February 13, 2001

Hello all! In case you didn’t know my mom (Sue Phillips) has been diagnosed with Breast Cancer!

We thought it would be a good idea to send out updates, this was done for Cindy (Sue’s sister-in-law) and it was wonderful.

She had a mammogram last June and nothing showed up. About a month ago she felt a lump in her breast and after “doctor Judy” checked it out she went back for another mammogram 3 weeks ago. Well she has a lump in her breast and under her arm. She had a biopsy on Friday andwe foundout that it is cancer yesterday (2/12). Today we found out the even worse news that the lympnoids under her arm are cancerous also.

The doctor has said that everything on the pathology report showed this as the worst breast cancer there is. She will have a lumpectomy tomorrow Wednesday 2/14/01 (Valentines Day…)

The doctor said she will have radiation for the local treatment and then chemo later on, depending on the results of the different scans she will be having shortly.
We will update this as often as possible. Please pray for Sue and also for Cindy. Hopefully we will all wake up from these damn nightmares and get on with living!!!!!!!
Thank you all! If you see that someone is not on this list that should be let us know.

–Howard, Malia, Heather and MAX!

February 14, 2001
Hello all! It’s us again! Just wanted to let everyone know that the surgery went well they took out everything that looks like tumor. The actual tumor was 8cm. After her surgery she slept most of the day but was fairly aware of her surroundings…when she woke up she would tell us what happened earlier. She just mostly slept all day. She will be staying in the hospital tonite and coming home by 11am in the morning. If you want to talk to her in the morning she is at Downey Regional Medical Center in Room 3031. She hasn’t been in much pain, right after the surgery they gave her Demoral (or however you spell it) and her only pain is in her arm. She will be having Radiation and Chemo. Soon, they will be testing her to see if the cancer has spread. The surgeon thinks it has but my mom is absolutely sure that it hasn’t. : ) We will see though, when they do the tests next week. To all of you who didn’t know: we didn’t really tell anyone because we didn’t want to tell anyone until we knew for sure what was going on and we didn’t know for sure that it was cancer until Monday. Monday as you could imagine was a tough day around our house and Tuesday we were spending time together andgetting her ready to go. I am printing out all messages you send here and she will get them so feel free to send her messages. Thank you all for your kind thoughts and prayers! –Howard, Malia, Heather and MAX!

February 15, 2001
I would like to thank everyone for their cheerful words for Sue, I think tomorrow she will read them. Today I told her about them.
Sue stayed in the hospital all night (which I think was good for her and me). When she woke up this morning she had a temperature of 101.4 so she could not go home until after the doctor came by.
The doctor came by and said she could go home right after the nurse explains to her how to discard the “BLOOD” drain. For the few non-experts out there, after surgery their could still be a little blood leakage especially in the area where she had surgery. Of course it took the nurse about an hour to come and show her.
She finallygot home around 2:30 in the afternoon and Heather had set-up a roll-a-way bed right in the living room – so Sue plopped down in that and has basically stayed in there all evening. Very convenient for when we have visitors, they can walk in the front door and there she is.
The big cheeses from Sue’s work came over tonight and Sue is going crazy over the card they brought her. It is a giant card with pictures of most of the children on it.
Things are looking up for Sue it is 8:45 pm now and she is watching her favorite show (Who’s line is it anyway) and eating her dinner (popcorn) – the kids are out at a Jobs Daughters event… Hey I did make the popcorn for her. 3.5 minutes in the microwave..
Sue is a little pain now I will check on her now. Tomorrow she goes back to the surgeon and maybe he will take out the drains or maybe not.
Thanks again to all

February 16, 2001
Sue felt pretty good today – in fact I told her let’s go to Marisa’s tonight. She said she would try. Marisa’s is our favorite mexican restaurant!
by the way sometimes Malia will type this and sometimes I am writing this (Howard). I am sure Heather will be also and then Sue and then nobody because things will get back to “normal”, we hope…
Malia stayed home and took good care of sue, and her mom came over and washed her hair. Sue felt much better after that.
Sue called me crying at about 2pm saying that she was sorry that she couldn’t go to dinner with me because she was in so much pain. Well the pain was from getting dressed for the first time. I of course said it was OK.
Her doctor was an hour and half late to see her. He took the packing and all of the tape off her which made her feel a lot better. For the first time she got to see her breast in it’s new state. When she showed me later I thought it would have been a lot worse looking then it really did. For the most part it looks like it will look fine after the swelling goes away. I DO consider myself an expert in this field. I have practiced checking them and others out for years. ha ha
The doctor of course wanted to punish her some more by leaving the drain tubes in for a few more days. Actually he said he will take them out on Tuesday.
For those of you who were at the hospital and noticed the doctor’s bed-side-manner, he called Sue and he kinda apologized to her for any misconception he might have shown. He said his main concern was for Sue and explaining everything to me. oh well…….
Sue does have this burning pain and the doctor said it is from the nerve that they cut. The nerve of him, huh?
Sue lost 14 pounds – would a 8cm tumor weigh that much … nah must have been that wonderful hospital food!
I am actually writing this saturday morning, Heather was downloading and burning cd’s last night and also we had company over a little too late last night and malia and I could not stay up that late.
This weekend nothing is planned so Sue should get a lot of rest.
Oh by the way Sue’s primary care doc called her with a referral to an Oncologist, however, I went on line to Cigna and printed out a list of Oncologists and WE will pick one from there. Any suggestions???
Sue is reading all your stuff and thanks for the flowers and etc.

February 19, 2001
Today started out to be just a ordinary day where Sue would just kick back and relax.
We attempted to find an Oncologist to take care of Sue and all of a sudden we had to learn just how an HMO worked. We discussed with the primary care doc, insurance company and who ever else would listen. Sue did not feel comfortable with the Oncologist they referred her to and she hasn’t even seen them yet.
The good news is while talking to her surgeon he said why don’t you come in now and we will take out the drains for you. For some of you that came on board late, during surgery they put in drains at the breast and under her arm. These were very intrusive and very uncomfortable for her. Well Sue ran right down there and they took them out and re-did all of her taping and what-not on her. She feels free now and is able to lay down in a more comfortable position and is going to try to sleep in her own bed tonight…
We received a call from Sue’s primary care physician tonight around 7:15 he was thinking of Sue and thought he should see how she was doing and how she was doing by trying to get another Oncologist. I talked to him for about 40 minutes learning why he is not the one to bark at regarding trying to get another Oncologist. He called back after about 15 minutes and said I been thinking about what you said and Sue’s particular case and let me help you with your fight! Well that’s a start…
Again we would like to thank everyone for your thoughts and prays, also for your visits and today Sue received a “Vermont Teddy Bear” – not necessary but as Sue says very cute and cuddly – thank you Judy and family including Aunt Catherine…

February 20, 2001
Hi everyone, we are learning so much about this stuff it is not funny. our sister-in-law Cindy has been going through all this stuff and now us. It is like a second job, insurance companies, doctors, specialists, etc.
When Sue & I go to bed at night we are so drained. Can you imagine being the patient! unbelievable!!
Everyone has been advising us on who what and where to go. They have told us their stories about when they or their family/friends have had cancer, etc., etc. I guess soon we will be the ones with the stories also.
So today Sue went to work for a little while, from about 9 am and she left at 11:15, a little one was pulling on her and she certainly felt it.
I met her at this wonderful Oncologist. We actually drove into Lynwood and when I called on the way to ask directions, the receptionist told we it was the old apartment building on the left just past Martin Luther King andImperial Hwy. We met with the doctor who by the way was very hard to understand and obviously we had a hard time communicating. I do not think we will be going with him.
He thought that Sue should have had Chemo before surgery, and told Sue that she will be getting one dose (the maximum possible) every three weeks and after the first treatment she will loose all of her hair. Almost like me…
I asked him if this is the best possible treatment for her and he said no, you would have to go to City of Hope, USC or UCLA for something like that. He also told us that we should probably go to one of those places. The man did not sound like he would do a fair job on Sue.
He did send Sue to get some blood work done and we went back to Downey andhad it done. We should know on Thursday or Friday what the results are. They say they should be able to tell about the spread of cancer to other places with the blood test. Our primary care doc scheduled a CT and a bone scan for Monday in Beverly Hills. It will take about four hours to do. I will try to change that to somewhere locally. Why Beverly Hills????
You know everyday we receive e-mails from all over saying how much they/you care and it is so uplifting. We are going to do everything possible to be able to write you and say Sue is cancer free!!!
When you pray for Sue please pray for Cindy, Laura, Penny and all the others that have been going through this hell. It seems like everyone we talk to has had some interaction with “cancer”.
Well I thought I would only write a line or two since I was so tired but the fingers could not stop.

February 22, 2001
Hi everyone and thanks for the cards and prays. Its me Sue today. Today is Heather’s birthday, she is 17!, boy where does the time go. It seems like only yesterday she was born. We took her out to dinner at Baker’s square. She had fun and thats all that counts.
I went to work at 12:30 to 3:30. Thanks Ann for driving me. All I did was paperwork. In case some of you don’t know, I’m the director of a wonderful preschool in Lakewood. I just love the people and the children there. It was so nice to see the kids and the staff. When I got to work my main doctor called to tell me about the blood test. He said all the results are normal. This only means that if the cancer has spread, it is not in the blood but it could been somewhere else, like the liver, bones, etc. This is why I have to do the other scans.
Howard picked me up and we went to another doctor, I’m tired of all the poking. We did like this doctor. He did say that it is a fast spreading cancer and there is good chance that it has spread. He said to do the chemo first, then radiation. He said he would see us in about 6 months.
My primary doctor said that I had to go to Beverly Hills to do the ct and bone scan cuz that where the machine is located. Howard does not what me to go cuz he’s afraid I will go shopping on Rodeo Drive. Malia and I are going shopping and we might even eat lunch there. Its only money, might as well spend it now.
Well, my arm hurts and I’m tired so once again thank you for the prays, keeping them coming. I love you all—Sue

February 25, 2001

Hi friends, today is sunday andyou have not heard from us all weekend so here goes. On Friday Both Howard and I had a bad day. I was crying all day, and I’m not why. I guess I was a little depressed and alot tired. I worked about 5 hours at work, then the girls took me shopping. Howard was depressed and tired too. We when to dinner at Marissa, watched the Lakers game and went to bed early. My arm and breast was hurting too. What do you like can I get some “pot” now that I have cancer? Saturday, the girls had a “Jobie” meeting then they went to play laser tag. I went to the meeting and to watch them play. Howard and the girls had a blast. I think I would have more fun, if i could have played. Today, Howard, Heather and i went to church (yes Howard went and the church is still standing). In this house it takes all 4 of us to cook breakfast (before getting sick I could do it myself). Howard and Malia are on a bowling league so they will go there and Heather and I will go shopping for food (ask the girls, there is NO food in this house, but we go shopping every week). Tomorrow, Malia andI are going to Beverly Hills for the Cat and bone scan. I’m not sure when we will get the results but we will let us know. On Thursday, my sister-in-law, Cindy wrote us and told us good news, her cat scan results were good. Way to go Cindy and tell Tyler not to worry about me, I’m going to be ok. So that should bring everyone up to date, I’m tired so I’m going to laid down and rest. Please get the prayers coming and thanks for all the cards, food and flowers. Lots of love, Sue

February 26, 2001
Hi, hope you are a good day. My mom and I went to Beverly Hills today. First, they put the dye into my and told to wait 3 hours. Then they told me to drink th big bottle of yucky stuff. I could only drink about 1/4 of it. They then gave me an iv and did a cat scan. After that my mom andI drove about Beverly Hills, Rodeo Drive and we eat at sizzler. When we returned to the dr. office, they put me into a machine and did the bone scan. The man doing the scan said everything looked good to him, but he is not the dr. I called my dr and he said that he will call for the results tomorrow and will let me know. Tomorrow, I’m going to try to drive to work and to stay for a whole day. We will see want happens. I’ll write tomorrow, please keep praying. Lots of love, Sue

February 28, 2001
Well after every doctor telling us how bad Sue’s condition was, today is finally the day that we know just how far the cancer has spread.
You remember the surgeon said “this is a very bad thing”, the Oncologist said “we have to get you going with chemo right away and use the strongest medicine possible”. The radiologist said that “looking at these reports, that maybe he would never see Sue because the cancer may have gotten to the LIVER…”
We had a blood test the other day and it was ok. We got excited except they said well that test does not mean anything. What a roller coaster ride.
Sue had two tests done on Monday, one was a ct scan and the other was a bone scan.
Both tests came back N E G A T I V E !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Meaning there is no sign of the cancer anywhere else in the body!!!
Anyway Mr. Negative here has to wait until we talk to the new Oncologist that we got approval for in order for me to be able to get real excited. And we are sure Sue will have to have chemo but we can L I V E with that.
We will be updating you again soon.
Thanks for all the prayers, Hey maybe they work…. Keep them coming – please
Love Howard

