The Great Escape

I understand a lot of people are new or maybe just catching up on my blog for the first time in a while. If this is the case, I recommend you start with this post and go from there to get caught up. Or not. I guess you don’t have to, do what you want!

If Tuesday was my worst day since being admitted to hospital, then Thursday was probably my best day. I love how things work out like that.


As mentioned earlier, I had a PET scan in the next city over. The nurses recommended I get family to drive me because taking an ambulance can be kind of hellish. After two days of being down for the count with extreme illness, I was scared I wouldn’t be able to make this appointment. Thankfully, I woke up on Thursday with an appetite, so I knew all was somewhat okay with the world again.

I was able to lose the ole’ ‘ball and chain,’ the IV tree, for a day and got a 24-hour shot of blood thinners instead. I ditched the johnny shirt and put on some real clothes. All comfy Lululemon, my favourite, discovering their thumbholes double as a hole for unused IV ports.


The best part about the trip?



I’d been breathing in nothing but hospital stank for eight days straight. The second the fresh air hit my nostrils, I teared up. It just made me feel like a living human being again.


It helped that the test in Saint John was not painful. I just had to get injected with a dye and lie in one of those big machines that moves you back and forth. Based on a quick look at the pictures, it looks like the cancer is contained to the upper part of my chest and armpits, which keeps me hopeful for nothing more than a Stage 2 diagnosis,


We found a great courtyard at the Saint John hospital to hang out in when it was all over. Unfortunately, Saint John is home to an oil refinery and probably the stinkiest city in New Brunswick, but I’ll take what I can get.


I was still feeling really weak after two days of being violently ill and not eating much, so I couldn’t walk a lot and had to be wheeled around for any long stretches of walking.


Please excuse the “I’ve been in hospital and just had the world’s nastiest stomach flu” look. It seems kind of silly to me to put on makeup in the hospital. Although, I bet there are little old ladies on this oncology floor who do it.

I know I usually round up each month with a “Things I Learned” post, but this month has been so whacky, I honestly can’t remember anything that happened in the days preceding the cancer. Next month will be a lot better thought out. But for the time being, here are a few things I have learned in my short experience so far:

1. Listen to your mom. Who knows what could have happened had my mother not forced me to the doctor about a kink in my neck against my will. Mind you, my mom’s intuition is always right. It’s creepy. And sometimes frustrating!

2. If you’re going for an important test at the hospital that could have a bad outcome, be prepared. I knew going into the cat scan of my neck that it could be something serious, but I chose to ignore it. I really wish I’d been more prepared and showered my hair that morning, shaved my legs, had done laundry before, and all these other little things. They’re insignificant in the long run, but make emergency admission to the hospital a lot more comfortable.

3. We are not above anything. I never, ever thought cancer would happen to me until I was at least 50 years old. It doesn’t matter how healthy or careful you are, anything is possible. And that includes the bad things.

I am finally off bed rest and have a weekend of hospital walks and seeing visitors planned. Looking forward to getting some strength and energy back after a tough week. Chest surgery to get a sample of the growth is on Monday at noon. I will be back before then I suspect. Have a great weekend, but most importantly…


Posted on July 1, 2011, in Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 54 Comments.

  1. I am so glad you were able to GET OUT of the hosp and get some fresh air and that Thurs was a good day for you!


  2. Happy Canada Day, Susan!

    I`m glad that you were able to get out and enjoy the fresh air! We really do take the little things for granted, don`t we?

    Keeping you in my thoughts. :)

  3. Thinking of you! I’m so happy you were able to get out and breathe fresh air.

  4. littlemissminny

    I’m glad you had a day out of the hospital.
    You’re in my thoughts and prayers, and I am sending lots of encouraging hugs your way.

  5. I’m so happy you had a better day and were able to get some fresh air. Many prayers and good thoughts headed your way!

