Susan’s story – Serving up strength

Susan Choe

“The understanding, support and expert care I received from my Kessler team empowered me to live my life with grace, gratitude and independence.”

 

Cancer is a tough opponent

As the weakness on her left side increased and her ability to perform daily tasks declined, Susan Choe came across an article about multiple sclerosis. She believed that might be the cause of her issues and made an appointment with a neurologist. Several tests later, a different and frightening diagnosis was confirmed. Susan had a large tumor deep in the right frontal lobe of her brain.

“I was in shock. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. In the span of a minute, I went from feeling invincible to facing my own imminent mortality. How could this be happening?”

She underwent a craniotomy at Hackensack University Medical Center, during which doctors resected a 4-cm tumor, and participated in physical, occupational and speech therapies to restore her strength, skills and mobility — in time for her to take a previously planned vacation with her family.

Susan was determined not to let cancer define or limit her. But deficits remained and she turned to Kessler’s Cancer Rehabilitation Program for the treatment and support needed to regain physical and cognitive function and embrace survivorship. She became a licensed medical social worker in an Early Intervention program for children with developmental delays. She watched her own two children grow into young adults. And even with significant residual spastic hemiparesis, she resumed playing tennis.

“The understanding, support and expert care I received from my Kessler team empowered me to live my life with grace, gratitude and independence. I’ve learned that like molded clay, we are shaped by the punches we take and the challenges we face. And that has transformed me into a stronger, happier and more compassionate person than I could ever have imagined.”

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