About

My name is Susan and I hail from New Brunswick in Atlantic Canada.

I began blogging in January 2009 as a way to chronicle my first triathlon and life maintaining a weight loss. I then created “The Great Balancing Act” in July 2009 as place where I could share my journey to find a healthy balance with daily blog posts. I wrote about healthy food, not-so-healthy food, exercise, and fitness,  but mostly just my life and how I lived it.

I graduated from university with a degree in journalism and communications in 2009. I worked as a radio and television reporter in New Brunswick but decided I needed a change of scenery and jumped to working as a personal trainer in Toronto in July 2010. Unfortunately, I had to leave that job and the city after shattering my left elbow skating on the Rideau Canal during a trip to Ottawa in February 2011. After a five hour reconstructive surgery and many more hours spent in physical therapy, my arm still refused to heal or move normally.

It wasn’t until June 2011, after a couple months of living back home in the Maritimes, that I started experiencing pain in my neck. I thought it was a regular kink, but after a few days it hurt more, became swollen, and the veins in my chest and neck were quite noticeable.

A CT scan showed a blood clot in my jugular vein, however it was a second CT scan that showed a 14 cm mass in my chest was causing the restricted blood flow. I was immediately admitted to the hospital’s oncology ward. Four weeks and three biopsies later, I got the official diagnosis of Hodgkin’s lymphoma stage 2a, bulky and undesirable.

I received chemotherapy for six months and appear to be cancer-free as of January 2012. I am back to work as a writer/researcher in my hometown and blogging much less as I spend time doing the things that are truly important in life. This mostly includes being with loved ones, relaxing, cooking, and walking my dog.

Oh yeah, I got a dog. His name is Buster. He is more well-known on the blog than me.

  1. Love the update- congrats again, and can’t wait to see how this unfolds!

  2. hooray for the update. i fully expect photos of you at the new gig!!

  3. Hello, I just found your blog. It’s so nice to read about you doing something you truly enjoy and starting a career in fitness. Congrats and Good Luck!

  4. Hi there, found your blog via your comment on Tina’s.
    Just wanted to say well done to losing all that weight! I’ll be also qualifying in February to become an exercise to music instructor (not RPM as you, I’ll be doing Bodypump). Good luck with your training, I’ll be following you along!

  5. Just found your blog! Nice reads!! :)

  6. Hi Susan,
    Nice to see another Canadian female blogging about health, food and fitness! Looking forward to checking back and reading what you have to say

    Best of luck to you with all your goals!

    Bry

    http://embracefire.wordpress.com/

  7. Love it! So well written. :)

  8. Hey Susan!
    Been reading your blog for awhile, and I have one of my own for my husband and I and wanted to do a recipe page on it…as I post recipes from time to time. However, I was wondering if you could help me with how to link the recipe to the recipe page with just the name of the recipe to click on versus having the entire link show up? Does that make sense? I would like “Apple Bran Muffins” to show rather than, http://www.hypkis.wordpress.com/apple bran muffins
    Anyways, just wondering if you might have time to give me some tips on that. :)
    Thanks, and I’m following your journey to do what you love, hope you find a job soon!! :)

    Thanks,
    Liesl Hypki

  9. Was just showing your incredible blog to Main Squeeze and among the many things you list about yourself, we agreed you left out “Amazing Photographer” – especially the food! You really have such a talent.

  10. Hey Susan,
    I’ve just recently discovered your blog- love reading about your adventures! I hope you enjoy living it up in my hometown :)
    -Jess

  11. Hi Susan!! I just found your blog… and I am loving it! You seem to have a wonderful and healthy outlook on life, and I can’t wait to read more! :)

  12. Hi Susan, I just found your blog and looking forward to read more about it :)

  13. Hi Susan, you have a great blog that I’ve just come upon! You have great stories and recipes and look forward to hearing more and trying some of your delicious food! Thanks

  14. Hi! It’s not very often I find a fellow new brunswicker online :) I grew up in Moncton and after bouncing around all over for University, settled in Halifax (which I LOVED!). A year ago I moved to California with my husband for his job. We are looking forward to moving back to the maritimes though, which is our next step. Like you, we felt the pull back home the whole time we were here. We still love it here and are enjoying it while we can :)
    Great blog!

  15. Wow – what an inspirational – and continuing – story. I live in Ottawa – and I’ve seen many injuries from the canal that have left shoulders ruined :( So sorry to hear about your own accident.

    I would love to hear more about your writing career if possible. I myself am trying to transition into one from a physical job that I can’t do anymore but it’s not easy. Not to mention – it hardly pays. I’m in no position to give up my full-time job because of it. I do some writing for Demand Studios – but honestly the content mill work is burning me out and destroys my creativity or desire to be in front of a computer…

  16. You look great.

  17. Wao! That’s a whole lot of commitment and dedication. You have a nice blog, quite informative. I will recommend this blog to anyone who wants to lose weight because your true life story is in itself a great lesson and quite motivating too.

    Do visit my blog and let me have your opinion. It’s new though. http://www.cultureexplore.wordpress.com

    Till I hear from you, i say keep up the good work

  18. Susan,

    I enjoy reading your blogs. They are very interesting, informative, and inspiring. Keep up the good work. God has blessed you with something of great value to offer the world.

