Susie’s Brave Journey and Boxing Gloves

Welcome to Scarlet Thread Sunday, the day I throw out a thread of something I’ve learned in the labyrinth of life.

Author Susie Lindau
Susie Lindau

Today’s labyrinth is especially tangled because a woman I don’t know well discovered that she has a disease I know too well. Fellow author Susie Lindau was diagnosed with breast cancer. On Friday, she had a double mastectomy.

Whenever I hear of someone who has breast cancer, I get a lump the size of Texas in my throat. My grandmother had breast cancer and died of a metastases fifteen years later. My mother had breast cancer and is a survivor. My best friend of several years had breast cancer that moved into her bones and died at age 39. My co-teacher at church camp one year was diagnosed with breast cancer about a month after she went home and died a few years later. My friend from college fought breast cancer a few years ago and is a survivor.

Yeah, you can see why this touches my heart so much.

Susie Lindau decided to make her cancer and her surgery public–to chronicle the experience of breast cancer treatment. After reading only a few posts, I know that this is a woman with courage, a marvelous sense of humor, and a lot of fight in her. (Not to mention that she rocks the Calendar Girls/flower pot look.) My thoughts and prayers are with Susie as she takes her brave journey.

And my thoughts are with anyone else who has faced cancer. That diagnosis is something most people dread, and the treatment can be difficult and make you feel vulnerable as people poke, prod, cut, radiate, and drug your body. It takes a good bit of bravery and oomph to get in there and fight.

My best friend kept a pair of boxing gloves given to her during her cancer journey. It was a constant reminder to her to keep that fighting mentality, to go at the cancer with every ounce of will she had. Her life was extended for years by the excellent treatment she received and her indomitable spirit. She remains an inspiration to me.

My friend’s husband gave her closest friends their own matching pair of boxing gloves. They sit on a shelf right beside my writing desk. They remind me that we are all on journeys that require us to be brave and to fight.

Everlast mini boxing gloves

Maybe my fight won’t be cancer, but I take inspiration from the likes of my grandmother, my mother, my friends, and now Susie Lindau. Ladies, you inspire me. Thanks for donning the boxing gloves and getting in the ring.

If you want to know more about Susie’s journey, you can find her here. You can also send her well wishes on Twitter with the hashtag #SusieStrong. To make a donation to The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, click here, or to M.D. Anderson Cancer Center (which does a lot of breast cancer research), click here.

Now, as usual on Sundays, here’s my check-in for A Round of Words in 80 Days.

ROW80 Update

  • Read 8 fiction books. Done. Reading book #9 now (The Darkening by Myndi Shafer).
  • Read one craft book: Writing Young Adult Fiction for Dummies by Deborah Halverson. Read three more chapters–halfway through.
  • Visit and comment on ROW80 blogs as a Round 2 sponsor. Done.
  • Finish writing GOOD & GUILTY, YA mysteryDone.
  • Complete first round of edits of GOOD & GUILTY. Actually I returned to my “Epic Failure” WIP (Sharing Hunter), and it’s going great with those edits. So I’m calling this a win.
  • Write one short storyFinished this week!
  • Edit two short stories–one needs a final polish, the other a full edit. Not yet.
  • Prepare for and attend DFW Conference in May.
  • Prepare for and attend Immersion Master Class with Margie Lawson in June. My preparation right now involves finishing the edit of Sharing Hunter.

How was your week? And who inspires you with their brave journey?

Related posts: Why I Walk for the Cure, Breast Cancer Team Names

22 thoughts on “Susie’s Brave Journey and Boxing Gloves

  1. Blogs like this inspire me, Julie. Susie’s STRONG fight inspires me. And, morning check-ins with my best friend for 3 years running (Sherry Isaac) inspires me to do more and stay focused on the things that matter.

    [I’m sure it’s shocking that I have a slight tendency to chase shiny baubles when they cross my radar screen.]

    Condolences on the loss of loved ones to cancer. I can think of few things more motivating than those boxing gloves you keep in your writing space.

    Aforementioned Sherry and I met online during a Margie Lawson class, and shared so much before we ever met in person — which was nine months later at a Margie Lawson Immersion Master Class in Boulder. You are going to L-O-V-E that experience.

    1. Thanks, Gloria! I feel blessed all the time because of the amazing friends I have in my life. Such a variety of ladies and gents who spread their inspiration as they journey on. Yay, Sherry! Yay, immersion! And yay for my friendship with one fab author named Gloria Richard!

