Welcome to my blog, a ‘tongue-in-chic’ happiness lifestyle guide from a funny princess point of view!

I’d like to share with you today my open letter to Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. 

Dear Duchess Sarah,

I listen to your Tea Talks podcasts and I admire your other creative and philanthropic endeavors.  Please accept my heartfelt wishes for a complete and speedy recovery.

I know how shocking a positive diagnosis of breast cancer can be because I’m a breast cancer survivor myself. I’ve been through bilateral mastectomy surgery, reconstruction surgery, months of chemotherapy, and months of radiation. I’ve brandied a bald head which rendered me a dead ringer for Elmer Fudd. I’ve sported more ports than a horny sailor. I’m sure the irony is not lost on you either — that such a traumatic diagnosis could be associated with the word “positive.”

By way of this letter, I hope to assure you that not only is there light at the end of the tunnel, but there is also light while you’re still in the tunnel. I’d like to share three ideas that were key to helping me stay positive from diagnoses through treatment and beyond. Perhaps some of these ideas will resonate with you and help you too.

KEY #ONE: Give yourself permission to be happy!

I realized that even though I was given a life-threatening diagnosis, if I let cancer steal my joy… then I’ve died while I’m still alive! And I didn’t want to die while I was still alive. If I lost my happiness mojo, that’s exactly what would have happened. I’m allowed to be happy! I needed to give myself permission to be happy.

I told myself that I’m allowed to laugh. I’m still alive! And while I’m still alive, I’m going to be alive! I came back to this thought again and again.  It always helped me when fear gripped my innards and twisted me inside out. I won’t let cancer steal my joy!

You may ask, “How can I be happy when no one can give me a guarantee that I’m safe, that I’ll be cured?” That’s what I was thinking, until it dawned on me that in asking the universe (and the doctors) for a guarantee that I would live, I was asking for something that didn’t exist…for anyone! No one has a lockdown on tomorrow. The proverbial yachting junket gone wrong, the errant branch falling, the glamorous elephant stampeding, there are a thousand ways to check out unexpectedly. Guarantees are for April Fools.

It dawned on me that even with my crappy diagnosis, I still have everything everyone else has. I have this moment. Nothing less, nothing more. Wait, I have more! I have a new reality that has seeped into my head and my heart. I understood on a profound level what it means that time is seriously precious, and that I truly must make my moments and my relationships count. I know where happiness lives. Radiantly, in the here and now.

KEY #TWO: Give yourself permission to call yourself healthy.

I’ve always been a healthy person. I eat well, exercise, and keep a positive attitude. So, when this cancer thing came along, I didn’t know how to view myself. For me, the paradigm of a cancer patient was being sick. But I didn’t want to be sick. I decided that I was going to identify as a healthy person.

It took some mindful moxie to call myself healthy, especially after I started chemo. My wigged persona was tattle-tale evidence of my illness every time I looked in the mirror.  Sometimes I wondered how I could possibly consider myself healthy. But I quashed my inner monkey mind and claimed victory.  I gave permission to myself to call myself healthy. I named it and claimed it.

The first step to being able to call myself healthy was to recognize that other than cancer, I was healthy. I was “otherwise” healthy. This line of thinking gave me a laugh. It reminded me of that old riff, “Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?”

Truth is, other than cancer, I was healthy. When I got a cold, I didn’t see myself as a sick person, I saw myself as a healthy person with a temporary drip faucet for a nose and enough tissues to deforest the Redwoods. I decided to view breast cancer the same way. I wouldn’t identify with it. It lived there, but I wasn’t going to pass the butter, please. Thus, I learned not to say that I have breast cancer. Instead, I said that I had been diagnosed with breast cancer. Don’t name it. Don’t claim it.

KEY #THREE: Give yourself permission to see this as an adventure!

A yoga teacher of mine said, “It’s not what’s happening to you that’s important, it’s what you tell yourself is happening.” Positive psychologists call that reframing. I searched my mind to find a way to look at the situation with new eyes and to reframe what was happening to me in a positive way. I decided to look at it as an adventure!

An adventure carries with it the possibility of excitement! What was I going to find out about myself on this new journey? What wonderful people would I meet? What new experiences would I encounter? Seeing my circumstances as an adventure and not a curse immediately shifted me from a victim to a victor mentality. It changed my energy. Hopeful! Expectant! It was a chance to up my learning curve and go up the next rung of my evolutionary path, which, by the way, I’m farther along than most people, having never received my wisdom teeth. But I do have an L-6, which is kind of akin to a tail. So that’s a wash.

By giving myself permission to view my breast cancer diagnosis as an adventure, I was borrowing a page from Viktor Frankl’s book, Man’s Search for Meaning, by attributing meaning and purpose to my condition. I was also ripping a page from Pollyanna’s playbook and doing her “Glad Game.” I was in good company with these two.

These three permissions were like wishes granted from a genie’s magic oil lamp. They gave me new eyes to see what was right with my circumstances, not just what was wrong.

Now I look upon my breast cancer journey as a beautiful gift bequeathed to me from the universe. Through the experience, I’ve been graced with opportunities to help others by helping them find a positive and optimistic way of adjusting and coping with breast cancer. I’ve had the gift of modeling for my kids that life can hand you a curve ball and you don’t have to fall to pieces. I’ve felt the love and caring of family and friends. I’ve learned, like the line in the beautiful poem “Alicante” by Jacques Prevert, “the present of the present.” I’ve learned to savor moments deeply. I’ve learned the sustaining thrive-worthy nature of dreams and goals. Perhaps most importantly, I’ve learned the depth and breadth of my resilience, and the understanding that no matter what comes at me in the future, I’m gonna deal. And so will you!

Please accept my sincerest wishes for your health and a happy heart!



Diane Uniman, Aka Princess Diane von Brainisfried, Author of the book, Bonjour, Breast Cancer-I’m Still Smiling…Wit, Wisdom, and Optimism for Beating the Breast Cancer Blues.

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24 Powerful Motivational Quotes to Pump up PositivityPut a tiara in your closet!

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24 Powerful Motivational Quotes to Pump up Positivity


Put a tiara in your closet!

Subscribe now and get a FREE GIFT: 24 Powerful Motivational Quotes to Pump up Positivity!

Bonjour! I’m Princess Diane Von Brainisfried®

Motivational Speaker.  Certified Life Coach.  Award-Winning Writer.  Breast Cancer Survivor.  Offering seminars and coaching using humor to inspire happiness.

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Disclaimer: Princess Diane Von Brainsfried® is a division of HarMaxiProductions, LLC. By using or viewing this website and these services of HarMaxiProductions, LLC  (hereinafter generally referred to as “Princess Diane Von Brainisfried”, “my”, “our”, “us”, “we”) you understand that such information is not intended nor otherwise implied to be medical advice or a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.      Read more...

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