17 Things I Took For Granted Before Cancer

Posted September 18th, 2017

A blog reader recently sent email about his wife who died too quickly after a cancer diagnosis: “I was unprepared and now alone. My awesome wife and friend … was now missing from my life,” he wrote. His email reminded me that when cancer strikes and we lose someone of infinite value—spouse, child, extended family member, […]


What does ‘living well’ mean?

Posted September 6th, 2017

At a recent one-day writers’ conference, I had a 15-minute meeting with a literary agent. She asked me to tell her about my book proposal, and then provided excellent feedback from someone inside the publishing industry. “I like a phrase you used: ‘How to live well through adversity.’ What do you mean by living well?” she […]


4 Insights Into Reticent Men and Cancer

Posted August 24th, 2017

A friend of mine started dating a man six months after he was diagnosed with cancer. At the start of their relationship, he was open about his health issues. And then cancer showed up stronger, and he walled himself off. “He won’t let me give him any hands-on care,” my friend said. “And he doesn’t want […]


Discovering New Purpose After Cancer

Posted August 9th, 2017

The concept of repurposing catches my imagination. It’s the idea of adapting something for a purpose other than its original intent — a purpose that can be just as valuable, and effective, and stunning. Take this barn, for example. Once a habitat for animals and hay, and maybe even varmints. And now a cozy home. Years ago, […]


How to Regain Childlike Wonder

Posted July 27th, 2017

The New Jersey crew is on an epic cross-country road trip—six grandkids and two parents in an eight-passenger van—visiting family in Iowa, Utah, California, Oregon, Idaho. And I’ve been re-experiencing the wonders of the Wild Wild West through their eyes. Last weekend we were at my bro- and sis-in-law’s ranch in northern California. There was the excitement of riding in […]


How To Live With Knowing – And Not Knowing – The Future

Posted June 29th, 2017

For a second time, I’m reading When Breath Becomes Air by surgeon and author Paul Kalanithi. At age 36 and on a career path that was spiraling upward, Dr. Kalanithi was rudely interrupted. By a lung cancer diagnosis. I had originally highlighted several passages in the book, but one that stood out the second time around […]


Maintaining Bonds With Our Deceased Loved Ones

Posted June 9th, 2017

The park on my parents-in-law’s ranch in the remote hills of northern California had been decorated in fernery, and Gary and I were married beneath the monkey bars (don’t read anything into that). My father-in-law, Jack, had welded together adult-sized playground equipment in a stand of tall, fragrant trees above their ranch house. There was the swing with […]


10 Ways to Become Infected with ‘Helper’s High’, Even After a Cancer Diagnosis

Posted May 25th, 2017

Did you know that giving and volunteering stimulate the reward center in the brain, releasing endorphins and creating what is known as helper’s high? And like other highs, this one is also addictive. My husband, Gary, volunteered at Shepherd’s House, a men’s rescue mission, three mornings a week for two or three years while living with terminal […]


Putting Dreams on Paper

Posted May 18th, 2017

I’m at a coffee shop—one of those fabulous local places where the high ceilings thrum with industrial pipes and funky lighting, and a large garage door is open to let in the mountain air—waiting for two of my creative team members. Jim and Michelle are meeting me here to brainstorm over some needed changes to […]


How Spontaneous Are You?

Posted May 10th, 2017

On a fine spring day this week, I had a hankering (what a great word, hankering … does anyone use that word anymore?) to trek back to the place where I scattered my husband’s ashes after he died of cancer, after he lived much much longer than the original prognosis: Ten preposterous brimming courageous years with late […]