Sue crafted homemade soaps and received an unusual request from a friend to create a men’s shave soap one day. That single request resulted in her launching her own company of homemade shave soaps and scents, Saint Charles Shave. She joined the online community, Badger and Blade (B&B), to chat with others about shaving products, and soon became a strong voice in the community, gaining the support and friendship of many.
Sue was diagnosed with breast cancer in February 2010. Because of her close ties to the B&B community, she posted about her illness soon after her diagnosis.
Take a Deep Breath & Then Walk Into the Fire
“That’s what he did. My dad shaped my life. He instilled his values, compassion and most of all his courage. As a career firefighter he chose to willingly go into burning buldings.
The previous week began with being put to the test. Can I walk a firery cancer road and walk back out?
Last Monday morning (2/15), I found the dreaded lump. It wasn’t there Sunday. A classic symptom for IBC, a lump that seemingly appears overnight. It doesn’t show up early on mammogram but that’s another subject.
The next morning, I was in the office of my internest. From his office I was sent for a mammogram and then a ultrasound.
Wednesday was numerous phone calls.
Thursday more doctor appointments and testing. Result: Wait for the entire weekend.
It was the longest weekend I can remember. Even with the love and support of my adult children, brothers, family and friends that are also my family, the minutes ticked by slowly like hours.
That I was alone beat me up worse than if someone had taken a 2×4 or baseball bat and beat me with it. I spent the weekend keeping as busy as I could in my shop, doing what I love, making product.
With the long weekend wait behind me, my doctor called with the results of the breast/lymph node biopsies: positive for malignancy.
Today was a full body bone scan with contrast and a full body CT also with contrast to look for involvement elsewhere.
This Thursday afternooon, I will know the remainer of the treatment plan which now includes mastectomy and removal of at least 4 lymph nodes.
Chemo, radiation, either one or both, are still undecided until full results of the above and two other test relults are known.
How am I doing? I am still reeling, my mind running redline rpm’s. I think often I wish I could cry in the arms of my husband. I’m not a wimp, I can do this; I tell myself. My faith is strong as ever. I will wake up tomorrow and take on the day. I will take each day as it comes and I will deal with it, one step at a time.
I regret the emotional pain this is causing in those that love me. I hope those that I love, know the depth of the love I have for them.
There are some that I love that I am unable to tell them for fear of being inappropriate. I hope they know how much they mean to me, and yes, love.
I pray that I will keep my faith and courage strong. In my mind and heart, I am holding both the hand of God in one hand and my dad’s hand in the other. ”
The B&B community responded with hundreds of comments in support of Sue. She and her daughter posted updates of her progress as she went through treatment.
On November 2, Sue passed away. But her spirit will forever live on in the B&B community. As one B&B member stated, “Badger and Blade will not be the same when our grand dame takes her final bow, but she will not be forgotten. Not by me nor by many gents who’ve had the privilege of knowing Sue.”