Things I Learned The Month I Slowed Down

Chemotherapy is NOT what it is in the movies. Currently I am neither bald nor any paler. I also haven’t thrown up yet and don’t sleep that much.

“Health” has very little to do with aesthetic. Just because I can run, doesn’t mean I’m a healthy person. Disease can still strike me down.


Happiness isn’t something that needs to be chased down or found. Oftentimes it can come to me wherever I am in the world just by opening myself up to it.

Having cancer allows you access to a secret club. One where you can throw around the Cancer Card to make things occasionally go your way.


Keeping up a healthy body image while your body is really sick, is well, really hard.

Losing my hair is a lot more traumatic that I expected it to be, no matter how fun a wig may be.


Cheeseburgers are much better when the cheese is stuffed in the burger. Try it!!

CSA boxes are so worth the money.


Exercise is AMAZING. I mean, I always knew it was great, but now I am so thankful to be able to do it. Even if it’s a far cry from what I used to do, the 40 minutes of moderate exercise on the recumbent bike machine still makes me feel 10x better. If I can break through chemo fatigue to workout, you can make it to the gym after work, promise!


When living inside a bubble, small road trips are the perfect escape.


I am going to beat cancer.


I always knew I would, but there were still creeping doubts. Now I know I really, really will. There are just too many things left to do and experience. I will not let cancer or being sick cut any of that short.

Posted on August 31, 2011, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 50 Comments.

  1. I love your positive attitude Susan. It’s definitely infectious!

  2. You WILL beat it!!!

    “If I can break through chemo fatigue to workout, you can make it to the gym after work, promise!”– The next time anyone bee-otches or complains about working out, I will refer them to this post :)

    Seriously, your spirit is AMAZING!!!

    And I am so sorry about your hair.

    And CSA boxes ARE awesome, indeed! Except when you have to use 4 heads of greens all on the same day b/c they’re all going to spoil at the same exact moment…lol

  3. You GO GIRL!! We are ALL rooting for you. YOU WILL BEAT CANCER!!

  4. Madeline - Greens and Jeans

    You are freaking amazing. But I didn’t learn that this month, I’m pretty sure i’ve known it for awhile

  5. You’re right – if you can do it, I can do it – after work. me. treadmill. it’s a date.

    As for you beating cancer…try telling us something we didnt already know!! xo

  6. Good luck with your treatment today!

  7. YES you totally will Susan!! I love your attitude in this post, and you look like you mean business in that hospital gown! :)


    You go Girl! :)

  9. I loved this. It’s poignant and honest, which I’ve come to expect. I’m waving my pom-poms vigorously in your direction! And I’m signing up for a year’s gym membership this morning. Gulp. :-)

  10. “Happiness isn’t something that needs to be chased down or found. Oftentimes it can come to me wherever I am in the world just by opening myself up to it.”

    LOVE THAT!!!

  11. I was over-joyed to read your good news yesterday :)

  12. Was there ever any doubt? I think not ;)

  13. You are such an inspiration! I really admire how strong and brave you’ve been through this!

  14. Susan
    You had asked last week to share how we came across your blog and why we read it. I discovered your blog during the fundraiser (read it on I have read your blog since that time. I love your positive attitude and honesty. You are a gifted writer. Also, I live in Ontario and was able to travel to Eastern Canada last year and I enjoy your photos. I am just returning to work from a 14 month planned leave. During my time off, I have learned the value of ‘slowing down’ and view life from a totally different place.
    I believe that you will live a long and healthy life!

  15. You are going to beat cancer! And I love the little lessons along the way. So many good ones. Especially working out for health. :)

  16. Your blog has inspired so many people, and we all are cheering you on!

    Yes, I know – I need to drag myself to the gym and make it a priority. Also, I have been thinking of your blog some lately as I try to put into perspective my job and struggles, and to focus on what is making me happy in life rather than let myself feel and get run down. Thank you thank you thank you. And keep up the great work. You’re awesome.