March 2, 2001

Dear friends, First thank you for the prayers andgood wishes. It was so nice to gave some good news for a change. More good new came today, I now have a appointment with Dr. Christy Russell at the USC/Norris cancer center on Wed at 1pm. She is suppose to be the best breast cancer dr. around. The last 2 days, I have gone to work and worked 7 to 7-1/2 hours. Boy am I tired when I get home. I mostly sit at my desk and do alotof paper work but I do get to visit with the kids. I feel that I have the best job in the world. My bosses are the nicest people and Pastor Sam is wonderful. Some day soon I will go listen to him speak on a Sunday morning. Thanks again for the prayers and keep them coming. Lots of love Sue P.S. keep praying for Cindy,Penny, Laura and all the others who need our prayers. Love, Sue

March 3, 2001

Hi friends, the roller coaster never ends. I went to see the surgeon yesterday. I asked a lot of questions, including “is this bump or knot just from the surgery?”. To which he asked”What knot?” after touching, pushing and feeling it, he said NO. He thinks it is a tumor that either he missed or a new one. So on Monday I’m going to have a ultrasound andpossible biopsy. On Wednesday I’m going to the Norris cancer center with all test results,x-rays and films. Lets pray that its nothing. One day everything is fine and the next day its bad news again. I’ll keep you posted, but please keep praying. The dr said that if it is another tumor he would have to remove the whole breast this time. Maybe he should have the first time but I asked him not to, but maybe this is my fault for being vain. I guess i’ll know on Monday, until then I’ll try not think about it and to keep the positive attitude. Thanks for listening (or reading this). Lots of love to all, Sue

March 6, 2001

Hi, after a weekend of waiting and worrying I got a call at work from the drs. office. I was told that the results were in and it was NEGATIVE AND BENIGN. So this is good news and the prayers worked again. Please keep them coming not just for me but for Cindy, Penny, Laura and any one else who is going through this. Tomorrow is the big day, USC/Norris center here we come. My mom , Howard and I are going. I will be writing again tomorrow. I’m working more andmore every day. I’m still very tired at night, but I love being at work with the kids, the staff and my friends. Everyone at work has been wonderful about all of this and I thank the Lord every day for bringing me to this wonderful place. Well, I guess this is enough for one night. See you soon and remember to keep praying. Lots of love, Sue

March 7, 2001

Today we went to USC and it was really hard to go to that campus (sorry Cindy) but we toughed it out.
We got there and they offered us valet parking. wow!
To digress a little for those not following along close enough. We were referred to an Oncologist in Lynwood that was at an old apartment building. The Dr. barely spoke english and when I asked if he had the best care possible for Sue he said no the best he could do was…. If you want the best care go to USC, UCLA, or City of Hope!
Back to USC, We met with Dr. Christy Russell who was very nice, informative and had the answers we were looking for. She said Sue needs to start on a very aggressive dosage of Chemo and possibly a “Stemcell” transplant. Which is like getting a bone marrow transplant. Yuck
This doctor said that the treatment that our first Oncologist suggested would not be aggressive enough to take care of Sue.
The doctor also said that after all the chemo and stuff that Sue would probably have to have a mastectomy and radiation…
Of course now since this was just a second opinion we now have to convince, (with the help of Dr. Russell and our primary care physician) our insurance company to let us go to USC.
Thanks, Howard

March 11, 2001

Hi friends, I know that we have not written in a few days. I just want to say Hi. I have been doing some research on Stem-cell transplant. I’m not sure if I want to do this as some research show no difference than doing just the high dosage chemo. I guess I have some time to figure it out. Dr. Russell said that she hopes to have an approval this week before she goes to Istanbul.
I just wanted to thank everyone for the cards and e-mails that brighten my days.Brenda, I love the cards, they make me smile, thank you. Cindy, thank you for the book and I sorry that I did not help you more when this started for you. I just never understood what you where going through.
Somedays are better than others. It is so easy to get depressed. I will keep trying to be positive, if you all will keep praying for me. Between all of us I WILL get through this.
So thats all for now, we will write as soon as we hear something.
Lots of love to all, Sue

March 13, 2001

Hi friends, today we got a good news/bad news thing. Starting with the bad. My pcp called and said that the “group” would not approve me going to dr. Russell at USC! They faxed the first dr a copy of the letter that dr. Russell sent them. They figured that he had the letter telling him of the treatments to use, so he could do it. Of course, I was very upset and crying. Dr. Schneider said we will somehow fix this.
Now the good news–Dr. Wong who is in the same office as dr. Schneider who also had dr. Russell in her medical group. I called the insurance company, explained the situation and insisted that I change to dr. Wong as of today! They said yes and that I could go see dr. Russell tomorrow. I called dr. Russell’s office, who called me and asked if I could come in tomorrow. After some more discussion we found out that we still needed a authorization from the insurance group. I should have that within 2 days and will be starting the chemo on Friday or Monday.
Now I’m getting a little nervous about starting this but I’m glad that it’s starting. I know that it sounds dumb but it is the truth. I will keep you all posted about when and what kind as soon as I know. In the meantime, keep praying for Cindy, Penny, Laura and me and everyone else who is going through this hell.
Well good night, I had a meeting last night go WAY TOO LONG for me and I am tired…Lots of love, always, Sue

March 15, 2001

Hi guys, well I waited all day, thinking I was going to start chemo tomorrow but no authorization. So I’m going to start on Monday. This is good because Howard could not go with me on Friday. Now he can go. I’m going to get AT type of chemo. This will take 3 to 4 hours. I will get medicine for the sickness and a antibiotic 5 days after the treatment. This is cuz my blood cell count will be down. The dr said 14 days after the treatment I will lose my hair. I said that’s ok. no hair but I’ll be alive. A fair trade if you ask me. I’m still a little sore (in the arm). I can not dress or undress myself, but Howard is having fun. Soon I’ll be all better. I guess thats all for now. Thanks for the cards and prayers. Keep the prayers coming. Lots of love, Sue

March 19, 2001

Well, Well, Well, As you all know Sue had her first Chemo on Monday… On tuesday she was doing pretty good and actually went to work but had to leave early and go to USC for a CT scan of her upper body. On Wednesday morning about 6 am she had to view the royal throne from the ground up and it was that way throughout the day. She talked to her doctor and her doctor said she was surprised by Sue’s condition because all the precautions they take and to just try to keep the fluids going. The doctor doesn’t know Sue!
Sue missed work today and will try again tomorrow. She really WANTS to go to work. It is now about 8:15 pm and Sue is trying some more Jell-O and has been ok since about two hours ago.
Just wanted to give you all the little update and hope that I will have better news for you tomorrow. Oh and before you reply with all your remedies for Sue,,, she does not eat anything weird by her standards. By that I mean no veggies, a little fruit, only chicken noodle soup, you know only meat and potatoes…
Thank you all. Love Howard
P.S. I went to Heather’s open house tonight and guess what? Pretty good – all of her teachers knew her and only one “problem” teacher. Even I did not get along with him tonight. I’m sure Heather was waiting for me to throw punches but I guess I can’t do that anymore.
See ya……….

March 22, 2001

Hello all, on tuesday Sue had another CT scan taken and Dr. Russell called this afternoon with the results. No spread of cancer to the lungs or anywhere else in the upper body! Actually some good news…
Sue stayed home from work again today, Her wonderful boss’s called and told her to get one more day of rest. Sue did pretty good until she smelled the dinner that Malia was preparing.
Sue was concerned about her upper body (I used that twice now) was turning red like getting a tan (burn), well the dr said that was normal. Her dr also said she will have her medicines altered a little to help we her getting sick so much.
Those are the thoughts for tonight, Sue wanted me to let everyone know about the results of the CT scan – she is excited – me too!
Thank you all, Love Howard

March 25, 2001

Please read all the way to the bottom of this update…
Sue has done pretty good this weekend. Friday night we went to Mimi’s Cafe and Sue had a half of turkey sandwich, Marisa’s Saturday night and had beans with chips – this morning she went to Arthur’s and had biscuits and gravy. WOW – Even though she doesn’t agree with me, she has been getting better every day. And then it will start all over again.
Saturday Sue tried on and ordered a wig, but no hair loss yet. They said 14 days and it has only been 7 days tomorrow!
I asked Malia to start a web page for Sue. Some of you that are friends of friends have never seen Sue and some of you have asked us to add so and so to the list. With the web site you can see a picture of Sue and you can actually view previous “issues” of sues update.
As Malia has more time she will add some links for some very interesting web pages and articles that we may be or have talked about lately. Anyway I thought it was a good idea. So Malia says I can’t turn the address into a link so just copy the web address and paste into your address section above. Remember we will keep sending updates to you directly and will advise if anything exciting is on the web page.
Here it is…
Sue sends her love, Howard

March 27, 2001

Hi friends, It’s me, Sue! I’m feeling so much better today. I went to work for 7 hours, ate a “Wendy’s” hamburger, had chili for dinner and I’m not feeling sick at all. I’m getting tired about 4pm but after resting I’m ok until about 9 or 9:30.
I’m very excited, my mom and I are going to a Breast Cancer Symposium, this Saturday, in Newport Beach. I’m going to meet, Penny, Heather and Tina (fellow breast cancer pals). Their are going to be some speakers and hopefully I will learn some more on stem cell transplant. Please pray for Penny’s husband, as he had a heart attack a few days ago. I hope he is doing better.
Calling all hats, I would like to invite all of my friends to a hat party for me! I’ll give you more details later. I’m hoping it will next week, maybe at Ann’s (My wonderful, beautiful, sweet and younger sister)!
I would like to thank everyone for all of the thoughts, concerns, and prayers. Keep the prayers coming.
I’m going to bed now, so I’ll write later. Love to all Sue
P.P.S. Penny, Tina & Heather – Let’s work it out so we can meet on Saturday, I will be there around 9 am.

March 28, 2001

Hello all its Malia…..Im just writing to let you all know that we will be having a hat party for my mom, Sue, on Friday April 6th at 7pm. It will be held at the home of Ann (Sue’s sister). Everyone should bring a hat, scarf, etc…for Sue to wear. Please RSVP to our house. All information is below, any questions please feel free to ask!!!!

April 4. 2001

HI friends, Well its was a good weekend. I’m feeling fine, almost normal. I’m eating, resting andworking. Today I worked 8 hours! This weekend, on Sat., my mom and I went to a Breast Cancer Symposium in Newport Beach. I got to meet two wonderful people that I have been correspondingwith, Heather and Tina. They are both very nice people. They both have breast cancer and have been very helpful with me. Thanks Tina and Heather.
Well,today (exactly 14 days from the my very first chemo)I ran my fingers through my hair and hair came out. I’m losing my hair :(. The hat party will be fun and I will wear the hats. By the way, if you are coming, please let us know. Also, what do you do at a hat party? Any ideas???
Sunday we went to see my niece play softball. Brittany, you did a very good job (big red) and I’m very proud of you. It was nice to see (my brother) Dave and Celine again. Hi Sky-pie.
On Sat., Howard and my dad went to see Tyler play baseball, his team won. Way to go Tyler, we are very proud of you too.
Well, I guess that’s all for now. I’ll will write soon. Lots of love, God bless, Sue P.S. nothing new on the web site but to check it out

April 7, 2001

Dear Friends, I hope everyone had fun last night, I know that I did. It was so nice to see everyone and the hats are great! I will wear each andeveryone of them. I would like to first thank my sister, Ann, for the useof her house. I love you, Ann. Second to my daughters, Malia and Heather thank you for the idea and for doing all the work. Third, thank you to everyone who came to the party and thought of me. You know who you are. Well, I’m doing good now, but my next treatment is on Wednesday. Then we start all over again. On Wednesday, I have to be at USC at 6:30am! They want to do a colonoscopy test on me. Then at 9:30 I get to do the chemo thing. What a fun day!!!!! I’m hoping everything will be fine this time. Dr. Russell said she will re-mix the medicine, so that I hopefully will not get sick this time. Again thanks for the prayers and the hats. I’m starting to looklike Howard. They say if you live with someone long enough you start to look like them. I guess that is true. I love you, honey. Well it doesn’t look like I am able to see my nephew play baseball today because of the rain, but I am going to the movies. Lots of love to all.

