Momma | Personal Stories

Loving the Dance of Life + Giveaway!

May 2, 2017

**GIVEAWAY at the end of this post !**


Cancer can be a scary word. Terrifying really. I hear it and feel an instant flood of emotions and thoughts. It really does terrify me how common it is and how many people I have met recently who have or had some type of cancer. I know how it can affect families and I can only imagine what it is like to hear those dreaded words from a doctor.

But I have learned from my Mother that you cannot give the word cancer that kind of power. Your mind can be stronger than the body and you CAN fight it. My mom is walking , talking living proof that faith and love can overcome it all.

In 2015 my mom published her first book. She had been writing her story for YEARS. Her intention at first was to just get her story out there. For her to write it all down so she wouldn’t forget. Who knew that it would take off the way it did! She had no publicity manager, no real connections in the writing world and no writing experience. But her book was quickly rated the “Number 1 Hot New Release ” on Amazon and the positive reviews of her book were flooding in. The love and support she received from everyone was brilliant. It wasn’t just friends and family that were loving her book, people were asking for interviews and for her to speak at events. I don’t think my mom even knew where this would take her but I am confident that God did. My mom has always been a little quiet and a bit timid, but this book has shown her that she has one powerful voice and people want to hear it. It is beautiful to watch how much confidence she has gained from all this while still being so humble about her new success.

Photo credit: Carl Aubele

Two years later since her book was released she has had 10 interviews, has spoken at 12  events, was interviewed on the radio and television and people are sharing her book all over the world! Her reviews on Amazon gave me chills as I read them. I know how much of an inspiration my Mom is to ME. But to see all these people who are inspired by her story is just an unexplainable feeling. I have always looked up to my Mom. She is so incredibly strong in the sweetest, most gentle way.  And now she gets to share that love and inspiration with the world!

When I received my signed copy of her book in the mail I did not wait even a minute to start reading. I read it so fast and couldn’t look away until it was done. See, even though this is my families story, I was only a few months old when she was diagnosed. So some of those details were never known to me until I read about it. It was crazy to see my name in a book. And it was even crazier to see my mom’s name on the cover ! Her book is her true story of being diagnosed with stage 4 acute Leukemia at just 29 years old. With three daughters, me being the youngest, and my loyal and hardworking father, my mom fought hard to survive. Her story is not just about beating cancer but also about the true love my parents have. I have always known that the idea of two people being true “soul mates” can happen. My parents have been through hell and back. Multiple times. And instead of the stress and trauma breaking them, it only made them stronger. They have been married now for 39 years this May and my Dad still opens the door for my Mom. They still hold hands, kiss every morning and every night, always say “I love you” and have always been a team. I am blessed to have been raised by parents who love each other so much and I learned so much just from watching them.

Joan 5
Here is a photo of the party we had in our backyard to celebrate my Ma being cancer free for 5 years. My Dad is in the middle, my mom to the right, to the right of her is Dr. Madhaven and beside her is my maternal Grandmother. To the left of my father is my Grandma Aubele and the three women to her left are the nurses who helped save my mothers life

The first page of chapter one will give you goosebumps. It did for me, at least…

 My God, I’m twenty-nine years old, and I’m dying. My baby will never know her mother other than in the photograph she’ll hold!

It’s a gloomy, relentlessly bitter day- the kind of day when your body aches, a day when it’s impossible to escape the bone-chilling dampness.

I slump against the tan and blue plaid walls. I’m too weak to sit up on my own on the examination table. My eyelids are weighed down, as if concrete bricks are upon them.

An antibiotic shot from Dr. Zapata will zap this. I’ve self-diagnosed myself as having a strep infection or maybe mastitis.

Monster headaches and sheer exhaustion are just par the course. Right? After all, I am nursing a four-month-old, on the constant go with two additional young children, all while tackling the unpacking from our recent move. That surely explains why I feel as though I were hit by a truck. I am just being a wuss!”

