Bonnie Frankel: I Survived Cancer and Here Is How I Did It

An Interview With Savio P. Clemente

Savio P. Clemente
Authority Magazine
10 min readApr 22, 2023

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I am very open to shine hope to others in sharing my process of having breast cancer and the media has always included it with its coverage on me. During the time I was diagnosed, I started a movement for women who were at high risk of getting this disease. It suggested that if you have fibrous cystic breast tissue coupled with a genetic risk factor, get a subcutaneous mastectomy for preventative measures. I am a model of hope for women that one can survive breast cancer and enjoy a very healthy and active lifestyle especially when detected early. It can also give you the opportunity to change your lifestyle that works best for you, not others. It’s never too late.

Cancer is a horrible and terrifying disease. Yet millions of people have beaten the odds and beat cancer. Authority Magazine started a new series called “I Survived Cancer and Here Is How I Did It”. In this interview series, we are talking to cancer survivors to share their stories, in order to offer hope and provide strength to people who are being impacted by cancer today. As a part of this interview series, I had the pleasure of interviewing (your name here). Bonnie Frankel.

Bonnie Franked is described as an undefeated champion that leaps over life’s hurdles. It has been said that she has a telepathy by embracing faith when unfortunate news appears that it can enhance a brilliant change which can lead to a more fortunate transformation. At one of her exigencies, at thirty-two, she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! We really appreciate the courage it takes to publicly share your story. Before we start, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your background and your childhood backstory?

At eleven years of age, my body was strong and mighty, curvaceous and shapely in comparison to my peers. At seventeen, I was offered to be a playboy centerfold but needed my parent’s consent but they didn’t comply. I wanted to be independent to use the monies I would earn to travel to the Middle East and Europe. Ironically by having a perfect “10” body at such a young age little did I know then that at thirty-two, I was going to lose it. Genetically, I was cursed with a link to a faulty gene which skipped my mom yet nailed me. The fight for my life was going to provoke a capricious change with my body and mind. This shift was to lead me to a path to flourish like I never would have imagined possible. Yet, as I look back, had my parent’s paid attention to my unique talents instead of their own traditional desires for me, they surely would have seen that my make- up was that of an independent rebellious leader as an activist coupled with an extraordinary gift of athleticism. Possessing these traits would eventually guide me to extend my search with the mind and body connection to be a healthy fit.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Start by doing what’s necessary, then do what’s possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” Francis of Assisi. This quote helped to guide me to get my priorities in order to cope with the means of breast cancer. The quote still lingers with me today as a reminder to use as a fortuitous paradigm. The quote aspired me to take baby steps to exercise in order to achieve a healthy body and mind through the multiple surgeries that were ahead of me. The essence of this quote assisted me to benefit down the road when additional challenging crises appeared before thine eyes. Not only did it set the stage for my ability to be victorious with cancer (physically, emotionally, and mentally) but the process unexpectedly planted the seeds that sent me on an aspiring journey to seek a different life path, the one I was destined to be on.

Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion about surviving cancer. Do you feel comfortable sharing with us the story surrounding how you found out that you had cancer?

Painful but necessary, because it’s an opportunity for me to encourage hope to others that there are options. If you are more at risk of getting cancer because of your family genetics, take advantage of the preventative measures that are offered for early detection. Also, to give belief to those that are in the throughs of this disease, that they can live a healthy lifestyle. I was more vulnerable because of my family history of breast cancer coupled with having fibrous cystic breast tissue. My doctor checked my breasts once a year, and on my last visit, he could no longer decipher what was cystic and what wasn’t. He ordered a mammogram, and the results came back suspicious.

What was the scariest part of that event? What did you think was the worst thing that could happen to you?

The anticipation of waiting for the biopsy result was arduous. The overwhelming situation caused me to be edgy. I was not looking at my cup half full, more like half empty. If the result turned out to be cancerous, it would denote another surgery, the removal of my breast and most likely the other, and if it traveled to the lymph nodes that would be bad news. I felt I was lost in an abyss.

How did you react in the short term?

I am very rational at the beginning of a crisis and when it is over, I am a trainwreck. I had recently married, fortunately a doctor, he had a son I was raising, and my business was booming. Basically, I used the quote from above and took baby steps to calm my anxiety.

After the dust settled, what coping mechanisms did you use? What did you do to cope physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually?

First, I had a talk with the higher powers that be, and told them that I wanted to live no matter what the outcome would be. Then I went on to use the following venues: meditation to help relax and clear my mind, exercise as a weapon to release my emotions to heal so that my mind was sharp, rehabilitated myself with different forms of exercises at different stages of the surgeries ,live in the present moment, changed my diet to an even healthier one, received beatific support from my best friend, Brenda Benet Bixby in sharing my feelings, and coming to a place where I felt more cozy within myself with the transition of transforming to a new me.

Is there a particular person you are grateful towards who helped you learn to cope and heal? Can you share a story about that?

