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My Battles With Breast and Lung Cancer

Twenty-two years after surviving breast cancer, I was diagnosed with stage IV inoperable lung cancer. This is my story.

my-battles-with-cancer

Breast Cancer

My name is Susan, and I'm a 23-year breast cancer survivor.

In 1990 I found a lump in my breast when doing a self-exam in the shower. If you've never done a breast self-exam, I cannot stress enough to everyone the importance of doing this. I've had breast cancer three times, and each and every time I was the one who found the lumps—not a doctor. Please do a self-exam. If you're not sure how to do it, you can easily find how-to videos online.

I'm writing this article in the hopes that you will find it informational and helpful.

Performing a Breast Self-Exam

This exam should be done once a month right after your menstrual cycle. If you find anything abnormal, call your doctor immediately. Don't wait until the following week to see if whatever you found goes away. The sooner you do something about it, the better.

My Breast Cancer Journey

The first time I had breast cancer, the doctors did a lumpectomy. The lump itself was malignant, but the lymph nodes that were removed during surgery came back benign. Because the doctor had removed the lump and the lymph nodes came back negative, the doctor decided that I did not need to undergo radiation or chemotherapy.

Unfortunately the lump came back within five months. This time, my treatment involved a full mastectomy along with six rounds of chemotherapy.

At this point in time, my husband and I were—and continue to be—happily married. Al is my rock and my biggest supporter. I've heard so many sad stories about men who have walked away after hearing that their girlfriend or wife has breast cancer.

Shortly after saying our "I do's," a miracle happened. I learned I was pregnant. We weren't even sure it was possible for me to conceive due to my past chemotherapy treatments. Worried that somehow the chemo might affect the baby, I asked my doctors, and they reassured me that not only would I be able to have a normal pregnancy, but that the baby would not be harmed in any way from the past treatments. Double miracle; not only was I pregnant, I was carrying twins.

Our two healthy baby boys, Allan and Matthew, were born in June of 1988, on their father's birthday. The pregnancy and delivery (natural birth with help of an epidural) were a piece of cake for me, and I loved being pregnant.

When the twins were two years old, I found a lump in my remaining breast. I was devastated. We were on our way to my step-sister's house on Boxing Day, the day after Christmas. I had found the lump on Christmas Eve and called my oncologist. He instructed me to stop in at the hospital before driving to Ottawa. Al and the boys waited in the car while I went to see the doctor. After doing a needle biopsy it was confirmed that I once again had breast cancer. An appointment was set for me in January to see my surgeon to discuss my options.

Returning to the car quite upset, I told my husband the news. I remember turning and looking at my baby boys in the back seat and saying, "All I want in my life is to see my boys grow up."

In January I saw my surgeon, who recommended that I have a mastectomy as soon as possible. Before the end of the month I had this done, followed up again with six rounds of chemotherapy.

Shortly after I finished the chemo I conceived again, and I gave birth to a healthy eight-pound baby boy in December of 1992. I look at all three of my boys as miracles.

Garth, my third son, was my last egg—or so my oncologist informed me. After giving birth to him I went into menopause, which was due to the chemotherapy.

For the next 23 years, I remained completely cancer-free, and everything went along smoothly.

What Cancer Cannot Do

From Victoria's Quilts Canada

From Victoria's Quilts Canada

Lung Cancer

This year in September I was diagnosed with stage IV inoperable non-small cell lung cancer.

I had been having neck pain and stiffness, which I thought was due to sleeping with too many pillows. After two weeks, however, the pain worsened and I noticed that my neck was starting to swell. I also noticed that there were a few bumps on it.

Rather than going to see my family doctor (long story), I went to the emergency room on August 31. After examining my neck and learning about my past history with breast cancer, the ER doctor felt that there was a strong possibility that I had lung cancer. He sent me for a chest X-ray, and it came back showing a mass or tumor in the center of my chest. The doctor made an appointment for me to see an ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist.

The ENT did several tests, including a needle biopsy as well as one in which a tube went up my nose and down into my throat. Then the grueling wait began.

The doctor suggested setting up an appointment with a team of specialists at the Stronach Cancer Centre in Newmarket, Ontario. He felt this would be better than sending me around to different specialists in Orillia (the town where I lived), which might end up with my being sent to Newmarket in the end. If it turned out I didn't have cancer, that would be great; but if it turned out to be cancer then the time saved could mean a world of difference in terms of my prognosis.

On September 30 I was diagnosed with lung cancer. At first I thought, okay, you can operate and take care of this right away, right? Wrong. What they told me next hit me like a ton of bricks. Learning that I had lung cancer was bad enough—but then I learned that it was inoperable, in both lungs, and that I had a tumor in my chest. It was all quite a shock, to say the least. On top of all that I was told that I had emphysema, as well. It must have been at the beginning stages, as I did not have any of its symptoms.

