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This experience does not have to define you!
You are not alone in realizing that there is nothing normal about this "new normal"
If you're here it means you've been through a lot. You are a woman who's life has been forever changed by breast cancer. Regardless of your current cancer status you are never without the shadow it brings. And that sucks.
Sure, you're getting by (most of the time) but odds are every area of your life has been touched in big or small ways. Breast cancer brings so many reminders that you never even expected. You might be finding that now is when you really need support because:
does this sound familiar?
You are just starting to fully realize what has happened to you and what you have endured.
Getting back to life can be really scary when all of the appointments and attention stops.
You find yourself looking at your reflection in the mirror and have no idea who the person is staring back at you.
You deal with daily constant reminders of your body's frailties and vulnerabilities.
You are surprised that you don't feel happy and free like you thought you would (and then guilty because you don't want to seem ungrateful).
You're afraid of every strange pain and ache and the fear of a recurrence.
You're caught in an emotional fog because you shelved your mental recovery while you focused on the physical demands of treatment.
None of your friends can relate to your experience and you don't want to complain or ask for help.
The people in your corner have moved on to their own very real problems and think that your life is normal again or that you should be "over it".
There are so many things you feel like they didn't tell you about survivorship when you were a patient.
Hundreds of thousands of women are newly diagnosed every year. Millions of women are living in survivorship. But when treatment ends it can feel like we've been dropped off a cliff and we don't know where we belong.
Most of the support groups and resources that exist are heavily tailored to the newly diagnosed and those in early active treatment. And for good reason! You remember how blindsided you were when you heard the words "you have cancer". That doesn't mean you don't still need support NOW and likely for years to come as your challenges change.
Trying to find answers among women who are in a completely different phase of their experience can be triggering and not helpful to your healing and growth as you seek to process your experience.
Then there's the common breast cancer branding and messaging that doesn't fit every woman. As a survivor or "thriver" the world wraps you in ribbons and shades of pink. They expect you to run races in boxing gloves and tutus. Some women embrace this and are happy to be a part of the "pink sisterhood" and that's great if it works for them.
We get it. That's why we're here for you.
what if you don't fit in?
But you know the real truth about breast cancer. It is not pretty and it doesn't always leave you feeling ready to celebrate, if it ever leaves you at all. We live with this experience every day of our lives whether we want to or not and it's ok to not embrace the often toxic positivity culture that's been created around breast cancer.
Explore the challenges breast cancer has created for you in an effort to overcome them on your own terms and timeline through individual and community support.
Connect with other women who understand your breast cancer experience but also see you for the woman you are despite it to build real relationships.
Feel empowered and confident about your life BEYOND breast cancer, regardless of your current cancer status.
Find the answers you are seeking to help you learn to live life again as a woman, wife, mother, sister, friend, professional, etc...
WHAT IF YOU could:
You can be strong and still be vulnerable. You can be proud and still not want to be labeled. You can be surviving and still not want to talk about it publicly. You can need support and still not feel seen nor heard if you don't fit the mold the world has created for you. And you are not alone.
We see you.
A CHANCE TO BE IN COMMUNITY WITH WOMEN WHO UNDERSTAND WHILE BEING RECOGNIZED FOR THE INDIVIDUAL YOU ARE: We are a community of women who have been impacted by breast cancer but don't want to be defined by it. We focus on living life as people first with topics that matter to us all like healthy living, relationships with ourselves and others, and finding joy in a turbulent world. We just do it in a way that allows us to address the unique challenges that we may face based on our experience with breast cancer.
ANOTHER COMMUNITY IN NAME ONLY: How many times have you "joined a "community" to only realize you are really just one of many on an email list with limited ways to interact with others? This makes you an audience member not part of a community. A true community isn't about only receiving information, it's about what its members build together through shared interactions and energy. Our members are looking to give as good as they get.
ANOTHER FACEBOOK "SUPPORT" GROUP: Our community is hosted on its own private network so that you can engage when and how you want without the noise, distractions, publicity, and discord of the social media world.
A COMBINATION OF GROUP SUPPORT AND INDIVIDUAL EXPLORATION: Through Community meet ups, online discussion, and the sharing of resources and recommendations, we explore a different theme every month and how it relates to your personal experience. Using this as a foundation for growth the community conversations provide the springboard for guided deeper individual exploration.
