Ann Gustafson

By Author, Caregiving, Faith No Comments

This week on the Here’s What We Know Podcast, hear an inspiring conversation with Ann Gustafson, author of the book “Seeds Sown, A Walk of Faith with the Intention of Restoration.” Anne shares her unexpected journey from being a nurse for 29 years to becoming an author following her diagnosis and battle with colon cancer at age 49. Despite living a healthy lifestyle and having no risk factors typically associated with the disease, Ann faced what many cancer patients experience—a sense that their body has betrayed them.

Don’t miss this powerful story that could offer comfort or guidance for people facing similar battles or seeking comfort from someone who has walked that path before—to spread hope and knowledge that can make all the difference during challenging times! Tune in now!

This episode is sponsored by:

(Use code “Gary” to get $89 off any service!)

In this Episode:

    • The transformative power of adversity and how unexpected life events can lead to growth and self-discovery.
    • Ann’s background as a nurse with 29 years under her belt, who faced her own health crisis when diagnosed with colon cancer at age 49.
    • The surprising revelation that despite leading a healthy lifestyle, she was not immune to illness challenged the misconception that disease always follows rules.
    • Insights into navigating healthcare systems during COVID times; from patient advocacy to questioning medical practices amidst pandemic protocols.
    • How faith played an integral role in coping with her diagnosis and treatment. Discover how spiritual beliefs can provide solace and strength even when confronting mortality.
    • Personal anecdotes related to farming life lessons which influenced Ann’s resilience and perspective on life challenges.

Ann has a special treat for the first 100 listeners of this episode: order her book “Seeds Sown, A Walk of Faith with the Intention of Restoration,” and receive an exclusive 15% discount with a special Andy “paw-dograff” bookmark! To claim your discounted copy, simply email Ann at to place your order!


“I didn’t ever anticipate being an author. I’m a nurse by trade and have done that for 29 years and so when this little pivot point happened I was called to write the book and tell my story.”  ~ Ann Gustafson

“I’m a nurse. We are horrible patients.”  ~ Ann Gustafson

“If I’m healed here on Earth because that means God has a plan for me. And I’ve got a purpose to fulfill. But if the healing is going to be on heaven’s side now, that’s okay, because I’ll be healed and perfect. I’ll be up in heaven. So I know it’s going to be healed either way. And that’s when I started to calm down.”  ~ Ann Gustafson

“As nurses, our job is to educate and be an advocate for patients, but also let the patients make their decisions.”  ~ Ann Gustafson

“I’m only doing this because I think I know you want me to do it. And this is not about me. It’s about reaching out and hopefully touching a couple of people.”  ~ Ann Gustafson


Ann Gustafson was raised on a family farm in Northwest Iowa, where she was blessed to be nurtured by her parents and tolerated by her older siblings. She attended the University of Iowa, earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Before Ann’s life-changing health experience, she spent many years as a Registered Nurse in Labor/Delivery. Her career path led her to serve as a nurse consultant in a corporate wellness company, where she provided positive health plans for clients.

After learning of her colon polyp diagnosis and the steps needed to remove it, Ann had a pivotal moment in her surgeon’s office. She turned her colon cancer journey from a quiet chapter to writing her story to help others navigate and overcome various obstacles they may experience far beyond colon cancer. Ann now enjoys sharing her story to help equip others to be prepared for a possible crisis moment/diagnosis in their life journey.

Guest Contact Info:



Book Amazon Purchase Link: Click here


Dr. Dave Reed

By Caregiving, Fun, Personal Growth, Science No Comments

This week on the Here’s What We Know Podcast, host Gary Scott Thomas had an amazing and fun-filled chat with our special guest, the esteemed veterinarian, Dr. Dave Reed from Reed Animal Hospital, in the Bay Area. With years of experience under his belt and countless pet lives saved, his passion for his profession and dedication to animal welfare are truly inspiring. His journey started on a farm in the Midwest, where he grew up around animals, leading him initially to aspire to be a mixed animal practitioner.

