Thursday, August 6, 2009

Questions and answers.......

Following is a copy of an email that I sent out to many people. Some of you reading this may have already received it. Here it is again, for some of you just learning about my cancer.

(written on Tuesday, August 4th)
I'm writing this update to you today on the 32nd anniversary of my first cancer surgery. Who could have ever imagined then, at the age of 21, that I'd be lucky enough to be writing to so many wonderful people, and having the opportunity to say "thank you for having touched my life is some special way" 32 years later? So, thank you to each and everyone of you receiving this email. Also, who could have imagined that 32 years ago, I would be going through a very similar journey today? Now, at the age of 53, I'm dealing with cancer for the 3rd time. This time around, I am so lucky to have my husband Richard, my fabulous kids, my parents and brother, and so many wonderful friends and family members here in Berkeley, CA and all over the country. What did we do 32 years ago? There was no email or Facebook (or blogs, like this) - how the heck did we all communicate? Anyway, I'm writing to bring you all up-to-date. The question and answer format seemed to work well the last time, so I will do it again today.

How are you feeling? Pretty good - but much more anxious than I have been. Now the reality has hit and my surgery is in 2 weeks and 2 days - but who's counting?

How was Israel? FANTASTIC! Truly the trip of a lifetime. Richard and I had the best time together - almost 3 weeks of traveling, hiking, sight-seeing, swimming, meeting family, watching David compete in the Maccabiah Games - it was life-altering!

How did David do? Great! He got a bronze medal in the Sprint Triathlon (18-19 age-group) and 17th overall in the 1/2 marathon! Very impressive!

Did Aly come with you? No - she is in Alaska doing a NOLS course (National Outdoor Leadership School), and comes home on the night of August 18th.

When is your surgery? August 20th. (See question above. The surgeon had changed the date to the 18th and I decided to wait so I could spend a day with Aly.)

What can I do? There will be a website set up with a calendar for visiting and meals. This will probably go up in a few days. My friend Susan will be sending it out.

Or you could: Support my team, Team Susan Survives, a team of more than 20 people who will be swimming in the SF Bay Area Swim Across America event on October 3rd (not me this year) - this event raises money for cancer research programs in the Bay Area.

For those of you in Kingston - help Edna and Bill through this ordeal!!

Do you want visitors? Yes, absolutely! Again, check the website so everyone doesn't come on the same day! You can also send mail to me at: Stanford Hospital & Clinics
ATTN: Susan Helmrich
300 Pasteur DriveStanford, CA 94305
Driving Directions:

What are you doing to prepare? On Saturday, Richard and I will be swimming in a 2.7 mile race at Donner Lake, near Lake Tahoe. This is a crazy and very difficult swim because it is in cold water (we'll be wearing wetsuits), a very long distance and at altitude - but hey, this can't be any more difficult than what will be happening to me on the 20th. The swim is going to be easy in comparison! Also, in the next two weeks, before my surgery, I'll be seeing friends and trying to eat as much healthy food as I possibly can.

Do you have a blog? Yes, actually, I do. However, there is nothing written on it yet. But there will be, and here is the link: I think that's about it for now.

Thank you all so much for your calls, emails, and gifts. The support you have given me so far has been amazing. Please understand how difficult it is for me to answer your emails and calls - I just cannot possibly keep up - but do know, I appreciate all of it. So, again, really, all I'm hoping for at this point is that you send good thoughts and prayers my way. While your at it, I have two dear friends, Jennifer and Andrea, who are also on this cancer journey, and please put them on your list as well. Prayers (or whatever you may call them) can be very powerful.

Until the next posting or if you go to my blog, be well. And, one more thing, of course:


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