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22 Year Breast Cancer Survivor

Updated on June 17, 2019


Being diagnosed with cancer has to be one of the most devastating, debilitating, and depressing things you hear about from a healthcare professional. It does not mean however that you are going to die. When you are first diagnosed, at least for me that is, I can remember the fear I felt. Then I got mad and started asking questions such as, Why me, Why now. I am sure most people ask the same questions and feel that it is just not fair, and it isn’t fair at all. People always ask me how did you deal with it. My answer to this question is, think positive. This is not always easy to do but I truly believe that by doing so you will have a stronger chance to survive.

Thinking Positive When Diagnosed with Cancer

I just recently found a very interesting article about positive thinking and cancer and how thoughts and moods can affect the way in which the white cells defend or not defend. If you would like to read the article it can be found at New Approaches to Cancer (through positive self-help).

Cancer Support Groups

Support Makes All the Difference with Cancer

Having a cancer support group whether it is through family and friends or from a local community health group, center or church can be very helpful for those that are coping with cancer.

There are many online groups that one can join. MyLifeLine and The Pink Daisy Project are two of the many wonderful supportive sites.

My Motto

Hang in there, think positive, and FIGHT will all your might!

Live each day as if it were your last.

Hang in there, think positive and fight with all your might!


Will To Live

Never give up

Never give in

Fight for your life

You have to win

Don’t let this disease take you away

Stay here and live day after day

Some days it will be hard to think positive

But you have to if you are going to win

You will feel sick I will not lie

You may feel pain but it will subside

You must go on and live each day

Fight for your life in every way

This may be hard to do right now

Think of yourself as a survivor…I do

Get up each day and live your life

Don’t think of death put those thoughts away

I will beat cancer

I will live

I will not give in

It will not defeat me


© 2011 Susan Zutautas


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    • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Zutautas 

      8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Hi Peg, Sorry that your sister had to go through this too but I'm happy to hear that her outcome was good. Thank you so much.

    • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Zutautas 

      8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Brenda, What a great share that is about the boys soccer team. Thanks so much for telling me this .... makes me feel good knowing this.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 

      8 years ago from North Dallas, Texas

      This was such an inspiration, Susan. I'm so glad to have found your hub this morning when I signed in. It is a life altering day when you first hear this diagnosis. My sister called me the day she found out. She is a survivor since 1999. Thank God for that. It truly does alter relationships and life view of all that this disease touches. I'm so glad for your positive outlook and positive outcome. Your words will serve as encouragement to so many others. GBY. Peg

    • Hyphenbird profile image

      Brenda Barnes 

      8 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

      Hi Susan. I am so happy to know you are still healthy and strong. So many people work hard to support people going through treatment and also survivors. I have to you something. Just yesterday a young friend (13 years old) was playing football and wearing pink socks. When asked about the pink, he said his entire team is wearing pink socks, helmets, and I think jerseys all month. That made me feel so proud of those boys. Having done this they will forever carry an understanding of the pain women face when fighting cancer. Be blessed!

    • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Zutautas 

      10 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Movie Master, Thank you so much.

    • Movie Master profile image

      Movie Master 

      10 years ago from United Kingdom

      Thank you Susan for sharing your story, your poem is beautiful and your words will be an inspiration to us all.

      Thank you.

    • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Zutautas 

      10 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Sharyn, That is fantastic that your boss beat cancer with humor. Thanks so much for sharing this and for your wonderful comments.

    • Sharyn's Slant profile image

      Sharon Smith 

      10 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

      Thank you so much for sharing your story Susan. One story that touched me from many years ago is a boss that I had who was diagnosed with cancer in his mid 30's and given 6 months to live. He fought his battle with HUMOR. So much that, as he continued to survive, he gave inspirational seminars on the healing effects of humor. He's is well today and in his mid 60's now. Thank you for this touching hub - best wishes!


    • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Zutautas 

      10 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Heather, I just went and read your hub "Can You Sum Your Life Up In Six Words". Thank you so much for your comments and sharing what you have endured. So nice to meet you and always happy to know another survivor.

    • Heather McMillan profile image

      Heather McMillan 

      10 years ago from Hampton, VA

      I am almost a 12 year survivor and my mom is a two time survivor. Although I had a great attitude during the treatment, it was hard for me because I was 24 at the time, single, no insurance, and having both breast removed and in a small town where there was very little support. I was not able to get reconstruction because it was not considered necessary, no drugs to help with side effects of chemo, and although my sister did all she could the rest of my family was 1500 miles away. It has taken a lot of years to get over some of the bitterness because I was just looked at as a freak, a statistic of wow young age. No one knew what to do or how to help. No Cancer Society around to help, I had no choice but to smile, get through the pain, and get to the other side. Its only now that I see my experience is now a gift to inspire. Its only now that I can even take the word up survivor, for to many years I would not even discuss it, let alone want to read about someone else. Denial if you will. Glad to see you able to beat this as well. I am going to read your other stuff.

    • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Zutautas 

      10 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      RH, How true that is "You just never know". I suppose my time was just not up yet, and I was determined to make sure it wasn't up yet. Thanks so much for your support and friendship.

      Ruby, In many cases cancer is not a death sentence anymore, and hopefully a cure will be found for all cancers. Thanks so much for your comments, they are always appreciated.

    • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Zutautas 

      10 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      thebluestar, Thanks so much for your wonderful comments.


    • thebluestar profile image

      Annette Donaldson 

      10 years ago from Northern Ireland

      Hi Lora, How are you darlin. It takes a very brave and strong person to cope with such a horrendous illness in such a powerful way. My mother fought her breast cancer for seven long and lonely years when I was small. But I remember in awe of her strength of character. I don't know what you feel my friend, but I do appreciate your courage. Much love. x

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      10 years ago from Southern Illinois

      Thank you for sharing your story Susan. It's no longer a death notice to be told that you have cancer. I've seen many survive cancer with chemo and radiation TX. I lost my Dear Sister Bea with brain cancer. Hopefully someday all cancers can be treated. I know that having a positive outlook is crucial. Loved your article. Very informative. Thank you.

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 

      10 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Susan - for being the dynamite person you are - a true survivor with guts! While I totally understand the devastation - you were strong and resisted the urge to give in to it! The Major died of cancer - docs told him he had less than 6 months to live - oat cell (small cell). My sister and mom and I rallied together and took care of him at home - guess what? He got better - he lived for 5 more years! And they were happy years too - we had a lot of fun and we didn't give in to feelings of hopelessness. His doc said he was the patient that had survived the longest by far at that time with his type of cancer. You just never know!! Good for you Susan too for continuing to help others through your experience:)

    • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Zutautas 

      10 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      nightbear & Chatkath, Thank you both so much.

    • Chatkath profile image


      10 years ago from California

      Thank you so much Susan for your positive outlook - luckily I find it contagious and I truly believe that it is also very healing. I am glad that you shared this story, you are an inspiration for us all, whatever demons we face in life, a positive attitude promotes survival! Up, useful & beautiful!

    • WillStarr profile image


      10 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona


      A 'win', is adding additional years, not defeating death altogether. I'm sad that your outlook is so depressed.

    • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Zutautas 

      10 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Daffy Duck, I thought of myself as a survivor from the start of cancer. It was how I dealt with it. That is why in the poem above I write: This may be hard to do right now Think of yourself as a survivor…I do.

      I am fortunate to live in Canada and all my surgeries and treatments were covered through Ontario Health Plan Insurance and through a medical plan that I had where I was working at the time. Yes I agree with you that the expenses could devastate someone without any medical insurance.

    • nightbear profile image

      Susan Kaul 

      10 years ago from Michiagn, USA

      You are a wonderful example of what to do as a survivor and becoming one. I think you are terrific.

    • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Zutautas 

      10 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Cardisa, Thank you so much! I am very glad that I met you as well.

      miccimom, Thank you for the wonderful comments, I do appreciate them.

      Dave, Thanks for stopping by to read this.

      Pamela, Thanks so much for your comments.

      Bill, And I am so happy that you too are still here :)

    • WillStarr profile image


      10 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      I too am a survivor...nearly 15 years. I still contend with the treatment aftermath, but I'm here!

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      10 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Being a 20 years survivor is fantastic. I agree with your message as the will to live and fight is most important with any serious disease. Rated awesome!

    • Uninvited Writer profile image

      Susan Keeping 

      10 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

      Luckily both Susan and I live in a country with socialized medicine. It doesn't pay for everything and i also had insurance through work. But i was very happy i lived in Canada when i was diagnosed.

    • Daffy Duck profile image

      Daffy Duck 

      10 years ago from Cornelius, Oregon

      Your remark is interesting: "to think of yourself as a cancer survivor" even though treatments are just beginning.

      Also it's interesting that your thinking can affect white blood cell activity. Could that also be a reason why people who can easily afford treatments seem to do better (at least in the news) than poor people? having money problems is hard enough, but to have cancer and then the expenses of treatment can be devestating to someone's positive thinking, especially in these times.

      Love the hub!

    • Cardisa profile image

      Carolee Samuda 

      10 years ago from Jamaica

      I must say how honored I am to know you, at least through HP. I am also proud of you, that you have experienced such trauma and have remained positive through it. You are an inspiration to many and I admire you a lot.

    • Dave Mathews profile image

      Dave Mathews 

      10 years ago from NORTH YORK,ONTARIO,CANADA

      Susan nicely done. Thank you!

    • miccimom profile image


      10 years ago from U.S.A

      It is good to read about cancer survivors and people like you that are positive throughout the scary road of recovery. It is true that one day we will all eventually pass, but it is the journey here on earth that matters. If you were put on this earth to be a role model to current, or future cancer patience, then I beleive in some way that is a great role to have. It takes great people sometimes in this world to carry the burden of pain to help make a difference for even one person that is going through a sickness. Voted up! Voted Awesome!

    • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Zutautas 

      10 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      anon, Sorry that you did not like this hub. If I had of given up when I was 29 and not fought I really do not think that I would be alive today. Then I fought again when I was 33. I am now 53 years old and happy to be alive. Yes inevitably we all will die at some point.

      Minnetonka, Yes thank God for every beautiful day and for wonderful people like you. Thank you so much for your comments and so nice to see you again.

      kims, Well I suppose everyone has a right to their own opinion. Thanks for stopping by to read this. :)

    • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Zutautas 

      10 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Uninvited Writer, It is always so nice to hear from other survivors. I remember how good I felt when I hit the ten year mark. Thanks for your comments.

      A.A., Positive thinking goes a long way in many life situations. Thanks for reading and for your comments.

      vwriter, I wish your sister in law all the best. It is good to have a supportive group as I too believe it makes a world of difference.

      L.L. Thank you.

      dahoglund, My dad had colon surgery and as I recall he just carried on without giving it much of a thought. Thank you for your comments.

      Born2care, I agree having a positive attitude in many of life's situations does help. Thank you for your comments.

      barbergirl, I have a cousin that is fighting breast cancer right now. She has a young child and I think that she is fighting the same way that I did. She just had her last chemo and is about to go for surgery. She is on my mind all the time right now.

      It is hard to see family members going through any illness. Thanks so much for your support and your comments.

    • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Zutautas 

      10 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      marellen, I did my share of crying and being upset but at some point I said to myself what good will come of crying. I lost my mother to cancer when I was 2. My Aunt died of breast cancer but I suppose I had it in my mind that I would beat it somehow. Thanks so much for your comments.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Geez - "anon" makes me depressed. Was that comment really necessary?

    • Minnetonka Twin profile image

      Linda Rogers 

      10 years ago from Minnesota

      Susan-This hub was so inspiring, including your beautiful poem. As a survivor of lung cancer, I can relate to so much of what you talked about, like: the fear that comes over you at the beginning of a diagnosis. I finally got mad too and then did what I had to do with gratitude. Chemo, radiation and surgery wasn't easy but I felt blessed there was a treatment to help me in the fight. I am now seven years cancer-free and thank God for every beautiful day I'm here. Thanks for the great hub Susan :-)

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      I don't like this Hub. You say platitudes like "Never give up", "I will win". But of course this is wrong. You - like everyone else - will eventually die. It's just a matter of when, and from what.

      People need to come to terms with their own mortality, and their own impending death. Death is the natural result of all lives.

    • barbergirl28 profile image

      Stacy Harris 

      10 years ago from Hemet, Ca

      Cancer has been in my family. It is a big threat. My Grandma had breast cancer and had to have a masectomy. I was too young to understand it at the time. My aunt however battled cancer for 15 years. She was a survivor. But, even though she did survive for awhile, it came back with a vengeance later on. She passed away at a young age. Didn't even get to see 50. My Grandpa also died about 5 years ago from Cancer. They caught it to late, and by that time he only had 4 months to live.

      Cancer is devestating, but, I do believe in positive thoughts to help fight any disease. I am grateful that you are a survivor! Thank you for writing this. I can only imagine how difficult it could have been. Stay strong! And Great hub!

    • Born2care2001 profile image

      Rev Bruce S Noll HMN 

      10 years ago from Asheville NC

      Great Hub Susan!

      I would like to add that the positive attitude you demonstrated to survive is the same attitude that we can use to change our lives and in many cases prevent this health issue!

      There is significant evidence that small changes in our habits (including what and how we think) can have dramatic effects on our lives!

      You, are living proof!

      Thank You!

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 

      10 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      When I had cancer the first time ten years ago I basically didn't have tiem to think about it.I went in for a colon exam and told I had a large tumor. I was admitted to the hospital and went into surgery a couple of days later.You are doing the right thing in being determined to go on living.

    • L.L. Woodard profile image

      L.L. Woodard 

      10 years ago from Oklahoma City

      Congratulations to you on being a 20-year cancer survivor. I'm certain your attitude and drive went a long way toward victory over the disease. Thanks for sharing your experience; who knows how many people may be positively impacted because of it.

    • vwriter profile image


      10 years ago from US

      Great article, and I am glad you are a 20-year survivor. My sister-in-law has just been diagnosed with ovarian cancer and she's just starting chemo. Everyone around her is supportive and keeping her positive. We don't sugar coat anything, but then again, we've all told her dying is not an option. Everyone needs a strong support system when they have this disease.

    • A.A. Zavala profile image

      Augustine A Zavala 

      10 years ago from Texas

      I had no idea. I'm deathly afraid of the disease. However, I know that a positive attitude is the key in defeating the condition.

    • Uninvited Writer profile image

      Susan Keeping 

      10 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

      I'm glad to hear you are a 20-year survivor. I am a 13 year survivor myself. I agree, positive thinking does help. It got me through the year of chemo and radiation.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      I'm glad that you are a survivor. My Mom had breast cancer and I don't ever remember her crying or upset about it. She did whatever the doctors asked of her and had a positive attitude throughout this ordeal. I agree totally with your hub. Thank you for sharing this with us


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