I had a bad scan.

Remember the tingling prickly painful feeling all over my arms, back, and neck?

The one that sent me to the pain specialist that was a quack?

The one that I thought was probably nothing, and was beginning to be well-controlled by a marvelous new (to me) drug called neurotonin?

Well, my physical therapist suggested I call my oncologist and be sure that it wasn’t a tumor pressing on something it shouldn’t, and my oncologist said, yes, please go get a PET/CT scan.  Immediately.  And come see me in my office on Monday.

I had the PET/CT scan on Wednesday, while my children played outdoors with their Daddy.

The results are in.

I had a bad scan.

We don’t know yet what this means, and we don’t know what the treatment will entail.  All we know is that six lymph nodes are lit up like Christmas lights on the scan, showing hypermetabolic activity.  The options are a) infection (we’re rooting for this one); b) recurrence of the inflammatory breast cancer (possible but weird, because the breast nodes aren’t involved); c) a totally new cancer, like lymphoma (possibly brought on by all the radiation required in my previous treatment); d) metastasis.

I’m not ready to talk to anyone about this yet on the phone, so please don’t call.  I’m not ready to talk to anyone about this in person, so please don’t ask me.  All I need is a hug (if you’re a hugger) and a supportive word.

Anyone saying “I’m sorry” in the comments below will be shot.

We’re not sorry.  We’re ready to fight.  Again.

But we’re still praying that we don’t have to.


122 Responses to I had a bad scan.

  1. planetnomad says:

    Gooooo infection!!! I’m rooting for it too!

  2. Fight on, Susan. I’ll back you up and support you however you need.

  3. dregina says:

    Sending good, good thoughts your way.

  4. Sending {{{hugs}}} and positive thoughts!

  5. susan k says:

    Rooting for infection too. Sending lots of hugs your way!

    We are here to help you fight.

  6. Big, fat, lift you off the ground hug (which shouldn’t be uncomfortable in digital form, or nearly as effective). Thinking of you and wishing you all the fight you can muster!

  7. Elizabeth says:

    wishing I could give you an in person hug, but this will have to do for now:



  9. Cindy Rosenfeld says:

    Really big hug.

    Cindy in Canada

  10. Kristin says:

    You can tackle whatever this is. You’ve got heart and fight, not to mention a whole world in your corner, and all the hugs you can handle.

  11. *m* says:

    Humongous cyberhug for you.

    Know that are strong, brilliant, and surrounded by love.

  12. Morra says:

    Virtual Hug.

  13. Christy says:

    Sending wonderful thoughts and warm hugs your way.

  14. donna says:

    Can I say another s word? Shi* Shi* Shi*!! Another one here rooting for a nice dose of infection. And if it is anything else you will just have to kick the ever living hell out of it. Hug hug-pat pat.

  15. whymommy says:

    Thanks. And yes. You can be upset. You can spout about it not being fair. You can curse cancer. You can do anything you want, actually, cause we all face a friend with cancer differently.

    I *personally* am just trying not to feel sorry for myself, that’s all….

    It’s never fair when someone gets cancer. But 33% of us eventually will. So all we can do is FIGHT like hell and support RESEARCH for a CURE. And, of course, the cure for the cure. 🙂

    On the bright side, the neurontin really is doing wonders for the tingly pain on my arms and back.

  16. Amy@UWM says:

    Just love your fighting spirit. YOU GO GIRL!!!! Crossing all fingers and toes for the infection…

  17. Sara says:


    we are behind you all the way! We love you!

  18. Stella says:

    Well, I have a few choice thoughts for a certain Creator I know. But that will be a private conversation. For now I will simply send hugging thoughts your way and (perversely) pray you’ve got a whopping infection.

  19. Akshata says:

    You are a wonderful, strong woman and a real inspiration. Sending you lots of love and a big warm hug, all the way across the world from Mumbai, India.

  20. Tracy says:

    Go infection! Go go infection!
    (That’s a first for me, but I would actually use pompons for that if I had some.)

    oooooooooooooooooooooooo<–wall of hugs

    Whatever it is, kick its ass to the Kuiper Belt.

  21. Elizabeth says:

    dear susan,
    I found your blog on the old “magpie files”.

    please fight for us all. *great hug*

    I’m in a strange and difficult situation myself(but its more a head-thing) but still we all have to fight is some way…

    *great kisses and a hug* from eliza, your new reader


  22. shel says:

    sending lots of hugs and good thoughts.