The first thing that my new doctors wanted to treat were the swollen lymph nodes, which were causing me pain in my neck. Kind of gives you a new perspective on the saying "pain in the neck." They wanted to see if they could shrink the tumors, so a five-day radiation treatment started three days later. I was told that I may not notice any difference right away and that it could take up to one month for the tumors to shrink. In the meantime I was prescribed Hydromorphone for the pain.

Following the radiation, chemotherapy began on November 8. To date I've had two complete rounds, and I have two more to go. A round consists of a three-week period. During week one I have two types of chemo, and the appointment takes roughly 5-1/2 hours. During week two I have one type of chemo, and this appointment takes just two hours. Week three is chemo-free, and the following week I start all over again with the next round. The drugs that I'm currently on for chemo are CISplatin and Gemcitabine.

I'm not sure exactly what will happen after I've completed the four rounds, other than a CAT scan, which will assess whether the tumors have shrunk or not. At this point my doctor has mentioned that he'd like to do a biopsy to see if I'm among the small fraction of people that can take chemo in the form of pills rather than intravenously.

How I Deal With Life's Many Challenges

I always try to look on the bright side of things.

Having a positive attitude is half the battle.

Support from family and friends makes my life so much easier.

My motto is "Live each day as if it were your last."

Life could be worse, whether you realize it or not. There is always someone out there that is far worse off than you are.

Life is full of choices, and I choose happiness (borrowed from a Facebook page).

When I wake up each morning, I'm happy to have another day to enjoy.

Quilts for Cancer Patients

My cousin Norma asked an organization called Victoria's Quilts Canada to make a quilt for me. This organization was founded by Betty Griffin in October of 2000. A group of volunteers hand-make quilts for cancer patients.

My Quilt From Victoria's Quilts Canada

my-battles-with-cancer
These flowers from Matt were waiting for me when I got home on January 31.

These flowers from Matt were waiting for me when I got home on January 31.

Update: February 1, 2014

My Lung Cancer Battle Continues With Good News

A week ago yesterday I went for my first CAT scan since starting the chemotherapy treatments. I've had four rounds, each of which consists of two weeks of chemo followed by one week off. There were tumors in my lymph nodes, in my neck, one in my chest area, and in both lungs.

For the last week I've been anxiously awaiting the results. Yesterday I was quite happy to find out that one lung is now clear. In the other lung the tumor has shrunk a bit. I should have written down everything my oncologist told me, but I didn't. The tumors that were in my neck and the one in my chest have all shrunk by half.

I am so happy to learn that the chemo has indeed worked. The next step will be a change in the type of chemo drug. On February 14, Valentine's Day, I will begin an intravenous drug called Pemetrexed. This will be administered once every three weeks, and it takes a little less than an hour to administer. I'm quite happy about this, as the last treatments took anywhere from two hours to up to five hours to administer. Along with this new drug I will also be receiving vitamin B12 shots, folic acid, and corticosteroids to decrease the chance of side effects.

I will have CAT scans every three months to check on the tumors.

Update: February 28, 2014

It's been one month since I last updated this article. I've had one chemo treatment, and I'm scheduled for the second treatment next Friday. So far so good, and my body seems to be handling the new drug quite well. I still have aches and pains, which is to be expected, but I'm happy to say that the swelling in my legs and feet has disappeared.

One of the side effects of this new drug is fatigue, and I find I am taking many long naps. Some days I'll get up at eight in the morning, go back to lie down at ten and sleep the entire day away. This has happened several times. I've never been one to take naps, so I'm finding this is little different. Apparently one can experience some hair loss on this drug, and I have noticed my hair thinning quite a bit.

Some of you have asked me how long I'll be on chemo. As far as I know I will be on chemo for as long as my body can handle it. My oncologist said that I may be on this particular drug for up to nine months. After that, who knows.

I am trying to keep my spirits up by plugging along day by day. My positive attitude keeps me going—as well as all the support that I receive from my family, friends and all of you.

Update: June 6, 2014

Back in March I noticed that I was feeling very depressed and anxious after one of my chemo treatments. I had the symptoms of a clinical depression: lack of appetite, nothing tasted good (this can also be a symptom from chemo), no motivation to do anything, not wanting to get out of bed in the mornings, sad and miserable, etc. I also felt anxious in a way I'd never felt before, meaning that I didn't feel comfortable being alone. Hubby was sure that everything was due to chemo, and that I'd come around in a few days.

