Susan Neff Susan M Neff

First post: Apr 4, 2020 Latest post: Apr 18, 2021
Welcome to Susan's Caring Bridge Site - Thank you for visiting and we encourage you to leave a note for Sue which we’ll be sure to read to her. 

The Back Story:  
Last September, after noticing a fast-growing lump on her upper thigh, Susan was diagnosed with an Undifferentiated Soft Tissue Sarcoma.   This is a relatively rare type of cancer and its root causes are generally unknown.  Per the Mayo Clinic's website, here is the general description:  Undifferentiated pleomorphic sarcoma (UPS) is a rare type of cancer that begins mostly in the soft tissues of the body.  Soft tissues connect, support, and surround other body structures.  UPS usually occurs in the arms or legs. The name undifferentiated pleomorphic sarcoma comes from the way the cancer cells appear under the microscope.  Undifferentiated means the cells don't look like the body tissues in which they develop.  The cancer is called pleomorphic because the cells grow in multiple shapes and sizes.

Treatment began immediately with 5 weeks of daily radiation, with the goal of shrinking the tumor, so it could be surgically removed.  Unfortunately, the tumor did not shrink sufficiently to be removed, and a subsequent scan showed that not only did that tumor not shrink, the cancer had become metastatic, with small tumors appearing in her lungs, abdomen, and lymph nodes.  This was particularly disconcerting because this type of cancer tends not to be lymphatic-friendly, and we had high hopes that the cancer would remain in the original tumor, and not spread.   The plan quickly shifted to an aggressive regimen of chemotherapy with a drug called Doxil.  After 2 months, this therapy was determined not to be deterring the cancer's spread, and we moved to the next one, Gemzar.  Mom tolerated this one a bit better, but after about 6 weeks, we ran into new complications, and another scan showed additional tumor growth.   We are now on Chemo #3, an oral Chemotherapy, called Pazopanib / Votrient which we started last week.    Over the past 2 weeks, she has had a series of complications which have required two separate hospital stays.  As of today (4/4/2020), she remains at the U of M Hospital in very stable condition, awaiting transfer to the Fairview Transitional Care Unit (TCU) for rehap and to get her strength back so we can bring her back home to continue the fight. 

If you're reading this, you likely know Sue (mom/Nana) well.  And if you do, you know her to be a bright, funny, and extremely extroverted,  with more friends and people who love her than anyone else I've ever met.  The irony that she is ill, and being hospitalized, during the Covid-19 Pandemic where human interaction is most severely limited, is searing.  As her next of kin and only daughter, I'm not even allowed to see her.   While thankful for the technology that can keep us somewhat connected,  we pray for a quick recovery from this pandemic so we can all be together again.