Becoming the Best U: Sharing excerpts of my new book about my fight against cancer

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By Nancy Plummer, Columnist, The Times

Hi! I wanted to share with you a few excerpts from my new book “Becoming the Best U: The Lessons Cancer Taught Me” since November is National Caregivers Month! I’m fortunate to be one of the lone survivors of ovarian cancer stage 4 and metastatic brain cancer, and my son was one of my fiercest advocates and caregivers. Together, we wrote this book to let others know they are not alone. Cancer isn’t just dealing with surgeries, chemo, and radiation. It’s living with an ostomy that might leak feces all over your new outfit, having clumps of your hair fall out in the shower, and flirting with bankruptcy while fighting for insurance to pay their share. It’s waking up in an upside-down world, trying to find a way to make it to the next day, and coming to terms with your new normal.

Whether you’re a warrior or a caregiver, when your goal in life is to leave a legacy of love, the story of your days will be one of kindness. The more prepared we are for life’s challenges the better our perspective, confidence, and fortitude will be.

I’ve learned that when we have the courage to change the things we can, ask for help, get our affairs in order, push ourselves, take life one step at a time, pack a toolbox of strategies, and accept that grief is the price we pay for love, we become more resilient, optimistic, and able to transform our lives.

An Open Letter to Caregivers

Caregiver is such an interesting word. It carries this tremendous gravitas, like it has to accompany some selfless act of sacrifice, otherwise it hasn’t really been earned. I think, however, that we are all caregivers, all the time. All it really entails is wanting and trying to make your loved ones happier, and what is love if not that?

Some of my favorite memories were formed during my stints as “caregiver,” from throwing a wig party with my sisters to raise money for medical bills, to playing the piano for a room full of cancer patients, doctors, and nurses to sing along with, to giving my wife an awesome mohawk before shaving off the rest of her hair. Sure, if a loved one is traversing a particularly challenging patch of life, there will be moments that aren’t fun. There will be a lot of tedious paperwork, you may need to confront or even replace their medical team, and you will hear the on-hold music of their insurance company in your sleep.

Don’t forget, however, that your number one goal is to bring both them and you joy. Take breaks, share your passions with them, and spend some time remembering why you’re doing all of this. There’s this phrase I love, “Comedy is just tragedy plus time.”

If you can, try to spend that time laughing with your loved one. That’s what they need most.

– Robert Rugart


We’ve all heard the phrase, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” I don’t think that person had just been told “you have cancer.” No one is prepared to hear that news. I certainly wasn’t.

Before my diagnosis, I thought I had life all figured out. I was a successful relationship and wellness coach, making six figures, and living a life most people have only dreamed of. I helped hundreds of clients navigate the most treacherous journeys of their lives. Now I had to navigate the most treacherous journey of my own.

It was the summer of 2016, and the words, “Ma’am, you have ovarian cancer,” flung me into an odyssey that took me from desperation to determination and forced me to learn the lessons and strategies that we share here. This book is a compilation of my own experiences, insights, and hard lessons learned, plus incredibly creative ideas and sage advice from my caregivers who inspired me throughout my war with ovarian cancer stage 4 and metastatic brain cancer.

We all know someone suffering from cancer, whether a family member, colleague, or friend. It’s about time we start sharing the realities of cancer and offer guidance, not just for the warrior, but for their caregivers too. My story isn’t about HOW I survived; it’s about how becoming Upbeat, Unstoppable, and Unafraid gave me the chance to.

Through heartwarming and hilarious stories, we will hopefully inspire you to see humor and hope even in the midst of despair.

My caregivers were incredible, but I believe my cancer journey propelled them to become better versions of themselves. I hope their contributions inspire all caregivers out there to become the best advocates they can and push boundaries to have challenging discussions with their loved ones and medical team.

I’m in remission now and am living a fulfilling life. My path has changed many times but I’ve never trusted my footing more than I do now. Cancer taught me how to pivot. Cancer also taught me humility, resilience, gratitude, and empowerment. It forced me to reach into the depths of myself and find more strength than I thought was there. It was cancer that taught me how to live each day to the fullest.

Don’t wait until you’re looking death in the face. The lessons I learned from cancer are life lessons for everyone. They’re right here in this book.

Just turn the page and start Becoming the Best U–Upbeat, Unstoppable, and Unafraid.

– Nancy Rugart Plummer

Our book is available through Amazon ( in paperback or kindle. It’s already #1 New Book Release for Brain Cancer! We’d love for you to buy our book and give it a review. Our mission is to help patients, caregivers, and survivors navigate the unchartered waters of cancer and make their path a little more peaceful, fun, and empowered. Thank you!


Nancy & Robert

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