LauraLynn Jansen


Placing her fingertips below my back’s left rib cage she directs me, “Breath into here.” My silence prompts her to immediately push in a little bit further making sure I felt her contact. I can feel some pressure where my “upper kidney loop” is. My memory reminds me of the last time I was directed to that very spot where usually I only feel deep muscular pains shooting up. A somatic memory is tapped and I can feel tears brim around the corner of my eyes.

PDFS is what I became aware of today as I worked my back muscles and inner organs on my yoga mat to tap into kidney loop. Post-Disease Frustration Syndrome (PDFS) is the overwhelming sensation of discovering how a disease and/or related treatment mentally, physically or emotionally limits oneself or makes one different from others. It can come on at any time or in any setting (commonly occurs during physical activity). Yes, this is what my brain was doing in Savasana, instead of relaxing; I was coming up with an acronym to describe my current state of being. The state this time invoked by residuals of having had severe shingles post- cancer treatment over two decades ago.

“It may break my body, but never break my soul.”

A gorgeous late summer day allows me an open window drive from Maryland (place of yoga class) to Virginia (where my current home is). I take the most beautiful passage possible, down the middle of the District of Columbia through Rock Creek Park. I remain present with my emotions of brokenness so they can feel attended to and not squelched. Any emotions caught up in my throat and my eyes are given free-rein to release as I listen to Wide Awake sing the song I first heard live at the LiveSTRONG summit in Austin, Maybe Tonight, Maybe Tomorrow.

I am a long way from that Halloween day I heard the diagnosis. I am eternally grateful for the life I’ve led since. AND there are moments when I am taken aback, taken for a ride or just taken off track because of that day’s sentence of having to deal with invasive foreign cells. Today on my mat I could feel the frustration begin to permeate me and activate PDFS. So I lift my head with an inner smile, conjure up some self-love as I re-ground and reassure myself by quietly saying “I am still here.”

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