Holidays, new year planning and chemo…

I hope you all had a Merry Christmas and happy holidays! We had a great couple of days. Although we were sad that our annual pajama and pancake breakfast didn’t happen, we had two amazing days of friends, family, food and LOVE! I am feeling physically stronger everyday. It’s amazing that my surgery was a little over 4 weeks ago!

We have been waiting for more results from Dana Farber and Mass General. To make a long story very short, chemo starts this Tuesday. The consensus among both teams is that chemo is the most aggressive path and recommended. I had a choice but both oncologists leaned toward this path for many reasons…I heard nothing after they said it was because I was so young;)

So as far as we know right now, it’s four rounds of chemo, 3 weeks apart. I have been told that there is a chance we will go for another 4 rounds after that but I will cross that bridge when I come to it. Right now, eye on the prize means early/mid March.

My focus is staying healthy and keeping my family on track. Chloe and Jack are not even mid way thru their basketball seasons and Matt is working on some exciting projects and training for his 10th boston marathon with Dana Farber Marathon Challenge.

I miss teaching and practicing yoga. I miss being around that amazingly uplifting community but I have felt every prayer, good wish and love sent my way. Lots of lessons learned by me over these past few months and I plan on sharing all the good stuff!

I am wishing you all HEALTH AND HAPPINESS IN 2015 and beyond!

Happy happy new year!

Love Carlene

By |January 26th, 2014|Yoga|0 Comments|

Thankful Thanksgiving

Thank you for the prayers and words of encouragement as I went into surgery last week. All went as planned with the happy surprise of no issues with my lymph nodes! I ended up just staying one night in the hospital and was more than ready to get home that next day once my pain medication was under control. I feel like I’ve been in a time warp! Anyway, there is not much to report except that i am well taken care of and just resting to heal. I couldnt possibly list all the extraordinary things family, friends and complete strangers have done to make this road a little smoother. Matt continues to be the most attentive, loving guy, helping me in each moment! This experience is sure to change me forever! We are all trying to patiently wait for word on chemo / radiation. The surgeon said 7-10 working days until I will hear. With Thanksgiving, that brings it well into next week or beyond. I will leave you with a really cool story/example of a strangers kindness.
Last week I came home from one of Jack’s basketball practices to a huge package outside the garage. I opened it to find a personal note and a kick ass pair of red cowboy boots. The note was from a woman, Margaret Burns Vap. She has a yoga and horses retreat in Big Sky Montana. Turns out you can nominate anyone going through breast cancer treatment to get a pair of boots to “kick cancer”. My friend Aimee nominated me and I wore those boots until they made me take them off the day of my surgery. If you love horses and yoga, check out her website.

Thanksgiving day just know that I will be saying a special prayer for each one of you and a wishing that anyone going through some sort of health challenge will feel the same love and care that I feel each moment!
Happy Thanksgiving!
Love Carlene

By |January 24th, 2014|Yoga|0 Comments|

Breaking the news…I HAVE BREAST CANCER


I went for a routine breast MRI last week. I am followed a little closer than normal because of some risk factors that I have. For 5 years I have been getting breast mri and mammogram 6 months apart. Each visit has come up with something new, not cancer but “some area of concern” or “something to watch”. I had no reason to think that last Thursday would be any different. It was. They called me back and after mammogram, ultrasound and biopsy, I have Invasive ductal carcinoma grade2, estrogen and progesterone positive, HER2 negative (best breast cancer to get I’m told!).

I have an amazing team at Massachusetts General Hospital and feel so comfortable with all the medical advice we are getting. That said, we are also going to Dana Farber for another opinion as well as a second place to view the pathology that comes back after my surgery. Based on my risk factors, the chance I have of recurrence and our doctor’s recommendation, I will have a bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction. It is about a 5 1/2 hour surgery where the surgical oncologist does her thing then the plastic surgeon comes in and does hers. I am told it is about a 6-8 week recovery from the surgery. Once they take the tumor and any lymph nodes for testing (up to 2 weeks) they will make a recommendation about chemotherapy and radiation. This point is where the second opinion will be comforting. Once MGH has tested and looked at all the breast tissue, tumor and lymph nodes, they will send it off to Dana Farber for a second look.

