Life isn’t always bright and shiny, as Kate Bowler knows. Kate is a young mother, writer and professor who, at age 35, was suddenly diagnosed with Stage IV cancer. In, warm, insightful, often funny conversations, Kate talks with people about what they’ve learned in dark times.

Episode 1: The Insight of Outsiders

Guest: NYT Bestselling Author Nadia Bolz-Weber

Before Nadia Bolz-Weber became famous as a foul-mouthed pastor and bestselling author, she was an alcoholic and stand-up comedian. This episode is devoted to the insight of outsiders, and how Nadia learned to confront her own demons with hard truths, good company and a delightfully inappropriate sense of humor. Read full transcript.

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Episode 2: This is Going to Hurt Just a Little

Guest: Dr. Ray Barfield, pediatric oncologist at Duke Children’s Hospital

Dr. Ray Barfield knew when he entered the field of pediatric oncology that he was going to have an unusually tough day job. Some kids die. Some kids live. But after one particularly tough case, he couldn’t do it anymore. Ray Barfield talks with Kate about what that case taught him about medicine and life. Read full transcript. 

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Episode 3: Costly Love

Guest: Dr. Lucy Kalanithi, clinical assistant professor at Stanford Med

When Lucy Kalanithi fell for another doctor, she couldn’t know how much love would teach her about suffering. Lucy Kalanithi is the widow of Dr. Paul Kalanithi, author of the bestselling memoir, When Breath Becomes Air. She talks about the high cost of love and how all the best things in life are those you are afraid to lose. Read the full transcript.

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Episode 4: Awkward

Guest: Alexandra Petri, Washington Post columnist

Washington Post columnist Alexandra Petri is the queen of awkwardness. She didn’t audition for “America’s Next Top Model” and become a yodeling champion without a high tolerance for the sound of people laughing. And, as it turns out, building up your ability to embrace awkwardness can be a kind of superpower during difficult times… if you know how to use it. Read the full transcript.

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Episode 5: Joyful, Anyway

Guest: Margaret Feinberg, author and speaker

Bestselling author and speaker, Margaret Feinberg was writing a book about joy when her world fell apart. Suddenly, she was fighting for her life and re-writing the book from scratch. Feinberg talks about how she learned how to be happy again, despite everything. Read the full transcript.

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Episode 6: Fork in the Road

Guest: Wes Moore, bestselling author, social entrepreneur, and CEO of Robin Hood

Wes Moore had a rough childhood growing up in Baltimore. His father died when he was a child, he struggled in school and was arrested for vandalism before something shifted. Moore grew up to be a Rhodes Scholar, White House fellow, and published writer. And along the way, he learned of another man who shared his same name, but is serving a life sentence in prison. He talks with Kate about what he learned from “the other” Wes Moore. Read the full transcript.

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Episode 7: Can You Hear Me Now?

Guest: Alan Alda, award-winning actor and bestselling author

Alan Alda is best known for his prolific acting career. But he has also spent years learning about, and teaching, communication. The Emmy-winning actor and star of television’s M*A*S*H teaches doctors and scientists to communicate more effectively and wrote the recent book, If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face?. He talks with Kate about why human beings are so bad at talking about sickness– and about what helps them improve. Read full Transcript.

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