Terminally positive

Posted By | April 22, 2002 12:00 am

Emily Moorehead
Not too many years ago, being diagnosed with a cancerous condition was akin to being handed a death warrant, but no longer: Cancer research has afforded millions of people with viable cures, and research is continuing.
Susan Fischer, a cancer survivor for over ten years, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1991, shortly after she was given her first mammogram, and she underwent a mastectomy only four days after her diagnosis.
Following the surgery, she received eight chemotherapy treatments three weeks apart, and she has been cancer-free ever since.
“My thought was always if I had to lose a part of my body, that would be the first part I would lose,” said Fischer, adding her mastectomy had no negative effect on her.
“I just wanted to be rid of cancer anyway I could be rid of it.”
She said one of her daughters expressed nervousness about her mother undergoing such a serious surgery, but Fischer said she had no hesitation to complete the procedure.
“Surviving cancer has had two effects on my life,” said Fischer.
“It made me realize you have to be passionate about something, preferably something that helps others.
In my case, the Relay for Life is that passion.
Six years ago I got a call from Mary Brown, who founded the relay in White County, saying, ‘Would you walk the survivor lap in the relay?’
I had never heard of it, but I went because I was a cancer survivor.
My dedication began that evening.”
Fischer explained being diagnosed with cancer also made her realize how important it is to live life to the fullest.
“If there’s something you’ve wanted to do all of your life, don’t say ‘I’ll do it when I have more money or more time, or when I get older.’
Just do it!”
In Fischer’s case, a visit to Australia had been a lifelong dream, and she and her husband, Richard, traveled to the continent for two weeks in 2000.
“Every minute of it was perfect,” Fischer said of her trip Down Under.
“I spent two weeks in the Outback and it was everything I dreamed it would be.
I don’t think we would have ever gone there if I hadn’t had cancer.”
In support of others who have been diagnosed with cancer, Fischer was Wal-Mart Relay for Life team leader for four years, turning over the position to Kathy Goff for year five, and Fischer works tirelessly to promote the event for White County.
This year, she also sits as Chairman of the Luminary Committee on the Relay Board.
She recently came out in support of the first annual Breast Cancer Awareness Dinner, describing it as a wonderful community gathering.
“I’d like to see it become a yearly event,” she said.
Married for 43 years, Fischer works at Wal-Mart and sometimes helps her husband with his business, The Shootin’ Shack, in Hickory Valley.
In her spare time, she enjoys gardening and working on her fish pond.
The mother of four, the Fischer family consists of daughters Lori, Joanne and Linda, and a son, Richard, and the Fischers have six grandchildren.
“Think positive,” she said, offering advice to those who are diagnosed with cancer.
“Find a doctor who will share your positive attitude.”

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