters. What a beautiful passage Thank you I've not read that book. A passage meets new once you've read that book. I mean, they actually did read it in high school, but you know, you're young and you write everything and you don't care about philosophical things necessarily. But I love what you shared in your email and what you talked about was that your freewill and and how we live our lives how we live our lives affects the quality of our life and possibly how long we have on this earth and it's right you speaks to that control piece that you said it's what I have control over you put your focus to your breathing your mindset your body all these areas the whole body health and wellness. Can you share in your words a little bit about that because maybe you've reflected on it more since that email?
Anne Jacobs 1:41:22
So, I do believe how how we live our lives can can affect our longevity and then on the so for example if I if I chose to not do you know conventional medicine and go down the natural path or you know I would not be here I would have died a long time I would have died years ago because I you know my cancer is aggressive so but if I truly believe that, you know, traditional medicine was not the path for me and that and I didn't then I just I wouldn't be here if I I believe for me that if I didn't when I got the diagnosis if I didn't try to start looking at things differently and changing a little bit of how I live my life that I've talked about that that would have affected the quality of my life. So I do believe we have the freewill of how do we approach these things that happen in our lives the thing i can't i don't know maybe the other side of the same coin I can't figure out is I think I put in in that email the cousin of a friend of mine was shot driving home from work just he's in his car driving home and he was shot and in the hospital and he died a week later so he doesn't have any control over that dear friend of mine son was diagnosed with brain cancer and the way they live their life I believe in her ability and their whole you know to be a can't imagine a stronger advocate I know that that she and they added years to his life but he died they didn't have any they didn't have any control of that ultimately I think maybe on this would be like a whole nother discussion I can go down that rabbit hole pretty quickly it's like I don't there's things I understood we can affect you know how we our reactions to something like I've reacted poorly to instances in my life and tried to make amends you know that's on me I have control of that there's then there's all these other things that happen that I don't have control over and I think though that sort of what you call it that is the dichotomy anyway, that brings me to that that first line and paragraph in in the road less traveled because life is difficult. It's also joyful and you know it's everything but it's not it's not going to be easy and I think I knew that early on in my life and I was I was given that book by a friend of my mom's and I started reading it I think once you I guess at once I understood that it is just difficult like it says you say okay it's gonna be hard to win the hard stuff comes I'm not being punished I'm not you know I'm not being singled out it's just life is just it is hard. It's not hard all the time it's it like it just you know it's it's just part of what happens in life but it helped me to understand that for the circumstances that I can't control stuffs gonna happen and it's gonna be something on the scale it can be you know, okay easily handled or can be just just horrific event and everything in between. Like I was listening to some of your other guests and cried through many podcasts, I think, oh my gosh, how did they get through? What? You know, they got through life hat, sometimes life happens to you, it doesn't. So, when I say life is difficult or hard, doesn't justify or minimize or rationalize all the crap that's out there. It's just it is out there. So I, I learned, okay, you know, I'm not hiding because oh my god, what's the next bad thing that's going to happen? I don't approach it like that. I just know that I'm not being singled out. Everybody has a hard life. At one point or another. Everyone has, you know. So, it's not just me, you know, and I'll tell my kids or I'll tell friends, if you see someone who has it totally together. Just know that that's not them all the time. I remember one of my sister-in-law's told me that, you know, bright one, her. Her first was first child was born, she answered the door, you know, he just spit up or, you know, she looks a wreck. It just, you know, and here she opened the door to her neighbor, who was totally put together her baby was like, you know, in a cute outfit? And do you want to go to the park, and she was barely hanging on by your fingernails? And just thinking, oh, my God, I you know, I can't look like that. But then I, I don't know what it was said in the conversation, that we'll of course, she looks like that, because you're not going to go outside and knock on someone's door. Unless it's a good day, you're put together, you know, everything's going along smoothly. So, you didn't see her yesterday, and you're not gonna see your three hours from now. So, it's, it's that kind of thing of, you know, if you're having a hard time, it's not, it's just part of life.
