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Sue Johnson to share cancer experience
#1
A few months ago Sue Johnson was diagnosed with breast cancer and at the time we at GlobalBuzz SA felt obliged to keep everything quiet and not to mention Sue's predicament out of respect.

Well our Sue Johnson has hung tough and feels that she would like to share her experiences with us and what she has been through during these tough times, as she is a strong believer that cancer can be beaten and it is not necessary a death sentence.

She has experienced a great amount of humour despite the operations she has endured and with this thread Sue hopes to inspire any others who may one day be in a similar situation.

We thank Sue for making this brave decision and we are also grateful to have such a woman of caring and compassion as one of our users

Thank you

ForumAdmin
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#2
[COLOR="Purple"]Hi Sue

Sorry to hear about your difficulty - a big hug to you! Personally I think it is very healthy for you to share it .... but I am also so aware that will get lots and lots of advice what to eat and drink, do and don't do. :haha:

Yes, the results are amazingly positive with breast cancer these days. May our Father of hope and love be with you and cover you with His love during the difficult times.

Love and blessings!

:bunch:

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#3
Sue so sorry to hear about the breast cancer but hopefully you are on the road to recovery. I wish you all the best and can guess that you have been through an awful lot in the last couple of months. You just keep hanging in there. Cancer is not necessarily a death sentence and I believe a positive mind is as essential as the medical treatment. Of course if you want to rant at the world feel free to, if you want PM me and shout, please do so.

All the best and here's a big :hugs: from me
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#4
Sue the best of luck with your battle ahead, you will be in my thoughts and prayers.

As has already been said, you can fight this thing called cancer.
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#5
Evening everyone and thank you for the opportunity to share with you yet another part of my journey.

Where to begin????????

At the beginning I suppose.....I am a survivor! I have survived my boobs being trapped between two metal plates, I have survived a long needle blasted into the depth of my left boob and extracting my flesh....:rofl: I have even survived trying to find a one boobed dress fro a special occaision:innocent:

So, let me begin by sharing some updates I have sent to family and friends to lure them into the world of big suprises:-

*********************************************************

Dear family and friends

Again, my apologies for sending a 'group' email. It seems so impersonal but it's the only way at the moment to let everyone know what is happening in this gal's life.

I visited the Oncologist today to discuss the treatment plan based on the findings during surgery.

Histology:
I have a stage 2 cancer and there was a tumour in the lymph node which they refer to as metastatic which basically means the cancer has spread from the initial site into the lymph and onwards.

So, there are a number of stages I need to go through firstly to contain the cancer and stop further spread by killing off all the current cancer cells where ever they have decided to camp out in my body, then to make sure that in the next five years, I am taking treatment to block any further new cells from forming. So this is what will be happening:

1. They need to establish if the cancer has spread to my bones. So I am booked in for a full body scan tomorrow morning at 8.30am at Entabeni Hospital. The cost can you believe is R3500.00! They will inject me with an isotope which then has to be absorbed into the bones which takes between 3-4hrs so I will be sitting twiddling my thumbs for the morning. Then once my bones are soaked with the stuff, I go into the large tubular body scanner and the test will pick up any spread within the bones. It might also pick up if there is any brain activity!!!!

2. The next stage is for Chemotherapy which will be for 6 sessions with three weeks in between each session to recover. Apparently the Chemo compromises my immune system so there are challenges I will need to deal with.


3. Before the Chemo can start, I need to see a heart specialist to check the state of my heart muscles to handle the Chemo. That appointment has been made for May 29th.

4. Once the Chemo is over, then whatever cancer cells were in the body will hopefully be dead.

5. The last stage is then the ongoing treatment of hormone therapy which is taken in pill form by mouth. This therapy is designed to stop any new cancer cells from developing and will continue for up to 5 years or even longer depending on my bodies response to them.

So I think within 5-6 months, I will have undergone all that can be thrown at me to give me the best chance of beating the cancer. So Gemma, I should be ready to rock and role for your 30th!!!!

I have to say this because it is how I see it. I am happy that the medical profession are throwing everything possible at me in the next 6 months. I want this thing beaten and I don't mind what I have to go through to achieve that. The Oncologist, a really lovely lady said she was very happy with my attitude and said I have the right attitude to deal with the illness. she said so many people want to fight with her and are unhappy with Chemo. I say 'bring it on'. If it get's rid of the illness.....then it was all worth it!

