Caring for a Community
In this episode, I speak with my friend Lanette Veres about caring for a community of people that need to know they aren’t alone during their most challenging times. She is truly one of my greatest inspirations.
She and I were connected through mutual contacts in 2009 when our at-the-time 2 year-old son was diagnosed with a racquetball size brain tumor (side note, he is 100% happy and healthy today!).
Lanette was a top-performing banking relationship manager before she was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 1998 after months of headaches and fatigue. Despite going on to have 5 brain surgeries she founded the Gray Matters Foundation, which serves to bring a smile and hope to patients diagnosed with brain tumors.
Today, she gets calls from all over the world, from people seeking support for themselves or their family members. She and her volunteers send handwritten notes of love and inspiration, and she herself spends her days in hospital rooms sharing support, not statistics.
In this episode
We talk about:
- the importance of knowing you aren’t alone and the gifts that can come from trauma
- the challenges she faces in caring for the brain tumor community
- how she overcomes deficits caused by her surgeries and doesn’t let them hold her back
I’m thrilled for you to hear from Lanette – she is truly one in a million.
Connect with Lanette
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JM: Hey, Lanette. How are you today?
LV: I am fantastic. How are you today, Jen?
JM: I am really, really good. I am so happy to talk to you. For anyone listening who doesn’t know my relationship with Lanette—you might occasionally see that I post things from her events or I post links to her page—our son, Mateo, not my son with Lanette, my son with my husband, our son, Mateo, who I will mention is now almost 12 years old, strong, healthy, and an honor student, and thinks he runs our household, he had a brain tumor when he was two and it was a very not good situation. We caught it right at the end, they were waking him up like every hour overnight to make sure that he was still coherent, lucid, and with us. In that process, we were introduced to Lanette through some mutual friends. Lanette, why don’t you explain a little bit about what you do?
LV: I am introduced to families and try to share support, not statistics, along their journey when they’re dealing with brain tumors and come on side them and hopefully encourage them and educate them through the process of brain tumors; that could be getting them information, connecting them to support groups, and on some journeys it means holding their hands when they’re not doing so well and possibly dying also.
JM: Which blows my mind. You do that through the Gray Matters Foundation which you founded and it blows my mind because while I very, deeply appreciate so many of the wonderful non-profit organizations that are out there to raise money for research and treatment, I feel like what you do is so much harder than that on a personal level because you are walking into hospital rooms, you’re actually sitting with patients, right?
LV: Yes, that’s true.
JM: Unfortunately we didn’t get to know you back at that time, it would have been really nice to have you holding my hand.
LV: I often tell people that, that’s what I say, “Well, I’m sorry we didn’t meet each other because we’re lottery winners.”
JM: Right, that’s the good thing, being the lottery winners. Let’s talk a little bit about what’s your personal story. Talk to me a little bit about why you founded Gray Matters Foundation and why are you are driven to do this work? Because it’s not easy. You are a one-in-a-million.
LV: My niche. It’s kind of crazy because six years before I was diagnosed, my grandmother had a brain tumor, had surgery, and died in nine weeks. I always have this passion I was going to be a voice, I even started out wanting to be a nurse and was going to nursing school, didn’t finish, but long story, and had this passion to be a nurse and kind of in the background with volunteering and doing things like that. Then all of a sudden I was having these headaches just attributed to my job, my profession, and long story short, found out I had a baseball-size mass. All of a sudden this voice that I felt like I had became something totally different, had surgery and all of a sudden turned into a mission after five surgeries over the course of many years. I had motivation to start something because when I left that very first surgery, leaving the hospital, there was no support out there. I’d had the experience of what it felt like to be on the other side in a sense, caregiver-type experience, and now I had this experience of being the patient and leaving the hospital with no support—and when I say support, not financial support, I’m talking about emotional support.
