Episode 127 – Alene Nitzky wrote Navigating the C: A Nurse Charts the Course for Cancer Survivorship Care

Show Overview

  • Alene Nitzky is an oncology nurse and an ultra runner. In this interview we talk about her role as an oncology nurse, health coach, and American Cancer Society Certified Cancer Exercise Trainer—and her new book. Alene wrote Navigating the C: A Nurse Charts the Course for Cancer Survivorship Care to help those with cancer, the newly diagnosed, their families and caregivers, and those in the health care profession. We talk about health, exercise, the quality of life with cancer, advocacy, understanding cancer, writing her book, her book’s audience, and much more.


  • Nonfiction

My Books

My Writing Obstacles

  • The biggest obstacle was talking about all these things that were bothering me. I was reliving some difficult experiences. That was really tough. Painful memories and stuff.

My Writing Motivation

  • My motivation was seeing the need for a different approach to meeting people’s need after they go through cancer treatments. I was hearing people’s stories and wanted to address the holes that were out there.

How I Balance Life

  • Sometimes you can’t do it all. What’s really important for me is running. It can be my creative time. I just enjoy running.

My Most Difficult Writing Challenge

  • My challenge was staying focused. I’d get an idea and they I’d veer off the main track.

The Best Advice on Writing I Ever Received

  • Get rid of the editor in your head. Don’t worry what anybody thinks, Write what’s in your heart and inside you. Just spit it out. You can tweak it later. Then once you’ve written the book, get as many critical eyes on it as possible before you finish it up.
Get rid of the editor in your head. Don’t worry what anybody thinks, Write what’s in your heart and inside you. Just spit it out. You can tweak it later. Then once you’ve written the book, get as many critical eyes on it as possible before you… Click To Tweet

My Most Rewarding Moment as an Author

  • It was when I received a proof copy of the book and held it in my hands. The other times are when people read it and tell me they learned something from it or it made them think about something differently than they did before.

What Helped me the Most

  • I had a great editor. She helped me identify what was the most important stuff to keep and what I could get rid of.

What I’ve Learned in Writing this Book

  • When you decide to do something, you have to really clear the space in your life and have a singular focus. Sometimes that means you have to sacrifice other things. You have to decide what’s your priority.

How To Find Me

About Alene from Her Amazon Author’s page

  • Alene Nitzky, Ph.D., is a registered nurse certified in oncology, health coach, cancer exercise trainer, and CEO/Founder of Cancer Harbors®. When her clients with chronic health conditions expressed difficulty in getting help to improve the quality of their lives, she discovered the importance of communicating with patients in a way that can be understood, while teaching skills that could be applied to their lifestyles. As an athlete diagnosed with thyroid disease, Nitzky struggled to get back to the high level of performance and function she once had. She only got relief when she found a doctor who treated her as a person, not a disease.
  • As an oncology nurse, she recognized the disruption to her patients’ lives that cancer treatment caused, including their families’ routines and needs. Nitzky developed Cancer Harbors to address the gaps in survivorship care, to assist people in gaining more control over restoring their health, and to build skills in self-advocacy and self-care.
  • Prior to nursing, Nitzky earned a doctorate in recreation resources from Colorado State University, studying health benefits of leisure. She has taught kinesiology, wellness, and fitness at the college level, and coached collegiate athletes and recreational runners of all ages.
  • A Nightingale Award nominee for advocacy in nursing, she speaks and writes about running, fitness, and health care, and her work has appeared in guest blogposts, book chapters, Kevin MD, Ultrarunning Magazine, Runners’ World, Barefoot Running U.K., and other print and online publications. She has been a columnist on running for The Coloradoan, Fort Collins, Colorado’s local paper, and a blogger on cancer survivorship for Oncology Nursing Society and Oncology Nursing News. A pastel artist and accomplished ultra-endurance runner, she lives in Fort Collins, Colorado with her husband and their two Australian Shepherds.

From My Perspective

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