Matt and I meet with the medical oncologist at Dana Farber next Wednesday. As of right now, I do not have a date for my surgery. There are so many moving parts to come together that it makes my head spin. I am hoping to have a date either later today or Monday. The sugeon says this type of cancer is slow growing and I am not in any immediate danger. I am on tamoxifen which slows the growth as well.

Over the last 3 days, I have met with nothing but professional, caring, amazing people to help me navigate this road! Matt is right by my side, asking a million questions, five different ways! Chloe and Jack are digesting the news and really just going thru the appropriate stages of learning something like this. It is hard for them, so many questions and unknowns. My father and stepmother are headed this way for Thanksgiving so I know I will have an amazing amount of help! I appreciate everyone’s notes, messages, hugs and support. It is all very surreal. I feel like I’m going through a dream. I taught my first yoga class today after finding all this out and it was so great to be back. There was so much support and love and yoga did its magic on me as I taught.

I am so lucky to be in this place right now… Boston hospitals are the best in the world, my husband, kids, family and friends are OFF THE CHARTS supportive, I have a yoga practice that keeps me in reality, not spinning off into a made up land of what ifs and I have my two guardian angles (Mom and Jackie) that guide me every day! Believe me, this is overwhelming and takes my breath away at times but overall I feel that this is a big bump in our road and we will handle each moment as it comes.

I love you all, every last one of you for caring enough to read this post and offer your support. I guess we all take turns in life offering and receiving, I have a really hard time with the recieving so maybe that’s my lesson.

Love Carlene

By |January 24th, 2014|Yoga|0 Comments|

Loss for words…not really

So, the girl with the blog, yoga website, yoga teacher is totally at a loss for words. You’d think this experience would have me bubbling over with yoga wisdom but I’m feeling pretty quiet right now. My surgery is scheduled for next Thursday, Nov 20. The fun begins at 9:30am but the surgery doesn’t begin until 11:45am at Mass General. It is supposed to last approx 5 hours and Matt will be at the hospital with me. I can’t begin to explain how much all your support and love mean to me. I just want to look each of you in the eye and thank you for the love and support just leading up to this! I feel like there are a lot of questions that will be answered over the next few weeks… chemo, radiation, healing from surgery. I know that I couldn’t be in a better place, with the best doctors, support system at home, etc. Matt has done absolutely everything to make sure I am in the best place physically and mentally for surgery and whatever comes from it…I couldn’t imagine a more supportive, loving, positive, focused partner to have in this!

One thing that I have thought about a lot over these past few weeks is, how do people do this that don’t have the support I do? How do single parents go thru this on their own? How do they keep life normal for their kids and hide the toll it takes without the help of a partner, family or friends close?? If you’ve known Matt and I for any amount of time, you know how important cancer research, Dana Farber, and supporting strong focused organizations is to us. I can tell you that we are already working on our own way to answer some of those questions I have been thinking about…stay tuned:)

I think that’s all I have right now. I hope that if you include me in your prayers you will include Matt, Chloe, Jack and my whole family. I am keeping very busy over the next six days so that will be a good thing. Lots of plans for this weekend and sports during the week to keep up with. All the activity will be a good thing, just keeping everyone on track. So many wonderful things have happened to me over the past few weeks… family, friends and complete strangers have reached out in their own way to let me know they are with me. I think at this point, connection is the gift and I will keep on receiving that connection and building my healing from there!

Love, Carlene

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By |January 13th, 2014|Yoga|0 Comments|

Planning and Gratitude

I just wanted to check in and let you know how things are going. Yesterday, I had my third plastic surgery post op appointment. I am finally rid of all the drains and tubes which is a huge relief. Each time I see the plastic sugeon, she gives a little fill to the expander between my ribs and pec muscles, AKA my new boobs. It is an uncomfortabe process and today I feel like someone beat me up but each time is a baby step to being finished.

The past two months have been a lot of waiting. It has been three weeks since my surgery and next Wednesday Matt and I will be in Boston all day to meet with my doctor at Dana Farber and to meet with all my doctors at Mass General. It is a full day and we are hoping and planning to have all the information we need to know how we will move forward. I am a girl that likes to have and plan and be acting on it!

