#KeepYogaWeird Winning Inspiration: Caitlin Marcoux
If you were following our #KeepYogaWeird contest, you've probably seen this photo by our inspiring winner Caitlin Marcoux. Caitlin was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer in March following the biopsy of a tumor in her right breast. Although she had discovered the mass herself 2 years earlier, it had been dubbed "likely benign" and attributed to post-lactation hormonal imbalances. Caitlin is only 36 years old, tested negative for the BRCA genes and has no history of breast cancer in her family. A non-smoking vegetarian and green juice enthusiast, she is extremely vigilant about her health and practices yoga regularly. The diagnosis came as a total shock to friends and family. The unbelievable nature of her illness galvanized her intention to be as pro-active in her experience of cancer as possible. Part of that intention manifested as a ritual haircutting celebration a few weeks into her treatment. This footage, shot by filmmaker Kristen Kellogg, is from April 1st, 2013, the night Caitlin and her girlfriends cut off her long locks.
Over the last 7 months, Caitlin has completed 18 round of chemotherapy, a double mastectomy and breast reconstruction surgery. She has written extensively about each phase of her treatment on her blog and for RebelleSociety.com in hopes of shining light on what can be a dark and isolating experience. By sharing the most vulnerable and triumphant moments of her story, Caitlin hopes to empower other women going through similar experiences. Although she will continue treatment until July 2014, today, Caitlin is cancer-free. Now in the process of getting reacquainted with her body post-mastectomy, she is slowly returning to a vinyasa practice. She lives on the island of Nantucket, MA. and teaches regularly at The Yoga Room. She is still bald.
Here are some recent reflections by Caitlin on making mental shifts to find the positivity in a negative situation on her own personal blog:
"So many incredibly challenging things have happened this year, and yet I have felt happiness like never before. The ups and downs and highs and lows that accompany a life-threatening disease are many, but the gratitude that floods your soul when your appreciation of life deepens is immeasurable. If we can reframe the way we see life’s challenges, truly we have the power within us to take any tough situation and make it a positive one. When we start focusing on the positive we attract even more positive people and events into our lives.
Since making the mental shift that my breast cancer diagnosis has ultimately been a positive experience, all kinds of amazing things have started to happen in my life. Recently, I won the #KeepYogaWeird photo contest, $500 and two tickets to Wanderlust Austin’s weekend long Yoga + Music Festival!
Appreciating the power of positive thought, and that like attracts like, I’ve decided it will be interesting to take this premise one step further: so for the next 3 days, I will try to avoid articulating a single negative thought. It sounds easy, but I know it will require vigilance and dedication."