Two weeks passed, and my feelings seemed to only get worse. I went to the emergency room at the hospital and talked to a crisis councilor. She felt that it was due to the chemo and that I should talk to my oncologist.

Two days later I woke up feeling a bit suicidal. Back to emergency I went. I saw the same crisis councilor, and she had the doctor prescribe an anti-depressant. She sent me home and told me I should try to avoid being alone—that I should try to always be with someone. Some days I would ride along with my husband to work and sit in the truck for hours rather than staying at home. Talk about feeling like a dog.

When I got an appointment with my oncologist, he referred me to a doctor to speak with. She put me on a medication for anxiety (which worked after taking one pill), and Abilify to boost the anti-depressant. She felt that all of these issues were brought on by a drug I take for three days every three weeks called Dexamethasone. I take this before chemo for anti-nausea, and it is a steroid. It can cause depression and anxiety along with a lot of other symptoms.

I can happily say that this week I'm feeling like my old self and onto the good news...

My newest CT scan report from May 20:

"The right apical lung nodule which previously measured 15 x 9 mm now measures 9 x 6 a spiculated nodule inferior to this towards the right apex which previously measured 10 mm now measures 6 mm. No new lung nodules are seen.

"No mediastinal node greater than 8 mm is identified."

Basically, this means is that there is significant decrease in the nodules.

I will be continuing with the current chemo treatments every three weeks, and another scan will most likely be done in 3-4 months.

my-battles-with-cancer

Update: July 20, 2014

My New Port

On July 10 I had a port installed. I was awake for the procedure, which not only frightened me but surprised me, as well.

I was given a local anesthetic, and the area was frozen. The insertion areas have healed already, and I’m set to try out the port on the 30th of the month.

I’m sure that this will be much easier and time saving for chemo, CAT scans, and MRIs. The port can be used for obtaining blood, as well, if that is necessary.

On July 30 I had my chemo delivered via my port. I could not believe how quickly and painlessly this treatment was. I'm now wishing I would have had the port installed last November when chemo started.

Update: October 20, 2014

Things are looking up and I'm still positive, if not more so, than when I was first diagnosed. The cancer is still in my lymph nodes, but on X-rays you can no longer see the lung tumors. We will not know if the tumors have totally gone away until my next CAT scan.

Yesterday I had an appointment with my pain management doctor. When I described the pain I was having, he asked me if the Hydromorphone was helping. I never do notice any difference in the pain I experience when I take the drug. The pain is quite bizarre to me in that it comes and goes in intervals. The best way for me to describe it is by saying it feels like being hit my a Mac truck. It doesn't matter where you touch me, it hurts like hell. The doctor suggested that I may be suffering from fibromyalgia.

He is weaning me off of the Hydromorphone and has prescribed a new drug called Teva-Pregabalin. I should know within a week if this alleviates some of the pain.

Update: November 3, 2014

Cancer in My Lungs Has Disappeared

On October 21 I had a CAT scan done of my lungs and abdomen. This past Friday my regular oncologist was at a conference, so I saw one of his team members. We discussed the outcome of my latest scan, and miracles do happen. The nodes and or tumors have all disappeared—and not just from one lung but from both! My body has responded well to the chemotherapy, and I'm so thankful to all my healthcare providers at the Stronach Regional Cancer Centre.

My oncologist told me that once the cancer is in the lymph nodes it will always be there. I still have a fight ahead of me, but I've made it this far and I plan to continue to fight this disease.

The new drug that I'm taking for the fibromyalgia is working quite well, and the pain that I was having has drastically gone down.

Life is good.

Update: December 2014

I am thrilled and happy to report that since my last CAT scan showed no cancer in the lungs, I'm now officially in remission. My oncologist has ordered 12 more rounds of chemo as a precaution, and I'm happy with that.

my-battles-with-cancer

Update: October 2015

Thought I'd stop by to give you an update since it has been awhile. I'm still in remission and receiving Pedmetrexed every 3-4 weeks. My oncologist feels that I'm doing so well that he only needs to see me every second chemo treatment.

All in life is good!

Update: July 2016

Things are going well, and I've received 35 treatments so far of the Pedmetrexed. According to my oncologist, I'm getting close to breaking an all-time record.

My CAT scans are coming back clear, and I have another one scheduled for the beginning of August. I'm always nervous about them coming back with bad news, but so far so good.

Update: April 19, 2017

Yesterday I saw my oncologist before having my 44th Pemetrexed chemo treatment. He happily told me that my CAT scan from last week came back clear. Not only were my lungs clear, but my neck showed no signs of cancer in the lymph nodes. I am thrilled and so happy about this great news.

I am still going for the Pemetrexed treatments, but now I go only once every two months instead of once per month.

