COS COB, Conn. — For most people, “cancer” is an ugly word. But for Elizabeth Bayer, a vibrant Tucson resident who was diagnosed with Stage III colorectal cancer, the cancer journey was about accepting the diagnosis and experiencing it with gratitude and love. The disease fostered Elizabeth’s life mission: to help people view cancer differently and find the positive aspects of the cancer journey, beyond bitterness and anger.
Chicken Soup for the Soul has made Elizabeth’s poignant true story, It’s Just a Word: Reclaiming Your Life Through Cancer — Beautifully, available to the public in Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Cancer Book (Chicken Soup for the Soul Publishing, LLC, March 2009, 978-1-935096-30-6, $14.95, edited by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen and David Tabatsky). As a book within a book, It’s Just a Word is an inspirational, frank memoir that brings forth a distinct viewpoint — the powerful 45-page handbook was written to help others embrace life with cancer as Elizabeth did.
“From the time Elizabeth was diagnosed, through surgery and treatments and remission, when her sickness returned so aggressively until she closed her eyes for the last time” says Patty Bayer Troup, Elizabeth’s sister, “she repeated her mantra again and again: ‘It’s not about cancer, it’s about my life mission.”
Adapted from It’s Just a Word, Elizabeth continues to pass on her most valuable lessons learned:
1. Language — Share the news in language that is empowering and avoids victimhood. Instead of “I have cancer,” say “I have been diagnosed with cancer.”
2. Choice — You have a choice about everything: your doctors, your treatment and your body.
3. Ask — Write down all your questions and bring someone with you to every appointment for note-taking.
4. Secure a team — Research doctors’ backgrounds, ask for recommendations and make sure you trust them.
5. Put your affairs in order — To focus on healing, assign a medical power of attorney and a team leader in charge of informing others of your progress — before surgery.
6. Speak up — Stay on top of your treatment, and communicate with your doctors about your medical history.
7. Open your heart — Decide what has meaning for you. Why do you want to live? For your kids, your significant other, a life mission?
8. Manage expectations — Have a sense of humor about unexpected experiences in treatment and recovery.
9. Divine intervention — Regardless of your religious affiliation or level of spirituality, be prepared to recognize God’s sense of humor, even in the worst circumstances.
10. Resume life — Take time to consider all you have experienced through surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation, then choose to move on to life after treatment.
11. Embrace adversity — Personal introspection will help you learn from the experience.
12. Honor friendship — Welcome opportunities to receive from others and also to serve others.
“Elizabeth’s insights could be of huge value to anyone, patient and medical professionals, alike, facing the fearful realities of cancer,” says Dr. Becky Natrajan, the gastroenterologist who initially diagnosed Elizabeth in 2005.
Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Cancer Book features a cross-section of real-life experiences from patients, from medical professionals, survivors and their loved ones — those who overcame cancer, and those who did not. The book brings them courage and strength to face the disease head-on. A portion of the book’s proceeds will benefit colorectal cancer research.
Humbled by her sister’s tremendous wisdom and strength, Patty Bayer Troup is available for interviews on Elizabeth’s behalf. She has worked in the financial industry for more than 30 years, and advocates healthy living through exercise, yoga and Jin Shin Jyutsu®. She and her husband Kent enjoy traveling, skiing, tennis and their hometown New York City.
Please visit www.elizabethbayer.com for a photo gallery, a link to the book, and a page dedicated to the songs she wrote, sang, and recorded.
For reprint rights, to schedule an interview with Patty Bayer Troup, or to receive a review copy of the book, please contact Stephanie Mayabb at (512) 478-2028 ext. 203, firstname.lastname@example.org. Elizabeth Bayer is the author of the inspirational memoir It’s Just a Word,which is a 45 page read included within Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Cancer Book. >
Elizabeth was introduced to Tucson, Arizona while spending family vacations at a local spa. She eventually moved there in 1991 to begin a new life.
She started working with the Victim Witness program (crisis intervention) in Tucson and remained with them on a volunteer basis for the next eight years. Elizabeth obtained her real estate license in 1993 and published a series of articles in a regional real estate publication.
Elizabeth was designated a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer from the University of Phoenix in 2000. She was employed full—time as an Executive Assistant for Raytheon.
Elizabeth served as the Southwest Area Coordinator for The Way of the Heart since 2003.