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Feb. 8, 2023

Andrea Wilson Woods - Self-Care for the Cancer Care-Giver

Andrea Wilson Woods - Self-Care for the Cancer Care-Giver

Are you a female entrepreneur and also a caregiver for a cancer patient? Is it possible to care for your loved one and have boundaries?
On this episode of the Wellness and Wealth podcast, Andrea Wilson Woods of Cancer University addresses what self-care looks like when caring for someone with cancer and after. She’ll also share how she learned in her forties that self-care prioritizes your needs before others.
In this episode, Andrea Wilson Woods answers the following questions:
What does self-care mean to her?
What was the catalyst for realizing you needed to care for yourself first?
What is the first warning sign you are not taking care of yourself because you are too busy taking care of others?
How does one not lose themself while caring for a loved one with cancer?

Are you a female entrepreneur and also a caregiver for a cancer patient? Is it possible to care for your loved one and have boundaries? 

On this episode of the Wellness and Wealth podcast, Andrea Wilson Woods of Cancer University addresses what self-care looks like when caring for someone with cancer and after. She’ll also share how she has learned in her forties that self-care is learning to prioritize your needs before others.  

In this episode, Andrea Wilson Woods answers the following questions:

  • What does self-care mean to her?
  • What was the catalyst to realizing you needed to care for yoruself first? 
  • What is the first warning sign you are not taking care of yourself because you are too busy taking care of others? 
  • How does one not lose themself while taking care of a loved-one with cancer?

Offer: Cancer U membership

Offer Link: https://cancer.university

Connect with Wendy Manganaro:

Connect with Wendy Manganaro:  


Andrea Wilson Woods

[00:00:00] Wendy Manganaro: Hi everyone. My name's Wendy Manganaro and I am the Host of the Wellness and Wealth podcast. I'm so happy to have you find us. And if you could take a moment and hit that subscribe button, I'd really appreciate it. This is the podcast where we believe when you show up better for yourself as a woman business owner, you show up better for your business. 

So sit back, relax. And learn from the practical to the woo-hoo, how to best take care of you. Have a great day. Stay blessed. And leave a review when you're done listening to the show, thanks so much. 

[00:00:38] Wendy: Hi everyone. Today's topic is Self-Care for Female Entrepreneurs, and we're with Andrea Wilson Woods and I'm gonna read our bio and of course we're gonna get right into it.

Andrea Wilson Woods is a writer who loves to tell stories and a patient advocate who founded the nonprofit. Blue Ferry, the Adrian Wilson Liver Cancer Association. Andrea is the CEO and Co-founder of Cancer University, a for-profit social impact digital health company. Her bestselling award-winning book, better Off Bald A Life in hundred 47 Days as a medical memoir about raising and losing her sister to a liver cancer.

So welcome, Andrea. Thank you so much for being with us. 

[00:01:21] Andrea Wilson Woods: Oh, thank you, Wendy. You know, I adore you. 

[00:01:26] Wendy: So in all fairness to the listeners, Andrea and I have a little bit of a history, cuz actually I've been on her podcast as a childhood cancer survivor. And it was actually the first interview I had ever done about my cancer.

So, when I was thinking of guest for this show, I knew that I had to have you on because of your history with your sister. And, we always talk about self-care in so many levels here, and I know that there are entrepreneurs out there who have loved ones who have cancer and still trying to run a business.

But before we get into all of that, the question I ask every guest as far as their topic is, what does self-care mean to you?

[00:02:04] Andrea Wilson Woods: It means making yourself a priority and I think that is really hard to do for most women, and I think it's really hard to do for women who are parents, whether you are a biological mother or in my case, I raised my sister, your tendency is to put other people first. And self-care starts with making yourself a priority and giving yourself the time.

How it actually looks is different for everyone. 

[00:02:38] Wendy: I so agree with that. Everybody is so different for what self-care looks like, but it's about finding what works for you. And I think even that there's a journey within finding what works for you 

[00:02:52] Andrea Wilson Woods: Yes, there is. It does not happen overnight.

does not happen overnight. 

