I’m Suleika Jaouad, Emmy Award-winning New York Times Well columnist, health advocate and cancer survivor. My interests are diverse - hiking with my rescue pup Oscar, learning to cook, playing the upright bass, twerking (just kidding!) - but my mission here is pretty simple: I believe that health is about adding life to years, and not years to life. Here's why:
In the summer of 2010 I had just graduated with highest honors from Princeton University, moved to Paris and accepted my first job as a paralegal at a fancy law firm. On paper, everything was going splendidly, but in reality, I was falling apart. I hated my job, I was burning the candle at both ends, and I was waking up every morning with what felt like a permanent hangover. I felt young, invincible and completely miserable.
At age 22, after months of being misdiagnosed, I was finally diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia and a rare blood disorder called Myelodysplastic Syndrome. Overnight, I lost my job, my apartment, my independence and I had to move back into my childhood bedroom in upstate New York to begin cancer treatment.
Making the most of a Life, Interrupted:
My life was interrupted overnight. But guess what? That interruption was the best thing that’s ever happened to me. I would never go so far as to say “cancer is a gift.” It’s not. And I’ve seen it take way too many lives, way too soon. But when I found out I had cancer, I also began to find my voice.
Losing everything forced me to realize that while running marathons and drinking green juice may not be for everyone, a destructive lifestyle is for no one. I became fired up about healing our broken healthcare system and healing ourselves too. I started reporting from the front lines of my hospital bed on the revolution taking place inside of me. At age 23, I launched my Emmy Award-winning New York Times Well column and video series “Life, Interrupted” from the bone marrow transplant unit at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.
Since then I've written for Glamour, Women's Health and The Huffington Post. I am also currently working on my first book (eek!). I travel around the country teaching writing and wellness workshops and I regularly lecture at universities, hospitals, corporations and professional events. I'm also a contributor to NPR's Talk of The Nation and All Things Considered and I've been featured on NBC's Today Show, ABC News, Everyday Health, NY1, The Paris Review, Refinery29 and other publications.
Over the past three years, I’ve survived countless rounds of ongoing chemotherapy, a harrowing clinical trial and a bone marrow transplant. If I can do it, so can YOU.
We all have “life, interrupted” moments, whether you’re dealing with a health crisis, the loss of a loved one, unemployment or a bad break up. Mine just happened to be cancer. I've learned that it's not the interruption that matters, but how you cope with it, learn from it and grow beyond it.
I've made it my life's work to help others to find their voices and to make the most of their own “life, interrupted” moments. Through my blogs, videos and events, where I share my experiences and reflections on life, health, relationships and overcoming setbacks, I want to help you tackle life’s difficult moments with integrity, compassion and a healthy dose of humor and sass.