Thank you, everyone, for all the good wishes and prayers.

Live each day as if it were your last.

Photo Information

All photos used in this article are the property of the author Susan Zutautas, unless otherwise stated. If you'd like to borrow or use any of the photos, please do so only after receiving written permission.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

I love comments and like to know who visits so please leave me one. - You don't have to be a member of HubPages to leave a comment.

Suzie from Carson City on May 06, 2019:

Susan......."Good Luck" being a caregiver to your MIL......You're a sweety! I'm hanging in here....have to.....one foot in front of the other. Looking forward to a nice summer. My crew keeps growing....I'm up to 12 grandkids and 2 great grandkids! Sounds like I'm starting my own zip code, doesn't it?? LOL. And they are ALL just as precious as they can get......even the few darlings going thru their teens!!

I hope you get a chance to send me that email....Then I can send you a picture of our Twin Tornadoes!! Love ya girlfriend, Paula

Susan Zutautas (author) from Ontario, Canada on May 06, 2019:

Hi Paula, Love seeing you. I've been really busy the last couple of weeks. My MIL had a knee replacement done and I'm her main caregiver. Lots of fun.

How are you doing? I keep meaning to send you an email but something always comes up.

Hope that you're doing well. Hugs.

Suzie from Carson City on May 04, 2019:

Susan.....and AGAIN....WOW....2 years from my last comment, I'm happy to be here once more to tell you in no uncertain terms......what an amazing, strong, inspirational, blessed and very VERY special woman you are! Your secret formula of defeating all odds is clearly visible in your life, attitude, tenacity, inner peace & happiness & the sheer LOVE in your heart and all around you, from a devoted family and grateful friends.

Have a spectacular summer! Love & Peace, Paula

Susan Zutautas (author) from Ontario, Canada on May 04, 2019:

Hi D :) So nice to see you here and thanks so much for coming by.

D. Avery on May 04, 2019:

I am just reading this remarkable story now. I sure am glad to see you alive and kicking' all around the Ranch and other parts of the Blogosphere. Talk about sisu.

Sally on November 05, 2018:

Wow that’s powerfull,so happy for you

Shirley Brown on March 25, 2018:

Praise God for the healing. Those little ones need you. So grateful to God for your healing. Be blessed and enjoy your life and your children.

Aileen on January 10, 2018:

Courageous

Susan Zutautas (author) from Ontario, Canada on August 05, 2016:

Paula, I'm always so very happy to see you and thank you so much! Love you!

Suzie from Carson City on July 30, 2016:

Susan, Commenting again 22 months after first responding to this story of your cancer journey. I'm as amazed & impressed with your astounding progress as I was back then, perhaps more so! You are a classic example of how very vital it is in healing our body to be positive & strong-willed, as well as have loving & loyal support from your precious family!

Your story touches me deeply and re-enforces my belief in the powers of Love, Hope & Courage. I could not be more thrilled for you and your loved ones!

Thank you so much Susan for sharing your journey & progress with all of us who love you & cheer you on, here at HP! I feel blessed and privileged to know you.......Hugs, Paula

Susan Zutautas (author) from Ontario, Canada on March 05, 2016:

Hi Peg, No I didn't know you'd read my book. Thanks so much for letting me know and I'm so happy that you liked it.

Feeling not too bad these days. Yesterday I had my 30th treatment and still going strong. I'm out to break records lol :)

Peg Cole from Northeast of Dallas, Texas on March 04, 2016:

Absolutely amazing and wonderful to read. Hoping you are healthy and back to your usual fantastic writing. Did you know I read your book, New in Town? I loved it. It's on my Kindle so I see it whenever I sign on.

You are an inspiration, Susan.

Thinking of you with a smile. Peg

Susan Zutautas (author) from Ontario, Canada on April 16, 2015:

Thanks so much from the bottom of my heart Christy and to the HP Team too. xxx

Christy Kirwan from San Francisco on April 14, 2015:

Hi Susan, I just saw your December update, and from myself and the whole HP Team, we're absolutely thrilled to hear your cancer is in remission! Wonderful news. :)

Susan Zutautas (author) from Ontario, Canada on December 31, 2014:

Thanks Kathy and Happy New Year!

Kathy McGraw from California on December 28, 2014:

Great news on the December update! Congratulations :) So happy to read this.

Latisha on December 28, 2014:

Haaahhha. I'm not too bright today. Great post!

Susan Zutautas (author) from Ontario, Canada on November 29, 2014:

Thanks Rolly, Your friendship and support means the world to me.

Rolly A Chabot from Alberta Canada on November 29, 2014:

Hi Susan... you are a fighter and you heart comes out with words which touch the heart in a profound way. My prayers are with you and yours and the many blessings you share with us... know that we love you dearly...

