Shannon Philpott-Sanders

Writing, Reflecting, Teaching, Parenting

Hospice of Southern Illinois Comforts Entire Family at the End of Life

mess_logoPublished November 2003 in The Messenger,
The Newspaper of the Belleville Catholic Diocese

Margaret Hettenhausen is not afraid to die. Lying comfortably in a chair in her own home, she strokes her beloved cat, Missy, and says, “I’m not afraid; I’m ready.”

Two months ago, Hettenhausen was driving a car; today she is unable to walk without support. The 92-year old is suffering from ovarian cancer. She may live two more days – two more years. Continue reading


July 20, 2009 Posted by | Feature Stories, Newspaper Writing | , , , , | Leave a comment

“The word that changed my life”

ww_logo       Published 8/12/2003 issue of “Woman’s World”

 Just 15 years old when she was diagnosed with leukemia, Mindy Reed hated how cancer changed everything – the loss of her hair, her friends, her life as she knew it. But in time, Mindy realized that cancer had also changed her in a good way – a way that would lead to a dream …

When I was 15, I knew the words to almost every song on the radio. I knew what shades of lip gloss were cool. I knew which sophomore was going out with a certain football player. But there were other things I knew, too; the way the sun stings the skin above your ears when there’s no hair there. How it hurts your mom more to see you in pain than it hurts yourself. That a single word can change your whole life – especially when that word is cancer.

Yet, what I had no way of knowing was that cancer would transform me in a good way …

Growing up, I had a wonderful family – loving parents and a little brother, Ben. Starting high school, I was so excited. Maybe I’d fall in love!

Beyond that, I didn’t know what I wanted for my future. I thought I had all the time in the world.

Then, around Christmas of my freshman year, I got the flu. “All I wanna do is sleep,” I groaned to my friends when they asked what I was wearing to the holiday dance.

They looked at me like I had two heads – usually, I was the first one out on the floor. But my legs felt as heavy as lead and I kept throwing up.

Worried, Mom took me to the doctor At first, they said it was my thyroid, then anemia. But as winter turned to spring, routine blood work revealed the horrible truth: I had leukemia. Continue reading

July 15, 2009 Posted by | Magazine Writing | , , | Leave a comment