Life-altering events happen. Meet them with grace and courage. I’ll help.
I’ve had several disorienting, death-defying experiences in my life: being pulled out to sea in an undertow; getting electrocuted almost to death, being in a roll-over car accident. But the biggest of them all was being diagnosed with stage four breast cancer three years ago.
After the first three incidents, life went back to normal pretty quickly, even though I was shaken up. This time, the experience has been harder – impossible, really – to shake off. It’s a real doozy; my condition is considered treatable, and thankfully I’m doing beautifully, but incurable.
Now, ‘normal’ is more vulnerable and far more precious. I see with clearer eyes, love with a fuller heart, appreciate what I have more deeply. I dream not necessarily of bold new horizons but of getting to experience the ones I already know as deeply and long as I can. Life holds more fear, but also joy I never knew.
I deal with less crap. I have whittled lots of unnecessary and unfulfilling stuff, worries and people out of my life.
I know what my important buckets are and pour a little something into them regularly; I aim for daily. I keep my eyes on my real prizes.
I am incredibly grateful for simply pleasures, and there are so many every day.
I’m also grateful that I had ten years of training and experience as a life and positive psychology coach when the cancer tidal wave knocked me off my feet. I have calming strategies that help me through the most anxious moments, tried-and-true practices for focusing on the most important things, a positive outlook, solid relationships, and the courage to advocate for myself (like the time I switched oncologists).
I wouldn’t wish this kind of life-altering event on anyone. But they happen. Our challenge is to meet them with as much grace and courage as possible. It also helps to keep a sense of humor, take some things lightly, and have a “Surf’s-up! Let’s ride this wave” attitude. Tidal wave, shmidal wave.
Hi there. I’m Kristen, and I am…
- A wife, mom, daughter, sister, aunt and friend. Relationships are the most important things in the world to me, including the one I have with myself.
- A writer. I was in corporate communications in various forms for more than 20 years and now write about trying to live fully regardless of what life brings me. I’ve also written a book called ISPEAQ: How to Stand Up for Yourself and Have Difficult Conversations. If we’re going to live our best lives, we need to be able to advocate for ourselves.
- A ‘creator.’ I make an effort to create something every day and I post about it on Facebook. As opposed to Big-C Creating (sculptures, oil paintings, etc.), I do little-c creating, which includes everything from writing to doodling, knitting, photography, making connections with other people, making decisions, creating new recipes, etc. I find it empowering and fun to think of life as an unfolding creative process.
- A certified coach. I initially left management to support other corporate people and teams, then discovered I was most passionate about helping teenagers feel good about themselves. I did that, in schools and through parents, for about ten years before I got breast cancer.
- A stage-4 breast cancer survivor. In May 2018 I was told I had just a few weeks to live if I didn’t respond to treatment, but I have and am doing fabulously, with no active sign of disease. Long may it last, but in the meantime it has made what is truly important sparklingly clear and helped me focus on loving, creating and growing every day, no matter what. I used my best coaching tools to get through that wild tidal wave experience and now help others do that through my coaching, blogging and my “So, Now What” newsletter.
About my logo
The double hearts logo is one of the most meaningful images in my life, because my daughter first drew it as a suggestion for a tattoo the two of us could get to commemorate our relationship (she’s the little heart, I’m the big one).
Getting through her sometimes-difficult teens with our love intact is one of the most important accomplishments of my life.
Nothing on earth matters more to me than the love of my family, and I’m proud to display it through this image on my website and on my right wrist, where I see it all day every day.
Join me and let's surf life's tidal waves gracefully.
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