23 April 2017

Who are you traveling with?

A number of fellow travelers accompanied me through this week. And I’m pretty sure—based on the therapeutic sheer pleasure of hanging out with them—I’m much healthier for it.

There was the cancer-kicking, wilderness-hiking posse at our season opener: Six gentle miles along the Metolius River.


Photo credit: Mike Gibson


Continue Reading

17 April 2017

Cancer diagnosis: 15 excellent answers to “What next?”

Back when my husband, Gary, and I first heard those epic, unbalancing words: “You have cancer,” my thoughts swirled around, What next? Where do we go from here?


Photo credit: Unsplash


Continue Reading

14 April 2017

Where is Hubby when I need him?!

Last evening, the rain stopped; the Pacific waves were calm; and just before the sun went to bed, she gave one last brilliant show. All for my enjoyment while standing at the window of my cute little vacation rental.

Pacific view from my window


Continue Reading

10 April 2017

Brave-making ventures: Success and failure

It’s gorgeously stormy and gray out. I can hear the pound of the Pacific, even though this tiny quaint vacation rental with its hardwood floors and stone fireplace is shut up tightly against the rain.

Hubby and I loved coming to the Oregon coast. I haven’t been back since he died, but it’s been on my brave-making list. And so, here I am.

Hubby’s hairstyle designed by chemo


Continue Reading

2 April 2017

Celebrating a life well lived: Random thoughts

Family and friends gathered in Idaho this weekend to celebrate a life well lived: Mom-in-law Ivalene, who died of complications due to pancreatic cancer.


Jack and Ivalene Johnson, 1946


Since yesterday’s Celebration of Life service, a few random thoughts have been swirling in my brain:

Continue Reading

26 March 2017

43 highly effective self-care tips

Self-care was something I didn’t do well in the final months of my husband’s life. Because I could do it all myself. Because I didn’t want to bother other people. Because self-care sounds rather selfish, self-centered, self-conscious.

But it’s not. Self-care is simply doing those things that help us take care of our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health. So we can better care for others.


Photo credit: Unsplash


Continue Reading

19 March 2017

10 health benefits of creativity

This artistic arrangement caught my eye while walking the Tumalo Creek trail. Smooth stones, conifer cones, tree branches. And an icy snowball. Someone was feeling creative, and it made me smile.

Did you know creativity has a good deal to do with our health and well-being?


Photo credit: Marlys


Continue Reading

12 March 2017

Cancer and financial toxicity: 6 tactics

My friend, upon turning 40, had a mammogram. Suspicious areas showed up in both breasts, which precipitated an ultrasound, two biopsies and additional mammography. All to the tune of $4,000. Although no cancer was detected, my friend needs to return every six months for images. “High risk,” they said. “We need to watch this closely,” they said.

Here’s the catch: Her insurance pays for preventive mammography, but not diagnostic mammography. Which means the ongoing imaging will be a significant out-of-pocket expense.

Short of propping open a guitar case and strumming on the streets, what’s a person to do?


Photo credit: Pixabay


Continue Reading

5 March 2017

11 secrets I learned about living after losing

After my husband, Gary, died of cancer, I relocated to southern California, claimed my daughter-in-law’s pink-rimmed bike as my own, and said Yes to several not-necessarily-planned-far-in-advance adventures.


Venice Beach with my pink-rimmed ride


Continue Reading

26 February 2017

22 ways to support your newly-diagnosed friend

Over the past few years, a number of people have asked about best ways to support a newly-diagnosed friend, neighbor, or family member. Or how to support someone who just learned a loved one had cancer.


Photo credit: Unsplash


Continue Reading

About Me

Hello, my name is Marlys Johnson. I’m a cancer widow, author, speaker and blogger. I love getting outdoors; would rather lace up hiking boots than go shopping. I have a passion for repurposing old junk into cool new stuff. And an even greater passion for showing people how to navigate life's challenges. Tenaciously. And with heart wide open.

Read More