Precarious

Precarious

Life. Playing by the rules, doing the right thing, working hard and striving to be a good person can give us a sense of control and security. At least that is what Leah believed until she was diagnosed with advanced ovarian and breast cancer when she was 46 years old. She quickly realized that life is truly precarious - filled with uncertainty and dependent on chance. Through hearing other's stories of their precarious moments, we realize that this is actually what connects us as human beings. There is beauty in the struggle. Leah Barrett, MS, LCSW is a psychotherapist in private practice in Colorado where she lives with her husband and a few fur kids.

Episodes

September 22, 2022 23 min
What if this is as good as it gets? What if our best days are behind us? I think about this often as I'm constantly adjusting my definition of what it means to be fulfilled, successful, or even happy (I'd settle for content). Join me as I explore the benefits of accepting what is and what shows up in our lives. There is a down side to perpetually striving to be better than good. And ,if this sounds depressing, it's not....
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Dr Keith Kahn-Harris has been living with Myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) since his early twenties. He acknowledges that he is privileged in that he was able through support of his family to complete his graduate studies and become a professor, researcher and writer. Despite his accomplishments, he continues to strive to balance his chronic illness and live his full life. I was intrigued by an article he...
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Joe Sooch is 29 years old and has been living with Fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva (FOP) is a very rare genetic connective tissue disorder characterized by the abnormal development of bone in areas of the body where bone is not normally present such as the ligaments, tendons, and skeletal muscles. He has lost 95% of his mobility and relies on others to help him with daily functions. But, talking to him, you wouldn't know...
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July 28, 2022 27 min
Forrest Gump famously said "Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you are gonna get." True. And, I've been thinking about how life is like a tube of toothpaste. That full tube of toothpaste feels endless and abundant. It's only when you come to the end of the tube do you treat those few remaining drops as if they are a precious commodity - not to be wasted. In this episode of the precarious podcast I...
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I did something irrational and some may say a bit reckless. It wasn't planned. I adopted a feral kitty! My original plan was to sign up as a foster volunteer for one of our local animal shelters. I should have known better. My first attempt at fostering failed. And, I'm happy to report that I'm in love! Connecting with animals is one of my greatest joys and top on my list of how I take care of myself which got me thinki...
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Danielle Glick is a survivor of multiple traumas: domestic violence, emotional abuse, and a suicide attempt (just to name a few), and now cancer. She describes cancer as the hardest thing she has ever endured, which came as a surprise to her. We share a common profession: mental health. We talk about how hard stuff can break us, break us open. It teaches us to prioritize the important things and people. And, mostly, it clarifies o...
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May 5, 2022 21 min
Strangely, I recorded this episode right before I experienced a bit of a medical emergency and ended up in the hospital. So, it seems a be prophetic. Allowing others to take care of me is one of my greatest challenges. It feels like I'm jumping off a cliff hoping that the net will appear while having little confidence that it will actually show up. It's a struggle for many of us. In this episode, I explore what it would be ...
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It was a treat to sit down with my brother, Jason Barrett. I was curious about how his time serving in the Marine Corps affected him. Believe it or not, we had not ever really talked about it. He shares stories of facing his fears, witnessing death, informing loved ones of their son or daughter's untimely death and how all of this has shaped his perspective on life. What shines through is Jason's commitment to making this p...
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This is a very special episode of the Precarious Podcast. I feel like I met my soulmate in all things uncertain and precarious. Her name is Kimberly Warner. She is a filmmaker. In 2015 she developed cervicogenic vertigo and Mal de Débarquement Syndrome or MdDS that manifests as a constant perception of rocking, bobbing and swaying. After searching for treatments/cures and coming up empty, she had to accept her reality. She turned ...
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March 24, 2022 26 min
Lately, I've been thinking about the concept of "our potential". It's not uncommon to hear someone remark about living up to "one's potential" or the opposite - not living up to "one's potential". This notion of fulfilling our potential feels like one of the rules of life, an expectation that we are burdened with at birth. Cancer and facing my mortality have forced me to look at this throu...
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After watching his mom succumb to Huntington's Disease, a rare genetic neurological disorder with no treatment and no cure, Seth, at age 20, decided to see if he carried the gene. The test results came back positive. He shares what it's like to live with this knowledge and how he tries to balance holding onto hope for a different future with accepting the brutal reality of his situation. In the meantime, he is not waiting a...
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There is so much I appreciate about Dr. Moyez Jiwa. What stands out the most is that he cares deeply about the "patient" experience. I was recently a guest for the second time on the "Health Design" podcast which he hosts. He is also the author of "The Art of Doctoring" and editor and chief of the "Journal Health Design". Moyez believes that we can change outcomes in healthcare today by focusing on ...
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Arthur C. Brooks. If you looked at his accomplishments you would assume he knows the secret to success: best-selling author (12 books), Harvard Business School Professor, acclaimed public speaker and creator of How to Build a Life column for The Atlantic. In his latest book, From Strength to Strength, he challenges us to rethink the definition of success. Through his research and personal exploration, he encourages us focus on what...
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Eric and I share a love of pushing our physical and mental limits. It's how we met - our common love of athletic endeavors. And, now we share the challenge to face life-threatening diagnoses. In the past three years, Eric was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, a congenital heart condition and most recently Parkinson's Disease. We give credit to and gratitude for our athletic experiences setting us up to face the bigge...
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Like many college students, Chad joined a fraternity. He experienced the time-honored ritual of hazing. As a college junior, he challenged his fraternity chapter’s culture of hazing and found himself fearing for his safety. This set his future path in motion. Chad left the experience consumed by the idea that organizations can ignite, rather than inhibit, the growth and individual potential of every one of their members. He has use...
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I love talking with Joe Fusaro. We sit down and reflect on this past year and how our unique struggles (Joe living with Bipolar I and Schizoaffective Disorder and me living with cancer) have similar challenges. Living with chronic and life-threatening illness is both exhausting and exhilarating, lonely and connecting, and awe-inspiring and awful. We talk about what we have learned about ourselves and how to take this wisdom into th...
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December 16, 2021 18 min
Eight years ago today I was diagnosed with stage 3C ovarian cancer. I didn't think I would live to see this day. Nor did I have any idea that I would also be diagnosed with stage 3C triple-negative breast cancer and recurrent ovarian cancer. In many ways, I am grateful to not have a crystal ball. If I had known what I was about to face and endure, I would have crumbled under the weight of grief and worry. I am a different perso...
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December 2, 2021 22 min
I'm in the thick of my latest existential crisis. Cancer will do that. Noticed how I said "latest". Over the years I have tried to make sense of me, my life, others and the world I live in. It's also part of my job to hold space for my clients to do the same. As I have struggled, I see them struggle to "figure it out". In this episode, I ponder the idea that maybe there isn't a moral to our life story. T...
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November 18, 2021 23 min
Even though it's been an exceptionally beautiful Fall season this time in Colorado, I can't help but feel the familiar dread that washes over me as the leaves start to turn colors and the temperatures begin to cool. It was this time almost eight years ago that marks the beginning of my life with cancer. I'm having what's called an Anniversary Reaction: a normal grief response around the date of a traumatic event. In...
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November 4, 2021 45 min
The Turley family are the epitome of Grit. Doug Turley lived with ALS also known as Lou Gehrigs Disease for fourteen years way beyond what the doctors had predicted. I sit down with his wife, Becky, and son, Ian in this episode of the Precarious podcast. Their story is a story of grit which is defined as having courage, passion and persistence in the face of adversity. After interviewing them, I'd like to think that some of the...
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