Why ‘brave-making’ is important

Posted September 17th, 2018

Cancer is a bully and a thief. It pushed my husband, Gary, and me around for a while and stole a good deal of our courage. In time, though, we determined to step out into unknown, scary places. We took up hiking and snow-showing in our middle years. We applied to become a non-profit, wrote […]

9 signs you might be a proactive patient

Posted July 23rd, 2018

“What can we do in addition to what you’re prescribing?” we asked the medical professionals. My husband, Gary, and I knew we didn’t want to sit around hoping surgery or treatment was all he needed; we instinctively wanted to be proactive in facing down cancer. I remember exactly where I was when my cell phone rang. […]

Celebrating Life While The Cancer Patient Is Still Alive

Posted June 20th, 2018

An email arrived recently from a friend — her grandfather died, and a week and a half later, her grandmother was diagnosed with late stage cancer. “My grandma went through such a long, rough time being a caregiver for my grandpa,” wrote this young woman, “… and now this.” Letters My friend wanted to know […]

An Alphabet List: Cancer Caregiver Tips

Posted June 4th, 2018

Being a cancer caregiver was one of the most challenging and sweetest roles I’ve ever played. The challenging part was in the beginning. Gary, a data processing manager, had been unemployed for two years when the company he worked for was sold, and then the terminal diagnosis was dropped on us from a high-flying bomber […]

Cancer as a gift? No, thank you.

Posted February 19th, 2018

I walked beside my husband, Gary, with late stage prostate cancer for several years longer than the professionals originally projected. Ten burbling, courage-filled, memory-making, oddly-sweet years. The experience taught us to notice life, and all the simple pleasures we hadn’t meant to take for granted, and all the astonishing people who surrounded us in love. […]

Should We Let Disagreeable Conditions Defer Our Plans?

Posted January 23rd, 2018

Earlier this week, I joined up with two of my cancer-kicking friends, Mike and Bina, and snow-shoed from Mt. Bachelor in central Oregon out to Todd Lake – a cold, gray-shrouded trek. Had I planned to snowshoe on my own, I probably would have canceled — because it was raining in town, which most likely […]

Define Your Purpose; Live Your Reason

Posted January 4th, 2018

Three years ago—as a new cancer widow, resigning my job, and preparing to write full-time at the encouragement of my adult children—I sent a farewell letter to the community I served as Survivorship Coordinator at the St. Charles Cancer Center. A friend wrote back, sharing the words that had been his mantra as his young daughter […]

Dealing with cancer? 5 Gifts To Give Yourself This Holiday Season

Posted December 18th, 2017

My husband, Gary, was diagnosed with late-stage disease, whereupon the experts projected two years because he was relatively young and in good shape, and prostate cancer is slow-growing. But Gary beat the two-year deadline. In fact, he lived ten high-volume, courageous years. And if I needed to assign credit for his extended quality of life, […]

How To Manage Fear When Cancer Shows Up

Posted November 22nd, 2017

For some people, the unknown carries anticipation. A job transition, for example, that could mean new opportunity, new friends, a new community. The excitement of pushing away from the dock and pursuing far-reaching, blustery adventures. For others, the unknown causes anxiety. Leaving the safety of the familiar shore, swept out into uncharted waters. A cancer diagnosis, […]

What Mismatched Socks Taught Us About Living With Cancer

Posted November 17th, 2017

My husband, Gary, and I were back in Hospice House after breaking out for two weeks. Love found us there, because there is no hiding from love. Visitors, food, chai tea in cheery red cups, overflowing gift baskets. And these groovy mismatched socks with the manufacturer’s tag that read: “Life’s too short to wear matching socks.” […]