[00:02:58] Wendy: Well, and to that point, can you share a bit about what it looked like for you, and where you were at your life that you made the decision to put yourself first ? 

[00:03:07] Andrea Wilson Woods: I am really sorry to say that that didn't happen until my forties when I was raising my sister in my twenties.

She was my number one priority. And then in my thirties I was married and in many ways my marriage, I don't wanna say my husband is an individual, but my marriage, what we had was a priority, and it wasn't until even before I left that marriage, but I had left Los Angeles and I needed a change of scenery and a lot of people didn't understand it.

I had been in LA my whole adult life, but I wasn't from there and that was the beginning of me trying to figure out one, if I even liked myself and loved myself, and two, slowly starting to implement self-care practices. Some that are daily, some that are a couple times a week, some that are weekly, but it took time.

That's the other thing I feel. Sometimes people try to start new habits overnight, and that's not how something becomes a habit. It takes time. 

[00:04:16] Wendy: Yeah. And most people don't eat a whole apple at once. They take a bite. 

[00:04:19] Andrea Wilson Woods: Ooh. Good analogy. Yeah. 

[00:04:21] Wendy: And I don't wanna say I started necessarily in my forties, I think the last few years, especially with Covid has really solidified how important self-care is. Because I've had some life-changing events in the last year where I lost somebody very close to me and that raised me and suddenly I was like, oh, I take care of everyone else.

and am an Entrepreneur. And I think for women there is this ideology we're supposed to be heroes and we wear so many hats. We wear so many that we forget to put ourselves first.

And learning how to do that, but then it's not selfish to do that. 

[00:04:58] Andrea Wilson Woods: Yeah. And for me, I know it goes back further than that because I'm really working on these aspects now. And even though I was in therapy years ago, I don't really think we touched on very much that my mother, more so than my dad ever did.

But my mother turned me into a parent at a very young age. And from the time I was nine, 10 years old, I was the parent in the relationship. And if that is how you're raised, you don't know any different. You really don't. And so my norm, in relationships and that includes romance and friends, was to be the end all be all for that person, or at least try to be.

And sometimes you end up helping people who don't wanna be helped. It took a long time to figure that out. It really did. I attracted so many men that needed help and needed to be fixed. And maybe subconsciously wanted to be fixed, but certainly not consciously. And I was a good fixer.

I was good at taking care of people and I was also good at covering up their mistakes too. 

[00:06:10] Wendy: And it's so interesting that you say that you, learned this later, cuz I'm a big believer life is lived forward, and learned backwards. And you're sharing about your story it reminded of when , my parents divorced when I.

Six. They separated, I should say, I don't remember having to take on a parent role, but I had a really good friend down the street. We were best friends. We were both born on the same day, and his father left maybe two months after my dad left. I don't know. It was, it's when you're six time was still abstract, but I remember thinking like all of a sudden I needed to take care of him and be, make sure he was okay.

because his parent has left and it was like something switched in me that it was more important to take care of him than take care of myself about this. And I don't know if that was something innate that I had, but I was like, I have something to focus on.

And I also think that's the thing about self-care is sometimes it's uncomfortable to focus on yourself, so easier to focus on somebody else. 

[00:07:07] Andrea Wilson Woods: Oh, that's such a great point, it really is. One of my dad's favorite stories about me, and this is before my parents got divorced, was.

That I lived in this cul-de-sac, in a smaller town in western Arkansas. And again, this is, my parents were still married long before my sister was born. And every Saturday morning my dad would said as he was going off to play golf, I would have all the neighborhood kids younger and older than me together in a circle.

And I was. This is what we're going to do today, so it was a combination of being a little bossy, but also I was, I truly was the organizer. I was the leader. I was the person people came to for things. And it's interesting because there's this wonderful woman, she was the parent of a friend of mine who was my age, and I think she really saw that in me, and she saw that.

I needed more. And she was so encouraging, and we are still in touch. We lost touch for a long time, but we're still in touch to this day. And she was one of the parents I felt did not shame me or my brother when my parents got divorced because we were the only kids and the whole cul-de-sac whose parents were divorced.

