Survivorship - Suzanne's Story

From M. D. Anderson Cancer Center
Duration: 02:26

Narrator:
In 1998, Suzanne was diagnosed with breast cancer. She received treatment in the small Pennsylvania town that she called home.

Suzanne:
I remember the day that my last chemo was done, I was both thrilled, but frightened, like now what? Now what happens to me, I just, what, what do I do?

Narrator:
3 years later, Suzanne moved to Houston and took a job at M. D. Anderson. She started a support group for employees who are cancer survivors.

Suzanne:
Every survivor needs and wants different things, but there are some commonalties around the idea that you know living with cancer is a different way of life than living without cancer. I mean it changes your life. The diagnosis changes your life, and in some ways for the better. I mean I don’t want to sound idiotic about it, but I don’t think I’m the only person who has said things like, it really made me wake up and see what’s important, and made me reprioritize some things. You know I think those of us who have had cancer and work here bring a particular passion to our jobs. I now that I certainly do, because you know why you’re here. You can’t ever forget why you’re here not that you really could anyway, but you can’t forget what you’re doing here, and who your customers are, and what your mission is. Even for newly diagnosed patients and people going through treatment to be able to see that light at the end of the tunnel, I’m going to be a survivor, and I’m not going to disappear from the M. D. Anderson umbrella. There are going to be programs for me when I’m living with cancer not just when I’m being treated for cancer, can really probably make the treatment experience more gratifying. Oh, they expect me to survive, and it’s as much a part of my cancer experience as the diagnosis and treatment. I’m delighted that M. D. Anderson is focusing on survivorship as much as treatment and research and diagnosis, I mean that’s why we’re here, to make cancer history. Well if you do that, then people survive - with cancer, and they need stuff too, because their lives have changed.