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Authority Magazine

Author Cynthia Hayes: I Survived Cancer and Here Is How I Did It

An Interview With Savio P. Clemente

To “beat” cancer, we need to ask for help and advocate for ourselves, so we get the care we need. We need to advocate for ourselves with medical professionals, and with our friends and families. Many of us find it especially difficult to talk to our doctors, but it’s important to remember that they may be the experts in cancer, but you are the only expert in you. You are the only one who know what it is like to be you, what it feels like in your body to receive the treatment you are getting, to live through the experience you are having.

Cancer is a horrible and terrifying disease. Yet millions of people have beaten the odds and beat cancer. Authority Magazine started a new series called “I Survived Cancer and Here Is How I Did It”. In this interview series, we are talking to cancer survivors to share their stories, in order to offer hope and provide strength to people who are being impacted by cancer today. As a part of this interview series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Cynthia Hayes.

A former journalist, Harvard-trained management consultant, and hospital executive, Cynthia is the author of The Big Ordeal: Understanding and Managing the Psychological Turmoil of Cancer. Since recovering from her own disease in 2016, she has helped raise awareness of the shared emotional experience of cancer, the physical drivers of that experience, and how to cope with it all. When not speaking or writing about cancer emotions, she volunteers as a peer mentor to newly diagnosed patients, is an avid tennis player and adventure traveler, and lives in New York City with her adoring husband and shih tzu puppy.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! We really appreciate the courage it takes to publicly share your story. Before we start, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your background and your childhood backstory?

I grew up in a picturesque suburb of Boston, with rolling green lawns and white picket fences, churches with steeples and a great school system. In some ways, it was idyllic, but we moved there after my parents had divorced, and my mom faced many challenges raising three kids alone. We were always just scraping by, always the only ones without a dad at home, always the ones with so many household chores, always the ones with the strictest curfews. But we also were surrounded by an extensive Italian family. Every birthday or holiday was celebrated with 20 or more cousins and aunts and uncles and grandparents around the table, and what a table. So much good food and so much love. And so much conversation about the importance of education. From the time I was eight or nine, it was clear that I was not only going to college, but graduate school too.

My absent father also was a strong influence in my life. He was a writer and storyteller, and because I wanted his attention, I wanted to be a writer as well. I was determined to be a great writer, and really wanted to write for a magazine. In fact, it was my love of magazines that first got me to New York City — the capital of magazine publishing in the 1970s and 80s — and ultimately, what sent me off to business school so that I could learn enough about the business to start my own magazine. Life has a funny way of throwing us curve balls, so my path was very circuitous. I never did start that magazine, but here I am today, a published author, with a book and a website (TheBigOrdeal.com) for which I write all the time, and now with my words appearing in Authority Magazine!

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as who you become by achieving your goals.” Ralph Waldo Emerson said that, but it was really my mom’s motto, instilled in us at an early age. Setting goals, raising the bar for yourself, working hard to achieve those goals — that’s how you shape yourself, how you establish habits that stick with you and drive the development of a life that is rich and fulfilling. There have certainly been times when I wanted to concede defeat, in small or significant ways, but that lesson in perseverance is so engrained that ultimately, I carried on and found the resilience to do what I needed to do. Thank you, Mom, for setting such a strong foundation, and Emerson for stating it so well!

Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion about surviving cancer. Do you feel comfortable sharing with us the story surrounding how you found out that you had cancer?

Yes, thank you for asking. Actually, I like to tell this story because it is such an important part of creating the shared understanding that cancer is emotional, something we just don’t talk about enough.

My cancer story started on a beautiful, blue-sky September day. My daughter and I were headed to a neighborhood salon for manicures. When my cell phone rang, I was surprised to see my gynecologist’s name on the display. Having been in the week before for a regular check-up, I assumed it was someone in the office calling about a billing issue and answered as we continued walking. But I stopped short when I heard my doctor say I had flunked my Pap smear — it had detected “atypical glandular cells.” Probably it was nothing, she said, but I needed to come back in for more tests. She was at the hospital in the middle of a delivery so signed off quickly with assurances and instructions to call the office.

It went by so fast; I didn’t quite know what to make of her call. My daughter and I were on a mission with a deadline — we were going out in two hours and our nails were not yet red — so I carried on without giving it much thought. Moments later, sitting in the salon, I called to schedule the follow-up procedures, but the office had already closed for the day, and for the weekend.