  6. I’m so, so sorry Susan, about your rotten turn of luck. I haven’t checked out your blog for awhile and now I find out about your cancer. I’m so glad you are home with your family for all this.
    I’m also happy you got to enjoy some fresh air, it truly is the simple things in life that make me treasure it.
    Also I don’t know if this is helpful too you but my mom beat cancer this year. She had non- hodgkins lymphoma, stage 2. She just had her 3 month scan and she is all clear. If you want to email her with any questions, I can give you her contact info, just drop me a message.
    And on a blog note I have been really enjoying your music blogs. Thank-you so much for introducing me to a few new favorites. I love Hey Rosetta! and Frightened Rabbit.

  7. lpodolsky410

    “Whatever tears at us
    Whatever holds us down
    And if nothing can be done
    We’ll make the best of what’s around”
    <3 you!!!

  8. As per usual, you’re in my thoughts and prayers as you wait for the results. I actually write about cancer for a living, so I love hearing stories of hope like yours. Hang in there Susan, you’re so strong and inspiring!

  9. Glad you got to get out of the hospital for a little drive. I agree with you on Saint John’s air…it’s nasty!!
    You are always in my prayers Susan, and I continue to cheer for you everyday! I know you will beat this disease!

  10. I agree you are so strong and inspirational. I’m glad you could get some fresh air, When I was in the hospital it was all I wanted to was to get outdoors.

  11. Fresh air! I’m glad you were able to go out and breathe some in.

    The third lesson you mentioned was one of the hardest for me to learn. We are so vulnerable. I always felt like I was invincible and nothing “bad” or “scary” would ever happen to me. I think it’s one of the most important lessons.

    Happy Canada Day to you! Enjoy seeing visitors and thanks for keeping us updated. :)

  12. So great you were able to get out of the hospital for a few hours to breathe in some fresh air. That must have felt fantastic – and YOU look fantastic! YOu’re amazing!

  13. Mamas know best! And you still look beautiful. Warm wishes and your thoughts keep coming your way…as well as a package in 5 days!!

  14. Happy Canada Day Susan. Thank you for the updates. My gosh, think of how this blog has changed its focus from your beginnings eh? This truely sucks, and not the focus you’d ever thought you’d take. I know it is tough for you to prepare a post, but think of all the readers you will be supporting who are going thru similar circumstances. Isn’t it so nice when you can relate to others…..that is what you are putting out there. Even if it is one person who gets some motivation to be strong, it is so kind of you. And for yourself a journey you’ll never forget, I can only imagine this last little while has been nothing but a blur. Take care sweets, your looking good, I’m so glad you are feeling better. Get all the rest you can!

    • Renee, I can’t remember if I’ve responded to one of your comments yet, but now that I’m completely lucid I want to say thank you for all the kind words and check-ins. It means a lot. Hope you and the kiddos have some fun this long weekend!! xoxo

  15. Thank god for mothers…

    So, do you think your hospital food will have some sort of red and white theme today in honour of Canada day? Red jello with whipped topping? Extra red spam on white bread?

    I hope you get stronger so that you can move around (even if it is slowly) a little this weekend!

    • Honestly, I was kinda hoping for a festive breakfast this morning, but it was the same ole goop. I’ll keep you updated though ;)

      My sister is and I are going to do the rounds of the ward with the old ladies today. I haven’t even seen all the halls of where I’m staying yet!

  16. New visitor. I was moved by your tale.
    I had a major illness too about 11 years ago (I’m now 38).
    11 months of treatment later, I was set free but told it was going to be a
    lifelong condition wherein I’d have to watch my every move carefully.
    I was foolish enough to believe the docs.
    Thankfully, I also enrolled in a ‘pranayama’/meditation course offered
    by the Art of Living Foundation (
    and haven’t looked back since.
    I have been diligently practising the breathing technique taught in the course,
    have attended several advanced meditation courses and my body has healed like
    nothing else could!
    I ran a half-marathon (I was told I was going to be pretty much a vegetable for the rest of my life!) recently, do weight training 3x a week, HIIT 3x a week and have never been fitter (or leaner) before!

