Five Things I Learned from Cancer. {Yulady Saluti}



{Yulady Saluti ~ by Robert Sturman}

“The most beautiful people are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”

~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

Last May, Yulady Saluti, a 32-year old yoga teacher, beautiful wife and mother of six, was diagnosed with stage-2 breast cancer. She decided to share her bittersweet journey with the world and video-blog her way through cancer.

Her courage and willingness to take her life in her hands and creatively fight for it, has been a source of inspiration for many people.

She recently joined yoga photographer Robert Sturman to co-create and celebrate the art of being alive, and to support the National Breast Cancer Awareness month.

Yulady’s life has changed in remarkable ways since her diagnosis. Today she reflects on the lessons she learned from cancer and how they affected her plans and priorities, remodeled her self-image and shaped her life as a whole.


{Yulady Saluti ~ by Robert Sturman}

Five things I learned from cancer.

5. My weight is not important. 

I love working out and taking multiple yoga classes in a day. Exercise coupled with a good diet were an integral part in maintaining my appearance.

My surgery and treatments have curtailed my exercise and chemo has changed my taste buds. After gaining about 20 lbs because of chemo and steroids I realized that being healthy and fighting this cancer was far more important than my dress size.


{Yulady Saluti ~ by Robert Sturman}

4. I don’t need asanas to practice yoga.

“Asana” means pose, and yoga means union—therefore yoga is everything else. Asana is just a small part of yoga.

I practice yoga everyday even though I can rarely practice asana. Fighting cancer without yoga would have been impossible for me.


{Yulady Saluty ~ by Robert Sturman}

3. My kids think I am beautiful no matter what I look like on the outside. 

When I found out I was going to loose my hair I freaked out because my kids loved my long hair. In fact when I told my 6-year old I was going to cut my hair he started to cry.

I thought It would be too shocking for them to see Mom go from having very long hair to being bald, so I cut it and played with hair colors for about two weeks. Each time I changed my hair color my kids would tell me how beautiful I looked.

Now that I am bald they rub my head and tell me constantly “Mom you look so beautiful. Can you keep your head bald?”

In the eyes of my children I will always be the most beautiful Mom in the world.


{Yulady, pre-cancer}

2. Your true family and friends will pull you through anything.  

I am fortunate enough to have a great husband who adores me no matter what, unlike many women who write to me and tell me how their husbands left them after they found out that they had cancer.

Those types of emails break my heart and make me realize how lucky I am, not only because I have such an amazing husband, but because I have a great support system. All of my friends and family members came together and really helped me get through my toughest times.

I wish I could write every single name down to thank them all, but they all know who they are.

{Yulady & her husband, Jerry}

1. “Life is what happens to you while you are making other plans.”

I have heard this saying many times but never truly understood it until I was diagnosed with cancer.

I had so many plans. Funny how things can change so quickly. I went from the picture of health to a double mastectomy nearly over night.

I have learned not to look so far forward and instead, I relish each day with its ups and downs as if it were my last.

I stop and smell the roses everyday now. You should too, they smell great.


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And here is how it started…

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“I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it.” ~ Maya Angelou




 About Robert Sturman:

The official visual artist of 2005’s 47th Annual GRAMMY® Awards, Robert Sturman, has formal training as a painter and photographer, and holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Following his degree, Sturman completed a two-year apprenticeship with Carmel, CA-based master photographer William Giles, whose striking images have been said, “to have the impact of a Zen koan,” a description that could apply to Sturman’s imagery as well. He also studied for two years at the Memphis College of Art under acclaimed Italian painter John Torina, whose ephemeral, atmospheric landscapes are echoed in many of Sturman’s works. You can find out more about Robert’s work at his online studio and connect with him via Facebook and Twitter.


More on the Art of Being Alive: 

>> When cancer doesn’t get the best of you {Our interview with Yulady}. 

>> A little more life: the art of yoga through the lens of Robert Sturman {Our interview with Robert}.



{P.S. Check your tatas.}



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