Tools in the coping toolkit

April 7, 2020

Lynn Folkman Auspitz, Living Beyond Breast Cancer's Community Engagement Manager, had to postpone her scheduled mammogram and MRI due to COVID-19 safety measures. In this uncertain time, Lynn shares the coping tools in her toolkit that have worked for her since an early-stage breast cancer diagnosis in 2009. Watch her vlog, or read the full transcript below.


Hi, I'm Lynn Folkman and I am manager of community engagement at Living Beyond Breast Cancer. In 2009 I was diagnosed with stage one ER/PR, HER2-positive breast cancer.

Since that diagnosis, my follow up with my oncologist has been 6-month MRI and then 6-month mammogram. The reason for that is because a mammogram did not initially catch my breast cancer. Late last year I had a suspicious MRI and I had some follow-up testing and thankfully it turned out to be nothing.

But now my course of treatment coming due is an MRI and a mammogram, which is indefinitely on hold at this point in time due to COVID-19, and even if I had a choice to go into a hospital right now, I don't think I would want to do so.

It's really uncertain and a little scary for me because these tests served as a safety net. I started to think about, in 2009 what my coping skills were and what my lessons were and I think I gained a lot more coping skills after I was diagnosed with breast cancer, in a situation that felt really uncertain and really unknown.

For me what worked is I look at how much energy I have in a given day and I get to choose how I want to spend that energy in my thoughts, in the people that I surround myself with — now virtually — and I alone get to make those choices to find what works for me. For me personally, what works is I need to journal and meditate to get those really busy thoughts out of my head. I need to get out in the sunshine and walk. I need to rest when I'm tired. I need to move my body and eat when I'm hungry. In these uncertain times, that gives me a sense of control over what's a really uncontrollable situation.

I think at times we are so good at being kind to others and I think right now it's really important to be kind to ourselves.

We're all different. What I encourage you to do is find things that work for you as an individual to give you peace and comfort in these really uncertain times. Be well.