Podcast Interview with Memoirists, Cathy Edgett and Jessica O’Dwyer: A Catastrophe…or a Calling?

by Patricia V. Davis

Jane Flint and Cathy Edgett

So…things are going along fairly well, until your gynecologist tells you that, at age 32, you’re in early menopause.  That’s what happened to Jessica O’Dwyer.

Things were going along fairly well in Cathy Edgett’s life, too, until, at age 55, she was told that she had breast cancer and that it had metastasized.

What Jessica’s diagnosis meant for her was that as a woman who longed to become a mother, she would never give birth. And what Cathy’s diagnosis meant for her was an agonizing nine months of cancer treatments.

Feeling sorry for them yet? Don’t waste your time. What these two women did with what would seem to many like a life sentence of misery was to turn their troubles around and make them into triumphs. Yep ─ two more dynamic people featured at HS Radio who made ‘something delicious out of limited choices.’ Sorry, we don’t interview whiners. If you want to hear whining, click here.

Okay, admittedly, there was some sadness and even fright for both of them at first. But Cathy decided to turn her experience into a memoir /cancer care help book which she and her best friend, Jane Flint, (who was in large part her caregiver during this time) wrote together. Breast Strokes: Two Friends Journal Through the Unexpected Gifts of Cancer is a beautifully descriptive collection of thoughts and feelings about having cancer and caring for someone with cancer from which anyone can pull strength and solace. The scenic poems that are also written by the authors and scattered throughout the memoir like flower petals leave the reader with a profound sense of peace and awe that two people enduring so much stress for such a length of time were still able to stop and take in beauty from their surroundings.

Jessica O'Dwyer and Family

Jessica O’Dwyer and Daughter, Olivia

As for Jessica, once she came to the realization that she could still become a mother through adoption, she set her course on adopting a daughter from Guatemala.  As it turns out, this was not the best choice, because she discovered that the adoption process in that country was mired in confusion and sleaze. Jessica ended up moving to Guatemala just so she could get her daughter out of the foster care system in which she was entrenched, and safely home to the United States with her and her husband. That endeavor took ages and was such a shocking struggle that Jessica made it her mission to write about it so that other adoptive parents would not have the same fraught experience.  Mamalita: An Adoption Memoir chronicles the arduous process through which Jessica, her husband, and her daughter struggled. Jessica is determined to be the “spokesperson” not only for adoptive parents, but for the children in Guatemala who, for unnecessary lengths of time are languishing  in orphanages and foster homes when, if not for the reams of red tape and government corruption, they could be in the arms of adoptive parents who love them and desperately want them.

Three remarkable women, two extraordinary memoirs, and a podcast interview you will not want to miss. We look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Last 5 posts by Patricia V. Davis