By Amy Bader, October 2003:
The Susan L. Bader Foundation of Hope was inspired by my mom, Sue, who is fighting Pancreatic Cancer. In October of 2003, at the age of 51, Sue was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. She has always been healthy, extremely outgoing, and very young at heart. It was a devastating blow to all of us.
My mom had been struggling with stomach pain and weight loss for a couple months. It took several doctor visits, three scopes and a major surgery to finally diagnose the cancer. The tumor is located in the bile duct of her pancreas and too close to her portal vein to be removed.
She was scheduled to have the Whipple procedure and we were all quite optimistic that she was going to have a successful outcome. The doctor had even told us the morning before her surgery that it still could be benign.
After about two hours of surgery the doctor arrived in the waiting room to give us the news that we most feared, the tumor was inoperable. My sister, my dad and I got the news while she was still in recovery. The feeling of being told that your loved one, let alone your young mother, may die in 3 to 6 months is indescribable. Time and your surroundings become surreal, you feel like you are outside your body as the doctor is saying, “there is nothing that can be done, there is no cure for pancreatic cancer”. My dad was trying to be strong for me and my sister, but the fear and sadness that were on his face are forever etched in my memory.
Learning of my mom’s cancer was devastating, but the thought of having to tell her seemed even worse. None of us slept that night, anticipating the agony and grief of telling her that she was going to die.
The next morning, our family was all together when the doctor came in and told my mom the same things he told us. The doctor said at best you have 18 months to live. It was the second time in 12 hours that I had experienced life altering emotions. As strong of a woman as my mom is, it shook her in a way I’ve never seen before.
I relive, as I’m sure my whole family does, those moments over and over in our heads. Wishing we could have done something for my mom, to make it all better instantly. The thought of not having a mom and a wife was unbearable. It was impossible to think she had a disease there was no cure for.
Fast forward ten months:
Mom is doing very well. She does weekly chemo, and although she gets tired and nauseous, she is the picture of health. I believe that she has endured this beyond our expectations because she has hope and she has faith.
Sue refuses to allow medical statistics to dictate how she will live. She inspires us and others through her ever positive personality. And although we know these grim pancreatic cancer statistics exist, we try and live each day as it comes and continue to be a family.
My mom has been lucky to have such a great quality of life so far. We have met so many patients and families that have not had the same experience with this cancer. Too often, once the cancer is found its progression can’t be slowed.
This foundation is for all patients and families, past and present, who have gone through what we have and more. Our foundation will fund research to find early detection methods and ultimately a cure. There is no such thing as “false” hope. We want to inspire everyone who is touched by pancreatic cancer to keep fighting, keep the faith, and keep your HOPE.
Hope cannot be taken away.
December 7, 2004
I wanted to update this page and let everyone know that my mom has declined quite rapidly since October. Her cancer has spread very quickly to her lower spine, then her lungs and liver. She is very fragile and bed ridden. We have increased her pain medications to keep her as comfortable as possible and she is now unable to communicate with us.
We are so saddened by her quick decline as she had thirteen very healthy months. But we are very thankful for those 13 months. My dad, sister and myself are now at her bedside 24 hours a day trying to do what we can to make her passing as peaceful as possible.
Friday, December 10, 2004
Mom passed away today at 2:20 pm. My father, sister and myself were all at her side holding her hands and telling her we love her.
Articles about Sue:
Bader Backers Unite to Fight Pancreatic Cancer- June 2004
LPGA.com, the official website of the Ladies Professional Golf Association, June 2004