Brenda Benet Bixby was a blessing in my life. She was my best friend and when I was diagnosed with breast cancer, she was effective with her gentle strength to encourage me to get up and get going. She also introduced me to the exercise of running that I would implement down the road and encouraged a healthier diet. I remember one night, when my husband and I had Bill and Brenda over for dinner, she took me in to the bathroom and shared her story about the process of her past fear of having cancerous polyps She also had me touch her breast implants because that was the future where I was headed.

In my own cancer struggle, I sometimes used the idea of embodiment to help me cope. Let’s take a minute to look at cancer from an embodiment perspective. If your cancer had a message for you, what do you think it would want or say?

The message conveyed was to motivate me to discover and tune into the warrior part of my nature which emboldened me to get through this no matter what. It directed me to shift my direction in life to fulfill what I truly was meant to do in this world. The gist is that I am used as a tool in this world to do serve in my unique way to make a better world. As I look back, I remember, that before I got married, I saw a psychic. She made it crystal clear that it was not in my best interest to tie the knot. The psychic clairvoyantly told me that I was going to do great things in the world and this marriage coupled with the lifestyle would intervene with my doing just that.

What did you learn about yourself from this very difficult experience? How has cancer shaped your worldview? What has it taught you that you might never have considered before? Can you please explain with a story or example?

It taught me that if I took baby steps, that I could flourish and grow in areas that I never thought I could. The experience also reinforced how gratefulness is to be treasured by living in the present moment. Feeling sorry for yourself is good for ten minutes and then move on because there is always some good to be found. The vanity about having a perfect body was no longer important to me, living was. The ordeal had me shift my entire lifestyle to a simpler one that was more in alignment with my life calling. It taught me to listen to my intuition, and let go of pleasing other people. It ushered me to re-enter the education system, change an NCAA rule, become a world class runner, and a guru in the business of healthy fit.

How have you used your experience to bring goodness to the world?

I am very open to shine hope to others in sharing my process of having breast cancer and the media has always included it with its coverage on me. During the time I was diagnosed, I started a movement for women who were at high risk of getting this disease. It suggested that if you have fibrous cystic breast tissue coupled with a genetic risk factor, get a subcutaneous mastectomy for preventative measures. I am a model of hope for women that one can survive breast cancer and enjoy a very healthy and active lifestyle especially when detected early. It can also give you the opportunity to change your lifestyle that works best for you, not others. It’s never too late.

What are a few of the biggest misconceptions and myths out there about fighting cancer that you would like to dispel?

There are a good many fallacies out there. First of all, cancer is not a death sentence if you catch it in its early stages. There are many of us who survive to thrive with living a cancer free life. Get a good team of doctors so that you can trust the best course that is right for you. Another myth is that herbal medicines can act as a curative for cancer. There is no scientific evidence that herbal medicine can treat or cure cancer. My ex was a doctor, and some of his patients would tell him that they were going to try a coffee enema to use as a remedy to cure. He wouldn’t discourage them to try, but knew, it wouldn’t fix to cure. Many of us think that cell phones cause cancer, but in fact they don’t. Cancer is caused by genetic mutations, and cell phones emit a type of low-frequency energy that doesn’t damage your genes. Be careful about your sources because there is a lot of misinformation out there. Always check with your doctor.

Fantastic. Here is the main question of our interview. Based on your experiences and knowledge, what advice would you give to others who have recently been diagnosed with cancer? What are your “5 Things You Need To Beat Cancer? Please share a story or example for each.

1) Exercise — Benefits to maintain a healthy weight, enhances a sharp mind, and ensures emotional balance.

2) Annual physical exam — Helps to detect early malignancies. Early detections save lives.

3) Smoke Free — Make sure you are not doing it and don’t be around second hand smoke.

4) Limit your stress — Learn to say no when your plate is already full.

5) Support team/care teams — This helps reassure that you are not alone.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the greatest amount of people, what would that be?

Preventative methods detect cancer early.

We are very blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them. :

Angelina Jolie

How can our readers further follow your work online?

bonniefrankel.com, Amazon, LinkedIn, Facebook

Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!

About The Interviewer: Savio P. Clemente coaches cancer survivors to overcome the confusion and gain the clarity needed to get busy living in mind, body, and spirit. He inspires health and wellness seekers to find meaning in the “why” and cultivate resilience in their mindset. Savio is a Board Certified Wellness Coach (NBC-HWC, ACC), #1 best-selling author, syndicated columnist, podcaster, stage 3 cancer survivor, and founder of The Human Resolve LLC. He has interviewed notable celebrities and TV personalities and has been featured on Fox News, The Wrap, and has worked with Authority Magazine, Thrive Global, BuzzFeed, Food Network, WW and Bloomberg. Savio has been invited to cover numerous industry events throughout the U.S. and abroad. His mission is to provide clients, listeners, and viewers alike with tangible takeaways on how to lead a truly healthy, wealthy, and wise lifestyle. Savio pens a weekly newsletter in which he delves into secrets to living smarter by feeding your “three brains” — head

, heart

, and gut

— in the hope of connecting the dots to those sticky parts of our nature that matter to living our best life.

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Savio P. Clemente
Authority Magazine

TEDx Speaker, Media Journalist, Board Certified Wellness Coach, Best-Selling Author & Cancer Survivor