Tune into this engaging conversation filled with personal anecdotes, professional expertise, humor, and heartfelt advice on caring for our furry friends!

This episode is sponsored by:

Tell them Gary sent you so you can save 20%!

In This Episode:

  • Being a Vet: Understand the commitment involved in becoming a vet – 8 years of education, including specialization
  • Career Highlights: Hear about Dr.Dave’s memorable encounter with famous veterinarian James Herriot and how he decided against large animal practice.
  • Fear Free Veterinary Medicine: Learn about ‘fear-free veterinary medicine’ that focuses on creating relaxed environments for pets and their owners.
  • Dealing with Pets: Discover how to anticipate dog behavior to avoid bites and understand why cats can be more unpredictable than dogs.
  • Pet Health Indicators: Find out when pet lethargy should cause concern and other signs of ill health in pets.
  • Communication is Key: Learn how effective communication can address the many concerns of first-time pet owners.
  • Changes Over Time: Reflect on the significant advancements in veterinary medicine over the past decades due to increased care levels for pets seen as family members rather than outdoor creatures.


“It’s surprising though, the number of people that ask me, they say, are you going to retire? And I think to myself, no, I don’t think so. You know? I love what I do. ~ Dr. Dave Reed

“Thank you to you, good pet owners. Because, to be honest with you, if we didn’t have good pet owners asking us to do these things, we would’ve been doing it just like we did it 30 years ago”.  ~ Dr. Dave Reed

“They’re not our children, but they are a significant member of the family.” ~ Dr. Dave Reed

Guest’s Bio:

Dr. David Reed of Reed Animal Hospital grew up on a farm in Illinois and has loved animals since his childhood. An alumnus of the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine, he soon moved to the Bay Area, where he has made the exceptional veterinary care of cats and dogs his professional passion for more than three decades. He enjoys working with the community through low-cost vaccination clinics, speaking at local schools, and working with the Santa Clara County Sheriff K9 Unit. He considers working with the amazing police dogs some of his most rewarding work. Recently, “Dr. Dave” was voted one of the Bay Area’s Best Veterinarians, along with Dr. Dave’s Doggie Daycare as one of the Best Doggie Daycares, in Bay Woof Magazine’s Beast of the Bay Awards. Dr. Reed is highly respected and beloved by his furry patients and their families.

Guest’s Contact Info:

The podcast cover for Here's What We Know, with a picture of this week's guest Dr. Geoff Nugent.

Dr. Geoff Nugent

By Caregiving, Grief, Mental Health, Personal Growth No Comments

This episode is sponsored by: (Use this code to save on Oxtail!)

For the second week of our Mental Health Awareness Month series, I was joined by Dr. Geoff Nugent of Nugent Family Counseling Center. We dove into some great insights on mental health, parenting tips, and career success.

In this episode:

  • The value of therapy
  • Being present and validating someone’s feelings
  • Life is full of beauty, but sometimes we need help to remove obstacles
  • Learning the value of the dollar at a young age
  • How strong family values instilled a strong work ethic and helped with achieving higher education
  • Parents should teach children what values look like instead of just giving money
  • Adolescent struggles with mental health due to COVID
  • Setting boundaries with children
  • Finding joy and happiness
  • Controlling what can be controlled and focusing on the positive can influence others in a positive way
  • Parenthood and expectations


“So we’re taught that we are supposed to be able to rely on what goes on in our head, that the intuition, the thoughts, the logical aspects that come out, that we can use that information to help us manage in the world. But for individuals suffering from mental health, that is where that construction is misguided. It’s not used properly, and it comes across logically to them. Even though when you start to say it out loud or you start to work with somebody, it actually isn’t logical; it’s illogical. But because we’re stuck in our heads with the justification that we come up with, it’s there; it sounds real.” ~Dr. Geoff Nugent

