Resilience

March 5th, 2014

By Guest Blogger Susan Wener

Resilience is a story of hope, faith, belief, and triumph.

At one point in our lives, no matter who we are, or how much we have, the rug will get pulled out from underneath us.

Resilience is my story, spanning over 30 years. It is one filled with physical, emotional and spiritual challenges as well as one filled with laughter, peace and joy.

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I was diagnosed with colon cancer when I was just 36 years old . My three daughters were 8, 12 and almost 14 at the time. Although I knew if I died it would be very difficult and painful for my husband, he was not the one I was concerned about. What would happen to my girls? They were so young. They had barely begun to live their lives. Was it a possibility that they would end up watching their mother lose hers? That very thought took my breath away. There was still so much left to do, so much more to teach them. They needed to be armed with tools and strategies to help them become strong, independent and successful young women. I had to stay alive long enough to help them with that.

Initially I went to the library and to bookstores and read everything I could on colon cancer. Then I started reading books written by survivors who had experienced some kind of cancer. I wanted to model those who had made it. What did they eat? What did they think? What did they do? I was desperate for guidance. No matter how hard I looked, I could not find anything written by anyone who had made it ten, fifteen, or twenty years down the road. When a crisis happens, it is easy to write about it right away. When a plane crashes, a mine collapses, or a tsunami hits, we read remarkable heroic stories written almost immediately after the event. But what happens after the initial crisis is over? For someone who has had cancer, can it ever really be over? Would I always live a life in the shadow of this terrible disease? Would I become defined by it? Could my children ever feel safe in their skins having had a sick mother?

I went back to school and studied everything and anything I could on health and well-being. I needed to gather as much information as I could to get me back on my feet again. And then, just before graduating The Natural Health Consultant Institute, the unthinkable happened. At 41, three tumors were found in my right lung. My only chance I was told, was to have the entire lung removed. Cancer once was one thing, but twice was a whole different ballgame!

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I knew that in order for me to survive I would have to integrate all that I learned into my daily healing regime. It was scary to do so much of this alone since, at that time, western medicine was not often supportive of my choices. The road to health may have been a long and difficult one, but the knowledge I gained throughout it reinforced my belief that anything is possible. Not only did my children emerge stronger because of it, devoting their lives to helping others, but their mother did as well.

Throughout my entire odyssey, I wrote down my thoughts and feelings. Out of these feelings, a book was born. Resilience came from these writings almost 25 years later.

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Resilience has already been placed in 22 cancer centers across the country.

Resilience teaches us that life has never, and will never, be about what happens to us. The kind of life you live is determined by what you CHOOSE to do with what happens to you. If you are struggling now in your journey, I can promise you two things. One, is that you never have to do this alone and two, is that in spite of all you may face, you can still live a remarkable and extraordinary life. Resilience shows us that what makes us truly magical is our decision to pick ourselves up every time we fall.

It reminds us that the essence of life lies not in what is broken, but in what we can create.

Many bessings,

Susan

About Susan Wener

Susan Wener

Susan Wener is an educator, guide, and teacher to people coping with life-threatening illnesses. She holds a degree in teaching from McGill University, and is also a Natural Health Consultant with a certification in Multi-dimensional Healing. She holds Master Practitioner Certification in Neuro Linguistic Programming, Time Line Therapy, and Hypnosis with world-renowned Master Trainer, Dr. Tad James. She is a practicing member of the Canadian Association of Naturopaths. Susan shares her knowledge by speaking at educational institutions, at conferences, and on the radio. She is an active participant on the Board of Governors at the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal, the board of Hope and Cope (an organization addressing the needs of cancer patients and their families), and is a Natural Health Consultant on the Gynecological Oncology Tumor Board of the Jewish General Hospital. She lives with her husband in Montreal.

To pre-order Resilience, visit Amazon.com. Available in bookstores everywhere mid April.

Susan Wener is one of my mother’s closest friends and in honor of Women’s History Month in March, I have chosen to spotlight Susan’s story of resilience.

I’d love to know, do you consider yourself a RESILIENT woman?

Erica3

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25 Responses to “Resilience”

  1. louise HorlingtonNo Gravatar says:

    Dear Susan;

    Started to read your book, could not put it down, read it in 4 hours; you are such a “gutsy” lady..not only in the face of medical adversity…(I cannot believe how much you have been through) but also in having the courage to write such a book. Perhaps I was fascinated because we have so much in common and think so much alike. I hope that many physicians read your book and pick up on the importance of empathy, compassion and the fact that they must have an open mind about alternative/complimentary medicine. Like you, I feel that the Mayo Clinic has saved my life.. I was at Jacksonville and Rochester as well; I respect your team of Doctors at the Jewish who put their ego aside to refer you there to obtain an accurate diagnostic and took it from there to give you your life back. I was thrilled to find out that after all that fighting to stay alive you now have a sense of normalcy in your life. Be well and happy you deserve it more than anyone else I know.

    Louise Horlington

  2. Sheila April says:

    My thoughts to Susan,
    Having the privilege and opportunity to know Susan changed my life
    and thoughts forever.
    I call Susan My Angel of Peace and Happiness.
    Her precious words and thoughts rest in my soul both in good
    days,and some very bad days.
    Her Angel is over my shoulder,and I just make myself
    Forge ahead and smile and think about all her special words and thoughts.
    I can’t wait to read Resilience.
    May the Sun shine on you,Susan,each and every day.
    You are an unique gem of a Lady.
    Much love,Sheila April.

