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I am celebrating twenty-six years of being alive after a stage four pancreatic cancer diagnosis. I have made it my life’s work to stay on the cutting edge of research and practice on what contributes to the health and well-being of people diagnosed with cancer. As a certified cancer coach practicing for over twenty years, I support cancer patients, their caregivers, and their supporters. I share my learnings in a variety of ways.  

Cancer is a journey.

When I was diagnosed in 1998, I naively thought it would be a short journey because I would be CURED in a matter of months. Instead, I was told—by the best doctors at the best cancer centers—that my journey would be short because I was medically untreatable and incurable.  At best I had nine months to live.  A very short journey indeed!


Initially I gave in and believed that I’d never have another birthday.  I’d never see my three daughters go through the milestones of life. But then a miracle happened. I heard my first survivor story.  A man called Uncle Louie, who had stage four lung cancer and was given at best two months to live, was alive and thriving ten years later. In that life-opening moment, I decided that I would be another Uncle Louie—a survivor with my story known by those who needed hope and possibility. I would give life back to people who have heard that they will die from their cancer. I decided that my story would be practical and actionable. It would come with the tools, practices, and strategies to transform the impossible into the possible. And it would absolutely include stories of survival and thriving from others with cancer.


In 2008, I started this website with “The Cancer Defense Program,” which is still relevant today. I have continued my work in this area, and am excited to tell you about an initiative in progress and due to be completed later this year. 


Stories & Strategies

This project brings together my experience with pancreatic cancer and the expertise of Dr. Linda Hoopes, a master resilience teacher and author. In 2023 she began a project to collaborate with selected members of her global Personal Resilience Practitioner community on exploring the application of her work to specific contexts and populations. 


This opened a clear pathway to providing more support and strategies to cancer patients. We are coauthoring a book that explores resilience in the specific context of cancer—and particularly pancreatic cancer.


We started by identifying six challenges that patients and their caregivers are most likely to encounter: 

The Six Challenges

  1. Onset: Diagnosis & Prognosis

  2. Priorities

  3. Communication & Connections

  4. Treatment & Side Effects

  5. Recurrence: Fear & Actuality

  6. Dying & Death: Fear & Actuality

We have discovered that even when the last two—Recurrence and Dying & Death—don’t actually occur, the fear of them is almost always present in both the patient and the caregivers.


We are describing what it’s like to encounter each challenge, and sharing stories, research, resources about how people have applied the resilience strategies, characteristics, and practices to produce better outcomes, including the discovery of new and true joy in life.


New insights and strategies are already emerging from this project. As Linda and I continue to write and explore these challenges, my cancer clients and their caregiving teams have benefited from these perspectives and ideas. 


My intention is to share some of the questions that arise and insights to improve your experience as you travel the cancer journey. 

Why is this book just focused on Pancreatic Cancer?

Neither my coaching work nor my clients are limited to pancreatic cancer. Over the years, at least a third of my clients have cancers other than pancreatic, and I have found that the challenges and strategies that produce better results are identical. This means that insights from the book will definitely be useful to a broader audience. However, we have chosen to focus the title and topic of the book on pancreatic cancer for two reasons:

  1. Pancreatic cancer has the fewest books devoted to it and up until recently the least funding for research. Even today it is called the cancer with the worst survival rates.   Research affirms that patients and their supporters with this cancer experience the highest level of stress and highest feelings of negativity about their future.

  2. Because of my own experience with this disease, I appear much more on cancer sites specializing in pancreatic cancer, and this focus will allow us to have greater impact and visibility with this audience.  

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