Once her doctor says “your blood looks funny” it all went south. When they diagnose her with stage 4 acute Leukemia, or the “childhood cancer” they tell her that death is inevitable and that my father should start making funeral arrangements. My mother decided that just wasn’t an option and fought like hell.

Aubele family photo 1994

She dealt with family members that didn’t know how to deal with her illness, a mother who was mentally ill, and of course the physical and mental trauma that was happening from the aggressive chemo. All while living in a hospital for months, not being home with her own children and husband.

My father and her faith kept her strong and she talks about some of the many conversations she had with God. After so much pain, surgery, strokes… a true miracle happened and this is where my mother’s story starts to get even more unique.

Miracles are real people, and my mother’s experiences are true modern-day miracles. She must have one amazing guardian angel because she actually has received several miracles. She is not “lucky” to be alive. She is alive because of who she is, because God heard her prayers. Not only did she beat cancer but also survived THREE strokes and now deals with a crazy strict dietary disease that she will have the rest of her life. It is amazing how strong us women  can be. How strong MOTHERS can be.  My mother’s body has been through so much, and doctors even said at one point that if she were to survive  she would never walk or talk again! Can you imagine if my parents just settled with that doctor’s news? That she just gave up and didn’t work to be where she is now?

Doctor’s are not always right! Today my mother not only can talk, walk and feed herself just fine, but she can even go on 1-2 mile walks and raised three girls! Her speech impediment and lack of balance are the only two things that most people notice when meeting my mother. And that is usually after they notice her huge blue eyes first.  When I was a child it took me many years to understand what my Mom had went through. How COULD a 5 year old even get it? I just knew my mom had been sick once but isn’t anymore. And I remember the long weekly car rides driving to Mercy Center hospital for my mom to get her medicine. When I was four years old , I thought all moms just needed medicine  weekly. Like it was just the norm. I hated those long car rides but I loved going to Burger King and getting a cheeseburger with a cardboard crown! My Grandma Aubele, who drove my mom and I there each week,  always made these trips fun. It was really a big part of my childhood.

nat & gram
Me being a goof with my Grandma Aubele during one of our lunch dates after Mom’s chemo

As I started making friends with all the kids in my neighborhood and going to their houses to play, I started asking questions. I wondered why Lyndsi’s mom could rollerblade and mine could not. And why can Katie’s mom play catch in the yard but my mom can’t? I can only imagine how hard it was for my mother to answer those questions. How those tears must have swelled in her eyes but she stayed so calm and patient with me. There were even times that I got angry. I was mad that Mom couldn’t come fishing with me and Dad. I was mad that we couldn’t all go on a hike when on vacation in Wisconsin. I loved my Mom and thought she was pretty cool so I just wanted her to come too!  I thought she just didn’t want to come with us. I look back now and just feel this lump in my throat. How could I have been so insensitive? I wish I had understood what she went through. How she had fought and struggled for me and my sisters! She could have given up, and even thought about it once. But she didn’t. And now she is here and has 4 grandchildren! She fought the fight and survived so that we could have a mother and our children would have their grandmother.

I am beyond blessed that I got to have my mother growing up. I couldn’t imagine a life without her. And if she gave up and listened to those doctors, I would have never known her- known how amazing and beautiful she is.

One of our trips to Idaho Springs while she was visiting me out here in CO

I am going to be honest. I have not been the perfect daughter. In fact, in high school I was just terrible and gave my parents multiple near heart-attacks. I think about some of the crap I pulled as a teenager… and now that I am a parent I am just terrified. I was an idiot. And even though my parents were seen as being much more strict than my friends’ parents, I look back now and realize how extremely patient they were with me. And how grounding me for the dumb shit I pulled was for my own good.

I don’t have any photos of me and my mom when I was a baby , unfortunately, but this is my favorite of me and my Dad.

