I Became an Eating Machine with a Loathsome Attitude
Four months after my allogeneic bone marrow transplant, I left Stanford to build a new cancer-fee life. Now I had to go into my local lab three times a week for blood work to monitor my progress. In checking my computer for results of my blood test today, my liver function tests—indicators of liver injury—panic…Read More
A Pseudo-Medication Taper that Made Me Feel I Was Losing Control
In the middle of my Hyper-CVAD treatment for Mantle Cell Lymphoma, an on-call oncologist entered my room. A balding, professorial-looking fellow—wearing a bow tie and appearing to be years past retirement—he pulled a dry-erase maker from his pocket and began writing on the white board. I’m going to be released from the hospital today and…Read More
What Did My Dad Think and Feel in the Moments of His Death?
Promoted to an Essential Topic in Psychology Today, in the Neuroscience and Near-Death Experiences Blogs. February, 2022 Key Points: Understand the two types of death The natural physiology of the brain is to keep functioning Just before death, neurochemicals in the brain surge Even in a life not well lived, death is likely to…Read More
An Against-the-Odds Story Can Be Yours
Susan Keller, Dr. Michael Craig, Johnny Shultz, and Andrea. I had it all, or thought I did. At fifty-five—happy in my marriage and at the top of my career—I awoke one morning in damp, tangled sheets. Turning to dislodge my leg, a searing pain shot up my back. I moaned, gasped, then slowly sat.…Read More
Blood Brother: A Memoir
Published in the Argus Courier, October 21, 2021 In new memoir, long-lost brother returns to save sister’s life In times of need, we have the proverbial assurance that “blood is thicker than water” — but what if you can’t find the blood? That was the challenge Susan Keller, a former professional medical writer, faced…Read More
Don’t Let Symptom Denial Threaten Your Life
By Susan Keller From Psychology Today, 8-24-21 Key Points: People sometimes deny symptoms of illnesses—such as cancer—which can hamper diagnosis and treatment. Reasons for symptom denial include fearing the outcome and not wanting to be “weak” or waste others’ time. People should seek medical attention—even a second opinion—if they notice any of the potential signs…Read More
Cancer Is a Wilderness That Gives Us a Choice: Panic or Trust
Published in CURE Today Magazine December 17, 2021 In September 2005, I was diagnosed with Stage 4 Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Active treatment would last nearly a year during which I endured the brutal in-patient chemo Hyper-CVAD, a psychotic drug reaction, and a septicemia that almost did me in. By mid-January, I’d completed six rounds of…Read More
Why Did I Get a Fatal Lymphoma? Cancer Reunites Two Siblings
Published in Patient Power, August 24, 2021 At age 55, I had it all—or thought I did. I was happily married and at the top of my career as a medical writer. But one morning I awoke with blinding back pain. Google diagnosed a kidney infection. I booked a doctor’s appointment, resentful of the…Read More
Lymphoma Notes, June 21, 2021
Results of My Diagnostic CT Scan Dr. Arent, a tall, handsome doctor—who could have made good money on General Hospital—enters my room. He has the dubious good fortune of giving me the outcome of my diagnostic CT scan. “I have your results,” he says thumbing through papers before rolling them into a tube that he…Read More
Lymphoma Notes, June 3, 2021
Sixteen Years a Survivor!
In my last post, I’d just been hospitalized for emergency transfusions only hours after being diagnosed with lymphoma.
Being hospitalized is its own crushing experience. If you’ve been there, and I’ll bet you have, you know about how your identity is smudged and blurred the moment your step into a hospital room. The first thing is the gown.Read More