And I, and it was embarrassing. It truly was. And I'm digressing quite a bit,

[00:08:24] Wendy: I understand that feeling because my parents were the first kids to get to divorce in my whole school. I understand that feeling.

[00:08:32] Andrea Wilson Woods: Wow. There's a great article, this was years ago and in the week, which I don't read anymore, but it is a good magazine and it was, I thought it was so telling. It said, If you were a baby boomer. Now, if you're a very young baby boomer, this might not be true. So sorry for the people on the cusp, but you remember where you were when you heard that JFK got shot.

If you're a millennial, you remember where you were when you heard that Osama bin was dead. Because if you think about it, they didn't really grow up with a time where they didn't know what happened. Do you know what I mean? Millennials being born between like 1980 and 2000, but if you're Gen Xer, which is what I am.

How old were you when your parents got a divorce? Because Gen Xers were really the first generation where divorce became prevalent. 

[00:09:26] Wendy: Yeah. And that makes sense. Wow. And I was actually doing a Gen X thing looking for marketing stuff the other day of how we buy and what social media sites we were on.

And that's really an interesting thing because, We spread to ourselves out more than anybody else out of all of the other generations. 

[00:09:41] Andrea Wilson Woods: Oh yeah. We were the latchkey kids. Absolutely. I mean, you look at some of the most successful people in the world today, and they're Gen Xers. 

[00:09:51] Wendy: And that's an interesting thing too, because when you think about it, is in one way it made us learn how to grow up and take care of ourselves and others, but in another way, I think there's, at least for me, I know for myself, it has stunted me in other areas because there wasn't any sort of balance between the two.

[00:10:18] Andrea Wilson Woods: There's a great book called Boundaries that someone recommended to me, gosh, less than eight years ago. and I didn't read it right away. I only read it I think in the last two years. And I would recommend that to just about anyone, even if you think your childhood was perfect. Because maybe your boundary issues are only in your professional life.

And that book really helped me understand how my childhood set me up to not have appropriate boundaries. With people In my personal life, in my professional life, I was pretty good with boundaries. Not always, but pretty good. But in my personal life, I wasn't. I wasn't, and that always surprises people.

I know I'm a really strong personality, but in my personal life I. I look back now and I'm okay with it now, but I look back now and think, wow, if I had said what I was really thinking, I wouldn't have stayed friends with that person for over a decade. You know what I mean? But I didn't know.

When you grow up without boundaries or at least appropriate ones, you don't know. 

[00:11:25] Wendy: And I think there's been a thing like, be nice to everybody. That has been passed through generations and you shouldn't not be nice.

That's not what I'm advocating just saying that, but not to the point where it hurts you. And I think that's where the boundary issues of our childhood started. it was be nice. And it was like, well why are we being nice? They're not really nice, but you were supposed to be nice anyway.

And it's taken me years to say I could be nice, but I don't have to stand there either. Like I can walk away. Which is the really I think the key difference is I don't think I'm ever, not nice, but I'm also not tolerant of bad behavior toward me anymore.

And that's all part of self-care. I always say, self-care has so many layers. And just the ability to be like, we can disagree, that's great, but I don't have to stand here and be uncomfortable about it either. That is like your choice to the point you were making to earlier too, is that there are people on, and I really, the longer that I am on this earth, the more I realize this, there are people in every stage of life,

and some of them want help, some of them don't. And I don't have to take any of it personally, it's just where they're at. 

[00:12:32] Andrea Wilson Woods: That's right, the four agreements, man, I've got them right here on my computer. And the second one is, don't take anything personally. It's so true. Don't take anything personally. It's not easy to implement.

Don't get me wrong. It's not, that's hards not, but don't take things personally. I recently had something happen in the last month where, a good friend of mine and I had just seen her too in person for my. I'll say it on your podcast for my 50th birthday. So I only celebrate the birthdays ending in zero ever since my sister died, and this was only the third one since that time.

And a whole bunch of girlfriends met me in Vegas and it was amazing. Like it was exactly what I wanted for the big five. So I'd just seen her and she's I wanna say almost inadvertently dumped something on my lap. I saw something I thought she'd be interested in it. And she was like, you just go ahead and do it for me.