    The mind is a much more powerful system than the body.
    All diseases begin in the mind – this I now believe.
    My prayers and blessings to you.


  17. These are some really good learnings…especially after the month you’ve had. You amaze me at your positivity and your strength. And you look GREAT especially considering what you are in the midst of. Hope you have a good weekend.

  18. I just found your blog and I am pulling for you. Thank you for sharing your story with such honesty, grace, humor, and courage.

  19. Happy Canada Dad Susan!

    I am impressed you are doing some blogging during
    all this stuff you are going through.

    How does it feel to know you have hundreds (maybe a thousand!!) readers thinking of you and sending you a
    kind thought during the day? I hope it gives you a little extra something to boost you in the toughest moments.
    The power of the internet can be used for good after all I guess! Can’t think of a better reason to use it
    than to send a sweet gal like you warm wishes!

    (Do you have a mini Canuck flag in your room?!)

  20. So glad to hear you could finally get out of the hospital and felt better after your stomach flu :) I hope you have a great weekend and feel better every day!

  21. Dearest Susan, you look beautiful with or without makeup…don’t give THAT another thought. To see you outside and smiling with the beautiful (yet stinky) surroundings was beautiful too. You truly are an inspiration and I wish I could come up with better words. I hope you have an even better weekend and will be thinking of you Monday at noon. You are the nicest, most positive person I’ve met in this blogging world. We all really do care and thank you for letting us be on your journey with you.

    You are an amazingly amazing human being – don’t ever doubt it for a second.

  22. P.S., I was thinking of reblogging today’s post, but would only do so with your permission. I thought the more people that can be aware of you and thinking of you, the better. Only with your ok – I understand whatever you decide!

  23. Very uplifting post! It sounds like you are in good spirits for the time being. I hope it stays that way as you go through the healing process.
    Sending good thoughts your way from Arkansas!

  24. Happy Canada Day, Susan! Glad to hear you had a good day, and here’s hoping today will be even better!

  25. I love your list of things you have learned. So true! And I would add to that list that we worry about so many inconsequential things – when really the things we should worry about (the things that matter)will hit us out of the blue on any random Wednesday. They are most often the things we never dreamed could happen to us.
    Take care. You are the prettiest sick person ever! Wish I looked that good after the flu and several days of hospitalization!

  26. I’m glad you’re feeling a bit better and had the opportunity to get some fresh air! Hopefully the weekend will offer many more chances to breath it in

  27. Happy Canada Day! I’m so glad you got some fresh air and are feeling stronger! Hope you enjoy your walks and visits! If I was a lot closer or wealthy enough for airfare I’d love to visit you! Alas I’m not so thoughts and prayers it is! :)

  28. Are Will & Kate there for Canada day? What fun! I’m so glad you got out for some air and to see some greenery. Such a difference the small things make.

    I remember when my Dad got out of the hospital in Sarasota in his early but dangerous stage of leukemia and he was neutropenic, and they were really strict- wanting him to wear a mask, etc. We decided to take a drive up the key (the long thin island) and I made him wear my scarf. Then we went walking on the beach- I felt like we were breaking out of jail and that feeling will never leave me- the freedom we felt was amazing.

    I tend to be the opposite of thinking that I’m invincible. Sadly, with my DNA and my history of sun-worshipping, eating artificial foods, living in Smoggy LA and just existing, I know that I’m in for something nasty at some point. No idea what it will be but I try to live my life so that if tomorrow I get slammed with something horrible, I can say that I lived my best life already. Anything on top of that is the cherry on the cake. Is that depressing? Oh well.

    Much love- thinking of you constantly.


    • Jailbreak is definitely what it felt like. We kept joking about all the places we should go. Although, the one place I reeeeally wanted to go was to my mom’s to see my poodle. But I knew if I went to the house I’d never want to leave again!

