Susan Randolph Braden – “Because I Can Sir” Production

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March 2019 has come roaring in like a lion, and like a Mama lioness, I have been aggressively battling my cancer predator this month. My last blog post [Flying High -February 2019] was written pre-surgery, so I’m going to catch you all up with where we are in the Cancer Jungle.

When my January 27th scans continued to show some rapid growth of my right prevascular thoracic and internal mammary and anterior pericardial nodes, my oncologist, Dr. Kemeny, who all the other doctors and nurses refer to as a “Rock Star”, immediately sent us to MSKCC’s Chief Thoracic surgeon, Dr. Bernard Park ( He’s a pioneer in robotic surgery and VATS procedures, and definitely the right surgeon for what I needed. I had surgery on Feb. 11th, and he was able to remove the smaller, but metastasized right mammary nodes and a pericardial “fat pad”. (Who knew I was padded with ‘fat pads’?! I told the staff I’d like to be a ‘fat pad donor’ if the need ever arose! 😉) Well, it turned out the largest thoracic node was too risky to surgically remove. It had ‘invaded’ or attached to a main artery, and getting to it would involve removing a part of the artery, rebuilding it, possibly destroying a nerve to the larynx and diaphragm and cracking open my breast bone to get to it. Dr. Park said if this were my ‘last chance’ to get rid of it, we’d do it, but right now wasn’t the right time. The very next day in the hospital, Dr. Kemeny comes to tell us we will do radiation therapy on it ASAP. That very afternoon, another visitor came by my room. Enter Dr. Christopher Crane – Chief Radiation Oncologist. Guess what? Dr. Crane was raised and educated in Virginia. I am SO BLESSED to be able to be in, what is for ME, the best place with the best hands, hearts and minds for this rare cancer. Also, on March 8th, I officially made it 4 YEARS past my Stage 4 “get your affairs in order”, terminal diagnosis. By the way, I’ve never had an ‘affair’, so I can’t put them “in order”. HA! … continue reading

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