Giving Thanks for the Present
“We all have two lives. The second one begins when we realize we only have one.”
While Confucius may have scripted this profound message, it's EOTS members like Susan Parés who keep it current and relevant. Reiterating this gripping insight at her photoshoot last year, she shared with us her own journey – a second life of sorts that began after breast cancer.
Susan is featured for the month of November in our calendar and we find this very fitting. As Thanksgiving nears and we take a moment to give thanks, let’s follow Susan’s good example and give thanks for the present - even if the present is filled with what may seem like an uphill battle. If we’re still around to talk about breast cancer, we’re still around to live through it. Just like she did.
Susan was diagnosed with Stage 3 Invasive Ductal Carcinoma in December 2014, after finding a lump during a breast self-exam. IDC, also referred to as infiltrating ductal carcinoma, is the most common type of breast cancer taking up about 80% of all breast cancers. After diagnosis, Susan spent the next 6 months undergoing chemo, multiple surgeries, and 33 rounds of radiation.
She became cancer free in July 2015.
“I was not able to let this terrible disease break me down completely,” she said.
Well Susan was anything but broken down; she was in many ways rebuilt. Susan teamed up to train with the Spartans and let this newfound strength help navigate her through her battles. If you’re unfamiliar, we’re not time warping and talking about Ancient Greeks, we’re talking about a mass of present day fierce men and women who challenge themselves in races across the United States and in 14 other countries around the world. You can get an idea of Susan’s own Spartan strength in her calendar snapshot above.
Spartan races were founded in Vermont by Joe De Sena, a world class adventure racer. In their own words, Spartans aren't soft but are gritty, resilient, and passionate. And they overcome obstacles, too – both physical and emotional.
This determination and way of thinking was just what Susan needed at the time of her diagnosis. Testing her body to the limits she signed on board.
“With support of my family, friends and coworkers, I found the strength to battle, train, follow proper nutrition, practice yoga and complete an obstacle course racing,” she said. “Do not let cancer keep you from living your dreams and setting your goals.”