Five Questions for Journalist Susan Spencer-Wendel
When journalist Susan Spencer-Wendel, 46, was diagnosed with ALS – a neurodegenerative disease that destroys muscles and inevitably causes paralysis and death – she embarked on a mission to complete her bucket list and use those experiences to create memories for her husband, three children, the rest of her family and her friends. She chronicled those events (using her one thumb on her iPhone) and her moving memoir, Until I Say Goodbye, published this week.
Her story, filled with hope and sadness, has caught the attention of many. Her book landed a $2 million advance, quickly followed by a seven-figure movie deal with Universal. Recent media appearances on ABC news and NBC’s Today show have brought her powerful and emotional story to an even greater audience. Zoomer was able to interview Spencer-Wendel through email (she can still type with one thumb on her iPhone.)
ZOOMER: What has surprised you most in the reactions to your story?
ZOOMER: What does the money from your publication and movie deals mean to you?
SSW: The money means peace of mind that my children are well provided for. And my husband could quit his job and care for me. So, it means a great deal. It also means I am quite a giftgiver. (Smile.)
ZOOMER: You wrote that being the surviving spouse would be the worse position to be in. Why?
SSW: For one, it’s over. For the other, it drags on for a lifetime.
ZOOMER: What brings you joy now? And has that changed since your diagnosis?