Live Calm With Cancer; David Dachinger and Tamara Green
Mode some loved ones have died and they weren't able to say goodbye or they're not even able anymore to go with them during their chemo. Infusion or their scans have to out in the car reach new heights of calm. Focus and happiness right here on mindfulness mode with me your host and mindfulness life coach. Bruce Lankford mindful tribe. A lot of people maybe you included are struggling with some challenges these days and There are enough challenges with the pandemic. That's going on but of course we all know that there are people struggling from cancer and other issues like that and today I have a couple on as guests that can really help us work through some of these challenges and I am so excited to introduce you to this Koppel I have with me David Dashing her and Tamra Green so good to have you with US Tamra Bruce having us so Tamra. What does mindfulness mean to you? It's it's presence you know. Mindfulness is presence in. It's all these different ways that you can step right into the now because it's really the only it's the only thing we actually have control of. Is this moment not the past not the future? So that's what mindfulness means to me. There's so many different ways of doing it. There certainly are and David. Do you have anything to add to that? Yeah I know that In my mind maybe other people have the same experience. It's like a theater going on up there. Sometimes there's many conversations and Once I step back and realize wow that's an interesting conversation of having appear and that On become the curious observer of it I think to me. That's mindfulness kind of putting a stepping back and having a little perspective on an all the thoughts that are going on up in my my brain right is so important to notice that because it can certainly Sideline you absolutely cause huge problems. If you don't know how to deal with that well I wanNA share a little bit of information about both of you David Dashing her and Tamra Green are licensed clinical social workers and their co founders of the loving meditations APP. They're also a married couple and authors of the best selling Book Live Com- with cancer. David is grammy nominated composer a fire lieutenant and a stage four cancer survivor. Tamra is a psychotherapist. A dating and relationship coach and Meditation Facilitator Their Cancer Journey transformed and inspired them to pay forward the benefits of mindfulness and meditation to those touched by major illness and They're loving meditations. App is a self care resources that helps people experience more calm and ease while on their own healing journey. So I am so excited to talk to you about your journey so David. You're a composer. That's exciting because my son also loves composing music you studying to be a theoretical physicist but music is one of his deep deep interests. So have you always been interested in Music David? It has been a lifelong association. My family were all music. Educators growing up and I was immersed in it as a Kid. And it's great that your sons Interested in your loves music because music and physics music mathematics or so really a l. with each other the way they the way they operate there's a lot of symmetry between the two so. I think that's an excellent appearing right there. Yeah there definitely is. I was a music teacher for my whole career and absolutely loved teaching music. I never wanted to be a theoretical physicist. But I think it's awesome that he does and I'm absolutely wowed at how quickly he can compose and put together arrangements and you just sits down and does that for fun you know and It's pretty incredible to see but So tell me about you Tamra. I'm so interested in the work that you do with. Coppell's helping them through challenges. Can you tell us a little bit about that? Sure you know. Usually what I explain when I start to with a couple is that relationships are sacred whether they're meant to be long term or not because each relationship we get into. We are working out our childhood wounds. We are learning more about life about ourselves working out. You know our anger. Are you know all the all the things that you know? Get into our way so when you have that perspective about being in a relationship it can really turn things around for the couple. So it's it's sacred it taught I also mean at sacred in a spiritual journey that you're on your your personally and spiritually evolving again whether you go apart or grow together So that's that's my sense about relationships their sacred right and so did you get involved in this. Tamra because of like. Was there a certain reason where you having challenges in your own life or can you tell us that? Yeah actually. My parents divorced to I guess I was ten years old and my mother left just laughed and the four of us were left with my father and didn't see her again for many years later so as a pretty traumatic event and In my childhood there was no there was no communication. There was no fight. There was it was just silence which was really uncomfortable so I definitely looked at relationships at a very young age. I my grandparents were married for more than seventy five years and I as a young as eighteen. I started asking them questions. Like you know what keeps you guys together. You know do. Do you love each other? Still or and then they would talk about how their love you know. They hated each other than they. They loved them and hated and they love and then in the last twenty five years of their marriage they truly truly truly loved each other that they said they were soulmates. And that fascinated me so yeah it. It's been lifelong journey one of the thing is that when? I was in college All the girls would come to me at the dorm