When first diagnosed, the shock had my head spinning. Talk about having your life plans hijacked. I was self-employed, under-insured, living alone, with all my family living on the East Coast. My friends in Ojai were shocked and overwhelmed as well, but lovingly showed up as “family” for me.

I needed a place to hear myself, sort out my thoughts, and be witnessed in my grief and shock. Mutual friends referred me to Susan Kapadia. I met with her, attended support groups, got referrals, and made friends with other people with cancer. The club you don’t want to be in… and yet, the camaraderie really helped! I was able to bring my Dad to speak with Susan when he visited, and I know it helped him to get support too.

Because she has walked with cancer, I felt I could say the things to her that I could not to other family and friends. My biggest, darkest fears and concerns, she could understand. She was able to help me clarify my needs and values… and to put a care plan in place for myself. Most importantly, she exuded compassion – and her smile was like a healing balm. I’ll be forever grateful for her and OjaiCARES.