I want to thank everyone for being a part of my cancer fighting team! I value above all things, my faith in Jesus. But without your support and most of all your friendship, I couldn't fight this battle! No matter how long I have known you; co-worker, friend, casual acquaintance or family, I love you all and need you by my side even more as I finish out my earthly walk.
Most of you know I had two major events happen in early 2018, I was blessed with my first grandchild, Ethan, on January 28th and was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer 9 days later. I will never forget the phone call from my doctor on February 7th. I was sitting at the airport about to board a plane to see Ethan for the first time, Those words still haunt me - "the scan shows cancer". It's like the wind was sucked right out of me! How can this be? We were looking for gall stones and found cancer. After I got off the phone with my doctor I cried, prayed for strength and pushed forward with my 2 1/2 hour flight to Dallas. My excitement to see Ethan and my faith kept me going! It was amazing to hold and see Ethan for the first time - they say the love of a grandchild is different and it is! It is the best feeling... also seeing your child holding their child...words cannot express it. Amazing!
After my return from Texas reality set in and a few doctor appointments later, I would have a simple wedge resection to remove the top portion of my left lung with the cancer at the end of February. Praying this would be the end of the cancer by taking it out, I would have a little Chemo for 3 months and be good to go. Well, God had other plans for me. When the surgeons opened me up they found stage 4 cancer scattered throughout the lining between chest wall and lung. The only option for the surgeon was to remove the top portion of my lung and leave the stage 4 cancer in the lining. After numerous rounds of Chemo, the scans given in late June showed the cancer was back two-fold and now it was outside the lung. Cancer is a smart foul thing and somehow figured out a way around the chemotherapy. Biopsy on new cancer and one round of Immunotherapy later, here we are with no good options left to treat the cancer. Only option is heavy doses of chemo and will not cure it. The downside is the Immunotherapy as it opened the flood gates regarding my Rheumatoid arthritis. It was controlled for over the years with medication, but do to chemo, I could no longer take - To say I am in constant pain is an understatement - walking, getting dressed and even opening a door knob is unbearable every morning , You go to sleep with pain medications but they wear off during the night. But hey, let's look at the positive side of all this pain...I now have a handicap sticker! Let me tell you, parking close to the door at Walmart has never been more enjoyable! Rain or shine, I am just a stones throw away from getting those great deal!
Thanks for reading my story of how I have arrived to where I am today. The short of it is, I have decided to just live!! No more treatments! It will just make my life miserable - worse than what I have already experienced already. So with this decision made, I am going to make my time left on earth memorable, as pain free as possible and full of FUN! Keeping my attitude positive, surround myself with good friends and family, and just live life to its fullest! Whose with me!?
My motto is " Embrace Life" and stay Strong and Courageous in the fight. I also believe as Steve Jobs quoted - "material things lost can be found, but there is one thing that can never be found when it is lost - "Life". " Love this! My wish for you all as you come along on my journey, is you too will live like there is no tomorrow on earth. Treasure your family, your spouse and love your friends... Above all treat yourself well. Cherish all the good times you can now. Whichever stage in life you are in right now, we will all face the day when the curtain on earth comes down. Remember is doesn't matter if 1) you carry $20 or $200 in your wallet - money is all the same 2) you drive an expensive car or a used car, the road will get us all to the same destination 3) or if the size of your home is 900 sq ft or 3500 sq ft. True happiness comes from within through faith and not from the material things of the world.
I am truly blessed to have lived a full life...granted some of you are thinking "I can't believe she lived this long" with all the crazy things I did when I was younger! And you know who you are. But seriously, I know where I will be when I reach the end of the road and I can't wait to get there. Jesus will be waiting for me! Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." It is because of this, the fear is gone and I can just live like I have no tomorrow.
Please come along for my journey. I hope you will feel inspired to live your best life by reading about the ups and downs of this roller coaster ride I am on. Hugs, kisses and love to all who join my ride!
Susan Mary Gunderson passed away on Saturday, March 30, 2019 at Our Lady of Peace Hospice in St. Paul, Minnesota. Sue was born on February 10, 1964 in Rochester, MN to Clair and Mary Danielson. Sue joined siblings at home; Terry Lynn, Julie Ann, and Chris Allen joined later in 1965. Sue was raised in Rochester, MN. Following high school, she moved to Wisconsin and attended UW-Eau Claire. In Aug 1988, she married Matt Gunderson, and moved back to Burnsville, MN. Sue gave birth to her daughter Amanda Mary on January 12, 1989 and Joshua Louis on June 24,1990.
The family moved to Texas to raise their children. In January 2011 Sue moved back to MN for a job opportunity and remained in MN until her death.
Sue enjoyed her family and friends and was thrilled to become a grandmother to Ethan Gunderson in 2018.
Sue was preceded in death by her father, Clair and her brother-in-law, Ken.
Sue is survived by her mother, Mary, and her children Amanda and Joshua (Jesabel) her grandson, Ethan, her siblings, Terry, Julie, Chris (Emilee), and numerous nieces and nephews.
Memorial contributions honoring Sue’s legacy can be made to Inheritance of Hope, a charity that serves families facing the loss of a parent: www.InheritanceOfHope.org . Or Inheritance of Hope, P.O.Box 90, Pisgah Forest, NC 28768
The memorial service will be held on Tuesday, April 2nd at Community of Joy Lutheran Church. Visitation will start at 10am and the service will begin at 11am.
Community of Joy Lutheran Church 4015 Northview Terrace Eagan, MN 55123