controlI was doing some holiday shopping with a close friend this past December, and ended up picking up an item I thought would look nice in our home … a sort of stuffed patchwork elephant comprised of imported fabrics. I carried that elephant with me all around the store as I shopped for gifts for others, debating as to whether or not I should purchase it. Ultimately, I put back the elephant before cashing out, thinking, “focus, Joanna; you’re not here to shop for yourself.” And I really didn’t give it a thought beyond that. Read More →


In the fall of 2002, the great Warren Zevon made his final appearance on The David Letterman Show before dying of malignant mesothelioma, a rare and deadly form of lung cancer.

When asked by Letterman if his terminal diagnosis had changed anything about the way he looked at life and death, Zevon replied, “How much you’re supposed to enjoy every sandwich.”

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IMG_7196I haven’t posted any status updates since leaving the hospital a week ago, mostly because I’ve spent the week surrounded by my wonderful family, in my own home, and it has been extraordinary. But I also haven’t posted any updates because so much is currently in flux; and there are so many tests and puzzles and pieces and parts and questions right now that to state anything prematurely would likely do little more than create less rather than more clarity. Read More →

IMG_7505Some of you may of you be familiar with the game K-F-M (, where one is given three hypothetical options and has to pick who among them they’d, respectively, kill, f*ck, and marry. Well, I have a new one that I feel I should share because it’s such a fun and easy way to practice gratitude. I privately call it The Anne Lamott Check-in, because it incorporates her theory that there are only three necessary prayers: Thanks, Help, and Wow. Read More →

IMG_7458A couple of years ago, I published a blog on Huffington Post, imploring well-meaning (and sometimes not-so-well-meaning) folks to refrain from telling me what to do to “cure” my cancer. The premise of the piece was that while I and may of us dealing with serious illness — directly or indirectly — may appreciate hearing about purported cures and treatments, we do NOT appreciate being told everything we’re doing wrong, nor do we appreciate being denigrated for our personal choices. Read More →

10476051_10152284289704220_8753406812125174823_oI recently had the pleasure of helping produce a live staged reading of women survivors talking about their second acts. The production closed out last month’s Second Annual National Women’s Survivors Convention in Nashville. Along with a dozen other women, I talked about how I am using the second chance I’ve been given. A video of my story can be found here, and a link to all of the survivor videos can be found here. It was an incredibly rewarding experience and I was honored to have been in the company of so many strong, brave women!

stylebpWhen I joined (one of the best apps ever), I unsubscribed myself from over 200 e-mail lists, newsletters and subscriptions in one fell swoop. I then had the option of choosing any subscriptions I wanted to keep, and have those “rolled up” into a great little digest for easy perusal. Well, of the hundreds of subscriptions, I chose to retain only six, and StyleBlueprint was one of them. So I was thrilled when I was asked to be interviewed as one of their September FACES of Nashville. So much fun!


Image via Ashley Hylbert.




LTYM1I wrote recently about having auditioned to participate in Nashville’s first production of Listen To Your Mother, a live staged reading of essays written by real people about motherhood. The event took place on April 26, 2014, and was by all accounts a tremendous success. Similar productions were held in 31 other cities around the same time, and it was a unique and wonderful experience to be part of such a magical, powerful movement … the brainchild of LTYM founder Ann Imig. Read More →

writingLast year I was contacted by Betsy Barbour, a former co-worker whom I had not seen in over a decade. It turned out she was working with a good friend of my husband’s, and had been hearing about this woman who was fighting cancer discovered when her baby was born. However, it wasn’t until she caught a glimpse of my photograph in a blog post while looking over her colleague’s shoulder that she realized the woman she’d been hearing about all these months was someone she knew. Me.

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