Hugs and Blessings from Alberta

Susan Zutautas (author) from Ontario, Canada on November 22, 2014:

tics, Everything is going good. Still having chemo once every 3 weeks. Have yet to see my regular oncologist to discuss the results of my CAT scan but hope to see him in about 3 weeks. Thank you so much for coming by to check on me.

Trudy Cooper from Hampshire, UK on November 20, 2014:

Thinking about you, how are things going? Please let me know.

Margaret Schindel from Massachusetts on November 05, 2014:

Susan dear, I can't tell you how ecstatic I am to read that not only is the new fibromyalgia drug you're taking has drastically reduced your pain, but also that all evidence of cancerous nodes and tumors has disappeared from BOTH your lungs!!! Miracles wouldn't be miracles if they were common, but they do happen and you're living proof. I also believe that the extremely proactive and positive role you've assumed in your own healing is a major catalyst for your miraculous results. Sending hugs and love, dear friend!

Susan Zutautas (author) from Ontario, Canada on November 05, 2014:

I'm overwhelmed by all the beautiful comments and I just don't know what to say.... Thank you all so much!

Ruchira from United States on November 04, 2014:

Doing a happy dance for ya, and wishing you well, Susan

xoxo

MarieLB from YAMBA NSW on November 04, 2014:

My dear Susan, please permit me the familiarity, as I have been reading much about you and will be doing more of it in future.

Your strength is amazing. No doubt this is because you have been through so much and have summoned all your strength to keep winning.

Your positive attitude could keep all of us afloat. You are actually helping us all with your inspirational stories.

I do hope and wish for you, a complete recovery from this latest attack and enough hope that you will see your children grow, and your grandchildren too.

I am not being overly optimistic. I have seen many overcome cancer and live full lives again. Two in question, my neighbour who beat the monster 3 times. To look at her now you would not think she's had a sick day in her life.

My nephew, just 4 days away from death by leukemia (acc to the docs in London who is a very busy father and grandfather now. he is 55 and the hub for all the family around him.

You too can do that. We will keep following your achievements.

Thank you for sharing.

Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on November 04, 2014:

Oh Susan, I'm so glad to see your update of yesterday! I hope it continues to be good news going forward. Stay strong and please keep us updated on your progress!

Cindy Murdoch - homesteadbound on November 04, 2014:

Oh, Susan. I am so very happy for you. I am in tears. Miracles do indeed happen, and the nodes may one day be clear as well. Yea!!!!!

Barbara Purvis Hunter from Florida on November 04, 2014:

Susan,

When I see your face around the Internet I say a prayer for you and your family. You are a strong Angel and have given hope and strength to others.

And, I know what it is like as I have witnessed my sister go through having Breast Cancer twice, and now my 89 year old aunt will have two more cancer treatment this months for her cancer in her liver and lungs. She is amazing and a strong women like you.

My sister Paula sends her prayers also and we both wish you the very best in getting over this and being rid of cancer and the pain.

Sending love and prayers your way.

Bobbi Purvis

Audrey Howitt from California on November 04, 2014:

Hang in there Susan! Life is wonderful sometimes, so celebrate when you can, and know that we are all under you and sending you light and love

Jaye Denman from Deep South, USA on November 04, 2014:

Susan - You're incredibly inspirational, and I was so thrilled to reach the last update and read your good news. (I was still wiping tears from my eyes after reading the earlier sections.) I fully believe that your kind of positive 'glass-half-full' attitude is instrumental in the body helping to heal itself. I also encourage you to boost your immune system with a very healthy diet of 'real' food free of pesticides and non-processed with all the unsafe additives that manufacturers use.

Bless you in your continuing fight against this cancer. You are a winner!

Voted Up++++ and shared

Jaye

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on November 04, 2014:

Susan, that's awesome news! You've won a huge portion of the battle. God bless you!

Jimmy the jock from Scotland on November 04, 2014:

Susan you are an inspiration, I am so happy for you, Told you that miracles can and do happen sometimes keep going and keep fighting. I type this with a great big smile on my face. love and Hugs from across the ocean.....jimmy

Angela F from Seattle, WA on November 04, 2014:

What awesome news! Looking forward to seeing many many more positive updates. :)

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on November 03, 2014:

I am so very, very happy to read your latest report, Susan! My best wishes to you for now and the future.

mio cid from Uruguay on November 03, 2014:

Thank you for sharing your amazing story.Once when My daughter had to undergo major heart surgery at the age of 11 a lady who's daughter was battling a brain tumor told me "you have to be content with little in order to have much".that incident with my daughter changed my outlook on life forever and I treasure those words she gave me.Now my daughter has given me three granddaughters and this has certainly been true for me.

