Numbers

Two years ago, a post of mine titled “Numbers” would have been about numbers on a scale, or calorie counting, or using numbers as a way to measure fitness.

Two years after starting this blog, the only numbers I have on my brain are survival rates. Oh how things can change.

I know this is a deep post to hit you with on a Saturday, but these numbers are weighing me down! I need to get them out of my brain and into the open so I can continue on with my life without their persistent nagging.

Hodgkins Lymphoma, the type of cancer I have, has a very good success rate. Probably one of the best there is. When I was told that I had cancer, the only thing that gave me hope was hearing I had a 98% chance of beating this thing. Totally doable.

Unfortunately, numbers are tricky, and don’t always apply to everyone the same. Last week when I met with my radiologist, I heard new numbers: 75% to 80%.

It took a while to sink in. After the appointment on the drive back to the hospital I asked my mom, “Wait, did she say 80% in there??” My mom had heard this number somewhere else, so it didn’t surprise her. Me? I wanted my extra 18% back to make it that comfy 98% again.

Truth of the matter is, I have a large mass in my chest that has been deemed “undesirable.” My statistics are still some of the best a person with cancer can get. I have NO DOUBT that I am on the right side of the statistic – the majority chance that the cancer won’t come back when it’s gone (because it’s going, that’s a fact).

But just because I know I’m going to get better, doesn’t mean that the thought of being told I have cancer for a second time around doesn’t scare me. I can fight this thing for a year or two of my life. But fighting another cancer 5 years down the road? It’s scary.

That’s why numbers are just plain stupid. The instil fear into those who don’t need it. They are a sub-par measure of success in a field where nothing is ever guaranteed. I’m done with statistics. All I need to know is that I am on treatment, it’s going to work, and this nightmare will be behind me. For good.

In a post about weighing myself, this is where I’d show you an image of me throwing out the bathroom scale. Instead, I’ll just show off my new hairdo ;)

I have no idea how many inches I lost, but before it was looooong and now it is the shortest I’ve had it since high school! Even if it only lasts a few weeks, I suspect pulling out shorter strands of hair will be less stressful than long ones. I will shave it once it gets to a certain point then probably just wear wigs until it’s at a cute length again.

Close-up:

Just another aspect of my new life with cancer. I can lose my hair, but I won’t ever lose my hope.

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Posted on July 23, 2011, in Cancer. Bookmark the permalink. 193 Comments.

  1. numbers mean nothing, you are right. We measure health and vitality, which breeds from your heart, soul, mind. And YOUR heart, mind, soul have the power to overcome!

    p.s.
    Totally Digg the new Do!!

  2. Your new do looks beautiful! AND, you are so right about those numbers…I work with and monitor oncology advisors that talk all day to people about studies and stats…and don’t get me wrong, they do serve a purpose, I think, when it comes to picking out the most beneficial treatment protocol…BUT I also listen to them instilling hope in people, and that is most important…positive attitude, although I know at times it’s tuff..and knowing that you will help others by what you are portraying and saying in these posts! Please keep it up :)

  3. You look gorgeous Susan! And I love how you ended this post. I think part of what makes a “survivor” is a positive attitude, and you’ve certainly got that!

  4. Sarah @ Long Legs Healthy Life

    Love the new hair Susan! I think you’re right about the numbers, especially since if you asked 100 different doctors, you would probably get 100 different numbers from them. I loved the last line of your post, it really speaks to your spirit and your outlook, both of which are amazing!

  5. Susan- I love the new hair! It looks great! I love your positive outlook, and know that with that positive attitude, you can make your story 100% success. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what others stories are with their cancer, it depends on your individual cancer and your outlook. Worrying about others will do absolutely nothing for you at this point. Keep positive as I know you CAN and WILL, because that is just who you are with or without the stupid cancer.

  6. Screw the numbers girl! Nothing can get to you with an awesome new cut like that!

  7. You look great, the new haircut really suits you! No number will tell you how is your body going to respond to the treatment. I don’t doubt that it’ll go well, though, becausebody is connected to spirit and that definitely goes into your favour! Best of luck, Susan!

  8. You’re attitude is amazing. Keep hanging in there. I love love love your new haircut! I think short looks good on you! :)

  9. Love the new ‘do. I am so glad that you are able to be home and comfortable now. Lots of thoughts and prayers to you and your familyl

  10. super cute and sassy! i love it!

  11. ah this reminds me I have something to send you … where shall I send, email me!

  12. oops … I sent from Brad’s account again – okay send ME your address, or Brad, either way you’ll get the package hahaha

  13. Numbers…schmumbers. Who needs em!

    Your hair cut is super cute :) And your attitude, your approach, your outlook, always amazes me, Susan!

    I blogged about you about an hour ago :)

  14. Pearl Paskell

    Dear Susan,With your outlook, your illness does not have a chance. You will certainly conquer this. You are a very pretty girl, besides. I look forward to your notes. Love Grandma Pearl Paskell.

  15. Your outlook is inspiring! Love the hair too : ) If positivity could change the numbers you are well over 100%.

  16. I love the do…………and since I happened upon your blog , I have been rooting for you!! You are the best and you give others the same positive attitude. You go girl!!!

  17. Hey Susan,

    The new haircut looks great!! You do suit shorter hair even if it’s strange to you at first.

    Focus on the task at hand. You will get better!!! After that your healthy lifestyle and positive outlook will reduce the chances of cancer further. Those stats include people who have very unhealthy lifestyles, smokers, overweight, no exercise, etc. You have the best possible chance because of who you are!!!! Keep positive!

    Best wishes,
    Bev

  18. You’re right, numbers are just plain stupid!! You’re new do looks awesome! Keep smiling pretty woman :)

  19. I think it happens to everyone with the statistics: it looks reassuring if it is not your cancer/operation/flight/kid/what have but once it is you, you focus on the number that indicates something CAN go wrong.

