Having been free of pancreatic cancer for six years, I have been able to recover, become active and enjoy all the things that life can bring when you see a future.

The year 2020 has been unique while we all have had our struggles with the pandemic and staying home, being careful, and dealing with sickness too. Having been in business and a consultant for medical products, I was able to work on development of N-95 masks in the first half of the year. Much of this was research from home helping with regulatory and other issues.

Summer brought the joys of gardening where I could distance outside and often savor solitary times sitting there among the growing plants and picking vegetables as they grew. First there was Kohlrabi, then zucchini, lettuce, peppers, herbs, and many varieties of tomatoes. Gardening can be so life affirming.

More recently as the pandemic kept us all enforcing our distance from others, I began to go back to photography and creative writing, with goals to fulfill. Whether the efforts go anywhere or not, I will have done it.

Now, back at Froedtert, my medical team is defining a new cancer; it is the stomach. It began with a search to learn whether I had an ulcer while away at a Northern Michigan cottage. That northern endoscopy did not find H-pylori; it found cancer cells. The problem was that the exact cancerous spot was not defined. At least no tumor was seen and on a follow-up endoscopy, it was not seen again. All agree, there is some cancer, and it must be very early. Now, after a couple months, I head back to Froedtert for another endoscopic search. I hang my hat on…It is Early.

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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