As many of you know, I was diagnosed with a neuroendocrine pancreatic tumor in 2009. My tumor was small and slow growing, and I did NOT have regular pancreatic cancer. You may also know that this was my third cancer diagnosis, therefore, the title of my blog. I am grateful that you are reading this. I'm quite certain that your support and prayers helped me survive.
Sunday, August 4, 2013
Today is a very special day for me….and on some level a bit
weird. One that I’ve written about
before, and even though it comes around each year, I can’t quite believe that
what happened to me 36 years ago really happened. But it did.
Thirty-six years ago today I underwent a 10 ½ hour operation for clear
cell adenocarcinoma of the vagina. It
was caused by a drug (DES) that was given to my mom when she was pregnant with
me. I was 21 years old and I had cancer.
I had many organs removed. Now,
looking back, it seems surreal, yet I remember it as if it were yesterday. The diagnosis, the treatment, and the
recovery – which was extremely scary and very difficult. I had to learn how to live with a whole new
body and bodily systems that didn’t function as they did before the surgery. Quite frankly, I never really believed that
I would make it to 57! But I did, and
two more cancer diagnoses (one at age 42
(lung) and one at age 53 (pancreas)), eight surgeries, and at least 20
hospitalizations later, I am grateful and feel extremely lucky to be here. I am blessed with a wonderful and supportive
husband of 27 years, two amazing children who bring me so much pleasure and joy
as I watch them become interesting and enthusiastic adults, work that I love
and a very loyal network of friends and family.
one celebrate such an auspicious anniversary?
The best way I know how…I’m about to go for a nice long swim and enjoy a
simple dinner with my family. Actually,
I try to celebrate my survival daily by living each day with intention, gratitude,
exercise and meaningful work. Right now,
I’m in the thick of planning for the 2013 Swim Across America San Francisco Bay
Swim. Swim Across America raises money
for cancer treatment and research through swimming events. I am the co-event
director in SF, and while this is supposed to be a part-time “job”, it seems to
take up most of my time as we get closer to the date which is October 5th. I am also the captain of Team Susan Survives
– and my goal this year is to get 36 people on my team – as swimmers, kayakers
or volunteers and hopefully raise over $36,000.
In the past 7 years, since I
became involved with this organization, Team Susan has raised over
$200,000. How does one celebrate
surviving cancer 36 years since my first cancer (and 15 since my lung and
almost 4 since my pancreatic)? By giving
back….and asking everyone I know to help.
No donation is too small. I thank
you in advance for helping me “make waves to fight cancer”. I also thank you for being in my life and
for playing some role, large or small in my survival journey.
To find the Swim Across America page for Team Susan Survives, go to: