Scars in the Sunlight

With Shelly Vaughn

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Scars in the Sunlight

I am healthy and strong and ready to add to my story… by sharing it.

In just a few weeks, I’ll be a published author and have a memoir available on Amazon! It’s been a lot of work to get to this point- tons of drafts then working with an editor, cover designer, and publisher/friend. The book is a compilation of my entries from this Holding Space blog, with reflections on them as I look back 6 years since it all happened.

It has been so emotional- being thrown right back into each moment and reliving the hardest ones. But that has also been another step of healing for me. I am hoping that by sharing my story, insights, thoughts, and suggestions I can help other women facing the same diagnosis (or their caregivers). Sharing my story in order to potentially help someone else brings purpose to the pain of it all.

I have two important thoughts about the book that I want to share with you all- since you’re my people!! First, to reiterate the lifelong gratitude for all of you who helped us! There were so many people doing so many things for us. Reading through the entire experience really shows the immense support system that we had. Some mentioned by name. Some mentioned by the love you showed my family. All of you so special!

Secondly, the acknowledgment of the hardest thing- I wish my mom was still here for this. I mention her in the book without elaborating on her own cancer story because she was so private in her experience. Hers is not my story to share, but is still such a huge part of mine. Every word about her, what to include and exclude, was intentional. And it’s the thing I’m most thinking about as the publication date approaches. She is the reason for so much of my story- she shaped me into who I am today- and likely has a connection to most of you. All of those connections- intertwined and once faded- became so obvious to me these past few years. What a gift!

I have been held by God and by you through the hardest time of my life. You all held space for me during my unknown. Now it’s time to shift the focus through another stage of healing by changing the name of my blog to the title of my book: Scars in the Sunlight.

I will still add entries to this group- I don’t think I can stop now. 🙂 I’ll share the details of the official book publishing date and link to Amazon soon so that you all know where to find it- especially if/when you know another person with a similar diagnosis. It’s too common, but we can get through all the hard stuff… together. Stay close.

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TOUGH: Women Who Survived Cancer


Not much bonds people together like shared experience. And not much feels more supportive through a life challenge than knowing someone else can relate to it. Now friends, there is a tangible way to make that happen for any woman who has to survive through a cancer diagnosis.

I’m excited to share that my story has been published… in an actual book! It’s part of a collection of essays written by 37 cancer survivors. My friend, Terese Gavin, who is also a survivor, let me know back in 2017 that she heard about this project and suggested that I look into it. (Terese, I’ll forever be grateful to you for this.)

The project was started by Marquina Iliev-Piselli, a breast cancer survivor who is known for her approach to treatment through “glam chemo”. She was looking for stories of other women who got through cancer treatment in creative ways, so I submitted to the project to share how I used this Facebook group and blog to connect with people and share my story.

Thankfully, Marquina chose my story to be added to the collection, and worked hard to get it off the ground and onto actual pages.

I’m so excited and proud to be a part of this. I feel like it’s exactly what people need when they are diagnosed, going through treatment, or if they know someone doing those because it’s 37 different perspectives on what that experience is really like. Each of us also included our own “best advice” that is honest and inspiring… even as I read others’ advice long after my own treatment is over.

Listen, we’re all human trying to get through tough stuff. So if you know someone who is diagnosed, or in the middle of treatment, I’d suggest sharing this book with them. Not because my story is in it, but because there’s not much more valuable than realizing you’re sharing your experience with 37 other not-so-strangers-anymore from around the country.

I’ve often said about 2017: Though I was more surrounded and supported than ever, I had never felt so alone. If I had this book at the time, those feelings would likely not had been so strong. These women sharing their stories that include all the messy feelings of fear, hope, anger, confusion, and faith- they all give survivors the invaluable support of shared experience.

Here is the link to the book on Amazon. It’s a best seller since it was released.  It means people are reading it. And knowing that people are reading our stories gives purpose to our own struggles.

TOUGH: Women Who Survived Cancer