Cynthia Hayes has been preparing her whole life to write The Big Ordeal. She learned the basics of interviewing, synthesizing information, finding the headlines, and telling a story as a journalist early in her career. After a brief interruption to earn an MBA from Harvard Business School, Cynthia spent twenty-five years as a management consultant. In that role, success depended on her ability to jump into new topics, ask sensitive questions, understand specialized information, and turn complex findings into a compelling narrative. Shortly prior to her own diagnosis, Cynthia resigned from Montefiore Medical Center in New York, where for three years she had served as vice president and chief marketing officer, focused on telling stories of health and recovery. While at Montefiore, she gained a deeper understanding of medicine and had the opportunity to build relationships with cancer professionals and other experts who helped her write The Big Ordeal.