Dr. Susan Love is Back in Action

Below is the statement from Dr. Susan Love about her returning after going through treatment for leukemia. I was very excited that on January 10th, because I am a volunteer, I joined Dr. Susan Love and the Community Engagement Team at the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation for an interactive, informative webinar to learn more about the Foundation, its signature Army of Women Program, and mobilizing the community to help create a future without breast cancer!

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For me it was so exciting to hear her voice . I am so used to her being at so many breast cancer events and I missed her. I was also pleased that when I asked her “Although I am very excited about the deadline to end breast cancer in 2020, what is being done to help the metastatic community now?” She expressed that it was an important question and went in to some details about advances being made in the metastatic setting especially in relation to molecular profiling and understanding why it occurs. There is still so much work to do especially when it comes to metastatic breast cancer.

If you don’t know about Dr. Susan Love’s Foundation please click on the links below to learn more. You don’t have to have had breast cancer to join. In fact many of the studies are for women who have not had breast cancer, so please take a look and see if you can join to help!
LINKS FOR INFORMATION:
Dr. Susan Love’s statement about her return:

Back in Action

By On Wednesday, January 16, 2013 · 70 Comments

First of all I want to announce, fanfare please, that I am back to work at the Foundation!  I am feeling stronger every day with my new bone marrow and very short hair.  If I were to encapsulate in one word what my recent experience with leukemia has inspired, I would have to say impatience. I have talked for years about the collateral damage that patients experience from cancer treatments and now I know them first hand.  They are not acceptable!

While we all want a cure, we have to focus collectively on finding the cause!  I have come back to work with new energy focused on research strategies going forward that can have an immediate impact on women’s lives and move  us closer to finding the cause and true prevention! I told you I was impatient!  Stay tuned, as we will need all of you in the Army of Women and Health of Women Study (HOW) study to participate as we move forward!

Help_Button_4678245While out on leave, my team at the Foundation has been steadfast in their efforts to introduce our innovative research projects.  We launched our Bacterial and Viral Diversity Study in collaboration with Delphine Lee MD at the John Wayne Cancer Institute this November. This is a very exciting exploratory study to see if a virus or bacteria could cause breast cancer.  We have already begun out sample collections at the Foundation.  We are collecting fluid from the ducts of Army of Women volunteers and  characterizing all of the non-human DNA we can find.  Then, we will match it to known viruses and bacteria and see who is there!  This is the first step to determine whether breast cancer could be caused by a virus or bacteria.  I’m thrilled to be back doing research and to have this exciting project underway.  Updates to come!

How Breast Cancer Has Changed My Life

breast-cancer-treatingWhen I got breast cancer I thought I would go through my treatment, get cured and go back to my normal life.  My primary treatment with breast cancer happened in 2005 consisting of a lumpectomy, chemotherapy and radiation. In February 2007, my doctors found a local recurrence caught early, yet it kept my breast cancer with me because  I ended up having so many breast surgeries. I started having a bilateral mastectomy with tissue expanders to implants, and I am still going through completing my reconstruction because of many complications due to my radiated breast.

The truth of the matter is my life changed completely. I left Los Angeles and went to live in Tennessee after my recurrence so I could be closer to my family, only to have my father die of pancreatic cancer and my brother get sick and die of esophageal cancer. Luckily I have my mom, my sister, my nieces and nephews, plus awesome friends.

volunteerimagesWhile in Tennessee I volunteered at the Vanderbilt Ingram Cancer Center in the chemotherapy infusion center to try to help others going through chemotherapy. I also volunteered with the American Cancer Society at the Hope Lodge where people too far away from the hospitals in Nashville stayed for free at a beautiful Lodge with other cancer patients, so they could get treatment for cancer.

I returned to live in Los Angeles after my brother died and his family left Nashville, where my best friend Lila was starting to show signs that her breast cancer was progressing rapidly. She died five months later. People have told me I have intuitive instincts about where to live. I have been fortunate to end up living where I am needed the most.

The biggest change within me is that I find small problems not worth fixating on since life is too short and important. I try to live each day to the fullest since I realize now that we will never know when it will be our time. I am grateful that I lived through my treatment and that now I can believe I am cancer free, but one never really knows. In the back of my mind I am always wondering whether it will come back, perhaps because I have so many friends who are in that situation.

I feel devoted to breast cancer issues as well as my breast cancer advocacy. I surround myself with mostly other survivors because I feel most connected with them. I also joined a support group which used to have eight women till  Lila died from breast cancer and now we are seven. We meet once a month at one of the members houses depending upon who hosts for the month.

As a result of this horrible disease, I have met so many interesting people who have enriched my life in so many ways. I have to accept that I am right where I belong, and I have this wonderful opportunity with my non-profit company to help the lives of people affected by breast cancer.

For more information about my non-profit company “Advocates for Breast Cancer”, read “About Us”.