Still being around two and a half years after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer makes me almost a walking miracle. After all, around 75 percent die within one year and only 8 percent live five years. In my trial group, average survival is 44 months. But I'm not thinking about that so much right now; I'm living!

Sue Stansbury with MRI Machine

With some exceptions for stomach issues, diabetes and recent osteoporosis, I've been able to head out for regular biking, walking and swimming while wintering in Florida. Recently, I joined my family, snorkeling while they were diving nearby. OK, I did get banged up against some rocks, but that seems minor in retrospect. Writing, photography and seeing friends rounds out my current miracle lifestyle.

Recently, I went on a walk for breast cancer advocacy. It was such a contrast to the pancreatic cancer walk I had attended. The breast cancer crowd was so much larger, with a large percentage of survivors. Though the number of pancreatic cancer deaths has surpassed breast cancer deaths (at over 40,000 per year), there are far fewer advocates and funds. Some say it's because survivors are not here with their stories. And I say, "The Pancreas Is Not Glamorous."

Knowing that the Froedtert & MCW Clinical Cancer Center's Faith Clinic has such depth of expertise for those with pancreatic cancer is a great comfort to us with one of the deadliest cancers. I realized from Day One that my doctors would be honest with me explaining all my options — never pushing, always supportive.


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About the Author

Born in Dubuque, Iowa, Susan Stansbury was raised in Michigan's Upper Peninsula where her little bedroom window overlooked Little Bay de Noc off of Lake Michigan. After working in Chicago for a couple of years out of college, Susan moved back to Wisconsin. "Little did I realize this would mean a career in industry," she says. She joined some companies where she was the first woman in marketing management. She often worked on medical disposable products such as transdermal patches and antibacterial wet wipes. In 2002, Susan left the corporate world to work for herself helping small businesses with marketing needs from business plans, to research, photography and promotions. She gave speeches to industry groups in the United States and occasionally in Europe about topics like sustainability and packaging. With her clients' participation, she developed a manufacturers' expo, which she recently sold, at Green Bay's Lambeau Field Atrium. She writes an occasional article for industry magazines. Increasingly, however, her writing and photography are personal projects. Susan was diagnosed in 2014 with pancreatic cancer.

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