Nancy’s 2020 Summer Blog Hop


So, I happily stumbled upon another cancer thriver’s Blog the other day: Nancy Stordahl is quite an inspiration. She is an educator, published author, blogger and freelance writer. She lost her mother to metastatic breast cancer and just two years later, Nancy was diagnosed with Stage 2b breast cancer. Ugh, this disease!!!

I briefly wrote about metastatic breast cancer when sharing my fellow blogger and another one of us “living with cancer”, Doug Sparling’s piece, “Cancer: When Hope Is All You Have”. You can read that here:

Besides all the cancer stuff, which can easily feel totally consuming, Nancy created a Blogging Challenge that is a great way to get to know other writers. Honestly, sometimes trying to find another Blog you love is all-consuming in and of itself! Now, I would never diminish another’s writer’s work. Yet, there are just SO MANY Blogs out there. I don’t necessarily need to know what 500 people had for breakfast, if you catch my drift.

I’m excited to participate in this Blog Hop. I hope to discover new and wonderful writers. I also hope some fellow writers equally enjoy my Blog.

Thank you, Nancy. Stay strong and know you’ve got a tribe of fellow survivors/thrivers rooting for you! <3

1. Who are you? Tell us whatever you want about you and your blog.

My name is Ruthie K, a.k.a. Brain Cancer Babe.

In 2014, in the blink of an eye “almost literally” I went from a young, successful, professional woman with her whole life ahead of her, to a brain cancer survivor. I say “almost literally” because on April 6, 2014 I suffered a grand mal seizure losing total control of my body and losing consciousness about 3 minutes later. The seizure was so violent, I was told my contact lens popped out of my eye! I awoke laying in a triage room in the E.R. only to be told there was a lesion on my brain AND it would have to be removed as soon as possible. A week later I underwent my 1st of what now totals 7 brain surgeries. I was diagnosed with a very rare, aggressive form of brain cancer, a Grade III anaplastic ependymoma. After that day back in April ’14, my world would never be the same.

Deepak Chopra teaches that our beliefs give us our identity.  In other words, “What I believe is who I am.”  One of our limitations in life is that we define ourselves by labels, rather than by our beliefs.

If I were to explain who I am with labels, I could tell you that I am a girl (Yes, I like to still call myself a “girl”) who turned 40 this year while hospitalized after my 7th surgery.  I am a wife and daughter.  I am a proud doggy mama to the most precious rescue pup ever.  I consider myself a “New Yorker” although my technical residence is just a mile outside of the City.  I am an immigrant to the States, born in Northern Ireland in 1980 during “The Troubles.” My parents and I moved to the States when I was a young child for a “better life” – seeking the “American dream”. I am a well-educated, successful attorney.  However, I cannot work now due to my disabilities And, I am a two-time cancer survivor, as my tumor recurred in 2015.

However, in following Deepak’s teachings, my beliefs make me who I am.  While I am in no means some spiritual guru, I value this type of thinking.  So, I will tell you that I am deeply loving and do my best to be kind.  I am compassionate and empathetic, sometimes even to a fault (i.e. Please do NOT show me those ASPCA commercials anymore!  So many tears!).  Along those lines, I am extremely sensitive, which I find to be a strength and not a weakness.  I am trustworthy to my core.  I am proud of the person I am and especially, the person I have become in these last 6+ years.  I am not perfect. I do not suffer fools easily and I have plenty of other flaws, but who needs to hear about those anyway?

I am a fierce advocate for brain cancer awareness, funding & research, but I volunteer with several cancer charities not all merely dedicated to brain cancer. I am a writer and a blogger.

My Blog was originally dedicated to sharing my experiences with cancer which struck in the prime of my life. However, the Blog has developed in a way I never expected.   I still try to loop my story into most Posts. I now write about current affairs (2020, ugh!); musing on LIFE, LOVE, FEAR, HOPE AND SURVIVAL; sharing other blogger’s inspirational works; and, sometimes simply writing through Prompts like this one.

I believe that as writers/bloggers, it is our duty to write not just about our experiences, but also what shapes our writing, i.e. what is going on around us. Thus, living in the States in 2020 makes me feel as though I’m reliving what my parents suffered through during “The Troubles.” So, recently I’ve authored an entire Series entitled, “WHAT CENTURY IS THIS?“.

