A searingly honest account of one woman's ordeal with cancer that offers insights into all the emotions and reactions that illness evokes---sometimes noble, sometimes selfish, often despairing

Look Inside

Copyright © 2007, Kathlyn Conway. All rights reserved. Posted April 2008.

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Praise for Ordinary Life:


“It reads like a novel, but Kathy Conway’s journal of three cancers is the smartest kind of self-help: it gives us permission to be wise or whiney, strong or self-indulgent, whatever it takes to get through the dark nights of chemo and dread.”

—Robert Lipsyte, columnist, New York Times and American Health


Ordinary Life is a brave book . . . the kind of journey so many, many women are living through—with spirit, heart and courage—with vision and in community.”

—Blanche Wiesen Cook, author of Eleanor Roosevelt


Ordinary Life is a frank portrait of one woman’s experience of living through three cancers, from diagnosis through treatment and on to recovery.


Unlike the usual self-help book that portrays illness as a transformative experience in which the individual ultimately prevails physically, spiritually, and socially, Ordinary Life isn’t afraid to inhabit and explore the nightmare world of human emotion evoked by life-threatening disease. Kathlyn Conway shows all sides of her reaction to a deadly illness. Often she is despairing, angry, lonely, terrified, and raging against her disease and its implications. Hers is a journey to the heart of darkness into which illness can take any individual. Yet Conway’s very act of courage and honesty in exposing her fear reveals how normal such feelings are.


Kathlyn Conway is a practicing psychotherapist who lives in New York City with her husband and two children.