JM: Which is important too when you’re going through that but to have the emotional support to deal with it, I think, comes before anything else. I think we talk all the time about the shortcomings of the world but you actually took things into your own hands and said, “I’m going to be the support to other people who don’t have.” How do you have the resilience to keep doing that every day?
LV: I’ve always said, “If you need something, you give it,” and that could be goodness [inaudible 00:04:17] and I keep doing it because people need it and I still need it. I still need to know there’s a reason to go on and my family who have experienced all the things that those people experienced and selfishly, it feels good to help. This whole kindness movement, I was doing that before that movement on a different level because people are dying, are sick, and have much. When you’re going through something, not many people know what you’re dealing with and within the own family, there’s no support. So not only was I helping connect them to the outside world, I am helping people understand the dynamics within their own circle which is hard to believe but people split up after this stuff, families break up. It’s a great thing that you and Joe pulled together and became stronger.
JM: It’s funny that you say that because we have talked about that in the past, Joe and I, we are like perpetually in therapy for all the things because they’re all you fix one thing and then you realize that it was really [you did 00:05:34] something else that needs to get work done. But we originally started maybe like the year after we were shell shocked, I mean, the year that Mateo was diagnosed with his tumor, it was 2009, I had had a miscarriage, I wasn’t diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis until probably six months after I started to have the onset and it was misdiagnosed and I was just getting worse and worse. It couldn’t work and then we have this two-year-old child who’s in the hospital.
I clearly remember one night we were sitting on our bed, we’re getting ready to go to bed, Mateo was asleep and we’re sitting there and I was like, “Oh, my God, that all happened within like a six-month period? How are we here?” I was still living in it and it was the first time we’d had any prospective outside of it and you’re absolutely right because when we go through these things that are so incredibly traumatic, when you come so close, and you’re really confronting your mortality and these big questions in existentialism and, “What the hell am I doing here?” they are these huge questions that I think a lot of people tend to just not deal with until they’re fully confronted and have no other option but to look at it. You’re right, even your own family and your spouse, your closest friends, those people, they don’t know what to do with it if they haven’t been through it. It’s really hard. Luckily, through the process of therapy and supporting each other, we’re still dealing with the emotion around it on some days, it’s still there for us. I just really applaud you for being that person that says, “Hey, it’s normal for everything to be dysfunctional and messed up and to not know what to do or what’s going on.”
LV: And I’ve had no support.
JM: You didn’t have anybody to support you at that time.
LV: I was a single mom and I wasn’t married. My dad wasn’t talking to me. My mom was out of state, she came here but it wasn’t this Beaver Cleaver family.
JM: How did you get through that?
LV: One day at a time. But here’s the story, silly me, I thought I was going to go and get this tumor out and that was just going to be back to normal, go back to work. All I had to go from was that my grandma had this tumor taken out and died but I think back and that wasn’t an option, I truly thought I was going to get this thing taken out and that was going to be back to whatever is normal. Four months later, I had a second surgery and it was just crazy. I don’t even know where it all fit in but it didn’t. It wasn’t like I said right then, “Oh, I’m going to start [inaudible 00:08:23],” it wasn’t, I was just, I didn’t know, thank God I had this [body 00:08:27] insurance because I don’t know what I would have done, I watched families that are totally devastated financially. That’s why people lose their houses.
I had a church that came around, the women’s ministry brought me food and stuff like that but I think back and I ask myself, “How did I make it through that?” Michael, who is my husband now, was instrumental. One of my taglines is “for me for one” and he truly was my one. I don’t know what I would have done because his support, and I’m not talking like, “Oh, he just came in and swept me away,” but even continuing to make our relationship, this guy should have ran if he were really to look at the real picture—single mom, we were just dating—but he just didn’t.
That’s where the whole support thing, I went out looking like, “Okay, how do people view this?” Then I went to my first support group and I think it was at some conference in Washington, D.C., I went to one in California and then said, “We gotta go do this thing, you gotta check this out, we’re not the only one.” We cried at this meeting, “Oh, my God, we’re not the only one,” and that’s when I really became active here and really wanted to make a difference. I guess, in short story, is that’s what motivated me after seeing other people.