    But everyone else will tell you — 80% is a damn good chance.

  20. Go with this number – you are 100% going to beat this. Keep shining.

  21. Hi Susan!

    I came across your blog like…..MONTHS ago and never could find it again until I just read Averie’s post. I was shocked to discover you now have cancer. When I started reading your post, I literally broke into tears. Can I just tell you something, which I hope you find uplifting and encouraging?

    As a person who believes every circumstance in our lives happen for a reason, I believe you were “born for such a time as this…” This is a line from Esther’s story in the Bible…even if you’re not a Christian, you should read her story, because it’s an inspiring one. All odds were against her…she was basically risking her life by doing what God asked her to do, but she was told (in essence) “You were born for such a time as this.” That was her promise of protection.

    Can you even FATHOM how what you are going through could literally change the course of another girl’s life? As you said in your post,

    “Two years ago, a post of mine titled “Numbers” would have been about numbers on a scale, or calorie counting, or using numbers as a way to measure fitness. Two years after starting this blog, the only numbers I have on my brain are survival rates. Oh how things can change.”

    As a person who is already well on her way through recovery, this hit me dead on. It made me review my perspective, change some negative thoughts and remember that there is WAY more to life than a number, the size in my jeans, or the way I look. I’m sure there are tons and tons of girls who will “by chance” come across your blog, who may be currently struggling with an eating disorder, read your posts and be blown away. They will be knocked off their feet and come to a fast realization that life is way too short and way too sweet to focus on such things. You can literally be their tool for recovery. Later in life, after you beat all this nasty stuff, you can use this story as a tool to help many girls who struggle with eating disorders. You can use your life as a testimony, so to speak, of how life is much more than calories, your weight, your appearance and everything else.

    Sorry if I’m rambling, but I truly believe you have been handed a platform to “preach” from. You will be able to change lives with this experience. You’ll beat the cancer, you’ll overcome, you’ll come out healthy on the other side, and then you will proceed to destroy the existence of disordered eating!

    I’m so glad to have found your blog again and read this post. My mind feels very renewed. I can walk today with my head held high, because there’s nothing in life that’s more important than life itself.

    Have a good one!!

  22. You’ll probably get different numbers from every doctor you speak to, but I think you’ll 100% beat this <3 Also, you're so pretty that I think you can carry off any hairstyle well, whether it's a cute cropped cut or the bald look ;)

  23. I LOVE the new ‘do! I also love your outlook. I know numbers are scary, but I’m sure it feels wonderful to write this post and release it.

  24. With an outlook like that I’d say your chances are definitely 100%. I love your attitude and you are soooo inspiring. I can’t help but look at life with a bit rosier viewpoint because of you.

    Oh and your hair is adorable!

  25. Here is another number to thing of:
    All the people that are thinking of you. The people that are right there with you every step of the way. Even though half of us never met you, I bet that number is very high.
    Have a great Saturday and I love the new hairdo!

  26. That’s the length I chose for treatment as well. I cut it during treatment and can assure you that it was better to pull out shorter than longer strands. That haircut looks smashing on you! Every haircut looks great on you.

    I can relate to the fear of a relapse, or of having to face another type of cancer down the road. I felt confident, most days, that I would get through my first time and was much more worried about it coming back. However, once I got through treatment, the last thing I wanted to do was spend my well days worrying about days I wouldn’t be. Every now and again, I revisit the experience and the fear, but mostly I’m just enjoying life, loving breathing the fresh air, loving health, happiness, freedom from the IVs, PICC lines, chemo smells, fatigue, etc. You will too. You have just the right attitude needed to overcome something like this: you’re acknowledging your fear, allowing yourself to grieve, but recognizing the positives of your situation and believing that you can conquer your cancer. Keep it up!

    Also, screw statistics! You’ll find that Dr. Servan-Schriber addresses that in “Anticancer”. He lists a few cases of people who were given pretty stark stats and firmly believed that they would pave their own path.

    • Yes, I love how he views statistics in the book. It’s a part I go back to a lot and consistently keeps me upbeat about this whole thing :)

    • I haven’t read that book but my Dad had an extremely grim prognosis which I later found out to mean “3 months”. But we did not know about this number (in this case, ignorance was bliss, and a life-saver)…so he went on to live live live for 2 years. YEs, there was the chemo and radiation and ups and downs, but he had a great outlook and he had hope as Susan does. He really lived it up for those years and that is because we didn’t have numbers to focus on…but more on numbers in my comment below…

  27. Very cute hair. Your outlook inspires me every time I read your writing. Blessing to you!

  28. I’m with you on numbers. Survival rates have always freaked me out. Even when it’s a high number. When I went under anesthesia, I just wished they didn’t talk to me about it or the biopsy and just got it over with! (I’m a big baby) I think it’s better to think about it like you said, the treatment is going to get rid of this thing and work. Then you can move on!

    You look GREAT with short hair!

  29. Pretty hair! I may need to copy it.

  30. I’ve had to deal with good and bad numbers. My cancer had a 98% cure rate and I’m doing fine 12 yrs later. My daughter’s survival rate was, to quote her cardiologist, “somewhere less than 50%.” She’s doing fine 18 yrs later. Try not to freak out or give the numbers more power than they deserve. There’s one thing I’ve learned about medical success rates – They get better all the time. Right now they’ve learned stuff they didn’t know when those statistics were gathered. You’ve heard the numbers, you understand them. Now use them where they will do some good – as mental ammunition while going through treatment. Other than that, don’t focus on them.
    Your hair is very cute. You have a very pretty face. You’d definitely be able to pull off the bald look without a wig.

  31. I’m sure I don’t need to say it too, but a number is just a number! Your attitude, your support and all the love that is pouring out to you right now – the cancer has no chance!