  23. I’ve never rooted for an infection so hard in my life! Go infection!


  24. Erin Alanna says:

    Been lurking for a long time. Right now I am de-lurking to say, “go infection” and to tell you I am sending you a hug from myself! Even though I have never met you your fight has given me hope… I am sending lots of love your way!

  25. sending lots of HUGS!!!!

  26. Cassandra says:

    I’m thinking of you and sending you lots of good vibes, Susan! And I never thought I’d wish so strongly for “just” an infection.

  27. marty says:

    Dammit, SuSu. If you are ready to fight, I would be happy to pick one with you.

    I’m thinking of getting my neighborhood to place luminaries out next Christmas . . .

  28. You KNOW I’m a hugger. I have as many hugs as you need. Anytime. Anywhere.

    Got your back girl.


  29. Big hugs and kisses. xoxoxoxo

  30. Debbie says:

    Sending lurker love and {{{{{HUGS}}}}. Neurontin did wonders for me, too. Go Neurontin (with a little infection on the side)!!

  31. Jenny says:

    I know what its like hoping for infection or some other innocuous cause of bad scans – Love and cyber hugs all the way from New Zealand

  32. Jeanine says:

    Oh how awful. Thoughts are with you.. hopefully everything will be alright!

  33. Sending big hugs and prayers for the best possible outcome!

  34. kgirl says:

    hugs, good thoughts, strength – whatever you need, I’m sending it.

  35. Judy says:

    How about a bunch of swear words, which are running through my head right now?! Those and a huge *hug* which I wish could be in-person.

    I hope it’s the infection.

  36. Stella says:

    Praying for you.

    Ready to fight along with you, whatever you need!

  37. throwslikeagirl74 says:

    What a world we live in that we’re rooting for infection. But we are. *big cyber hug*

  38. Meg Casey says:

    Sending a hug. Cheering for an infection. Keeping you in my thoughts.xox

  39. Kristen says:

    In my whole life, I have never been praying harder for an infection. Yay, INFECTION!!! GO GO GO GO! (((Hugs))) (and cake the next time I see you)

  40. Good luck. I’ll be thinking about you.

  41. You are a lovely and strong woman. Sending all good vibes your way!

  42. Karen says:

    Sending a hug or three, and some prayers too.

  43. upsidebackwards says:

    Nonononono! This news made me cold all over. Count me in the list of people surprised to find themselves hoping you have an infection of some sort – nothing else, and an infection that is easily and painlessly dealt with.
    Fierce hugs and and even more love from NZ…

  44. Robin Hurwitz says:

    Hugs. Prayers for easily cured infection. Go outside and enjoy the sunshine with your boys.

  45. Can I send hugs AND Ben & Jerry’s? The combo always works for me ;).

  46. Niksmom says:

    Ok, you said not to say “I’m sorry” so I won’t. But you didn’t say I couldn’t shout F*CK!!! at the top of my lungs. I’m praying hard for the infection to be the winner. Huh, words I never thought I’d write.

    Sending love.

  47. slouchy says:

    infection all the way.

    love to you.

    and so many hugs.

  48. Big, squashy squashiness. Love, and strength, even though you have plenty of both. Deep breaths. An echo of slouchy’s demand for an infection diagnosis. xo

  49. Susan says:

    Sending big, big cyberhugs your way, Susan, and lining up to join the throngs of friends who are ready to stand by you in the fight. (while rooting for an infection to somehow be involved right now, of course.)

  50. ashpags says:

    I’m a hugger! Sending some your way. Best of luck!

  51. Jodifur says:

    All my thoughts. And I’m here. Always.

  52. Arkie Mama says:

    Thinking of and praying for you.

  53. Jordan says:

    Sending you hugs and strength to do battle against whatever this is.

  54. Keep up the fight! You are strong and amazing.

  55. D'Lyn says:

    HUGS coming from Houston. We’re praying. And have been all along.

  56. Praying that you only have to fight an infection.

  57. clifford says:

    sqkwwwEEEEEEEEeeeze. weezey. weeze. Yeah, this.

  58. 1st-HUGE HUG!
    2nd-Prayers and positive thoughts going up for you
    3rd- Kick it’s (whatever IT is, please be an infection) ass!

  59. Susan I’m sad I didn’t read this BEFORE the momzshare event tonight because I’m one hell of a hugger.

    That said, please know I’ll be cheering for you and for the infection.