JM: That’s so amazing.
LV: When you go to a conference and you see their heads wrapped and you hear these stories—and I remember this one story of this girl I met, she had the worst kind of brain cancer and I didn’t know what that meant outside of my grandma being sick and I’ll never forget communicating here back in the AOL days, you got mail, and communicating with her and then all of a sudden didn’t hear from her and I thought, “Hmm…” and reading this newsletter from an organization and reading about this fundraiser who saved two little girls because their mommy died and it was her and oh, my God, I was so devastated. That was the real impact of people dying. Oh, I can’t die. My kids can’t be without a mother.
JM: Right, right, you put yourself on those shoes now.
LV: Yeah, it really became real.
JM: It gets very real. I think you really hit on something within that story in so many ways in life, the different things, because as you know, I too have had an interesting time in life and whether it was dealing with growing up with nuclear family, dealing with substance abuse issues, or having the son who had this potentially terminal illness, or me being diagnosed with a chronic illness, sometimes the greatest relief, the greatest comfort is just to know that you aren’t alone.
It’s like when I sit in Nar-Anon meetings and I hear these stories that the other families that are dealing with family members who have the illness of addiction, you hear these stories and it’s like the details are different but the stories are almost always the same. We all are kind of dealing with this uncertainty, the pain, the frustration, and the fear and then to go to a support group or to have somebody like you walk in, and you’ve seen it, and you’ve seen it, and you’ve seen it, and you’ve got resources and you’ve got the words, what a blessing and what a gift to just not feel alone. Talk to me a little bit about what it’s like visiting patients and what are some of those challenges that you deal with when you’re visiting with brain tumor patients?
LV: Actually visiting with them, the test part is of course, I’m all in. There is no, “Okay, this person, I’m not going to get close,” I’ve never ever said that. When I walk in there, I’m all in. They’re my brain buddy, they’re my family. I’m all in. If they call me in the middle of the night, my phone number is international, if you go on to any of the websites, I’m mostly at Barrow, which is the hospital here and renowned across the country, my number is there. When people call me, I will be out to dinner and I know if that comes in through that number. I walk in and their head split open and they are looking at me with tears, I’m like, “Hey, understand we have something in common,” they look at me, “Seriously?” and I’m like, “Yeah, I’ve had five brain surgeries,” and then they’re like, “Oh, my God, what you have I’ve just been told,” and I already sometimes know their diagnosis and it may be similar to mine. [inaudible 00:13:22] “Yeah,” and then they go, “So how long ago was yours?” and first of all they’re stunned that I’ve had brain surgery five times and this year was 20 years, you know that because you attended my event.
JM: Yes, congratulations.
LV: Thank you. And all of a sudden they are empowered, “Oh, my God, I have hope,” and I said, “Yes, and hope never grows old.” Walking in there, the true problem is I know that I don’t know and so I go in there going, “Okay, I’m all in, they’re are my family,” but it hurts. Over the course of 20 years, I’ve dealt with losing a lot of people which most people don’t experience so that would be the first challenge, the physical part. But who am I? They don’t have a date stamp on their foot, I don’t know, [inaudible 00:14:21] never grows old. I get in there with, “You know what? They may be another long-term survivor too.” I get stories from maybe a doctor and staff and I tell them, “You don’t know. I know you’re seeing something but I always go in there with the success stories because they can hear a thousand horrible stories,” they get on [inaudible 00:14:44]
JM: Well, and we can get on Google which is what everybody does.
LV: You can tell them that to get on there but like anybody [inaudible 00:14:51].
JM: We did.
LV: I tell them, “Assign a family member or a friend to do your Google searching or whatever but focus,” short story again, like when you’re pregnant, first baby, all [inaudible 00:15:06]
JM: All the horror stories.