And I was pissed, but I almost did it. Because I'm that person. And I'm so used to being that person. And I just took a step back and I thought, she's a grownup. She can handle this. I can be honest with her and that's what I did. So I left her a voicemail. I was very careful with my words, but honest.

and I didn't do anything accusing, like you, you, you, I used the I words, but I was very clear. I said, I feel like da, da da. And I just, and at the end I said, it's not my responsibility to do this for you. I just thought it was something you'd be interested in. If you're not, that's okay too.

Doesn't bother me either way, but it's not my responsibility. And she handled it beautifully. But she's a grownup who's done a lot of work on herself. And that situations like that, growing up in my teens and my twenties, where something would get dumped on my lap and people would dump it on my lap because they knew I would take care of it.

Because I always took care of it. And I'm getting much better at saying that's not okay. Or it's just not my job. It's not.

[00:14:35] Wendy: And to that point, There was a phase in my life that I felt like I was going through, and it was like that saying, which now I hear that saying, and I'm like, Ugh.

[00:14:44] Andrea Wilson Woods: What, what is it? 

[00:14:46] Wendy: And the saying is when you want something done, give it to the busiest person and they'll get it done. 

[00:14:50] Andrea Wilson Woods: It's true.

[00:14:51] Wendy: It is true. Because we don't know how to say no. 

[00:14:53] Andrea Wilson Woods: That's right.

[00:14:54] Wendy: So when my son was small, I was in the PTA and I was helping my husband run a nonprofit and I had my business and everybody was like, oh, give it to Wendy, she'll get it done.

And there was truth to it, but I didn't realize I was burning myself out either. There is truth to that. But on the other side of that is that when you're not careful, you don't even see how you're burning yourself out while you're taking care of what other people.

Don't take care of it. And there's a really good friend of mine, and he said this to me years ago. Somebody asked him for something and it was like, this urgent thing. And I was like, what do you mean you're not gonna go do that for them? And he's like, no, their emergency is not mine just because of their poor planning.

It blew my mind. I was like, What do you mean their poor planning isn't your emergencies? He said to me, This is what I can do, and if they can't do it within those constraints because they chose to wait till last minute. That's really not my responsibility. And I was like, 

[00:15:46] Andrea Wilson Woods: your face. I wish people could see your face.

 I wanna add too, it's a work in progress. I did that with my friend. It went beautifully. It was great. Just a few months before, I had gotten really sick the very last day of a conference, and I think it was one of my first in-person conferences since Covid, not my very first, but certainly a large one, over 25,000 people in person.

And I knew I was really sick and I don't complain and I don't get sick like that. Now, why? I didn't think it was Covid. I don't know, but and I had one day in between this one conference and then the second conference where I was speaking in Paris and this was a conference that was supposed to happen, two years prior, canceled, multiple times and finally it was gonna happen.

Well, if it had just been me, I felt good enough, and this is where professionally I can stand up for myself. I would've just, let the conference coordinators know that I can't be there. I could try to zoom in for my little talk, but I just can't go. And unfortunately though, or fortunately, My stepmother and I had planned to do this as a girls trip as well, and so we were both flying into Atlanta and then had a direct fly from Atlanta to Paris and we had tacked on a couple of days after the conference to have some fun in Paris and I called her that one day in between, I called her to let her know and I could not say no to her, and I'm not gonna regret it because I can't look

back. But I could hear the hurt in her voice and how upset she was, and she had been looking forward to the trip for two years and yada, yada, yada. And so I made a huge mistake and I went on this trip. The following day, I went and as soon as she saw me in the Atlanta airport where we met up at our gate, she took one look at me.

I hadn't said a word yet, and she said, oh my God, just looking at me. And I was sick the entire time. I did test positive for Covid and I was very fortunate. I like to think the universe was looking out for me because at that time there was a restriction or regulation in place where you had to have a negative COVID test from a pharmacy before you could fly back to the U.S.

And I was still testing positive and it was just such a miserable trip, it was just, was not good across the board. We travel fine together, but it was not good. And I was so fortunate because we were thinking, oh my God, I'm gonna get stuck in Paris. We were like, what's gonna happen?