    I read what the lady said above about you being able to really influence other people’s lives and it’s true. Anytime I run into anyone that reads my blog (family, friends or random people that notice me) – they ask me about you, how you are doing or for any new news. For any of the people that pray – they tell me they are praying for you. One lady that I work with told me that her prayer group prays for you.

    With all your blog readers, and their blog readers, family and friends you have one of the biggest support systems out there!! yay you! And you also have such a huge platform for inspiring. I know some days (ahem today) when I don’t feel like getting out and getting active – I think about you and how I’m sure you would LOVE to get out there and I go an do it!! Anyways I am completely rambling – but I just wanted to let you know of everyone that is supporting you and the inspiration you have given me.

    And just for the record, if anyone can rock a hot little bald number – it’s you – you’ll look amazing.

    • Jessica – that warms my heart! I had no idea so many people were rooting for me! And yes, please get out and get some fresh air – for me!! xo

  32. love the hairstyle and love your attitude. Never give up hope!

  33. You totally ROCK the short hair look!! Cute CUTE cute!

  34. I love everything about that final picture! The hair, the sweater, the placement of the umbrella. You look GREAT!

  35. You look amazing … I read your blog yesterday for the first time. I am so sorry to hear what is going in your life right now… I love your spirit and the positive attitude on how you are tackling and defeating this challenge that life now presents you. Stay strong and stay focused. WIshing you the best!

  36. Love the new hairdo! Super cute!
    Keep concentrating on yourself and as hard as it is don’t obsess about numbers. I know I do but sometimes its not worth it.
    I find your posts so insightful and really feel I’m learning from all the information you post.
    Stay strong and rock your new hairdo :)

  37. I said it on Twitter, but I love that hairstyle on you! Sometimes those cold hard numbers can make it so hard to focus on your own specific case, but you are right, you ARE on the right side of that statistic! We’re all pulling for you to make sure that you are! :)

  38. The numbers are just numbers. They don’t determine your fate in this.

    I love the hair. Short hair is super cute on you!

  39. Cute, cute hair! And I’ve decided we’re going to rock that 75-80% statistic together. In a non-stalkerish kind of way. LOL

  40. Wow, what a cute haircut! You look great.

    I agree with you, numbers are just numbers.. you have the power, not them. Especially with all the positive energy people are sending you. I really believe that stuff matters.

  41. We can never really fight the numbers, we can just choose to ignore them or accept them at face value. You just do what you need to do and don’t worry about any stats.

    I love the hair cut. It’s very chic!

  42. with ABDV your hair might even stay the way it is or just get thinner! I’m 20, I had non-hodgkins last year and while I was at the hospital, I met other people who got the ABDV treatment and didn’t need a wig.
    as you know, chances with non-hodgkins aren’t as good as with hodgkins, but I am healthy again, I feel really good and my life is back to normal. I wish you all the best! (sorry for my bad english, I am from germany)

    • Yes, the doctors all say to expect to lose my hair, but I’ve heard from a handful of people who did ABVD and didn’t! I’ve got a lot of hair to begin with, so hopefully some thinning won’t do much harm ;)

  43. New hair cut looks great on you!! I think it’s suits your face even better than your longer hair!

  44. you are so right – numbers are ridiculous and can put so much stress on a person, even when we try our best to avoid them. a friend of mine’s father was just given a year to live as he was just diagnosed with cancer again last week, and now my friend is stressing on that number. i am glad you are so optimistic regardless, and i love the new hair.

  45. I think I tweeted you this but I will write it out again: there is 60% chance one can survive college. Statistics are stupid. My dad had a 2% chance of living over two years. But his doctors never gave me that number, its just from what I read. The truth is, all cancers are different, all people are different, and we all handle chemo and treatments differently. You can’t rely too heavily on “numbers”. Numbers are stupid.

    You WILL beat this thing, and there is no use in worrying about down the road. My mom got breast cancer in her thirties and I have that hanging over my head all the time. I feel like a time bomb of cancer. But worrying tarnishes the quality of life I have now. I’ll worry when I get there.

    And I love the hair. Don’t worry too much about losing it. My mom had fun with all the wigs she bought. She told me she felt like a spy.

    • Omg. Wigs appeal to me because of the whole spy thing too. I will keep mine so the next time we get together we can go out incognito ;)

  46. Recently came across your blog. I think your hope and your hair cut are both awesome. Sending positive thoughts your way :)

  47. When my mom was diagnosed with cancer, she told her doctor that they could give her all of the statistics they wanted, but she was NOT a number. I always loved that statement!

  48. The ‘do is you! And I remember your sage wisdom about numbers even before cancer- I always admired your attitude and wished mine was more in line with yours (ie not being hung up on stupid stuff that doesn’t matter).

    Speaking of numbers, my Dad became very focused- dare I say obsessed with his lab values! He would wait for them so that he could pour over the differences from the last week. He saved hundreds upon hundreds of the sheets. He beat himself up if his numbers went in the wrong direction and he would get very very bummed out and almost angry at himself. I tried to reason with him that he didn’t do anything ‘wrong’ to make his numbers go bad, and to please go easier on himself. It was very interesting. And I think it had something to do with feeling like he had some control in some way. He drove the nurses BONKERS asking for his lab sheets so that he could file them away in the huge folder with the others. They couldn’t understand it of course because there were very very sick people and he was also sick, but he focused on the numbers. As it didn’t make sense to me, it must be something that you can only understand by being a patient?? THoughts?

