CHERRYVILLE, NC (WBTV) - "I'm Gonna Love You Through It" is a song title and phrase that has shaped Susan and Stuart's journey through cancer treatments.
Susan Beam was nominated to be a Survivor of the Month by her husband, Stuart. Stuart said she deserved to be recognized for her positivity in the face of a tough diagnosis.
In October of 2011, Susan Beam went in for a routine mammogram, but something didn't quite look right. After tests and a needle biopsy, Susan said the five days of waiting for results seemed like the longest days of her life. She said she was trying to remain positive even when the tests came back positive. It was Breast Cancer.
In the beginning of December she had a lumpectomy and in January started 4 rounds of chemotherapy and 33 rounds of radiation treatments that lasted until June of 2012. Through it all, Susan was a pillar of positivity.
And she stays that way, she almost chuckled as she talked about being in her third year of hormone therapy in what she just found out was extended to be a ten year process.
She said that she gets that positivity from her parents, in any stressful situation she has learned to keep her chin up knowing that "a good attitude will bring you through times of triumph and despair."
But she doesn't have to keep the positivity up without some backup. Between Pink Ribbon Luncheon and the Wings program at Carolinas Healthcare Systems Cleveland, she has found a community to share her positivity. She found her Caringbridge page to be therapeutic and a way to "get stuff off her chest."
Susan and Stuart also say their church, St. John's Lutheran Church in Cherryville, was a source of encouragement as well as Relay for Life, where they started their own team.
Stuart wrote in her nomination letter that he heard the song "I'm Gonna Love Her Through It" by Martina McBride around the day of Susan's diagnosis. And told her he would lover her through her battle.
Stuart was diagnosed with Lymphoma in July of 2013 and Susan said it was her "chance to love HIM through it."
Stuart said seeing Susan's positivity made him believe "we are going to get through this." And after six rounds of chemotherapy, they did.
Susan took her battle with cancer to her thoughts, she was determined to beat it and says, "it's not a death sentence." If you hear the words, "it's cancer" Susan says to listen to your doctors first and have the full story before looking online, it will only bring you down.
Because Susan had no family history of Breast Cancer and isn't even 50-years-old yet, early detection may have saved her life. She stresses that cancer doesn't care how old you are and hopes every woman can hear her plea to get a mammogram as early as possible.
And don't forget to check yourself at home. "You know your body," she said, "if you feel lumps and bumps, tell somebody."
Way to stay positive, Susan!
UPDATE: Susan and Stuart continue to fight together. It's Susan's turn to love Stuart through cancer treatments, again. In mid April, Stuart was diagnosed with Myelodysplastic Syndrome, also known as "pre-leukemia." Stuart started on a new chemotherapy regimen on April 13, 2015 and will continue getting treatment until May. Doctors warned the Beams that chemo is only temporary fix, eventually Stuart will need to have a Bone Marrow Transplant.
To follow along on their journey, you can check out their Facebook page, "Beams of Hope."