Updated On: Dec 31 2013 05:27:25 PM EST
Happy New Year's Eve!
This has been a very interesting and sometimes challenging year.
And, unfortunately, this blog has bore the brunt of that (i.e. you may notice there are hardly ANY entries for 2013! BAD Susan! :)
One of my co-workers said today that 2013 flew by.
I'm not sure I can completely agree.
This might have been the longest year of my life, BUT I'm thankful for it.
I'm thankful to be alive.
I'm thankful for the support of friends and family.
I'm thankful for my family here at 'DBJ.
I'm thankful for YOU!
I've learned a lot about myself this year.
I'm SUPERWOMAN!!! (hahaha, okay, that might be an exaggeration, but it feels like it! :)
Going into 2014 I have many of the same resolutions that approximately 45% of Americans make (but as I was reading: only 8% of us keep.)
But, I aspire to more in this coming year.
I believe that everything happens for a reason.
I believe I was given this chance to learn patience (ok, more patience!)
I believe this was a reminder to value the people in my life.
So, moving into 2014, I'm looking for opportunities to become more involved, to educate and help.
Stay tuned for what that looks like! :)
That seems like the ideal place to stop, but I'd be remiss if I didn't mention my claim "to fame" in 2013- THAT CAT!!!
Yes, the swimming cat.
Good Morning America and CNN's Anderson Cooper hosted segment about it.
It was on MSN's, Yahoo's and countless other homepages.
Locally people who watch the show every week, understood it was just one of those things (not malicious, just someone who looked up and saw a cat. in a vest. in the water.)
Nationally, I was skewered (not by the hosts of those shows, but by national web users, etc.)
Once again, I hope people were able to see it for what it was- and not think that it was attack on animals, people battling their weight, etc.
(I'll save you the trouble of looking it up: cat video )
On that note, I hope your 2014 is full of love, laughter and a lot of happiness.
Thank you for your support this past year.
And, thank you for watching WDBJ7- we have the BEST VIEWERS!!!
I appreciate everyday you choosing to allow me (and us) into your homes.
Take Care & Be Safe!
Hellooooo out there!
I'm sorry its taken so long, but every time I start to write this blog, I get distracted and well- it doesn't get done.
That being said, I'm focusing and making it happen.
(I'm just going to warn you, this is a weird blog! I spent several days in local courthouses this week, so that may have something to do with it!)
Unfortunately, the topic I started a couple of weeks ago is still relevant.
I say UNFORTUNATELY because it involves the death or injury of children.
(as a reporter I can't help but get my "back up" when the smallest, weakest and defenseless of our society become the victims of violence)
There has been a disgusting number of case- nationally and locally- that involve children being injured/killed because of the choices of their parents.
The cases that come to mind are in various stages of prosecution (and of course, people are considered innocent until proven guilty) sadly, the story is the same: the baby/toddler wouldn't stop crying/moving/talking, someone snaps, the next thing you know- there's a death investigation.
This is my plea to everyone, when you're a parent you have to think of someone besides yourself.
Is that new boyfriend/girlfriend trustworthy? Has he/she ever been around children? Does he/she know how to deal with kids?
Every parent will tell you horror stories of being pushed to the edge by a colicky baby. It's hard. It's challenging. And, it can break even the strongest of people, people who have an emotional investment in the child.
Physical abuse has been getting a lot of headlines, but sadly, I've also heard of two-cases this week alone about convicted pedophiles being allowed to stay with their girlfriend/boyfriend's kids.
PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE -THINK TWICE.
First off, most (if not- ALL) convicted child sex offenders are legally NOT ALLOWED to be around children.
They're BREAKING THE LAW being around your child.
Dating can be tough, but imagine the devastation that could come.
Please, don't let your kid become the next victim!!!
Okay, like I said, this is a weird, heavy blog, but we need to look out for the children in our community!
I promised this blog wouldn't turn into "Cancer Corner," but alas, I was fibbing (though, unintentionally!)
I've had a lot of people write in over the last several months asking about wigs.
Since losing your hair is usually the BIG indicator something's wrong, people are very tied to their wigs! (I wore my wig for months without people realizing. People would write and call telling me how great my new 'do looked!)
That being said, there are some great wig places in town/around the region.
My suggestion is that you shop around.