So thank you for your continued prayers and positive energies my way.

Sue

********************************************************


Morning Family & Friends

Thank you once again for all your prayers and positive encouragement.

I returned to the surgeon yesterday and I must admit that it was probably my lowest day so far as I was experiencing very real discomfort which the pain killers were not able to sort out.

The surgeon found a problem with swelling (a build up of fluid) around the chest and under the arm so he inserted a needle and drained the fluid. He explained to me that due to the removal of the lymph nodes (which act as drainage filters for the body) fluid was building up instead of draining normally hence the pain and discomfort.

The surgeon said I am not well enough yet to start the adjuvant therapy (treatment following surgery) so he has asked me to return to him on Monday and hopefully he can then refer me to an oncologist. Whilst I am booked off work, I am still able to work thanks to the wonders of 3G....and it's stopping me getting bored stiff :o)

The oncologist will work out a personal treatment plan for me and the surgeon in hopeful that because of the type of cancer I have, I will be a candidate for chemo/hormone in tablet form. This is known as systemic therapy which is used to reach and kill the cancer cells that have spread beyond the breast and nearby tissue via the lymph system.

So it is a case of one step at a time and listening to sound advice.

I am using my arm more and more and even baked two lots of muffins yesterday so things are looking up! :o)

Liz, I will be on the comrades table with you this year but I doubt I will be able to massage and bandage all those tired legs....but I can still shout and provide encouragement for the 17,000 runners !!!!

Take care everyone

Sue
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#6
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An early 'Good Morning'

No....I did not we the bed! I was very tired and fell asleep a 8pm and so come 3.00am....I am wide awake!

I wanted to give you the update on yesterday's test.

I had an isotope injection (low dose radiation) which is brought to you in a lead container. Once injected, you then need to drink 2 litres of water. I imagined after an injection of nuclear material I would 'glow in the dark' but no such thing :o)

Once the water and radiation material have done their stuff of coating the bones, (sounds like a recipe Grant!)you are taken into a restricted area, you lay on a bed and are strapped down do you don't move. The machine then is lowered over you and you are scanned from head to toe....a bit like a photocopier :o)

The scan has shown I do in fact have a brain, but the best news is that there has not been any spread of the cancer to my bones which was a huge relief to know. It also highlighted some bone degeneration in my left shoulder but that is normal and it just means I need to watch what I lift in future so all is well.

There are no real side effects to this treatment and the radio-active material is out of your body within 24 hours, which is probably due to all that water you are asked to drink.

So, I wait now for the heart specialist to tell me I have a heart and then my treatment will begin.

I have been shown the Chemo treatment room which is at the Hopelands Cancer Centre and it is a bit like a large lounge with high back leather arm chairs. People sit hooked up to two drips for their session of treatment. I am not sure how long the session lasts but it is probably a couple of hours.

The clinic have asked that someone accompany me on the first session and then I can go by myself. Apparently, hair loss occurs after the first session so I better get myself some warm head gear for the winter. Then I was told that my immune sysystem would begin to be attacked by the Chemo (similar to what happens to HIV inection) so,with a weaked immune system I nee to be careful who I come into contact with. So if people have colds or flu, I need to try and keep away until my immune system regains it's full capacity.

For me this is going to be difficult because many of you know, I love being with the children on builds but I am going to have to be sensible as in winter especially, so many of the little ones have runny noses with colds and some of the little ones have TB so it will be a case of trying to keep my distance during the treatment phase and I was thinking I could wear one of those masks like the nurses and doctor's do because that will help me not breathe in any germs. The other issue is of course the sun and the need to stay out of it as much as possible....how do you do that in Africa?

I thought of a plan for that too. I have a very wide brimed straw hat so I can attach a neckerchief around the brim and wear a long sleeved shirt over my arms. I will look like a bald bee keeper :o) so I can get round these challenges in one way or another because for me, the way I will get through this is to live my life as normal. To stop doing the things I love would not help me one little bit. So with a bit of creativity and adaption (and some common sense) I am sure the next six months, whilst challenging, will be just fine.

Oh...and one final piece of information, I was told that after Chemo your hair can grow back 'curly'....how's that :o)

So please continue to pray and send positive thoughts to all who are walking my walk!

