Ep.70 | Going From Wife to Widow...Now What? with Rachel Engstrom


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"Ultimately good can come from bad….”

- - Rachel Engstrom, Widow, Author, Cancer Advocate

The Conversation: Navigating Towards Your Hope

We are used to stories of a widow after a couple reaches their advanced years, but imagine if that couple was in their 20’s and 30’s?

Imagine if the husband in that scenario went through the up and down journey of acute lymphoblastic leukemia-chemo, losing their hair, having to relearn how to walk, losing weight drastically, and having to get treatments regularly through the week?

Now imagine that you, as the wife, are diagnosed with endometriosis.

Now, imagine that your husband’s cancer returns...but he doesn't return.

What do you do in this situation?

How do you handle the finances?

How do you navigate health insurance?

How do you handle the funeral?

In this powerful episode, author and advocate Rachel Engstrom shares the chaotic journey she went through as a hopeful 25-year hopeful to a widow navigating her own illnesses at the same time while trying to keep it all together.

Rachel shares how she did it and how she used that experience to help others better navigate the world for the better when your world continues to turn upside down.


  • Supporting your significant other during a cancer diagnosis
  • Getting support...when you’re the primary caregiver
  • Dealing with illness...when your significant other is also dealing with illness
  • Life….when cancer comes back
  • Making the hard decisions as a primary caregiver
  • The things you don’t know...until you become a widow
  • How to start finding yourself after you lose someone
  • Turning adversity into advocacy

Takeaways of the Conversation

  • Get support even if you are the primary support We all need help

  • Find the resources The healthcare system can be a scary system to navigate. Look for advocates that are inside and outside of the healthcare system to help you

Keep fighting for your light Even when you feel overwhelmed, know that there is

always wishing you a better future

The Homework:

Rachel talked about the power of finding hope after experiencing major losses in her life. She also talked about how she used the hope she found to inspire hope in others.

If you look hard enough, I’m sure that you can find it in your own life.

To prove it, take a moment to reflect on your life’s story. Imagine if someone were to screenplay of your life and asked you to answer the following questions within 5 minutes

  1. What songs would you choose in your screenplay?
  1. What actor/actress would you choose in your screenplay?
  1. Who or what would be the villain?

Think through your answer at a later time and see how you could recreate it.

If you feel comfortable, share your victory on social media with the hashtag: #changeismynarrative .

About Our Guest:

Rachel Engstrom is an author who turned her story of grief, pain, and loss into advocacy and resources for others

You can find her at https://linktr.ee/wifewidownowwhat and her book at https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08K6477RL/.

Social Media Channels



Facebook group (Health Heredity)

[Text Wrapping Break]Other Resources to Check Out

Adult Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia Treatment

Be the Match

Donate Cord Blood

Stupid Cancer

76 episodes