Just in time

Miles Levine’s words appeared just when I needed them most. Because not only was I mopey, but Friday turned out to be one of those days.

The ribs that popped out while we were on vacation were put back in on Wednesday (Bretta found 4 ribs and 3 vertebrae hanging out on the wrong side of my spine!), but on Thursday I was in great pain again. On Friday I went to my primary care doctor in search of some tests, some answers, or some solution. As it turns out, the great Dr. J was out, but the colleague that I saw is a specialist in osteopathic medicine — and he knew how to put the ribs back in, no problem.

Well, a bit of a problem. He tried one technique and then stopped. Said he was worried about the ribs being so brittle from the radiation, and, frankly, mets.


He looked at me calmly and said “Have you had a scan recently?”


“Then I’d like you to go on Monday and get a bone scan. Breast cancer spreads to the bone, lungs, and liver first. This could be what’s weakening your ribs and causing them to pop out. In any case, we need to check to see if the cancer has metastasized to the bone before I do any more manipulations to put the ribs back in.”

Okay. Is it mets?

“I’m not saying that it is or it isn’t; just that we need to check. Okay?”


So on Monday I call to schedule my first post-chemo bone scan. We think and hope that all will be negative, that there will be no signs of the cancer’s spread, and I can get back to my life as usual. That is, building my new life, my new usual. I’m really ready for that, and ready to leave all this behind for a little while. But first, I have to have my scans, and find out what the immediate future holds for me: am I a mom trying to balance and enjoy all the demands of a thriving consulting business and a young family? Or am I a cancer patient, headed back to chemo and dependence on others?

But Miles Levine’s words stayed with me as I walked back to the car, thinking, “A moment spent moping is a moment wasted.”

So I gathered my young family up, took them out to dinner at the funky Mexican restaurant with the balloons and the tortilla maker, and packed for a fun all-day outing on Saturday. The next day, we romped with cousins and friends, enjoying the park and family despite the heat, and celebrated a family member’s milestone. It was a wonderful non-cancer day, and we hope to have many more.

I pray that the bone scan and CT turn out to be negative. I have so many plans, and so much that begs to be done. Thanks to Miles, though, I have a better outlook than I did last week. I will get the scans, but I will not waste another minute of this precious life worrying about their outcome.

I still have today.


40 Responses to Just in time

  1. Amy says:

    You’ve kicked cancer’s ass before, and you can do it again if you have to, but I’m praying you don’t have to.

    Your attitude is amazing. I am humbled.


  2. Stimey says:

    Susan, I don’t pray, but I’ll pray for you. You continue to be an amazing mom, activist, scientist, friend, and woman. I think of you always.

  3. Praying, right along with you.

    And pledging to follow your new “mantra”, too– not one more moment wasted!!

    You’ve taught me so much, Susan.

    Lots of love to you, the boys, and WonderDaddy this Father’s Day.

    xoxo CGF

  4. liz says:

    praying right there with you, my friend.

  5. Jill Aldrich says:


    Add me to your long list of friends, sending up prayers for you for many more non-cancer days 🙂


  6. jenn says:

    Praying too, and vowing to be as non-mopey as I can be!


  7. Robin says:

    You have today, and then tomorrow you’ll have tomorrow too.

    Much love to you.

  8. throwslikeagirl74 says:

    Prayers and cyber hugs coming from my neck of the woods as well.

  9. Jyber says:


    You are being wonderfully brave. But I do hope (and think) that the doctor you saw on Friday was mainly being very thorough to rule out any possible other factors before he took significant action on your ribs himself. You know, that old “First, do no harm” thing. He did not want to manipulate your ribs until he was SURE mets were not a factor. He probably thinks there is only a small chance that that is the case, but NO HARM in ruling it out before he takes other action. He is being very careful and responsible — although a price you pay for that is additional anxiety.

    I hope to hear great news from you of continued dancing with NED next week!

    Meanwhile, hearty congrats to you for making the most of the weekend!