Giovanna from UK on November 03, 2014:

You, my dear, are an angel. I admire you so much. This hub is humbling, brave and has knocked me over! God bless you and I wish you all the very best. Your latest news is wonderful. :)

Debra Allen from West By God on November 03, 2014:

Oh Susan what a huge fight you have had. Those sweet children of your helped you keep going. I am so glad that you are still around. You are a trooper that is for sure. Keep up the positive thoughts and affirmations.

Sally Gulbrandsen from Norfolk on November 03, 2014:

Susan Zutautas - what an amazing story of courage in the face of adversity - you are an inspiration to all women (and men) who have had to deal with breast cancer. Thank you so much for sharing your story.

Evelyn Saenz from Royalton on November 03, 2014:

It is amazing with all that you have been through, you have such a positive attitude. Sending you hugs and strength as you continue your fight. Thank you so much for sharing. It helps me to better understand those who suffer from cancer. Hang in there!

Susan Zutautas (author) from Ontario, Canada on November 03, 2014:

Thanks Karen Love Ya Girl!

Karen Silverman on November 03, 2014:

I can barely see the screen as i type this, Susan. You are a miracle and you are my hero!

The battle you have waged is herculean and i couldn't be more thrilled that your lungs are clear of cancer! Your attitude will take you far, it already has!

You are in my thoughts always, and baby - YOU DA BOMB!

tight tight tight hugsxx

Susan Zutautas (author) from Ontario, Canada on November 03, 2014:

Thank you everyone from the bottom of my heart I so truly appreciate all of your wonderful heartfelt comments.

saddlerider1 on November 03, 2014:

I know you don't often hear from me these days Susan, but be aware I am following your course and fight with cancer. I admire your strength and courage, the fact that you won't let it get you is enough to keep fighting. You are a tough Montreal girl and I know you can beat it. Look at the advancement so far, cancer free in your lungs, wow. Keep up the mental attitude and will to survive and you will lick it. I believe the will to survive keeps many cancer patients alive, know that friends and family are there for you. In the wings I am cheering you on Susan. This poet has a few battles of his own with depression and I have struggled with it. Know that I am in your corner and I wish you only well. Your sons and husband are your biggest supporters, stay by their side. Hugs from me to you.

DreyaB on November 03, 2014:

Susan I'm so, so pleased to hear your news from your Nov 3rd update. You've fought hard and I know you will keep fighting, but you deserve this result so much. I'd been thinking of you, so it's great to see your news. Keeping up that positive thinking. Best wishes. :0)

David Stone from New York City on November 03, 2014:

I keep following your story, Susan, and I keep being impressed by the hope that guides you - which you so freely and effectively share.

Sandy Mertens from Frozen Tundra on November 03, 2014:

You have really been through a lot. Glad that you keep beating the odds. Wishing you many years of happiness.

Mary Craig from New York on November 03, 2014:

God bless you and keep you in His care. You have been amazing and I'm sure you will continue! God bless.

Voted all but funny.

Linda Bilyeu from Orlando, FL on November 03, 2014:

Your latest update is awesome!!! Congrats to you!!

Mary Hyatt from Florida on November 03, 2014:

I like to think if I were ever confronted with all your health problems, I would be as brave and determined as you have been. I certainly hope so. I am at the stage of life where I am loosing many of my friends to this horrible CA!

My thoughts and prayers are with you. I enjoyed that video!

Voted this UP, etc.

Cheryl Fay Mikesell from Mondovi, WI on November 03, 2014:

What a great update! Happy for you. Its such a long haul for you. Your a fighter!

Merry Citarella from Oregon's Southern Coast on November 03, 2014:

I'm so glad I got to see this latest update Susan. I'm so glad for the progress you have made, that your lungs have cleared! Fantastic results! Also glad the port they inserted has made the chemo easier. You are clearly a strong woman who inspires us all. Praying for your continued recovery and strength!

Susan Zutautas (author) from Ontario, Canada on October 07, 2014:

Thanks Mary!

Susan Zutautas (author) from Ontario, Canada on October 07, 2014:

Thank you Kathy!

Susan Zutautas (author) from Ontario, Canada on October 06, 2014:

Penelope, So nice to see you, and I hope that you're well. I so often think about you and how you are doing. Thanks so much for stopping by and for your lovely comments. I appreciate the love and support I've always gotten from you my friend.

Susan Zutautas (author) from Ontario, Canada on October 04, 2014:

Thanks so much bravewarrior!