    • Definitely a control thing! It’s a really, really hard thing to lose control of your body. Not just because there’s a disease trying to take over, but also having strangers touch and poke you all the time. Suddenly your body goes from being this well-oiled machine, or holy temple of sorts, to a beat-down science experiment. The doctors are always telling me what to do to my body, and I find myself always saying to people “It’s MY body, I’ll do what I want!” I think that’s why a lot of people with cancer become diet obsessed too. If they can’t control the drugs they have to take, at least they can control the other things. I haven’t gotten that bad yet, as my arm accident taught me a lot about giving that control up, but I’m still early in the journey!

  49. You look FAB. I love the hair cut!

  50. LOVE the haircut…and I think that you’ll rock the bald look and it will be a crazy good excuse for fabulous scarves and cute hats!!

    Your attitude is just perfect, Susan. Statistics won’t be this…YOU will. :)

  51. I just went back and read your posts from the beginning of the being diagnosed. As a nurse, it’s incredibly eye opening to see this from the patient’s perspective…but even more, as someone your age, it is actually inspiring to see how you’re holding up. You’re in my thoughts and wishes.

  52. You are gorgeous!

  53. Hi Susan. I found your blog through YACC. I’m from Vancouver, just turned 30 (today), and was diagnosed with breast cancer march 31st. Although we have different cancer’s and different treatments, we have many many things in common (such as your post today about numbers.) I love your blog as it really speaks to me and it feels good to “know” someone who understands what I have been going through. I tear up when I read your posts as I completly feel where you are coming from. It is very very scary at the begining, where you are now, and it stays scary but in a more managable way, as time goes by. You are blessed with amazing support I can see. You have an excellent positive outlook. I just want you to know I am here, across Canada, for you as well. I also have a blog that I will leave a link for you to check out if you like. It is breast cancer based, but I think you will understand the emotions that go with the battle of cancer as a young women. I wish you all the best, all the health, and all the hope.

    http://callahantufts.com/Carolyn/Enter.html

    • Thank you for touching base Carolyn, but more importantly, happy belated birthday! ;) It’s funny, your comment made me think of something. I find it’s not really the type of cancer that connects me to another “survivor,” but more how we deal with it. I don’t automatically understand what someone else with Hodgkins has been through, while at the same time I may find myself really relating to the journey of a breast cancer survivor.

      Hope your day yesterday was wonderful :)

  54. I couldn’t agree with you more….focusing on statistics must be so scary…frustrating…confusing and downright counterintuitive to getting well. You have such a great attitude and make me want to just try harder.

  55. Hi Susan. I found your blog through YACC. I’m from Vancouver, just turned 30 (today), and was diagnosed with breast cancer march 31st. Although we have different cancer’s and different treatments, we have many many things in common (such as your post today about numbers.) I love your blog as it really speaks to me and it feels good to “know” someone who understands what I have been going through. I tear up when I read your posts as I completly feel where you are coming from. It is very very scary at the begining, where you are now, and it stays scary but in a more managable way, as time goes by. You are blessed with amazing support I can see. You have an excellent positive outlook. I just want you to know I am here, across Canada, for you as well. I also have a blog that I will leave a link for you to check out if you like. It is breast cancer based, but I think you will understand the emotions that go with the battle of cancer as a young women. I wish you all the best, all the health, and all the hope.

    http://callahantufts.com/Carolyn/Enter.html

    Carolyn

  56. Attitude is everything, and your positive one is so inspiring. The haircut is the frosting on top! Chic!

  57. The main blood draw techs at my Dad’s hospital also had lymphoma (not sure which kind). Big burly body builder type. He’s years into remission now, but when he went thru chemo he laughed as he told us that he didn’t lose the hair on his head- just on his chest and under arms. (Sounds great to me, who needs waxing or lasers!)…but I remember him saying. ‘yeah, it sounds great, but without the hair, your skin rubs together when you have “lats”‘ like I do…haha rawr! :-)

  58. You look beyond amazing!

  59. Love the haircut!

  60. Best of luck to you, and hang in there! You are incredibly inspirational… I look forward to reading more of your journey. My thoughts are with you.

  61. Love the haircut! Gorgeous. Numbers are tricky and I’d be thinking the same as you…I have all the faith in the world though. I really do, especially since a friend of mine through it too. Xo

  62. your cut is beautiful! And with a face like that, it won’t matter if you are completely bald. :) You are beautiful!!

  63. Hi Susan, I just found your blog through Mama Pea. Reading through some of your earlier posts when you were first diagnosed brought a lot of emotion. I was 25 when I was diagnosed with adeneosquamous cell cervical cancer. I had a radical hysterectomy and radiation. Two months later my cancer returned (this time to a cluster of lymph nodes). I was told there was a 60% chance that radiation and chemo would work. I am happy to say I just received my first “you are now in remission” statement from my oncologist and walked my first lap as a “survivor” in the relay for life in June! Many people have said this already but it is so true, a number is just a number! I think it has a lot more to do with your attitude and the support of people who care about you (which you seem to have plenty of!) Going forward, some days will be easier than others, but just keep fighting- you WILL beat this!

    • These kinds of stories are my favourite kind!! Even if the cancer does come back after the first try, there is still a chance to kick it to the curb for good :)

  64. Glad that you’re home! You may want to read “The Median is Not the Message” by Stephen Jay Gould (if you haven’t already). As a scientist (diagnosed with cancer 20 years before his death), he pays tribute to the value of statistics while maintaining the importance of context (“Attitude clearly matters in fighting cancer.”).

    http://cancerguide.org/median_not_msg.html. Looking forward to TGFA tomorrow – it’s truly gone viral!

  65. I’m a new reader of your blog, but from the posts I’ve seen, I have no doubt that you’re on the positive side of those numbers. You’re strong and health-conscious, and that’s a huge part of the battle already. I love your haircut! And with a lovely, cheerful face like yours, long hair or none will both look great on you.

