Susie Hanrahan

Diagnosis

Cancer

Physician

Ivan Aksentijevich, M.D.

Do not fear death. Rather the unlived life. You do not have to live forever. You just have to live.

I was 57 years old when I was diagnosed with Cancer. The diagnosis came as quite a shock as I had never smoked and had no family history of cancer or GERD (acid reflux). I had a few experiences where I felt that swallowing was difficult, but that was the only indicator that something was wrong.

Working with the team at Virginia Cancer Specialists was wonderful. Dr. Aksentijevich is the kindest man I have ever met. The entire staff from receptionists, to lab techs, to the nurses have always made me feel hopeful. Their positive attitude took away so much of the fear that goes along with this diagnosis.

I chose to limit, initially, how many people with which to share the news. Most of my family did not know until after I completed surgery, radiation and 10 rounds of chemo pre- and post-surgery.

I had an AMAZING network of my closest friends and two siblings who surrounded me with everything I needed. My husband was my lifeline and I love him more today than ever!

What I would say to someone beginning this journey is to have faith in yourself. Surround yourself with positive, helpful friends and loved ones during your fight with cancer. This is YOUR fight – do it YOUR way and make NO excuses.

I am so grateful for the compassion and skilled care I have received at VCS and I will forever remember their kindness.