25 February 2018

Meet Katie, world changer

When Katie Strumpf was diagnosed with leukemia, there were no online resources or publications to offer guidance to a 10-year-old kid dealing with cancer. She endured chemo, spinal taps, and bone marrow aspirations.

While still going through treatment, Katie told her mom that someday she would write a book for children with cancer, offering encouragement and practical advice from someone who’s put up with doctors and medications and hair loss.

 

Katie Strumpf-Rackley

 

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28 January 2018

Hospice care: 4 myths and 4 awesome things you may not know

We were at my husband’s final oncology consultation—the one where he said, No more chemoat which point the oncologist said he’d like to make a referral to hospice. I was incredulous. Seriously? Does Gary look like he’s on his last legs?! 

“Up until this point,” the oncologist said to my husband, “all the care has been focused on you.” He pointed at me: “But who’s taking care of her?” My eyes welled up. I’d never considered that thought.

 

Photo by Conner Baker on Unsplash

 

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24 January 2018

9 living-well benefits of knitting

You’ll find me with my knitting posse most Monday evenings at Barnes & Noble. Back when my husband, Gary, was fighting cancer, they were part of my cancer caregiver support network. And now in widowhood, they’ve got my back.

My fellow knitters didn’t sign up for either of these extra assignments. But by virtue of showing up every Monday and bringing their exquisite, fuzzy projects and sharing their stories and asking about my week, they’re a significant addition to my support system.

 

 

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22 October 2017

What I learned from my 21-day detox

When my husband, Gary, was diagnosed with cancer, we asked the professionals about diet and exercise. One doctor said, “That’s like closing the barn door after the horse has gotten out.” Well, thank you. That was helpful.

 

Photo by Sven Scheuermeier on Unsplash

 

On our own initiative, we increased our fruit and veggie intake, eliminated unhealthful fats and sugars, and ate more whole grains and legumes. And then Gary died. And I quit cooking for myself.

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15 October 2017

8 health benefits from giving

Four years ago as cancer was picking up speed, there was so much kindness and amazingness surrounding my husband, Gary, and me.

With each generous gift, with each acceptance of help when it was offered—apparently something I wasn’t good at doing until Daughter Summer pointed it out and started lecturing—God was reminding me I couldn’t carry this load alone; I needed this fiercely supportive team of friends, family, co-workers, cancer community members.

 

Photo by NordWood Themes on Unsplash

 

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1 October 2017

7 thoughts on ‘team’

My friends, Mac and Allison, invited me to join them this weekend for a game in Autzen Stadium in Eugene, OR. They have a grandson who plays football for the University of Oregon Ducks.

A tight end. Six feet, 5 inches tall. Two-hundred thirty pounds. A little, scrawny guy.

 

My friends’ grandson, Cameron McCormick (Photo SportsPress)

 

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24 September 2017

9 advantages of having siblings

I was looking through some photos of my recent, more-fun-than-ought-to-be-allowed road trip, and came across this pic of my big brother and me standing at an observation deck above Snowbird in a gorgeous land called Utah.

 

Hanging out with big brother above Snowbird

 

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19 August 2017

4 insights into reticent men and cancer

A friend of mine started dating a man six months after he was diagnosed with cancer. At the start of their relationship, he was open about his health issues. And then cancer showed up stronger, and he walled himself off.

 

Photo credit: Unsplash

 

“He won’t let me give him any hands-on care,” my friend said. “And he doesn’t want me to be there emotionally for him.”

The couple split a few months later because the guy wasn’t willing to let my friend into his pain. Which means he turned away an amazing gift of love and support.

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2 July 2017

11 reasons why you should not join a support group

You may have heard how important it is to have supportive, like-minded, understanding people surround you. But support teams come with a high price tag, so you really want to consider the costs before you commit to plugging into community.

Here are 11 excellent reasons not to get involved with any kind of support team:

  1. The people in support groups lack determination.

 

Part of the St. Charles Cancer Center hiking posse on top of Black Butte

 

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27 June 2017

Is survival possible in barren places?

While on a recent Middle Eastern adventure, my nieces and I crossed from Israel into Jordan and rode through barren wilderness to Petra, a historical and archaeological city named among the “New 7 Wonders of the World.”

 

The Treasury (photo: Breanna Canclini)

 

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About Me

Hello, my name is Marlys Johnson. I’m a cancer widow, author, speaker and blogger. I love getting outdoors; would rather lace up hiking boots than go shopping. I have a passion for repurposing old junk into cool new stuff. And an even greater passion for showing people how to navigate life’s challenges. Tenaciously. And with heart wide open.

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