2. What has been your biggest blogging challenge during this pandemic, and how have you been tackling it (or trying to)?

Writing is very cathartic and the means I’ve used to get through this horrifying time! As someone who has lived in and out of hospitals for the last 6+ years, the pandemic is becoming scarier than cancer. I’ve pushed off necessary doctors’ visits, including a time or 2 where I would’ve just gone to the E.R. and/or been admitted. I have countless #HealthcareHeroes who have cared for me and frankly, saved my life more times than I wish to count. Many of my doctors, nurses and healthcare staff, who I dearly love, worked the frontlines in NYC. I had multiple breakdowns of pure, ugly crying fits literally fearing for their lives. Kind of being accustomed to a “quarantine-type” life, I turned to my trusty Mac and I’ve just been writing and writing, and then writing some more.

A major challenge lately has been trying to remain neutral, non-controversial and/or non-political. It hasn’t worked! Another recent conflict was whether to keep my Blog anonymous. I chose to “out myself” last week. It made me very anxious, but like I said in my Post: This is me – the good, the bad and the ugly.

3. What is something you’ve accomplished with your blog that you’re most proud of?

I am going to be published!!! Further, since I’m pretty locked-down there’s only so much of my ranting my husband can take. Poor man. Thus, I turn to my writing, and I’ve connected with many talented, uplifting people.

4. Share two of your best blogging tips.

  1. Share your story – it doesn’t matter if there’s 10,000 others writing about the same topic. We all have our own unique voice. “Your story is your power”.
  2. Don’t focus on how many Followers you have; focus on the Followers who time & time again lift you up – I don’t have a massive following. I’m not paying for Followers (not saying there’s anything wrong with that – I don’t have the means to do it anyway. This girl’s got medical bill upon medical bill to pay). Would I love to have 500 Followers? Sure! However, there are people who follow me, who I’ve never met, never had an offline conversation with, but time & time again they inspire me and I inspire them. That is what really counts. 🙂

5. What is one of your blogging goals this year?

Continue to get more articles published, so that I can build up my credentials to eventually complete a book.

6. When things get hard, what keeps you blogging, even if not regularly?

This is a really key question. I actually stopped writing for a long time. My “cancer chaos” was just too overwhelming and consuming. So last year after recuperating from my 5th brain surgery, I promised myself that I would start writing again. It was mostly to help my mental and emotional health since I express myself so much better through writing. I also came across this photo saved on my phone, and I found my voice again!

7. What is a dream you have for your blog?

For others, to inspire anyone facing what is, or seems like an enormous challenge (illness, grief, etc.) and know that you can get through it! You’re stronger than you know. I want to help others affected by cancer, and really anyone who is facing life-altering, mind-blowing circumstances that have turned their world upside down.

For me, to take my blog writing, compile it to compose and ultimately, publish a book.

8. Share a link to a favorite post you’ve written that you want more people to read.

This piece will be published: “On Remission”

This piece may speak to a wider audience: “Pain Is Real, But So Is Hope”




10 thoughts on “Nancy’s 2020 Summer Blog Hop

  1. Hi Ruthie, I’m so glad you decided to be no longer anonymous. It’s so great to read your blog answers and get to know you better. I love the photo in your answer to #6. That bring back fond memories of growing up without a care in the world. I’m so excited that you’re going to write a book. Sharing our stories is extremely powerful for both ourselves and the readers. Thank you so much for sharing.😊

    1. Thank you so much! Your support really means a lot.
      The photo brings me back to the carefree days before cancer, or at least carefree in hindsight.
      Yes, we definitely all need to keep telling our stories 🤗

    2. I also love teachings my Deepak. I’m currently reading books on the power of thoughts and beliefs by authors like Joe Dispenza and Bruce Lipton. Interesting stuff! I also started my blog to tell the story of my cancer journey, but it has evolved into so much more. I enjoyed reading your answers here and look forward to reading more from you!

      1. Thank you so much! I think it’s great we’ve found fellow cancer writers through Nancy’s blog hop! ❤️

  2. Hi Ruthie,

    It’s lovely to “meet” you. You certainly have been through a lot. As you said, things changed in the blink of an eye for you. Almost literally.

    Love this sentence, “One of our limitations in life is that we define ourselves by labels, rather than by our beliefs.” Lots of truth in that. And plenty of labels are sure thrown around in Cancer Land! I’ve been pushing back on some of them for quite a while now.

    I enjoyed reading all your responses. So well thought out. So genuine. Love your blogging tips. And your goal of putting a book together is exciting. I wish you success with that endeavor.

    Thank you so much for participating in my challenge. Hope you get a few more hoppers stopping by! Take care and keep writing.

    1. Nancy, I’m so honored. Your comments make me beam with pride.

      Yes. The language of cancer is hotly debated. Some people don’t use the “battle” or “fighting” terms. Some don’t use “survivor”. It’s all very personal. I respect whatever term(s) an individual embraces.

      I will certainly keep writing! ❤️

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