April 11, 2001

Hi friends, today I went to USC. I backed out of the colonoscopy last night and today I talked to Dr. Russell and she said that I do not need this test. Yeh, me. The chemo appointment was for 9 am, I finally started at 11:30! They forgot to have my blood marked “stat”, so it took longer than it should have. Malia and I got home at 3:30.
When they started the chemo, they started it in the hand but they popped the vein and had to put the iv into my wrist. Boy did that hurt and yes I cried. So it was along day and I’m tired. I will be going to work tomorrow. I have decided that I WILL NOT GET SICK THIS TIME.
Dr. Russell gave me a prescription for a patch for when I DO go on a cruise at the end of this month!
I hope to write another update soon, but if not then I wish everyone a Happy Easter.
Lots of love to all and happy birthday to my niece Tricia (she is 10 years old now). Love Sue

April 17, 2001

Hi friends, first, I hope everyone had a Happy Easter. I spent the day on the couch, first at my house and then at my mom’s. I did eat a little but spent the rest of day laying down. I’m not sure why but I feel better when laying down. As for being sick, I was not as sick as before. I’m still very tired. Like my mom said they are poisoning me and that is why I’m tired. I’m tired of being tired. Yesterday I went to work for about one hour then came home and had the dry heaves. (yuc)Yesterday was by far the worst day yet. I had not eaten any easter candy but I will soon. I’m going to try to go to work for a longer time today. This weekend I went to a Jobie meeting and luncheon. Then the girls went on a junk food journey and Howard and I waited at the finish line. But was I tired on Saturday but I did make it to church on Sunday. Well I guess that’s all for now. Please keep the prayers coming not just for me but for Cindy, Penny (and her husband, Randy),Laura and anyone else who is fighting cancer. Lots of love, Sue DON’T FORGET YOUR MAMMOGRAM!

April 23, 2001

Hi friends, I know its been a while since we have written. I’m doing so much better now. This week was a long week. I finallystarted feeling better on Thursday, the same day that I started eating again. This weekend was good. I went to the Jobie open meeting and then stayed all day for the spaghetti dinner. The girls and Denise La would not let me do a lot but I was there. Sunday I rested all day and did the laundry. Its the little things that make me happy. Last Tuesday, I cried all day saying things like “I’m a bad mom cuz I can’t cook dinner” “I can’t clean the house”. Depression and the chemo make me feel that way sometimes, but my girls and Howard are a big help andI love them. This weekend we are going on a cruise and then I have chemo again. At the next chemo May 2nd, we are meeting with the stem cell transplant team, boy do we have a lot of questions for them. I guess this is enough info for now. I’ll try to write before we leave. I’m hoping not to get sick this time. Please keep praying for Cindy, Penny, Randy, Laura and me. We need all the help we can get. Happy birthday Brittany and I sure wish Nana would send us a schedule of Tommie’s games so I don’t have to about them from people outside the family. Ha ha, There are some pictures on my web page (two pages worth) Lots of Love, Sue DON’T FORGET YOUR MAMMOGRAM!

May 1, 2001

Dear Friends,well the weekend on the ship was a real success. I made every food sitting and most of the shows! I also did a lot of resting. This is the first cruise where I have not been seasick. Dr. Russell gave me the patch plus the compazine. We had a blast. Howard’s Uncle Jerry & Aunt Bernice from New York showed up to surprise us. It was very nice to see them. The girls each took a friend (Cassie and Nicole) the four of them had a blast and they even tried some drinks. Just ask them about Papa’s & Beer????? Tomorrow is a other treatment. I had said that I do not want anymore chemo but I know what will happen if I do not so I’ll go. I get so DEPRESSED thinking about this. I feel so good now and know in a few days I will feel horrible again! And when I say I feel good now it in no ways is it like what I felt when I was normal (as normal as I can get). We are meeting will the stem cell transplant team, but I’m sure I don’t want the Stem Cell but I’ll talk to the team anyway.
I’ll write tomorrow to let everyone know what the team has to say, until then thanks for the prayers and keep them coming.
Lots of love, Sue

May 3, 2001

Hi friends, Well Malia and I were at USC for 5 hours yesterday. On Tuesday, Dr. Russell called and said that the stem cell team could not meet with us this time. So Malia took me. I first had blood drawn and then meet with Dr. Russell (who is very nice). She said all the things that I’m feeling are normal (a first for me). She gave me the pot pill (marijuana!!!) and a anti-depressive. Howard went to get the pot pill filled and was told that the insurance will not cover it and it cost over $250. This morning he called the insurance and they said yes they will cover it, so I get it tomorrow and maybe this time I will not get sick. Today I’m tired and I have a headache but I’m going to work for a couple of hours. I’ll write and let you if the pill works. In the mean time please keep the prayers coming. Penny, add me to your update list, please. Cindy, hope you are doing well and Brenda, you always send a card when I need it the most Thank you. lots of love to everyone!, Sue

May 8, 2001

Hi friends, just a quick note to say I’m ok. I tried the “pot” pill and it made me sleep for 2 days. I did not get sick but I slept for a long time. It was a deep scary sleep, the kindwhere I could not wake up. It was no fun but I did not get sick, which is good. In 3 weeks I gained one pound (the last time, I lost 20 pounds). Today I went to work for about 4 hours. It was nice to go to work. I wish my family could get along, while I’m sleeping or sick all they do is fight. Howard yells at the girls and they yell back. I’m on the couch or in bed and all I can do is listen. But I love them very much. I’m going to fill the anti-depressant this week maybe that will help. Ok I’m tired and there is a Lakers game on–GO LAKERS. When praying this week please add to your list, Muriel Abbott, she is Shawn’s (Malia’s boyfriend) grandmother. She was told that she has a 95% chance of breast cancer. She is waiting for the biopsy results. Cindy is doing good, almost done with the radiation. Laura is doing ok and Penny and Randy and doing good. Keep them prayers coming. Patty, thank you for the care package, I loved it. Georgia, thanks for the card. To all the mothers-a very HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY, kiss the kids. Lots of love always, Sue

May 20, 2001

Hi friends,its been a long week. I worked all week.Besides being the director I had to fill in as a teacher (which I love) all week. No stress but a lot of work. On Saturday my mom, Howard andI went to see Dr. John Link. I met him at a symposium in Newport Beach. We went to ask questions about the stem cell transplant that my Oncologist Dr. Russell suggested. Dr. Link said that I should do 6 to 8 chemo treatments (I have had 3 so far) then have another kind chemo, then the mastectomy, then radiation. He said that we are on the right track andthat Dr. Russell is a great doctor to have. On Wednesday of this week, we are going to meet with the stem cell team and listen to them. At this point, I think that I will have more chemo and no stem cell. I changed my chemo appoint to next week cuz I have a busy week at work and Saturday is Heather’s last time as honored queen (in Job’s daughter) I need to be there for her and for work. I would like to wish my brother, Travis a very happy birthday (5-20) and to Skylar (my niece) a happy birthday (5-22). I love you both very much. Thank you to Stephanie Cook for running in the Revlon Run/Walk for Breast Cancer in my name!!!! Thank you to everyone who sent cards and prayer. Keep the prayers coming. Lots of love to all, Sue

May 21, 2001

Some people have asked what a stem cell transplant is, of course I did not know before Sue’s situation, so I will try to explain…
Definition of a stem cell: Stem cells are immature cells from which all blood cells develop as they are needed. Stem cells are able to divide and form more stem cells (copies of themselves) or they can become fully mature red blood cells and white blood cells. Then the doctor takes out the stem cell (found in bone marrow) from sue and freezes them and then give her very high doses of chemotherapy. Several days after the treatment ends and drugs are gone from the body, the stem cell is is given back to her through a vein.
This is a very dangerous system and doesn’t have a good following. Some people have to have it to survive.
The side affects… range from infections to death! I am sure death is not very likely but listed as a side effect.
Sue and I are trying to investigate all avenues. On Wednesday we are going to USC to have a discussion with the stem cell “Team” to hear there side of the story. And as noted yesterday we discussed it with another doctor on Saturday. We have tons of web pages that we looked at and articles in the paper and some reports. At this time Sue is not going to do it. However, she is still open minded enough that someone could change her mind. It is her decision with a lot of people offering their opinions. (Which is fine)
By the way if you think I am wrong about stem cell don’t write and correct me. I may have not explained it exactly right.
Thanks for asking, Howard

May 23, 2001

Today we had a meeting with the “Stem Cell” Doctor from U.S.C. He informed us that the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes behind the collar bone. These lymph nodes was enlarged when Sue had a scan of her upper body in March. We just found out today.
This doctor told us that because the lymph nodes has metastasized in other places that now we would be a good candidate for a stem cell transplant. However, if after the next chemo treatment it doesn’t clear up all the cancer than she can not use the stem cell transplant operation. She would have to continue with chemo and hope it does not reappear again.
We will find out the next step two weeks after her next chemo. Her next chemo is on tuesday the 29the of May…
If she has the transplant she will have a mastectomy next and then about a month of medicine and then about 4 weeks in the hospital and about two months of recuperation at home.
Sue did not take the news too well. Her sprits were broken, but we will pump her back up again. We of course will take this one step at a time and I am sure this is just a dream (nightmare)
Sue wanted me to write to you so you would all know. Don’t feel sorry for her, she will get over this, right?
Thanks for listening… Howard

June 5, 2001

Hello everyone, for the past couple of days Sue has had trouble breathing. She thought it was allergies or something, she also was gasping for air. Well today she tried using Heather’s breathing machine with no luck. So… She called her Oncologist and explained her symptoms to her and she asked her to come in right away. She had a couple tests at around 5’ish and they found blood clots in the arteries going in to each lung.
She is going to be in the hospital (USC) from three to seven days. They are going to give her blood thinners and find out where the blood clots are coming from.
Her doctor stays that these things happen with patients being treating for breast cancer, so don’t be too concerned. However they need to keep a eye on her and watch the clots to make sure they dissolve.
If you would like to call Sue, I am not asking you to, but I am sure she will be bored.. Her number is 323 865-3325.
As Sue was telling me tonight about a conversation she was having with Doug (from her church) God will not give her more tests than she can handle… thanks Doug…
Take care all, Howard

PS – the number in here is wrong the actual number is 323 865 3425.

June 8, 2001

Just a quick update on Sue. We thought that she would be getting out of the hospital today but of course we ran into complications. After reviewing her case that thought as a safety issue that Sue stay until Monday. At that time they will review it again.
The two blood clots turned out to be actually one clot and the doctor said it is extremely large. She never does anything halfway! Sue is very disappointed that she will miss a important event Saturday night for Heather and Christy, but knows it is important to be monitored at the hospital. I got to poke Sue with a needle last night to learn how to inject her. It hurt me more than her…. NOT! I think I might change professions, it was easy…
Stay tuned for the continuing saga,
Thanks, Howard

June 12, 2001

Thats right, Sue is home. Howard has to give her shots for the next two days and her blood is still a little thick but they let her come home anyways. She has to go back on Thursday to check her blood. Just wanted to update you all!

June 15, 2001

Hi friends, I can not tell you how good it is to be home. I’m not working this week but plan on returning to work on Monday. While in the hospital, they did another CT scan. From this scan we now know that the lymph nodes under the collar bone are no longer enlarged (this is a good thing). We also know that there are no new growths ( another good thing). Now we are waiting to see if I’m a good candidate for the stem cell transplant. I have another test on Wednesday. My blood level is now a 2.8, anything between a 2 and 3 is good. Howard is enjoying giving me the shots. Today is the last day until we do another blood test on Monday. I want to thank everyone for the prayers and please keep them coming. I need all the help I can get. Lots of love, Sue

June 26, 2001

Dear Friends, I know its been a while but i was waiting to hear from the dr.’s. and boy did I heard from them today! First a little about the test, they gave me two valium’s. After about 45 minutes, they injected me with radioactive sugar and then they put me in a machine and took x-rays. This was to see if the cancer is active. Now the not so good news, The cancer is active and the are about five lymph nodes in the chest that have enlarged. This means that I’m not eligible for a stem cell transplant. I guess my body made our decision for us. I have to have three more months of chemo, then a new scan of the chest area. Then we go from there. A mastectomy and radiation. After that……… I am going on disability from work from June 28th through January 1st, 2002. P l e a s e keep praying for me and everyone who has cancer and their families.

