When a Low Point Becomes a Turning Point

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Jethro Soudant and Shasti O'Leary-Soudant recorded their session in New York City.

Jethro Soudant and Shasti O'Leary-Soudant recorded their session in New York City. StoryCorps hide caption

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It might seem strange that a moment of intense distress could be remembered as the high point in one's life. But for Shasti O'Leary-Soudant, an instant of exuberant clarity was brought on by her struggle against lymphoma.

Almost seven years ago, O'Leary-Soudant was diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease. Soon afterward, she started six months of chemotherapy followed by radiation. Her husband, Jethro Soudant, was by her side.

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It was during those treatments, she says, that O'Leary-Soudant experienced "the happiest and the worst day" of her life. As the disease and its treatment made her sick, her husband made a gesture — and a joke — that made it all better.

The couple agree that the moment was a turning point. O'Leary-Soudant is now cancer-free, and they now have a two-year-old daughter, Ruby.

StoryCorps interviews are archived at the Library of Congress and also played on Fridays on Morning Edition.



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