Victoria Volk 1:46:55
I don't want any things, putting things in perspective, right? Because people learn, people are more likely to show their highlight reel, right?
Anne Jacobs 1:47:03
Victoria Volk 1:47:04
Or in person online, whichever it is, it doesn't matter.
Anne Jacobs 1:47:07
Right, and then, you know, you find those people who you can show the ugly stuff, or have the ugly cry with or, you know, share all all the difficulties in life. But when I read that I was younger, and it just helped me to understand, like, okay, it's, it's not just me, and I, you know, it'll hopefully I'll be able to handle whatever comes down the road, I already knew that things were, the things could happen. But it was during a time in my life, when I looked at everybody else, like, you know, my sister-in-law, looked at this woman and said, Oh, my God, they seem like they've got it all together. And I was sort of grasping at straws, because there's a time in my life when it was, I was feel I felt like I was hanging on by my fingernails. And so that kind of helped me level the playing in that, in that level, it's not the right word helped me to cope better with things that work that would want you know, when I did have a hard time, and it also, if you read the book more, it kind of helps you to understand how you can approach situations in a healthy, healthier way. Or a more cognitive or centered way. At least it did.
Victoria Volk 1:48:20
Intentional too, right?
Anne Jacobs 1:48:22
Victoria Volk 1:48:23
And I want to mention too, because what I've heard now, like two hours, which is like amazing, like, whoa, um, is hope has been, like, the undercurrent of your whole experience so far?
Anne Jacobs 1:48:49
Yeah. I, it is, um, it is.
Victoria Volk 1:48:56
Because if we don’t have that, what do we have? Right?
Anne Jacobs 1:48:58
Victoria Volk 1:48:59
Especially someone who is facing and is going through exactly what you're going through, like, if you didn't have that for 18 years, like oh my gosh, like, what would life be like, right?
Anne Jacobs 1:49:11
Right. It's, it's carried me through. You hope that the next day is going to be better or you know, you hope that
Victoria Volk 1:49:23
And grew gratitude when it is yeah, there's gratitude.
Anne Jacobs 1:49:28
Yeah. It's, you know, hoping, hoping for the best in situations. And yeah, that's
Victoria Volk 1:49:37
That ripples to and the relationships you have with people close to you is if you have hope, it gives them hope.
Anne Jacobs 1:49:46
It does. Yeah. Thank you. You're you're helping me very well here. Yeah, I think it is hopeful I it's something that I I think I carry in my heart, because otherwise it's if I focus on the times when, you know, I can't get out of bed or I can't brush my teeth, or I can't take a shower for four days, because I'm not feeling good. I have the hope that okay, well, I will be able to do that in two weeks maybe. So, I, and I haven't reached the end of the line, because I have the hope that there are more medications in the pipeline, and there are more trials and sciences working, you know, for all of our collective benefit. I actually haven't thought what it would feel like if I didn't have hope. So that's, I think, why I was pausing because I think I just, I just have it. I'm hopeful that things will get better or continue to be, you know, stable. I know, eventually, actually, you know, I eventually know that the medication I'm on will stop working. Because I, you know, I've been through I think 12 different treatment regimens over the years. So, I know at some point, it will, but I'm hoping that it will be you know, one year, two years, three years, I think the longest I've been on a treatments three and a half years before had to change. So I'm hopeful that I will be on this for a long time. And then I'm hopeful that there's a new medication that I will be able to take that will knock the cancer back. And so, as I'm talking, I'm just thinking, if I didn't have that hope, I probably wouldn't get out of bed. Honestly. So, thank you for for naming that.
Victoria Volk 1:51:37
This is why I love this podcast, why I love podcasting because the people that do come on here, they give hope they have hope they bring other people who no matter life's challenges. And there, I've heard some really horrific stories, that there is a way out. And if we have to hold on to hold by our fingernails, maybe that's the one thing we can do that day. Maybe that's the only thing we can do that day.