July 7, 2001

Hi friends, just a short note to say, everything seems to be ok. I had a chemo treatment on Thursday and today is Saturday I’m feeling ok. My hair is starting to come back in. Yeah!!! We had fun at the Jobie convention. Malia is the Grand Bethel Representative to the Philippines andPennsylvania. She will not go to the Philippines but we are going to try to send her to Pennsylvania. This is a great honor as out of 400 bethels only 40 girls are asked to be a Grand Bethel girl. We are very proud of her. Heather entered 4 contests at Grand Bethel and received 2 first place,one 2nd place and one 3rd place metal. Her essay and pillow got first, her sew and show outfit got 2nd and a back/white photo got 3rd. We are very proud of her also. My only problem at the moment is I get severe hot flashes. I will check with my doctor on monday.
It is nice to be able to tell you some decent news for a change. By the way I am applying for disability and am not working anymore.
For all of you who have e-mailed me or sent me wonderful cards, flowers, etc. and for you who have helped me and prayed for me, A great big thank you. This doesn’t mean to stop, but I have not been good at thanking all of you. I will get better at it. It is VERY important to me.
I love you all, Sue. Keep the prayers coming…….

July 11, 2001

Hi friends, just a short note to let you know that I’m ok. I did not get sick from the chemo but I had very bad aches and pains. It hurt all the way to the bones. I could not walk or move. Also, I had hot flashes. But everything seems ok now. Dr. Russell said its just a side effect from the chemo. Please keep praying for me and for everyone who is going thought this. Thank you and lots of love, Sue

July 18, 2001

Hi friends, boy am I bored–no work, just sitting at home. howard says I should clean the house but I’m on disability and should not be working. Really, I will be cleaning the house, between the chemo and the side effects! This week my blood level was 1.9. The doctor wants it to be between 2 and 3. Last week it was to high (3.7) this week to low. I have a bad rash on my hands and arms. The doctor said it is from the sun and the chemo. I have to wear a number 30 sunscreen and put lotion on it all the time. Call me sometimes and maybe we can do lunch or go to a movie depending on how I feel. Please keep the prayers coming, not only for me, but for everyone who is going thought this.
Lots of love, Sue

July 23, 2001

Hello all, this is just a quick message to let everyone know my mom is back in the hospital hopefully just for the night. She was having a hard time breathing and had a slight fever. They did a CAT Scan and ruled out another clot and pneumonia. And they did an EKG tonite also. The doctor thinks it is an Upper Respiratory Infection. The doctor bet her $50 that she would be coming home tomorrow (Tuesday). So yeah thats it for tonite we will update you more tomorrow so until then good night and sweet dreams.

July 24, 2001

Dear Friends, Thank the Lord, I’m now back at home. It seams that I have a cold that caused me to be short of breath, run a fever, and made my blood count to be to high. I’m glad to be home. However, I am going to have a chemo treatment on Thursday. Please keep the prayers coming. Thanks for everything.
Love Sue

August 1, 2001

Dear Friends,
Sorry I haven’t written but I have been in a lot of PAIN. The chemo started affected me on Sunday and everything from the top of my new hair to my toes hurt. I have been laying around trying to do nothing but rest, my fingernail and toenails hurt so bad that it feels like someone took a hammer to them. I couldn’t even type this because it hurt so bad, so Malia is typing for me. My blood level this week was good. I have another rash from the chemo. My girls and Howard have been really good, they don’t let me do anything. Malia got a job this week and Heather is babysitting. Oh and Heather got her license (SCARY!). Please pray for Alicia’s boyfriend’s Grandma who lost her husband. There is nothing on TV. When I get to feeling better I will start calling people. I guess that’s really it. Keep praying and I love you all.
Love always,

August 12, 2001

Dear Friends, I know that its been a while. Let me fill you in. About 2 days after chemo, I start feeling bad. I have no taste, and I feel really bad. About 9 days later, I start running a fever for about 4 days. It starts as a low grade but goes up to 101/102. Then when the fever breaks I start feeling better. Then guess what, its time to start all over again. This is so much fun. I really glad that I’m on disability because there is no way that I could work. As it is some days I can hardy move. I have forced myself to do some things, I went to a wedding that was beautiful. The Jobs daughters went to the Magic Castle, for lunch and a show, that was fun. I also went to a funeral for a woman, who was 26 years old. She left behind a 3 year son. I worked with her at the YMCA and she was a good person. I did ask why Ebony? Why not me? Here I’m fighting for my life. She was hit by a truck. I guess that God has His reasons. I will keeping fighting.
Speaking of fighting, I got a call from my insurance company this week and they told me that my doctor (Dr. Russell) is no longer on their plan. They want me to start all over with a new doctor and hospital. I told them that I need to finish the treatment with her. Remember I have two more chemo treatments and then a mastectomy and then radiation AND THEN… I told them that I want continuous care. After some calling back and fourth they said that I could have my next treatment with USC but no more. I called back and said look I (Hopefully) only have 2 more treatments why can’t I finish at USC. As of Friday, they are going over my file and hopefully going to let me finish at USC. I know that the patients bill of rights, was signed and it says that they must let me finish the treatments with Dr. Russell, but I must fight for my rights. If anyone knows of any help with this please write me.
Well I guess that all for know. Please keep praying and I will try to be more positive. I want to thank everyone for all the prays and for those who tell me they got a mammogram because of me.
Lots of love, Sue

August 19, 2001

Dear Friends, First the good news. We went to Big Bear this weekend and we had fun. On Friday night, we went to Twin Peaks for a GGOV (a Jobie Thing). On Saturday, we went to the zoo, lunch and shopping. Remember this was a Jobie weekend and the girls love to shop. The zoo was fun. Sunday we came home. It was relaxing and fun and I’m glad I went. I almost did not go.
Now for the not-so-good news. On Friday I went to USC to have chemo. First they draw blood, then I see the doctor, then I have chemo. But not this time! While Dr. Russell was examining me she felt a lymph node under my collar bone that has been showing up on the CT scan but she never felt before. This is not good news. She said no chemo, lets do a CT scan. The scan showed that the lymph node is the same size but she is very worried because she NEVER felt it before. She did some more blood work but I will not know anything until Tuesday. She said after the blood work comes back we will decide what to do next. This news scared me but we do want we have to do next.
We are still fighting the insurance company and now I really need to stay will Dr. Russell. Please keep praying for me. Lots of love, Sue

August 21, 2001

Dear Friends, Well, we heard from Dr. Russell tonight. My tumor blood count is very high, which means that the Taxotere is not working. I have to make appointment to see Dr. Russell this week. The first combination of chemo’s was working but your body can have only take so much Adriamycin in your lifetime and my body is at the limit.
Dr. Russell is going to try the “chemo pill” on me. We will know if it is working in about 3 to 4 weeks. If it is not working then she said there are 5 other types of chemo to try… In the beginning she told us that her job was to cure me, we asked if this is still possible, now. She said not likely but now I will try to get it to go into remission.
Things are not going the way I planned. Please keep praying. It is going to take a lot longer to beat this then I first though but I am going to win this battle and win the war too. I’ll let everyone know more after I visit the doctor this week.
Lots of love, Sue

August 26, 2001

Dear Friends, On Thursday, we met withDr. Russell. She feels that the best way to treat this suborn cancer is with the chemo pill (xeloda). Most people who take this pill start with1 or 2 pills twice a day. I, who don’t do anything the normal way, am starting will 3 pills twice a day. 3 with breakfast and 3 with dinner. I normally do not eat breakfast but I’m starting to. If you have cancer your blood count should be 50 or below, mine was 113 (more than double). Instead of curing me the doctor said lets go for getting you into remission, remission means no new signs of cancer. I’m going to be in remission soon (this is my new goal). My doctor did say that this is going to take a lot longer than we first thought. I’m going to apply for social security disability soon.
We came home from the doctor and went to Sav-on to fill the prescription, of course they said your insurance does not cover this pill, the cost is $795.00. We came home and Howard called the insurance company, who called the doctor, who called us. Guess what! They are now covering the pills. I started on Friday. I take them for 2 weeks then have one week off and then start over. The side effects are nausea, diarrhea, loss of appetite, weakness, body aches, headaches, dizziness and hand/foot soreness, all of which I all ready have, and besides what’s the alternatives. If we all pray this may work.
This weekend was Howard’s birthday and our 22nd wedding anniversary. On Saturday, we packed a bag and went for a drive. We ended up in Solvang. We drove up the coast on Highway 1, we stopped in Ventura and had lunch on the beach just the two of us. We had to sleep in Lompoc cuz we did not have a hotel reservation, but it was nice. We had dinner at a place called Steve’s, very nice steak and fish place. We had breakfast in Solvang and lunch at Philippe in Los Angeles! The whole trip was very nice. It is the first time we left the girls home alone and we survived. As always for his birthday I make Howard eggplant, his favorite.
Well I hope everyone else had a great weekend as we did. Please keep praying.
Lots of love, Sue

September 6, 2001

Dear Friends, I hope everyone is having a good week. I’m doing pretty good for a change! I have had very little side efforts from the chemo pill. Today is the last day, then I’m off of the pill for 7 days. I am going to see Dr.Russell next week. The only side effect I seem to be having is extreme tiredness (what else is new). I have to take a nap every afternoon (about 1/2 hour to 45 minutes long). I’m getting a lot done around the house but I must rest a lot. I think the pills are working, I can feel the lymph node going down (or it is just my imagination!!!). Let’s pray that it is working.
The only sad news is that my 92 year old aunt passed away this week. She had a bad heart. The services were in Santa Barbara, my mom, Heather and I went. It was nice to see some family members that I have not seen in a long time.
Thank you for all the prayers, cards and e-mails. Please have a great week.
Lots of love to all, Sue

September 12, 2001

Dear Friends, Please pray for all the people who lost their lives yesterday. It was and is a very sad day.
Today, I went to see Dr. Russell and got another set back. There are now 2 lymph nodes enlarged on my neck and a new lump in my breast. Every time I see her its bad news but she is the best doctor around. She said again that this cancer is very very aggressive. The new treatment is once a week, for two weeks, then a week off. I know that I have had all the Adriamycin that I can have but she is going to give it to me again, onlythis time 1/3 of what I had before. She is going to mix it with Gemcitabine. We are hoping to start this treatment this week. Now that my hair is coming back in I’m going to lose it again. The side effects are being sick and tired, which I already am. She said this should work but if not, there are more options. This treatment will be indefinite, if it works. Then the mastectomy and radiation. I asked Dr. Russell to do the mastectomy now but she wants to wait until we get the cancer under control. Let pray that this works.
I want to thank Brenda Warner who did the City of Hope walk for hope in my name. Brenda I love you and I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You are truly a great friend. With help and prayers from my friends I’m sure I can still beat this damn thing.
Well, I guess this is enough for one day. I’ll keep you posted.
Lots of Love, Sue

September 15, 2001

Dear Friends, Yesterday was the start of my new chemo. So far so good. I have to go in next week also. The treatment lasted from 10 to 11:30am. Malia picked me up at 1pm (after she got off work). I’m just trying to stay positive. This will work, but lets keep praying.
Last note I thanked Brenda for doing the walk-a-thon but I forgot to say thank you the Foreman’s (Katie and Nancy) for doing the Revlon walk-a-thon in my name. I know that many others have done so too! It means a lot to know that my friends are working for the cure to help me andall the others who are fighting this disease.
We are going to Las Vegas on Sunday to Monday. Nancy, our neighbor, is getting married Sunday Night. Heather is going with us, Malia could not get off work, so she is staying home. We are going to have some fun and to see Nancy. This will be fun.
I hope everyone has a great weekend. Pray for everyone in New York and Washington.
God bless America!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Lot of Love, Sue

September 20, 2001

Hi friends, Just a quick note today. This weekend was very nice. The wedding was short and sweet. Nancy looked beautiful. After the wedding, which was at the Monte Carlo, we all went to a buffet at the Monte Carlo. Then we went to the Belleglo for some pictures. Then Howard, Heather and I went back to the Rio. I went to bed and Howard and Heather went out on the town. Heather had to take pictures for her photo class. Howard took her the Stratosphere and then downtown. They got in around midnight! They had a good time.
On Monday, we went to breakfast andlost $20 in quarters. I found a roulette table that was .50 a bet. I started will $10 and walked away with $18. I’m a big winner.(lol) Then we took Heather to the M&M world and then downtown for dinner. I only wish Malia could had gone, too. She had to work and go to school. Even though she ended up not going to school. Go figure???
On Tuesday, I could not move. I barely got the laundry done. I’m not sure if it was the weekend or the chemo but I slept all day and night. The girls went shopping for me, so we could have food for the week. I just could not get going. I called Dr. Russell because my breast is swollen and red and it hurts. She said that it is just the chemo and that my blood count (the count that tells how much cancer is in my blood) is high. It should be no higher that 40, last time it was 113 now it is 175!!!!! That means that the chemo pill was not working which is why she changed the chemo. She will recheck it this week.
Well, I guess this was not a short note but oh well. I again want to thank everyone for the notes, cards and prayers. Keep the prays coming. I’ll write again soon. By the way, I too would like to send good news to all AND I WILL AS SOON AS THERE IS GOOD NEWS. Not a second later….
Lots of love, Sue

