“For 46 years I was healthy and energetic, never able to appreciate the struggle of many who endure constant pain and illness,” Margaret Phalor Barnhart says. That all changed when she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Margaret’s best-selling book, Journey Unknown, is the unique expression of her artistic and poetic response to the most challenging time of her life. “The writings and artwork contained in this book were initiated as my own therapy,” Margaret says. “When thoughts tumbled compulsively within my mind, especially at night, I sought relief through pencil and paper.”
Journey Unknown has achieved best-selling status, ranking number three on the Amazon Best Sellers List in the Cancer category and number four in the Oncology category. “Sharing my story at such an intensely personal level was frightening,” Margaret says. “Following my first group presentation, I imagined myself as an old-fashioned camera, opened at the back, with the film exposed. I hoped I hadn’t been damaged.”
Instead, Margaret’s story has inspired others, and has become a recommended resource for cancer patients, their families, and their friends. “I’ve read Journey Unknown at least 15 times, and I still find new meaning on each page,” said Mary Ann Copeland, former Executive Director of the Miami County, Ohio American Cancer Society. Dr. Kenneth Blank, formerly with the University of Pennsylvania Cancer Center, agrees. “From shock, anger, and denial through depression and acceptance, Mrs. Barnhart’s story is powerful and touching and sure to be an inspiration to other cancer patients,” said Dr. Blank. “The poems and artwork will certainly inspire countless hours of reflection, and the book can be re-read over and over with new insights found each time.”
Through her difficult experiences, Margaret developed a simple perspective on life. “The journey of life is indeed unknown. In a counseling session, I was reminded that I don’t need to understand life. I simply choose how to live it.” Margaret sums it all up in one succinct phrase: “I’ll accept what is, I’ll live for today, I’ll walk through the rainbow and add color wherever I can.”
Margaret has been married to Charles Barnhart since 1992. They live in Tucson, Arizona, where the blue skies and warmer climate are kind to their well-being.
Journey Unknown by Margaret Phalor Barnhart is published by Laurus Books and is available in paperback and eBook versions. To learn more visit MargaretBarnhart.com.