When my four-year-old son was diagnosed with leukemia, I was an American Cancer Society Professor of Oncology Nursing at the University of Minnesota. Cancer was no longer the illness that consumed my patients’ lives or the topic of my lectures each week. Cancer had invaded our home and kidnapped our lives.
As a cancer nurse, I shepherded patients and families through treatment, survival, and sometimes death. With a PhD in nursing and a focus in psychoneuroimmunology, I studied how the mind communicates with the body and how integrative healing therapies can reduce symptoms and foster resilience. I wanted my research to make a difference in patients’ lives. I was inducted as a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing in recognition of my leadership in PNI and nursing.
I’ve presented keynotes with my son about our experience to professional and lay audiences, published in many textbooks and medical journals, and received national awards for cancer nursing and academic writing. In addition, I completed a two-year apprenticeship in creative nonfiction at The Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis, MN. My writing is in Ruminate, Snapdragon: A Journal of Art and Healing, and Wising Up Press, Universal Table (links in other writing).
I live in Minneapolis, MN, with my husband and youngest son, and I seek every opportunity to travel with my oldest son, who survived his leukemia, and his girlfriend. In addition to writing and reflecting, my passion is swimming with the spinner dolphins in Hawaii and hiking wherever I can find a connection with the universe.
Follow me on this website and via my blog as I explore health and illness from personal and professional experience.