Sign Up for Our E-Newsletter

Living with Hope: My Cancer Journey

Posted on April 1, 2014

Suzanne Lindley_square

Living with stage IV colon cancer is something I have been doing for a very long time now. I was diagnosed when I was 31 years old and told I had six months to live. That was more than 10 years ago. When I was diagnosed, I was a statistic – one of more than 150,000 Americans who are diagnosed with colon cancer each year. Even though I was told I only had a few months to live, I couldn’t stop myself from searching for hope and looking for answers. After I was urged to get my affairs in order, I learned about Selective Internal Radiation Therapy (SIRT) using microspheres in combination with chemotherapy. I’m still living with cancer today, but thanks to SIRT, my quality of life is great and I am beating the odds.

S Lindley

Suzanne and her daughter, Chloe.

I once heard a quote that has always stuck with me: “The most underutilized tool in all of medicine is the patient voice.” This is the reason I decided to become an advocate and create YES, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting those diagnosed with liver tumors. I wanted to give a voice to those living with liver tumors and to share the powerful stories of other survivors as they celebrate the triumph and miracles that happen each and every day, in spite of a terminal diagnosis. With more treatment options available to treat liver tumors, such as SIR-Spheres microspheres, patients are living longer and better lives. I wanted to make sure that others knew it was possible to live with liver tumors.   

The people I have met along the way inspire me beyond measure. Most of our paths would have never crossed without cancer. Many have changed my life. The forever friendships teach me to live fully and to embrace every moment, to capture the sound of a voice, the beauty of an email and to hold dear the treasured times we get to spend together.

I have also gained a great appreciation for the medical profession and the complexity that it holds, from the passion and compassion of the physicians, to their dedication to research, their knowledge of treatment, the importance of working together as a team and the long and grueling hours that they give selflessly to help their patients live well.  Lindley S

Cancer has taught me not to sweat the small stuff and to love the essence of NOW. I see the sunset and sunrise differently; there is magic in them each and every day. The little things with my husband and daughters are more important than anything else in the world. Capturing those treasures is a huge blessing that cancer brought along. And, cancer has taught me the importance of hope.   

If I was asked to give advice to others who are going through or have just begun their cancer journey, I would say:

  • Don’t ignore warning signs
  • Know your family history
  • Get first, second and third opinions
  • Make sure you have a multidisciplinary team on board
  • Talk to others in your shoes
  • Develop a care plan, and
  • Never give up

Best wishes,
Suzanne Lindley

To learn more about young-onset colon cancer or to read more stories like Suzanne’s, visit nevertooyoung.org

10 Responses to “Living with Hope: My Cancer Journey”

  1. Suzanne!!! You inspire my everyday with all I’ve learned from you. Thank you for helping me and so many others!

  2. Rebecca Isenhour says:

    Suzanne, what an amazing article. Reading your article was inspirational for me. Thank you for sharing.
    I am the caregiver for my husband who has Stage 3 colon cancer. As a recently diagnosed patient, my husband has already had 2 colonoscopy, surgery, ct scan, and now chemotherapy all of this since Jan, 2014. Each visit we always have questions and each visit we always learn something new. But everyone from our oncologist-nurses-family-friends have been very supportive. This has helped my husband keep a positive attitude.
    Good thoughts and blessings coming your way.

    • Suzanne Lindley says:

      It is definitely a bit like a roller-coaster ride! I’m sorry that you and your husband are having to experience it but am thankful you have each other and that you have great support surrounding you!

      Love the positive and hope that before long treatments are long behind you!
      Suzanne

  3. Susan says:

    Suzanne,
    I have stage 4 colon cancer. I have been living with it for 6 yrs now. I have had numerous surgeries,chemo and radiation. I had the SIRT done in March. I’m waiting for the hospital to call for a ct scan to see how well it worked. How well did it work for you? I am very nervous about what the scan will show. I also have a daughter named Chloe! I love your attitude about living with cancer, you inspire me so much.
    Susan

    • Suzanne Lindley says:

      Hi Susan,

      Chloes are great, aren’t they?!! I wouldn’t be here had it not been for Sir-spheres. I was basically at the end of my treatment options when learned about what I now call “little magic beads.” If it had not been for a Colon Cancer Alliance buddy – I wouldn’t have known about them. I had innumerable tumors and saw good response which let me continue with systemic treatment.

      I hope you get good results, too, and will be thinking of you!
      Suzanne

  4. Suzanne, You KNOW how much you have touched my life. From the eyes of a nurse, seeing/dealing with THIS in caring for patients it has given me NEW perspective. New H O P E to share with my patients, 2 of whom I just met, both being diagnosed within 2014.

    I have to remind myself DAILY, that YOU are a SURVIVOR; an Inspiration to ALL. A wonderful ray of HOPE across the globe. Keep it up & KEEP SMILING. You know I love to see your beautiful smile!!!! :

  5. Greg Thorpe says:

    Suzanne, simply said- YOU ARE THE BEST! Thanks for your article, attitude, and willingness to share & help others! Thanks for inspiring so many, including me & my wife Jen. Greg

  6. Greg Thorpe says:

    Amazing article from an amazing woman who “Radiates HOPE”- Thanks so much- Greg

  7. Sue Weiler says:

    Suzanne, you are truly God’s gift. Your courage is an inspiration to all who come in your path. You leave an indelible mark of the joy of life, to live to the fullest each day. May you be blessed with many more years of love and laughter. I am so fortunate that you have touched my life with the gift of your words. Thanx so much. Sue

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

css.php