Susan Troccolo retired from the business world and is now a community volunteer, gardener, writer, and bluegrass guitar player. She lives with Patrick, her husband of thirty-five years and Fly, the "Grace Kelly of Border Collies" in Portland, Oregon. Susan is the author of "Growing Down Stories", personal essays of living life with humor and grace. She has several essays in the "Chocolate for a Woman's Soul" series (Simon and Schuster), work in VoiceCatcher and the Portland Women's Journal. She loves blogging, especially humor pieces, at Culinate.com (First Person and Our Table) and at Lighthearted Travel.com. Susan is a survivor of cancer, once in 1992 and again in 2008, experiences which have informed her life and her work. In 1998, Susan received training to work with drug-addicted babies in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for two years and also became certified to facilitate creative writing workshops through "Write Around Portland" where she also served as a board member for four years. The Write Around Portland ten-week intensives included workshops for teens who had lost a parent, women with metastatic breast cancer and people in a burn unit. In 2010, Susan was trained to facilitate the "Chronic Disease Self-Management Program" (CDSMP), an evidence-based program developed by Stanford University. In that capacity, she works primarily with people in mid-life and with seniors. The classes assist individuals with the many challenges and ongoing difficult emotions of having a chronic condition, like diabetes, arthritis, cancer, or heart disease. Susan's happiest creative achievement was the creation of a thirty-minute documentary on the life of Anna Lea Lelli, her mentor in the study of Dante's Divine Comedy in the original Italian, while living and studying for four years in Rome. This documentary aired on public television in 1992. Throughout the losses in her life, Susan believes that making grief and loss conscious are as much a birthright as our joys. "Do not fear the darkness, for in it rests the light."
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