  19. I just read your “about”. Holy cow. I’m from Sackville. Did you go to MTA?

  20. take care Susan,

    ed

    xx

  21. Susan,

    Yours is an inspiring story on many fronts. Thanks for sharing it!

    cpb

  22. Hi.. I just read your blog for the very first time and found it highly inspiring and moving. Your thoughts about a balanced life are so very true. Every human heart yearns for contentment and if that can be found then surely one’s life is balanced. Everything that follows or precedes that feeling of satisfaction is just a process to achieve that feeling yet again. Its the true balancing act… I am surely going to be a regular reader of your beautiful blog now.. :)

  23. I loved your blog and especially wanted to congratulate and commend you on the wonderful achievements you have to be proud of; of living a good balanced content life. Wishing you deep and abiding peace always!

  24. Hey Susan!

    I’m new here, but already a fan!

    best wishes from Brazil!

  25. Rebecca Bloomwood Jr.

    Hey Susan,
    I’m also new to your blog, but I find your story so inspirational and I’m really enjoying your posts. I can’t wait to read about the rest of your journey!

  26. Such a beautiful girl with a true knack for balancing :)

  27. LOVE the update and loved reading your story, since I hadn’t really had a chance to read back through it all (why you started blogging, your career etc). This is a great refresher, and I know your fire will get you through this battle.

  28. Loved reading the update. You are one brave and inspiring lady.

    ps: I love that new photo of you at the very beginning of the about, I’ve never seen that one before!

  29. This is so inspirational! Thank you thank you for sharing!

  30. Heather Bonynge

    Hi!
    I am also a young adult who has dealt with cancer, and just came across your story through YACC. I was diagnosed when I was 27 (I am now 30 – ugh) and even though I have finished my treatments I am only just starting to deal with this thing called cancer, all the emotions that come with it, and wanting to reach out to meet other people who are dealing with it (just like you said in your blog about 50/50). I have just since yesterday started sharing my journal entries with people on Facebook, wanting to get my story out there, make people more aware of how the disease affects young people, also because I felt very much like you – I was always in waiting rooms with people 2 to 3 times my age. I feel like I want to make a difference with my experience, and I haven’t quite figured out how yet. I wanted to let you know though that I loved reading your story, and see you as a huge inspiration too all! I will continue to read your story, and just wanted to say thanks for being such a great role model:)
    Heather Bonynge

    • Heather, thank you for getting in touch! I am only halfway through chemo and still in the “let’s get through this” mindset. I know I still have a long ways to go even when the treatment part is all over. Also, I definitely recommend blogging! Not only has it become a way for me to express myself and communicate with my loved ones throughout this experience, but it’s put me in touch with a lot of great people in the “cancer community” such as yourself. Thanks for stopping by :)

  31. Hi, I like your blog. I noticed comment you left on “snackface” about stress. Yes, my body has broken down becaues of my stress and anxiety and I’ve lost a lot of weight. My tummy has all the good bacteria and stuff staved off. I really almost need to eat ‘differently’ and “better”…but I just want to gain (and feel so not wanting to give up dairy or things). I’m pretty lost an confused about it all. Gaining, but needing to help my guts. So stressed (how it all started. Wish I could wake up and be healthy and feel good (cause I don’t feel good, everything i eat oesn’t feel right).

    I admire your journey!

  32. I jusr read your story and just wanted to say really quick that it is really inspiring how you try to keep positive through all of it. I wish you all the very best.
    Take care & best Greetings from Austria,
    Doris

  33. Hi
    I just stumbled upon your blog while looking for a good protein pancake recipe. I see that you are dealing with Hodgkins Lymphoma. Wow, you are amazing. I am a 23 year survivor of Hodgkins Lymphoma, I got it when I was 30. I have been fine since.
    I just wanted to encourage you. I started running for the first time 3 years ago for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Have you heard of them? and Team in Training? It is an awesome way to give back!! They provide fund raising support and training to run marathons. I have ran the Nike Woman’s half marathon in San Francisco twice. It is so much fun!! http://www.teamintraining.org/mail
    The LLS has awarded millions of dollars to advance blood cancer research and direct services to patients and their families.
    I will be signing up again in April to participate and train for the Nike Womans marathon on October 14,2012
    Anyway, now I am doing our local Gold’s Gym 12 week get in shape contest. Hence the search for Protein pancakes!
    Best wishes for a great recovery!
    Amy

    • Thank you for taking the time to get in touch! I lovelovelove hearing from long-term Hodgkin’s survivors. I hear a lot from short term ones who’ve had recurrence, so it gives me hope to hear from those who had it once, got rid of it, and haven’t been bothered by it for many years since. I’ve been in touch with LLS since my diagnosis. Unfortunately we don’t have an LLS chapter in my province. When I’m better, I’d really like to put some resources towards getting one here. I’d really like to get a LIght the Night fundraiser going. I’m still a faaaaar way from running any races (my lungs were affected by treatment) Hope you found some good protein pancakes!

  34. hey susan! i stumbled across your page through janetha and i also follow you on instagram. i must say you are such an inspiration.. i think of all the things i let get me down (like a 5 lb weight gain) when it’s something so little compared to what you have gone through. i wanted to say congratulations on the news and i hope that everything works out for you. plus, buster is too too cute :)

  35. I think Buster needs to be on your “About page” …

  36. You’ve got a nice looking blog. I’m glad u kicked cancer’s ass. Love your doggie too. Hoping to get to know you a lot more through your posts.

  37. Just found your blog…

  38. Holy moly, that’s quite a story! Loving your blog so far- I’m so happy that I stumbled upon it! Good to hear that you’re cancer-free. Thanks for writing about how you balance your lifestyle. :)

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