A Conversation with Laura Holmes Haddad


These days it seems we are saturated with difficult news about the state of health care in our country. We have our political positions on types of health care and these become part of the intense divide that we feel with our fellow Americans. Yet, when we find ourselves in a health crisis of our own or attempting to support our children or family members in their health struggles, we become laser focused on the minutia of treatments, research, experts, side-effects, all the while we feel incredibly vulnerable and in need of support. We become more isolated due to the illness and yet, we need more human contact. 

We seldom talk about the more intimate challenges we face.

We seldom talk about how our marriage is holding up under the stress of caring for a sick child.

We seldom talk about the harsh truths we face in dealing with our mortality. 

This day is different. 

Laura Holmes Haddad

Laura Holmes Haddad

Today I sit down with the lovely Laura Holmes Haddad whose life story is one of surviving, thriving and giving. She is a mother, sister, wife, daughter and devoted friend and who experienced life as an author in the glamorous New York City food culture after graduating college. She met her beautiful husband in New York and then they moved with his work to LA. There she continued her writing as a cook book author and food and wine aficionado. They moved to Northern California, near where she grew up, when her daughter was a few years old. A few months into breastfeeding her second child, their lives changed forever as she was diagnosed with Stage IV inflammatory breast cancer. At 37, she was facing a daunting prognosis and feeling incredibly ill. How did this young, vibrant, yoga practicing woman now find herself fighting for her life? 

Laura is a friend of mine and I do feel grateful for her taking the time to share her incredible story of healing with me. 

She is vibrant, witty, sparkly. Her radiance is filled with all of life, including the grief earned by years of physical pain and loss of functioning.  In her presence you feel her urgency to live fuller days, as much as her body will allow, for these precious moments with her two kids and husband. 


So, it is no surprise that today’s conversation reaches into these depths. We explore her shifts in identity from vibrant mom to patient to survivor, her relationship to her body, as well as her experiences of the doctor-patient relationship. Most importantly, we look at her deep family connections and how these loving relationships carried her through what she calls “cancerland.”  Lastly, she speaks of her desire to help other patients through this “road trip” in her book: This is Cancer: Everything you need to know from the Waiting Room to the Bedroom.  

The force of this book lies in its honesty, the raw exploration of her pain, her struggles, and her intimacies. You feel her feelings of betrayal, her courage, her fatigue. Laura’s exquisite humor joins the difficult, the terribly real, with the deeply wise experiences gained by living with cancer.  

Laura’s voice, becomes that good friend that can tell you the ugly truth and yet remind you of the preciousness of life at the same time. This book is packed with resources and detailed, informative tips on every phase of cancer treatment for the patient as well as other family members.  

As you can see, she is the perfect person to be the first guest of the Tandem Healing Podcast.  

This is a beautiful discussion.

She is a beautiful woman.

And with that, I bring you Laura Holmes Haddad.

Shari CoskeyPodcast