Dr. Tali Lando, Hell & Back
This week’s guest is Dr. Tali Lando, a six year breast cancer survivor, doctor by profession and author of a book “Hell and Back”. Dr. Tali Lando describes the book as her journey and a Girlfriend’s Guide to Breast Cancer (which is interesting, since I have self proclaimed my podcast DJ Breast Cancer to be a Girlfriend’s Guide). Dr. Tali Lando describes her diagnosis with three young children (one in the NICU), a father undergoing a life illness and a busy schedule as an ENT doctor. Dr. Tali Lando describes the importance of support and finding the “right person for you” in this diagnosis and cancer journey. For her, it was her friend from medical school who was there with her for test results, understood her and proclaimed, “We’re gonna deal with this together”. Together, we discussed the importance of Instagram, finding our tribe, what support looks like.
Dr. Tali Lando describes how her diagnosis changed with the pathology report and how it suddenly shifted from an early stage breast cancer to staged 3C with 18 of 24 lymph nodes impacted. She describes the scary statistics, risks of recurrence and how just the overall category she was put in suddenly became even more serious (as if it wasn’t serious enough already). I have full recollection to a conversation with my oncologist with 4 lymph nodes impacted and a conversation on recurrence that sounded more like Russian roulette. It scared me, I hated everything they were telling me. Growing up, I was a good student, 4.0 through high school and 3.98 in college, classic overachiever, so to listen to my oncologist talk about risks with and without chemo was downright scary… except these weren’t biology 101 test results we were discussing, this was my life!
Chemo was the worst part for Dr. Tali Lando and for me. She described A/C (Red Devil, Adriamycin Cytoxin) as taking out all the goodness in life and leaving you with a “shell”. This was so true for me, having her describe in this way, took me back to those difficult days of wanting time to just move forward, wishing away my current life, and I never felt that way before. Dr. Tali Lando describes this time and giving hope to others as “It can only be better”. The round the clock nausea, not wanting to eat and not really wanting to participate in life were exactly my sentiments as well. I kept going with treatment even the day before Thanksgiving, because I just wanted time to move forward. I later celebrated Thanksgiving one week after on my “Cancer Free Weekend”.
Dr. Tali Lando describes how cancer changed her, made her understand her patient’s parents’ fear more clearly (she treats children), along with developing all of her perspective and dealing with her own mortality in a way to bring fun and joy to others. She has been known to organize a flash mob or two, teaching others to dance, asking strangers to participate and overall trying to carve out 5 minutes of a monotonous day to have some fun. Dr. Tali is a true inspiration and I encourage you to read her book “Hell and Back”. I will have a contest on Instagram for a chance to win a copy of her book. Stay tuned for more details!!!