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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Petty

006 The Nine Lives of Lise Leroux

One Woman's Mind-blowing Tale of Living With a Terminal Diagnosis


How does a daily duel with Death change the way you live?

My guest on this episode, Lise Leroux, is an author, skydiver, globetrotter, and life cycle celebrant. More than three decades ago, she received a terminal diagnosis. Then just five years ago, her story took a mind-blowing turn.

Lise's story will strengthen your resolve to live with even more guts and gusto and abandon right now. Listen for how Lise's story has led her to her unique purpose in life. In episode 3, How to Turn Your Imperfections into Superpowers, I pointed out that our story and our unique purpose are inseparable, and Lise is a perfect example of that. I hope her example will help you connect the dots between your story and your purpose even more clearly. Her story is also a powerful example and affirmation of the big idea in episode 5, How to Become the Boss of Your Fear.

No One Believes Me

Between the ages of 15 and 25, Lise knew something was wrong. Countless doctors and specialists looked at her case, and one by one, they found nothing. Eventually, it was chalked up to hypochondria. As much as they wanted to believe her, even Lise’s own parents ultimately sided with the “experts” rather than with Lise. But by 25, Lise knew deeply within herself that something was terribly wrong, and her time on earth was quickly drawing to a close.


Finally, at 25 and with nothing more to lose, Lise packed up all her stuff in a UHaul trailer and headed to a facility in Montreal that could do MRIs--in 1985, a groundbreaking technology. Here, she received confirmation of what she’d known deep-down for a decade: Something really was wrong. It had a name...and a terminal prognosis. Tune into the full episode to hear how this news affected Lise. It wasn’t how you might have expected.

Six Months to Live...For More Than Three Decades

This began an anger-fueled, danger-seeking, fear-conquering, globetrotting chapter of Lise’s life. She was a woman on the run, living every day as if it could be her last, forming few meaningful attachments, dueling with the specter of Death day-in and day-out. In one harrowing episode, she fell through the upper level of her home onto the stone floor below--where she remained for three days, unable to move, accompanied only by her two dogs. Then five years ago, a routine medical examination for her job changed her life dramatically again. Tune in for details. The truth really is stranger than fiction; you can’t make this stuff up.

What Does Lise’s Story Mean for Us?

Lise's story is like a sadistic experiment designed by a mad scientist. And the question posed by the experiment was, "What does the expectation of imminent death do to a person?" If there was any remaining doubt that Mortality is the most powerful motivator in life, then Lise's story helps put that doubt to rest. Even though she has regret over things she missed--investing more in intimate relationships and having kids, for example--she nevertheless is grateful overall for how Death caused her to live. So much so that she is carrying those lessons forward into the new chapter of her story. And one idea sticks out to me especially: That even though there's no guarantee of another day, we DO have a choice about how we live right NOW. In Lise's case, she chose to go for it rather than hole up and wait for Death. What choice are you making?

What hit you from Lise's story? Share your response in the comments on this episode’s post on Facebook.

Connect with Lise:

My purpose as a coach is to help you deploy your unique purpose in the world. Connect with me on Facebook or email me.

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See you next time on Andrew Petty is Dying!

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