Though Suleika Jaouad is grateful she survived cancer, she doesn’t live in a state of perpetual gratitude. Nor does she feel like a hero, though she braved four years of hellish treatments. For Jaouad, life after cancer – recovering from the trauma of treatment and loss – was a bigger challenge. In this sincere talk, Jaouad opens up the conversation about illness, inspiring listeners to stop postponing happiness until they’re perfectly healthy and instead to live life in the messy middle between sickness and health.


For some, adjusting to life after cancer is the most difficult aspect of recovery.

After graduating college, Suleika Jaouad moved to Paris to embark upon her career. Her ultimate dream was to become a war correspondent. But at age 22, Jaouad faced a war of a different kind when she received a leukemia diagnosis. Doctors gave her a 35% chance of survival. She bid farewell to the life she was making for herself and became a full-time patient. The hospital became her home for four years as she underwent chemotherapy, a bone marrow transplant, and countless other treatments.

Jaouad came to accept her illness and made the best of it. She befriended other cancer patients and collected an array of wigs. She began a blog to document her experiences at the front lines of cancer, which The New York Times featured as a regular column called Life, Interrupted. But mostly she thought...

About the Speaker

Suleika Jaouad is an Emmy-winning journalist, author, teacher and activist.

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