and they literally wrote a sign on my door dorm shrink. I was the one that they would go to if they were having relationship problems. So you felt comfortable in your role at that time. Then so David you you have been a fire lieutenant for your your life have you. Were you one of those boys who always wanted to be a fireman. Tell us how you got into this space. It's a great question. I really wasn't. I do have a picture of me about three years old on a tricycle with a fire helmet. Don't remember that but literally did not enter my consciousness until we bought a house right next door to a firehouse and what started as a little concern about the noise and activity over there I was invited to a barbecue. Like okay go meet some people They invited me to a drill. One thing led to another and the next thing I knew I was just In love with the whole Activity the whole Brotherhood the whole community of of the fire service so It started about twenty years ago. Okay and then you started working full-time in that area. You the the kind of schedule we have Is Twenty four hour shifts. We have time to do other. Things like loving meditations for me. So it's really a beautiful job in terms of being able be there fulltime in also have other other projects other Activities that we can work on on the on the downside right so Tamra tell tell us about the day you found out. The David had cancer. Yeah it was in October in two thousand thirteen David had a haircut and his fiber noticed a lump on his neck actually and That prompted David to see the doctor so I went with him and he they were doing you know needle biopsies right there in the office and they came back they said you have stage four cancer. He and about four days prior to that are thirteen year. Old Son was diagnosed with lyme disease. So those kind of weeks you know I was just GonNa say what was your first reaction. How did you deal with that news shock and then overwhelm that that day of didn't really overwhelm? Shock is is protects us from overwhelm and I realized that I went into shock to protect me from feeling that overwhelm initially and then from shock. I I allowed myself to kind of get to the real feelings which was overwhelmed and So that overwhelmed for me look like two weeks of sleepless nights but in the meantime I was you know I was very busy. Taking care of my Guy. Setting up appointments you know getting everything prepared and ready for everything that they needed for their treatments So it's very busy very occupied not sleeping and then one night I just said Oh my goodness if a client came to me and said Tamra. This is what's going on. What what would my advice be? And it was get back into your spiritual practice which was gratitude and prayer and You know mindfulness and I did and everything really started to switch around for me right and so David where you already meditating at. That point was meditation part of Your Life already. It had been in. Various parts of my life learned transcendental meditation in College. And we as a couple had been doing different kinds of Say Mindful or personal development kinds of courses ahead tools in them that we had learned But I must say that right at the onset of the cancer diagnosis. We forgot about them. Leave just caught up in the whirlwind of This whole like a expedited treatment plan the whole whole disruption of continuity in our lives the not working Not being able to work out the things that we you know. We're seeing very similar. Parallels with the corona virus endemic where your life is turned upside down and nothing is the same from that point forward and still. It took us about two weeks to kind of come back down to Earth land. Remember oh he. We have these tools in particularly as a patient spending hours in the chair in the infusion center in then all the time in between treatments. Or you're just sort of you know not have motivation to do daily activities. I thought Migas this downtime to do something positive. Let me go back and revisit those tools and some of the Some of the techniques. We've learned to kind of make this a productive time Sort of choose to have a positive experience rather than being this sort of victim mentality of you know pour me. I've got cancer can't do this. I can't do that so I figured steady hitting the panic button. Hit the reset switch and kind of revisit. You know what's possible right Tamra? Do you remember you and David going through a series of emotions as you moved through this or some of the emotions? There was one day in particular where David we didn't know it at the time but we had a very deep discussion about what if I don't make it and You know what if it's gone too far and You know we won't see our two children get married and and you know all those were having those kinds of discussions and something flipped in that moment that we were both crying hysterically and and just kind of being with a sort of allowing all these emotions and thoughts scary thoughts to come to the surface was David decided to lose put his energy into living instead of putting his energy into dying and that was a very powerful moment for both of us it was it was like this immediate shift and so that was certainly one of the emotions of just complete You know who is despair in that moment in that really flipped over into nope? This is This journey and you know the patient with a major illness is definitely going through journey. But so is the caregiver for me. I see everything as spiritual journey so for me. It was a spiritual journey as well and for me. It was about You know lemieux's those tools of mindfulness. But let me take it even further. And let's see if I can have every moment be as present as possible. Be Present to what David's going to be present. What I'm going through our son you know be present with the nurse of the doctor and it was really amazing That it was about a six month treatment period and I I have to say. I don't think I've ever had such a long period of time in my life way where I really felt present with almost everything I certainly had my moments but I was very present so is a deeply spiritual time like a deep spiritual experience for me. It really was David. I have the sense that in your relationship with Tamra you have tremendous amount of communication happening that you have this ability to communicate very very deeply with your partner. Has that always been the case in your life. You always enjoyed that kind of communication skill. I think it's a certain level. Yes we have had for for our entire relationship at the same time. It's an evolving kind of part of our relationship but particularly during the cancer journey particularly during the time when we were really in a position of Showing up in a certain way for Tamra was showing up as a caregiver. Me was showing up as a write. My new identity is I'm not a I'm not going out and helping people in their worst day now. I'm receiving treatment and receiving medical care. I'm the love from my friends and family who are there to support me But during that time The depth of her presence and my sort of opening up to receiving the love that that was pouring out from her from these other friends in our community Really was shift for me as well so I think it took our marriage or relationship to a deeper level and I have to say looking back on the cancer journey that there was so many gifts that came out of it. That's probably one of the ones that I really really feel grateful for. I think it's so fantastic that you both took on the challenge of writing this Book Live Com- with cancer and beyond and then the subtitle is a patient and caregiver guide to finding more ease through the power of mindfulness. Wow what a great title of Your Book So Tamra. What kind of. Mindfulness did it take to make the decision and move forward and actually create this book and it was this ignited mission passion within us that once. David got We were there together when the doctor said wow you. You had brutal treatment you had. You Know Chemo radiation major surgery and you are now cancer free right. You guys were amazing. You're always uplifting and you know. Most people come here are so anxious. I spend the first fifteen minutes of each session. Just trying to get them. Calm down but you guys were always receptive and upbeat and positive. What are you guys doing? It was different than any of my other patients and and caregiver and so you know David shared that well. Mindfulness positive messaging you know anything. I knew to anything we could read. You know the R. Mindfulness practice meditation practice and they said well. I want that problem. I all of my patients and then the light bulb went off for David and I because we had already been created a creating meditation and mindfulness Video Experiences for our Youtube Channel and And so this is when lovey meditations who were was born and we were on a mission so that mission carried us through to writing that book and pain at forward because we literally experienced that even though you have a major illness or several in the family it doesn't have to take you down. You can choose to turn this into a real opportunity for self discovery and self care and growth. Your website is loving meditations dot com and. That's it's great to have that website. Url that's fantastic loving meditations dot com. David I WANNA ask you. You worked as a fire lieuntenant. I WanNa know what was the kind of response and feedback when some of your colleagues found that you were into like mindfulness and spiritualism and all this. It doesn't always go together. Does that what? What was the reaction? It's funny it's amazing question Bruce so I'm still discovering there are guys that I didn't even realize have some practice of mindfulness or some awareness of it There's one guy in particular who's he was a partner of mine. Brilliant firefighter and paramedic who was just diagnosed with stage. Four pancreatic cancer and so after I finished crying overhearing that news I started watching. When he was doing putting some the posts he was making on social media and they are in some ways so right on in sync with what we experienced He says things like turn grief into growth and he's he's really embodying some of the things that we discovered on our journey. So it's so cool to see that there people that they're kind of like closet mindful deeply and And so there's some guys you know. Probably I would never have that conversation with them. Other guys have been open to it. they know about the APP. They know about what we do and I think they're curious. But in some ways we're starting to see a creep into the culture in a good way that They are now. Ptsd teams that are coming in and doing Offering of sessions. Basically for those of us who are out there first responders are occur. Accruing this kind of stress in this kind of cumulative stress They're starting to use techniques like breathing like Present moment awareness relaxation and em Dr to help people to Kind of work. On some of these these stresses these anxieties these These accumulated energies that that we all experience being out there doing what we do right well. Wow it's it's just very impressive hearing you talk about how you were able to move through this challenge and then get to the point where you can help others. I think that's fantastic Tamra. Is there a story you can share with us about someone else that you have helped because of your journey? Oh my goodness yes. Every week. I run a cancer caregiver. Group and