  60. Marcia says:

    F&$&&$$&k cancer and all its side effects! Here’s hoping it’s not a met. Here’s hoping for better days ahead. Sending you hugs and positive thoughts from a fellow survivor in CA. You will fight whatever this is and win!

  61. Darryle says:

    Joining in on this beautiful group hug coming to you from everyone carrying you in their hearts. You’re in mine.

  62. I chatted with you tonight, but had no idea. I now realize why Stimey was comforting you. You have an amazing support system. Sending positive thoughts to you.

    • whymommy says:

      Thanks, MfM. I didn’t really want to tell everyone, because I didn’t want it to be all about cancer. It was so good to have a relaxing night out with friends. So, so good.

  63. Shari says:

    Not what I wanted to read but here’s a girl out west hoping for an infection! Stupid stupid cancer.

  64. La Primera says:

    I’m a major hugger! so, HUUUUGGGG!!!!

    And keep kicking ass!

  65. whymommy says:

    I’m reading and rereading and holding on to this. I don’t know what’s ahead, but I know that I’m not alone — and that is so important. Thanks, y’all.

  66. Kate says:

    Big hugs for you. You can beat whatever this is and you most definitely do not have to do it alone.

  67. Andrea says:

    I’m a long time lurker.

    I’m not much of a hugger but in your case I’ll make an exception. BIG HUG.

    Kick some butt. Fight on.

  68. @sweetbabboo says:

    I’m not much of a hugger but I give ’em up when necessary. So here goes – – ((hug)) – – and that one was extra tight and not just one of the into the hip, pat on the back, avoiding contact kinds.

    No matter what, I know you will kick its ass. You’re a fighter!


  69. Bon says:

    huge hug. and so much hope that you don’t have to fight this all over again.

    standing beside you. lots of love.

  70. BMom says:


    Hey….just want you to know: I had some unusual symptoms arise on/in my left breast a few weeks ago. Because of you and the information you’ve shared, I went right to the doctor and had it checked out. It looks to be a vascular issue, but what if it hadn’t been? How long would I have waited to see what it was? But again, because of you, I went to the doctor armed with the knowledge that I shouldn’t let this go. THANK YOU so much for sharing your experience. Though I wish with every fiber of my being that you haven’t had this experience to share, we (my family & I) thank you for sharing what you’ve learned and went through.

    You go girl – hoping for infection and admiring your incredible spirit.

  71. Susan,
    It was great to see you last night–it’s always awesome to hang with you. You are wicked smart, funny, gorgeous, and incredibly inspiring and talented. I left last night with a smile on my face because I am so grateful you are in my life–for so many reasons.

    Wishing, hoping, praying, with all my might that this is just a quick-fix–hug, hugs, and more hugs.

  72. Amy says:

    Could it be that you’d just had too much Mountain Dew?

    Ok, that’s a lame attempt at a joke, but you said not to say the other thing…

    Here’s hoping that you’re come down with a rip roaring early spring cold, and that, or Mountain Dew, is why your lymph nodes were glowing.


  73. Becky says:

    Hoping and praying it is an infection. Ready to help you fight in any way possilbe. Sending major hugs your way.

  74. clifford says:

    At this rate, Susan’s gonna have a) an infection and b) severely cracked ribs. 😀

  75. alex says:

    Hugs and on the off change I may be shot Prayers and Peace.

  76. serenemusings says:

    A big HUG from me and family, my kidddos and my cat Benny…

  77. Lisa B says:

    Hugs, hun. Hoping it’s an infection. Rooting for you.


  78. Linda Lawrence says:


  79. Amy aka Mrs. Chicken says:

    Hugs for a fighter.

  80. magpie says:

    Big hug. And lots of luck.

  81. Kim says:

    I’m thinking about you.

  82. NYFriend says:

    *Big hugs*
    We are all here to support you, listen and share wherever the next step of your journey takes you.

    Hugs again.

  83. Whatever it is, I hope it is ready for an ass-kicking. (Joining the Go Infection Team!)

  84. riskmobile says:

    You tweeted about ass kicking shoes the other day. Strap ’em on honey, you look fantastic in them. Love you.

  85. amanda says:

    Oh, dear, here’s a laugh. That last comment? Riskmobile? That’s me logged in as one of my clients. Gah! I know he would cheer you on too.But oh, my that was supposed to be from me. Cheerer on of ass kicking moms.

  86. I’m praying for you and waiting to hear how bad you kick cancer’s ass…AGAIN!

  87. Hug from a stranger!

    Please let it be a nice healthy dose of infection!