“The statistics show right now that the average adolescent, the average has had at least six to nine suicidal thoughts during their adolescent gosh because of the things that go on around them, the struggles that they face, the relationships, and the issues that come up through them.” ~Dr. Geoff Nugent

“I think we use the word depression as kind of a common day everyday term nowadays where we need to separate it out from what is kind of an everyday type depression.” ~Dr. Geoff Nugent

“kids will pick up more of what we do, our actions, than what we say.” ~Dr. Geoff Nugent


Nugent Family Counseling Center was founded in 2015 by Geoff Nugent, Ph.D., LMFT, LPCC, BCPC, CSPC, who had been in Private practice since 2009. The practice currently serves clients at three office locations in San Jose, Santa Clara, California, and Reno, Nevada.

The team at Nugent Family Counseling Center supports a diverse community of children, adolescents, adults, and families who are affected by conditions such as addiction, depression, anxiety, trauma, stress, and grief. They strive to provide clients with the tools needed to understand and acknowledge the effects that their emotions and behaviors have on themselves and their personal relationships.

Counseling sessions focus on reminding families what they love about each other and utilize a combination of individual, family, and couples therapies. The innovative therapy approaches offered include dialectical behavioral therapy, psychological testing, psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, marriage counseling, and anger management.

They are also proud to offer neurofeedback treatments that are used as positive reinforcements for the brain and to teach the brain to change itself. These include positive effects on behaviors, attention, mood, and cognition.

Nugent Family Counseling Center understands that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to counseling. The team aims to get to know all clients on a personal level and work together to create informed care plans. They also recognize that clients evolve throughout the counseling process and ensure that sessions and techniques are consistently modified accordingly.

To receive further information about the counseling services offered by the team at Nugent Family Counseling Center, call or book an appointment today.

Lynn Abaté-Johnson

By Author, Caregiving, Grief, Mental Health, Personal Growth, Philosophy No Comments

This episode is sponsored by:

In this brutally honest conversation, Lynn Abaté-Johnson gets candid about her journey as a caregiver and talks about how she was able to finally care for herself the way she cared for her mom in her final years. We also talked about her recently released book Out of Love where she chronicles her journey and provides resources and systems for caregivers.

In this episode:

  • Being a caregiver while juggling her career
  • Keeping it a secret
  • Turning her mom’s cancer diagnosis into a “business”
  • Why she put the book on pause
  • Removing the hustle mindset
  • Being a caregiver while juggling being a wife
  • Changing to a healthier lifestyle
  • When her mom realized she wasn’t going to beat cancer
  • Feeding stress with food
  • Incremental changes
  • How to squeeze gifts out of hard situations
  • How the book morphed into being about her


“If I didn’t take that [her caregiving journey] and learn from it and transform my own life in very personal ways, there would be no point in telling the story.” ~Lynn Abaté-Johnson

“I went into production mode, and I did one of the things I do best, which is, I created–I jokingly said at times–we turned my mom’s cancer diagnosis into a business, and everything was documented. That really helped us with the emotional support we needed.” ~Lynn Abaté-Johnson

“I was doing the best job I could for her, at the same time freaking out myself that my mom was gonna die. That was the whole first year. Pretty much I could say I freaked out about me. It was a very selfish perspective. Like, ‘Well, okay, you have cancer, but what am I gonna do without you?’ I didn’t say that to her because I didn’t want her to feel bad. But I had this panic about losing my mom all of a sudden.” ~Lynn Abaté-Johnson

“I still believe that about every family member. We’re all doing the best we can. There’s a Ram Dass quote that I love that says ‘We’re all just walking each other home.’” ~Lynn Abaté-Johnson

“I used to say to my mom, ‘Mom, your cancer’s gonna kill me. Forget about you. It’s gonna kill me.’” ~Lynn Abaté-Johnson