  2. This post really touches me as well, Julie. Having had ductal carcinoma in situ in my right breast and a mastectomy, my heart goes out to Susie and all the women out there who have fought this disease and won and/or are currently fighting it and trying to win, and to those who didn’t end up the winners against it. It is one of the most frightening diagnoses to hear and I think because so many women are speaking out, more women are having their yearly mammograms.

    1. Oh yes, I’ve read about your journey too. Blessings for continued health, Patti! You’re definitely a fighter. You go, girl!

      And indeed, MAMMOGRAMS. (Did all of the other ladies hear that?)

  3. My sister is my inspiration every waking minute of my life. In 1993 a rare form of uterine cancer attacked her and she fought it tooth and nail. Her’s was a cancer which within 18 months claims something like 90% of the women diagnosed. My sister would not give in to this menace, she dug in her heels and survived for six years. Even though cancer claimed her life, I will not ever say that cancer won the battle. To me, my sister will always be a survivor. And whenever I feel like giving in to whatever battles I face, I picture her and I go on.

    1. Bless you for sharing that, Chris. I’m so sorry for your loss. I’m sure it’s felt every day.

      Yet your description is exactly how I would describe my best friend. Yes, she died. But she outlived the stats by about three years, long enough for her daughter to have an independent memory of her.

      Your sister sounds like an amazing woman!

  4. I do not have to look far to find cancer in my family, either. Although on my side the health issues tend to be more cholesterol and blood pressure related. My husband’s side is full of all kinds of cancer. My FIL just finished a round of chemo. Each time he takes another test, like tomorrow, we pray for signs of good news. It’s a powerful demon for sure, but folks like he and Susie are amazing, so inspiring.
    I’m so glad to read the progress you made this week was on Sharing Hunter. Go Julie!! I’m going to be checking in on you tomorrow. 🙂 We’re going to have a great week.

  5. Thank you for a post that reminds me what truly matters. When those we love face a life-threatening illness, all else seems petty. Yet we go forward day-by-day, hopefully with courage and grace. Your ROW80 goals are clearly organized — I really like that overline you use to show tasks completed (and have started to use that in my own daily checklist). May all go well for you this week.

    1. Thanks, Beth. You’re right that knowing someone who goes through a tough experience like this can focus you. (You know, I’ve never really given it much thought, but I started writing very soon after losing my best friend. Wonder if there’s a connection…)

      As to ROW80, I’m a checklist fiend. I LOVE checklists! I love how it feels to place a check or X beside a completed item or strike it out altogether. Hope it works for you! Have a lovely week.

  6. those of us who have had the fight say yay’s to those friends who walk with us along the way – in a couple of months I go for my 5th and hopefully last check up – without my friends sticking with me it would have been a very difficult time. Mine was not as horrific as some, but the very word and fact of having cancer fills with dread. The gloves are great.

    all the best for coming week:)

    1. Another BRAVE woman! So glad you’re doing well, Alberta. Yes, the seriousness varies from woman to woman, but I agree that just the word “cancer” is really scary. Prayers for your next check-up!


  7. Julie would you recommend the Writing Young Adult Fiction for Dummies book? I have two YA underway and a trilogy in mind. I like the way you bulleted your goals. i need to do something similar so the point of the post is clear.

    1. Great question, Joe. Honestly, I was a little put off by the title at first. Who wants to admit that four years in writing, she’s reading the Dummies book? But it’s marvelous. I’m rather surprised how marvelous it is. The author breaks down the major components, but all with tweens/teens in mind. I’d give the book a thumbs-up.

      Congrats on your YA WIPs! Hang in there.

      1. I just purchased a query letter how to and have it on my Kindle. I know, should have bought the print copy, but I am planning to travel soon and I can carry multiple books with me on the Kindle. I will check this out. Thanks for reply.

      2. Can I ask you a specific question from the book? What does it say about the preferred point of view? I am rewriting my YA mystery and consider changing to first person with two narrators.

  8. I can’t imagine this was an easy post to write, but it’s very beautiful. I love the boxing gloves. I wish I’d thought to give them to a young friend of mine who fought and lost a battle with lymphoma a dozen years ago. I think think they’d have inspired her.

  9. You choked me up when you shared the story behind your boxing gloves. I’m so sorry for your losses, but inspired by how you grew from these experiences. I HATE cancer. Enough said?

  10. Julie I am honored and humbled to be included in your post. What amazing stories about your friends and family and their battle. Cancer has touched all of us in some way.
    I truly believe my prognosis is so great because of you and others who shared my story with your followers. My Oncotype dropped from 26% with the biopsies to 13% after the surgery. What???? That is what I call a miracle! No chemo and no radiation, I just have to pop the pill, Tamoxifen, for 5 years! Wow!
    Thank you will never seem like enough! ((((cyberhugs))))

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