I talked to my friend Suzanne Lindley this week to congratulate her on yet another year of living with metastatic colon cancer and advocating for others who have liver issues. Suzanne was featured in the Summer, 2010
issue in a story about living with metastatic disease.
Diagnosed at age 31 in 1998, Lindley has long outlived her prognosis. I am always amazed by people, like Suzanne, who spend every waking moment helping others when they are going through chemo and dealing with their own disease. This includes Suzanne, who was told she had six months to live, but continues on and on. Not that it has been easy. Chemotherapy after chemotherapy, radiation, radioemolization, Suzanne has done them all.
But she still found time to found a group to help those facing liver mets called YES
She and her husband Ronnie decided to move to a small town shortly after she was diagnosed because, she decided, if she only had six months left she wanted to be in the country with her horses and where her girls could make memories for after she was gone.
Well, today, her girls are grown. They are still close because this is a family that stays close, and besides, the girls, Karlie and Katie, want to be around to help with their little sister Chloe, who Suzanne and Ronnie adopted a few years ago. They had provided a home for Chloe when she was a baby and, well, it was just the thing to do when Chloe needed a full-time, forever home.
Suzanne has taken the summer off from traveling around the world educating patients about the options when they have liver involvement. She went to Disneyland with her mom, and 13 other family members (From CancerLand to DisneyLand
). They had fun, which everyone needed. Especially Suzanne.
Ronnie and Suzanne Lindley at the beach showing off a new version of her favorite word, "HOPE."
2013 has been a tough year for her. Her mom went through breast cancer, and she has seen too many close friends face new challenges in their struggle. She works with patients, now friends,from around the country on finding the latest treatment to stay alive. During our phone call, I heard, You've got Mail
no less than 15 times.
They will all hear back from her with ideas for another treatment or another story of another patient who thought it was the end.
Or she will just call to give them a bright moment of caring from someone who has definitely been there.
Suzanne was 31 when she was given six months to live. Now she is 46 and holding on. The woman who hid in the bathroom on her first visit to Capitol Hill for a policy day with LiveSTRONG now speaks to hundreds at a time.
It reminds me of the T-shirt that says: God never gives us more than we can handle, and I am so far behind, I will never die.