Interview with Andrea Wilson Woods


Welcome back. I've got Andrea Wilson Woods on the line Andrea. How are you? I'm good. Thank you. Great to have you here in the pre-show. We were talking about all kinds of different things we could talk about and we're in the middle of a pandemic at the time of this recording so we had talked about, you know loss in in grief, and I know that's something we want to dive in and your backstory a bit off beforehand, but ultimately, you know, when we will get to the point of with covid-19 and and some of the losses and and the grief that people are facing right now. So sure what the audience your backstory and in the world to do. I'm sure so when I was twenty-two years old, I was living in Los Angeles. I had graduated from college and I was trying to figure things out like most people I think and I ended up getting custody of my then eight-year-old sister Adrienne and I became her legal guardian and I was her only parent and I raised her. All through my 20s until a month after her fifteenth birthday. She was diagnosed with stage 4 liver cancer and it was really shocking. I mean she was a very active kid. She had no symptoms until the day she felt pain which was the day and ER doctor told us what he saw on her CAT scan and that was day one of her very short 107 day off cancer journey, and she died a few months after my 29th birthday and it just changed the course of my life because she she was everything to me and so about a year later after I turned Thirty. I started a non-profit dedicated to primary liver cancer and I like to tell people that when I took my advice on this, you know, I did not want to start a non-profit. It was not like in my dreams when I was a little girl. I wasn't stupid scared me. It's just at that time. There was not a single organization involved. Us doing anything about her particular type of cancer and that's the only reason I started one. I'm so grateful I did and I've been doing that over 17 years and then less than two years ago. I actually started a health Tech startup. It's a for-profit. It's for all cancer patients and caregivers. And then I also published a book last fall which is about raising and losing my sister to liver cancer and it's called better off bald. What's amazing work you do and and I agree when we're little kids. We don't tend to think long going to run a non-profit no choice firefighters police officers or or you know leaders of businesses or you know race car drivers or princesses or all options are on there. I don't recall wage are running a nonprofit is being on my original list. Oh I did I did run a few non-profit organizations for a little over a decade. So I now that I am Don't I can't say that I I miss some elements of it. I miss others of course, but there are some aspects of it. I don't miss it at all. But that's another story for another day. So I see you had all of those things happen in the in the you had thrust on you. Okay, you're going to be a caregiver now and then a very short window of time after that unfortunate bounce houses. And and when you go through something like that, you know, it it for me it wouldn't you know, I talked with people that have gone through something like this is with the shock of it. All is so intense that it you know for some it says just makes them Nam. It's like they're not, you know, they're still grieving they hurt or in pain and they're sad. It's just the shock of the the quickness of it. All is something that a lot of people, you know has a long-term effect on them just a shock of how in the world that that just home. What will you know any like what hippie it kind of thing. So I'm sure you've experienced something similar to that. Of course, you know with working with people that have to deal with that horrible horrible disease thought I lost many family members to cancer and a variety of different types too. And it's devastating for families and everything, but I'm sure they knew people that you work with and all of that that's gotta be one of the biggest thing I have to deal with is just the shock of of hearing that news and and trying to navigate through it. Yeah. Definitely. I mean I've in addition to my sister. I've lost five other family members to five different kinds of cancer and birth. I agree. I mean when you're in it cancer forces you to live very much in the present and you know, you're making decisions often on the Fly and you're just you're just ended and your office certainly adapting to changes the often you have no control over but then after whether it's after you survived cancer after your loved one dies, you know then off. Just sort of go through all those emotions and you know, there are the five stages of grief and what's interesting is, you know, people think that they go in a certain order know they don't, you know, anger depression a bargaining acceptance Cohen denial, right? I have accepted my sister's death for a long time, but the one stage of grief I had never experienced was anger because I didn't know who to be angry at and I was really, you know, I didn't know and there were plenty of other people who are angry might be half. So I didn't I didn't have to do that but a few years ago, I was watching this TV show TV show Netflix and the final episode was this girl walking across the stage in her high school graduation, and then it faded to walking across the stage in her college graduation and my sister loves school. She was an honor student 4.0 GPA. She already knew where she wanted to go to college. I mean, she she had all these plans and for some reason and that dog Moment that hit me and it was I was angry like I was just furious and and the anger just to hit me more than fifteen years later. I'm really shocked me, you

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