It was a Thursday. I was lying down, reading, resting, and recovering from a polyp removal 3 days earlier. My surgeon called, and because I’m a natural optimist, I saw the words Cleveland Clinic on the phone and remember thinking, “She’s calling to check on me. Wow she’s so thoughtful!” and picked up immediately. 

It didn’t occur to me that she was calling because something was wrong. She asked how I was doing, and I reported that I was still in a little pain from the surgery, but overall doing better, and was still taking it easy as instructed. 

She chose her next words very carefully, which I really appreciate to this day, she said I’m so sorry it to call you with the bad news. The polyp was cancerous. Right after that, I don’t remember exactly how I got up from laying on top of my bed to walking about 100 feet over to this little built-in desk I have in my room, but I remember just leaning on the counter and just becoming aware of myself bent over. 

I was listening to the words that she was saying like… oncologist…Monday…total hysterectomy. And I was trying to form questions while trying to breathe and listen, and she was answering what she could…

It was a total blur. 

She stayed on the phone with me for several minutes and I was so grateful for her time. 

The next few days began the longest wait I’ve ever experienced in my life. Thursday afternoon… Friday… Saturday… Sunday… and then finally late Monday in my GYN/ONC’s office. 

Because I went through the death of my dad when I was 10 from lung cancer and the death of my mom when I was 26 from breast cancer, I could have let cancer be the scariest thing that ever happened to me. 

There was plenty of fear, don’t get me wrong! But from day one I did several things that as I look back were defining decisions: 

First, I told my husband, closest friends, and loved ones, that I could trust with believing that I could be completely healed

Second, I reframed the situation from the beginning and asked myself the question, 

“What if this wasn’t happening to me, what if this was happening for me?”

Third, I made huge adjustments to what I ate immediately. I remember looking into my pantry and refrigerator and thinking there is hardly and healthy alive food in here there. There was no fruit in our fruit bowl. The salad fixings were sparse and slim in the refrigerator crisper. And it’s not like I ate junk by any means. I was already a vegetarian/pescatarian, but literally it was like my eyes opened to the fact that somehow pure whole food was absent in my life and been replaced by a shakes and frozen strawberries and some good things, or not bad things but some snacks that were not nutritious. There’s nothing wrong with those tortilla chips I love, but not as a pantry staple all the time. You could be a vegetarian and eat pies and fries or cakes and shakes but that’s not really the best for your body.

So, I had these core realizations in the areas of health, relationships, and mindset on day one, which started me down the road of a transformation process in all the major areas of my life. I just looked at everything with a magnifying glass, and asked questions like, what caused this? how can I fix it? what can I do? …in my in my food life? in my home life? and my stressful work life? 

I say that because I realized in talking with other women who had or are overcoming endometrial cancer that most people run through life so fast, that they might miss the little signs and wonders and synchronicities that life has to offer even in difficult times. 

Even though I am a professional Coach, it took a couple of days to coach myself, but once I was in the right mindset, the rest of the weekend unfolded almost miraculously.

The fear didn’t go away but some amazing things started to happen, in that waiting space in between, the limbo between diagnosis and talking with my oncologist, I received some signs that all was going to be OK, despite the bombarding thoughts and the “c” word that reverberated in my head as if it was being whispered for my demise by Fear itself.

That process of deciding to see the purpose and silver lining helped me flip the script on the fearful side of this diagnosis, a has served me throughout the journey of surgery, treatment and getting back to meaningful, mission-oriented work.

I used my own method of coaching, to help me out and surrounded myself with counsellors and coaches (thank you Gretchen, Kim and Christina!). 

Over the past year I’ve observed myself living by these top tips, some of which are rooted in the field of transformational coaching. I have found they helped me through the process mentally, emotionally, and physically. 

It is my hope and personal belief, that staying holistically optimistic is a key to staying healthy long-term. Only you can determine what new habits or mindset shifts might be right for you.

1. See the ‘miracles’

The month following my diagnosis was a whirlwind of activity back and forth to the hospital, the lab, the diagnostic center and in and out of surgery. But, every step of the way, I saw little signs that were meaningful to me: finding a penny, seeing a turtle, a plant showing up on my doorstep, goosebump moments when I thought of someone and they would text or call, praying and finally hearing something in return. So many stories I ended up filling a small journal with them.