Anne Jacobs 1:52:10
Yeah, that's actually a, you're giving me goosebumps. That's a very powerful. That's a very powerful thought and statement. Really, that's so true.
Victoria Volk 1:52:22
What do you want your legacy to be?
Anne Jacobs 1:52:25
Oh, my gosh. I don't I don't know.
Victoria Volk 1:52:34
I can tell you what I see.
Anne Jacobs 1:52:36
Victoria Volk 1:52:37
So if I were, this is my other thought. If I were a betting man, I would bet that one of your top five strengths is positivity. Yeah, it is. But never lose hope. That's a pretty good legacy.
Anne Jacobs 1:52:55
Yeah. To never lose hope. That's, I think you're right,
Victoria Volk 1:53:02
The greatest lesson that you can share with people. You're doing it right now on this podcast. So thank you very much.
Anne Jacobs 1:53:10
Victoria Volk 1:53:11
Is there anything else that you would like to share?
Anne Jacobs 1:53:14
I guess, as far as the, the metastatic part when you're you're first diagnosed and this is kind of circling back to the beginning you will have you will have loss, you like I say you'll have the loss of sense of self, you'll have the loss of whatever you are, you know, able to do physically, you'll have the loss of being able to plan for the future you have the loss of the luxury of believing you're going to live you know another 30 years, right because if you don't have a medical condition, which can limit your longevity, you just you just I mean to be healthy, you just have to assume Alright, I'm I'm living a long life, because of course, anything can happen. But most, most people I mean, I you just assume you're going to get up and you're going to do these things that you want to accomplish in life and you're going to have the time to do it. So, you lose that luxury. And in the beginning, you're it feels like you're dropped into a foreign country with no map, and you don't know the language. But you know, take your time. follow your instincts, get to a point where you're okay with your approach to the disease in the cancer, just to settle a little bit and then and then allow yourself to know that because you've had all these losses of things that you had before doesn't mean that your life can't have the joy in the positive things. To, from here on out, it's going to be completely different, it's going to be something that you don't want, and you're going to cry, and you're going to be mad, and you're going to scream, and you're going to do all these things. And that's okay, it probably needs to happen. But to understand, I guess, you know, you have hope have the hope that it's going to be better, if not, can be the same, but it can get better. And I say that very humbly. Because I know that there for some women, it doesn't get better. And tragically, they don't have as long as they want. So I don't I take that very, you know, I take that very seriously and to heart and for me, I just had to, sometimes I call it jumping from one lily pad to another, I have the hope that I'm going to get to the next lily pad, whichever one that may be, whether there's a new treatment, or brushing my teeth, or taking the dog for a walk, or just making it through a day on the couch. But try to keep that little kernel of hope in there. Like you said earlier hanging on by your fingernails, if that's all you can do, that'll get you to the next day, because life does completely change. But it doesn't mean that what you have whatever time we have left it, it can be good. at certain times, you can find, you know, joy, you can find happiness, it may not be how long you want it or when you want it, maybe you have to look for it where you didn't have to before but it's there. And to get to just have that hope. And I wrote up, follow your instincts because they're, they're there. They're there for a reason.
Victoria Volk 1:56:43
Amen to that. I read a something today, I think it's from Genesis, I'm not even sure but what you said made me think of it. God gives us what we need, not what we want. And we could have a whole nother topic, conversation about spirituality, and I'm all about that. Yeah, and taking because we only really touched on that, like, maybe a little bit more, like in the email and just a little bit here, but very interested in hearing the role of spirituality for you and, and all of that, um, is there anything you can share briefly about the role of spirituality and faith for you?
