I am honored to be featured on the booksbywomen website, talking about how personal growth happens when you least expect it. As I wrote All Of Us Warriors: Cancer Stories of Survival and Loss, I achieved my goal of providing sort of a toolkit to help each of us as we process a cancer diagnosis or know someone who is. And the surprise was how the process changed me and altered how I show up for those I love and those in my friend circle now.

“It was a cool November morning as I sat quietly in my wing-back chair, sipping my hot tea and praying for guidance and grace. My heart was breaking as I thought of my friend Isse, a mother of three children in her early forties, and her shocking news: stage IV colon cancer diagnosis.

My eyes were closed as tears streamed down my cheeks, considering the terrifying journey ahead of her. Memories of the time when my mother shared her news of late stage colon cancer with me flashed before my eyes. And I heard a voice say “you should write her story and other stories.” I opened my eyes and looked around my living room, remembering that my daughter had already left for school.

It was as if the idea was planted in my mind from the universe, similar to how Elizabeth Gilbert describes in Big Magic, the idea that capturing and sharing cancer stories of survival and loss would be helpful to others. Through walking the path of two different cancer diagnoses with my mother, I had developed survival tools and rituals that supported both of us. I wondered what advice I might uncover from others who were living with a cancer diagnosis. The idea started to take shape as I jotted down questions I might ask in an interview.”

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