A step forward

“Mommy, I won’t ever leave you,” my baby declared, flush with pride after making me laugh with his costume, fishing rod over his shoulder like a hobo’s pack he’d seen in a book.

I smiled, swallowing the words any mother would say, pulling him closer to me with a huge hug that would hide my scared face from his four year old eyes.

I missed a verse in the last entry, and I wondered whether to edit the post and put it back in, whether modifying yesterday’s truth to be truthier actually invalidated the thoughts of the day, but I decided at last to just put it here:

I am in pain, I said to the radiation oncologist,

  • And she said let’s burn the tumors off your hips, bringing you comfort as you wait for the chemotherapy to work on the disease.

Today is the day.  All last week was spent going back and forth to the hospital, or hospitals, I should say, as we went to both nationally certified cancer centers in the D.C. area.  We spent the week hugging our children and then going off to that sterile white world, hand in hand, consulting with radiation oncologists, taking tests, swallowing contrast, and having radioactive isotopes injected through my port.  And of course all of the details that come with that.  But today’s the day.

Today I go to the hospital for my first radiation therapy appointment intended not to sear the skin and stop the cancer from coming back, but instead intended to burn off the cancer cells already implanted firmly in my hips, the ones that make it difficult to walk and painful — so painful — to sit at the dinner table, at my desk, or at my children’s side in the playroom.  I am hopeful that this pallative radiation therapy  will help me, will take away some of my pain, so that I can live more fully again while we wait for the chemotherapy to take its course, to reduce the cancer burden in my neck, my ribs, my spine, and my hips, and for me to be healed partially or completely — this will help me to live.

This is a step forward.  And I have three tiny new tattoos on my hips to prove it, emblems of the fight as much as the seven on my chest, and I will go forth in battle today, fighting not for more months or years, but fighting today for quality of life.

One step forward.

Let’s go.


57 Responses to A step forward

  1. Deb says:

    The radiation works wonders at relieving pain. Take care Susan.

  2. Kelly Kruger says:

    And all of your prayerful warriors are by your side in spirit. May the grace of God be with you, your family, and your medical team today, and bring you comfort from the daily pain.

  3. Amanda says:

    Your steps are much closer to leaps. Sending off sprays of hope that this approach cushions your touchdown between leaps.

  4. Thinking of you today. (I think of you every day, actually.) Sending hugs from the ‘Lou and hoping today’s appointment goes well and lessens the pain.

  5. Fran says:

    Susan Dear….. You and your family are in my daily prayers. I truly believe there is strength in prayer and strength in the numbers who pray for you. I too have the tattoos forever emblazoned on my chest from previous radiation therapy due to breast cancer. I pray with all of my being that this new treatment will bring you sufficient relief from your severe pain and suffering and enable you to walk better for an improved quality of life……

  6. justenjoyhim says:

    Prayers for you and your family, for strength, for healing . . . . for whatever you need. Love to you.

  7. Catherine H Myers says:

    Susan, how I hope this treatment relieves your awful pain. And quickly.

  8. Elaine says:

    I love that your team is fighting this on all fronts. And that there’s someone so concerned with easing this pain. What a huge leap forward in how people are cared for.

  9. Susan says:

    Sending thoughts and strength to you today.

  10. loran says:

    Thoughts and prayers surround you. xo

  11. *m* says:

    We are with you, Susan.

  12. Thinking of you….sending your beautifully tattooed self so much love. As far as the tattoos? I have grown to love mine…like badges of honor. xoxo

  13. Lynn Brooks says:

    Susan praying for you and your family. Thanks so much for this blog, it has given me encouragement while I battle my recurrence of IBC.

  14. Niksmom says:

    Cheering you on from the sidelines. Always. Even when I don’t comment. May this radiation bring you blessed relief. xo

  15. It’s Thanksgiving in Canada today, and I am thankful that your pain will be reduced, and that tomorrow will be better.

  16. Blue Morpho says:

    I continue to be in awe of your courage – facing so much pain and fear with reason and willpower. I hope the new treatment gives you some relief!

  17. Amy B. says:

    Let’s go is right!! As M said, we’re with you!

  18. {sue} says:

    Praying and hoping.

  19. Susan says:

    Praying for pain free days to spend with your wonderful little boys.

