Monday, September 3, 2012

An Awkward Intro

Hi friends & family! I decided to start this blog a few weeks after we discovered I have Cancer Of The Tonsil, of all the ridiculous things. I mean, really? I've never heard of such a cancer before & what the heck is the color of the ribbon?

It is getting unwieldy for me to remember who I told what to & when I told them or even if I told them at all ~ and I don't even have a large circle of friends (but they are all Very Choice Friends). I hate to think of Phil & Craig being my medical transcribers, the poor things:)

I've always dealt with things by writing down my thoughts; ever since those pre-teen diary days. Remember those little "pleather" books with the flimsy lock & key? Oh, how I wish I would have saved those gems! After I married Craig, I got rid of all but one page where I had written, after dating Craig for about a month, "I think I met the man I want to marry". So, here I hope to write down everything you wanted to know, but were afraid to ask, because, lets face it ~ cancer is... awkward.

Go pour yourself a glass of wine and hear my tale. This is what I'm having as I write this:
(Lemoncello, Pellegrino & Crystal Light, in a tall water bottle)

Here's the email I sent to my brothers:

I've been having a sore throat for a while ~ since March of 2011, as a matter of fact. Got tested for strep; clean. My family doc couldn't see anything so she sent me to an Ears/Nose/Throat doc that June of 2011. He had a CT scan taken and said I had calcification of my throat ligaments (officially making me an Old Fossil, I guess). This past June, it started to hurt worse so I went to the ENT doc again, who ordered another CT scan. He still couldn't see anything but thought the left tonsil should come out. Last Thursday I woke up from the tonsil operation to find out the doc just took biopsies of the tonsil because he found cancer. Rats! The pathology reports confirmed it and off I go on a series of doctor appointments. Today I had a PET scan and this Tuesday I go to a head & neck specialist at University of Penn who does robotic surgery ~ cool, huh? I keep picturing R2D2 from Star Wars workin' away on my neck, beeping and chirping...
I've discovered Valium, which acts like wine, but without the calories  :~D    Craig is the Optimist, as is Phil. Me, I'm waiting to see what the PET scan reveals and poppin' Valium with a glass or two of wine, a No-No, but screw that! :)
It's all good though, whatever happens. I'm determined to retain my sparkling sense of humor.
I'll keep you in the loop & as Monty Python says: "I'm Not Dead Yet!"
Then I sent this one out to a few other folks a few days later. Hopefully the links will work if you want to know more about the Who & What stuff:
Hi Everyone! 

Thanks so much for all your concern & prayers ~ they sure are working:)

After 40 minutes of circling the sprawling University of Penn complex ~ in typical "Country Rube" Craig & Susan fashion ~ we finally made it in to see Dr. Bert O'Malley this morning.

Scheduled two operations: One for Sept. 5th to remove the lymph nodes in my neck & the 2nd one on Sept. 21* to robotically (TORS TransOral-robotic-surgery) take out my left tonsil & any other, er, nastiness. 

This Thursday, a big team of doctors all get together to discuss tumors (What snacks are served at THAT meeting; cream-filled donuts?). I'm to call Dr. O'Malley this Friday for the lowdown on my condition, after he has read all my various discs, scans & tests & discussed my case with the TT (Tumor Team). 

There may be a combo of surgery, radiation & chemo prescribed, so I just might have one heck of a scary Halloween costume planned... just sayin'.

With bottom lip a-quiverin' and eyes a-leakin', I asked him if I would live to see Phil graduate. Doc smiled & said he hoped I would see my grandkids graduate :) 

Thanks for all the thoughts & prayers ~ I truly appreciate them.


* Happy Birthday Jill!
There! Now we are all caught up. When O'Malley said I'd live to see my grandchildren graduate, I felt much better about this whole thing, but it hasn't stopped me from cleaning out a few drawers & stuff ~ just in case:)

My hope is: to soon be up and about, trailing after Phil's golf team with camera & bug spray.

I'll post with anything I think you may find interesting or that is new. Feel free to leave a comment with ribbon color suggestions:)


  1. OMG, Susan!! You are such a beautiful brave woman! Even though we have yet to meet, Ialready admire you and think the world of you! Powerful, strong, positive Y-O-U! This is a temporary inconvenience doll, and simply nothing negative can stick around you, no way this things gonna hang around. You are too positive, happy, energetic, and determined. The "c" word hates that :-). Do note, it is the "C" word, yup, exactly.
    So yeah colors, schmulors. You won't have this long enough to tie a ribbon, so f it.
    Prayers, a lot, only funny happy thoughts. Positivity is healing Susan. We love you, and if there is anything you need doll, call, email, shout from a rooftop! Can't wait to see you trick AND treat!!

  2. Hey Denise! I'm feelin' all those good vibes!
    I apologize for being such a dismal Hill "Big Mother" figure, but at least you got to meet Phil:)

  3. Susan, I love your sense of humor. Thanks for a fun dinner on Friday night. You and Craig are continually in our prayers along with Phil. I'm praying for Wednesday's surgery. Philippians 4:6-7! In Christ, Mike

  4. Dearest Susan,
    Thank you for sending me your blog address and I will definitely be following along. Please know my heart and thoughts are with you. You are an amazing gal, and I have every faith you will come through this challenge in true Susan-style. My mother always said you will never be handed anything in life you cannot handle, even though times will come when this will be hard to believe. I have no doubt your inner strength and sense of humor, along with the love of your family and friends, will win the day.

    May I suggest a rainbow-colored ribbon? It will allow you to have the color of your choice as the mood strikes, and why not have it all?
    Love, Sharon

    1. Thanks Sharon ~ I sure appreciate your support!

  5. I will keep it short. ..... Keep laughing!!! Ken & Krissy. PS. U need to bring home baked goods to Kaitlyn's graduation.

  6. i'm thinking puce would be a good color for your ribbon. it sounds tonsilly, doesn't it? or maybe phlegm? they are kind of like the blush and bashful of tonsils...come back to work soon, i miss your smiling face. and i hope you get all the folds tucked away that you desire!!!

    1. Phlegm! ah-hahaha! That word is harder to spell than "vacuum".
      Now, puce, on the other hand, is a possibility ~ I bring it up at the Tonsil Convention for a vote.

      I miss you too ~ AND your "Ice House Mc Egg Muffin Thingie" sandwiches.

  7. I keep losing my comments trying to send this...ARGH! short and sweet...keep your sense of humor..and always have that smile... Joan

  8. Hope all went well yesterday...I know what cha mean about wrapping that type...what a bitch!
    Maybe when you are up to it, you will figure that out. Let me know how it's going so I can plan a stop.

  9. Susan!

    I woke up this morning thinking about you and thought maybe I would check in on you. My gosh!

    I remember your talking about the calcifications. SO glad you persisted in getting to the bottom of the problems. Tonsils?!

    Thinking of you.

    OK I have to continue reading. hug.