AN OPPORTUNITY TO BUILD SAFETY AND TRUST: Taking control of your relationship with different areas of your life creates the ability to make informed decisions and to enrich your daily life while quieting the overwhelm caused by lack of and misinformation.
A SAFE SPACE TO RECONNECT WITH YOURSELF: A place to do the deeper work around your mind/body connection and create the change you need when it comes to the impacts breast cancer has had on your body and your life.
What we are:
A community like no other.
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COMPLETELY VIRTUAL BUT WITH A DESTINATION: Our private virtual network is where everything happens. In a time when the world is unable to connect in person this Community was built to help you connect across the world. With a global virtual community you can give and gain insight with women around the world beyond the boundaries of local in-person support groups or events but without the public eye needed on more common platforms like Facebook and Instagram.
ANOTHER FREE-FOR-ALL FORUM: This is a guided and moderated membership platform which means that you don't have to sort through thousands of posts and comments trying to find the information that is relevant to you. Our monthly themes are organized by topic and archived so that you can always revisit and add to each theme.
ANOTHER TYPICAL BREAST CANCER ORGANIZATION: Don't misunderstand, we are BEYOND grateful for everyone doing ANY kind of work in the breast cancer space. But As We Are Now is a place where you can work through your breast cancer experience without sacrificing the rest of your identity. We focus on life as women BEYOND breast cancer even if you aren't living cancer-free. If you would rather be a woman than a "breastie" or prefer teal (or yellow or orange or red or green) to pink, then we might be a good fit for you.
What we are NOT:
This is an amazing group of women! I am so excited to be a part of this community! This is so inspiring!
Sign up online for our monthly membership Community. You have full access to all features of the platform as soon as you join and with monthly membership there is no commitment. You can cancel at any time (but hope you will stick around for a while!)
Take the opportunity to get to know other members, join meet ups, share resources and recommendations, and create sincere connections that go deeper than your diagnosis or treatment type and are based in shared interests and experiences.
Use our worksheets and activities to engage in intentional curiosity and diver deeper into open reflection around the prompts and activities offered. Some themes are simple and lighthearted but others will take you into opportunities for deep healing within.
Social media has its time and place but many women don't want to live their breast cancer experience in the spotlight. Even if you aren't a private person in general this experience might be one you prefer to keep out of the public eye.
Our Community is hosted on a Mighty Network meaning it is 100% virtual yet only accessible by our members. You have control over notifications, how you connect inside, and there are no unwanted ads or solicitations.
We run on our own exclusive network built just for you.
Once you join you will schedule a one on one "get to know you" session with our founder Amy Hartl to help you identify your unique physical and emotional needs so that you can determine how you would like to participate and where you would most like to achieve personal results.
We also co-create your personal Member Spotlight so that you can tell our members who you are as a woman beyond your breast cancer details.
We start with getting to know you and your needs.
Many of the things we worry about as women after a breast cancer diagnosis are the same things we worried about before cancer came calling. Themes like body image, relationships, living a healthy lifestyle, and intimacy are all thrown into sharp relief when adding on the changes and lasting impacts we deal with from our experience with breast cancer. We explore these important themes as women but with the unique lens of how they have changed for us and, most importantly, how we can work to find balance and confidence in each of them.
We explore monthly themes relevant to all women with a twist.
The true beauty of a community is that what we create is completely unique because it is what we build together. Through weekly meet ups for group engagement that spark ongoing discussion through posts, questions, and polls, together we can help each other address our challenges. You are encouraged to start conversations, offer resources and recommendations, and share what's going well and where you could use a little help.
Guided and moderated community engagement each week to build something together.
Each month we build on our theme and group discussion through worksheets and activities designed to guide you deeper into your own personal exploration. You can use these in any way you wish but their purpose is to spark new perspective on your experience and relationship with each theme. Through these explorations you create the opportunity for change in how you view and interact with these areas of your life improving your relationship with yourself and others in ongoing ways.
Our guided content is designed to ignite personal exploration.
In addition to the main network where we focus on each month's theme we offer small groups called "circles" that are built and moderated by members for safe connection and conversation around specific shared interests or needs. (coming soon!)
We also invite special guests from both inside and outside the community to talk about areas of expertise that coincide with our themes and provide the chance for extended support.