Susan Zutautas (author) from Ontario, Canada on October 04, 2014:

Oh Steph I was so sorry to hear that your brother had lost his fight to this horrible disease. Thank you so much for stopping by and for all of your comments. I so appreciate your thoughts and support.

Susan Zutautas (author) from Ontario, Canada on October 04, 2014:

Thanks so much DawnRae.

Mary Strain on October 03, 2014:

I'm so glad to hear your encouraging news, Susan. God bless you and I am praying for you and your family.

Kathy McGraw from California on October 03, 2014:

Good update....except for the pain :) Rooting for you!

Penelope Hart from Rome, Italy on October 03, 2014:

Susan, what a wonderful lady you are and still keeping that positive attitude up, which of course is life giving and spirit healing. Your updates are precious. Thank you. You give hope to us all that should things turn for the worse, we just keep on chuggin', livin', goin' lovin'. God Bless. Thanks so much for your courage. Love x ( sorry you had all that pain on top of the treatments....so pleased you have a Cathport now).

Susan Zutautas (author) from Ontario, Canada on October 03, 2014:

Thanks Ruchira, Miracles do happen right.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on October 02, 2014:

Susan, I had no idea you've been going through all this. Oh, my Lord! This just breaks my heart. You are so strong. I don't know if I'd be able to maintain the positive attitude you have. I'm sure your PMA (positive mental attitude) is quite conducive to you overcoming all you have so far. I hope the new drug works to alleviate your pain. My prayers are with you. God Bless You!

Stephanie Henkel from USA on October 02, 2014:

Dear Susan, As you know, this subject hits close to home, and I'm so glad to hear your good news. I know it's an ongoing battle, but the shrinking of the tumors in the lungs is an amazing win! Best of wishes that the new treatment for pain will be more successful...your positive attitude is an inspiration! Hugs and positive thoughts, Stephanie

Susan Zutautas (author) from Ontario, Canada on October 02, 2014:

tlcs, I don't know how to deal any other way with it or any other disease. You gotta fight it or it will win.

Susan Zutautas (author) from Ontario, Canada on October 02, 2014:

Thank you Tamara.

Susan Zutautas (author) from Ontario, Canada on October 02, 2014:

Margaret, Yes for sure! I'm so happy about this too. The doctor yesterday told me that I'm definitely not the normal case that they see every day. Thanks so much my friend.

Dawn from Maryland, USA on October 02, 2014:

I'm glad for the update. I think of you often and have wondered. I am expecting that the CAT scan will bring good news.

Ruchira from United States on October 02, 2014:

Good to read your update, Susan.

I wish you a full recovery!

xoxo

Trudy Cooper from Hampshire, UK on October 02, 2014:

Thank you for sharing your story, stay positive, you are an inspiration to all. Family are priceless in times of need, my husband thought cancer and dealt with it in the same way as you are, being positive.

Tamara14 on October 02, 2014:

Oh Susan, you are a true hero, like so many women out there who struggle as we speak. My mom's sister died from breast cancer and I can still remember her determination to NOT go with any treatment due to a huge amount of fear. I can only admire your courage and determination to stay positive. I wish you all the luck in the world and looking forward to many, many more great hubs of yours in the future. Thank you for sharing, I know that can be challenging also.

Margaret Schindel from Massachusetts on October 02, 2014:

Susan dear, I am so happy to read that you continue to be positive in your battles with cancer. It certainly seems as though your lung cancer has responded very well to the chemotherapy. I'm sorry that your pain continues but glad to hear that you will be trying another pain medication. I hope it gives you some relief. Your courage and positive attitude are truly inspiring, my friend.

Susan Zutautas (author) from Ontario, Canada on September 20, 2014:

Oh no! Please message me on Facebook.

Kathy McGraw from California on September 20, 2014:

Susan, my results were positive.

Susan Zutautas (author) from Ontario, Canada on September 20, 2014:

Kathy, Please let me know what your results are.

Susan Zutautas (author) from Ontario, Canada on September 19, 2014:

DealForALiving, Thank you for stopping by to read it and for your comments.

Susan Zutautas (author) from Ontario, Canada on September 18, 2014:

Thank you so much LadyFiddler.

Susan Zutautas (author) from Ontario, Canada on September 18, 2014:

Thanks so much Bobbi. I wish that there was a cure for all cancers.

Susan Zutautas (author) from Ontario, Canada on September 17, 2014:

Thanks Dzy!

Susan Zutautas (author) from Ontario, Canada on September 17, 2014:

Thanks Audrey.

Susan Zutautas (author) from Ontario, Canada on September 17, 2014:

Linda, I'd hate for anyone to feel sorry for me. What I've gone through in life has made me who I am today. Would I change anything? Darn tootin I would.