  66. I LOVE the new hairdo! Statistics mean nothing because you are going to defy them!

  67. What a great post – you’re hair looks lovely.

  68. Wow…a very moving post, indeed. First of all, thanks for sharing your words of strength with others who may be facing the same struggle that you are. Secondly, I have no doubt that you will beat this thing! Thirdly, the haircut is beautiful! :)

  69. Hey I am in Atlantic Canada as well. Great post. You look great and you will persevere. I can see it in you. Believe.

  70. Several years ago, my son was diagnosed with Hodgskins. He went through chemo and they told him they got it. Six months later it was back. This time it took stem cell transplants. That was four years ago and he is cancer free. Not long after the second treatment we met a woman who had had stem cell transplants 20 years ago. What an encouraging encounter. I believe in you Susan. You are wise beyond your years.

  71. Don’t let the number bother you…go ahead, you get my 100% support.

  72. Inspiring strength! You know if you rearrange ‘numbers’ you get ‘Beautiful person, who WILL beat cancer no questions asked.’
    Well… KInda ;)
    My thoughts stay with you and keep up the inspiring strength!
    x

  73. I am sorry you are going through this, Susan, but I have to agree with the other posters that you do look good. Please, please, please try yoga and mediattion if you already haven’t. They are supposed to do the body (and soul) a lot of good. Good luck, and now I’m gonna subscribe. Best of luck to you, dear. Gail-Tzipporah ; )

  74. I really enjoyed reading your post! Ps: Numbers don’t mean anything!! I love your haircut!

  75. Wow, I wish you the best of luck. This was a really touching post, reminded me of a young guy I know who had this years ago and fought back from stage 4. On a lighter note, your hair is adorable.

  76. Good to hear! don’t ever lose your will to live, because once you get depressed about it mother nature swoops in. You hair looks adorable btw, love the bangs. I was thinking abut getting bangs myself..

    -Bianca at http://theinbetweengirls.wordpress.com/

  77. hi Susan.. i luv ur blog.. :)
    don’t bother about the numbers thing..
    just believe in urself..
    u r beautiful.. :)

  78. keep up the fighting/good spirits! you can beat it!

  79. You are the one to change statistics numbers!

  80. Another thing that will bolster your recovery chances is Canada’s universal health care system. It’s a sad fact that in the U.S that many people with treatable maladies delay or forgo medical care because of high costs and/or lack of coverage. If only our government would extend Medicare benefits older U.S. residents enjoy to everybody.

    Sorry for going off-topic. And nice hair!

  81. I am really speechless. You really inspired me.

  82. Susan – I count myself unfortunate to not know you in person, but I count myself fortunate for being led to your blog.

    To the many thoughts above, I will just add, that HOPE is exactly what you need, and it is what you exude through your writing. It is when we lose hope that we are at our lowest – and sometimes it is easy to get there. It is always easier not to speak up to others and to ourselves. By taking the High Road of Hope, you spread positive thoughts and feelings wherever you go, and to yourself.

    Thank you for this encouraging post. I have started flooding heaven with prayers for you.

    As Lance Armstrong says: Live Strong!

    Patricia

    https://thejoyofthewrittenword.wordpress.com/

  83. Ooops!! I forgot to add: Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed!

    Patricia

  84. So sorry to hear about your cancer! I know how you feel with the numbers of survival rates. I have an aortic stenosis and an ascending aortic aneurism and it’s somewhat likely I have to get surgery soon. I hate it when my doctors tell me “Well, it’s 98% survivable to replace the valve and to repair the aorta, it’s around 95%…so think around 95%, unless there’s a ____ complication that lowers it down…” It’s depressing and annoying! I wish they could just tell me that they’re going to take really good care of me and leave it at that. And anyway, 75% is still a very high number. You’ll do fine! :)

    Great post, God Bless! :)

  85. Not a big fan of numbers either. From numbering survival rates to our “success” they just sink as a measurement of our ______. I think hearing stories of perseverance are much more powerful in whatever fight one finds themselves in. Keep fighting!

  86. You’re stunning! Congrats on a gorgeous ‘do and an amazing attitude.

    I do a ton of writing about cancer (profiles on survivors, mostly) for a regional cancer institute. And one thing I’ve learned is that cancer HATES a positive attitude. That seems the best antidote there is…

    So keep it up — and know that there are a ton of people out there supporting you in your personal journey.

  87. hopefully, every thing is as you want :(

  88. you’re extraordinarily inspirational. thank you so much for sharing…i’ll be sure to check back for updates. keep it up :)
    http://www.icouldntmakethisshitup.wordpress.com

  89. Numbers are redundant. Till they dont have meaning attached to them.

  90. My wife is a two-time breast cancer survivor. They were ten years apart. Trying to express, my own individual journey in explaining our journey together, would take many pages of this blog comment section. I have wrote several poems, in dealing with the emotions of this dreaded sickness, over the period of that ten years. Perhaps when you have time, you might check out my blog where the poems are. Hopefully, you will also find the blessing that we found in dealing with this. Today, my wife is cancer free, and doing great!

  91. Your faith is very inspiring! you are bless!

  92. NUmbers are a function of time. At the beginning of the 20th century, the probability of man going up in space was 0%. By 1970, it was 100%. But again, these were pie in the sky numbers without careful thought or calculation, just like the radiologist.
    Love the blog and your hairdo and the deep blue eyes that come with it ;-)

  93. I just wanted to say that I think you are beautiful and your article gives me hope for all those who are going through a similar process. Stay strong!

  94. Your post is so inspiring and I find you to be so brave. We should all be as brave as you! Ironically today my post was entitled: “Life by the Numbers” and it is meant to be mostly funny but also reflective of how much we tie our joy or pain to “numbers.” And how we should stop for a day and live “number-free.” Compared to the subject matter of your piece mine is so surface-y. But I think the same principle applies.

