Living with Passion
Tamera is a registered yoga teacher and focuses on helping individuals who are interested in using yoga to help with overall health and wellness. Tamera teaches at the Miami Jewish Community Center and is running a free survivor yoga and dance program that is open to survivors at Baptist Hospital in January 2017.
I was on my lunch break when I received an incoming call which resulted in learning I had breast cancer in early January of 2015, and I can only say I was in shock. They needed me to see an oncologist as soon as possible. I had two weeks to make a decision about surgery and treatments, my children were my first concern. Who would take care of my children if something happened to me?
I had gone in for a routine mammogram in 2014 which resulted in having to go back for repeat testing and then a biopsy in December of 2014. Little did I know how helpful yoga, meditation, and general mindfulness would be in helping me heal. Sharsheret helped me after surgery and I benefitted from their outreach and Thriving Again Survivorship Kit.
During my diagnosis, I was initially told I would need chemotherapy and radiation, but with yoga and wellness related supports I was arming myself to do anything I could to manage a successful outcome. After my lymph node testing and double mastectomy, I learned I may not need the additional treatments. I feel fortunate to have caught everything early and to have empowered myself with alternative treatments and general wellness.
I did experience lymphedema along the way and had severely lost range of motion in both arms following surgery, but a year and four procedures later I am back to having full range of motion. I continue to eat healthy, exercise, and practice yoga which helps reduce swelling in my right arm. I am grateful to be in recovery and to have met so many supportive women.
I proudly work with the Cancer Support Community of Miami helping adults and children diagnosed with cancer learn to breathe, meditate, and practice yoga or general mindfulness for health, healing, and pain management. I have also proudly become part of the Peer Support Network with Sharsheret.
I hope to do more work to increase awareness of mindfulness based coping and I hope to eventually educate more physicians and support staff on the importance of referring their patients to mindfulness based approaches for healing in coordination with traditional treatments. The research on yoga and mindfulness is showing positive results in empowering individuals to manage wellness and healing in times of illness. In line with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, I am aware we can’t change what happens to us in life, but I choose to live with passion and make meaningful choices over how I cope. Maybe along the way I can now help others learn to live a more empowered life.