As told to Taylor Novak
In 2019, I went in for a routine mammogram. I had problems with my breasts for years—there were many questionable lumps found. This time, they saw something. But I didn’t think anything of it. I didn’t feel that I needed to worry. But I went to my breast surgeon’s office and she said, ‘Elyce, you have breast cancer.’
It was shocking. Right away, it was MRIs and procedures and more biopsies. The whole thing was an emotional roller coaster and I ended up having a lumpectomy to determine that it was stage I. I was very fortunate. Several months later, I was cancer-free.
That was wonderful, but it took an emotional toll on me. I needed support and I couldn’t find it. I’m a yoga teacher, so I looked online about breast cancer yoga, but the information wasn’t readily available. So, I started creating my own videos. I created this series of 10-minute videos of meditations, massages, movements.
Around that time, I donated to a nonprofit organization, United We Om. It offers yoga and meditation to trauma-impacted and underserved communities. They called me and left me beautiful messages thanking me and talking about collaboration. All of a sudden, it clicked for me. I called them back and said, ‘I have an idea.’ They were so excited.
We created a four-part series (diagnosis, before treatment, day of treatment, after treatment) called ‘Yoga for Breast Cancer Healing.’ It’s very simple but it is something that’s accessible for anybody at any point in their journey.
After my lumpectomy, I was drained, wrecked and kind of frightened. From my humble perspective and point of view, women need support. It’s about self-care and listening, breathing and healing. And knowing that there’s somebody else supporting you.
It’s an offering for anybody that’s going through this very traumatic and life-altering experience—it’s a heart to hold them.
When I was first diagnosed, somebody said to me, ‘This will just be a blip on your radar.’ But I don’t want it to be that. Cancer was a profound moment in my life, not a blip, and I want to do something with it. How can I use my experience to benefit someone else? If I can I use my wisdom from the experience to help someone, even if it’s one person, I feel like it was worth it. It’s a catalyst. It’s like, because of that experience, how can I help? How can I serve?
Learn more about Elyce at elyceyogadance.com.