Chapter 3: Cherry Blossoms and Liver Spots*

Chapter 3: Cherry Blossoms and Liver Spots*

(March – May 2018)* I started chemotherapy two days after returning from my Christmas trip to Tokyo. That sleepy smile in the photo above is a combination of traveling and the massive dose of Benadryl I received before the infusion. Jaime (left) and Vickie (right) made my chemo treatments as easy, and as fun, as chemotherapy could possibly be. They were happy, loving, and friendly to everyone, and I will treasure their friendship always. You read that correctly. (That isn’t a COVID mask – it’s what an immunocompromised cancer patient wears to try to stay safe in public). My mother,

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Chapter 4: You Are Not Prepared*

Chapter 4: You Are Not Prepared*

Due to “exigent circumstances” (discussed more in the book), we had to make due with short term rentals during our first four months in Japan. Fortunately, I had already booked our initial six-week stay through 1/3 Residence–a company that rents short- and medium-term furnished apartments in Tokyo.

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Chapter 2: One Hundred and One*

Chapter 2: One Hundred and One*

I don’t have many photos to document Chapter 2 of CLIMB,* which chronicles my cancer diagnosis, surgery, and early treatment. (In fairness, I suspect I’m not alone in the fact that my first reaction to learning I had cancer wasn’t “SOMEONE GRAB THE CAMERA”) I also have no photographs of my beloved grandmother, Peggy, whose cancer story I also share in Chapter 2. For those details, you’ll have to read the book… However . . . although this is the shortest chapter in the photo companion, it’s not entirely without pictures: Four weeks after my double mastectomy, I flew to

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Chapter 1: Victory–And Misery–On Misen*

Mountain: Mt. Misen (弥山), Hiroshima Prefecture, Japan (The short caption directly beneath each photo matches the text in CLIMB.) My first view of Miyajima: (original photo taken in June 2015). The Otorii is visible at center left, and the mountain rising just to the left of center is Mt. Misen. Historically, the entire island was considered sacred ground. The first Otorii was built before the tenth century; the existing gate dates to 1875. The Ōtorii (great torii) measures 24 meters wide and rises 16 meters high (measured from the sand on which it sits). Torii are sacred Shintō gates that

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Prepare to CLIMB!

Prepare to CLIMB!

Dare to Dream, and You Can Change Your World CLIMB – the narrative nonfiction story of my journey to overcome cancer and conquer fear by climbing 100 of Japan’s most famous mountains – releases this coming Monday, August 3, worldwide. (Purchase links for online and local bookstore sources are here.) Advance praise: “Spann’s journey is a tremendous reach into uncertainty amidst a cancer diagnosis, and ultimately her summits become a reward far more than the tops of the mountains she attains. ” — Erik Weihenmayer, Athlete, Adventurer, Bestselling Author and founder of NO BARRIERS USA Due to COVID-19, I don’t have any

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CLIMB

CLIMB

I’m thrilled to announce that the memoir about my #100Summits journey, titled CLIMB, will release on January 2020 from Prometheus Books! From the jacket: After more than forty years of living “safe and scared,” California attorney and mystery author Susan Spann decided to break free by climbing one hundred of Japan’s most famous mountains, inspired by a classic list of hyakumeizan peaks. But when an unexpected cancer diagnosis forced her to confront her deepest fears, the mountains of Japan became the setting for an even more transformative journey from pain and fear to a new life fueled by hope, confidence, and strength.

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Happy Mother’s Day!

Happy Mother’s Day!

(And a brief hiatus…) It’s Mother’s Day here in Japan (we observe it here as well) and the ajisai (hydrangeas) are beginning to bloom. I love these spectacular flowers, with their large, puffy heads composed of smaller individual blossoms. They remind me of my mom, who always had some growing in the yard when I was small. I haven’t posted in a while, because I’ve been so busy working on manuscripts – for my next Hiro Hattori mystery and for the 100 Summits book (which will release early next year — look for an exciting update soon). My posting will

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