    • susan wenerNo Gravatar says:

      Thanks Sheila for your beautiful words. I only just figured out how to open this email account so I apologize for answering so late. This life is an incredible journey and meeting someone like you has made my life better. You are a remarkable woman who I hold close to my heart.
      With big hugs
      Susan

  3. DebbieSchouelaNo Gravatar says:

    I remember admiring you on the uneven parallel bars! You were an inspiration then as you are now. Congratulations. Looking forward to reading your book.

  4. Catherine JoronNo Gravatar says:

    Such a remarkable story. You are an inspiration. Congratulation on your book. I cannot wait to read it.

    • susan wenerNo Gravatar says:

      The truly inspiring fact is that we are so much more than what we know. I sometimes think that the only things that limits us is us!

  5. Sharon Kaplan says:

    Congratulations Sue. You have been my inspiration for a long time. I have no doubt your story of resiliency and hopefulness will be a source of inspiration for many. Love you. Sharon

  6. PascaleNo Gravatar says:

    Susan Wener is an exceptionnal human being that has an amazing story to tell. I just can’t wait to read her book and learn more about her journey. I am sure her story will help cancer patients and give them hope. Furthermore, her story will inspire everyone to live their lves at the fullest!

  7. Sue, thank you for sharing your story so candidly and eloquently. You are a remarkable, RESILIENT woman and it’s an honor to call you a friend. xo

    • susan wenerNo Gravatar says:

      Thanks you for the opportunity to share this story with so many. Life can be very difficult at times. How we tackle those challenges will determine the quality of our lives. I vote for Fabulous!

  8. Gloria MaislinNo Gravatar says:

    Dear Sue, Congratulations and thank you! Congratulations because you have worked hard and long hours to produce this wonderful book. Thank you from me and all the others who will be inspired to carry on with hope and dignity when faced with adversity. You are a special friend and a great lady!
    With love,
    Gloria

  9. Francine says:

    Dear Susan,
    We never know what cards will be dealt on our journey of life. You’re courage and strength will inspire many people around you. Thank you for sharing.
    Francine

  10. Stephen says:

    Susan,you are without question the most courageous and inspiring person i have ever met.I say to all people who struggle with the hurdles that life has to offer,read this gem of a book.Thank you for sharing your most intimate pain and incredible strength.

  11. Diane says:

    Sue,
    I am so proud of you and you are such an inspiriation. Anyone who does not know you, after reading Resilience, they too will begin to know how very special you really are!
    See you on the Ellen show!

  12. David ForestNo Gravatar says:

    Susan Wener’s natural and articulate ability to describe the fight, the emotions, and the considerations when facing a major challenge puts her in a category of her own as an author and public speaker. This is a very uplifting book by a very impressive person.

  13. susan wenerNo Gravatar says:

    Thank you for your comments. In truth I wish I did not have to travel this road to gain the insights I gained. Gifts however do not always come packaged in the way we would hope. My goal was to be as honest as I could so that people could relate to my journey. Although difficult it was also filled with incredible times of peace and joy. I couldn’t have done it alone. Life is so much easier when we are there to hold one another’s hand.

  14. WendyNo Gravatar says:

    Dearest Susan,

    May your book be read by millions of people. May your words touch, bless and help heal those millions of souls.

    And, may all your dreams come true.

    I love you very much.

    Wendy

  15. Susan EliasNo Gravatar says:

    I read Susan Wener’s book, Resilience, on a winter, Saturday afternoon. Her story brought me to tears and laughter over and over. I felt every emotion – fear, anxiety, anger, sympathy, empathy, relief as if I was going through Susan’s journey with her.

    What is remarkable about Resilience and Susan Wener’s writing is that her story speaks to you on a very personal level whether you have had cancer or not. Everyone can relate to something within this book because we are all vulnerable and need support when the chips are down.

    The fact that Susan Wener has survived cancer twice and now lives a healthy, inspired life is nourishment and hope for all of us. Thank you, Susan, for sharing your story.

    • susan wenerNo Gravatar says:

      Life can be very challenging for all of at different times in out lives. Thus is not a book about cancer. This is a book about dealing with life! Thank you for your comments. I am glad that Resilience evoked so much emotion.
      Susan

  16. Vicki Feil says:

    Dear Sue,
    What a remarkable story…. You are a true inspiration to all of us and we all love you for that and much much more!
    xox

  17. Anonymous says:

    What a scary journey you had !and you never give up to get the result you want and God create an Angel and a Healer and that name is Susan Wener ,thank you for allowing us to know you . we wish you nothing but Good health and more power , you are an extra ordinary Woman ,many more blessings and God Bless you.

  18. Holly BotnerNo Gravatar says:

    Congratulations Susan on all that you’ve accomplished. You are an inspiration. Looking forward to reading about your journey and to learning from your experience in “Resilience.”

  19. susan wenerNo Gravatar says:

    Thanks Chenice,
    Life is sometimes really difficult. The only good thing that comes out of these struggles is knowing that we have the capacity to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and start over once again.
    Hope, faith and belief in possibility often help us keep our heads above water!

  20. Thank you for sharing your story with us; it is inspiring, motivating and truly touching. You seem to be a strong woman and I thank you for having the courage to speak up about one of the most important things in life. Resilience. I love that you wrote “The kind of life you live is determined by what you CHOOSE to do with what happens to you.” This is a hard lesson to learn but one that we must learn, and the sooner the better.

    All the best for the rest of your journey.

    • susan wenerNo Gravatar says:

      Thanks for your message. We are so much more than we know. Sometimes it is the crappy things that happen top us that show us just how fabulous we really can be!
      Susan

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