Sue


**********************************************************

Good evening supporters of the GET SUE WELL club

Today I went to meet the heart specialist at Entabeni Hospital. You will all be glad to know I do have a heart, it's the right size, pumps lekker and is in the right place!

So armed with a piece of paper that said the above...or something very similar but in medical terms, off we go to Hopelands.

The room was full of people on drips!

It was a bit like going first class on an aeroplane. I was shown to my highback leather chair and given a cushion to rest my arm on, magazines were placed before me and I was asked if I was comfortable.....and this is where the plot changes (air hostesses do not stick needles into you, or at least not on the flights I have been on).

So needle in and then comes the bombardment of clear plastic bags hooked up to a frame. You are first given a saline bag, then comes the cortisone bag, followed by another saline bag. The cortisone has the effect of making you hyper active and so sleep is difficult. Anyone that knows me will know that that's normal for me!

Then comes the red bag. The sister called this the 'red devil' as this is the first of the 3 chemo cocktail and the one that makes the hair fall out 14 days after :o). It also turns the urine bright pink!

Then comes the saline once more and then the second chemo, then the saline and then the third chemo...are you getting the picture????

At the same time I am drinking copious cups of water because I want to flush this stuff out of my system as soon as possible. Once this session was over, I was given two sets of tables for nausea, one mild and one strong.

I was OK for a few hours after I got home but then at supper time, the nausea set in and the cooking smells and food made me feel worse so still downing lot's of water I succumbed and took the mild tablets. As their is no master chef on TV, I made a beeline for the computer because food preparation and people eating food is the last thing I want to see right now.

Brian is away from tomorrow for the weekend (a pre booked trip) and so I have a friend coming to be with me as the next 3 days are the 'bum' days and I have already apologised to her in advance for the mood swings they say I will experience :o)

I have been given a card for a wig maker....fancy a Tina Turner !!!! :o)

So, first session over and I am on my way to good health...one step at a time.

Thanks again for all the emails and text messages.....you will never know how great it is to receive them!

Chat soon

Sue ( A member of the chemo club!)

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So there we are.........now tune in again for the next exciting update.....Sue goes to try on wigs!!!:rofl:
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#7
[COLOR="Purple"]Oh Sue ..... lots of hugs, and lots of knee-mailing!!

My friend Jen found her wig to hot to wear.... the doekie might just do the trick.... actually that was Cheffie's advice to her! :haha: Jen's hair grew back curlier, but another young friend has the same straight hair as she had before.

Thanks for keeping us posted!!!

:bunch:

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#8
You really have been through a lot Sue but your attitude is fantastiic, please keep that up. I know you have the support of family and friends but if you need someone to talk to then please feel free to PM or e-mail me. Please do keep us updated on your progress
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#9
Hej Sue,

Just want to let you know that you're in our thoughts and prayers.

I was busy typing out a longer reply just now when Internet Explorer crashed :viking: and unfortunately lost it.

I was saying something along the lines that it was a pleasure to read your positive post as positiveness helps in mega dosis Smile

And then I was saying that if you aren't able to stay away from people, which we all know you aren't, to please always remember to wear a Michael Jackson / Japanese flu mask as they may just help to save your life.

We wish you a speedy recovery and keep up the good spirits as that helps "MEGA" lots.

:hug:

Venus and I

PS no:mrburns: for you till you're fully recovered and out of the danger zone !!!!!
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#10
This is a thread I greet with closed eyes and an open heart.

Sue,

You have a way with words. A beautiful way, and I've always enjoyed reading your thoughts on life.
I guess this is just another journey you have to make and I look forward to being there with you, and the rest. In an odd kinda way. Albeit a close 6000miles and a keyboard away.

There is inspiration to be found in the coming pages - of that I am sure. humour, laughter, fun.. and a little sadness I expect too.
I can't promise to reply to all of your posts, nor will I try. I will, however, read it, digest it and then get in touch. Sometimes on here - mostly just 'being there'. And the odd recipe adustment thrown in too Wink

We'll do cocktails again.. proper ones: One's the doctors don't reccomend, yet drink copious amounts of too. [SIZE="1"]Or maybe thats just the whole S.A.T.C vibe here in the UK right now [/SIZE]LOL!

As always and forever in my thoughts, prayers and good wishes for the times ahead
G
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