Meet Susan! | Stamford Moms

How many kids do you have and what are their ages?
I have a daughter who is 7 and in second grade.

What do you love about living in Stamford?
I love that we live in a city with amazing restaurants and bars, a beach, fun events, and great parks and playgrounds, but one that is also just a quick train ride into the city or a quick drive to the more rural areas of Connecticut.

What’s your favorite restaurant and/or place to shop in Stamford?
We have several go-to places for takeout that are in our regular rotation: Slice for pizza and salads, Shiki for sushi, Casa Villa for Mexican, and Humbled for coffee. For nights out with friends, we enjoy anywhere downtown on Bedford Street especially Bartaco and Kouzina. For shopping, I can’t go a week without stopping by HomeGoods and Target. Awesome Toys and Gifts is my go-to for holiday and birthday gifts.

Tell us about your cancer journey.
During the summer of 2016, I was feeling pretty rundown, but attributed it to having an almost two-year old and commuting into the city for work and just “being a mom”. In October of that year, I took myself to the Tully Center for what I thought was a bad cough and something that could quickly be treated with a course of antibiotics. I was immediately sent to the ER at Stamford Hospital where I was then admitted and quickly found out that I had a tumor in my chest which was causing the fatigue and cough that I’d been experiencing for a few months. I was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma and started chemotherapy treatment a few weeks later. After 6 rounds of chemo in about 5 months, I was given the all-clear, only to relapse in June 2017. After more chemo, a stem-cell transplant, and radiation, I finally completed treatment in December 2017 and have been cancer-free since!

Why did you choose the Bennett Cancer Center in Stamford for your care?
The biggest reason I chose the Bennett Cancer Center in Stamford for my care is that I had an immediate connection with the doctors and nurses when I was first admitted to the hospital in the fall of 2016. It turned out that the Pulmonologist that initially treated me when I was first admitted was the wife of the Oncologist that was my primary doctor throughout my treatment. I credit both Dr. Caroline Gulati and Dr. Anthony Gulati with seeing me through these past 5.5 years.
Having the BCC right in my backyard was an added bonus. I was so fortunate to only have a 10 minute drive to all of my appointments and that I was able to see my daughter and husband so often during my hospitalizations ~ the amazing views of Long Island Sound from my hospital room made everything a little easier too! While many of the hospitals in New York are great, my husband and I often say how lucky we were to not have to travel to the city for the many appointments and hospital visits. Everyone at the BCC, from the oncologists and nurses to the front desk staff and the volunteers are amazing individuals who I will forever be grateful for.

How did you utilize the Bennett Cancer Center’s Integrative Medicine resources?
I took advantage of many of the amazing Integrative Medicine resources, my most favorite being the personal training sessions at the Sarner Health and Fitness Institute at the Tully Center. These sessions helped to increase my strength and mobility after months of treatment and also increased my self-confidence. I also was able to utilize reiki and massage sessions which were great for my own self-care before and after treatment.

Why have you made the Hope in Motion Walk/Run a yearly tradition?
The Hope in Motion Walk/Run has become a summer tradition for me and my family since 2017. It takes place on the first Sunday in June, which is National Cancer Survivors Day. It’s a fun day, full of community togetherness, celebrating survivors and honoring those who have lost their battles with cancer. The money raised through Hope in Motion helps to fund many of the resources that I was able to take advantage of during my own journey, including the personal training sessions, massage, and reiki. It’s also just a really exciting, emotional day – even for those that haven’t personally had their own cancer journey. It’s so inspiring seeing everyone walking together, smiling and enjoying themselves and coming together to help support the patients of the BCC. While the past two years have been virtual-only, I’m looking forward to the 2022 in-person (and virtual) walk. Nothing beats being with the community on this special day!

 What would you say to other families who would like to get involved with Hope in Motion?
It’s so easy to get involved! There are mini events that are put together by teams leading up to the big day which allow those teams to fundraise. My absolute favorite is Beer Yoga which takes place at the Stamford JCC the Friday night before the Walk – it’s so much fun. Check it out and sign up if you can make it!
Kids can also help to fundraise – lemonade stands and bake sales are great ways to get kids involved.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve gotten from another mom?
I think the best piece of advice that I have been given, especially when I was sick, is that it’s OK to accept help. So many of us feel that we need to do everything ourselves and that we need to do everything perfectly. But, friends, family, and even strangers WANT to help, especially when you’re going through a tough time. Accepting help is not a sign of weakness, but one of strength.

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