|When everything just works out, or ‘when the stars align’ as they say, many people begin to suspect a larger force is at play. Some call it fate, but Suzanne knows it’s God. And for Suzanne, much of her adult life has been a series of events that have worked together in such a way that it can only be attributed to God.
If you asked anyone who knew Suzanne five years ago, they would describe her as Type A; a worrier; a workaholic; perhaps even high strung. Her job in insurance–working first as a catastrophic claims adjuster and then in travelers insurance–kept her on the road and working at break neck speed. “I always had a million different things in the air, and letting them drop wasn’t an option,” says Suzanne recalling her high stress life.
During that time, Suzanne moved to Atlanta to be with her boyfriend, only to have him decide he wasn’t ready for a relationship shortly thereafter. But she decided to stay in the southern metropolis and plant roots of her own, and soon made great friendships and established a life of her own. During a holiday weekend in Florida, Suzanne and her friend were hanging out at their hotel pool, and met a pair of guys who were also from Atlanta. In fact, Suzanne lived only two miles away from one of the guys, Keith, and the two had even lived in Vail, Colorado at the same time after college. “That night, we both knew it was it,” says Suzanne. “And if I hadn’t moved to Atlanta and gone through that break-up, I would have never made the friends I did, went on that trip to Florida and met this incredible man.”
| The two started dating, and on August 13 of 2011, they got married. On September 13 of that same year, Suzanne was diagnosed with Stage 2a breast cancer. “I cried for twenty minutes after I got the call,” remembers Suzanne. “But then I had an overwhelming sense of peace, and I still remember the beautiful sunset I saw that evening as I was driving home.” After a double mastectomy, eight rounds of chemo and radiation, Suzanne’s body was in total distress, but since Suzanne and Keith knew they wanted kids, her doctor gave her four months to get pregnant before she put her on Tamoxifen. “After two months, we went to see a specialist just to see what was going on with my ovaries and talk about fertility options,” says Suzanne. “But it turns out, I was already pregnant with twins naturally!
The doctors were stunned.”
Today, Suzanne is a stay-at-home mom to her two ‘miracle babies’ as she calls them, and has never been happier. “Life is so much slower for me now,” she says. “I’m still focused, and I like to get things done, but everything that happened really caused me to reflect, and life is too short to be stressed out all the time.” These days, the one-time corporate ladder climber spends her time playing with her twins, grocery shopping, making dinner for her husband and sitting on the back porch and enjoying life. “My whole life has changed for the better. I saw so many miracles throughout my treatment. Cancer was the root of all the change, but it got me to where I am today, and I have never been happier. I’m so thankful and grateful.”
■ Emily L. Foley