    I wish you all the best and thank you for sharing your story with us. You’re a beautiful young woman with an even more beautiful outlook! I’m so glad to have come across this. And congratulations on being Freshly Pressed. Now so many more people will be able to be inspired by you!

  95. I give you the number #1 – because you are #1
    What a great spirit you have.

    Have a great day. And congrats ion being FReshly Counted, I mean Freshly Pressed.

    Mr Bricks

  96. You’re amazing and can definitely defy the odds.

  97. Keep that amazing attitude of yours! My brother just hit his one year remission mark from Hodgkins Lymphoma. Like you, he heard many different numbers throughout the treatment of his cancer but was able to beat it! Good luck to you!

  98. Susan, you have a wonderful attitude — and a really cute haircut! Thank you for the reminder about what’s really important. I remember it every day, as one of my brothers is struggling with cancer now.

    We’ll be thinking about you!

  99. If you haven’t already seen this blog, you should check it out! http://decath10n.wordpress.com/
    The author is a good writer with a humorous and positive approach to the cancer treatments he is undergoing.

  100. arcanewhisper

    You and your gorgeous ‘do will certainly beat this thing (: You have my utmost respect for the amazing attitude you have – you’re inspiring.

  101. Good luck — cancer is a gigantic pain in the ass, and even a winnable fight is a gigantic pain, because you have to drop everything else to fight it!

    It’ll be a good day when you get that fight behind you and in the distant past, where it belongs. :-)

  102. Love the hairdo. Ignore the numbers, hope is the only thing to chase.

  103. Hi susan, I don’t know if I can add much to what’s already been said. I will say I started blogging and I am writing a book because a few years ago I was diagnosed with an uncurable auto immune disease, I have been symptom free now for over a year and believe most disease we experience is either preventable or reversable if we support our intended design.
    I will be following you and praying for you and if you want to share stories at some point, well maybe both our lives would be enhanced.

  104. You are so inspiring. One must always look around for wonderful people with amazing attitude like you. Wish you the very best.

  105. Izzy Hearts-u

    Your post is great! you’re right about numbers. I’m sorry to know that you have cancer and I hope everything goes great for u! You look beautiful with your new hair do :) take care

  106. I wish you well. (= Thanks for the inspiring post.

  107. Kathlene Audette

    Having a positive attitude is definitely part of winning the battle, too – as well as being able to express your joys and frustrations with honesty.

    I wish you a speedy recovery! And keep sharing your story – it’s inspiring.

    Be well,
    Kat

    http://livinglocallyslc.wordpress.com

  108. “Numbers” are averages of people with one common characteristic but a spectrum of other variables that affect the outcome. It seems to me that you are well educated and know the importance of a nutrition, exercise and how to establish a balance.

    To illustrate, my father had ulcers. He refused to have them treated medically and modified his diet, particularly his consumption of raw garlic. He ate garlic daily. Within months, he no longer had any ulcers. I have two other true stories but you would think I’m fibbing.

    My point is, our body has been marvelously designed and your brain (attitude) plays a key role in recovery. I can already tell your number is 99.99% and that you are not likely to see any future diagnosis. Contact me if you’d like to trade some health stories.

  109. You’re destiny is obvious — to live and not die. For reasons you didn’t understand, you suddenly began getting your body in the best shape of its life, for a marathon. You thought it was just for a marathon. In reality, your mind was getting you in shape for life, to live, because life (with and after cancer) is a marathon. It’s about endurance.

    You’re subconscious mind was prodding you to choose life, and put yourself in a situation where you began training for endurance, developing that mental and physical toughness you’d need. You did the work. And that’s now positioned you to enter this phase of your life, in the best shape, mentally and physically, as well as to come through strong.

    Keep listening to heart, and following it with joy and hope. You’re going to be fine. And 5 years from now, the only battles you’ll be having are probably going to be with your wedding coordinator, the contractor building your new home, and your publisher about getting your new book in on deadline!

    • Love these words!! You know, even though I got sick, not a day goes by that I don’t feel thankful that I treated my body well. I truly believe it makes dealing with the physical, mental, and emotional hardships that much easier…

  110. Your story is inspiring. Thank you for sharing.

  111. and you will never, ever lose your beauty – inside and out.

  112. Numbers mean absolutely NOTHING! You will beat this. You are SO STRONG!!!!!!
    Thinking of you constantly!

  113. Such a strong blog. You can beat this! Everyone is behind you. And love the new do! :)

  114. you are so cute, I wish you strength. Enjoy your journey& keep writing and share your knowledge and experiences with the world.

  115. Very chic new hair! Tres Parisienne! Keep up the positive attitude! Love your whole take on life… much strength!!

  116. Hi Susan,

    I found your blog through freshly pressed. Thank you so much for sharing. You are very strong and brave. My best wishes towards a speedy convalescence.

    Steve

  117. WOW you are really an ispiration. I’m glad that you are keeping your head up. And definitely sharing your story with everyone. I can’t wait to read more about you. :0)

  118. You have the right attitude…I like the part you may lose your hair but not your hope! I am going on six years as a breast cancer survivor…and you’re right, number don’t matter. My example, my blood count dropped…they gave me the number of 7.something…I felt fine and continued to work part-time, etc…later when I walked the Relay for Life, a nurse told me what the danger was of that number…I felt blessed for being stupid at that time…not knowing…I had no need to doubt my hope! Wishing you the strength, hope, and faith that you need on this journey…Blessings that you will find along the way!

  119. Your hair looks gorgeous. You sound like one strong woman. You go girl! A good friend of mine had lymphoma and was told she had a 50/50 shot at beating it. She kicked lymphoma’s butt! It has been a couple decades and she now runs with me in several races. She is one of my biggest idols. Keep your head high and keep smiling because it is people like you and my friend who inspire me to be the best I can be.