  88. Cheryl says:

    Thinking of you and hoping for an infections with everything I’ve got!!

  89. VDog says:

    Imagine me saying something pithy & making you smile, while I smile widely and then give you a HUGE hug.

    Then I’ll say, GO KICK SOME ASS. XOXO

  90. BetteJo says:

    I thought VDog said – imagine me saying something filthy … 🙂 That would make ME laugh!

    Never thought I would be rooting for an infection but I’ve never seen anybody able to fight as long and hard as you have. And since you have so much to fight for – if need be – you damn well will do it again.


  91. claire says:

    Mentally, I am so threatening those lymph nodes with my foam brick. They are to Get That Infection Under Control And Settle Down. Now.

  92. Angie says:

    Hugs!!!! Lots of them!!

  93. Alice C says:

    You may have lymph nodes like fairy lights but you have a backbone of iron. You can do it, Susan. You can.

  94. Becky W says:

    Was just thinking of you this morning, as NPR had a fantastic piece on flex time in the work place (I think they are doing a series this week). I was reminded, yet again, of all the fabulous work you are doing to keep women in science!

    Gald to hear the medicine is providing relief from the physical pain. Praying for infection. You have a fantastic attitude and you have an army behind you, to help with whatever comes your way.

    Here’s something that made me smile, so I’m passing it your way even though it is several months old and you may have already seen it:

    Spring has finally come to WI, and I hope the sun is shining for you as well!

    Humongous hugs!!

  95. Amelie says:

    Many Hugs.
    Hoping for an easily treatable issue.

  96. Stella says:

    What’s up next, then???

  97. Julie says:

    I am in the camp of the go-infection-supporters, and definitely looking forward to hug you in person in a few weeks!

  98. Susan A says:



  99. Deanna says:

    I hope it’s just an infection.
    Sending good thoughts and lots of hugs.

  100. Colleen says:

    Much love and many prayers for you. I’ve been thinking of you all day and holding you in my heart. You are wonderful and very much loved. I’ll echo everyone here so far — Kick A@@ and Take Names. Many hugs.

  101. kami says:

    f*ck. I REALLY hope that doesn’t offend you, but it’s what came to mind first, huge hugs.

  102. Kathy Sgaouri says:

    {{{{Hugs}}}} and positive thoughts coming your way.

  103. Lady M says:

    Hugs, hugs, hugs!

    My husband was having pains for weeks last spring and we feared all kinds of things . . . to our relief, it was “only” appendicitis. I hope it’s only an infection.

  104. Headless Mom says:

    Here by way of Stimey. She’s right. You’re strong. You can do this.

    I am still sending hugs though, since that is what you requested.

  105. Stimey's mom in Australia says:

    I’m sending all kinds of hugs from Oz. And rooting for a).

  106. Lindsay says:

    Thinking of you and your family Susan. I’m not really a hugger, but in this case, I will make an exception. HUGS HUGS HUGS.

  107. profart says:

    Sending lots of hugs and strength vibes from here. May the antibiotics win.

  108. don’t know ya, never met ya, first time to your blog…
    HUG**HUG**HUG** (ok, that was a little uncomfortable for you I know-long hug from a stranger-but I needed to to do it 🙂 Go kick this thing’s butt!

  109. maryelena says:

    As my son says — a googleplex of hugs. And high hopes for an infection — there are tons of nice bacteria and viruses going around, so let it be one of those.

  110. Elaine says:

    I got here from Stimey’s page. KICK ASS! And anything else you need to. I presume you’re local to me(Arlington). I’m a good cook. I make house calls. It would be an honor to deliver your family a meal. Seriously. You have my email. And I’m sending lots of hugs.

  111. Becki says:

    Sending virtual hugs and wishing I could give you a real one.

  112. Vickie says:

    Hi WhyMommy,

    I don’t know if I have enough good juju to send down to you, but I will try!! Will be praying for you and wishing you the best possible outcome.

  113. You’ve been in my prayers and will definitely continue to be. Light, love, blessings for healing in whatever form that comes.

  114. Megan says:

    Sending you hugs and good vibes.

  115. I had no idea when I saw you on Saturday. I will keep you in my prayers and of course, we are all here for you if you need us! Maryland mom bloggers will support you 100 percent!

  116. I’ve been a bit out of the loop due to impending book deadlines, just catching up a bit this am.

    Thinking bright spring thoughts for you.

  117. therocchronicles says:


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