LIFE BLOOD: Lessons from one woman who survived serious illness against the odds

By Cathy Koning


Foreword by Dr Russ Harris, bestselling author of The Happiness Trap.

Life Blood is a remarkable new book from Cathy Koning, an author who found her writing voice after a huge tussle with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia, a rare form of blood cancer. Now, approaching 70 years of age, she embarks on her new career as a writer and self-publisher.

Almost everyone knows someone with cancer, or possibly has gone through it themselves. Cathy chronicles her cancer journey for readers seeking a better understanding of what it’s like to be a patient trying to survive and flourish against the odds. It’s for family and friends supporting a loved one, medical practitioners and patients themselves. And anyone interested in reading about life’s challenges.

It is truly wonderful that this book is now out into the world and can make a difference to those who are in the same boat and need some hope. Julie Postance, author of Breaking the Sound Barriers

Cathy writes of her journey with a dignified honesty. Her personal hints and advice are a great comfort. Sharing her fears and doubts with the reader makes for an intimate immediacy which, with the additional pleasure of knowing her as a former colleague, makes for compulsive reading.

Jan – Booktopia review

The story

Cathy has been feeling unwell for some time. Eventually her worst fears are confirmed with the shock diagnosis of leukaemia. Cathy has a deep-seated aversion to medical procedures but without immediate treatment she will not survive – not a great combination. Maybe this is not going to end well.

Cathy’s moving, unflinchingly honest and often humorous recollections and reflections chart her experience from diagnosis to cure and beyond. Along the way she is admitted to ICU and placed in an induced coma, her mother dies, she undergoes a lifesaving but risky stem-cell transplant, marries her partner of 37 years and moves house twice. And that was just in the first year. To follow are years of graft vs host disease symptoms as her donor’s T cells view her cells as foreign and attack them.


Life Blood acknowledges the remarkable work of the staff at our public hospitals, so relevant at this time, in particular the Alfred Hospital, and how fortunate our community is to have Medicare for all. Life Blood also recognises the invaluable support of those who came on the expedition with Cathy. They had their challenges too. It takes a village, or in this case, a metropolis.

Author Biography

Cathy Koning likes to re-invent herself. She briefly worked as a secondary school teacher after graduating with an arts degree from Latrobe University. As a theatre production photographer she toured Europe with Nigel Triffitt’s Momma’s Little Horror Show and captured many live shows at the Last Laugh Theatre Restaurant in Melbourne. After many years as a publicist she founded a successful gardening business and then ran a Sustainable Communities Program for two rural shires. Everything changed in 2012 with a leukaemia diagnosis. During her long recovery Cathy turned her hand to writing and Dainty Diva, the first biography of Dorothy Armitage Rudder, a Sydney soprano and vaudeville artist, was the outcome. It can be read for free on her website.

Life Blood gave her the chance to reflect on what it meant to be confronted by a frightening diagnosis and the comfort she found in family, friends and access to an excellent public health system. She is currently working on her next book about a notorious American con man.

Contact and further information

Cathy is available for an interview or presentation to talk about her life journey, becoming a writer much later in life, and her uplifting cancer survival story. She lives an hour north of Melbourne.

Life Blood can be found as a paperback, hardback and eBook across book retailers globally. Read more about Cathy’s book here:

Published by Silver Moon Press.



Instagram:        cathykoningwriter



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