  120. You look beautiful! And what an amazing post. “Age is just a number” I’ve always heard…and “a number is just a number” now. Whether it’s 75 or 80, that’s still pretty high, by the way. You have a good attitude and that will take you far :)

  121. Been reading what you’ve been going through (found you on Fresh pressed). Anyways, I’m new to the world of blogs and still learning but, I am so glad I found your story… you are quite an amazing young woman. Please know that I will continue to check your updates and will be praying for you. You have been an inspiriation to me and reading your blog has blessed my heart. thanks for taking the time…

  122. Your story inspires me so much. You give me hope and I pray you’ll be able to win this fight!

  123. Your haircut is cute ! I love the fact that you stay positive. So inspiring :)

  124. Kuddos to you! You seem like such a strong, resilient person and you have, hands down, the best attitude. Numbers in general may suggest one route, but it’s not the only possible option. So many things have been accomplished with less-than-stellar odds and you’re far from that position!

    Your belief in yourself and confidence is inspiring- I’m rooting for you and am sure that this blip in the road will be dealt with so you can move on and continue enjoying life.

    Your new haircut suits you perfectly! Enjoy it for however long you have it :)

  125. Love your attitude and your openness. You’ll make it.
    I just wrote a blog on suffering.

  126. All the best.
    Im sure the “numbers” are on your side.

  127. Hi- I stumbled on your blog and I’m glad I did. you are very brave. I am currently going through something that I thought was the end of the world, but your post has made me realize I need to really count my blessings and shut my mouth. I admire your courage.
    I hope to read more of your blog in the future!

  128. Stay positive, Susan. You’re inspirational!

  129. You looks more cute with your new haircut!
    I like your smile,the happy smile that can infect others,just keep the smile and fight with your cancer.I believe you can win!Good luck!

  130. Your attitude towards life is inspirational! More power to you … and your blog.

  131. love love love your new hairstyle, btw. ;) sending hugs and love

  132. Yeah, numbers are tricky and actually, at times, misleading.
    Should someone give up if the stats say 1%?

    I would leave the statistics to mathematicians and other academics to swoon over.
    What we need to know about outcomes is that it’s just a Yes or No (Good or Not Good).
    What you just need to focus on is maintaining relaxation and telling yourself: YES, I will move on and become stronger from this episode.

    All the best to your treatment. We send our recovery prayers.

  133. Dear Susan,

    you are beautiful with new hair, better than before. Im brasilian, and have 2 blogs in the same WordPress. I have 2 things to tell you:

    1) my mother had a stomach cancer with 85 years old and won. She is very good today, but she is the most positive person I know….I think you are too (looks like)

    2) I had 1 year depression and one of some helpers to leave it was a book from Dr David Serhan Scheiber about Depression and Anxiety. Dr David also wrote another book about Cancer named Anticancer: A New Way of Life. I read it and was very very good.

    Dr David had a agressive brain tumor, and against the 1 year life prognoses, he kept alive for 11 years. This was a survival record to this cancer type. He died yesterday. Was a champion.

    If you want read his book you will know about in >> http://www.anticancerbook.com/

    You will win, sure………….I think already won !!!

    I wish you all positive light of the world !!!

    Fernando

    gasolinanoar@gmail.com

    The 2 blogs:

    gasolinanoar.wordpress

    maquinatoa.wordpress

  134. Susan, you are a radiant, beautiful being with a strong mind and soul. You will beat this because we need your gifts in this world.

  135. I’m sorry about your diagnosis. I was diagnosed with cancer in 2009 (I am fine now) and I spent hours on the internet reading studies and trying to calculate my odds. The “I am fine now” also translates to NED- no evidence of disease, or as some in my world like to say NED- no expiration date. Wishing you successful treatment and a long dance with NED!

  136. Susan,
    I found your blog around the time of your diagnosis but I ended up going back and reading the archives and i absolutely love your blog =) You’re strong and I have no doubt you’ll beat this =)

    Numbers don’t mean a thing!

    Here’s my little story that shows why numbers are useless ;-)

    I was diagnosed with Hepatitis C Type 1 virus when I was 17. With type 1 – people have a survival rate of 50%. I started treatment my senior year of high school and it lasted till my freshman year of college. Treatment included 5 pills daily and 1 shot weekly. Couple months after I started treatment, the virus shrunk and was undetectable. That was just over 5 years ago (2005/2006) — I have had a negative virus count since then and am now considered cured =)

    All the best

    PS- Your hair is cute =)

  137. Susan, you’re rockin’ the do. :) You look beautiful.

    As for numbers…keep reminding yourself that they’re just numbers. They change all the time…but there’s one thing that remains constant: our faith in your recovery.

  138. Hi! Susan I saw your smiling face and couldn’t resist to check your blog. It is really inspiring. Keep thinking positive thoughts. Check on Calcium. Our body remains disease free if it gets the right amount of calcium absorbed every day. My husband has controlled the prematurely enlarged Prostate with it. Keep exercising and inspiring. Remove the fearful thoughts the moment they come into your mind because they create doubt. I pray for your success. Your hair cut is cute!

  139. Oh, girl, you made me all teary. You are so open about what is going on with you and make it all sound like it is not a big deal at all. Your attitude is amazing and believe it or not, but I did learn from your post today.
    Thank you!

  140. i love your posts!!!! You seem like such a sweet girl!

  141. you look so pretty. My mom is battling with bone cancer. You seem like a very strong young woman and with that you are going to be fine. I love to cook as well. I’m new to your blog and love it! Keep it up! below is a link to my newbie blog! It sucks for now . lol. i hope I can keep up with it like you have.

    tellittotell.wordpress.com

  142. Keep fighting, ignore the numbers, and share your joys and anguish! BTW – great hairstyle!!!! And inspiring blog! Thank you!

