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When a Low Point Becomes a Turning Point

It might seem strange that a moment of intense distress could be remembered as the high point in one's life. But for Shasti O'Leary-Soudant, an instant of exuberant clarity was brought on by her struggle against lymphoma.

Almost seven years ago, O'Leary-Soudant was diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease. Soon afterward, she started six months of chemotherapy followed by radiation. Her husband, Jethro Soudant, was by her side.

It was during those treatments, she says, that O'Leary-Soudant experienced "the happiest and the worst day" of her life. As the disease and its treatment made her sick, her husband made a gesture -- and a joke -- that made it all better.

The couple agree that the moment was a turning point. O'Leary-Soudant is now cancer-free, and they now have a two-year-old daughter, Ruby.

StoryCorps interviews are archived at the Library of Congress and also played on Fridays on Morning Edition.

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