The Mother of All Fights by Erin Soto is today’s featured read. Some readers may not know that March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month. Author Erin Soto is here to remind you. She is a survivor of stage three colon cancer and decided to share her inspiring journey in her new memoir, Mother of All Fights.
In 2020, thirty-seven-year-old Erin Soto was a healthy and very busy mom of four who never saw her stage three colon cancer diagnosis coming. She bravely writes about her unimaginable journey through illness and recovery in The Mother of All Fights, available now.
I am so excited to have Erin Soto join me today. Without further ado, let’s meet Erin!
Welcome, Erin. Tell readers what inspired you to write The Mother of all Fights?
During my time in the hospital, I promised that I somehow could make it through this health catastrophe. I would one day tell my story and show how the most ordinary people can overcome extraordinary hardship. Furthermore, I would write a book that others could use as a roadmap through the journey. I feel like I have been given a second chance in life.
The first thing I wanted to do was to turn around and help the next one in line.
My mission is to empower others to take charge of their health & power. Showing up for them as a guide and support in any capacity, through the thick and the thicker, is one of my greatest joys. My hope is that in joining me on this journey, readers will find a friend, a confidante, and a role model whose story of survival will empower them on their own. I know I’m not the only one who has faced a life crisis, and I know I’m not the only one whose life has lost meaning along the way.
Instead of chapters, you title each different section of lessons. Why is that?
I believe that each chapter of your life is a lesson. These are mine. I want to share with you the lessons it has taught me so that you can notice the ones it’s trying to teach you. Some may match mine, some may differ, but we can take this journey together. We can learn together. We can create our best selves together. This book is meant to be more than a memoir about my own life, but rather a journey we can take together.
If you had to pick one lesson, you wrote about in the book that’s your favorite or most powerful, which would it be?
That is a great question. This book was edited by a former commissioning editor from Hay House U.K. and she had to help me cut down the original manuscript’s word count by nearly half of what this originally started from. This was challenging to do because we cut out so many valuable teachable lessons early on in the editing process. I would say if I had to pick only one lesson from what made the final cut for this book, it would be “Cancer Is a Symptom, Find the Source.” I believe that in order to treat disease, we must treat the whole person; mind, body, and spirit.
My western medical care team of oncologists and doctors were busy treating my cancer while I got to work treating my whole self and identifying what could have led to my developing this disease in the first place. That is a question my doctors were never able to answer for me. I was told this was a case of extremely bad luck.
I do not have a family history, and genetic testing proved there is no known predisposition for why this happened.
For me, I credit much of my recovery to learning about the integrative practices I incorporated into my health plan. I looked at what was happening in my life leading up to the onset of my diagnosis and carefully examined what was happening at the time my symptoms first emerged. I see no coincidence in that being connected to a season of extreme anxiety attacks following years of chronic stress. We all know that stress is bad for you, but it can become detrimental to your physical well-being when left unattended for too long, dangerously long. I believe that years of chronic distress and dis-ease ultimately led to my developing this disease. I hope to challenge the cultural norms for how our society has come to view disease.
Sometimes hereditary or environmental factors can play a role, but I think many people are discovering that disease is often a result of the inextricable connection between the mind and body.
You can take actionable steps today that lead to a healthier and happier life. I only hope it doesn’t require you to face a health catastrophe to learn this lesson the hard way and use my story as an example.
The book also has different parts, such as Part I is when the student is ready, the teacher arrives. How did you decide on what to title each part and what to include for each lesson?
I tried to bring the reader into the story to join me along the path of discovery and growth for the many lessons I learned in a way that can easily translate personally to the reader in their own life. The sequence of different parts and lessons included in this book was planned accordingly and meant to be strategic and intentional. I initially wrote the book in chronological order and then re-worked it to align the lesson elements in a manner that carries you through the journey in steps that can be applied to your life. The lessons dive deeper the further into the story you read.
I started with the introduction of my own backstory, transitioned to teaching about how to heal the mind, next covered how to heal the body, and eventually delved over to the spirit.
I set it up to balance a healthy dose of faith, hope, humor, and teachable moments that carry a page-turning pace that will keep you involved from start to finish as an engaging experience. All great stories end with that pivotal moment in the hero’s journey where they are put to their greatest test in a grand finale and moment of truth. What you’ll come to notice in the final lesson of this book, if you haven’t already, is that cancer was my greatest teacher. Cancer teaches us many lessons about what it means to truly live when facing down our fragility.
Was writing this memoir, reliving going through cancer, hard to do?
This was an incredibly challenging book to write. A dear friend recently shared that she felt as though she had stumbled across my personal diary and was deeply touched after discovering how much my family had ensured that she was completely unaware of at the time, despite our being close friends.
There are chapters where I divulge our greatest family secrets and personal life details. It feels vulnerable putting that out for the world to read, but it also is empowering. I get very real, raw, and absolutely struggled when reliving some of the most painful memories. However, I also feel writing it out helped to bring some purpose to the pain.
I continued to show up and to write despite how difficult this was to do at times because my sole intention in sharing my story has always been to serve as an example that might help others along the way.
That goal was my driving force, and it helped me find the motivation needed to continue pouring my heart onto the pages of this book until it was finally complete.
There was a time, not so long ago, when I physically wasn’t even capable of sitting at a computer to write this book. There was never a guarantee that I would be alive and well to see this dream all the way through to publication day.
I see this book as my way of leaving a lasting legacy in life, no matter what ultimately happens to me and around my health.
During this time, I have come to know that the quality of life well lived is measured by the number of those we touch, rather than the quantity of years we experience in it. I had a lot of time to reflect on that lesson during the darkest days of my cancer journey. I was gifted with the opportunity to give back and become more. It is a miracle I am even here today, and I refuse to waste it. This book has helped carry me through to my next chapter in life. One that I’m now living on purpose and with greater meaning. I only hope it will help others to do the same.
How long did it take you to write The Mother of all Fights?
I began writing the same week I went into remission after passing my post-treatment cancer scan in late December of 2020. That was just a year after I was initially diagnosed. My New Year’s resolution and goal was to write this book for 2021, and I began to write the first week of the year. I was almost hypnotic in my daily writing practice and tried to commit to writing while my kids were away in school for at least a few hours every weekday.
Sometimes I felt compelled to write during all hours of the day and night whenever inspiration or idea would come to mind. I finished the first draft of the rough manuscript after five months of writing and just in time for summer. I spent quality time with my family while closely working with my editor to polish the manuscript into the book it is today. We completed our final round of edits in October of 2021.
What is it you hope readers take away from your memoir?
This answer will vary depending on each and every person who reads this book. There’s an unequivocal lesson for living that I try to encourage others to learn. My ultimate goal is to make you, the reader, want to jump out of your chair and feel more alive today than ever before. I want you to redefine previously held beliefs and concepts about how best to live wholeheartedly.
If you only get one chance to live in this big, beautiful world, wouldn’t you want to spend time exploring how to get more out of your life? Embracing it? Challenging it? Learning from it?
You are the only one who is going to be there each and every day that you have left. You’d better believe that your life is well worth fighting for and continue to show up. Doing so may be the hardest and best thing you’ve ever had to do. You deserve to live as the best version of yourself and with the greatest quality of life filled with authentic joy and beauty. You deserve to meet the person you were born to be. Maybe this book can be the first step in taking you there.
I want to thank Erin from joining us and sharing her story. Get your copy of The Mother of all Fights on Amazon.
Stay tuned for more reviews! You can follow me on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. Don’t forget to check out my feature on Feedspot’s Top 100 YA Book Blogs!