LV: Yeah, not the, “Oh, you can have this beautiful baby,” so I tell them focus on these good stories and I have the names of people they can contact and I said, “Here are some success stories and I actually have the number if you want to talk to them of what they’ve done,” so I go in there with a good attitude, with hope. That’s all I can do because I’m going to get close to them nine out [inaudible 00:15:36] ten times and there are some people who they meet me [inaudible 00:15:41] and they don’t want anything to do with me and that’s okay too. Most of the time, if I talk to them, we’re going to be pretty close for whatever they want so we go in so that’s the hard part.
The other peril that I might incur is just finding them. A lot of times, the big thing that a patient say is, “If I had only known about you and how come,” I can’t explain that, I can only say, “Well, I am out there. I’m sorry they didn’t tell you, we can’t go backwards, you do know me now.” It just happened last week, “Why didn’t they tell me?” I go back to, “You know what? I’ve worked too very hard to have that not happen and I have some great relationships and so again, not going backwards and just going forward and starting from there.”
JM: That’s amazing. What advice would you give to family members? I know you walk into these situations and I’m sure you’ve seen everything twice at least, you’ve seen it all. I think sometimes we’re like, we’ll at least have a good friend or a spouse or a parent who is there to support. If you have that, you’re incredibly blessed and you’re lucky. But often times, especially, dealing with crisis, I think that a lot of times that actually intensifies, it’s through the lens of whatever that dysfunctional relationship is and sometimes it can bring out the best and often times it can bring out the worst. What advice would you give to family members if you are related to somebody who has been diagnosed with a condition that is so serious or a good friend, what is the advice that you will give, especially, if maybe you don’t have an ideal relationship?
LV: And that happens more than not. If somebody calls me, so let’s just say, a parent has an adult child—this is something that happened recently—and they want me [inaudible 00:17:58] their daughter has been given a horrible diagnosis and she doesn’t want to deal with it. The dynamics are, it’s a rocky relationship, and so I tell the parents, “You know you cannot force anything. Did they send their scans the other places?” that kind of thing. Tell you what, I gave them my number, because they don’t have permission to give my number out or give their number to me, I said that if they will call, I said, “It’s probably [inaudible 00:18:32], I can’t get them to come to groups.” If they can come to a support group, but the stigma of a support group is always, oh, God, and especially if the parent is sending my brother, where do my parents want me to go to? And especially if they’ve been given a horrible diagnosis, but that’s the thing, if I can speak with them and share just one hopeful story, if they’re not local, if I can’t find a support group wherever they’re at and encourage them, it’s hard when they’re not here because maybe I have an experience at that particular group but if they’re local and can rally them enough to just show one time to our group, then I know because I know what our group is about and encourage them, “Hey, come one time, if you don’t like it, you never have to come back. But we are like one big family and you can see you’re not alone,” and then I kind of position it, “I know your dad’s driving you crazy.” I talk like that and I said, “And the other thing is, you know what? I’ve had surgeries and so I know what it’s like,” that’s kind of how I twist it.
I’m not being fake, I’m being legit because I do know. I try to personalize it so that’s the first and I tell that child who’s probably my age, “I get it, I’ve had a crazy family too.” I said, “I don’t know that personal side but I do know that this is tough and surround yourself with a few people that might get it and what’s the worst case, you think I’m crazy, you come and go, ‘Oh, God, why do I even talk to this one?’” That really never happened. If it did, I didn’t know about it. That’s kind of the direction I take, have they always shown? No, but probably 99% is if one go to is if they just talk to me because they realized they are not alone just like me 20 years ago, I think make it personal. As my sixth grade teacher taught me years ago, “Be kind. When they’re not kind, you be kind again and be kind again,” and kindness works.
JM: Sometimes it’s easier said than done.
LV: Gray Matters evolved, sending a card. I’ll say, “You know what? Can I have your address? I’ll send you one of the flyers,” and with that flyer, I send the card. There’s something about those handwritten cards, Jen.