  20. Tina says:

    Go get ’em tumors Princess Warrior!! Sending you thoughts of strength and courage for today. (and hugs as well)

  21. You are in my prayers. (((warm hugs))

  22. Alexandra says:

    I will pray for you.

    My nephew just began his radiation, 3rd time in his lifetime.

  23. magpiemusing says:

    Love to you, Susan. Hope the radiation helps. It totally helped my mother when she had lesions on her spine…

  24. JenC says:

    Susan, I so hope this helps relieve your pain. Thinking of you and your boys.

  25. Praying for you, Susan, for the treatment to be effective and for this to give you relief from pain, for grace and strength and peace, and for comfort and encouragement for all of you. God bless you, sister.

  26. Tammie says:

    All my best to you and your family today. May you find the strength and comfort you need.

  27. Much love. Many prayers. And most of all, RESPECT. ❤

  28. Karen G says:

    I hope this new / additional step will help to improve your health and wellbeing. And, what everyone else said, above. 🙂
    Karen G

  29. Sue Farrell says:


  30. Bon says:

    it is Thanksgiving here in Canada, today.

    i offered up thanks, for a lot. for this hope for your relief, high on my list.

  31. We are here. I am praying.

  32. NYFriend says:

    Wishing you great success with this next step.

    So what’s your eldest’s costume this year? 🙂

  33. STACEY says:

    Just found your blog and now I can’t stop reading. You are an amazing woman.

  34. May this step bring your some relief. Holding you in my heart, Susan.

  35. Aurelia says:

    And we’ll be standing right here with you, virtually holding your hand. We’re with you all the way Susan

  36. Minky says:

    Amazing. You are amazing.

  37. Ellie Rancont says:

    Thinking of you and saying many prayers. (((Hugs)))

  38. Colleen says:

    I hope and pray so much that this treatment will help you and improve the quality of all of your days and nights. Much love,

  39. So glad the treatment has already started relieving your pain. Sending you gentle hugs my friend!

  40. Monkey's Mama says:

    Beautifully written, again. Thank you for sharing this new development with us. I am praying ceaslessly for freedom from the pain, more months, more years. Let’s go.

  41. Eve W. says:

    I’m thinking of you, Susan. May it all go as smoothly as possible.

  42. May the palliative treatment work beyond your expectations and bring you relief from pain and a chance to live life once again pain-free with your adorable, loving little ones. And the big one.

  43. I’m walking with you in my thoughts and prayers.

  44. planetnomad says:

    and in my thoughts and prayers, I am right beside you.

  45. Hilary Boboshko says:

    Also sending gentle hugs and many prayers. Walking with you on my mind. *If your heart is full of love, you will always have something to give* -author unknown

  46. Thinking of you. Long time reader & lurker, but always keeping you in my thoughts.

  47. I’m so hopeful. So very very hopeful.

    Love you much, as always.

  48. meg says:

    The sun is shining here today. Hope the radiation rays are working already to lift the fog of pain.

  49. Susan says:

    Hoping you have relief soon!

  50. Sweetie. You are always in my thoughts and prayers. Here’s to pain-free days ahead, with your family and friends around you!

    Much love, CGF xoxo

  51. Thinking of you, and hoping the pain has subsided.


  52. I am always so glad when you give us something very specific to focus our prayers on. I keep you in my prayers for healing and comfort and peace always, but I like to add a little detail from time to time, too– like, “Is it so much to ask for Susan to be able to sit at the dinner table while she’s waiting for the chemo to do its job?” Only not so, you know, annoyed-sounding as that.

  53. Franchise says:

    No one wants to leave his lovely friends and family but the time comes when you have to do this.This is natural.The reality is really bitter.

  54. Melanie says:

    Susan, Hi I found your blog and have spent much of today learning about you and your family. I don’t really know what to say except I am thinking of you and wish I lived close enough to drop a casserole, a hug or anything to help you out. I pray that your pain along with the cancer will be obliterated from your life, from everyone’s life for that matter. Just know that your words are powerful and are touching other’s lives far and wide. Hugs to you.

  55. Lahdeedah says:

    Who knew that only 3% of cancer research was dedicated to metastatic disease? Susan, that is important info. What are three things we can do to help change that? Tell me what they are, and I’ll do them.

    Much love to you.


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