There are times when it might be better not to be such an insatiable Internet researcher. I had just a few minutes to use my phone before succumbing to the manicurist, and quickly learned that “atypical glandular cells” were the warning signs for a particular type of uterine carcinoma that had grim survival statistics. I went from unconcerned to terrorized in an instant.

What was the scariest part of that event? What did you think was the worst thing that could happen to you?

I was convinced that I was going to die. Cancer had a grip on my emotions from that very first moment. You could see it in the photos from that night’s outing. I was scared. The numbers did not look good, and I had to deal with the possibility that I had a life-threatening disease. Worst of all, I would have to wait. I couldn’t even schedule the biopsy that would confirm or allay my dread. I would have to deal with the uncertainty for a few more days.

My husband kept trying to reassure me saying, “Everything is going to be fine.” Years earlier I had taught him to say that when he tried to solve a problem that really needed only an arm around the shoulder and some comfort. But this problem needed more than a little solace. What if I did have cancer? At 57 years old, I was too young to think about sickness and death, but it seemed unlikely that the Pap smear was a false positive. I wanted to talk to someone who would understand my fears, but my best friend, the one who would have known exactly what to say to acknowledge the intensity of my feelings and be with me in the moment of foreboding, had passed away only nine months earlier, from cancer. I felt isolated and alone. And so impatient. I wanted answers and was certain the waiting and not knowing was going to kill me before the cancer did.

How did you react in the short term?

After the biopsy the following week confirmed that I did, indeed have cancer, I was in shock, but I had to put my terror aside and switch into hyper-efficiency mode. I needed to act quickly. I needed scans. I needed to find a surgeon and schedule pre-op testing. It all happened so fast, I barely had a chance to think, let alone cry. Phone calls and emails, recommendations and confirmations. By the end of the day, I had a morning appointment with the radiology team for scans of my entire torso, and appointments with two surgeon candidates. The scans would give us further insight into the depth and breadth of my cancer, but not until a surgeon had probed my inner organs and removed many of them would we know the stage of my disease, a prognosis, and a treatment plan — more waiting and uncertainty, and more dread.

One of the surgeons I met with was very comforting. He took my hand and looked me in the eye when he spoke to me about what would need to be done and what my likely course of treatment would be. He didn’t say anything dramatically different than the other surgeon, but the way that he said it, the compassion in his voice and warmth in his eyes, gave me the certainty that I would be cared for as a human being, not just another cancer case.

I had a radical hysterectomy the following week. My doctor had hoped to do the surgery laparoscopically, but given the placement of the tumor, he ended up having to make an incision hip to hip. I was in a lot of pain — not just from the external incision, but from the removal and rearrangement of so many internal pieces. I was happy to lie there in a stupor for a few days, on too many meds to be anxious or afraid. Another 10 days of waiting for the pathology report, then the news. There was no sign of metastasis, the cancer was confined to my uterus, but it was an aggressive type. My surgeon said I would need chemo. More anxiety, more fear, but also a sense of comfort that someone was taking care of my cancer. It helped that he was so reassuring, so confident that I would be okay.

After the dust settled, what coping mechanisms did you use? What did you do to cope physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually?

Having learned at an early age that no one’s life is easy, that adversity was meant to be tackled and that strength came from doing, that’s what I did. I tackled it, head on. I bought a wig, set up an exercise schedule, bought every type of ginger tea and candy I could find, arranged for friends and family to accompany me to chemo and to bring food to feed my family. I just put on a brave front and did what I had to do. My surgeon even referred to me as “one badass cancer patient.”

But, I didn’t feel brave. In fact, I cried every day in the shower. I felt I needed to project bravery — for my husband and daughter who were watching me so closely at home, and for my son who was so far away, working on the west coast and only able to check in by phone. I did take myself for a walk nearly every day, which was restorative even if exhausting, and had a playlist of beautiful and relaxing music. And my dog, Horatio, a shih tzu furball, was such a source of comfort as he nuzzled and cuddled most of the day. But it was a challenging six months. I continued to feel so alone, as if no one could possibly understand what I was going through. Of course, it didn’t help that I wasn’t really letting anyone in, but that wall I had built around my fear and anxiety, that shining fortress of bravery I showed to the outside world, was also what allowed me to convince myself that I could cope.

Is there a particular person you are grateful towards who helped you learn to cope and heal? Can you share a story about that?