JM: I know, I still get them from you and they are always so meaningful.
LV: There’s something about kindness and I don’t know, It pretty much works. It’s not a sales tip and I’m not sending the annual fundraiser thing, I tell them, “I’m not out to sell your name or anything, I just came to encourage you.” I think it is you just be kind and genuine and they may not come in at first time but when things get really tough they say, “I know, I didn’t call, I didn’t call,” I’m like, “It’s okay. I knew when you are ready you would call me,” and sometimes people are never ready.
JM: Right, but it’s here when you are.
LV: And it’s reality.
JM: Talk to me a little bit about the challenges, so we’ve talked about the challenges that you’ve faced in working with patients, talk to me about some of the challenges that you face. You and I have talked in the past about deficits that are created by having brain surgeries and dealing with everything that you’ve dealt with. I do these interviews and a lot of times we talk about challenges in business or founding an organization and it’s, “I had to bootstrap. I didn’t have money. My family didn’t support me,” and those are all real valid challenges. But you have challenges that you have to deal with everyday that are not going to go away, talk to us a little bit about what those are and how do you deal with that? How do you overcome that every day?
LV: And I need to mention that I never planned on Gray Matters becoming anything. I was just this girl who sent some cards and it boomed. I had to create something but even then I never intended to create an organization. I had someone approached me because I sent them a card, the attorney for the [inaudible 00:23:14] foundation reached out to me and said, “Hey, what you’re doing, you will need more fund,” so she reached out to me and that’s how that all came about, short story. But personally, when you look okay, and I finally had somebody say, my doctor said, “You don’t have to constantly tell people and get forgiveness for something that you’ve had five brain surgeries and caused a deficit,” because when you see me or you see me facilitating support group…
JM: You would never know from looking at you.
LV: No, no. One of the big things is I find, and people, [inaudible 00:24:00] “Oh, I do that but I know I’m doing it when I’m doing it,” and it’s like talking, when you ask me a question and I know in my head that I’m trying to get out an idea or I’m trying to answer a question, now I’m not so much doing it now but when I’m in a conversation and all of a sudden in the middle of the conversation, I go blank, and I can’t get the word out. If my husband is there, it’s perfect because if I turn to him, I can say, “You know that,” and he knows me. Let’s say I wanted to say, “Cup,” and I’ll say, “Oh, that new cup we bought,” so I’ll turn to him, “You know that’s in the cabinet, my mom gave me,” and he’ll go, “Oh, she was trying to say the cup that,” in my head it’s there so it’s frustrating.
You don’t see that, it look okay and people are trying to be kind, “Oh, I do that,” but it’s not the same because it happens all the time. That’s hard to compensate for but it’s there so I try not to be long-winded or try to shorten the conversation because when the excitability kicks in, then you get faster than your thoughts and you have to slow it down. I’ve compensated for that and the other thing is you don’t see it but one of the surgeries I had was for seizures and what triggers those, because I’m still on meds, is excitability, whether it’s sadness or [inaudible 00:25:52]
JM: Good or bad.
LV: Yeah, then those can trigger that. I could be talking and you would know it but I could have like one of those focal feelings and it can really bring me down like I could have a seizure, not the kind that make you fall out or anything, it could be a focal seizure and I’d go blank and then I am desperately trying to stay focused, so that’s another thing.
But some of the things that I’ve helped with the short-term memory and long-term memory stuff is writing everything down so when you and I make an appointment, I write it down but when I get home, I have to write it on a calendar. A lot of times I tell people, “You know what? If I didn’t bring my little calendar and my purse, I’m going to go home and I’m going to check,” and people are always, “Why don’t you start using the telephone thing?” Because that is more difficult to continue to remember how to use those things than it is just to simply write it down. Now, I have learned that I can have Siri remind me when I get home.
JM: Thank God for Siri.
