I missed the call from the Doctor by a SECOND

I missed the call from the Doctor by a SECOND

I actually missed the call from the Dr. by a SECOND and when we called back no answer as it was already after hours. Crazy how it’s just a small task in a doctors day and conversely it was the biggest part of my day as I had held one hand on the phone all day awaiting his call. I just begged and begged for him to call back, my whole day had hinged on it… but alas I wait ’til tomorrow!
I should be back on track soon.

I should be back on track soon.

Learning the careful balancing act of all the meds – trying to be pain free and coherent in the same day is proving to be more difficult than I expected.

The Cancer Has Spread

The Cancer Has Spread

You may have heard we did not have good news in that the cancer has spread beyond the breast and so I had to have the lymph nodes yanked as well. Still do not know what “Stage” it is but we’ll prolly know Tuesday.

This morning was very painful but the home health nurse has now come and set me up. Feeling a little better. I’m sure I’m not making any sense but I wanted to post an update and thank everyone again for such a huge outpouring of love and support and the meals.
Thank you all so much !!!
Love, Susan

Let’s DO this!

Let’s DO this!

Alright. I’m going to go pack my bag and get to bed. I’ve got cancer’s ass to kick very early in the morning and I don’t wanna be late.

Thanks everyone for your love and prayers. It’s been humbling.
Let’s DO THIS!

Thank You All!

Thank You All!

Just a note to say Thank You to everyone who has been reaching out to us lately. I finally went public and posted the news on Facebook and the outpouring of love and wishes and prayers has been humbling!

Between Facebook and here, I have heard from childhood friends (like, pre elementary school!) and  school friends, high school, college, past co-workers, friends of my parents, and even some people I don’t even know. It’s amazing.

Surgery is Wednesday, and now that Christmas has stopped hogging my attention, I am starting to fret the surgery more. I know it’s not the biggest hurdle coming up, it’s surely not going to be any more difficult than 3 cesarean deliveries I’ve done….. but still, I can’t do anything about anything ’til it’s over and done so I can’t stop thinking about it.

Just looking forward to having this behind me and getting back to my family and to work.

Thanks again, y’all. Your words and prayers are carrying me a long long way!

The News

The News

The scariest thing for me right now is the sad and untimely passing of Elizabeth Edwards. She was diagnosed with Stage 2 Breast Cancer just 6 years ago. Her death was the top story online when I first sat down to research my new diagnosis.

Six years is simply not enough time for me. Giana will be 9, Travis 13, and Christopher only 22. No way will my work be done yet! So… I’m on my way to beating breast cancer.

Elizabeth Edwards

Elizabeth Edwards

Elizabeth Edwards died of Breast Cancer this morning at her home in North Carolina.

The sad and untimely passing of Elizabeth Edwards was the top story online when I first sat down to research my new diagnosis. She was diagnosed with Stage 2 Breast Cancer just 6 years ago. 

Six years is simply not enough time for me. Giana will be 9, Travis 13, and Christopher only 22. No way will my work be done yet!

Edwards, 61, Was First Diagnosed With Breast Cancer in 2004.

Yesterday, media reported that her condition had worsened and that she had posted a message on her Facebook page that included these lines:

“I have been sustained throughout my life by three saving graces — my family, my friends, and a faith in the power of resilience and hope. These graces have carried me through difficult times and they have brought more joy to the good times than I ever could have imagined. The days of our lives, for all of us, are numbered. We know that.”

Edwards, estranged from former Senator and presidential candidate John Edwards, was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004. She spoke with WebMD about her breast cancer in May 2009.

Edwards’ Breast Cancer Story

Edwards first noticed a lump in her breast in late October 2004 while showering in a Wisconsin hotel, on the road in support of her husband, John Edwards, in his vice presidential campaign.

That lump turned out to be stage II breast cancer, which was diagnosed in November 2004, the day after the general election.

Edwards got treated for her breast cancer in 2004-2005. First came chemotherapy to shrink the size of the tumor, followed by a lumpectomy (surgery to remove the tumor while saving as much of the breast as possible) and radiation therapy.

In March 2007, Edwards hurt a rib, and after getting an X-ray and other scans she learned that her breast cancer was back as stage IV breast cancer, the most advanced stage of the disease.

Edwards’ breast cancer was in her bones, and perhaps also in her lungs and liver, though that wasn’t certain at the time. In May 2009, Edwards told WebMD that the spot in the liver was “fairly inconsequential” and the spots in the lungs “turned out to be nothing.”

Still, Edwards wrote in her 2009 memoir, Resilience, that her cancer “wasn’t leaving. Not ever.”

When cancer spreads to the bone, it’s generally considered incurable but may be treatable.

When she talked to WebMD in 2009, Edwards said that to treat her stage IV breast cancer, she took a chemotherapy drug at home, another cancer drug intravenously every two weeks, and a third drug that helps protect the bones when cancer has spread to the bones.

Even so, Edwards didn’t shy away from the fact that she could die of her cancer. And she voiced regret about not getting routine screening mammograms as often as recommended.