Anne Jacobs 1:57:30
Um, well, it's, it's an evolving process for me, um, I grew up in the Unitarian Church. So, I didn't really understand spirituality until I was probably in my 20s I didn't get that the minister we had at the time when I was growing up, I thought he was just a great man. He was, I think I'm using the term right if I remember correctly, he was more of a humanist, but he, I think that's where I learned started to learn about the connection. You know, we're not this just autonomous vessel here, you know, on Earth, we connect to the earth, we connect to people, our actions, and thoughts and words, you know, they all have meaning then it affects other people. So, I, I thought he was I learned, I guess, you know, you started, you know, what, how old I was little, and you grow up, and you sort of have these things ingrained. But then as I got older, I had a sense that there was something else out there who my best friend was, she grew up in the Catholic Church, and I would go to church with her. And you know, some of this stuff would speak to me and I've spent my life kind of exploring different churches and wrestling with the different I don't even know philosophies the right word, but the approaches of different churches and and i don't fit into one category, okay? I'm not a Catholic, or Protestant or Methodist. So I realized that and so for the spirituality part of me, it's going to be probably an ongoing process for me. The day I die, probably, I believe in the power of prayer. I believe that there's something out there. And whether it's God or Buddha, or the universe light, you know, there's just something out there that connects people that's unexplainable to me. I believe in science. I don't think science and religion are separate. I look at this whole magnificent world, you know, we live in, in the various states that it comes in. It's miraculous to me that the earth is even exists. So that in and of itself, too mean means there's something greater out there and people can say well yeah but it's you know scientifically this is what happened and I and I agree you know but i think but it's miraculous we I'm sitting at home and we have these I'm talking to you you're in North Dakota in California we see each other you know I'm still amazed by television, you know?
Victoria Volk 2:00:26
And how about us as human as a body? Cellular like a cell we are made up of cells, cumulated cells.
Anne Jacobs 2:00:38
Yeah, I just that was yes you read my mind that in the body is just like I'm speaking and talking and forgetting my words and you know I've got medicine in my body keeping me alive and so these things to me are miraculous and then you know going back to there's tragedy that happens in life and I wish it didn't you know, I but we can't get around it. It's just it is there. It's always going to be there there's good and there's evil there's always going to be good there's always going to be evil
Victoria Volk 2:01:14
There's cause and effect.
Anne Jacobs 2:01:15
Cause and effect. Yes.
Victoria Volk 2:01:16
A natural law.
Anne Jacobs 2:01:18
Yes. All of that so so I absorb all of that and I can't like and that affects it's still a work in progress. So I can't I'm I don't have a for me, it's a luxury because I grapple with this to say yes, this is what I believe in. And it's just it's a more of a straight path. For me, it's just all these things that come into play every day. But I think it comes back to hope I have to believe in the goodness of people I have to you know, if you just take away the evil that happens and everyone has their own definition of evil, but it's always going to be there, but I have to believe in the goodness of people and the ability to change and kindness and love out in the world. So that but I can open up the Bible and I can read something in Proverbs that just is just beautiful. You know, I can't I wish I could memorize these things, but I can't. So you know, I read the Bible. I read philosophy it's my one of my brothers and my mom and I and his girlfriend were talking about Socrates and Aristotle and Plato you know and texting and you know all that to me is just fascinating and unfortunately I don't think I'm going to have enough time on earth to figure it out but I'm really I enjoy these conversations I have with them I enjoy reading about it I have a book that's called the power of prayer you know for mom a power of prayer for women and I'll read the some of it I don't get it I don't agree with but I can always find something that speaks to me and whether it's effective or not, I feel better you know, it's what I incorporate in I will say there's little things that happened like I just last week, I was having a conversation with our son and my husband we were in the kitchen and what I realized that happened is that I was playing with my rings I threw three rings and one of them had slipped off and had fallen on the carpet under the table. I didn't know that I woke up the next morning and look at my hand there's only two like oh my gosh you know what I had to retrace my steps and I said this I said this little prayer doesn't work all the time. Like what what is lost maybe found I went through the garbage I went everything twice every step retraces my steps all day and I thought I'm just gonna sit down at the table and cry and there I see it under the table on the carpet. Well, were my prayers answered. I don't know what if someone had found it eventually Absolutely. You know things like that happen through life that make me catch like oh, like the intuition i think is part of spirituality. There's some connection there does God answer prayers you know, I don't know because there's a ton of there's millions of prayers that go on answered and then that's a whole nother you know, podcast but for spirituality for me, I just have to the hope the goodness in people the connection that we make with others. I think if you're a you allow yourself to feel deeply you interact with others at a different level. Like I'm talking about that maybe to the core, you know, I'm having like, what are they the impact? Is that the right word?