It's the highlight of my week is being with these eleven people of participants in my group every week and the stories that they share especially during the pandemic is quite heartbreaking because some loved ones have died and they weren't able to say goodbye or they're not even able anymore to go with them during their chemo. Infusion or their scans they have to wait out in the car so a whole level of support has done away. So there's quite a bit of a grief anxiety. Lots of anxiety around What's how corona virus has affected? The you know the usual thing that a caregiver does for their loved one But there there was had so many stories but let me pick one. There was one story where The caregiver and my group was not only a caregiver. But he was all he also has prostate cancer so he had to go in for scan himself and every every time we run a workshop or Webinar or support group or whatever we start with a mindfulness exercise usually a breathing technique that gets everybody really common centered and it was because of that that we did it every week every week and he's been in my group for for about two years now. He was freaking out when he went to that. Mri SCAN and he remembered. Oh eight I have a breathing technique. Let me try it. And he said that he fell asleep on the table. He got so calm so he was so excited to share it in group next time he just had never experienced the ability to calm himself down from that level of anxiety before but he did. It is fantastic. My wife is a trauma nurse herself so she's been looking after Kobe patients. And you know every once in a while you know I hear a story about you know something like a patient recently just wanted to see the sunset and the nurses said they figured that would be the last sunset that patient would ever see and so sad that they cannot have their loved one. Even one loved person with them. You know during that tough time. But it's it's just the way it has to be but it is very sad heartbreaking. Yes it absolutely is so David Wendy do you or. Tamra come up with the idea to do a loving meditations APP. That really came up right. After that doctor's office visit where he expressed this desire to have something for all his patients in a realize that I brought my ipad or my cell phone with me to chemotherapy. I put in my ear buds every day and I was listening to meditation. Mindfulness someone more affirmations or clearing loops and I thought well what better way to make this totally portable inaccessible in to make an APP. Where people can. They've got their device with them all the time. And it makes it so much Basically no brainer to to use it when they need to now. With as Tamra mentioned people are waiting in their car or sometimes for office visits or for a loved one who's having a doctor's visit we have a virtual waiting room part of our APP where is basically just calming programs. Some of its got cinematic images calming music and we call mindful messaging and So we we have a bunch of different channels on the APP for sleep a Spanish and we keep building out the APP. Because we know that there's so many people out there not just cancer patients but people dealing with the corona virus in all the of the implications of that Really need some portable way to To De Stress. And get call so David. Did you build the APP? Did you do the technical aspect we did? Not We designed it with some brilliant Rockstar apt developers. But no that's not our forte and Tamra tell us more about the APP. What do you think are some of the highlights and tell us the cost of this APP? Sure it's there's quite a bit of free content so it's a free download and The annual for the premium content is nine hundred ninety nine year in. The monthly is two ninety. Nine a month and So there you it's hard to say what the highlights heart because we we know that. There's no one kind of meditation or mindfulness. That's worked for everybody so I'm also certified hypnotherapist so so. There's some self hypnosis. There's guided imagery guided meditation. There's breathing some has more music than words. Some have more words than you know it real eclectic mix of meditations and we also have collaborators from around the world if they do they're wonderful wonderful masterful work to that we have on. The APP is well My personal favorite is called Effortless expansion. It's say you know it's is it your paper to David. I I just love it. It really really takes you to such a place of peace and calm. It's about eleven minutes long but The meditations can be anywhere from a little over a minute to about twenty two or twenty three minutes so something for everyone there. So are your voices on the APP as well David. Yeah Your Voice is our as well as other collaborators. Then yes it started with the two of us and then we. We started meeting some brilliant people who are out there in their own right doing amazing work in the world of spiritual Mindfulness Meditation so we started collaborating with them and bringing their voices to the APP. And Um so. They're from places like Peru Spain. Mexico Colombia and England. And so it just it makes it so much more of a rich experience now to have all those different perspectives invoices and contributions. So English is represented Spanish. Are there any other languages represented on the APP not yet? But that's that's exciting. It isn't about forty three countries around the world. Is it forty three countries. Wow you must be so proud. Yeah that's hiding well. I always ask questionable bullying on my On my shows because I've worked in bullying prevention for over ten years and I'm going to leave it open to either one of you. If either one of you have a story you could share with us about bullying. Maybe childhood story. Maybe an adult story