Inner Circles and special guests.
A PEEK INSIDE THE COMMUNITY
we are saving you a seat.
Join as a Monthly Member and you will have first and exclusive access to everything inside at this price for the life of your membership. As we grow and new features and offerings are released your primary network membership price will never change!
As a BRCA1+ woman with a long family history of breast cancer I always knew that it could be me one day. When I was 12 years old I watched my mom struggle with a year of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation and 30+ years later I still see the physical, mental, and emotional impacts of her experience.
In 2012 I began my career in oncology massage and lymphatic drainage. I knew I wanted to serve women both during and beyond breast cancer surgery and treatment but what I didn't know was that I would ultimately be creating a path to healing myself.
In 2017 I was diagnosed with Stage 1 IDC and underwent a 7 and ½ hour surgery followed by 8 rounds of chemotherapy. Thanks to my extensive training in cancer-related bodywork I had knowledge and skills to help me not only in my physical recovery but in my long term survivorship as well.
Today I use my my personal and professional experience to empower women in their own survivorship journey by holding space for you so that you can:
explore how breast cancer has impacted various aspects of your life as a woman and work to create change for yourself
build real relationships with others who have a shared experience but are not founded on that alone
Be seen for who you are and not just one experience in a lifetime of many
Continue to recover, reconnect, and reclaim your relationship with the woman you know yourself to be, as you are now
A woman who understands living in the shadow of cancer - through family, as a "previvor", and now living in survivorship.
A professional with extensive education and experience understanding the physical, mental, and emotional impacts of breast cancer who can share this knowledge with you.
A happy, optimistic, honest, little bit-sweary, travel-loving, wine-drinking, woman trying to figure all this out right along with you and refusing to be defined by one experience in a lifetime of many.
A "health coach", "life coach" or coach of any kind. Coaches are awesome but that's just not my background or what I'm here for.
Someone seeking to fix your problems for you. I am here to hold space for you and others and offer guidance but ultimately any progress and work to create change in your life will be yours.
A woman who thinks that breast cancer is meant to be celebrated (or hated). It's an experience like many others and deserves time, attention, and energy to understand and process it so we can live fully beyond it.
++ You're recently done with surgeries and treatments and trying to figure out what comes next
++ You've been living in survivorship for a while but still find lingering physical and emotional challenges you want to address
++ You're living with metastatic cancer but want to be seen as a woman beyond your disease status
++ You're living at known high risk and dealing with the impacts of breast cancer even without a diagnosis.
++ You know you need a safe space to process your experience but you don't vibe with the typical breast cancer messaging or branding
++ You prefer to work through your experience with breast cancer in a less public way than through social media sites
++ You are looking to connect with other women who can understand what you've been through but don't want to be labeled by it
++ You are seeking a deeper relationship with yourself, as you are now
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So humbled to be in the company of you all.
We know that there are LOTS of places to seek support when it comes to breast cancer. We also know that this one exists for a reason - because everything else didn't speak to you or meet your needs.
While breast cancer is likely one of many impactful experiences in your life it may (or may not) be the most difficult or traumatic you've been through.
do you feel the connection?
A safe space that doesn't require you to be anyone but yourself and allows you to feel seen and heard for who you really are despite breast cancer
To give yourself the time and attention to heal and lessen the burdens of your experience so that you can move forward in life to live fully beyond cancer, even if you are never cancer-free
A chance to create change in your own life without spending thousands of dollars on coaching from someone who may not understand your experience
To be treated like a grown woman and the unique individual you are, not a prop for a cause no matter how important that cause may be
To benefit from the collective experience of others who are eager to help you
To give back as you learn and grow without having to run a race, wear a ribbon, adopt a cutesy name, or live your experience in the public eye
Our membership community is run on a platform called a Mighty Network. It is similar to social media platforms you may have tried before but the only people inside are our members. No ads, no distractions, no wading through a sea of politics and discord as you try to navigate to your destination. You are in control of your profile and the notifications you receive. You also have the ability to post and chat with individuals or the group at large.
We get it, cancer isn't cheap. But there is an energetic exchange that happens when you trade your hard earned money for something you really want. It creates value. Investing in your well-being is a life-changing experience. We have found that by having a little skin in the game our members are more likely to show up for themselves and each other. It also means that those in charge are showing up consistently because this is not just a part time hobby it is a business. And we need more women in business in the breast cancer space so that we don't have to rely on the corporations or non-profits for all of our needs.