  143. You look Cute with this Hair style Susan;-)

  144. You’re totally right! Numbers, they’re just numbere. They don’t control anything. It’s you who controls what you can and cannot do… not a bunch of figures.

    Oh, and I love your hairstyle! :)

    Good luck, and I hope you get better soon.

  145. raspberichoco

    hi susan! we’re at the same age but you are braver than me..i salute you!

  146. You have a very positive outlook, Susan. Faith is one of the best factors why there are survivors in this world! Numbers are just numbers…keep positive as always!

    And you really look beautiful with that short hair and a smile that says “i am strong and ready to explore anything!”

    Praises and cheers to you. :)

  147. hey Susan-I for one actually prefer women with short hair who have the courage to look different-good luck anyway with your treatment.

  148. Good luck…. I totally agree about the yes or no outcomes. Nothing angers me more than %’s being thrown at us.

  149. Dear Susan, I wish you all the best. :) Miriam

  150. forget numbers susan, Just do it!, where there is a will there is a way. You will be absolutely fine.

  151. You’ve got the right attitude and that’s important, it’s what makes all the difference not numbers.

    Never lose hope and keep on smiling :)

    I don’t know you but i have the feeling you’ll be allright.

    Greetings from across the ocean.

  152. Opps…went to you the wrong way. Now let me echo what everyone has said. Stay your course and do what feels right for you. I don’t have the same maladies that you have so I cannot imagine how you feel. Good luck and keep fighting and keep living. You truly are an inspiration to many.
    Jose

  153. I believe a person is never really ill/sick until he gives in to his disease. Good to see that you haven’t.

    Plus, you know what they say about statistics. ‘There are three kinds of lies; lies, damned lies and statistics’.

    Good luck :D Rooting for ya’.

  154. So inspiring! (And a great hair-do!) The only number you need to focus on is 100% — your 100% commitment to beat this thing. My sister was diagnosed with acute leukemia several years ago, and had a fantastic outlook. She just didn’t take no for an answer, and she is cancer free today. You will prevail! Sending you all the best thoughts!

  155. Hi Lovely Lady

    My thoughts, hopes, aspirations and prayers are with you, I know only too well about the fight you are up against. Eat well, keep up your wonderful hope and maintain your positive thoughts.

    I know the numbers game, but hope and faith are greater than numbers.

    By the way, you are absolutely gorgeous

    Kind regards and love from Australia

  156. I’ts funny to have to “like” this post ;-(
    Thank you internet for the weird words we have to use ;-(

    I’m allways amazed to see how people have a possitive attitude when something bad happens to them.
    We only can learn from you and see life trough other glasses.

    Don’t mind the numbers, just get well soon …
    Wishing you strenght

    Michael

  157. Luv your hairdo and your positive attitude. Hope everything works out good for you. My prayers and best wishes always.

  158. The numbers are less important than your fighting spirit. All the best to you.

  159. Go ahead Susan! You look beautiful. You will beat this! We are all with you.

  160. i admire your strength and courage. thanks for inspiring a lot of people including me.

  161. I’ve been reading your blog for a few weeks now! I am so happy to hear that the fundraiser went well yesterday! Also, congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

  162. Please Read! There’s something called a cold cap. It was invented to stop the loss of hair through chemo use. Here’s a link: http://www.msc-worldwide.com/indexusa.html

  163. You are beautiful and such a strong, admirable woman. Numbers be damned: you’ve got the courage and gusto to kick this cancer in the ass!

  164. You are so strong Susan, and you have an attitude that will get you through this. I only came across your blog today…your posts are lovely, and I already feel inspired by you. I can’t wait to see many more of your delightful recipes! I will be rooting for you in this uncertain time.

  165. Hi Susan, I came across your blog through Bonnie Lang’s blog and just wanted to root you on. I am also a young adult cancer survivor. I had ovarian cancer. I just recently wrote an article about fear and uncertainty that I will refer to on my next blog post. I had hoped cutting my hair short would be easier…it wasn’t for me. I didn’t realize how the attachment issues would arise. Would love to chat anytime you get a chance

  166. You are absolutely right. My mom was diagnosed with Stage 3B lung cancer and given 6 months to live with treatment. That was 7 years ago…and the cancer has not returned.
    Rock on mom…

  167. Susan,
    First, let me say that you will be in my thoughts and prayers for a speedy recovery. I am a true believer that ones attitude is half the battle when fighting cancer and you have an amazing outlook. Keep the positive attitude and continue to share your story. You are an inspiration to others.

  168. We all have A 50/50 chance everyday. You happen to be more aware than others. Your positive mind set is above the rest of us!
    Read this for another story of survival http://phoenixtears.ca/
    God takes us when He wants, with or without a diagnoses.

  169. Oh wow, what a pretty hair do. Great blog.
    james x

  170. the numbers I was concerned with up until a few minutes ago was how many people have been viewing my blog. I’m glad I clicked on the right post to put things into perspective for me again and not become a shallow blogger. thanks for sharing :)

  171. You, girl, are one courageous young woman. I just found your blog and this post and you made me cry; I too, am 25, and I could not imagine finding out that I have cancer. We’re so young! I will tell you that my husband’s father found out he had a type of lymphoblastic cancer in his mid-thirty’s, and he only had a 25% chance of survival. He pulled through all the odds and is still living today! You can do it, and if you in your current situation can have the outlook on life that you have, why would anyone else in the world ever be down and out about anything??? And, love the new do!!

  172. you look awesome! Very nice blog.

  173. You are an amazing woman! After reading this post and with recent events in my life (My mother diagnosed with Thyroid cancer 8 months ago… she is doing quite well now) and having been planning a Fundraising event for a local police officer loosing his battle with Leukemia I can whole heartidly say I love you and with nothing but the best for you in the days, weeks and many more years to come!

  174. ur looking good superb…..

  175. You look gorgeous Susan!

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