Susan

Diagnosed in 2011

Susan was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer in 2011. She lives with her husband of 49 years in the Napa Valley and enjoys going to the gym, doing yoga and Qigong.

The only thing you've got is your attitude. It's the only thing you can control. Question everything. Go online, Google it if you don't want to go to Inspire.com. Talk to other people who have lung cancer, it'll make you feel better and keep your attitude up.

These are the experiences, ideas and views of each individual person featured here. Your own situation may be different and these ideas may not work for you.

Susan's Journey With Cancer

  • Diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer in 2011
  • Targeted therapy
  • Two clinical trials
  • Chemotherapy

Emotions

I have my friends and my family, I have my beautiful house in this beautiful place and I don't get blue. I really don't.

I don't want to be the sick patient. You know with lung cancer that can happen at any moment. I could be on oxygen, I know that, so I have to take advantage of every wonderful, beautiful day that I have and you do learn to be grateful much more.

Your priorities change and when you wake up in the morning and you're not coughing and you're happy and you're hungry. You say thank you God, thank you universe, thank you somebody but you don't take it for granted like I did for sure. This isn't a game, this is scary stuff but you've got to keep your attitude. It's what I tell people when they first get diagnosed with cancer or somebody calls me and says, "Can I have my friend call you?"

I always let them and I say to them, you can't prescribe your own medicine but you can keep your attitude healthy and up. It's the only thing you've got going for you and if you give in to it, you don't have a chance.

You've got to stay strong and positive however you can, and I really believe that's one of the best things that I do for myself.

Friends & Family

It made us closer. My husband has been unbelievable. He's been the most unbelievable caregiver, he really has. He stepped up to the plate but we've been together for 49 years.

So I'm not that surprised that he did it but it's hard having a wife with cancer. It was hard to tell my children but my daughter especially has done more research on things.

My friends, they're closer. I haven't held anything back.

Health & Fitness

Before my diagnosis I was doing TRX and Pilates. Belonging to this wonderful club I used to take all the hard classes because I was in good shape, no problem.

I'm back doing what I did, but I don't do the really hard stuff anymore.

I used to take two or three classes at a time. I used to get there in the morning and do aerobics, and then end up with a yoga class.

Now I just go to the yoga class. I'm just a little sensitive about the fatigue.

I'm one of those people who like to exercise. I like taking the classes and the camaraderie and all that stuff. I love yoga, and I do it all the time.

The Qigong is new. I never did that before, but now it's very important for me, I really like it.

Books

I love Kris Carr's "Crazy, Sexy Cancer" and I just got one of her new books - "Crazy Sexy Kitchen." She's wonderful, she's great, she's had it, she still has it and she's worked around it and her attitude really helped me. "Okay so you got cancer, big deal. What are you going to do - stay home? Just live your life and enjoy it." I've learned that from her.

I do acupuncture every week. I really recommend it. I go to an acupuncturist who specializes in cancer, which is really important for me. She really knows what she's doing and it gets my immune system working. I believe in acupuncture.

Diet & Nutrition

I eat whatever I want to eat. I don't have any restrictions. I try to still do my juicing because I really believe that's healthy for you. I try to do green.

I've given up sugar. I just don't think that that's necessary. What I read about sugar, cancer likes it, so I thought, "Well if cancer likes it, I don't like it." So I've given up and it's easy to do. I'm fine with it, I'm fine with not having dessert. You know you have enough sugar in your life without adding a donut.

Hobbies & Leisure

I belong to a bunch of organizations, I belong to a book club and I belong to a woman's birthday club.

We try to help the community and sign up for things. I have a big social life and I feel good and everybody wants to entertain me because I have cancer.

So you're a superstar, everybody wants to include you for everything, it's pretty funny really. Things do change when you have a life-threatening disease.

Brain training

I use a brain-training app every day to try to keep that brain, because there was brain radiation.

Every day they send you games to play to get your brain in order. Not hard stuff, it's really good for your brain.

My friends say to me, "We can't remember either, it's not your brain it's our age." So we laugh about it but it's not funny to me because I used to be able to recall.

Susan's Perspective

I probably would have started off with a lung cancer specialist at a big cancer institute.

I got on Inspire right away. Somebody recommended it to me. I think that it's important to not be alone because you are alone when you first get diagnosed. You have your friends and family around you but it's you, you're the one, you're the one with the disease. I can't say enough about Inspire.

The most positive thing

My attitude, my being grateful, being grateful for everyday, for every moment, for every friend, for every good thing that happens. That's the good part of having a horrible disease.

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