Well, that requirement got not even waived, got eliminated on Sunday at midnight. Paris time and our flight left Tuesday morning, early. Early. So I got so fortunate because I'm not sure by Monday afternoon if I would've tested, negative or not. And I don't think she really got it until recently.

She had covid before, mild case, very mild. She finally got what I had, whatever variant it was, and yeah, we were Vaxxed and whatever didn't help very much. But she finally got what I had and she realized how sick I really was. Like she got it finally. But my gosh, I couldn't say no. And so that's where self-care starts.

It's putting yourself first, making yourself a priority. There's all these other things you can do to physically and mentally and spiritually and emotionally take care of yourself, but it all starts with making yourself a priority. 

[00:19:32] Wendy: Right. And I have done that. I have said yes when I really should have said no.

And then, I'm like, okay, I'm not gonna do that again. And I don't, but I find that if I'm not careful, I will do it in lesser forms. And I'm like, what? I don't, this is not my thing. So it and I've gotten better over the years overall of saying, yeah, no, sometimes, and I do have like bright shining objects syndrome where

I'm like, yeah, I'll go do that. And then I'm like, you don't even like that. Why are you doing that? So, I do wanna hear your experience cuz I do know that you took care of your sister. Cuz we had part of this conversation after I was on your show. You have dedicated your life helping those with cancer.

So I'm sure you come across a lot of caregivers who are exhausted from caregiving? Because again, when we talk about this idea of self-care, and I've come across women who are entrepreneurs taking care of someone currently with cancer.

So for you, what are the warning signs that you see in other people That they need to step back because they're not actually helpful at that point, because they're not taking care of themselves.

[00:20:40] Andrea Wilson Woods: I think the number one sign is probably not enough sleep and not good sleep.

And I've personally had issues with sleep. My entire life since childhood, I still remember, ironically while I was taking care of my sister during that short cancer journey of less than five months, that was the best sleep of my life. To this day, still is, and it was strange because I really do believe that my brain knew that if I didn't shut it off and I was exhausted.

I was falling into bed, right? But my brain knew that I had seven hours or less if there was no emergency visit. And there often was in the middle of the night to the er, but if there wasn't, I had these seven precious hours from the time I got her tucked in with the last of her meds until the time I woke up.

Probably took a five minute shower tops and got ready for the day with her and. Did that stop me from being exhausted? No, but it at the time, it certainly helped. It was like my brain just knew. But I think fatigue really creeps up on you and sometimes when, at least for me, but I sometimes see this, especially in other women, when you're feeling emotional and you get triggered by the slightest thing, it's often coming from a place of exhaustion.

It really is. And just a couple weeks ago, I had this happen on a Saturday night with my partner and I just cried for two hours and I repeated myself over and over. I just kept saying, I'm just so exhausted. I'm exhausted. That's what it is. I'm just flat out exhausted and I started taking some things off my plate.

 I had to, until I feel better again till I feel a little more rested and healthier. So man, if you're not sleeping well, and this goes for men too, to be fair, it just affects every single other aspect of your life , it affects everything. And for those people out there who sleep well, in fact, here's one of my favorite celebrity stories of all time.

Someone asked Julia Roberts once, what was her special skill? Like her little secret gift. And she said, and I don't think the interviewer appreciated by the way. She said, I have the ability to fall asleep anywhere and feel great. Like it feel wonderful. And I'm thinking that's a gift. That is a gift to be able to fall asleep anywhere.

That's amazing. And I think for people who maybe don't run themselves ragged, or even if they keep long hours, they are able to get good sleep, whatever that is for them, even if it's five or six hours, they get really good, solid, uninterrupted sleep. They have no idea what it's like when you're always tired.

And that's hard. It's really hard. 

[00:23:41] Wendy: Yeah. I'm like you, I don't sleep well and it used to be if I didn't get at least six hours sleep, I couldn't function and then it went to five hours. And really, which is a crazy thing but I have to have those five hours and I know right away when I don't, because I can feel how

annoyed am at life for no reason when that happened. And that's an interesting thing, that's the warning sign, is that you're not sleeping well. And I know that the stress of taking care of somebody else during such a difficult time could cause you not To sleep well. The stress of it alone. And then you get into this cycle. So, what would be some hints or some tips, like some solutions if you're finding yourself in taking care of a loved one with cancer, because I know that this is really where you spend a lot of your time, and they don't know how to take that step back first is it okay to take that step back?