I have had a few trips out which is nice and exhausting. I have been to one of Jack’s basketball games and I am hoping to get to Chloe’s game tonight. My step-mother and I took a trip to Target to get the house stocked up on all the necessities which entailed me leaning on the cart bossing her around:) She was a good sport and is a huge support to me. My father and Liz will be leaving on Wednesday. Their presence and around the clock help has made this process so much smoother for Matt, Chloe, Jack, and Me! My father is officially Chloe and Jack’s “driver”. He can’t believe the amount of mileage we cover in a week! Thanks to my crazy neighbors and my aunt Joanne and uncle Ralph visiting, the outside of the house is as festive as ever. I so appreciate that for Chloe and Jack!

Gratitude is overflowing over here for the amazing things that have been done for us over these past few weeks. I may have been a little cloudy in those first few days/weeks:) but I am just so thankful for the food, decorations, books, gifts but most importantly the words…cards, texts, emails, phone messages, Facebook… all of it!

Love Carlene

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By |January 12th, 2014|Yoga|0 Comments|


What inspires you?  What feeds your energy and happiness? 

For me, of course, my children, husband, family and friends inspire me.  My heart and soul are filled with love for them and gratitude for having them in my life.  I love being a wife, mother, daughter, niece and, friend to all these amazing people but that is who I am to them.  Who am I to myself?  Well, yoga shows me that.  It is where I found my deep down, shining light, source of energy, INSPIRATION!  And guess what, I’m pretty sure it also makes me a better wife, mother, daughter, niece and, friend.


This blog is where my love for all those roles and my love of yoga spill over because I am so inspired, I can’t help but share.  Here are a few of my personal inspirations so far on my journey…  More to come on each one of these!

Seacoast Power Yoga / Tara Whitney /

Seacoast Power Yoga feels like home.  Owner Tara Whitney, nurtures it to be that way.  It is a welcoming community of people sharing their yoga practice and more importantly themselves.


Baron Baptiste

My yoga teacher and a global force.  He shares the powerful tools for transforming your life, tapping into your power, and sharing it.


Live Love Teach

Yoga teacher training that strips away the layers to leave you teaching from love, not fear.


Kris Carr

Driving the point home one green juice at a time… Food is a powerful source of medicine.  Inspirational story and website jam-packed with info on becoming a healthier you.


Health and Wellness Junkie

Mother, Wife, Occupational Therapist, marathoner, triathlete, cancer survivor, yogi, plant-based nutrition educator and much more.  Aimee is my soul sister.  Follow her and she will lead you to a more vibrant, empowered life by sharing her own journey.


Forks Over Knives

This movie will answer any question on the benefits of a whole food, plant based diet.


Garen’s Greens – He’s a garden guru!  If you happen to catch him with a free moment (rare), he can transform your backyard into a veggie-making machine!

Thank you for reading my post.

If you are like what you’ve read so far, I hope you will sign up via email on this blog and “like” my fb page.

As always, wishing you health, happiness and yoga!

Love, Carlene

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By |January 30th, 2013|Yoga|0 Comments|

It’s an inside job.

I read a little to my Yin Yoga class today and was asked by a student to share this excerpt from Being of Power by Baron Baptiste. I love the quote from Albert Einstein and think the message and book are so powerful.

“We always want to fix something outside ourselves, rearrange the pieces, repair whatever we think is “wrong.”  We can change jobs, relationships, cities, and circumstances.  And yes, maybe for a while that gives us some relief.  But no matter what we do, where we move, or who we’re in  a relationship with, changing the form of something is temporary, and fix its never work in the long-term.  Unless we transform our way of being from the inside out, it all ends up being and feeling the same, because we’re still showing up with the same mind-set.

As Albert Einstein said, “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”

“When you undergo a transformation, the world is unchanged.  Your environment, situation, and immediate circumstances are all the same.  How you feel, see, listen, think, and act are what have been altered, and who you are and how you relate to the individuals and things in your life is what shifts.  Imagine feeling completely renewed, without having to change a single thing about your physical reality.  The beautiful thing here is that by transforming the way you relate to life, circumstances around you will ultimately shift as well.” 

~From the book, Being of Power,  by Baron Baptiste


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By |January 29th, 2013|Yoga|0 Comments|

Did you just hear that?

Did you just hear that HUGE sigh of relief??