“I didn’t get screened the way I should have,” Edwards told WebMD in 2009. “As a result, I found out later than I could have” about the original cancer, Edwards added that not getting screened “does not change the reality. It only changes your options,” as early diagnosis can make a difference in treatment.

But throughout her treatment, Edwards emphasized her life, not her risk of death.

She was passionate about her children and health care reform, and she said she didn’t fear dying after living through the death of her first child, Wade, in a car accident in 1996, when Wade was 16.

Edwards is survived by her husband, John, her daughters, Cate and Emma Claire, and her son, Jack.

Cathey Clawson

Cathey Clawson

Cathey’s loving parents.

Catherine “Cathey” Grey Carrington Clawson, 48, died Thursday, June 17, 2010, at her home in Manteo only six months after the discovery of a primary brain tumor. Mary Blanch and Boyce Harwell’s daughter. Such good people.

Cathey was born July 7, 1961 in Chapel Hill to the late Dr. Samuel M. Carrington Jr. and to Mary Blanche Meekins Harwell. She lived and attended schools in Chapel Hill, Paris, Boulder, Houston, Manteo, Chattanooga and Rock Hill, graduating from Rock Hill High School in 1979. She earned a BA in clarinet performance from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1983 where she performed in the New Music Ensemble and was principal clarinetist in the Wind Ensemble and the University Symphony Orchestra.

Cathey lived a life filled with music, including performances with numerous groups in Cincinnati, the Community Symphony Orchestra in Charlotte, numerous wedding performances on the Outer Banks, and her favorite, the Roanoke Island Trio, with Sue Waters, violin/viola, and Lee Kearney, piano. She maintained a music studio which grew to 45 students, teaching clarinet, saxophone and piano. Cathey’s most recent employment was in human resources for the National Park Service Outer Banks Group which she called “her NPS family.” She loved working there and believed in their mission.

Cathey was a loving person that always thought of others first and herself last. She was an avid reader, devoted mother, skier, camper, traveler, and hiker. She hiked in Switzerland, the Great Smokey Mountains NP, Grand Canyon NP, Rocky Mountain NP, Red River Gorge, the Napali Coast of Kauai, the Maroon Bells NF, El Dorado NF and Mount Tallac, Klamath NF, Big Sur, Muir Woods NM, Point Reyes NS, Sunset Crater Volcano NM, Wupatki NM, Yellowstone NP, Grand Teton NP, and Glacier NP.

Cathey is survived by her husband, David Clawson; three sons, Zachary, Grey and Gage; her mother, Mary Blanche Harwell; her stepfather and second father Boyce Harwell. The family gives special thanks to the loving caregivers who made it possible for Cathey to remain in her home.

Averi Valdivieso

Averi Valdivieso

A sweet child. Only 16 years here on earth. I never met her. Her mother graciously and selflessly worked reiki miracles on me during my treatment.

From her mother’s facebook wall on the 5th anniversary of her passing:

6 years ago I had to tell my first born good-bye as she transitioned. When I look back on the night, I remember it as a magical night. Ethan and I had walked the labyrinth in the yard and the moon and stars were glowing so beautifully. It filled me with a hope that I never lost. Later that evening, it began to rain. A soft, quiet rain. A weeping of what lay ahead later that day. Ever since Averi has left us physically, I have never believed that she left me spiritually. She always finds wonderful ways for me to know she is always near. On this day, she has never disappointed me. I woke this morning to take in the glorious sunrise to remind me of her and her new life filled with light like the sun. Hannah & I had kayaked yesterday in the hopes of seeing a dolphin and didn’t see one. I told Hannah that Averi would not disappoint us tomorrow & that we would see Manatee also. We headed out this morning. My heart was set on Averi and what she was going to share with us. We came to the opening into the gulf & saw nothing, but we sat there in anticipation. Sure enough, a lone dolphin popped out of the ocean. We paddled around with it & were then delighted to the sight of a group of manatee. When we headed back into the canal, the dolphin was there and swam around us in our kayaks for the whole at least half hour we delighted in it. When we finally headed back to our place, it still stayed there. Thank you Averi for always showing me that you are near me even though I can no longer see you & touch you. It gives this grieving heart a smile to the emptiness that it can no longer physically know. I will look for your continued presence throughout this day. I miss you like crazy Averi Maylen!!!

Art Thibodeau

Art Thibodeau

Art Thibodeau

March 10, 1948 – October 14, 2008

Captain Art Thibodeau
Carolina Designs

Captain of Carolina Designs, one of my first and largest clients.

  • Father & Husband
  • Businessman
  • Genius
  • Private Plane Pilot


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Mr. Jim Tate

Mr. Jim Tate

The incredible sand sculptor of Duck. Loving husband of Ms. Lori Tate.


Taylor Harrison

Taylor Harrison

OBX Boat Builder. Cancer.
Founding force behind the Carolina Boat Builder’s Association
A wonderful boat builder, an advocate for continual education in the boat building community, and a friend to everyone.