We love free stuff and did consider a trial entry. But our community can be a tender space and it's important to ensure that our members' privacy is protected from lookie-loos. Plus it takes time, at least one month, to really experience what we are all about by engaging in meet ups and workshops. Unlike Netflix where you can binge for 14 days with no harm to anyone but yourself, we want members who are seeking a greater experience for themselves and others.
The good news is with our monthly membership model there is no commitment beyond your first month. As soon as you join you have access to all of the features and content inside and you can take the whole month to explore and try things out. If you don't feel like you are going to put in the time and effort needed to make the most of your membership, or what we do is just not your bag, cancel at any time before your next subscription date. We'll miss you but we won't take it personally. We only want those who want to be with us.
If you're like us you've been in the free Facebook groups and while you may have had a question or two answered often they are focused on early diagnosis and treatment, celebrating the pink sisterhood, or venting about complications and issues. Those all deserve their space but we are here to deal with the bigger picture. Finding ourselves as women again in this thing called survivorship. We've also found that while some of those groups are moderated for their "rules" there is little other guidance and no format to follow so it's basically a free-for-all. And while Instagram has a pretty supportive community it struggles with all of the general social media problems such as being in a public space, dealing with ads, and no greater purpose other than individuals and organizations promoting their own agendas. We believe we have created something unique by incorporating the opportunity for individual exploration with community engagement. And as a business led by someone bound in professional ethics you can be assured that the guidance and moderation is taken seriously and actively.
Our members range from 20 something to over 70 and have experienced all different types of diagnoses, surgeries, and treatments. We even have women living at high risk who have not received a formal diagnosis but whose lives have certainly been impacted by breast cancer. This is because our main goal is to connect as women not just breast cancer "survivors, thrivers, or previvors". Some of the greatest lessons that can be learned come from connection with women in other stages of life. We learn and grown through the exchange of knowledge, talents, and experience. Since our focus is not exclusively breast cancer but the things in life that breast cancer has touched our diverse community creates opportunity to connect on both the similarities and differences among us. No one ever experienced personal growth or new perspective in an echo chamber.
We get it. Even in a private space not everyone is comfortable speaking up and that's ok. While we hope that you will find your voice (because we know you have a LOT to offer!) you can still benefit from our Community through listening to others, absorbing what's shared, and doing the deeper individual work created by the workshops. Plus we share recommendations, resources, education, and other forms of information relevant to your experience so you are welcome to just receive.
Ok this is a tough one. We really don't want to (and won't) turn anyone away but we will be upfront to say that your needs are very different when you are in the middle of "shit" compared to when you are (mostly) done with surgery and treatment. You may have lots of specific questions related to your diagnosis and treatment and that isn't what we focus on here. We are working to figure out life as women beyond cancer, even if cancer is still with us. So if you think you you need this give us a try but please be respectful that our members aren't looking to give guidance on how to deal with chemo side effects or what you need to be prepared for surgery. There are LOTS of places online to find this type of info and if you aren't sure where to look send an email to email@example.com and we'll try to steer you in the right direction. What we can help you with is to remember that through it all you are still YOU and that things do get better.
Amy Hartl, As We Are Now creator and Community Host, has a background in Oncology Massage and Lymphatic Drainage Therapy. While these particular issues are not currently addressed as one of our monthly themes, we anticipate releasing a comprehensive self-care course addressing these subjects within the community in early 2021. Current members will receive an exclusive discount when it goes live and it will be bundled with Community Membership at the time of launch. We hope you will join us in the meantime but suggest if you need care immediately that you locate your nearest oncology-trained LMT, PT or Certified Lymphatic Therapist.
No problem! Send me your questions through the contact form on the Contact Us page and I'll be glad to get back to you.
I finally found a space where I can explore my unique survivorship experience and start to feel like myself again.
Add me to the waitlist!
THE Community IS CURRENTLY CLOSED FOR NEW ENROLLMENT except through the Body Empowerment Program. HOWEVER WE ENCOURAGE YOU TO SIGN UP ON OUR WAITLIST TO BE THE FIRST TO GET THE DETAILS when monthly membership becomes available!
OK, let's do this!