The bravest thing I’ve ever done

Heart photo for BLOG photo“Someone I loved once gave me a box of darkness. It took me years to understand that this, too, was a gift. “

~Mary Oliver

I begin this blog with a big thank you to the generous and kind people who came into my life recently and urged me, after careful listening, to share the truth of my latest journey through darkness to the light of expanded purpose.

In trust—and acceptance of the vulnerability that comes with living authentically—I let go of caring anymore whether anyone will like me, criticize me, label me, discontinue “following” me, refuse to date or hire me.  Today, I share the story of my evolving calling to teach others how to create a new mindset for health.

Here goes:

I know of no one who truly believes upon hearing a cancer diagnosis that they have in that moment been delivered “a gift.”  Most of us respond initially with shock and may even go into a state of post-traumatic stress disorder, as we spend weeks in fear waiting through anguishing, terrifying hours to hear the test results of pathology reports determining what our ‘life sentence’ will be.

As many cancer survivors shared with me, it is indeed a very lonely time even when surrounded by people who care for us—as we face our mortality head-on in a way that forever changes our innocence about life as we knew it.

Nothing is taken for granted again.  Routine tests become dreaded doctor visits as we enter fear-based medical establishments, moments with our loved ones change rapidly to heightened attention on what is truly important, and our daily responsibilities now include a much more time-intensive focus on “self-care.”

Some around us “disappear”—at a time when we may long for comfort or support the most—unconsciously fearing they could be touched by our diagnosis.  Yet, as one woman friend shared in telling her grandchildren of her cancer, ”I’m not contagious.” In fact, the cancer survivors I have met are not only not contagious, they are among the bravest and “alive” people I have ever known.  They live at a new edge of appreciation and vitality—embracing life more deeply for the gift that it is.  Much is to be learned by those given a second chance at life and by the reflections and self-evaluations that often take place as a result of their scary brush with death.

My own diagnosis of breast cancer almost two years ago put me in the pool with the other one of out seven women touched by this disease.  And sadly, one of three men is now being diagnosed with prostate cancer and one out of three adults will be touched by cancer of some sort (according to a Newsweek article).

Since then, my health journey evolved into a book in the works.

I got “the calling” to write the book, in the middle of the night, after vowing I’d never write about my private health scare.  God had a different plan for me—and thankfully my wise mentor coach Linda Salazar had suggested that even though I didn’t want to make my journey public at the time, to track it as a journal.

Three weeks after my lumpectomy, I jumped out of bed and wrote nearly non-stop for three days.  I simply placed my hands on the keyboard, and the words flowed so much so that my journal entries became my first and final drafts of each chapter.

My book is different than other related ones out there:  The key message I got called to deliver, based on my experience and research, is to guide others at the moments and days and weeks immediately after diagnosis on how to create a mindset for aligning with the body’s innate ability to heal, whether we use conventional or alternative medicine or a combination of both.

Spiritually, it seemed no coincidence that I was given the skill sets as a journalist, marketer, healer, life coach and cancer “thriver” to be chosen for this mission.  I also hope my story inspires others to become their own best healthcare advocates.

In addition, I share preventative measures, such as key foods to remove from your diet immediately, and some other key dietary elements to add.

The resource list included in the book is extensive, as is my insider information gleaned for participating three months at the Mind Body Program for Cancer at Massachusetts General Hospital (where I learned from other participants that they had to keep their cancer journeys private or they wouldn’t be hired as employers fear the insurance consequences, even though they will never tell you they hold that prejudice).  Studies show that those who participate in such programs, which are different than traditional “support groups,” live 2 to 2.5 times longer.  I share what I learned about reducing stress and grounding myself in greater health.

The book includes interviews and research with doctors, patients and a wide variety of healers, along with details of my own journey to renewed health.  I share coaching tips for dealing with a diagnosis  (such as how to tell your children) to reinventing your life and moving forward.

Who would have thought that when I transitioned out of high tech PR 25 years ago to become “a life coach” that my new career “title’ would take on such significant meaning decades later after a scary death threat?  Claiming LIFE physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually is how I live each day—and guide others to do the same.

We never know how the plan for our lives will actually evolve, but as my wise friend Rose Russo teaches, we must stay open to the mystery.

Cancer can be a wake-up call, often a nudge to re-direct our lives.  Almost all those I know who were touched by cancer want to use their journeys in some way to make a more meaningful contribution to the lives of others.

Some of us have discovered, if we did not get the lesson before, that there is so very little we have control over except our thoughts and actions that support self-care, such as exercise and healthy diets.

Learning how to direct those thoughts and commit to actions that support positive outcomes and new possibilities has always been part of my coaching–and in sync with my life purpose of teaching spiritual principles in a practical way.

Right now, I am looking for a publisher to bring the book to market quickly, as cancer rates are rising.

I also am seeking additional resources to help bring this product to fruition and market it properly.  If my calling speaks to you and you would like to support getting the book out to people who would benefit from it, please email me at

I welcome your help.  And, this is where I choose to release my fear about how people may react because the task is too big to do alone.

At this juncture, my commitment to myself is to have a team behind me. No more “lone ranger” stories for me.  I thrive in connection and collaboration.

And, in the spirit of reciprocity, my plan includes giving a percent of the profits of the book to health-challenged people in need, with me directly hand-delivering the checks to recipients.  I am looking for another team member who can set up that charitable arm of my business.

Moving forward, I hope you will continue to engage with me, as I share new insights on living gained by surrendering to my calling full-steam ahead.

I am, in the words of coaching colleague, Ted Case, “in the game.”  I made my private journey visible so I can authentically share my “whole” self—and maybe help a few people who encounter a similar life challenge.

As divinely guided,



The heart graphic pictured above was modified by Rose Russo of Pathways…Life As Art to represent interconnecting circles of love as we move forward in healing.

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