I’ll give you an example of one of the synchronicities that happened to me which was crazy. Someone dropped off a plant in front of my house. We have no idea who. We have video cameras and we never saw a person, someone had to walk up my driveway and come to my front porch, which is right in front of my office, which I’m in every day, to drop off this plant but we didn’t hear or see a thing. I mean, it didn’t just drop from the sky. I don’t know, but there was a plant that showed up on my doorstep and it was the type of plant that you would go get at a nursery, the typical black plastic thin pot for planting, nothing fancy, and this one had one little vine just sticking up from it. I was not able to identify it, so I looked at the tag hanging from the pot. Of course, we can justify anything, so I figured there had to be a logical explanation. I texted my neighbors asking if they were missing a plant. They said no. Well, it was vinca, a vine used in alkaloid type derived chemotherapy, which is not the kind used in EC. 

So, was I getting a message that I was going to get chemo? My husband and I marveled at the strange weed and decided no. I would not get chemo. I left the plant on the front porch because it wasn’t mine. Three days later, it was gone just like it came. In the middle of the day. I took it as a sign that I was going to be OK.

There’s an old saying, “think the best but prepare for the worst”. That’s a hard thing to do but my friends were supportive and funny from the very beginning. They said, ok, we’ll take you down to Miami, we’ll go get you a wig, then we’ll go get your eyebrows derma bladed. I was joking that if I needed chemo now or ever, I could finally have that Sinead O’Connor or Annie Lennox cool look from the 80s. I reframed it as something fun to look forward to when it starts growing back and in the meantime, I could have different colored wigs and just express my crazy personality. Plan B was in place, but Plan A was still paramount. 

So, I prepared for the worst mentally, but I prayed for the best. For those two long weeks I had a very small handful of people that I asked to pray and visualize that my first cat scan and the pathology report from my surgery would come back with favorable Plan A results. 

That was one of many stories, signs, occurrences, mysteries…I chose to ask for and open my eyes to signs.  So many of us, in this too-much, too-fast, all-the-time world, go about our business and daily tasks and miss glimpses of the miraculous. Maybe you already have a story that feels like a supernatural kiss. 

2. Slow down

Once you start seeing the synchronicities sometimes, they don’t stop and maybe you’re not the only one seeing them. For example, I almost missed a big one. I live in Florida, on a lake, and on one day after my surgery, I went outside to let my dog out in our back yard. My little old pup is deaf, so I walk out with him. He was meandering on one side of the yard so he couldn’t hear me as I stepped towards the lake. Inside our fence at the lake line was this big turtle! I don’t know why, I just sensed it was a big mama turtle. So, I went and got Paco, and led him inside because I didn’t want a miniature schnauzer/mama turtle run-in. 

I went in to get my husband Jaime and our middle daughter Jamie who was home, to come see the turtle. I asked Jaime to open the back gate door so I can put the turtle in the lake. Turtles are big and heavy so I couldn’t possibly pick her up and put her over the fence. I needed to gently put her back in the water. The strange part was that in 20 years, we have never seen a lake turtle inside of our fence. We watched the turtle walking on the side of the fence trying to stick her head out to go underneath. She couldn’t get out so how did she get in. I didn’t even think too much about it, I just was focused on getting it back in the lake. 

Then Jamie who was almost silent and stoic as she observed my flurry of rescue activity, said, “That’s your turtle”. Jaime agreed. We got her back in the lake and it swam off.

I considered their words. I just began to think what this turtle means to me. Slow and steady wins the race. Stay balanced. Slow Down.

Within one month, as I was healing, three baby turtles showed up in my yard, all at different times. All of them taught me something. All three of them were mine to see first and rescue. It was a mama, and she left me 3 little wise mentors to consider some life lessons over the course of that critical month. 


  1. Slow down and enjoy life. 
  2. Let others help. 
  3. Learn to receive and not just give.
  4. There are obstacles on the road to your destiny, but you can overcome them.

Look out for the miracles and signs and wonders in your life or look back at what anchored you or gave you joy during the journey.

Much love, Anne