September 27, 2001

Hi friends, Well, I have been running a fever since Saturday. Yesterday it went up to 102! I called Dr. Russell, who said to come in now. They ran some blood tests. It turns out that they have gave me too much chemo. Your white blood count should be in the thousands, but mine was in the 100’s. She really should have put me in the hospital, but she knew that I didn’t want to go, so she gave me some medicine and said if I have a high fever today then I will need to go to the hospital. As of 8 am today my fever is 99.4. I’m dizzy and tired but I think I’ll be ok. This explains why I have not be feeling good, why I’m tired and why I sleep all the time. I had no energy. If I’m feeling better tomorrow, then I want to go see Sharon and Pastor Sam at my old work. If not then, I’ll go next week.
Howard and I went to church on Sunday and one of the things Pastor Doug said is that Mother Teresa used to say that she knows God would not give her more than she could handle but she wished He did not trust her so much. This is how I’ve been feeling. Its like enough is enough already. Dr. Russell said that she thinks the chemo is working because the lumps in my neck are soft and that is good. But now she will have to lower the dosage of chemo. I’m not sure I will be able to go if next week or not.
If I’m feeling better, then this weekend I hope to go to Lisa’s baby shower. Lisa is married to Darrell, who is Howard’s brothers son. Also, Greg (my sister’s son) has a home football at night. I hope to go but onlyof I’m feeling better, I promise.
I must say that Howard, Malia and Heather had been very good to me this week. Cooking dinner, cleaning up the house and doing the laundry. I feel very lucky to have the three of them loving me.
Hey a couple of good things… I lost 12 pounds in one week! I am getting my hair and eyebrows back!!!
Thanks for the cards and prayers. Please keep the prayers coming. I hope to see you soon. Lots of love, Sue

October 4, 2001

Hi friends,
Just a short note. I am feeling better but I did have chemo yesterday. Dr. Russell said that I have a “tumor fever”. This means that as the tumor breaks up it causes a low fever. My white blood count was lower than she would have liked and she lower the dosages.
I did make a nurse cry yesterday, but she made me cry first. She was trying to start the IV in my wrist, which is very tender. She missed the vein and it hurt. I tried not to cry but it did hurt. She did take it out and had someone else start the IV in my arm.
This is breast cancer awareness month. Please have a mammogram and wear a pink ribbon. Remember breast cancer affects one in every eight American women and every eleven minutes breast cancer claims the life of a mother, a daughter, a sister and a friend. Please pray for everyone who is fighting for their life. I can beat this but it is very hard.
I wish I had some good news, maybe next time.
Lots of love, Sue

October 15, 2001

Hi folks, this is Howard. Just wanted to update everyone on how Sue is doing.
She is doing pretty good compared to how she has been at times. She had Chemo on Friday and visited the hospital on Sunday! I guess she did too much on Saturday. Went to a meeting in the morning, a wedding in the afternoon and a dinner show at night!
They sent her home with some great medicine. She felt like she was high. I don’t know how she knows…
Sue is very tired all of the time and of course she tries to do too much and we yell at her all the time to stop and lay down, she gets depressed easily… She does not have Chemo this week (two weeks on and one week off), so hopefully she will feel a little better – until next time.
Her hair w a s growing back – not any more. She showed me her pillow and it was full of hair. Hair today gone tomorrow…
For those special people who are now survivors, Sue is very upset with you. She thought you all were going to go through this together… She of course is very happy for you. Its like “wish I was there with you”.
Congrats to Lori and Penny!!!
Well it is late and I am rambling.
Thank you all for listening.

October 25, 2001

Dear Friends, Hi its been a while. I know that they say no news is good news but that’s not always true. The last 2 weeks were very hard for me. I got sick, I was tired and had no energy. Yesterday I saw Dr. Russell. She said that the knots in the neck are softer but are measuring the same size. The ones in the breast are unchanged. I told her that I could not do chemo and she said ok. I’m just starting to feel better and the chemo makes me depressed and sad. I just could not do it. I need some time off. This has been a long 8 months and its going to take a lot longer. So on Monday I have a treatment and then the next Monday (11-5) I’m going to had a “port” put in my chest and then chemo. This is surgery. They have to put me to sleep. A port goes under the skin in the right breast, then the chemo can go right into the port. This means no more iv’s!!!, which is good cuz my veins are very bad. The only thing is that I can not take that Howard has to give me shots of lovenox twice a day. He enjoys this. Dr. Russell want to do this treatment 2 more times, if it does not work then we will try something new (again.)
On Monday, my mom had surgery on her arm (she had a rotor cup repaired). She is ok but in lots of pain. She will be off work for 6 months and she can not drive. This will drive her crazy. But at least I can help when I’m feeling well.
I would like to thank everyone for all the prayers please keep them coming. I love you all very much and my family is the best. I’ll write soon, Sue
P.S. I just heard that my niece had a baby! His name is Tyler and weighed in at 9 lbs 13 oz. Congrats to Lisa and Darrell!!!

November 6, 2001

So the saga continues…
If you have been keeping up, they have had many problems finding a good vein to give Sue an I.V. On Monday Sue had surgery to install a “port” above her good breast to make it so that they can simply insert a needle in the port and will make it so much easier for all concerned. The surgery went uneventful except for them trying to insert an I.V. for the surgery, but now they don’t worry about that anymore.
After surgery Sue got a treatment of chemo and a couple of bottles of potassium for good measure.
Sue has a lot of pain in her right side for a change, because they had to strap her down to perform the surgery. They insert the port and run a line to a particular vein above her right breast. She has taken only a couple of vicodine and the doctor said she might be a little tired Monday night. What else is new!!!
Of course you know we could not go without some bad news. Believe it or not the above was the good news.
Sue gets a blood test every week or so and a couple of weeks ago she got one and in this test is a rating of how much cancer is in her. Three times ago it was at 123, the time after that it was at 175 and this last time it was at 350. Sue was devastated to hear the news. She goes back to the doctor on Nov. 19 to try another type of chemo. We have decided it is time to start looking at different means. We are going to get different opinions and take a look at all of our options.
We are in this for the long haul.
Thank you all for listening. Sue keeps telling me to write this update. By telling you all it helps her in many ways. First their are no surprises when she sees you around town and second she feels some type of release by knowing all her friends know about her and are praying for her. Keep up the good work.
Malia is going to Modesto on Wednesday, will be back on Thursday and then going back on Saturday morning and will be back Sunday… All that because she has to work Friday morning.
Thank you all Love, Howard

November 13, 2001

Hi folks time for another update.
When Sue graduated high school she went to college (Cerritos) for a little while. She then stopped and became a wonderful wife and mother. After some time she wanted to go back to school to become a elementary school teacher! Well she hesitated when she found out how long it would take to become that teacher!
I told her “hey where would you be if you didn’t go to school” – the same place but no schooling.
So Sue decided to take the plunge and go back to night school. She had work during the day and taking care of us and school and homework. Not to mention the groups that she has belonged to…
It was very difficult keeping everything going and coming home after 11 pm and having to drop a few classes for one reason or another. Then this breast cancer thing came about and Sue stopped going to school and was upset that all that work for nothing.
Well a few months ago Sue received a letter for the college telling her that she could petition for her AA degree. Well she did and the other day she received her AA degree!!!
To some of you that go to college now, getting your AA does not seem like much, but for an adult doing it one class at a time it was very difficult. I remember seeing her, Malia and Heather all sitting at the table working on some kind of Algebra. I am very proud of her.
The other kind of good news is that on December 6th, Sue and I are going to The City of Hope to get a second opinion!
If we don’t like that second opinion we will go somewhere else for a third opinion and etc.
We definitely appreciate all the kind words that you say to us, and to the ones that don’t write, I know you are thinking of us too. I have been in your shoes before and did not know what to say.
Thanks for listening..

November 19, 2001

HI friends, Today I went to see Dr. Russell. But first I hope everyone has a great Turkey day. Second, thank you for all the notes about my AA degree! I’m very excited about it and your happy thoughts make me even happier. Today, Dr. Russell told me that there are now three lumps in my neck (one more than I knew about) and a new one under my arm. She would not gave me chemo because my blood counts were too low. On Friday, I’m going to have a body scan to make sure that the cancer has not spread… Next week (Thursday) I will go back to see Dr. Russell and then she is going to try a new type of chemo. It’s called Navelbine. This one is 3 weeks on and 1 week off, if my blood counts do not go down to low.
Personal message to Sarah, I asked about that drug but I can not have it because you have to be “her2” positive and I’m “her2” negative. Thanks for the information.
Cindy and Celine, please let me know what to get the kids for Christmas ASAP. Thanks.
I can not believe that its almost Christmas. This year has gone by very fast but also the longest year of my life (if you know what I mean).
Maybe GOD will make me well for Christmas, that would be nice.
I guess that is all for now, again Happy Turkey Day.
Love, Sue

November 30, 2001

Hi friends, I think we got some good news yesterday from Dr. Russell. We know that the cancer has not spread anywhere else. The

only area involved is the breast, neck and underarm (which we knew). There is a very small benign spot on the liver. She said that it is nothing to worry about. I had the new chemo, they put it in the port, no problems. This chemo is a push type and takes only 5 minutes once they start. This is 3 weeks on 1 week off.
Please everyone pray that this is the one that works.
We are still going to the City of Hope next week, just to see if they have any different plans of action.
Well that is all for now. I’ll write soon.
Lots of love, Sue

January 3, 2002

Dear Friends, Well, I saw Dr. Russell today–what a way to start off the New Year—nothing but GOOD news though. The lumps in my neck are now down to 2 not 3, the one under the arm is almost gone and the breast is looking pretty good. My blood count was down but not enough, I had chemo and I am feeling good so far. She did change the plan instead of 3 weeks on and one off chemo, I’m now 2 on 1 off.
Please pray hard that this is the one that is going to work. Well, that’s all for now. Happy New Year! and thanks for everything. Lots of love, Sue

January 17, 2002

Hi friends, Well… the week started out great! On Monday, I turned 44 years young. The girls made me a cake and got lots of well wishes and stuff.
On Tuesday, we all went to Universal City Walk to see the Olympic torch run. Rafer Johnson ran it in and gave it to Arnold Swartzenager who lit the flame for the night. It was very exciting, lots of fun and very cold.
On Wednesday, I went to have chemo but had to see Dr. Russell first, she would not give me the chemo this time. The last time I saw her I had 2 lumps in my neck and the one under the arm was gone. Now, I have 5 lumps in the neck, a new one in the breast and the one in the underarm is coming back. I’m going to have a new ct scan next week on Tuesday, then I will see Dr. Russell on Wednesday to decide want to do next. Yesterday, I was very upset, angry and of course disappointed. We were so sure that the chemo was working and then to find this out. This cancer thing has been going on for almost a whole year now. Dr. Russell did say that I can live with this for 5 years to 25 years. I will have to have chemo for the rest of my life (which I said will be very long time). I have to accept this and learn to lIVE with it. This is hard but I can do it. She also said that I will not have a mastectomy or radiation. This is just a set back and I’m going to beat it yet, with the help of all my friends praying with me.
For some more of this wonderful news, Penny, whom I was telling you also to pray for, well she has had a major setback also. I tell you it’s not like I am jealous and had to try to up her sickness. Penny, I hope things turn around for you too…
Well, I guess this is enough news for today. I will keep you posted. Please keep praying.
Lots of love,Sue

January 23, 2002

Hi friends, Well we (Howard and I)saw Dr. Russell today. The first thing she said is I have NO bad news. The CT scan showed no new spots. The liver, lungs, and kidneys are all fine. The only spots are in the neck, underarm and breast. She will start a combination of chemo treatment starting on Monday. I’m having Taxol and Cisplatin. The side effects are loss of hair (been there done that), nausea, pain in the legs, possible tingling in the fingers and toes. The Cisplatin has been know to cause kidney failure. This treatment will take 4 to 5 hours to inject each time. That is because they need to give me lots of fluids so it will go smoothly through the kidneys. She said I can drive myself. This treatment is 3 weeks on and 1 week off. Let’s all pray that is one works.

Dr. Russell was trying to get me into some clinical trials (experimental stuff), but because of my blood clots and me taking blood thinners, I am not eligible. She will keep looking.

