After her own battle with a rare form of cancer in 2003 that required her left hand and forearm to be amputated, Ruth Bachman found a new purpose — inspire others with her experience. She has become a sought-after speaker and educator, who has started her own non-profit.
Now with the publication of her first book “Growing through the Narrow Spots,” Ruth has been able to spread her message to an even broader audience. Here’s a little insight from the Eden Prairie resident on her efforts.
Q What is your message in the book?
A If cancer is the narrow spot in an hourglass and I am the sand, then I have travelled from the top, through the tight spot to the bottom, the same sand but with a different arrangement. Life is full of narrow spots and they are not all labelled cancer. They indicate change. Change is inevitable and transformation is intentional. We all face narrow spots in our life and we navigate them with our unique resources — both tangible and intangible — in order to move forward.
Q What is your advice for people fighting cancer now? What about those who love them?
A A cancer diagnosis draws a line in the sand of your life — there is no turning back from it, no denying it. When we find/recognize the resources to say “Yes, this has happened; and now what?” We see the possibility to live life everyday and create memories for ourselves and those we love and who love us that become invaluable. Asking someone to help is a gift to the yourself and well as to the one being asked. The role of the caregiver is unfortunately often overlooked. My first experience with cancer was as a caregiver to my sister, Kristin who died in 1991 from a reoccurrence of malignant melanoma that metastasized into her lungs and brain. The book is dedicated to Kristin. Never stop creating memories.
Q Do you feel that you deal with change differently now?
A Absolutely. I certainly am not perfect or consistent in my response. However, I have learned that by slowing down, breathing deeply and listening to my heart; naming the narrow spot, talking about it and gathering resources (asking for help) I am able to eventually face most challenges with patience, persistence and grace.
Q What is the Hourglass Fund Project?
A The Hourglass Fund Project grew out of my desire to give back. Out of gratitude for the resources I discovered and used to navigate my narrow spot of cancer, I donate all proceeds that come to me from sharing this message — through book sales or speaking engagements — to cancer research, education and advocacy.
Q Do you ever get to Galleria?
A I get to the Galleria often, perhaps too often if you look at my credit card statements. I have many favorites. I love Pottery Barn for kids and for grown-ups. I stop into Williams-Sonoma for inspiration and the latest kitchen gadget. My grandchildren enjoy receiving gifts from Creative Kidstuff. Restoration Hardware has beautiful linens and towels. Art Resources Gallery has never failed to delight me with framing options. I enjoy dining at Crave and The Good Earth. I have way too many items of clothing from lucy, Len Druskin and Epitome. Epitome Papers did all of my daughter’s wedding paper products. Ampersand always has what I need to accent my table. Trail Mark helps to get me outfitted for outdoor adventure travel. I have a Starbucks grande, soy, light foam latte every time I am there for a meeting or pleasure. And the staff at Barnes and Noble amaze me at their knowledge of the vast array of product available in the store.
Q Anything else?
A I consider it to be a privilege to share my story and book with others. My life experience has taught me numerous lessons. Many people have contributed to my learning. I hope that my voice will contribute to a collective wisdom shared with anyone and everyone who seeks it.