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Dancing Beyond Cancer - Dedication to my Late Wife

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First, I want to thank everyone who supported me for their Patience while I finish my book.  The editing process has taken far longer than I initially anticipated; however, it has steadily progressed and will be published this YEAR.  It has been over three years since March 19th, 2016, a day that would forever change my life.  I can't believe everything that happened before and after losing the love of my life, my first dance teacher, my best friend, and my wife, Danielle Elise Claire.


Now I see that her life didn't stop there.  After Danielle's passing, I started to have more and more experiences proving that even though she wasn't physically with us, she was still present.  Strangers have delivered messages; she has talked to me and others in dreams. Also bringing dance into my life like I could have never expected.  She is now a protector and a guide to me that I will always hold a special place in my heart.  Her transition has led me to title the book,


Dancing Beyond Cancer


I realize more than ever, how important it is to share our stories.  I hope that in sharing, I can help others who face the same challenges my wife and I suffered.  In writing and rewriting parts of the story, I know I have grown, and in that growth seen my book blossom.  I can't deny that I have an account that could help many people face the struggles of Cancer with greater grace and ease.  It sure looks like the epidemic is growing, and as a society, we are unprepared.  Nearly everyone showed us just how ill-equipped they were dealing with tragic situations.


My wife Danielle and I discussed how important it was to share what we learned.  I told her I would write the book, and she would always joke about who would play her in the movie.  This story, I too find, stranger than fiction.  To look at everything that had to happen the way it did still turns my brain inside out.  A personal reason for writing the book to share many experiences that I found otherworldly. A unique set of events that have created more purpose in my life than I can even fathom.  To all be started by such a chance meeting four months after I moved to Sedona.


I met my wife on my Birthday, and things just clicked.  It was so perfect that three weeks later we decided we should just get married.  We didn't expect that she would be diagnosed with Cancer the day we intended to be married, one of many strange coincidences. We were married in the hospital just before my new bride went into surgery.  Only to face a marriage that no newlyweds should ever have to face.  It was one struggle after another with solutions manifesting in ways I never experienced in my life before.  It took much hindsight for me even to recognize half the miracles that happened in our lives.  Our lives were full of tragedy and miracles to bring us back to balance.  Our wedding day was the worst and the best day of our lives, and that tone would carry throughout our entire relationship.  We would continually make the best out of a terrible situation.


Danielle and I both realized by the end of our time together, that as a society, we utterly fail the sick, dying, and elderly.  Our conversations with hospice nurses even confirmed our theories.  These failures are something I realized all people, including myself, need the education to overcome.  I no longer can use the excuse that I didn't know, and that knowledge has made me a better person.  In sharing, I can help others to avoid the same mistakes I made.  Hopefully preventing the failures that I also had to endure because of those mistakes.


I realized how much we fail each other in offering help, or in offering Appropriate advice.  I regret not providing more support to my grandparents before their passing.  This lack of awareness led me to make sure I don't make the same mistakes again.  Another family member was recently also diagnosed with Cancer.  I have made sure to continue to offer my help, even though they continue to decline assistance.  Letting my family know when I am available during the year, should they need me.  Communication is key.  Many people don't ask for help, I included.  By the time I needed help, it had been months since anyone even offered.


There was indeed only one person who showed up and did all the right things.  This person wasn't even a good friend or family, and she wasn't a close acquaintance.  This person just saw two people who needed help, and she did just that, she helped.  She became a model for how I should behave all the time.  I will forever be thankful for the lessons she taught me, and even the lessons Danielle passed on to her.  These are lessons that I have made sure to convey throughout our story.


As much as death is a fundamental part of life, it is not something that should be feared.  I hope that most of all, this story can bring some peace to this topic.  As difficult as it is to lose people, I can now say with complete certainty that death is not the end.  While I am far from understanding precisely what occurs after death, however experiences I share are still mind-bending to reality shattering.  I can say with personal certainty that Danielle is still with me and will always be with me.  For that, I will always be grateful.


I felt it was also essential to share an Update with everyone who showed their support over the past several years.  I am in the process of finishing up the final content edits.  It then will just be a quick set of final edits and tweaks before I can publish, hopefully in the Early Summer but definitely by my birthday in August.  It is vital that I start to share the information I learned with the world, as I can see, our world needs it.


I ask until then that you think about three topics that are very important to me.  They are additional reasons to why I am writing the book – The stories that inspired these topics are saddening.  But please consider them, and if possible:


1.       Please leave All of your baggage at the door when someone needs your assistance in old age, sickness, or the process of passing.  Lift them up, don't bring them down.  For those who can Not abide, please refrain from direct interactions.  Help can still be running errands or dropping off a meal.

2.      Show support in all aspects of someone's recovery.  Don't, and I mean Don't disrespect someone else's path to healing simply because you would choose differently.  I don't care if you are pro-chemo or anti-chemo, support the treatment that someone wants.  Also please keep opinions of the sort to yourself, someone doesn't need a nocebo effect because you read an article. The opposite of the Placebo Effect is to tell someone a cure won't work, and it prevents the treatment from working the way it should.  Just like a sugar pill can cure if someone believes enough.  Danielle never got the proper support for her treatment, all Doctors and most nurses included.  FYI Doctors by Law are required to tell people they could die if they don't do chemo or radiation to treat Cancer.  Think about the effect that has on alternative options, does it help?

(A nocebo effect is said to occur when negative expectations of the patient regarding a treatment cause the treatment to have a more negative effect than it otherwise would have.) 

3.      Never, I say Never, and I absolutely say Never, Text Message a meaningful Death. Please, make the call, or find someone to make the call.  Truthfully, I know from experience that getting a death text is the worst experience.  I think getting that text while driving or without social support is dangerous and wrong.  Don't leave someone without a little relief.  Make the call, have them call you, but don't text a death.  Honestly the dead deserve more, and they know, whether you want to believe or not.  Call before you post it online too, no one should find out a close loved one died on Facebook.

I am Looking to continue to uphold all the promises I made in my last campaign.  I have spent the past several years working on creating a final version of the book.  I anticipate having a Final First Draft in about a month.  I will then ask for feedback before creating a final book version.  I am excited to share a book with everyone who made or makes a donation of over $50.00.  Also, anyone who donates will receive a digital E-reader version of the book.  

Additional funds received will go to final expenses on designing the cover of the book, and publishing the E-book.  I am also still interested in having an audiobook version created which for the size of my book will run several thousand dollars.  Any support will also go to making this a reality sooner than later.  I am also open to anyone who wants to help make that a reality.

Thank you again for all the support.  I look forward to sharing the beautiful story about love and loss.  I would never have expected life to give me such an opportunity for personal growth.  The miracles that happened to get us through the darkest of times, to leave us with moments of such beauty, love, and fulfillment, were remarkable.  The book will tell these exceptional experiences so that others can share in the full depth of the gifts we received. Rewards that are not of this world, they are more significant and must be shared.


Brandon Strabala
Sedona, AZ

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