Heather got a job as a hostess at Stox Restaurant and she is also trying out for Miss Downey! She is having fun and only wants to get a scholarship from the contest. Malia is at a retreat for her work until Friday and then she goes to Oakhurst (up north) for Job’s Daughters from Friday to Sunday.
My friend Penny had a port put in this week. She needs our prayers too, so please remember her too.

Well, that’s all for now. See you soon. Lots of love, Sue

January 29, 2002

HI friends, well yesterday I went to have chemo (all by myself). Boy its was a long day. I started the chemo at 9:30am and left at 4:00pm. I tried to read, watch tv and sleep but it was too noisy, bright and I could not read. So far, I have no side effects (lets hope I do not have any).
Today my baby turned 21 years old (Happy birthday Malia). It does not seem possible that we have a daughter that old.
Well, I have to go buy her a present. See you soon. Lots of love, Sue

February 10, 2002

Hi friends, well, its been a long week. I had chemo last Monday (Feb 4, 2002). That was the second time for this treatment. I did not get sick from the chemo but I have had a lot of pains and I got a cold.

Dr.Russell put me on some antibiotics for the cold. I’ve been running a low grade temp and just not feeling well.

Tuesday was not a good day for me. I went to the store and while I was there I saw a few people that I had not seen in a while and asked a lot of questions about my condition. At the checkout line the lady behind me had a baby, I asked “how old is your baby” and she said 3 months. I then asked her if I could see him because he was covered up. The person she was with said “do not let her see the baby, she has CANCER”. Boy did that hurt. By the time I got home I was crying and I could not believe someone thought I could give them cancer by looking at the baby. All of you who know me know that children are my life and I would never hurt a child. I realize that some people do not understand cancer but that was a dumb thing to say, I was in shock! Next time I’ll say something but it was the first time anything like this has happened to me.

On the same day, my cousin, Stephanie, who is living with us, was in an car accident. Her car will be in the shop for 10 days to 3 weeks. She is ok and so was the person who she hit.

The rest of week was ok but with this cold, I just stayed home. I have chemo again on Monday, if my counts are ok. I hope every one else had a good week and I hope that next week will be better.
Lots of love, Sue


February 17, 2002

Dear friends, I had chemo on Monday. Everything is going good.
Its been 1 year since my first surgery. Boy its been a long year. On Valentine’s Day I woke up with a “charlie horse” in my calf. On Friday it was still there. I called Dr. Russell who order a ultrasound in the leg to make sure there where no blood clots. Everything looked good, so we are not sure why I still have the “charlie horse”. It hurts to walk on it, but it should be better soon. I see Dr.Russell on Monday (2-26).
Today in the shower, I washed my hair and guess what? Its coming out again. I not sure why it bother me so much this time. I know it will grow in again. This is an off week, no chemo.
I would like to thank everyone for his or her kind words (about the comment that was made to me). Everyone has been wonderful. I know that she was not smart nor does she understand cancer.
I would also like to thank Penny King, for the bag of goodies and to her sister Patty for her presents and support. Denise we are still on for Tuesday. I feel that I had the best friends ever. Thank you for all of you. A friend of mine, Gloria, who works at “country butcher” has stage one cancer of the breast, please add her to your list of prayers.
I guess that’s all for now. I send you all of my love, always, Sue


February 26, 2002

Dear friends, I know its been a while. I was off this week. It was a great week. Yesterday (2-25-02), Ann (my sister) and I went to see Dr. Russell and then we went to lunch; we had a good time – thanks Ann.

Here comes the good news, bad news thing. First the bad news. My breast is black, blue, pink and purple. It has lumps extruding out of it! Dr. Russell said that it’s the cancer coming out though the skin. She scheduled me to see a surgeon (Dr. Silberman) today.

Today my mom and I saw Dr. Siberman. Here comes the good news. He said that he can do a mastectomy and he can get all of the cancer out of the breast. This does not mean I will be cancer free because the cancer is in the lymph nodes but it will give me a better quality of life. I have a CT scan set for tomorrow, then I see Dr. Siberman on March 5 with surgery set for March 18th.

Dr. Russell was asked if I still have that 5 to 20 years of life. She said not if we can not get the cancer under control. Hopefully this will help.

Also today I had chemo, it went well but made for a long day. We left the house at 8:30 am and I returned home at 5pm.

Because of the surgery I am having 2 weeks of chemo and then off until after the surgery. I will have to go off the coumadin again and Howard will have to give me the shots of Lovenox again. Howard loves to do this.

This weekend we had a birthday party for Malia (21) and Heather(18) at Ann’s house. Can I say that my kids are spoiled and loved a lot. They had 2 bouncers. Not the bar type, the type that you bounce in…
It was a lot of fun. Again thanks Ann.

And I should tell you that I lost my hair again. It kept coming out so Howard shaved me clean. Here come the bandanas…

I guess this is enough for now. I will keep you posted. Please keep praying and add Linda Hester to the list of prayers. She is a friend who just found out that she has breast cancer. She has a stage 1b which is good for her. The stages are 1 to 4; a and b; one been very low and 4 being the worst. Gee guess what stage I’m at???

Lots of love always, Sue


March 5, 2002

Hi friends, today was a long day. Howard and I saw Dr. Silberman, first, then I had chemo.

Dr. Silberman said that he can do the surgery and he can get all the cancer from the breast. The CT scan showed that the cancer has attached itself to one of the muscles. He will have to take at least that one muscle, maybe more. He will not take the lymph nodes. They can be treated with chemo. On Tuesday of next week I will meet with Dr. Russell and Dr. Silberman regarding blood thinning medicine. Dr. Silberman also noted that some of the cancerous nodes are pushing on the asoficus which has to do with my breathing and causes me troubles breathing. He will have to do a skin graph which means I will be in the hospital from 2 to 4 days. The surgery is scheduled for March 18th at 1:30pm.

My counts where good, so I had chemo. I had to be there by 8:30am and left at 3:45pm. I tried to sleep but its hard. There is so much noise and so many people coming and going. I did rest a little bit.

I had a bad weekend. I was in a lot of pain all weekend. So much that I doubled up on the morphine and was taking Tylenol with codeine and also vicodine. On Thursday the nurse from Dr. Russell’s office called and said that the tumor marker was up. On 2/11/02 the count was 651 and on 2/28/02 it was 833. I started this all with a marker of 123 and we were going to try to get it down to 47! This means that the chemo is not working. So after the surgery we will try something new.

Well I’m very tired now so I’ll sign off. Please keep praying. Thanks for everything. Love, Sue

P.S. Wish Heather luck, she is running for Miss Downey and the pageant is March 9th!!!


March 13, 2002

Hi friends, first let me tell you about Heather. She did so good at the Miss Downey pageant! She had a lot of fun and looked beautiful. However, she did not win. She is a winner in my book as I could never do what she did. WE are very proud of her. And she wants to do it again next year. For her birthday she got 2 tickets to see the “Lion King”. We went last night. It was very good. Of all the people she knows, she asked me to go with her. We had fun.

Yesterday, I met with Dr. Russell and Dr. Silberman. The time of the surgery has changed. The time is now at 7:30am. I have to be there at 5:30am. The doctors said I should be there 1 to 2 days. I will be at University Hospital which is across the street from Norris. Dr. Russell said that after the surgery I would have radiation, then more chemo. This will start sometime in April.

I guess that’s all for now. Howard will let everyone know how the surgery went next week. Please pray for me and everyone who is going though what I am going through.

Lots of love, Sue


March 19, 2002

I would like to update everyone on Sue’s surgery. Everything went according to plan. They had to take out a couple of muscles under her breast, one of them works with the arm but the doctor predicted that the arm will function just fine. They needed to give her a blood transfusion and they also did take a skin graft from her leg.

The surgery lasted just over four hours and then some time in recovery for a while. Lets see… got her there at 5:30 am and she got in her room at around 2:30 pm. Makes for a long day.

Immediately Sue had to cause a stink! She wanted ice chips and they did not want her to have them. She wanted to eat and they didn’t. She got both and paid the price for the Jell-O. Or should I say the people around her did as she gave it back into a bucket!

Soon after going into her room she had to use the bathroom and the nurse brought in a bedpan. Sue looked at it and said unhook me I am getting out of bed to use the bathroom. They said no, Sue said yes and she got up and successfully used the bathroom. The nurse was very impressed with Sue’s strength as to be able to get up so early after the operation. Just like the last time Sue was in the hospital, this time she has a very important event coming up on Saturday night, so every time a doctor or nurse says anything about her stay or the use of her body she always is thinking about how that will effect the function this weekend.

Back to Sue… She has a low grade temperature and maybe some infection, but they are thinking she will be coming home on Wednesday. Good – we don’t know what to do after we run out of silverware and dishes…ha ha.

I would like to thank everyone that came up to the hospital and waited with me and to all who came to visit and to you who have called or wrote with your prays and nice comments. They are very helpful.

I will let you know more when I know more.

Thanks Howard

P.S. University Hospital (USC) 323 442-8500 ext. 60618 (room 618a)


March 20, 2002

Hi everyone, just a note to let you know Sue did not come home today. Her surgeon said if her fever stays down tomorrow that she will be able to go home after lunch!

Last night she was grumpy. The surgeon came in and changed her dressing on her chest and the doctor found out the nurses were not doing what they were supposed to do. All of a sudden there were 5 nurses in there. Sue was supposed to have repertory therapy every 4 hours because of fluid in her lungs. Then she yelled at the dietician because her chicken potpie did not have any chicken in it… They said they could not cook anything else and she hung up on them. They called back and said they will cook for her and she said no way. Tonight we are bring homemade spaghetti to her. This hospital is nothing like Norris hospital food. There they have filet mignon and shrimp. Here they have meatloaf. Dr. Russell dropped by and said she just came from the county hospital and there you can not tell what you are eating so feel lucky.

By the way the doctor took off her sling and told her she did not have to have it on. He took some nodes at from under her arm and it is very sore.

Today they changed the packing on her leg from the skin graft. It was very bloody when I seen it. She had more pain from them changing that then anything else.

That’s it for now, hopefully next time I will be telling you about her ordering us around the house like if we were her nurses….

Thanks for listening/reading



March 22, 2002

Sue was released from jail… the hospital yesterday (Thursday 3-21-02) finally around 3 pm. As usual we had to attract attention to finally get someone to sign her out.

So she is home and resting, she was pretty grumpy when she came home and of course was ordering us around like we were her nurses. I straightened her out and then she straightened me out.

Thanks, Howard


March 28, 2002

Hi all, Sue went to see her doctors today. The surgeon wanted to see her to check on how the skin graft took. He was concerned that it might not take and might have to do another little one. Well it looked real good. Actually to me and Sue it did not look good at all. If you can imagine seeing raw almost skin…

He changed her bandages on her chest. That hurt quite a bit, but her main doctor (Dr. Russell) held her hand. He also looked at the skin graft on her leg where he got the skin from and said it looks fine. He said to keep wetting the bandage and peeling it and it will eventully come off. Sue’s worst nightmare (can you imagine some of her dreams) was for the doctor to have to pull that bandage off. She had no clue that they would even think of taking the same kind of bandage off of the breast area.

I still get to give Sue the lovenox (blood thinner) in the shot form. Oh boy!!!
After Dr. Silberman (surgeon) got done with Sue, Dr. Russell went and got Dr. Streeter, who is the Associate Professor of Radiation Oncology at USC/Norris. He checked her out and is ready for her to start radiation. After the approval process she will have another CT scan and then radiation five days a week. He said she will get run down after a few days because of the amount and that she will need someone to drive her everyday to USC. Another Oh boy… They want her to go to USC because they have a special computerized machine that can shoot the radiation without getting to where her surgery was.

Sue says hi to everyone and thank you who have called and or wrote to us. A special thank you to Cindy’s mom who brought us a wonderful dinner the other night. Thank you to Sue’s mom (Judy) for coming over everyday and taking care of Sue.

Sue is very tired but sees some kind of rainbow for the future. Having the radiation to shrink the tumors and some day not to have the pain from the breast, which is gone now.

We will talk to you all soon

Thanks, Howard


April 4, 2002

Hi friends,
Sue is getting stronger everyday now. She went back to the surgeon and he was very happy with the skin graft. It has taken 100% (unusual for Sue).
She went to the radiologist today and had a ball (not really). They tried to make her wear a mask on her face to pin point radiation points. This is no way she would do that!!! She had a fit. They figured out a different way of doing it. She needs to go back next Thursday and do some more tests. They think she will finally start radiation on Monday. We don’t know for how long, however, the insurance company called and said she is approved for 40 treatments. So maybe that is what the doctor requested???