My best friend, Amy, who had been a mentor in so many aspects of my life, taught me how to deal with cancer too. I met her 20 years before my diagnosis when she joined the firm I had been with for a year, and showed me how to earn respect by being a professional woman who could laugh at herself while still being taken seriously. She and her husband introduced me to mine, and together they modelled a functioning marriage, showed us a patient and loving way to raise children, demonstrated how to embrace others’ opinions while holding tight to our own core values. And when she developed an aggressive form of lung cancer, she showed us all how to live with uncertainty, embrace all that life has to offer, and how to face the inevitable with grace. While I missed having her hand to hold through my own worst days, I was so thankful for her love and unending belief in me. I think it was her faith that I could do anything I set my mind to, and the knowledge that she would have given anything for one more healthy day, that gave me the courage to fight for my own health and resiliency.

In my own cancer struggle, I sometimes used the idea of embodiment to help me cope. Let’s take a minute to look at cancer from an embodiment perspective. If your cancer had a message for you, what do you think it would want or say?

That’s a really interesting question. I think my cancer would have said, “You have so much to give. Why are you focused only on yourself when I am everywhere?”

We don’t control who gets cancer and who doesn’t, but 40% of us do, and the other 60% need to take care of us. No one escapes cancer. There are things we can do or not do that help reduce mutations at the cellular level or strengthen the immune system, both of which can help minimize the risk of cancer or recurrence, but there is so much that is beyond our understanding and control. This degree of randomness means that it wasn’t my fault I got cancer and that I didn’t get cancer to teach me a lesson, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t learn something from it.

And when I reflect on my own experience, I realize how fortunate I was and am — lucky that my Pap smear picked up the cancer at an early stage, lucky that I was living in New York surrounded by excellent medical care, blessed with a loving and supportive family, favored with sufficient means to cope with the financial strain of the disease, and familiar enough with life’s adversities to know how to find the resilience needed to bounce back. Not everyone has all those advantages, or even some of them, when coping with cancer. If I can share what I have learned to help others struggling through the same hardships, it helps imbue my cancer with a little more meaning.

What did you learn about yourself from this very difficult experience? How has cancer shaped your worldview? What has it taught you that you might never have considered before? Can you please explain with a story or example?

I think the most important thing I learned is that it’s never a sign of weakness to ask for help. I was so busy being brave that I didn’t let anyone in to understand how afraid and anxious and overwhelmed I really was. I had this sense that I had to know all the answers and be an expert in this experience that was so thoroughly unfamiliar. The irony is that throughout my career, my success depended on my ability to ask the right questions, but somehow, I had overlooked the need to ask anything, including for help. Of course, we learn so much from asking for help, inviting others in, and sharing our concerns.

One day, I was sitting on a bike at the gym, five months into chemo, bald and weak and so clearly a cancer patient when a guy I didn’t know came and sat on the bike beside mine and started telling me his cancer story. He told me about his sense of isolation, that no one understood his fear, that he was anxious and so frightened. He shared stories about the fatigue and brain fog, the depression. The more he talked, the more I came to appreciate the common threads in our stories. And that’s when I started asking questions and understanding the need to ask for help. I asked other cancer patients what they felt. I asked my doctors why certain emotional experiences were so common among cancer patients, and I asked experts of all sorts what was going on and what could be done about it.

And it was through all these conversations that I came to understand that I wasn’t alone, that the emotions I experienced are typical of cancer, and that a lot of those emotions actually are driven by chemical changes in our bodies as a result of the disease and its treatment. So why was no one talking about that and preparing us for this part of the experience?

Most importantly, I learned that there was so much one could do to cope with cancer, but much of it started with a recognition that cancer is an emotional diagnosis too. And just as you would ask for help dealing with the pain from a broken ankle, it was okay to ask for help dealing with the emotional fallout from cancer.

When I was young, my mother went back to school to get a doctorate in psychology because of an increasing awareness she had of the emotional health needs in our sleepy little suburban community. Never did I imagine so many decades later that I would also want to address unmet psychological needs — those of people dealing with cancer-driven emotional turmoil. There are so many supportive programs available to cancer patients, but we need to know it is okay to ask for help, and we need to advocate for that help at every turn. As a society, we are still not accepting of the fact that brain chemistry drives so much of what we think and feel.

How have you used your experience to bring goodness to the world?

I’ve been working hard to raise awareness about the mental health aspects of cancer, to help patients, their loving caregivers and their professional care teams understand that cancer is not just physical, but is a psychological diagnosis as well.