Victoria Volk 2:04:56
Yeah, yeah, that's me.
Anne Jacobs 2:04:57
Yeah. So, to me, that's all it's all intertwined. But I do believe there's something out there I don't exactly know what it is. I don't believe that you know there's a punishing God. One thing that no one said to me was Oh, you're being punished thankfully, I've heard I've heard other friends of mine whose children and they will be told that from a religious you know, which I think is horrific but horrible. Yeah. Um, so I don't believe I think spirituality is love and hope and kindness and helping each other and the goodness of people.
Victoria Volk 2:05:40
You know, the shortest sentence in the Bible?
Anne Jacobs 2:05:45
Ah, I knew that I forgotten. No, what?
Victoria Volk 2:05:47
Anne Jacobs 2:05:49
Victoria Volk 2:05:50
Now if that isn't humanizing enough for all of us. Like it’s okay. And you move to speak, prayed move to speak.
Anne Jacobs 2:06:05
Yep. A lot of good lessons come from him. So many good lessons.
Victoria Volk 2:06:10
You are magnificent in my eyes
Anne Jacobs 2:06:12
You are very kind.
Victoria Volk 2:06:16
And I thank you for being here. I've loved absolutely loved this conversation. I hope we have another one. Again, I want I want I would love to have you back some time.
Anne Jacobs 2:06:29
You have a gift. You really have a gift you are. You're doing what you're supposed to be doing. So, it's really my honor to be part of this podcast, it really truly is. Thank you.
Victoria Volk 2:06:45
Thank you for saying that I feel fully aligned with what I'm doing. So yes, it feels very good to me. That it is my joy, for sure. I don't get paid for it either. This is just, I I'm just here to give you space, give other space and bring hope to people. And I think you very much so did that today. So, thank you.
Anne Jacobs 2:07:12
Thank you. Thank you.
Victoria Volk 2:07:15
Where can people find you? You want to reach out?
Anne Jacobs 2:07:18
Um, well. So, I don't, I used to have a website like 10 years ago, but felt that's gone. But I'm on Instagram. It's at Blue Line crossing. And I'm on Facebook, but it's it's closed. Facebook, but if I think you can message me still through Facebook, if you know and I've done that, you know, contact or connected with people who've messaged me. And we have conversations on that the messenger.
Victoria Volk 2:07:59
Is there a Facebook group for those diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer that you could send a link to me and I can put in the show notes that they could request to join?
Anne Jacobs 2:08:08
Victoria Volk 2:08:09
Okay. I would love to do that and listening to this.
Anne Jacobs 2:08:16
Yeah. And anyone who's listening who has metastatic cancer, this group this group is it's really a godsend, the women on it are, are so helpful, so caring, very knowledgeable. And you'll get every, every type of breast cancer, you know, every characteristic of breast cancer on there, so I will absolutely do that. Yeah
Victoria Volk 2:08:40
Okay, thank you. And reach out to her on Instagram at Blue Line crossing if you just want to give her thanks for sharing her story and telling her how magnificent she has sent her some good healing Juju. Thank you.
Anne Jacobs 2:09:01
Thank you. Thanks for listening to me ramble on.
Victoria Volk 2:09:06
Many blessings to you and your family. There was so much I was I there's a lot of questions I didn't even get to. So again, I mean, we I wanted to ask about relationships with your husband and how you both have knit, how he's navigated this and how it's looked for your kids, and there's so much more that we can talk about. So, I definitely plan to have you back. Thank you. And remember, when you unleash your heart, you unleash your life. Much love.