She almost has all the zero pad off of her leg. The doctor did not put it back on the area where the breast was – just gauze.

Her surgeon said she can go back on coumadin and unfortunately I won’t be giving her shots after Saturday…

Sue has to start exercising her arm, but of course it causes a lot of pain. What else is new…

Thanks for reading,

Howard – read below (thanks Cindy)


April 11, 2002

Dear friends,
Hi and thanks for all the thoughts and prayers. Every day I’m getting stronger and I’m starting to feel better. This week I saw Dr. Silberman (surgeon) and Dr. Streeter (radiation). Dr. Silberman said I’m looking good. He removed the staples and said I could take a shower but do not get the front of me wet. I see him one more time next week.

Dr. Streeter is the radiologist. We are going to start on Monday. Then everyday forever. The whole treatment will take about 10 minutes but I have to go everyday (five days a week). He said that it will make me more tired then I’m already am.

My mom has been here everyday to help me. I’m not sure how I could have done this with out her and Howard. The girls have been very helpful too.

Well, I’m tired so I’m going to close now. Thank you for everything, the cards, prayers and food. I think I have the best friends ever.

Lots of love, Sue


The Breast Cancer site is having trouble getting enough people to click on it daily to meet their quota of donating at least one free mammogram a day to an underprivileged woman. It takes less than a minute to go to their site & click on “donating a mammogram” for free pink window in the middle) their corporate sponsors/advertisers use the number of daily visits to donate a mammogram in exchange for advertising. Pass it along to all your friends!!

April 19, 2002

Dear friends,
This week has been very busy and tiring. I started radiation on Monday. It takes about 10 minutes but 20 to get there and 20 minutes home. On Thursday I saw Dr. Streeter (the radiation dr.) and Dr. Silberman (the surgeon). Both said that I’m doing good. I got tatoo’d on Thursday. I’m tired but I’m getting stronger. I can do a little bit more every day. I’m going to sign off now but I would like to thank everyone for the prayers and happy thoughts. I love you all. Sue

read below…


The Breast Cancer site is having trouble getting enough people to click on it daily to meet their quota of donating at least one free mammogram a day to an underprivileged woman. It takes less than a minute to go to their site & click on “donating a mammogram” for free pink window in the middle) their corporate sponsors/advertisers use the number of daily visits to donate a mammogram in exchange for advertising. Pass it along to all your friends!!

April 24, 2002

Hi friends,
Well today is Wednesday and this has been a very long week. On Monday, I started physical therapy. I have to do this 3 days a week. Brandon is very good and said my arm will get back to normal in a few months.

Radiation is going well. Dr. Streeter said he might do some heat therapy. This means that they will heat-up the tumors to 108 degrees. He said that the heat will help kill the tumors.

On Tuesday I had a bone scan. Dr. Russell is trying to find out why my ribs are sore. There is no cancer in the ribs, but they found a spot on my spine. On Friday I have to do a MRI to see what is on the spine. Dr. Russell said it could be a anything, not to worry yet.

Today Dr. Russell said that my diaphragm is frozen. This is why I can not catch my breath. She said that she thinks that during the surgery a nerve was cut and now its trying to grow back which is why my ribs (front and back) hurt.

Tomorrow they are going to recheck my blood. My INR count should be between 2 & 3. On Friday it was 5 and on Monday it was 1.7. Someday all of this will end and I may be normal again. I guess this is enough news for one day. Maybe next time I have better news.

I’ll write again soon. Love to all, Sue


The Breast Cancer site is having trouble getting enough people to click on it daily to meet their quota of donating at least one free mammogram a day to an underprivileged woman. It takes less than a minute to go to their site & click on “donating a mammogram” for free pink window in the middle) their corporate sponsors/advertisers use the number of daily visits to donate a mammogram in exchange for advertising. Pass it along to all your friends!!

April 25, 2002

Today, I got a little bit of good news! Dr. Streeter said that the tumors are shrinking. This is the first time in a long time that we have had any good news. The prayers are working. I have the MRI tomorrow and will know the results next week.
Love to all, Sue


The Breast Cancer site is having trouble getting enough people to click on it daily to meet their quota of donating at least one free mammogram a day to an underprivileged woman. It takes less than a minute to go to their site & click on “donating a mammogram” for free pink window in the middle) their corporate sponsors/advertisers use the number of daily visits to donate a mammogram in exchange for advertising. Pass it along to all your friends!!

April 29, 2002

Sue had a MRI on Friday because of a spot showing on a bone scan. Today we got the results…

She has five spots on her spine. One of them has caused a bone to collapse. (I don’t know what that means yet).

They have already called from radiation therapy to get Sue in early tomorrow to start radiating them. Dr. Russell said they couldn’t radiate them all at one time (again I do not know why, yet).

She is going to take some medicine once a month to build up her bones – intravenously.

And of course to add insult to injury (as they say), her blood count (thickness) is very unstable.

We will learn more about this next obstacle and will let you know…

Sue is very distraught about this and like me can’t believe we are given more of a challenge than before.

Hopefully with the help from our wonderful family and friends we can overcome!

Thanks, Howard


May 9, 2002

Hi all…
Just an quick update to let you know Sue is going to radiation everyday except yesterday she did not feel good and did not go. Physical therapy for her arm three days a week. All is going well there.
She saw Dr. Silberman (surgeon) she has an abscess under her arm. Other than that her wounds are healing.
She lost another three pounds this week. We are working on getting her to eat more.
Heather is going to do the Avon walk from Santa Barbara to Santa Monica, so look forward to her asking for sponsors. She will need to get at least $ 1,900.00 in order to participate.
We want to wish all you mothers out there a very happy mothers day. Thank all of you who sent card’s they are very appreciated.
Please pray for Sue. One of the reasons for this e-mail system is to help people remember to pray for Sue. While you are at it please pray for Penny, (a sister of a friend at work) she is not doing to well.
Will talk to you all soon, Howard

May 22, 2002

HI friends,
First, I would like to say thank you to all for the thoughts, prayers and cards.
Radiation seams to be working. The knots on the neck had gone down a lot. Dr. Streeter is very happy. My neck is sore.
I have lost to much weight and Dr. Streeter said if I do not gain some weight, he will put a feeding tube in me! I have gained 1-1/2 pounds this week though. I do not want a tube, so I’ve promised to eat better. My family is a big help, they are making me eat, which is good. This week Dr. Streeter gave me acupuncture. It helped.
This week my neck has some sores on it. It hurts, and it looks ugly. It’s cracked open and is oozing stuff out of it.
Now the not so good news. I have had trouble breathing all week. Dr. Russell did an x-ray today and I have a collapsed lung that has fluid around the lung. Tomorrow, they are going to drain it and try to find out why this has happened. Dr. Russell thinks it is from the radiation. It will take a couple of days to get the results but in the mean time maybe I will be able to breath better.
I guess that’s enough news for one day. Please keep praying and sending the good thoughts. See you soon. Lots of love, Sue

May 24, 2002

Hello all, well yesterday Sue went to have the fluid drained from her left lung. Of course there was a little problem… Her blood thickness was only at 2.0 (normal is 2.5) and should be at 1.5 or below. Anyway after running all over the hospital we went home and was asked to come back today.
Today Sue started with a little blood donation, then radiation and then back to Dr. Russell’s office. Sue’s blood lever was now at 1.1, perfect for draining the fluid. By the way they used a shot of vitamin “K” to thicken the blood. They had to give her another shot yesterday also.
So they numbed the area of her back where they stick the needle and cathedra with Novocain. They then stuck a 3″ needle in her and then a 6″ – 8″ cathedra in and around the lung area. They took out exactly two liters of liquid. They kept one liter to test. While they were draining the liquid Sue started coughing (a good sign that the lung was inflating). They took a chest x-ray after the draining and the radiologists said that the lung was indeed inflating and she should be breathing better soon……..
Sue’s breathing was getting so bad that we were carting her around in a wheelchair.
Sue also found out that she only has a few Radiation treatments left. She will be done next week! Her doctor said don’t worry the radiation will still be working for a month or so, it does not stop immediately. Her neck is getting very bad. Not good to look at.
P l e a s e don’t forget to pray for Sue. Things are looking good for a change… But please let’s not relax your efforts. Sue loves to hear from you and it brings tears to her eyes and a smile on her face.
Thank you, Howard

May 28, 2002

The last we spoke (typed) Sue had her left lung drained of some kind of fluid and that was supposed to get her breathing better… Well good old Sue makes it real tough!
They took out two liters of fluid on Friday and now there is about six more liters in her lung. The doctor who did the procedure did not take out all the fluid because Sue kept coughing trying to catch her breath. However he thought he got most of it.
To make a long story short, they are going to do the procedure again on Thursday and try to get it all out. Then on June 6th she will see her doctor and get another chest x-ray. If no fluid then fine, however if there is more fluid then it’s five days in the hospital and they will put a breathing tube in the lung. They will drain all the fluid out and pack it with talcum powder. Once the drainage has stopped and the powder is packed, they will take the tube out and she will go home.
On another note, her “cancer count” is at 990. Last time in February it was 833. It started at 123 or something like that. By the way there were cancer cells in the fluid in her lungs.
Well that’s all the news for today.
Thank you all for your kind thoughts, believe me we sure do appreciate them.
Thanks, Howard
P.S. sorry to you all that I sent the last update twice. Better twice then not at all…

June 11, 2002

Hello Friends. My mom asked me to send out an update…so here it goes. On Sunday she went to the doctor because she had a rash. Dr. Russell was not available and the doctor there said it was just an allergic reaction to something. He gave her medicine for the itching even though it wasnt itching. So, when she checked into the hospital yesterday her doctor came and told her that she actually has shingles.
They checked her into the hospital yesterday but the lung specialist was not able to come until today. So, she had to spend the night in the hospital and they told her they would but the drainage tube in at 930am. Well at about 1230 this afternoon they put the tube it. Due to the amount of pain killers they gave she did not feel anything and still does not feel the tube. We do not know how long this will take…they said 5 to 7 days.
She told me to tell everyone that she is accepting phone calls. Her number that goes directly to her is: 323-865-3311. They wake her up at 7am for breakfast, anytime after that.
Anyways, we will keep you updated.

June 27, 2002

Hello everyone, This is Heather, Sue’s youngest daughter. Last night when I came home from my softball game I noticed my mom shaking. so i asked her if she was alright and of course she said yes. So Malia and I were trying to calm her down by soothing her and rubbing her legs and arms *(which were twitching)* then all of a sudden she started freaking out. She totally lost control of her whole body. She couldn’t respond to us when we were talking to her, so my first instinct was to call 911. I called and told them what was wrong and they said they were sending an ambulance out. Then I called my dad and my grandma and told them both to stop whatever they were doing and come over. Meanwhile I was standing on my front lawn screaming at the top of my lungs and nobody was responding so I went next door and got my neighbor, Rick. Who came over and was soothing Malia and I while talking to my mom. Telling her to calm down and that everything would be alright and she was fine all she needed to do was breathe. So my grandma and dad got here and were doing the same thing Rick was. The ambulance came and she was alert but started spitting up. So they took her to Downey Regional Medical Center. while there she had another seizure, but this time she told them before it happened so they gave her some medicine and it stopped it before it came. They took a CAT scan. Then moved her ICU, when Malia and I went in to see her she knew we were there and she knew everything that had happened. which is really good, she even gave us a phone number that we needed. She was completely medicated but still alert and able to talk to us and tell us that she loves us and that she wanted to watch a certain channel on the tv. and that she wanted water. Dad stayed at the hospital all night as well as nana and grandma *(for most of the night)* They are now moving her into a different room, dad hasn’t told us which room. But she is able to have visitors and she would love it. If you would like to contact us…you can call either Malia or Heather. Please keep her in your prayers.

