Guest Post: Samantha Brock Perlmutter

awareness cancer design pink
Photo by Miguel Á. Padriñán on

It‘s not intentional that I have my annual breast squish (MRI) tomorrow {test results were AOK}, during Breast Cancer Awareness Month. My annual squash (mammogram) follows six months later. It’s not fun but the pink lining is that by grace of the fates I’m BRCA-; the test came out in fall 1994, about six months after we lost my Mom to breast cancer.

With pink everywhere you turn this month it feels right to share a post about a different kind of pain by my friend Samantha. We’ve held each other in our hearts since I was a toddler, when her large family moved to my nuclear family’s cul-de-sac. She’s looked out for and loved me like a sister. The night I found out that Samantha, a mother to three daughters—a seemingly serene, beautiful Earth Mama—had breast cancer and would need all the surgeries and treatments, I doubled over in agony…and then sent her chocolates. This is one of her stories.

“I love you.

There are a million ways I want to begin this entry. On one hand that makes writing this complicated; on the other hand it highlights a beautiful fact to me: I am feeling happiness. I can tell. I am swirling with ideas and creativity and passion and life. And maybe it’ll last for just a moment as I’m writing this; regardless, I’m grateful. And I’m not saying I’ve been miserable. It’s just I’ve been happy in a husband, three kids, and two dogs kind-of-way.

And Motherhood with young children kicked my bottom. I lost myself. I didn’t even know I was gone… not really. It happened suddenly: My life with kids. And it wasn’t the kids’ doing; nor Jake’s. I simply allowed myself to get tangled up in the webs of four (including Jake) other beings. I stopped minding my business, and instead minded theirs. And I am really good at minding other peoples’ business. Really, really good. Professional good. Anyway, I lost myself. And in losing myself I also lost a lot of self-esteem which helped me spiral into deeper anxiety I’ve written about in other posts and will touch on later.

When my second daughter was six weeks old, yoga saved my soul in the form of donation-only classes at my one-of-a-kind neighbor’s house across the street. It was Barbara’s first yoga gig, and I wanted to support her (READ: Barbara made me go). Jake worked at school by day, and attended school by night, usually arriving home quite late. But our village helped me make the class a priority, and even my dad (last, at the time, on our Babysitting Call List!) often came over to sit in the house while the girls slept so I could make a mad dash across the street at 6:59pm to roll out my mat at 7:00pm and. Relax?! At that point in my life I created so much anxiety inside myself I had forgotten how. Little by little, though, class by class, pose by pose, breath by breath, I did start to unwind.

Barbara added a second class on Thursdays, and soon I was hooked. I followed in Barbara’s footsteps and went through Trace’s Yoga Teacher Training at Holy Cow. Again, life-changing. Soon Barbara and I had The Living Room… a space for self-healing up and running, happily padding along with our several yoga and massage and Reiki and Qigong clients a week.

Shortly after, I had a miscarriage, followed by the pregnancy and outlying, cesarean birth of sweetness number three. And before our youngest had time to grow out of toddlerhood I received the breast cancer diagnosis, spending the better part of the next two years having various surgeries and chemotherapy.
The cancer chapter for me was actually a time of great introspection and massive inner self-growth. I began the process of breaking myself down so I could start building myself up. In every way. I wouldn’t give that time back for anything.
That was the climax of my cocooning chapters. I sort of stopped living most of real life, now that I think about it. Our village kept us lifted and fed and cared for, and my already vast well of gratitude deepened ten-fold.

For the past two years I’ve continued the path of finding my way back to me. I’ve been trying to figure out how to tear off my masks and break down my walls. How to be me; and not only be me, but a really good version of me. Heck, even the best version of me. Why not? In March I wrote about attending an intensive, outpatient group therapy program at MUSC for three weeks to help understand my anxiety. Talk about tearing yourself open. I sat at tables, looking into the eyes and the hearts of all the beautiful people in the program with me, and I saw myself. I heard myself. I grew so much.

A few weeks or so before I began the Revisions program, a post on Facebook caught my attention. It was Laura Hansel’s post. It was before and after pictures of Laura’s body, showing the results from the wellness program she’d been following. While I was instinctively turned off by what I could only assume was the Rodan & Fields of Fitness, I was drawn in by everything else about her post. The glow, the determination, the strength, the happiness in her pictures and in her words.

I wanted to feel strong.
I wanted to be strong.
So, instead of second guessing myself as usual, I went with my gut and contacted Laura about doing whatever it was she was doing! I actually had no idea. I did know it was called BeachBody, and I started our conversation with “I don’t really know what this is. But I don’t like the name. I’m embarrassed to even say it out loud (it took me about five months to say it without squirming). I will NOT be posting before and after pictures of my body on social media. And I will NOT EVER try to bring someone in as their coach.” But, it’s me we are talking about. And I like to change my mind! So here I am, seven months into this thing that helps me grow everyday. And I have drunk the delicious coo-ade!!!

I loved BB immediately because of the caliber, variety, and wealth of workouts – hundreds and hundreds; I loved how easy it was to roll out of bed, type in and begin my workout immediately (This would have been a game-changer for me when the girls were young.); I loved it because of the Challenge Group I am a part of, that inspires me many-times daily, and holds me accountable to my goals (I have goals!!).

And now. Now I’m a different person. When the trainer Shaun T tells me I can do something through my computer screen, I believe him and I do it. I am strong. Stronger than I have ever been before. And the physical strength transforms into strength across the board. I can do things now I couldn’t have dreamed of doing when I began in March. And that changes you; when you see you can do something you didn’t think was possible. All of a sudden, everything becomes possible. You start to believe. And now, a new, deeper fire has awakened in my belly.

I could go on and on, and I guess I already have! The bottom line is, if anyone is interested in learning more about being a part of a BeachBody challenge group with me, send a message, or ask here!
For me, it’s been worth every penny!”

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