Welcome, I’m Michelle Marthia.

It appears we have something in common. Perhaps we’re peers in illness. Perhaps you’re caring for a loved one who is moving toward end of life. Or perhaps you’re currently living in fear of an illness coming back. Whatever brings you here, I want you to know in the deepest way that you’re not alone.

Because I’ve been there, too.

I know what it feels like to be shaken off your foundation by a life-threatening illness. My cancer diagnosis was delivered on a Wednesday afternoon, nine days before my 43rd birthday. I was scheduled to meet with some folks regarding my biopsy results at 1:00 pm, and by 1:15 I officially had a malignancy I couldn’t shake.

I also know that re-entry from active-treatment is oftentimes far more difficult than we expect. I was so damn tired from chemo and radiation, and my brain no longer operated the way it once did, so I was slow to realize that I was slipping emotionally during this transition.

The thing is, nobody ever talks about how to manage re-entry into our lives post-diagnosis and treatment, with or without our illness in tow. As patients, we have a plan. And then suddenly…we don’t.

How do we find our wellbeing again when so much has been altered and stripped away?

After surveying and speaking with many other patients, I realized the struggle to discover a new sense of wellbeing during and after illness is common. Yet resources are limited.

Rise + Refuge is my response to this challenge.

While I would never consider death or illness a gift or blessing in my life, my journey has revealed the most important discovery I’ve made about myself…

That I’m able to turn towards others and be present in these difficult spaces.

That’s why my work is centered around the things we need most in those spaces — kindness, compassion, and most of all, connection.

For some, that’s support and guidance as you embrace your new definition of wellbeing.

For others, it’s easing emotional burdens and ensuring that a loved one’s goals of care are known and honored as an End of Life Doula.

But it can also be as simple as offering a sense of community — the comfort that comes with having someone in your circle who approaches your situation with compassion and kindness.

Wherever you find yourself, I consider it an honor to help you move forward with confidence, courage, and comfort.

A few more details as you get to know me:

● I’m the founder of Heal Courageously, a non-profit that provides free professional photography sessions to patients, caregivers and survivors as a way of reflecting back to them all that cannot be stolen by illness

● I am a certified End of Life Doula

● I am certified in Interdisciplinary End of Life and Palliative Care (University of Utah)

● I am a master certified health and wellness coach (Catalyst Coaching Institute)

● I am uncomfortable in large groups but love public speaking

● I rescue animals as often as they rescue me

● I love that my Irish heritage is freckled upon my skin

● I believe wholeheartedly in the power of kindness

● I always root for the Buffalo Bills no matter how hopeless it seems

● I believe our bodies hold deep knowledge and wisdom

● I love exploring places on foot

● I cherish the opportunity to be stretched by life

Need to get in touch?

I’d love to learn more about how I can support you.