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“Nonfiction writers face a sticky choice: to confide in the reader or confess to the reader? Julia Burns beautifully, artfully—often humorously—balances both. She confides and confesses, and the honesty of her words strikes at the heart of the nonfiction writer’s goal to always to write the truth.”

-Scott Mason, WRAL-TV’s Tar Heel Traveler Author of Faith and Air: The Miracle List, and the Tar Heel Traveler book series

“A profound and honest account of Dr. Burns’ experience with breast cancer. Her faith and belief in her own healing are deeply moving. Her perspective as a provider turned patient is full of wisdom and insight. An inspiring and unique read for anyone whose life has been touched by cancer.”

—Jennie Petruney, MSN, ANP-BC, AOCNP Duke Cancer Institute

“A most moving reflection on human experience and Grace from a full grateful heart and the Holy Spirit, and the best preparation imaginable for our eternal journey together. Truly a wonderful piece of writing.”

—Doug Monroe Executive Director, Praxis Circle, Inc.

Travel Plans

This post is in honor of my husband who loved me beyond words.

It’s been ten days since I found out. Strange how fast your world contracts when a diagnosis takes you into weeks of chemo, followed by surgery and radiation.

I feel so far away. So much further than if I had actually gone to Hong Kong and then India. Before the diagnosis, I was researching our trip to the Taj Mahal, determining transportation, emailing Sachi, our Rotary Exchange daughter, to see if she wanted to go with us. Sachi lives in Gujarat, and we were planning a reunion. Her family wanted to thank us for watching out for her during her year in America.

While planning our itinerary, I noticed the Taj Mahal was closed on Friday.

“We can’t go to the Taj Mahal on Friday. It’s closed, and we wouldn’t want to cross the country to find ourselves locked out of that beautiful palace.”

Taj Mahal image 0

Taj Mahal

That building embodies such an amazing love story about a king so enamored with his wife that he built the white palace in her honor. Then he was imprisoned by his son because he wanted to build another white palace to honor her once more. His adoration almost bankrupted the country.

Now I wonder about another love story. One where a husband sits for eight hours in the waiting room of an oncology hospital, wondering, What could be taking so long?, and When will they be finished draining his wife’s abscess? His cell phone was not working, and his tablet was out of juice, so he couldn’t even distract himself with business calls and money matters.

Message: Remember to appreciate all the kindnesses you experience from your family, providers, and friends. Thank them. I remember reminding myself, If I’m dying, I might as well have fun. If I’m not dying, I might as well have fun. I stuck to that over the two- year course of treatment. Gratitude was an important tool in my repertoire.


  1. excellent post. i love reading the excerpts from this book and can’t wait to read the entire thing.

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