From his daughter Mallory:
Perhaps the biggest way he taught me to find joy was after he was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. I was eighteen and had just left college to help him. Everything around me was crashing down. It was a nightmare. I went to church with him one day and couldn’t believe what I saw. He was smiling and singing as if nothing were wrong. I asked him how he managed to do that. He said it was simple; he had accepted his fate and was going to make the best of the time God was giving him here on Earth. And he did- he was happy during his last months alive. We smiled more than ever. Instead of hiding in bed like I wanted to, Dad forced me to find the joy during my hardest days.

See Taylor’s tribute on the Carolina Boat Builder’s Association website.

From the Carolina Boat Builder’s Association website:
It all started back in 2003 when the community learned that a good friend and colleague on the Outer Banks faced a very serious illness. Taylor Harrison, a talented and respected boatbuilder, was losing his battle with cancer and members of the Dare County sportfishing family were devastated.

Soon after Harrison’s death, friends John Bayliss and Mike Merritt discussed how they could help Harrison’s two teenage children, Mallory and Alex, with their educational expenses. Merritt suggested starting a scholarship fund that was funded by an offshore fishing tournament featuring boats built in Dare County.

Thanks to these efforts, the short-term goal of raising money to cover Mallory and Alex Harrison’s educational expenses had been achieved, and both children have successfully furthered their education.

After several successful tournaments, it was apparent that the efforts of our annual fundraiser needed to expand. In 2007, the Dare County Boat Builders Foundation formed in the spirit of helping families like the Taylors and beyond. Each year, the foundation will award financial aide and assistance to those who apply and qualify.

Doris Claire Ridley Bergas

Doris Claire Ridley Bergas

My Aunt Doris, my Dad’s sister. She is on the left. All three of my grandmother’s children (pictured, my father in the middle) have died of cancer.

BIRTH 15 FEB 1935 • New York City, New York
DEATH 11 NOV 1984 • Dunstable, Massachusetts

Mother of Joel and Mikey, wife of Pete Bergas.


Bob Marley

Bob Marley

Bob Marley died of cancer.

Bob Marley | Natural Mystic
6 February 1945 – 11 May 1981


Robert Nesta “Bob” Marley died on 11 May 1981 at Cedars of Lebanon Hospital in Miami (now University of Miami Hospital), aged 36. The spread of melanoma to his lungs and brain caused his death. His final words to his son Ziggy were “Money can’t buy life.”
In July 1977, Marley was found to have a type of malignant melanoma under the nail of a toe. Contrary to urban legend, this lesion was not primarily caused by an injury during a football match that year, but was instead a symptom of the already-existing cancer. Marley turned down his doctors’ advice to have his toe amputated (which would have hindered his performing career), citing his religious beliefs, and instead the nail and nail bed were removed and a skin graft taken from his thigh to cover the area.

Despite his illness, he continued touring and was in the process of scheduling a world tour in 1980. The album Uprising was released in May 1980. The band completed a major tour of Europe, where it played its biggest concert to 100,000 people in Milan. After the tour Marley went to America, where he performed two shows at Madison Square Garden in New York City as part of the Uprising Tour. Marley’s last concert occurred at the Stanley Theater (now called The Benedum Center For The Performing Arts) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on 23 September 1980.

Just two days earlier he had collapsed during a jogging tour in Central Park and was brought to hospital where he learned that the cancer had spread to his brain. Shortly afterwards, Marley’s health deteriorated as the cancer had spread throughout his body. The rest of the tour was cancelled and Marley sought treatment at the Bavarian clinic of Josef Issels, where he received an alternative cancer treatment called Issels treatment partly based on avoidance of certain foods, drinks, and other substances.

After fighting the cancer without success for eight months Marley boarded a plane for his home in Jamaica. While Marley was flying home from Germany to Jamaica, his vital functions worsened. After landing in Miami, Florida, he was taken to the hospital for immediate medical attention. Marley died on 11 May 1981 at Cedars of Lebanon Hospital in Miami (now University of Miami Hospital), aged 36. The spread of melanoma to his lungs and brain caused his death. His final words to his son Ziggy were “Money can’t buy life.”

Marley received a state funeral in Jamaica on 21 May 1981, which combined elements of Ethiopian Orthodoxy and Rastafari tradition. He was buried in a chapel near his birthplace with his guitar. Jamaican Prime Minister Edward Seaga delivered the final funeral eulogy to Marley, declaring: “His voice was an omnipresent cry in our electronic world. His sharp features, majestic looks, and prancing style a vivid etching on the landscape of our minds. Bob Marley was never seen. He was an experience which left an indelible imprint with each encounter. Such a man cannot be erased from the mind. He is part of the collective consciousness of the nation.”

sources listed here

Doris Claire Ridley Bergas

Joan Ridley Wasmuth

My Aunt Joan, my Dad’s sister. She is on the right.  All three of my grandmother’s children (pictured, my father in the middle) have died of cancer.

Aunt Joan was my cousin Mary Susan’s mom.
(Mary Susan if you are reading this please contact me! I have been looking for you for years!)