Where do they turn to if they're finding themselves so exhausted? Trying to manage it all and yet I have found even if somebody doesn't want to get well, for whatever reason, but I have found that if I am giving more, then I have.

Available to give then it's not really helping the person I'm trying to help anyway. And so in your experience for caregiving and somebody, especially somebody who has cancer, what can they do to give themselves permission to take that step back?

 I find that the patients want caregivers to be okay. And almost every patient or survivor I've ever interviewed has said that it was harder on the caregivers because the patient needs to focus on getting and even if they're a child, their entire focus is themselves and it should be, but they can see the wear and tear on the caregiver, and I think, What's really good is, first of all, most people wanna help and they don't have a clue how.

And I've had some debate with people over this, and this is where, as a caregiver, you can ask for help and with no expectations. And so, One of the things I did do was I looked at things I could take off my plate. I mean anything directly with my sister Adrian's care. That was all me.

But there were a lot of these other sort of extraneous things that people could help me with and some were small things and one-off things, and some were bigger things, and I asked for help. And some people said yes, and some people said no, you do find out who your friends are during times like that for sure.

I think what was challenging for me, and I don't know about other caregivers, but if that loved one dies, I feel if my sister had survived, it was all worth it. But if that loved one dies, my exhaustion didn't hit me for almost probably a year because I just kept going because I didn't know any other way to be, and I was that person

like I mentioned, I was that way as a kid. I was that way as an adult. I was this center and I had all these different friends who weren't friends with each other necessarily, but were part of my life and it was a full year before finally, I just snapped. And was like, I cannot do this anymore.

I cannot please you people anymore. I can't show up to your parties and pretend there isn't this huge void missing because my sister went everywhere with me. They all knew her. And so I wish I could say something like Rosie and positive, I will say that all of my friends, with the exception of maybe one or two were with me during that time.

They were all like aunts and uncles to my sister, and so they were there for her whole cancer journey. But after she died and that year later when I got to the point where I was falling apart and I needed to fall apart, like that needed to happen, I lost most of those friends I did, and man, it sucked.

It was awful. And so I think that a big part of it too is that when you make yourself a priority and you start taking care of yourself, all those other people you took care of may not stick around. And that's okay. That's okay. You gotta let 'em go. And it's hard. It's hard. I'm a fiercely loyal person and I lost both my high school best friend and then later my college best friend, and I still think about 'em.

I do, but we're not friends at all. 

That's interesting. I had a similar experience when my dad passed away, cuz I was, I wasn't his full-time caretaker, but I was taking family leave and driving six hours every week to go, take care of him three days a week. I'd work four days, leave three days, and it was, 

[00:28:46] Andrea Wilson Woods: that's a lot.

[00:28:47] Wendy: It was a lot, and I did it for six months at the time that my son was also getting therapy in the home and diagnosed on the spectrum. So it was a lot during that time. And I came back to work right after he passed away. Like I and my boss at the time said, you need to take some time.

And I was like, Nope. Because I had been on for. So long that I was like, no. And six months later, when I quit that job and ended up starting my own business, it hit me. I mean it really hit me at that point. And so I understand that because you're so used to being at this level of I need to go, I need to go.

I need to go. You fall off at some point in time and I really think that's what women need to hear because while you're going through it, you're like, see, I can do this. It'll be okay. And if I just keep doing what's in front of you and you become like this task master Instead of giving yourself the time to say, no, this is what I need.

And so at six months later, I had no choice. And it's so interesting because when my uncle passed away this past year, I was like, I'm not doing that to myself again. I took the time then, but I had that experience. To know that I was like, I'm just gonna feel it cuz it's not gonna go away and I took about six months on the opposite end to really say this was a huge loss for me.