In addition to speaking and writing about this, I provide one-on-one peer mentoring to newly diagnosed cancer patients through two different support programs in New York, and serve on the board of two cancer organizations that provide supportive care to patients in New York and around the world. There are so many programs out there to help, but there is not yet a universal awareness of the emotional impact of cancer or an acceptance that it’s okay to ask for that help. We still have a lot of work to do to overcome the stigma around cancer and the greater stigma around mental health — the range of emotional disturbances that we face on a daily basis as a result of the disease. I love collaborating with others to share what I have learned through my research and my own experience, and hope that the ripples of my work can begin to have an impact.

What are a few of the biggest misconceptions and myths out there about fighting cancer that you would like to dispel?

I think the first misconception I’d like to dispel is that we are responsible for our own disease. We all know we should refrain from smoking, eat healthy diets, exercise regularly and get regular screenings, but just because we do doesn’t mean we won’t get cancer. And there is no guarantee that we will, if we don’t do these things. Part of what makes cancer feel so unfair and scary is the unpredictability of who gets it and who doesn’t. We all know someone who smokes three packs a day and never gets sick and someone who does everything right and still does. Don’t burden yourself with guilt if you get cancer. Just take care of yourself the best that you can.

A second important misconception is that you have to be brave and stay positive. You don’t have to be brave, and it doesn’t make the cancer go away any faster if you are. You do have to find a care team you trust and follow their advice, and that takes a certain amount of steeliness, but it’s not brave when you have no choice, and usually, with cancer, you don’t have a choice. So, you just do it, no matter how afraid you really are. Often, patients don’t want to hear comments like “You’re so brave” or “Just stay positive.” While meant to be helpful, remarks like these actually burden an over-taxed patient with further expectations — “I have to get through chemo and radiation and so much anxiety and you expect me to smile too?!” More often than not, patients really just want to hear that it is okay to feel what they feel, and that you, as a friend or loving caregiver, will be there with a hug no matter what.

Fantastic. Here is the main question of our interview. Based on your experiences and knowledge, what advice would you give to others who have recently been diagnosed with cancer? What are your “5 Things You Need To Beat Cancer? Please share a story or example for each.

I love the way you pose that question. When talking about cancer, it is always hard to know the right words to say. Battle terminology can be particularly challenging for some patients because it implies that we are somehow in control of our own victory or defeat. And many of us struggle with the term “survivor,” which seems to fit better when the trauma is a one-time event rather than an ongoing ordeal.

To me, “beating” cancer doesn’t just mean making it disappear. It also means beating it into submission, coping with cancer so we can get on with life, which is a challenging enough prospect for mere mortals to accomplish. When I go for a run these days, which I’ve never been particularly good at and struggle with all the more post treatment, I often think I need a T-shirt emblazoned on the back with, “I May Be Slow, But I’m Beating Cancer!”

Of course, so much of what we need to cope with this disease is not really within our control once we hear the words, “You’ve got cancer.” It helps if we have been fortunate enough to be diagnosed at an early stage. It helps if there have been scientific breakthroughs for our particular type of disease. It helps if we have an excellent medical team and the insurance to deal with the financial hardship of the disease. And we certainly benefit if family and friends instantly rally to offer loving support. But many of these things are already set at the time of diagnosis.

Fortunately, there are things within our control that can help us get through the ordeal. The five most important things to help us “beat” cancer are:

