Susan Gryder



In the year of 2000 I lost my best friend, my sister Tina, at the tender age of 28 to this horrendous disease. Shortly after she was diagnosed my mother was also diagnosed with breast cancer. She was able to beat it. That lets you know that the dreaded disease is loose in my family.

As you can imagine, the panic began to spread throughout the family. The gigantic question raging through our brains was “Will I be next?” Last year in March I got my answer. I found a huge lump under my arm. Yes, I too was diagnosed with breast cancer in my right breast it was huge and already in my lymph nodes. Yes, I was having regular mammograms. But, my cancer was invisible to them. The only way they found it was with an MRI of the breast.

When they did the biopsy of the lump it was confirmed. I also had a mass in the ovarian area that was thought to possibly also be cancer. So they biopsied that as well. Three days after they sewed me up and sent me home I was rushed by ambulance back to Dallas (three hours away) The doctors called my mother and told her that I needed emergency exploratory surgery or I would die. Of course she told them to do it.

After the surgery the doctor again called my mother and told her that she needed to call in the family I might not make it through this. When I woke up (on Mothers day) I had a colonoscopy bag attached to me. The doctors had accidentally knicked my bowel when they did the biopsy. I was also told that it could be reversed after I finished my treatments of chemo and radiation.

After recovering from that it was time for the chemo. I did four treatments – one every three weeks. I lost my hair, but not my fighting spirit. Then they checked on the size of my cancer again. The doctors were shocked that I had 85 percent reduction in the breast mass but only 15 percent reduction in the lymph nodes. They just knew that it would be the other way around. (I never do things the right way.)

The doctors said that I could have a lumpectomy or breast removal. I said I WANT IT GONE – take the whole breast. So they took my breast along with 25 lymph nodes. The doctors were again amazed because usually when they cut into the breast you can see the cancer. Mine was invisible; it was not until they put it on the slides that they could identify it. All 25 lymph nodes that they removed also had cancer.

The primary surgeon basically told me to be prepared that I would probably not beat this cancer. I told my oncologist about the meeting with him. He told me to ignore what the surgeon said, and that I was being put in the survival group. That was the only acceptable answer. So I did…

When I started the chemo again, they told me that what little hair that I had would again fall out. They were wrong. I finished all four of the next chemo treatments and still had hair. Now it was time for the radiation. Let me tell you, that takes dedication. They scheduled me for 33 rounds. I had to go every day. After the first two weeks I started to burn. By the end of the third week I could not hold my arm above my head without crying, I was burned so badly.

But still we kept on faithfully fighting the battle. Another chemo patient gave me a bottle of Emu oil and told me to apply a few drops after my treatments. That was on Thursday; by Monday of the next week I could raise my arms again for the treatments without crying. I finally finished them all up and was so excited! It was time to find out whether or not I had truly beat it.

The testing done, I was sent home to wait for the results. In a few days they called me and asked me to come in. I was so nervous, but had made up my mind that no matter they said I was ok with the decision. I went in and sat there waiting for them. They called my name I remember numbly walking back. They said, “Susan, you won.” I was so shocked that I made them repeat it. This time they said that they saw no trace of cancer.

The tears of joy ran down my face and I started praying right there and thanking God for his healing powers. I am blessed and I say a prayer every night for all the other women out there that are fighting this fight.