A Quest for Well-Being podcast

The Gifts Of Cancer, Spirituality & The Miracle Of Life

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— As a happily married, fifty-five-year-old professional woman, Susan Keller had it all—or thought she did—until the day of her shocking diagnosis with stage 4 Mantle Cell Lymphoma, a rare and aggressive disease. Within minutes of being admitted to the hospital, her beautifully ordinary life disappeared. How would cancer affect her marriage?

Facing a possible death sentence, Susan experienced visions so lucid and beautiful that she imagined she was looking into the foyer of death or a magnificent afterlife. Her mind and body melded into all that surrounded her. Bliss replaced fear. Cancer and spirituality were one. But during the darkest moments, Susan questioned the nature of mortality. Does death have the same shape, sound, and feeling for everyone? Did the father she yearned for think of her the moment he died? What would she think of? Would there be regret, celebration, or nothingness?

After months of grueling inpatient chemo, she faced another seemingly impossible hurdle. To survive, she needed a bone marrow transplant. But Johnny—her brilliant, off-the-grid brother—was the only possible donor. But he’d vanished decades earlier.

Blood Brother is a family saga of curing an incurable cancer and of the enigmatic events that led to finding a man who never wanted to be found. It also explores why he disappeared and delves into what it means to forgive the parents who abused and abandoned them. Susan survived twice: once a violent childhood and secondly a devastating cancer.

Blood Brother is a story of life after a bone marrow transplant. It’s a moving tale of rebuilding a family, recognizing the unexpectedly stunning gifts of cancer, and of how to embrace a profoundly generous second chance at life.

Valeria Teles interviews Susan Keller — The author of “Blood Brother: A Memoir.”

Susan Keller enjoyed a 30-year career as an award-winning medical writer. Her poetry won prizes in regional and national contests. She has a degree in Public Health and Immunology from U. C. Berkeley. 

This background in science as well as poetry makes the voice in her first book, Blood Brother: A Memoir, both lyric as well as credible.  A frequently fatal lymphoma inspired Susan to write Blood Brother: A Memoir. Articles about her story of hope and survival have been published in: Psychology Today; Conquer: The Patient Voice; two Guideposts Magazines; Patient Power; and several newspapers. She is a monthly blog contributor to Psychology Today and CURE Magazine. Susan is a presenter at Dominican University and at Stanford Cancer Center. All links available upon request. She is currently working on a novel entitled Flask. Susan lives in the Bay Area with her husband, Daniel. 

To learn more about Susan Keller and her work, please visit: susankeller.com


— This podcast is a quest for well-being, a quest for a meaningful life through the exploration of fundamental truths, enlightening ideas, insights on physical, mental, and spiritual health. The inspiration is Love. The aspiration is to awaken new ways of thinking that can lead us to a new way of being, being well.  

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