may be in creating the APP. I don't know but we're mindfulness would have made a difference in how it was dealt with six grade and a middle of the school year. This core girl named Debbie comes in to class in a she was already developed where Agia eleven and she's already dumb developed and she comes in first day in already the boys are really teasing and taunting her and telling her to lift up her top. All these terrible things during recess right so she went as far back in the school yard. She could go and she was crying and I went after her and just told her you know those guys are jerks. Don't listen to them. You know you're you're I can tell you a nice person and let's be friends and that whole thing so I don't know if it was mindfulness But I was very present with her allowed her to cry and tell me what it was like to know why she moved. I started asking her all these questions. Curiosity I think is is Definitely at a mindfulness tool. I was curious and asked a lot of questions to this day. We are very very good friends or you. Isn't that a great story? Very good friends. Ever since what a great story as we move forward in the interview I want to ask you five. Quick answer questions. So we'll just go for like thirty second answers or last. The first one is this. Who is one person who influenced mindfulness in your life? David do you of one person that you could mention Agartala would come to mind and Tamra our team Michael Beckwith. Oh Yeah Right. How is mindfulness affected? Your emotions David. Right Well it's taken judgment out of emotions. They just kind of. I think I moved through them. If it's something Something negative naval the move through quicker so Tamra tells how breathing is part of mindfulness for you. Yeah so just by. If you can breed you can meditate or be mindful so just being able to focus on the inhale and nothing else but focusing on the inhale and focus on the sale. That's it mindfulness. Right there built in meditation and David. Tell us how breathing is part of your life as a result of mindfulness comes into play all the time from responding to emergency and I need to really get focused in sort of stopped. The mental chatter focusing. My breath is a great way to quiet down my mind and similar to the story. Tamra told about the MRI. I literally Talk Myself. Off The ledge when it was in an MRI machine. It'll you can push a button saying let me out. I was this close but I use breathing to get through it. It's it's so amazing. How affected wow yes. It really is so Tamra if you could recommend a book related to mindfulness what book would that be Radical mindfulness by Daniel Gutierrez. Okay we'll put that in the show notes at mindfulness mode dot Com David. Do you have a book you would recommend you have the power of now by. Eckhart told that is a great book for sure. And of course your Book Live Com- With Cancer I would highly recommend live com- with cancer and beyond a patient and caregiver guide to finding more ease through the power of mindfulness. I just love how that subtitle sounds you know. And the title itself Live Com- with cancer and Of course your APP is. I haven't tried it yet. I haven't experienced it but it sounds like it's an incredible APP loving meditations APP. And do we just search loving meditations in order to find it. Tamra I loving meditations dot com. And you will find it on our website or it's we have a just for the APP it's calm cancer stress dot com. Okay Calm Cancer. Stress DOT COM. It's on the IRS APP store. And it's on Google play for android. Okay are there any other apps that either one of you would recommend that can help with mindfulness insight timer? There's a lot of really good again of collaborators. I hear really good things about in tight time this I I really like insight timer and as a matter of fact just a few minutes ago. I looked at my email and there was a payment something to do with some of the meditation. I've done an insight timer. Because they've they've certainly been listened to many many times thousands of times to listen to you. It'd be great. That'd be great if you did. I'd love that well. It's been fantastic talking with both of you about how you've how you've moved through this challenge of living with cancer and do you have any last minute words of advice. Tamra as we Wrap up our interview. Yes being a human being on this life especially right now is so difficult. So what is everybody woke up and gave themselves tremendous Kudos for even getting out of bed. Acknowledged yoursel you know how I got my feet. Outta bed and now I'm going to take a shower and get dressed. Ua Me give yourself a lot of Kudos for just getting up every day and doing what we do. I like that so much and David. You are the one who moved through this without feeling like a victim. Maybe you did at times but you just made that decision like you described earlier and you thought you know what? I'm just going to move through this without feeling like a victim. Do you have any final words for us? David yes very big part of this was being grateful for my body and all the miracles that it performs without us even being aware of it so I think it's super super important to acknowledge the grateful and to stay in touch with our bodies and to make sure we move them every day. Thank you so much and Tamra David. I'm honored to have Matt you in had a chance to talk to both of you. Thanks so much for being on mindfulness mode. It was our pleasure. I really enjoyed it. Awesome by now mindful tribe. I hope you enjoy today's interview if you did. Please tell your friends about the show. Every person who subscribes in listens helps our show. So in the meantime take what you heard today and reach new heights of calm focus and happiness. Stay in the mode.