My thirteen year old daughter just arrived home from nine days in Costa Rica on a school trip!  For those of you that know me, you are still picking your jaw up off the floor that she even went.  For those of you that don’t know me, lets just say she started babysitting for other kids before I felt comfortable to even leave her and her brother home with a sitter.  To say I can be an anxious, overprotective, control freak is an understatement! (although, we now qualify things with BY, Before Yoga and AY, After Yoga)  Much of my control freakiness was BY.  When she said that she wanted to go on this trip back in September, I knew in my heart, I couldn’t let my worry hold her back.  After all, we are well into the AY period!


I feel like what empowered her to go on this adventure is the same thing that empowered me to let her go.  “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone”…right??  How could I hold her back from this experience?  Did I want her to be the anxious, overprotective, control freak mom too?  We spent many hours talking about what it means to step out of what feels easy and take advantage of opportunities that are right in front of you.  We talked about how when you do this, doors open to even more exciting and fulfilling opportunities.  Are you listening, Carlene??  I was speaking to myself as much as I was speaking to my daughter.  One of the many adventurous activities on her itinerary was zip lining and cliff jumping into the water.  How funny that this was this picture that appeared on my Facebook feed the day after she left.  Someone was speaking to me.

cliff diving

My heart broke a tiny bit, leaving her that early morning in the school parking lot.  The few days leading up to the trip were filled with anticipation, excitement, some apprehension and anxiety.  We had some really powerful discussions in those days.  Having just come home from the Boston Marathon and all the sadness of those days only added to our emotions.  Her tears flowed on the way to school but it was replaced with a quiet determination by the time we arrived to meet the group.  She shook as she was trying to calm herself to get out of the car.  I watched it happen right before my eyes.  I reassured her to just feel what she was feeling in her body, question exactly what it is and just let it be.  Are you watching, Carlene??  “What are you afraid of?”, I asked her.  We agreed that what she was afraid of were just made up stories in her mind, the what ifs.  Fear, designed to hold her back, keep her playing safe and small, lies that only pretend to protect you.  That fear wasn’t real, the only thing that was real was that moment.  Getting out of the car, onto the bus, and taking each moment as it came.  You’re listening, right Carlene??  She let all that fear and emotion come up, looked right at it, felt it in her body then, it just let her go.  She didn’t try to push it down or ignore it.  She just let it all come up and it released her.  Be sure you are taking good notes, Carlene!  I had the same opportunity to practice that very same exercise on the ride home and many times this past week.


This past week has had a few “out of the comfort zone” moments for me.  I sent my little girl off on what I hoped to be an adventure that will empower and invigorate her.  I launched my website, first blog post, my intention to share how yoga has changed my life and hopefully to inspire yours. All of these moments had a little bit of that person jumping off the cliff in them.  I am filled with enormous gratitude for the response on my first post and the love I feel as a result of simply sharing what expands my heart.  Sometimes, that little voice in your head tells you something good.  Your voice of intuition.  Listen to it.  It may only whisper sometimes but let it be more powerful that the constant chattering of the fears.  The voice of fear is lying to you.  Here I am again, wishing I could scream this off the page…Life does begin at the end of your comfort zone!  It’s kind of fun out here.  It’s a little scary but at times but you just have to feel that feeling and jump!


Thank you for reading.

Wishing you Health, Happiness, and Yoga!

Love, Carlene


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By |January 28th, 2013|Yoga|0 Comments|

Welcome Back!

Wow!  It is amazing how easily I was pulled down in to a total funk!  I had a couple bumpy days, well a couple bumpy weeks, and let so much slide.  Everything that makes me feel great, I just dropped!  Barely juicing, eating crappy food, still practicing yoga but not as regularly, just generally letting that old story of  “See, when you take care of yourself, everything else falls apart”.  Nothing earth shattering but, anyone with a teenager can relate.  Someday, the unnamed party may just google what Mommy’s been up to so we will leave all the boring details out.  Suffice it to say, I feel like I am on the rollercoaster of slamming doors, eye rolling, dumpster bedrooms, I love you/I hate you all in the same breath, drama …  the rollercoaster is running and no one is at the controls.  I fell back into, just hold everything as tight as you can, manage, control and things will feel safer.  Not true!  My story is, Be Prepared, the rug will get yanked!  And you know what, sometimes it does get yanked. But, when I spend all my time holding on for dear life, I miss all the other wonderful moments in between.  I can’t believe how those old feelings came back with a vengeance.