  1. First, we need to be honest with ourselves and those around us about how we feel. We have the right to feel the way we feel, and our emotions are real. But we need to talk about them. We can’t assume that family and friends know how we feel, what we want, how to help. Although we all follow a similar emotional path through the cancer experience, each of us is different in how we internalize and express those emotions, the intensity with which we feel them and the degree to which we want to talk about them, and how much help we want dealing with them. If we don’t tell others around us what we are feeling and what we want from them, they can’t anticipate our needs and support us. You know, in fairy tales, the prince always knows exactly how to rescue the princess, but in real life, it’s pretty hard to understand what someone else is going through or might want if they don’t share the experience with us and tell us what they need. So, the first thing we need to do is to tell those we love what’s going on inside. My husband has infinite belief in my ability to do whatever I set my mind to, and I cherish his loving confidence in me. But when I was diagnosed, I was convinced I was going to die. So, when he assured me that “Everything is going to be all right,” his confidence felt somewhat dismissive. It was only after I told him how scared I really was that he was able to listen to my fears, wipe away my tears and provide the comfort I needed. If I hadn’t been direct about my needs, he would have assumed that I was fine.
  2. Next, to “beat” cancer, we need to ask for help and advocate for ourselves, so we get the care we need. We need to advocate for ourselves with medical professionals, and with our friends and families. Many of us find it especially difficult to talk to our doctors, but it’s important to remember that they may be the experts in cancer, but you are the only expert in you. You are the only one who know what it is like to be you, what it feels like in your body to receive the treatment you are getting, to live through the experience you are having.
    My surgeon used to refer to me as “one badass cancer patient” and I projected my confidence and competence in the chemo suite and exam room as much as anywhere else. But, because I was so busy being badass, I didn’t acknowledge how emotionally challenging I found the experience to be, and he didn’t let on that there were all sorts of support programs available to help. It was only after I was done with treatment that I learned about a peer-to-peer support program that actually he had been instrumental in starting, which would have been so helpful to my recovery. While I was able to advocate for myself about neuropathy and nausea, I didn’t advocate for my mental health issues and suffered all the more because of it.
  3. We also need to recognize that it will be full of ups and downs. Cancer is not a straight line, and our emotions take us for a ride. We need tolerance to go along for the ride. Some days might seem manageable, others overwhelming. Some days the fatigue is oppressive, others you feel full of energy, at least for a moment or two. Listen to your body and go along for the ride. That doesn’t mean to curl up on the couch all day every day, but that means there will be times when your expectations can’t be met. And that is ok. Remember what Emerson said…it is in the striving that we become better.
    I started my cancer treatment determined to exercise every day, once my surgeon had given me clearance to do so. And in the beginning, I was able to maintain a pretty good routine of walking or running, or even playing tennis or going to the gym just about every day. I had chemo on Thursdays and was so jacked up from the steroids that were part of my treatment that Thursday evening and Friday were my superwoman days. But by the weekend, I was pretty nauseous and only wanted to lay on the couch with a cup of ginger tea. I gave myself that time, and often Monday as well, when I would be weepy and weak, rebounding from the lack of steroids as they finally cleared my system. But Tuesday morning I would be back at it — walking, running if I could, or going to the gym, before sitting down to work.
    But as the weeks and months went by, I found it harder to maintain my routine. The fatigue had accumulated, and so had the foggy brain. There were days when I would go to the gym and just cry on the trainer’s shoulder, and days when I stared at the same blank computer screen for hours at a time, wondering if I would ever be able to write a coherent sentence again. There were times when my blood tests suggested the cancer wasn’t going away and my fear was so intense I couldn’t sleep, and there were times when I was so depressed I couldn’t move. I was able to go with the flow. But in the back of my mind, there was this goal of exercising every day that I kept reaching for, and that helped me keep moving forward even when I seemed powerless to do so.
  4. Another thing I learned about “beating” cancer is that we need to give ourselves time and the grace to recover on a schedule dictated by the body, not by external forces. It can be hard — the need to work, to take care of kids, to live up to other’s expectations all can get in the way. And often, after taking time off to receive treatment, after accepting help from others for so long, we think we need to jump back in with two feet and stop being a burden. But cancer makes it clear that there are some things beyond our control, and we just need to accept them. Take a hard look at what expectations you are putting on yourself and see what you can offload. Talk to others around you about what you can and cannot do, what expectations they have of you that may not be realistic yet. The recovery process can be a long and slow one, and just because we are done with treatment doesn’t mean that we are ready to resume life at full tilt. Those who love us and value us will understand, and will continue to support us while we continue to recover.
    By the time I was done with treatment I was exhausted, couldn’t feel my toes or my fingers, had such brain fog I couldn’t read a news story and know what it was about, and was rudderless. I had quit my job several months prior to my diagnosis with the intention of writing a novel, but after cancer, that seemed both self-indulgent and impossible. It took me another six months of listless drifting to figure out what I wanted to do, how to use my curiosity and experience and skills to help others. That’s when I started asking purposeful questions, collecting stories and insights, and focusing on elucidating the emotional ordeal of cancer. I know I wasn’t pulling my weight around the house yet — my husband and daughter were definitely picking up the slack, and they did so willingly when I made it clear I wasn’t done recovering yet, even if I was done with treatment.
  5. Most importantly, in order to “beat” cancer, we need to remember that no matter how isolated and scared we feel, we are not alone. Because of the stigma around emotional weakness, and even the enduring sensitivity around cancer, we tend not to feel comfortable talking about our illness and asking for help. But 70% of cancer patients experience some sort of emotional fallout from their diagnoses, and much of that fallout is related to chemical changes in our bodies as a result of cancer and its treatment. I like to remind the patients I mentor, “It’s not you, it’s cancer!” And although we feel isolated, there is a community of people available to help. There are so many people going through cancer, and so many supportive care programs available, you just have to know where to look, whom to ask. There are peer-to-peer mentors, professional counselors, support groups, exercise programs, meditation programs, complementary therapies, magazines, and social media groups, much of which is available for free. Most hospitals and cancer treatment centers offer some support and have social workers who can direct you to internal and external resources. But, as with everything else, it starts with being able to advocate for yourself, to ask for the help you deserve and to be willing to own what you feel. When the guy on the bike at the gym started telling me his story, that is when I began to understand that we are not unique in our emotions, that we share so much of the cancer experience even if our cancers are different, and the recency of our diagnoses, our life stories, genders, and family circumstances are different. Since recovering, I have become a peer mentor to recently diagnosed patients and have one-on-one conversations with those patients. While it continues to astonish me how much we share in the emotional turmoil of the disease, I also see in every conversation how much it means to patients to hear that they are not alone, that they are not the only ones to be fearful, that someone who has recovered also faced the anxiety of testing, the self-identity crisis that comes with ongoing treatment, the loss of control over life that cancer brings. Sharing my story has helped me in my recovery, and I believe it has helped others find the resilience they need to recover as well.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the greatest amount of people, what would that be?