I found that most (if not, all) require an appointment.
Some require a payment for their time.
Some do not.
Be sure to check so you know what to expect.
Wigs can be expensive, but good news- some insurance companies cover the cost.
Check to see if yours does.
Your oncologist can write you a prescription for "a cranial prosthesis" (yes, that's REALLY what they're called, which for some reason made me chuckle. Hey, you gotta find humor where you can in a cancer diagnosis!!! :)
You'll want to shop while you still have hair (so they can match color, style, etc to your existing hair.)
As a rule of thumb, once you start chemo you'll have 2 to 3-weeks before you lose your hair.
For me, I started chemo March 1st.
Had my wig appointment March 7th.
Started losing my hair to the point where it was more than "normal" about a week and a half later, the 13th/14th.
Shaved it on the 20th.
And, got my wig on the 21st.
(never had clumps falling out, but was completely paranoid, thus the buzz cut.)
I would suggest a shop that has wigs on site, so that you can try on and see what works for you.
You may also want to have someone go with you that you trust & whose opinion you value.
(I went at a weird time and was by myself, so I sent a lot of camera phone pics! :)
There are lot of different kinds of wigs out there- human and synthetic hair are main types.
(I had synthetic, which apparently has come a LONGGGGGGGG way! I was really concerned about having hair that looked like some crazy plastic doll's.)
Regardless of the type of hair you decide on, I would recommend a "lace front" -it makes the hair look more natural and like there's a seemless hair line. (makes all the difference in the world! :)
Oh, and if you do go with synthetic- CAREFUL it reacts to heat.
(makes sense, right? It's plastic.)
Apparently tons of folks have had their wig on, bent over to pull something out of the oven and POOF! - singed hair!!!
So, bottom line- these things can be hundreds and even in some cases, thousands of dollars- so BE CAREFUL!!!
Hope this helps a bit :)
In the meantime, get out there and enjoy this weekend.
Meteorologist Brent Watts says it's supposed to be a nice one :)
I have a confession.
I've lived in Roanoke for 9+ years and have NEVER been to the Greek Festival.
I've done interviews, wrote stories, but never actually attended- until this weekend.
First off, tens of thousands of people attend this annual event.
And, on Saturday, even with a decent downpour, they came out again.
WDBJ7 was a sponsor of the event, so assorted employees worked the front gate throughout the weekend.
I was there Saturday afternoon and WOW!
Thank you to all the people that came out and stopped to say, "HI!"
I had fun talking with everyone and handing out candy & pencils (eat the candy, not the pencils :)
And I can't mention the festival without mentioning the food.
My new favorite thing- spanakopita!!! (It's filo dough, spinach, feta and olive oil.)
I think I might be able to replicate it, I'll keep you updated :)
Oh, and other developments- I've been rockin' the 'faux hawk' (like a mohawk, but not very high. It also might be compared to a cupie doll's hair! )
My hair is growing lots, but when not in a mini mohawk, looks like a flat top (not a good look for me hahaha!)
I have feeling you'll be seeing lot of different hair styles from me over the coming months, so please- bear with me! :)
Maybe we should have a contest .. 'Style Susan's hair.. ' - I'll see what promotions thinks about that one!
Have a good one! ~sjb
After a little hiatus, the 'Blog-horich' is back. It has been an interesting summer.
Before I get into that, I want to take a moment to thank everyone.
The number of emails, cards, facebook message, kind words and prayers that I have received from you, the viewers, has been amazing, overwhelming, touching and frankly, a HUGE part of my recovery.
Yes, that's right- RECOVERY! I am CANCER-FREE!!!! :)
I finished chemo in June.
I had a CT-scan in July and got my results back - they were CLEAN!
Since then: I've had my port removed (a port is a quarter sized medical appliance placed under the skin. It's how my chemo was administered), I've taken off my wig (for anchoring) and my hat (for reporting) and my hair is beginning to grow back.
I'm feeling better and more like myself everyday.
There are still some side-effects.
I can be hard on myself sometimes (I'm just ready to be 100% in energy, fitness, etc.), but I just have to remember to give "me" a break! (sometimes easier said than done! :)
Besides my impatience, I'm doing really well and am definitely on the upswing.
I don't want to belabor, or for that matter- belittle my journey- BUT, I think the biggest thing I've taken away from this experience that I'd like to share is: tell the people in your life just how much they matter to you.
