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  • Writer's pictureSusan McHugh

Making Strides With "The Big C"

Greetings & Happy Independence Month!

I can't help but think of freedom and what that might mean to each of us as we follow different paths in our lives. Merriam-Webster defines independence as "the quality or state of being self-dependent, self-reliant, or self-sufficient" . But those of us dealing with disease or discontent often encounter a more challenging time finding independence than those without. Is it possible that the search for freedom is more than being self-reliant, but instead about allowing yourself to be dependent on those around you?

My Passion, My Independence

As you all know, my battle with breast cancer has been painful both physically and emotionally. It's been one in a long list of the hardest challenges I've ever experienced. And even though it isn't's also been my path to independence.

That last day of treatment, walking out of the cancer center, should have been my first Day of Independence. But instead, I felt as though I had been thrown off the side of a cliff! My support system had been taken away; my oncologist, nurses, social worker, nutritionist, even my "chemo buddies" were suddenly gone. I cried until my friends and family thought I was crazy. After 3 different types of chemotherapy, 12 weeks of Taxol, a year of Herceptin and 7 and 1/2 weeks of radiation, I wasn't up for going back into corporate America, a career that had shaped my world for over 30 years.

However, a short time later I was having a conversation with my husband about what I was going to do with the rest of my life and he said, "You were a 'coach for so many years as a Regional Sales Manager and you always managed to have your region finish in the top 3, why don't you look into becoming a Life Coach." WOW! What a great idea! I had a friend who had just graduated from IPEC (Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching) so I enrolled and graduated with 4 certifications. Now I just needed to decide what my niche would be...and on one of my oncology follow-ups, it hit me...

I wanted to become a Cancer Coach. And just like that, my independence was born!

Cancer treatment and recovery aren't the only challenges that come with the disease. There are financial concerns relating to employment, medical bills, disabilities, new medications and even new dietary needs. Having a coach to help cancer patients and survivors, families and caregivers dealing with the diagnosis, treatment and planning for the future makes this journey just a bit easier. I can help you and your family find freedom and independence through these challenges.


I would love to hear from you and your experiences dealing with surviving breast cancer. Post on the blog, or If you would like to e-mail me privately, my address is

For more information on survivor support, visit our site at

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