I would want to create a movement around the emotional turmoil of a cancer diagnosis and help to de-stigmatize the psychological fall out of the disease. If we accept that we are all flawed, that to be human is to suffer and struggle and do our best with what we have been dealt, then we can begin to talk about those struggles — be they financial or emotional or physical or whatever — and by talking, help each other cope. But when we believe we need to keep the pain hidden away, when we feel responsible for everything that is wrong with ourselves and our lives, it can be awfully hard to get the help we need to cope.

Just as our genetics and microbiomes and internal chemistry can determine how tall we are, how our bodies process food, how likely we are to develop heart disease, so too our emotional health is driven by things over which we have limited control. We are okay with taking statin to control cholesterol, insulin to manage diabetes, dopamine to support us through Parkinson’s; why are we shy to admit, for example, that we might need antidepressants or help managing anxiety? I would like to help change that so that cancer can be a better experience for all of us.

We are very blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them. :-)

I would love to sit down with Stephen Dubner, co-author of the book, Freakanomics, and host of the Freakanomics podcast. I just love the way his mind works, always trying to make sense of the world. He brings a mix of curiosity and compassion to the problems of life. And, his podcast sign-off, “Take care of yourself and, if you can, someone else too” is such a great reminder to us all. If we all had his curiosity, his heart, and his willingness to talk about sticky subjects, the world would be a better place.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

I hope your readers will visit TheBigOrdeal.com. There they can read patient and caregiver stories, research insights from science and psychology, find my story, read my ongoing musings about surviving cancer, find resources of all sorts and connect with me on social media. Most importantly, they can contact me. I always love hearing from fellow patients and others in the cancer community and promise to reply to any questions or suggestions made. I also welcome hearing from patients and caregivers willing to share their stories. I think we all have so much to learn from each other about coping with cancer, and the more we share, the more we realize how much we have in common.

Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!

About The Interviewer: Savio P. Clemente coaches cancer survivors to overcome the confusion and gain the clarity needed to get busy living in mind, body, and spirit. He inspires health and wellness seekers to find meaning in the “why” and to cultivate resilience in their mindset. Savio is a Board Certified wellness coach (NBC-HWC, ACC), stage 3 cancer survivor, podcaster, writer, and founder of The Human Resolve LLC.

Savio pens a weekly newsletter at thehumanresolve.com where he delves into secrets from living smarter to feeding your “three brains” — head 🧠, heart 💓, and gut 🤰 — in hopes of connecting the dots to those sticky parts in our nature that matter.

He has been featured on Fox News, and has collaborated with Authority Magazine, Thrive Global, Food Network, WW, and Bloomberg. His mission is to offer clients, listeners, and viewers alike tangible takeaways in living a truly healthy, wealthy, and wise lifestyle.

Savio lives in the suburbs of Westchester County, New York and continues to follow his boundless curiosity. He hopes to one day live out a childhood fantasy and explore outer space.

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Savio P. Clemente

Savio P. Clemente

Board Certified Wellness Coach (NBC-HWC, ACC), #1 Best-selling Author, Syndicated Columnist, Podcaster, and Stage 3 Cancer Survivor