  29. Wooo for fresh air and it looked like it was even nice for you too!!

    Happy Canada day to you too!

    Thinking about you lots! :)

  30. Good to see you smiling and in the outdoors! Happy Canada Day

  31. When I was released from the hospital after a serious sickness I had to go home with the IV in. It was so awkward and uncomfortable. I feel ya!!! :(

    You make a great point about the shower and chores. When I was sick in the hospital and starting to feel better all I wanted was to wash my hair! When I got released, my mom took me to a salon and had them wash my hair for me. It was so nice.

  32. Happy Canada day – thanks for the warning about the crowds, although it’s too late because we’re almost there!

  33. I’ve never heard of you until I got a note from Living Dilbert’s blog (I don’t know her either), but I read parts of your blog and must say that you are beautiful soul and I wish you the best. Crappy awful thing to have happen, but I’m glad so many people love you and that you’re getting good care. Despite how bad it looks, you’re really very lucky. Please keep the great attitude, keep eating good food, use your common sense about what the medical establishment tells you — and HEAL!

    Thanks for sharing your journey with us.

  34. Now THERE’S an angle the Lululemon never thought of using! :-)

    Really goad you had a decent trip to St. John for your test. You definitely deserved the break. It’s good you were able to get a little preliminary feedback from your test. You can totally kick Stage 2’s ASS!!! ;-)

  35. Fresh air really does do wonders for the body (and mind), I hope you can get a ton of it in the next few months. How does Canada work when it comes to medical crises like this? In the US if you didn’t have health ins. you would basically go bankrupt. Even with insurance they don’t cover very much for long periods. I’d be really interested to hear how the Canadian medical system varies.

    I’m glad you’re still filling us in on your situation, I know writing my thoughts out is definitely an outlet for me and I appreciate you taking the time to update your blog so often. I hope you get some more sunshine and fresh air this weekend!

  36. I’m glad you had a good day, I hope you get to go out in the fresh air and sunshine over the weekend x x

  37. Lululemon (despite being overpriced) is ok in my book from now on. Iv drips aside, them make anyone’s ass look hot.
    You are so blessed to have great family with you. I know myself dont have much family, so I’d be riding that ambulance if I had to be transported. But hot EMT guys, right?
    Best of luck with the surgery! Please email/text/call if you want to shoot some shit.

  38. sunny Beaulieu

    Dear Susan, you are in my thoughts and prayers, put your trust in the Lord he will take care of you remember oue day at a time.

  39. You make me laugh and cry at the same time. Damnit. I love the doubling thumb holes! GENIUS! And I love your list–especially number one. I can’t flipping believe you didn’t get to go outside for eight days. You are such an active lady–that must have been torture. The only thing worse would be not letting you eat what you want. Glad you’re allowed to have food brought to you! I just wish they could bring the pups to you… hmm..

    I love your guts.

  40. I really, really admire your strength and courage. You are truly an inspiration.

  41. Be well Susan! As I mentioned before, I know your sister (Hey Sara XX!), and so I know that you come from good stock of strong women:-) I hope it is as easy a ride as possible and that you are well soon.

  42. You look great <3
    Glad you got out for a bit

  43. Love that you were able to get some fresh air, despite the smell of the refinery. You look great. Take care.

  44. i can’t believe how positive you are in your posts, you are so inspiring to us all and we are all rooting for you!

  45. I am so glad you were able to get out. I know it was a blessing!

  46. happy canada day! :)

  47. Your attitude is amazing, Susan! I’m so happy for you to get out and get some fresh air. And yay for an appetite! Happy Canada Day to you (I have a client from Toronto, btw)

  48. hooray for fresh air. it seems we all take so much for granted.

  49. Started off looking at a WP theme and how it was being used. Ended with a lesson in how to be a more positive human being. You’re an inspiration. I know you’ll come through fine, I have a real instinct about these things.

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