I began October’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month coaching and assisting my friend and “cancer-vivor” with her public appearances and book signings. She is an amazing woman with an amazing story of strength in the face of her trials with breast cancer.
Susan was an award-winning hair designer, an active businesswoman in Orlando, running her second successful hair and beauty salon and living a very active social life. Her work in the beauty industry had taken her to Europe on fashion trips and she had clients in the Orlando entertainment industry. It was the good life in the Sunshine State!
In January 2003 she was having a lumpectomy on a non-malignant tumor. No sweat. Until she went for the follow-up visit a week later and heard the dreaded “C” word. It was cancer after all.
So began the rollercoaster ride of surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Susan says that it is during times like this that you find out what you are really made of. Her family and friends rallied to help her and she also found strength in her renewed faith in God. It was a rough year but things seemed to be working out.
Then a year later, she was shocked when her doctor told her that the cancer was back – same breast – a different type of cancer! Drastic measures were in order and she underwent a double mastectomy at age 39. Medical complications ensued, and she contracted MRSA infections. Sickness, fatigue, nausea and depression were growing stronger every day.
Then Hurricane Charley struck Florida in August 2004, and an oak tree fell on top of her house, destroying her in-home salon.
When it rains it pours! Literally in this case. But as the other saying goes, sometimes it’s darkest before the dawn.
It was at this dark time that Susan learned what it was truly like to “lean on the Lord.” Her faith and peace was severely tested but she began to see everything working towards a greater purpose. She likes to say, “God can take your mess and turn it into a message.”
Susan has been a Spiritual Care Volunteer with M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and thrives in helping others find the “confident hope” that God has given her. With all the heartbreaking and painful situations in her physical, mental, financial and spiritual life, she has now come out on top with confident hope and faith. She says that it is only through personal pain and heartache that you can really understand the needs of others.
She began writing her book on scraps of paper when she was in the hospital going through her treatments and it took her several years to get this labor of hope and love to print. Overflow with Confident Hope is her story and her inspirational insights into how we can triumph over our struggles through faith and perseverance.
Susan has become a motivational public speaker sharing her story of confident hope and inspiration with all who are dealing with cancer or any other challenge in life. You can check out her book on Amazon.com and her blog at susanculey.com.
Yes, pink is the new power color for October. And I always think of her when I wear it.