June 30, 2002

Hi, Sue came home from the hospital Friday night. I am sorry I have not gone on the computer to tell everyone sooner. I have been a little busy…
Sue is very alert and doing fine (externally). She is using a walker to get around in the house – just for stability. She has shortness of breath and some pain in her side and is weak but other than that ok.
My girls were troupers when Sue had the first seizure. Malia was home alone with Sue and the seizure was barely starting and then Heather walked in from a softball game. Heather grabbed the phone and called 911 then went outside and started yelling and went next door and just yelled until someone came out. Rick heard her yelling and he ran out and came over and helped by calming both girls down and assisting with Sue.
I came home next and could only try to calm Sue down and finally her seizure stopped. Sue’s Mom also showed up to help. Then the paramedics showed up and took over.
So a big thanks goes to Rick, who happens to be Sues sisters brother-in-law! The paramedics of unit 642 did a great job of taking care of Sue and all of us around her then.
The emergency room nurse (Heidi) said she had never seen so many family and friends show-up so fast and that were so supportive! Thank you all…
Monday we are going to USC to find out how to get rid of the cancer on the brain and how long – stuff like that. I will up date again when we know more.
On an even sadder note… my friend from work’ sister Penny passed away Friday night losing the battle of breast cancer…(sorry Patty).
Thanks to everyone who visited and came by the hospital and the house, your kind words were very comforting to us.
Thanks, Howard – read below…
Please support Heather (our daughter) in the Avon 3-day breast cancer walk
Thank you for your support. Sue and Howard

July 2, 2002

Well we just got back from seeing Dr. Petrovich the Gamma specialist from USC. They found four lesions on her brain. Three near the outside and one much deeper…
Tomorrow (Wednesday) at 8:00 am they are going to perform a Gamma Knife procedure on Sue. They think they might have to do another one next week. They won’t know until they perform this one. The procedure begins with application of a frame which is fixed to her head under local anesthesia. The frame is use to immobilize and position the head within the helmet. Then they use algorithms and computer graphics to determine the combination of multiple targets to distribute the dose evenly over her head. There is 201 beams simultaneously converging on the head and delivers enough radiation to target to cause damage to the tissue within the target area while sparing adjacent normal tissue.
I summarize the material for us to understand. She will be there until about 2:00 pm and come home with little side effects.
That’s all for now, I will update after I know more.
Thanks, Howard
Please support Heather (our daughter) in the Avon 3-day breast cancer walk by clicking the link on her page.
Thank you for your support. Sue and Howard

July 5, 2002

Hello everyone, this is Heather and I have some more yucky news.

Ok, so we thought everything was going good because mommy was feeling better. She even sat up and watched our fireworks with us. Until last night, my dad noticed my mom was shaking. She then told him that she thought she was going to have a seizure. So I got her a wet washcloth and we were cooling her down and trying to calm her down. I was about to go to bed, it was like 1. Malia then woke up and wanted to sleep in my room *(after mommy felt better)* so I cleaned Cassie’s bed off so Malia could sleep in there with me. At exactly 3:48 I heard “well I am going to wake heather up then call 911”. So I woke up and realized mommy was actually having yet another seizure. Mom woke dad up about 4 times before we called the ambulance. We then called grandma, nana, and my uncle Gary. Grandma, nana, and my neighbor Olga came over while the fireman were in my mom’s room assisting to her. Malia and I were trying to change so we could go to the hospital. So my aunt took us to the hospital where i proceeded to call my best friend Nicole. *(it was about 4:20 in the morning)* so we waited and waited and waited. Mom didn’t stop shaking *(having her seizure)* until about 4:45. so we waited some more. Malia and I were really worried. But it turns out that she had a focal seizure, which is milder than the other seizures she had. A focal seizure only affects one part of the body and in her case, it was her arm. She was alert and talking to us the whole time she was having the seizure. Which is good. They are going to admit her into the hospital, at Downey Regional Medical Center. That is all we know right now. You can contact my dad at my cell phone or at his  or you can call Malia at . Or just leave a message at home. thank you!

Please support Heather (our daughter) in the Avon 3-day breast cancer walk

Thank you for your support. Sue and Howard

July 6, 2002

Hello everyone. I just wanted to let you know that everything is okay. They are going to keep my mom one more night because they are going to do a blood transfusion to help with her anemia. Other than that she is doing just fine. She is in room 2534 in Downey Regional Hospital. I dont know the phone number there but you can call either my dads cell or heathers cell or Malia’s cell and get a hold of someone that way. Thank you for all of your prayers and thoughts. Please continue to pray for my mom.



Please support Heather (our daughter) in the Avon 3-day breast cancer walk

Thank you for your support. Sue and Howard

July 7, 2002

Hi everyone this Howard and I got kicked out of the hospital, have not showered for days!

Sue is resting at the hospital, she had 2 units of blood infused into her to work on her anemia, they say it worked but Sue is not any stronger. All she wants to do is sleep. She is not eating much and very dry mouth.

So we are working on keeping the swelling in her brain down, working on the anemia, worried about some possible liver problem, and just about everything else.

Sue will probable stay at least another night at Downey Hospital.

Thank you to you special people that have been helping me out and Sue. Thanks for the offer for blood donation, she does not need it but of course you can donate to the Red Cross. Thank you for all your prayers they are needed and appreciated!!!

Hopefully I will give you some good news one of these days.

Well I better take that shower and get back to the hospital.

Thanks, Howard

Please support Heather (our daughter) in the Avon 3-day breast cancer walk
Thank you for your support. Sue and Howard

July 8, 2002

Sue has not been doing well in the last four days at Downey Regional Medical Center. Believe me I could tell you stories. Maybe later…

So this morning I called Sue’s oncologist (Dr. Russell) and told her what was going on and that I wanted Sue to be moved to Norris (U.S.C.). She agreed at 8:05 am this morning and Sue finally arrived at Norris in an ambulance at 7:50 PM! The first thing that happened was that a doctor came in and examined Sue!!! At Downey they had the intern or student examine Sue… So when I left they were doing all kinds of tests that they did not do in Downey.

Anyway I think we have a long uphill battle, but now I think we are going in the right direction for Sue’s health.

Don’t stop the praying and I will printout the e-mails and bring them to Sue!

By the way she is at Kenneth Norris Cancer Center and the phone # is 323 865-3000 room 3320.

Thank you, Howard


Please support Heather (our daughter) in the Avon 3-day breast cancer walk
Thank you for your support. Sue and Howard

July 9, 2002 part 1

Hi everyone, this is Malia and Heather. My dad just wanted us to let everyone know that she is here, at USC Norris Cancer Center, resting PEACEFULLY. We don’t know how much longer we are going to be able to fight. But she is really fighting this battle hard. We keep letting her know how much each and every single one of us loves her. We just want EVERYONE to pray as hard as you can, that whatever happens, she does it in peace and pain free. We love each and every single one of you a lot. Thank you for ALL of your continuous support, we really aprreciate it. This will NOT be the last update, we will keep you informed about EVERYTHING that goes on in our lives. Thank you once again, and please don’t stop praying!

Love Always and Forever,

Malia, Heather, and Howard.


Now is the best time to support both Sue and Heather in the Avon 3-Day Breast Cancer walk in October, it is really important to Sue that Heather does this for her. Thank you for your help and support on this challenge of Sue’s life.


Please support Heather (our daughter) in the Avon 3-day breast cancer walk
Thank you for your support. Sue and Howard

July 9, 2002 part 2

Hello everyone this is Malia. Dr. Russell did a CT Scan on my mother tonight. She told us that there is nothing left that she can do. They have given her medicine to relax her. If anyone would like to see her we suggest coming soon. The doctor said it could be a day or two. Please pray that she goes peacefully and comfortably. We love each and every one of you and appreciate all of your support during this time. She is at Norris Cancer Center in room 3323. If you need to get a hold of us call one of our cell phones. Thank you again.

Love always,



Now is the best time to support both Sue and Heather in the Avon 3-Day Breast Cancer walk in October, it is really important to Sue that Heather does this for her. Thank you for your help and support on this challenge of Sue’s life.


Please support Heather (our daughter) in the Avon 3-day breast cancer walk
Thank you for your support. Sue and Howard

JULY 11, 2002

Well all, I finally have good news for you… Sue went to sleep for the last time this morning. She was very comfortable and not in any pain.

Details to follow…

Love Howard, Malia & Heather and family


Now is the best time to support both Sue and Heather in the Avon 3-Day Breast Cancer walk in October, it is really important to Sue that Heather does this for her. Thank you for your help and support on this challenge of Sue’s life.


Please support Heather (our daughter) in the Avon 3-day breast cancer walk
Thank you for your support. Sue and Howard

July 12, 2002

We are going to have the viewing on Monday July 15th at Luyben Spongerg Family Bellflower Mortuary, at 10333 Alondra Blvd. Bellflower, Ca. 90706. From 4 pm to 8 pm.
The services will be held Tuesday July 16th, at Downey First Christian Church 10909 New Street, Downey, Ca. 90241 at 10:30 am.
Internment will be at Rose Hills Cemetery immediately following the service. A celebration of life will be after the internment, at Swiss Park in Whittier. If you would like to speak or have something read during the service, Sue would love it so please let us know…
In lieu of flowers, we would appreciate monetary donations so Heather can participate in the Avon 3-Day Breast Cancer Walk. Her ID number is 8982.

July 28, 2002

I am sorry I have not written something sooner. I have been trying to think of just the right words… Well I still don’t know but I know if I just start typing I will get some out and go from there…
First of all some people were confused with the last “official” statement about Sue – I am sorry if I lead you the wrong way. My impression was that finally I had good news for Sue. The people that were confused obviously don’t know me well and did not realize how much pain Sue was in during the last few weeks. Of course it was not good news for me or I am sure for you either, that Sue passed away – but under the conditions she is now out of pain and I am sure SHE is happy where she is.
Now I would like to say that when things get tough your true friends really shine. I don’t think I can personally thank you here because there are so many of you and if I thank all but one – you know how that goes.
For a guy like me and Malia & Heather, what happened to Sue (which seems like a long time ago) we needed comfort from friends. At the hospital starting with Downey Regional Hospital (not a good experience) and all the way through Kenneth Norris Cancer Center, we had many friends and family come and support us. Could you imagine if you said “well I will come over later, or wait and see what’s happening” then nobody showed up. BUT most people thankfully came and supported us. Thank you for that, it was most inspirational. We have some of the best family and friends a family could have.
When we took Sue to the emergency at Downey Hospital (did I tell you that place sucked!!) the emergency nurse, Heidi, told us that they had not seen so many people waiting for one person ever! At Kenneth Norris we took over the entire floor! Thank you, Thank you!
I want to thank Malia and Heather who are now taking care of me – without them it would be very lonely and too quiet. I would like to thank my family (both sides) for being so supportive. You can not believe how they (you) stepped up to the plate for us (and Sue) you are all just wonderful.
Job’s Daughters has been super supportive of us by being there and also more importantly to me (ha ha) they have been bringing delicious dinners to us every other day since July 11th!!! I guess they will have to stop soon. Oh well we must get on with life.
The company I work for made me feel very good, they let me know that what ever amount of time I needed off was OK with them. I took a lot of time off before Sue passed away and at the funeral I told the president of the company I will be back tomorrow and he said no don’t worry about it. Of course I went back the next day anyway. I never want to take advantage of time off.
Thank you to all who contributed to Heather’s 3 day walk. Some of you donated before Sue passed away. Unfortunately it took Sue’s passing before we really got a lot of donations. Heather is just about at her original goal of the required $ 1,900.00. Now she feels that she needs to raise more money. She has upped her goal to $2,400.00! She still only needs the $ 1,900.00 but it is good for her to work on getting more. That reminds me of something. I and probably most of you are upset that the Breast Cancer society could not cure Sue of the cancer and some were so mad that they said I would like to give you some money to help us or whatever, but don’t give it to the cancer people because they did anything for Sue. Well I kind of agree, but we have to remember our children and the future. I DON’T WANT WHAT HAPPENED TO SUE TO HAPPEN TO ANYONE ELSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The First Christian Church has been very good to us and helped put on a beautiful funeral. The members of the church are great also.
The cards that you sent to us have been very refreshing. The kind words that have been said would make Sue so happy. Of course a lot of you have been sending cards to Sue all along. Especially a few of you that have sent cards to Sue whenever you felt she needed one. Thank you for your kind words.
It was very comforting to see so many of you at the funeral. I was asked about how many would be there. I don’t know… Well there were very many. If you missed the funeral I am sorry. I have been to some that were just real sad and boring. At this funeral the two pastors were great and all the kind words from those of you who went up to speak or sent something for us to say out loud made it awesome!
Of course the icing on the cake for the day was the wonderful and delicious ending at Swiss Park. I have been telling everyone about this beautiful place!!! Thank you to the Burkhardts for making that possible.
We will be making a Memorial Web page (it came with the package at the mortuary) for Sue. And when it is up we will let you know…there will be a place for tributes. There will also be pictures and a biography.
I have been with Sue since October 1976! Just about 26 years and our 23 third wedding anniversary would have been August 25th 2002!
I love and loved her more than anyone could know. It will be tough without her and I don’t know how I could have made it so far without your support.
Thank you, LOVE Howard

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