An advanced stage III colon cancer diagnosis was the last thing I expected to receive at 37-years-old. I was living the average life of a busy, overly committed mom-of-four and wife when crisis and illness ravaged my body, stole my identity and damaged or destroyed almost everything that gave my life meaning.
In November of 2019, I underwent surgery to remove a two-inch tumor and six inches of my sigmoid colon, then a year of grueling chemotherapy and cancer treatment. After wrangling with tremendous grief, fear, and heartbreak, I discovered that the best way to find meaning again would be through embracing whatever life I had left.
This would require traveling to new depths with myself. I had walked hard paths before and was intent on walking this one, too, while setting an example for others along the way. I set myself an aggressive goal. One bigger than “crushing cancer.”
I was going to use this experience as an opportunity to get deeply present with my life, connected with my body, and engaged with the world.
Even if I died I would have lived a truly meaningful life as the greatest version of myself, leaving a lasting legacy for my family, most importantly in the eyes of my children. Of course, my family was my greatest reason for living, and while cancer sucks, I also believed in my strength and capabilities. So I made a promise to them, and myself, that I was going to do everything in my power to survive.
In July 2020, shortly after my 11th round of chemotherapy and during my weakest state of health, I became one of the first cancer patients with coronavirus to be admitted to the hospital where I was treated. I was told it was a miracle that I survived. I have since slowly regained my strength, and was pronounced cancer-free at the start of 2021.
During my time in the hospital, I made a promise that were I somehow to make it through this health catastrophe, I would one day tell my story and show how the most ordinary of people are capable of overcoming extraordinary hardship. I would write a book that others could use as a roadmap through the journey.
My book, The Mother of All Fights is an uncensored glimpse into the often harrowing, sometimes shocking twists and turns of life experienced through my journey toward healing my mind, body and soul.
My book gets deep. I felt there was a need to address some of the heavy topics that many of the books I had read failed to tackle. We’ll cover facing your greatest fear, processing profound sadness and the need to grieve deeply over the loss of the life you thought you were supposed to live. Our goal is to learn how to wholeheartedly embrace each day making the most with the time you have left. Together, we will create art out of the ashes of trauma. Within these pages, I describe the steps I took to live a better life while dealing with the devastating chaos on my own. I freely recount the challenging conversations held with my children; how I came to terms with uncertainty about the future; and how I ultimately learned to use the experience as an opportunity to come into alignment with myself healing not just cancer, but my life.
I want you to know that you are not alone in the messy work of seeking meaning in your life, and I want for you to live yours wildly free and on purpose. Thankfully, my family and I were able to survive our cancer catastrophe, and now I share about my hero’s journey, offering a fearless appraisal of what it means to feel powerless while juggling the intensity of family life. I invite you into my home and heart during this difficult time, emphasizing the significance of family, hope and humor as keys to my recovery and leading a more satisfying life.
What you’ll come to notice, if you haven’t already, is that cancer can be a great teacher. When facing down our fragility, it teaches us so many lessons about what it means to truly live. I want to share with you the lessons cancer has taught me so that you can notice the ones your life is trying to teach you. Some may match mine, some may differ, but we can take this journey together. We can learn together. We can create our best selves together. Whether you or a loved one are personally impacted by cancer or you simply want to seek inspiration from the miraculous story of a survivor whose lessons about life will support and empower you on your own – you are in the right place.
Perhaps in sharing my story I might encourage others exhibiting symptoms to be screened for colon cancer. If I can help to save even just one life– then it all will have been worth it.
Since Erin’s book launched in March, it has been #1 on Amazon’s bestseller list. Erin has also created online programs for cancer thrivers, survivors and anyone wanting to know the most effective evidence-based preventive measures to protect against development and support recovery. Readers can download her Living Well Inner Circle App for free to access healthy habits, goal tracking and motivation for cancer patients, survivors and caregivers.