  10. momma knows says:

    Sending prayers and good vibes your way.

  11. flutter says:

    You are a warrior. You will win this one, too.

  12. moonlight greetings says:

    I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. You
    have a great attitude, are brave and clearly a
    fighter. You are right about living in the moment; it is one of the things that cancer taught me (I am a
    3 year breast cancer survivor) but not always
    easy to practice.

    I hope to hear good news on your blog this coming

  13. carosgram says:

    Being with you, even if only on the net, is never a waste. Enjoy today and celebrate with the father of your amazing children.

  14. I will be adding my prayers to all those others. Miles Levine and you – both – inspire me with your attitude.

  15. Sarah S. says:

    You will be in my thoughts and prayers. Hope everything turns out Well 🙂

  16. My thoughts and prayers are with you. Enjoy this wonderful time with your wonderful husband and beautiful boys.

    Life is too precious to mope!

  17. Margaret R. says:

    I have faith that what you’re going to get from these scans is just an early confirmation that you’re cancer-free. Absolute faith.

  18. MummyCha says:

    Thinking of you, wishing you good news!

  19. I’m still holding my breath a little for you.

  20. Amelie says:

    Praying along with you.
    Your attitude is amazing, and inspiring.

  21. m says:

    I am a relatively new reader of your blog, and had to de-lurk to send you all the good thoughts, good karma, and positive power I can this morning. You are awesome!

  22. Margerie says:

    Cancer- the crappy gift that keeps on giving!

    I hope it is just your ribs are funked out from rads and that your doc is just being overly cautious. Someone told me that it takes courage to be at peace…..you are one courageous soul.

    Will be thinking of you!

  23. momunplugged says:

    I haven’t commented in a while, but I am still here thinking of you, and sending positive energy your way.

  24. I’ll be praying for you today… and wishing for the best.

  25. I will be thinking about you today and hope all goes well!

  26. laurie says:

    Amazing woman, amazing post and amazing future ahead – no matter what. I will be thinking of you and your CLEAN scans. Keep us posted.

  27. Randi says:

    I too will be hoping that everything goes good. I don’t pray often, but I definitely will for you!

  28. Kim says:

    with you. with you today, especially, bold woman, good mama. may it be behind you in an instant.

  29. ilinap says:

    Many tomorrows to come. It does us all a world of good to live by Miles’ words. We are all guilty of taking too much for granted. Fingers crossed for clean scans!

  30. Heather says:

    You’ll be in my prayers. That’s a beautiful quote. I’ll have to remember that one often.

  31. christine says:

    thinking of you and hoping that all will be well.


  32. Bon says:

    i hope that scan comes soon and comes out clean as a whistle. and that the ribs stop bothering you, too.

    and i needed to read Miles Levine’s words, too…so i thank you.

    and think of you, hold you in the light, with hope for tomorrow and thanks for today.

  33. Susan says:

    And after the scans, you can take a sigh of relief knowing for sure and thank the dear doctor for being thorough and cautious. Hugs and thoughts coming your way!

  34. moorethanuknow says:

    God bless you. You are truly an inspiration.

  35. deb says:

    I hope the scan is clear and thank you for pointing in Miles’ direction.

  36. Wow. Good luck. I’ll be praying for the scan to be clear. Thanks for inspiring me not to mope today!

    My mom went in for an endometrial biopsy yesterday, and if was the first time I realized that she is getting older. What a scary thing is life!

  37. Thinking of you today, WM, and praying the results were a big “all clear”…

    We’re all rooting for you!!

    xoxo CGF

  38. […] my scans Tonight will be a long night.  After a routine doctor’s appointment on Friday, I was sent for my first post-treatment bone scans, early, to check if this pain in my ribs might […]

  39. […] my scans Tonight will be a long night.  After a routine doctor’s appointment on Friday, I was sent for my first post-treatment bone scans, early, to check if this pain in my ribs might […]

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