LV: Yeah, and that’s exactly it. Those simple tools like speaking into a microphone helps when I’m standing up in front of a group helping facilitate. But ultimately, the thing I try to teach people is you can’t heal if you’re not real. I have learned in these groups and think, “If I’m going to help people, I need to let them know, ‘You know what? I am like that and it’s okay and you can be bigger than this disease,’” and I always tell them, “You know what? It’s okay because we can take and learn from this and the brain tumor doesn’t win when you continue to do these things. That’s why technology is good. You might not be able to manage the remote control but you know what? That’s why there are books, then you keep the book out, you re-read that book every time you need your remote control.”
JM: Or [inaudible 00:28:03] like you said, just call my kids over. I’m like, “I don’t know what I’m doing.”
LV: Exactly. You just, you may do, you have tools to help you and you don’t worry about what everybody else thinks and that’s the problem we’ve always worried about and I’m guilty of it. The other thing like, if I go to, let’s just say, one of your events, let’s say you’re speaking somewhere—and this could be with any speaker—if I know that I’m going to have to get up, if it’s going to be a long event, if I have an opportunity to go up to the speaker, I’ll say, “I just want to let you know I have a brain injury. I’m a brain cancer survivor and when it’s information overload, not because I don’t want to hear from you, I’m going to have to get up because I have to take a break just for me. It’s not that I’m not interested in your material, I just have to give my brain just a little break and I will be back in. But please don’t think I’m getting up because I’m not interested, not a big deal, I just have to give my mind a little break. But I wanted to let you know because I don’t want to be disrespectful to you speaking,” and they’re like, “You know what? Thank you.”
JM: That’s so amazing. I think so many people appreciate that information and with the things that we have experienced, it’s so hard sometimes because, I always feel like there is sort of like a little bit of a stigma, it’s like I don’t want to show any weakness, I don’t want someone to feel sorry for me, I don’t want someone to look at me differently or like I’m no longer sort of authoritative or confident when I say these things but I’ve had to learn that sometimes, people really do just appreciate that little bit of information. I would rather, I guess, take the risk of changing the way that somebody looks at me than to offend or hurt someone or to be misunderstood.
There had been times with rheumatoid arthritis, I take medication and thank God I had been so incredibly blessed to be very high functioning through having a chronic illness but I still have days that are bad and I still have days where if it’s a long day, I was in a leadership development program last year and there were long days when we’re on our feet and there were some times that I just had to sit and it felt weird to be the one person in fifty like, “Well, I’m going to sit down.” But you have to say those things and I think in the past where it would been hard for me to say, it’s so much easier to say, “Hey, this is what I have going on. It is not any reflection of you, it is entirely self-care on my part and I’ll be back.” I think it’s so great that you say that.
LV: And sometimes you lose friends and business partners. As you know, I’m very real with you and this past year, after participating at one of your business, your group, unfortunately, yours are so informational, I finally said, “You know what? I really have learned from that,” and said, “Okay, continuing to progress before I really organize and get ahead,” that’s part of my problem. I need to take some self-care and get organized because I’m not doing myself any good and that’s a big deal for me.
One of my issues is [I will pull together, 00:31:26]but at home, one of the issues with all the brain surgeries is I have to spread everything out to be able to do the chronological items. For example, doing my thank yous. I just had this party, I need to send a thank you for people that made a donation so I have to have the donation form, then thank you card, and then the names. I have it spread on [inaudible 00:31:55] I’m really putting it out there right now and I still I feel horrible that it takes me so long but is it, so you don’t do it and you don’t do what you’re supposed to do or it takes longer and you know what? I’m sorry, but I’m hit and I signed my cards, I don’t print out something and that’s what my niche is, that’s what makes me different, so it takes me a little longer and it is what it is. It’s just confirmation, that’s deficits and that’s just who I am and for goodness sake, I’ve survived five brain surgeries [inaudible 00:32:28]
JM: We could cut you some slack I think.