You realize so much more once you become a parent. And I remember so many times my Mom saying… ” You just wait until you have kids of your own”. Well, you were right Ma. And every day I appreciate you more and more and am filled with gratitude for you and Dad. I learned everything from my Mom and not too long ago I realized one day that I am just like her in so many ways.


I am so proud of my mom and everything that she has accomplished and I try to tell everyone about her book, so now I am sharing it with you! Please go buy it. Like right now. You can find it on Amazon and order it standard, large print or a kindle version. For an autographed copy you can go to her Facebook Page and order directly through her. And when you are done with it, give it to someone who needs to read it too. Anyone going through illness or just tough times needs to read about her modern day miracles. It’s a quick and easy read but if you are like most of those who have read it, you will be reading it at least twice, if not multiple times. She spent countless hours writing this memoir to share a piece of her life story to the world. It really is a piece of her heart.

My Mom is disabled and she wrote a BOOK that was published ! AND She has her own Etsy business Joannie’s Inspirations– where she sells beautiful handmade scarves and donates part of her sales to the Cancer Society! If my Mom can do all this, in a body that was once so broken and ill,  I know that I can do anything that I set my heart to. And you can too!

She has taught me that prayer, faith, family and love is really all you need in life.  Believe in yourself, trust in God, and love with your entire heart. Learn to love the dance of life.

Me and my sisters with our Dad and Dr. M at the book launch
The Book LaunchParty with some of our family
This is Dr. Madhaven at the Book Launch, a dear family friend, who saved my mothers life (she plays a big part in my mom’s book and you will love her just like everyone else does!)
My Mom at her Book Launch with Sandy- one of her “angels”
The Book Launch was also celebrating my Mom being cancer-free for 25 years!

To celebrate me reaching 1,000 followers on Instagram and my Ma being cancer-free for 28 years, we are coming together for an awesome GIVEAWAY! One lucky winner will win a free autographed copy of The Dance ( choice of standard or large print). And just in time for Mother’s Day too!

Thank you all SO much for reading and checking out my new blog. I appreciate you being here !!

To enter click on this 👇🏻 link , you can login with your Facebook or email , and then write a blog comment. This is your entry !:)  ** For more entries you can do additional things to earn more points !

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This giveaway is no way endorsed by Instagram, Facebook , or WordPress. Winner will be picked at random by  


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  1. Joan is truly an inspiration to many people! I am fortunate to say that I have had the opportunity to share with her, an amazing daughter as well as an loving grandson. Joan has touched many lives through her book, her “inspirations”, her kindness and her heart. What a lucky girl you are, Natalie, to be able to call her mom. ❤️

  2. What a beautiful post. You have me tearing up over here. We lost my aunt a year ago to cancer. Much more success to your mother on her book

  3. What a beautiful story. I’m glad your mom was able to tell it, so that those who are really in need, can get that inspiration that they need!

  4. How cool to have your moms story forever in her book. And soooo happy she did make it through and you were able to get to know her. I can’t even imagine going through everything she did but what a trooper! Blessed!

  5. Your mom sounds like an amazing and STRONG woman! That is amazing she was on Amazon’s top new releases list! Such an inspiration.

    1. Powerful. As I read this, the song Voice of Truth is ringing in my ears. "Oh what I would do to have The kind of faith it takes To climb out of this boat I'm in Onto the crashing waves To step out of my comfort zone Into the realm of the unknown where Jesus is And He's holding out His harGcquot;dna&e and peace to you, friend. Thank you for sharing this tender moment.

  6. Your mother is such an inspiration. Thank you for sharing this beautiful post and for showing us how strong your mother, and women in general, can be!

  7. This is an amazing story. I was so touched when I heard Jan speak about her illness. Can’t wait to read the book. Thanks for sharing this. It is a great reminder of the power of prayer, and God’s grace.

  8. This is such a great way for you to honor and appreciate your mother. She sounds like a great woman.
    You are right about it taking a child of our own to realize just how righty our moms have been. Motherhood changes everything.
    Thanks for sharing.

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