Here is what I learned.  Breathe.  The tools and power I have found in my yoga practice really do work!  Sure it’s easy to spout off all kinds of advice and yogic wisdom when things are going smoothly.  It’s when the ‘you know what’ hits the fan, you feel yourself slipping back into old patterns of coping, that you really need to put your money where your mouth is.

happinessToday I woke up, made my green juice, practiced yoga and got on with my day.  I am reminding myself to keep coming back to the center where I feel whole and where I can, most easily, see clearly and move forward.  If the peace and serenity aren’t happening on the inside, no way will I find it on the outside.

Wishing you that peaceful place!  Love ~ Carlene

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By |January 27th, 2013|Yoga|0 Comments|

That was my Warrior II…

Published in Elephant Journal May 3, 2013

I was recently asked, what my favorite yoga pose was?  Easy answer, Warrior II.  “What??” that person said to me,  “Warrior II is brutal!”  Warrior II, arms stretched front to back, powerful stance, laser-gaze forward.  It’s a beautiful pose to me; but, hold it for more than 20 seconds and things start to heat up!  That little voice is your head starts talking. Shoulders tense and burn as sweat drips down your Warrior 2forehead and back.  “Just set your gaze and stay”, the teacher says.  Now, the voice in your head is really talking –  sometimes screaming.  I refer to it as my “Debbie Downer” voice but really, its just fear.  What is the reality here?  I’m just holding a yoga pose.  I can choose to focus on the discomfort and write an entire story in my head. In record time, I can ask myself how long we are going to be here, question whether or not should I just let my arms down or maybe just adjust my ponytail and take a drink of water.  Or, I can stay.  Stay in my breath, in my gaze and focus inward.  I found that place in Warrior II.   At a recent teacher training, I found the other side of the burning, sweating and shaking.  It felt so good.  It was the other side of my comfort zone. There is no story, only the present moment.  I can be in each moment.  Hold the pose for THIS moment.

This past Monday my husband ran the Boston Marathon, as he has many times before.  It’s a tradition for our family.  We run to remember our mothers and raise money for cancer research.  The kids and I wait at mile 25 for Matt to come by, cheer him on to his last mile then head to the finish line or a family meeting area.  This year was the same.  We were so happy to see him ahead of schedule at mile 25 considering a significant Achilles strain.  We quickly cheered him on and sent him on his way to relish the last mile.  Within seconds, everything changed.  Matt passed us at mile 25, I took the kids and began to walk toward the finish line then, someone next to me said, “There are bombs going off at the finish line”.  That was my Warrior II.

Reliving the fear of those hours and writing a mental story of “what if’s” is worthless.  The reality is, I had to get my two children safely through the chaos, find my husband and pray he wasn’t injured by the bombs … or worse. I just decided to walk away from the crush of people on the streets, just keep my children calm, hold their hands and get where I could find Matt.  It took us an hour to go less than a mile.  Each step, each moment, it became clear how bad it really was.   We went from sunny day, cheering on runners to helicopters, police with weapons drawn, national guard, swat vehicles, and everywhere we turned were frantic, stunned, injured people.  I had a husband to find somewhere at the finish line. We couldn’t get through to the finish and could only go back to the nearby hotel where we were supposed to meet after the finish line.   As soon as my phone started working, I had 30 texts.  “Are you ok??”,  “Is Matt ok?”, “They said there are more bombs?”  “Stay away from big crowds.”  Within moments of frantically searching the hotel for Matt, we were evacuated, still no Matt.  Back on the street, still only able to receive texts and a very few phone calls,  I was becoming more and more aware that I needed to reassure the people I love and love us that we were all ok…even before I knew it was true.  That was my Warrior II.

We practice yoga and take it out into our world.  As a yoga instructor, I want to share how powerful yoga has been in my life.  How you are on your mat, IS how you are in your life.  If I could scream this out on the page, I would! …YOU ARE STONGER THAN YOU THINK!  Practice this in your everyday life!  Don’t let your arms down to adjust your ponytail or take a drink of water!  Find your strength, set your gaze and breathe!  Take each moment and stay in the present.  The story is, there I was… in my breath, laser focus, powerful stance, one arm outstretched toward where I needed to go and one stretched back hold my children’s hands.   Calm… inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale.  Through phone calls, texts and, facebook posts I learned more and more.  Hours passed and I finally reached my husband safely.  He was ok, we were ok and we walked out of the chaos together.  That was my Warrior II.


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By |January 20th, 2013|Yoga|0 Comments|