LV: Yeah, but again, you don’t want that sympathy. I don’t want to be like, “Oh, poor me,” that’s not what I want to be but it is what it is. That’s just the way it is. That would be the hard thing. In our family, even Michael and I, sometimes I have to remind him and he says, “I’m so sorry,” because we forget and I forget that I have that and I tell him, “You know what? It’s just so frustrating because I want to be different and if it was different, I’d be out working, I’d be having a regular job,” and then I say, “Can you imagine where I’d be if I was working for 20 years? But I wouldn’t have helped other people and I wouldn’t be doing what I was supposed to do,” and it’s okay. [inaudible 00:33:25]
JM: Yeah and really serving that purpose. A great lesson in self-care is really when it comes down to is I think a lot of it is acceptance for who we are, including our, I think so many times we focus on our gifts or what we would like to create in life and sometimes it’s okay to look at things that we feel like are maybe our flaw or a shortcoming and to give yourself that grace of accepting that and just knowing that about yourself.
LV: The funniest thing is when 20 years ago, I used to be, “Oh, my God, I wish I had more time,” and you have this time and you really don’t do all the things you wish you had more time to do and without a plan. One of the biggest things that I help people with, the men really struggle with not being able to do what they used to do, so everything that I have been through whether it be radiation, chemotherapy, all these things, people will come to me, “Oh, my God, why have you ever gone through this,” and so everything I’ve been through, I’ve been able to help somebody with, even though I get frustrated, I’m able to use my pain and make it pay.
JM: And so see the gift in it.
LV: Yes, and that’s the blessing in disguise. That is what I’ve been able to do. That’s where I get, for lack of a better word, the pay or the bonus because I have to find something, people go, “Oh, my God, why do you keep doing it?” It’s because my give back is, “Okay, this tumor isn’t going to win, it’s not going to steal everything. I have lost a lot even some family members.” Keep in mind, I was a single mom. My kids, predominantly, were raised with their dad after my illness because I had to get better and betterment I could not take care if they were better off, it wasn’t that I couldn’t take care of them but I had to make a decision, you know what? The right thing to do is let them, if that was an option. Now I could have, if they didn’t have dad, but that was a very hard decision and there was a price to pay for that and [inaudible 00:35:50]
JM: You know, I think it is just making those difficult decisions of being in a place where you accept it for what it is.
LV: Right, but those are things that people don’t talk about and so that’s something where women go, “Oh, my God,” and that’s not something that…
JM: Well, and then we beat the hell out of ourselves for making the best choice that you can.
LV: Yeah, I still do what if. But it’s okay, there’s a lot of good and I have great kids and there’s a lot of good that came out of it and there’s a lot of sucky stuff that I wish would have been different but you know what, in all things, I’m still here and I’ve triumphed on what could have been a tragedy and even living, even with living, there still could have been some pretty horrible things that came out of this, I could have been stuck, people are entitled to feel sorry for themselves, if that’s what I want to do but I didn’t and I refused to let this brain tumor keep me stuck and I still get my scans every four months and there’s a spot we watch and I could live going, “Oh, my God,” and be in fear but I choose not to.
JM: And you continue to pay it forward, I think you are absolutely amazing with it. Tell people where they can find you.
LV: They can find me through my website which is graymattersfoundation.org.
JM: If you’d like to reach out to Lanette, it’s graymattersfoundation.org or you can hop over and you can reach me or you can check out the show notes to find Lanette at brandwithcatalyst.com.
LV: I have all the emails on Gray Matters, Twitter, and I have Instagram but if you go to the website, all those links are connected.
JM: Thank you so much, Lanette. I think you are just so inspiring and so amazing and I am personally grateful to you for what you do everyday. Thank you so much.
LV: Thank you.
Check out another episode – “The Non-Profit Nerd: Start-Up, Scale, Strategy, and Self-Care for Success with Jarrett Ransom“