When most people think of cancer, they think death, but Beth “Sprinkles” Goodman’s first thought was life. In 2001, at age 39, Beth asserted her will to live. “I never gave fear an opportunity to settle in,” she says. Eleven years later, this "Papple" (New York-born "apple" and Georgia-raised "peach") is a self-proclaimed keynote speaker, breast cancer conqueror, life coach, wife, mother, entrepreneur, and author with sprinkles of purpose, positivity, and passion.
Goodman was not a stranger to the threat of breast cancer. She got her first lumpectomy in the eleventh grade, and was resolved to face cancer headstrong if she ever got diagnosed, knowing she would turn into an avid advocate. The threat did come but so did her fight. Even after a mastectomy and reconstruction, she still had chemotherapy because there was a 30 percent chance the cancer had spread. She began calling herself The Pink Diva when attending chemo sessions. “Day one, I brought pink poms and an oversized clapper that lit up to the oncology ward,” she says. On a venture to change the energy in that place, she focused on radiating joy, particularly and most importantly, by connecting with other patients. Everyone had a story and she wanted to be immersed in them. She once brought a video camera with her and shot videos of people sharing their stories, calling it the Boprah Show—“Beth plus Oprah.”
“One of the hardest parts post-mastectomy was not having the strength to pull the sheets up around my neck. It was the first time I cried. It may have been the only time,” Goodman recalls. Helping her with the covers, her husband reminded her that he was there for her and responded, “Baby, you prepared yourself for everything, but you didn’t prepare yourself to need help from other people.” Goodman calls her husband her guardian angel. “My story is unbelievably believable,” she continues and further affirms, “My faith is very strong. People respond to the level of where you are!” Faith was something that came easily to her, probably because she’s worn that armor for such a long time. The moment she asked God, “Why me?” the response was, “Why not you? I can trust YOU with this.” Goodman attests that’s when she knew That's when Beth knew God was with her in the fight against breast cancer. Her focus went to never wavering in her battle.
It also hasn’t hurt that she always “suffered” from PMA (Positive Mental Attitude). It’s what she used to lift herself up and still uses when working with cancer patients. One of the first questions she asks is: “Do you want to live or do you want to die?” It’s in that moment, she says, that a patient has to make a conscious decision whether they want to take full responsibility for their will to fight. “Diagnosis is not always a death sentence,” she says, encouraging patients to be in control instead of being fearful. “The moment you hear your diagnosis is the moment that you begin to kick ass. You are in the fight of your life FOR your life.” Nobody can say for a fact that in the next five minutes they will be living. Thus, living in the moment is her source of power. What you think is often what you become. Goodman, knowing this, proclaimed who she would be upon her diagnosis—“My thought was to be healed and cancer free.”
If you or a loved one is going through the harrowing task of fighting against cancer, Goodman wants you to stop right now and do the following—“Take a breath. Release the breath. And there you have it. Live your best life now. The reality is that all we have is this moment to live.” Family and friends, remember that you are also a source of power for your loved one. Instead of offering apologies for a friend’s diagnosis, add to their armor. Say instead, “We are here to support you. We want to be a blessing on you.”
Goodman is a no-nonsense prevention advocate. She urges women to practice regular breast checks, particularly a week after menstruating. You need to know what your “girls” feel like normally, she says, if you are ever to discover an abnormality. In Goodman’s case, it was her husband, in a moment of marital bliss, who discovered the abnormal lumps that would lead to her diagnosis.
“My purpose here has been to sprinkle P.I.N.K. (Points to Invoke Notice to Knowledge)” she says. Goodman has used the word “sprinkle” for decades. Inspired by Regine Hunter’s catch phrase from the show Living Single, she decided she wanted her own word. She began to use it as her own parting expression, but it gradually became an all-purpose word, seemingly heaven-sent. Did you know that the word appears in the Bible more than once? Goodman’s favorite is in Isaiah 52: 13-15—“See, my servant will act wisely; he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted… so he will sprinkle many nations, and kings will shut their mouths because of him.” Goodman considers herself a servant, raising and lifting up others. And jokes that her mastectomy/reconstruction results are "high and lifted up."
Sprinkle the following tips into your life whether you or a loved one is fighting through breast cancer:
- Don't give fear an opportunity to settle in
- Connect with other patients
- Diagnosis is not always a death sentence
- Prepare yourself to need other people
- Focus on never wavering
- Suffer from PMA (Positive Mental Attitude)
- Find power from living in the moment
- Focus on healing