Ovarian Cancer Survivor Found Inner Spark

We are saddened to share the news of Jennifer Wilson Cooper's death on June 6, 2012. Jennifer's spirit lives on through her posts on her blog Fourseeds.com and through her generous spirit that touched so many. We are honored to have helped to bring you her inspiring story.

As anyone with a serious illness can attest, being a part of a supportive community is critical. Now, thanks to the Internet, you can reach far beyond your little corner of the world.

That's what Jennifer Wilson Cooper, two-time ovarian cancer survivor, did. She launched a blog as a way to share her cancer experience and learn from others. Before long, people from around the globe were reading Fourseeds.com.

The name "Fourseeds" comes from the Greek tale of Persephone, goddess of the Earth, and the pomegranate seeds she ate. The ancient Greeks believe this explained the annual cycle of dark, barren winters followed by rebirth in the spring. Cooper interpreted Persephone's story as one of difficulty, power, and redemption, and found it was a good model for dealing with cancer.

"When you have ovarian cancer," she says, "you have to create your own vision of how you're going to survive because you can't look to doctors or, God forbid, statistics, to back you up. The data aren't there."

Here are a few life lessons Cooper learned from having cancer.

Draw strength from loved ones.

Cooper replenishes her stores of strength and vitality from her son and her husband, who she describes as her rock. The value of seeking support from others to navigate the physical, emotional, spiritual, and logistical challenges of cancer is incalculable.

Find your inner spark.

"You have to find your inner spark and stoke it day in and day out, no matter what anyone is telling you," Cooper says. "This is why cancer survivors are sometimes the most inspiring people you'll ever meet. Figure out what makes you feel really good inside, what sort of work or service or creative act stokes your inner fire, and do that as much as you can."

Allow yourself to freak out occasionally.

"It helps to have a friend who can handle your dark moments when you need to be terrified and say the words, 'I don't want to die,' and then just cry. Cry, cry, cry, and let it pass. Those moments wash over you from time-to-time and you have to let it happen."

Seek inspiration where you can.

Cooper recommends reading Kris Karr's book Crazy Sexy Cancer and watching her video on her website. "You have to define what your cancer experience is going to be," she says." Kris is a great role model for this."