So it was like all of this grieving. The other thing that you talked about though too is losing your friend. I have found whether it's a negative person or whether I've been trying to be more positive or whatever that is. I learned that the difference is that when I do set that boundaries, those people do go away on their own.

And sometimes it is sad, but I also go, we're not all gonna grow at the same. And maybe one day that'll be great, but more likely than not, we're not all gonna be at the same page and we don't understand because we haven't walked through the same experience and we go seek those who would be more understanding to the experience.

Cuz they have similar experiences. But it's not easy. It's not easy. 

[00:30:43] Andrea Wilson Woods: And it will hit you eventually. Maybe it'll hit you in the form of a heart attack and you die. That's how it could hit you. But when, I fell apart, I came back together.

So by the time I met my ex-husband, I was back to Andrea's got a million things going on, she's just a firecracker. Go, go, go, go, go. And that's the person my ex-husband met. He met that person and then there was a time when, actually it's started when I started working on the first draft of my book.

But also we started having problems in our marriage and I just hit bottom and he had no idea what to do. And to be fair, I don't even think he knew who I was anymore. And I was still me. I just could not keep up the pace that I had been doing. And I look back now and I'm like, oh my God.

Like I was that person that there was not a spare minute in the day ever, and I'm still an obsessive planner, like I'm the least impulsive person. I know and I embrace it now, but if I say I'm gonna show up where somewhere, seven months, five days from now at X time and X City, I will be there.

You can count on me to show up. So I think people know I'm reliable. Impulsive, not so much . And I think one of the things at least that helped me and might help those who really love animals, a year or so after my sister died, I got the dog I had always wanted my whole adult life. I got my English mastiff named Winston and Animals, especially dogs, because of what their needs are, they force you to slow down.

So you're still taking care of someone other than yourself, but in many ways you're taking care of yourself. Because you need to walk the dog, and that's time, that's just you and the dog and so I find animals to be. Extremely healing. I know that doesn't work for everyone, but for me that helped a lot with my dog.

But during that time I just talked about our dogs started having some pretty serious health issues and when a, 200 pound English mastiff has a hip replacement , it's not an easy recovery for anyone involved.

[00:33:00] Wendy: Oh, I would be lost without my puppies. I honestly, I have four of 'em. I have four dogs, two cats. And my new thing is I make food for them and my husband, he's like, oh, you are going through empty nest early. He's a little concerned about me, but I'm like, no, really

I enjoy it and the dogs actually like my food. And the people don't always, but the dogs do. . So there's that part too. This has been a wonderful conversation. It's always a joy to talk to you and, I would love for you to tell the listeners about Cancer U and how they can get involved. that would be great.

[00:33:32] Andrea Wilson Woods: Yeah, Cancer U is an online platform for cancer patients and caregivers to educate, empower, and engage them to become advocates for their care. And you can go to cancer.university, and that's the website. That's where all the social media links are. We're pretty much Cancer U University on every social media platform, except I think Facebook and Twitter.

 And there were Cancer Youth Thrivers. And like you mentioned, you were a guest on our podcast, the Cancer Youth Thriver podcast. 

[00:34:03] Wendy: This has been so pleasant. I love talking to you, Andrea. I, wanna thank you for coming on the show again. It was awesome.

And thank you for being you. You are a light, because I know that a lot of people, when they go through cancer, they need that light and they need to have questions answered. And you're certainly one of those people who have been helping and that's an amazing thing.

I always think anybody who gives their time to such daunting illness and so to have somebody help them through that is awesome. So thank you. 

[00:34:31] Andrea Wilson Woods: Oh, thank you so much for having me.

[00:34:32] Wendy: For my listeners, thank you for listening. If you love the show, please subscribe and leave a review. And until next time, have a blessed week.


Andrea Wilson WoodsProfile Photo

Andrea Wilson Woods


ANDREA WILSON WOODS is a writer who loves to tell stories, and a patient advocate who founded the nonprofit Blue Faery: The Adrienne Wilson Liver Cancer Association. Andrea is the CEO and co-founder of Cancer University, a for-profit, social-impact, digital health company. Her best-selling and award-winning book, Better Off Bald: A Life in 147 Days, is a medical memoir about raising and losing her sister to liver cancer.