Hi, I’m Gina!

In September of 2018, I was diagnosed with Stage 4 Colon Cancer. At the time, I was a 45-year-old mother of twins and stepmother of two teens, working full time (and sometimes a lot more) at Starcom, the media agency at which I have worked since I graduated from college. I was inoperable; tumor covered 80% of my liver, and each of my first three oncology consults estimated I had 1-2 years to live. (I found a fourth oncologist.)

My husband started a Facebook group for me to share updates with friends and family. He called it “We Are All Made of Stars,” inspired by my request for supporters to join me in visualizing tiny stars flowing into my body and gently nipping away at my disease. Over time, it became more than just a place to post medical updates; I found myself writing to help process everything that was happening, and gradually sharing more authentic updates with what ultimately became a community.

Eventually, I turned our posts from the group into a public blog, so that a broader audience would be able to read about and learn from my journey. You can find it at We Are All Made of Stars.

I first came to Substack for a yearlong project I called “Strive for Five.” Across the course of one year, on the way to the five-year anniversary of my diagnosis, I took an honest inside look at my journey with cancer and recovery. I shared four years of original posts along with the hidden truths I didn’t share then or new reflections as I looked back on them. I thought writing honestly about my experience might help at least one person; I was surprised to find that the person it most helped was me.

If you’d like to read Strive for Five in its entirety, the best place to start is Here We Go.

With that project wrapped, I’m returning to a more traditional blog format where I write regularly, usually with a focus on getting better: physically and emotionally; personally and professionally; and even, occasionally, culinarily.

I’ll spend some time (and some posts) trying to pull together more thoughtful summations of the things my journey with cancer has taught me; and I hope over time that writing becomes a catalyst to learn new things. And that this becomes an outlet to share with a community anything that might help you make your own life a little better, whether that is via a reflection or a recipe.

Hopefully, what follows will demonstrate that if you are open to the learning along the way, anything and everything has the potential to teach you how to truly live…while trying not to die.

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Learning how to live while trying not to die


In September 2018, I was diagnosed with Stage IV Colon Cancer as a 45-year-old working mother—and thus began the best worst thing that has ever happened to me.
Gina's Husband / Caregiver / Creative Director