Bev’s Story

Bev's Story

This is what worked for me. I am sharing my strategy in hopes it might help you, too. 

 

When I was 48, I received two cancer diagnoses in one year.

 

My first one was a shocker. I thought I was one of the healthiest people I knew. There were complexities to my case (as there so often are) that prompted me to fly across the country to see the world’s thyroid expert, but the surgery that diagnosed the thyroid cancer was essentially the cure. 

A few months later, after my annual mammogram, I heard the C-word again. I could barely breathe or think. In that foggy and slightly infantile state, I passively did what I was told, crying the whole time on the cold biopsy table.I hadn’t educated myself on anything; I was just going through the motions.  

My first formal breast cancer diagnosis came back, and I needed to decide on doctors and treatment. But to do this, I knew I first had to find a way to calm my panic. An adrenaline-choked mind can’t process or learn what it needs to learn to make good decisions. 

 

I used to be a professional researcher in charge of research for CNN’s National Desk. I knew how to dive down quickly into a topic and find the experts before the internet and googling was a thing. I formulated critical questions and synthesized the essential points our reporters and producers would need. I eventually left CNN to write a book, do a lot of community work, and raise my four daughters.


Cancer kicked my professional research mind back into gear. I figured out a simple but effective way to organize and process the unfamiliar information flooding in not only from doctors but also from my friends, fellow patients, and my own medical research.

 

I learned how to learn and think clearly despite the stress that had hijacked my normally high-functioning brain. School came easily to me, but learning and thinking clearly when you are afraid of dying is a different animal.

 

I know the simple strategy I created for myself allowed me to find great physicians and avoid being harmed by the side effects of over-treatment.


My approach helped me access tips that made treatment more manageable. My strategy saved my sanity (and that of my family) by giving me the serenity to know that I made the best decisions possible for my case. It helped me have a happy and positive experience after my difficult diagnoses.

There is so little you can control right now, but I want you to get through this as easily as possible. The Bev Strategy is a way that helps you control what you can and make informed decisions.

 

Fast forward to now: after a scare this year turned out to NOT be cancer, I wanted to use the gratitude I felt to do something to help others.  Thus, this website was born.

I had cancer, but the system I created for myself can also help patients with other difficult diagnoses. 

“I am one of the blessed ones whom Bev helped before she created this website. After my diagnosis, I was in an unknown land; I didn’t know where to start. Bev helped me follow every step this website provides you. Having Bev guide me this way was like having a driver take you on your unknown road. It made my cancer journey much calmer and more controlled.”
Yuri Jeon
Patient

About Bev

Bev Saltzman Lewyn is the co-author of On The Run in Nazi Berlin (Chicago Review Press 2019). She is the co-founder of the nonprofit JWC Atlanta (Jewish Womens Connection of Atlanta) and was the Coordinator of News Research for CNNs National Desk. Presently, she is writing Get Your Kids To Listen, Cooperate, and DO! with her child psychologist dad.

 

Bev lives in Atlanta with her husband Marc. They have four daughters. She is a three-time cancer survivor and uses her skills and experience to help other patients after a difficult diagnosis. She finds that life after a difficult diagnosis can be even better than it was before!

Update from Bev

Right before we were ready to launch this website, I received another difficult diagnosis:  Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.  This was by far the most serious and dangerous diagnosis I have had.

 

While treatment was quite intense during the first months, the outcomes have been great. The whole experience gave me a chance to try out the “Bev Strategies” listed in this website, and I have to say they worked brilliantly yet again.  

 

The simple steps of notes, questions, and binder calmed me and helped me continue to make informed decisions. The seeking out of the cutting edge expert to save my life has given me such peace that I was in the perfect place, with the perfect doctor, for the best possible outcome.  The attitude, guidance, and nutrition wisdom has helped me throughout the experience.