  17. You are amazing! You’re positive attitude is incredible :)

  18. You are going to beat cancer. Period.
    The world is waiting for you.

  19. You are going to beat cancer. No doubt.

  20. Yes! You will! This post gave me the chills.
    You are so inspiring.

  21. You are amazing. Really… I’m in awe.

  22. Just like P.P. said, Susan, you’ve GOT this!! You’re a trainer afterall! Just yell at your body and make it fight back! ;)

  23. Susan you truly are an inspiration. When faced with something terrible you are so positive and it’s awe inspiring. You will beat cancer!

  24. Andrew van Geest

    Your determination is so inspiring. No doubt your support network is a very valuable resource to you as well. You are incredible.

    Best regards

  25. You. Are. An. Inspiration.

  26. anonymous reader

    I found your blog through a post about the great fundraising act, and I just want to tell you what an absolute inspiration you are. I have been dealing with my own bout of health crap and seeing you take with all you are going through with such incredible grace and optimism has been AMAZING and has really picked me up a few times when I’ve been playing the “why-me” game. You are absolutely awesome and are going to kick cancer in the face!!

  27. You said it. ;) I love this post- and your superhero pose.

  28. I’m glad you are finding the positives in this experience.

  29. This is such an awesome post, and you are an awesome person. You WILL beat cancer.

  30. Yes, you will. You are so inspiring.

  31. You will beat it Susan. I know it.

    And cheese inside a burger is a Juicy Lucy!

  32. No doubt in my mind that you’ll beat it, especially with an attitude like that. Rock on girl!

  33. Love this, especially the return of Super Susan! I made kale chips today FINALLY for the first time, I ate almost an entire bunch of kale by myself this way :D I think it reminded me of you because one of your “things I learned” (maybe end of last month?) was “don’t turn your back on kale chips, they burn” and I remember the sad picture of little burned kale chips. They are goooooood, although I was a little heavy-handed on the salt, didn’t realize they absorbed flavor so easily!

  34. Good gracious, you’re right. Why the hell am I making excuses with working out? Thank you for this.
    I don’t know how to say this without being corny, but you are so incredibly inspiring. I heart you.

  35. I love your attitude about everything. I think we could all take some notes about life from reading your blog.

    I am curious about what a CSA box is?

    • It stands for Community Supported Agriculture. Some local farms will put together a produce box every week or so and ship it to you. That way you don’t have to go to farmer’s markets for fresh local produce (which I can’t do right now because of my weakened immune system – too crowded!). You don’t get to pick what is in your box seeing as it’s just whatever they cultivated that week, but it’s a fun surprise and forces you to get more creative with what you get :)

  36. Good for you! LOVE THE ATTITUDE!

  37. This was a great post! I think we all have things that happen which don’t seem like what they show on tv and it doesn’t fit our reality for awhile, but luckily we are strong and resilient and have great places like this to get support :)

  38. I totally, 100%, a zillion times over know that you will beat cancer. Quite frankly, i never ever doubted it. You never cease to amaze me. Doing more exercise than people who don’t have cancer, having your amazing attitude, presenting your raw emotions…you are a hero. My hero. Love you girl.

  39. I love reading your blog ! You are an amazing person like my husband. Hewas diagnosed with pancreatic cancer at the age of 46 after being for an ulcer 1 year prior. He is now going threw the chemotherapy part of treatment after 6 weeks of radiation & chemotherapy at johns Hopkins. We used to laugh about his check in card for appointments and say the club no one wants to belong to. I believe that exercise totally changes how you tolerate this agressive treatment as my husband runs every day. He is doing great and it seems that you are. Keep up the positive attitude.

  40. These are always my favorite posts of yours. (the what you learned post) and this one is no different.

  41. You WILL beat it! And, you’re so right that it’s not like the movies. I barely slept for four months. Sending you huge healing hugs!

  42. I worked my way up to exercising …just very very easy aerobics, until i could do all of 2 minutes…then I knew I could get through it….I walked like a very ill 72 year old person…that is, when I could get out of my chair….they had me so heavily medicated so i would sleep but after 9 months, I wanted my life back no matter what I had to do to get there….and I did.
    …and so can you
    God Bless You
    Healthy Kaite

  43. Yep. I am 12 posts behind. Sorry I have been a bad friend. I should have text you, at least! I am gonna read all 12 today, and you are gonna kick that cancer to the curb. Oh and cheese stuffed burgers are amazing. You are correct.

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