The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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May 29, 2014

'Narrow' victory: Award-winning author shares philosophy of resilience

Award-winning author shares philosophy of resilience

Though Ruth Bachman said she’s always been a positive person — her resilience has only come with practice.

The award-winning Minnesota author of “Growing Through the Narrow Spots” is also the featured speaker during a Mankato Area Lifelong Learners-sponsored event being held 6:30-8:30 p.m. today at Bethel Baptist Church.

During that event, she’ll tell how “In 2003, I was a left-handed woman,” as her book begins. “I was also a wife and mother, in apparent good health.”

And she’ll tell, too, about the sarcoma in her wrist that looked a “6-inch mortadella sausage.” And then she’ll tell about the amputation that took the lower part of her dominant arm, but saved her life.

More importantly, though, Bachman will tell about the empowering attitude she adopted in the face of life-altering change. It’s an attitude, she said, that formulated with the death of her sister in 1991 from skin cancer and was strengthened during a series of trying circumstances that culminated with the decision to allow doctors to remove her arm.

“It started with my sister’s death,” Bachman said. “It took me a long time to grieve her loss and integrate what that meant in my life. ... When my diagnosis came — and this was not easy to say — but I found myself able to say: ‘I’ve been given an opportunity to choose life and what am I going to do with that reality?’”

After speaking about her experience for several years, Bachman was motivated by the positive reception from her audiences to write a book. She arranged a deal with TRISTAN Publishing, a Golden Valley-based publisher of “books with a message,” and released her book in 2013.

The result is a visually stunning and emotionally uplifting primer on building resilience. Likening life’s difficult stretches to the “narrow spot” in an hourglass, Bachman urges readers to accept change and instead focus their energy on adapting and thriving as a response.

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