“It was a very different world in 2011 when we got the diagnosis to the point where I couldn’t really be myself; I just had to figure out how to compartmentalize and then just do my job and still be a rockstar at work.” ~Lynn Abaté-Johnson

“I would go home, and I would fall apart. That’s when I would cry. That’s when I would curl up into the fetal position and be like my little girl self with my husband.” ~Lynn Abaté-Johnson

“You know, all of those things that sounded like criticism from my mom before, you never stop hearing that.” ~Lynn Abaté-Johnson

“I used to joke that, damn, I keep hearing mom’s voice in my head telling me what to do. ‘Can you please stop?’ And it hasn’t changed since she died. I still hear her voice in my head, but now it’s more of a comfort.” ~Lynn Abaté-Johnson

 “We didn’t really admit that we were control freaks until we got that diagnosis. And I’m perfectly willing to say I’m a recovering control freak.” ~Lynn Abaté-Johnson

“What am I really hungry for at this moment? So that’s a question I ask myself. Is it food? Is it really food, or is it something else? If it’s something else, then I have tools now that I’ve learned through all of my coaching and everything that I really can pull myself back into what’s really happening now.” ~Lynn Abaté-Johnson

“Truthfully, when I was in the trenches and in the muck of being a caregiver for my mom, I did a terrible job of taking care of myself.” ~Lynn Abaté-Johnson

“With all of the chaos swirling around, I have to believe that there is hope, and I have to believe that we are going to do a better job of taking care of ourselves and taking care of each other as we learn about our mistakes and, we just really try to do a better job, and doing a better job can be incremental.” ~Lynn Abaté-Johnson

“I am really committed to honoring everybody where they are in this moment.” ~Lynn Abaté-Johnson

“I didn’t die. I didn’t die when my mom died. I thought I would; I could not imagine being on this earth without her. And yet she’s still very much with me. Every time I see the hummingbirds, I say, ‘Hi, Mom.’ And it brings me a smile.” ~Lynn Abaté-Johnson

“It’s not my weight to carry. I can only carry my own weight, and I don’t want it to turn into me blowing up physically again or having so much inflammation on my body that I’m so miserable and I can’t function.” ~Lynn Abaté-Johnson

Guest’s Bio:

After being a primary caregiver for her mother for over six years, author Lynn Abate-Johnson understands the typhoon of emotions and responsibilities that come with caring for a loved one. However, she discovered how to blossom through (and after) caregiving rather than let it drown her. 

By using her natural organizational skills and her solid work ethic, she developed systems and processes to help navigate the difficult journey of caregiving, which allowed her to go from “What am I going to do without my mom?” to “I know I can thrive after she’s gone–just as she would want.”

Like most caregivers, Lynn juggled caregiving duties with a full-time career. In her daily life, she’s a business consultant and global community builder. 

She’s been building businesses from the ground up from a young age, with her first business being a network of family roller skating rinks in the Detroit, Michigan metro area. She is currently growing the global community as “the voice” of the Co-Active Training Institute (CTI), one of the world’s most respected leadership development and professional coach training organizations.

As part of her devotion to developing global communities that make a difference by connecting human beings, she speaks with cohorts of caregivers to help them discover they’re not alone, everything’s going to be ok, and there are tools they can use to ease the burdens they might feel as caregivers. Her book Out of Love: A Daughter’s Journey With Her Mom To The End provides care for caregivers by giving them the emotional and practical support they need.

About the Book:
Lynn’s words offer a uniquely personal glimpse into her journey as a daughter of a strong mother, along with her own transformation in the aftermath of being a caregiver.

Lynn’s approach removes the stigma of grief, Her expressive and often vulnerable ways of sharing help to normalize what many families may take for granted or miss in their often overwhelming and new experience as caregivers. There will be discomfort, shame, guilt, and layers of conditioning to discover in this book, with the goal of bringing light to the dark and peace to the soul.

These words are also interactive, meaning you will find practical, logistical tools and resources on the accompanying website:

Guest’s Contact Info: