Susan Perry Halvorsen

First post: 3/6/2017 Latest post: 7/18/2017
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Dear Friends and Family, 
As most of you know, on February 4th I was diagnosed with metastatic colon cancer.  After a month of not feeling well and losing 15 pounds, my doctor, Dr. Elisabeth Barkey, found out I was anemic through a blood test and suggested I go to the ER.  Dr. Barkey thought I may have Colitis or Chron's Disease.  I was also petty sure it could be giardia or a parasite, as I had been in Mexico over Christmas and not all of the bloodwork or stoolwork had come back from the lab yet.    
On Saturday the 4th, my dear friend Babette came to sit with me at the ER.  And has not left my side since .   After many hours of testing, I was told my diagnosis.  The shock and disbelief was overwhelming .  I was admitted to the hospital and my life has not been the same since.  I had surgery to remove the cancer mass in my colon on Feb. 9.  The surgery went well and after leaving the hospital on February 14th the plan was to have a follow up appt. with the surgeon and see my Oncologist, Dr. Teague on March 3.  Before I go on here, I just want to express my overwhelming gratitude for all of you who were able to come to the hospital and be with me during such a dark time.  Many of you were my light and my strength. My hospital room looked like a florist and all the nurses would come in just to get a whiff of the intoxicating smells. One flower arrangement took me back to Hawaii with just a whiff - such a gift when you are lying in a hospital bed day after day.  The magazines, the dog walking and sitting,  the cards, the food, the care packages, the pictures of Hawaii for my wall, the sitting and being and talking and laughing and the levity!  Yes, levity.  There were many times where I felt so lucky and happy to have such a beautiful, caring, loving circle of friends and family.  That is what really pulled me through. 
 I ended up having a 2nd hospitalization, 3 days after leaving the hospital the first time, at which time they found a blood clot in my right calf.  A complication I didn't need, but it could have been worse! And I was so fortunate to have my friend Franceen from Arizona here with me at the time. When I woke up with a 103.5 fever she got into action and I was being seen at the ER in no time.  I was also so grateful that Franceen was at my house and able to take care of my precious dog, Mei Mei.   Then there was the third ER visit .  Back to room #16 for the 3rd time!  At least it had it's own bathroom!    This visit was just this last Thursday the 2nd of March.  I  had fluid drained from my right lung which helped with my breathing and pain.  but unfortuantely, the CAT SCAN revealed that the lesions on my liver  were progressing.  My doctor agreed with me that going home was best and when I got home (thank you Chewy!) I had two high school friends waiting for me, Amy and Catharine .  Talk about feeling comforted and loved!!!!  The next day was my first oncology appt. I tested positive for  a mutation in the gene called BRAF -  these tumors are more aggressive than in cancers that don't have this mutation. The course of chemo I will be doing is called FOLFIRINOX - it is a harder chemo with more side effects, but because I am young and strong and am going to beat this - I am ready to take it on.  I will start chemo this coming Wednesday the 8th.  My goal today is to use these next several days to eat , get even stronger and get my mind in a place to take this on.  With all of your prayers, love, support, care and concern, I know I can do this. With deep gratitude and Big Hugs - All my love, Susan 

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