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  • Writer's pictureGina Stinson

Can God Bring Good Out of Cancer?

From Gina:

Sometimes you're not sure why God brings someone into your life. When I met Joanie online 18 months ago, she was releasing her print copy of In Her Shoes: Dancing in the Shadow of Cancer. She was looking for people to come alongside and help launch her book. I was new to the industry and thought it would be a good experience and that I would learn a few things...and boy, did I.

I had no idea that less than six months later, my sister-in-law would be diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Joanie's book became a guidebook of hope and faith. It encouraged me as I tried to encourage my sister-in-law. The stories of courage and determination woven with Scripture and encouragement were just what I needed at an uncertain and scary time in life. This book was like a gift to me.

Now, 18 months later, my sister in law is a walking miracle, just like Joanie. God healed these women and they are impacting lives all around them everyday!

I hope you enjoy this little nugget from her heart. And check out her book on Amazon!

From Joanie:

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. (Romans 8:28 NLT)

Can God really cause all things to work together for good? Even cancer?

I could’ve never imagined the path God had planned for me after I was diagnosed with cancer.

In 2006, I rolled over in bed and felt a grapefruit-size mass in my abdomen—ovarian cancer. Being an RN with a background in oncology, I should’ve felt prepared, but I had more questions than answers. I wanted to connect and share with other women who could validate my cancer experience. But there were no Gilda’s Clubs or support groups available. Were there other ovarian cancer survivors?

Ovarian cancer changed the direction of my life. How could I help others with the support I desired when I was going through chemotherapy?

1. Writing

A friend suggested I journal my ovarian cancer journey. I also joined a writing critique group, Friends of the Pen. Since I had no writing background, I attended writing conferences to learn the industry and hone my writing skills. Through these conferences, I met many industry professionals, some instrumental in the publishing of my book.

After writing my cancer story, I realized there were other women with their own unique cancer stories to share, so I interviewed women with ovarian cancer, breast cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, leukemia, and a brain tumor—making the book relatable to more women.

In Her Shoes: Dancing in the Shadow of Cancer became the book I would’ve liked when I was going through chemotherapy.

2. Survivors Teaching Students

Nine years after my diagnosis, I finally met other ovarian cancer survivors. Through an ovarian cancer Facebook group, I learned about an ovarian cancer camp in Missoula, MT free of charge for ovarian cancer survivors. At camp, I met survivors who shared their ovarian cancer stories with medical students in a program called Survivors Teaching Students (STS). I am delighted to be involved with our local STS group.

3. The Fried Eggs—Sunny-Side Up

A few of us STS presenters decided to start an ovarian cancer social group. Once a month we meet at a local restaurant for lunch. We sponsor speakers of interest, plan fun outings, and participate in fundraisers for ovarian cancer. We are The Fried Eggs—Sunny-Side Up.

4. Book Release!

In Her Shoes: Dancing in the Shadow of Cancer

I’m excited to announce the release of my book, not only in paperback and ebook, but now on audiobook. In Her Shoes: Dancing in the Shadow of Cancer is a collection of vignettes, highlighting the stories of everyday women with everyday lives interrupted by cancer—our challenges, heartbreaks, questions, and triumphs. Each narrative focuses on one aspect of our cancer journey. In these pages, you will find: humor, helpful tips, uplifting scriptures, and encouraging prayers. As you cross the threshold, catching a glimpse into the lives of these women, you will find strength, inspiration and hope.

Cancer is hard, but you are not alone.

God is full of surprises. In Her Shoes: Dancing in the Shadow of Cancer has opened doors to new and exciting ministry opportunities, including speaking, and guest interviews on podcasts, radio, and television.

You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; (Psalm 16:11 NKJV)


Joanie Shawhan is an ovarian cancer survivor, registered nurse, Selah Awards Finalist for In Her Shoes: Dancing in the Shadow of Cancer, speaker, and radio and television guest. She speaks to medical students about ovarian cancer in the Survivors Teaching Students program. Publishing credits include: The Upper Room, Guideposts Divine Interventions. Coping with Cancer Magazine, and God Still Meets Needs. She belongs to an ovarian cancer group, The Fried Eggs—Sunny-Side Up. For speaking, interviews, blog, and contact information:

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