Susan Zutautas (author) from Ontario, Canada on September 17, 2014:

Thank you Susan.

Susan Zutautas (author) from Ontario, Canada on September 16, 2014:

I'm at a loss for words Paula. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Susan Zutautas (author) from Ontario, Canada on September 16, 2014:

Vellur, Thank you so much!

Susan Zutautas (author) from Ontario, Canada on September 16, 2014:

Pawpaw, The port is wonderful and I wish I'd have had it put in right from the start. Thank you so much for your lovely comments.

Kathy McGraw from California on September 11, 2014:

Hi Susan,

I have followed parts of your story on FB and unfortunately I was searching for breast cancer info here today and found this. I must say your article made me cry, but also is very well written. I just had the lumpectomy yesterday and have another appt next week to verify if it was benign or malignant. Reading your story and how you fought back, and are still winning is very encouraging to say the least. My mom passed away from cancer almost a year ago, so this really is hard for me as I am sure you can imagine. Anyway...thank you Susan, and I am so happy your treatment is making progress and you were able to get help from the side effects of that one med.

Sam Deal from Earth on September 10, 2014:

This is such a courageous hub to write. Thank you so much for sharing this with us.

Joanna Chandler from On Planet Earth on September 10, 2014:

Hey Susan i am very sadden about your situation but i am also very happy to know you survived that demon call cancer and were able to see your boys grown up. The same God that kept you those 23 years is able to heal you again and keep you around to see grandchildren if you don't already have if He tarry's that long.

I will surely remember you in my prayers and i am also happy to know your husband stood by your side . That means he truly love you in sickness and in health he stood by.

If ever you need some comfort you can count on me :)

Have a bless one dear

Barbara Purvis Hunter from Florida on September 10, 2014:

Hi,

What a long journey you've experienced. You are so lucky to have your boys and a loving husband. Now you are on your way to being well again.

I walked this journey with my sister Paula--she had breast cancer twice also.

Thanks for sharing this and you have my prayers and my sister sends hers.

Bobbi Purvis

Liz Elias from Oakley, CA on September 10, 2014:

Oh, Susan! What a story of trials and tribulations, and what an amazing trooper you are! I send fervent wishes out into the Universe that you may be healed fully.

I will be sure to check out your blog, as well. Bright blessings upon you for your indomitable courage in enduring, and your emotional courage in sharing this very personal journey.

Audrey Howitt from California on September 10, 2014:

Hang in there Susan and know that we all love you!

Linda Jo Martin from Post Falls, Idaho, USA on September 10, 2014:

My first impression was how sorry I was that you've had such a difficult time in life. My second impression is how strong you are to get through this and maintain a cheerful and positive attitude. I love that you're continuing to write and inspire us with the love you spread around so well.

Susan Deppner from Arkansas USA on September 10, 2014:

Still praying for you, Susan, and for your family. You're often on my mind.

Suzie from Carson City on September 10, 2014:

My beautiful friend.....You are a true gift to the world. To experience the grace, dignity and power of your story has overwhelmed me with emotion. I am searching for how to describe the depth of my admiration, respect and appreciation.

To say that you are a profound example of the power and purity of Hope, Faith & Love, is merely a drop in an ocean.

You are a Hero. Know that I join those in your life who take your hand and cheer you on, celebrate your victories and encourage your strength.

What wonderful blessings to have your precious husband and sons at your side............Hugs & Prayers, Paula

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on September 10, 2014:

Sending you lots of my prayers and may God shower his blessings on you. You are very brave and looking at the positive side does help. Take care.

Jim from Kansas on September 10, 2014:

Wow, you are a survivor in every sense of the word. I noticed you had a port put in. That alone, can help, if you ever have trouble with them finding a vein. Keep on keeping on. I admire your strength.

Susan Zutautas (author) from Ontario, Canada on August 01, 2014:

@susan-sproull-3: Thanks Susan but I don't know really how else to be with cancer other than to fight it. I strongly feel that the day I give into it, it will win.

susan-sproull-3 on July 31, 2014:

Susan you are on amazing lady. I admire your strength, courage and positive attitude.

You have cancer but cancer does not have you. Keeping you in my prayers

Hugs

Susan Sproull

Susan Zutautas (author) from Ontario, Canada on June 23, 2014:

@DreyaB: Thank you Dreya!

DreyaB on June 20, 2014:

Goodness me, you're amazing! We have a history of cancer in the family, so I'm aware of some aspects of what you're going through. All my hopes, prayers and wishes are yours... If ever I can be of any help, please let me know. You're such an inspiration and I wish you a miracle...

Susan Zutautas (author) from Ontario, Canada on June 16, 2014:

@MarathonRunning: Thanks so much!

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