I've had a couple "Susie Survival Parties" (one in Roanoke & one in MD) and I've gotten to see friends I haven't seen in years.
Why is it we wait to tell people how we feel or spend time with the people we really like???
The simple answer is: we think we have more time.
While I'm cancer-free and am healthy, I got a wake up call- tomorrow isn't promised.
So, that being said, go hug your loved ones.
Tell your friends you're glad they're in your life- because very easily that can change.
You may have seen or heard my promo.
I have cancer.
The story airs Monday night at 6 o'clock.
This is a little weird for me.
I'm not used to "being" the story.
I'm a reporter, I tell other people's stories.
I struggled with this decision.
So, bottomline, WHY am I coming out with this?
Okay, a couple of reasons:
1. I was gone about 6-weeks. I had hundreds of messages on social media with people asking about me & when I would return. Others sent letters, cards & emails. Many called to find out if I still worked for the station. I try to respond to every message I get, so I felt like there was an obligation on my part to be honest.
2. When I returned to work I talked with a couple of women who I have done a lot of stories with over the years. Both of these women had dealt with my same cancer and I had NEVER known it. I thought to myself, 'WOW, here are two women who have gone through this and survived.' It made me feel a lot better.
3. Eventually I'll be taking off this wig (especially with it getting warmer!) I want to warn viewers this could be happening. (I think I may have mentioned how a viewer called screaming about a colleague wearing a hat while he went through cancer treatments. I'd like to avoid this.)
So, all these things being said, you don't just have to be a woman or going through cancer to get something from my story.
My message is simple.
- I didn't have symptoms, but I maintained my yearly check-ups.
By doing that, I really feel like I've saved my life.
- If you have a doctor and he's/she's not giving you the time for questions or addressing your concerns- find another doctor.
Remember, your doctor should want you to get a second opinion. Don't worry about hurting feelings, we're talking about your life.
- But, that being said, you don't need a best friend, you need a skilled doctor who's at the top of his/her game.
Bring your patience. In that waiting room, you can bet everyone is going through something, whether they look sick or not.
I'll be hosting a web chat at noon on Monday, May 6th.
The story will air at 6p.m. (Monday, May 6th)
I hope you'll join me.
Isn't the internet something?
Wow, all of a sudden I've gone from broadcasting to Southwest Virginia to going around the country, even the world (where a Croatian newspaper said I was head of the station- hello promotion! someone better warn my boss! :)
Maybe you saw it that Saturday morning more than 3-weeks ago, maybe you've seen it since? It's about a Northern Virginia cat owner who is helping her furry friend lose weight by taking her to the spa for swimming. The video shows a cat. IN a lifejacket. At that point, I get the giggles on live tv. I'm not sure if it has ever happened to you, where you try to stop laughing, but it builds and builds, and well, before you know it you can barely breathe? Now- imagine that scenario, but on LIVE tv. Yep, that's my 30-seconds of "fame." Oh, the topper? At the end, it comes back to me, on camera where I snort (yes, snort- OY!!) and slap the desk.
Since the video went viral I've had people from all over the country comment how I hate overweight people, fat cats, the sick, exercise, how I could use more exercise, etc., etc., etc. - you name it, it has been sent to me.
First off, I wasn't making fun of this cat, people or anyone. A cat in a lifejacket is unusual (really, when is the last time your cat put on a life jacket and went for a swim?) Secondly, the copy indicated the cat dislikes physical activity. People, as a cat owner, I can tell you that is nearly every cat in the world. The look on the kitty's face was not joy. And the topper, after 6-months of what must be torture for this little thing, she's only lost one-pound. It seems a bit unfair, no? But, I trust that this cat's owner knows best (once again, I did not put this animal in the water.)
As for me, an important "What Not to Wear" moment - if you've got a chest, do NOT wear a flowy top, especially if you're only being seen from the waist up -oh, and button your jacket. Memo received, memorized, processed, etc.
For those who live in the Roanoke Valley, you know the 'DBJ weekend morning show is a place for news, sports, weather and a little fun. This was a segment near the end of an hour-long show. In no way did I mean any disrespect to the viewers, cats, their owners or anyone battling their weight. Please forgive me if you were offended by this video. That was not my intent.