Steady Now

01.13.2009 | 7:31 am

Something I never knew (until Susan found out the hard way) about chemotherapy and radiation is what they can do to your fingers.

Your hands get numb and tingly, as if they’ve fallen asleep, which is pretty close to what’s going on — but much more persistent.

Also, you can get a persistent tremor to your hands, making easy things like writing and typing really hard.

It’s called “peripheral neuropathy,” and for months it’s been one of the cruellest side effects Susan’s had to deal with.

If you knew Susan, you’d understand what I mean. You see, Susan has always loved making things with her hands. She was a scholarship art student in college. She has written dozens of articles for scrapbooking magazines on paper piecing techniques.

And for the past few years she’s been making jewelry. Beautiful stuff, with an emphasis on silver wire twisted into incredible links and patterns.

And of course, the neuropathy robbed her of all of that.

She’s Back

Here’s the cool thing, though: a few days ago, Susan’s hands steadied. They don’t shake anymore. They do what she wants them to again.

Of course, I have to keep telling myself that this doesn’t really mean anything in terms of the cancer: it doesn’t mean she’s getting better, just that she’s not being plagued by the side effects of a medication she stopped taking months ago.

But: it does mean she ought to be able to start use her hands again, the way she loves to — and is so good at.

And when good news doesn’t come your way often, even a little tactical win like this feels like a big deal.

Win a Susan Nelson Original (Hopefully)

And so of course I’m going to put Susan to work for me. I’ve asked her if she’d be willing to let me raffle off a couple bracelets or necklaces, with a cycling theme — kind of like this lady’s bracelet she made from a bike chain for a contest winner way back when the blog was young:


Susan says she’d like to, but that she first wants to make sure her she’s up to making jewelry.

So, for now, this is just a piece of good news. Soon, though, I’m confident this’ll be a chance for you to fight cancer and win some of Susan’s work.

Meanwhile, You Definitely Should Tune In Tomorrow

By the way, tomorrow (Wednesday) I’m announcing the latest Team Fatty raffle. And this one’s a big one, for something you cannot get anywhere else. I think you’re going to want in.


  1. Comment by Hamish A | 01.13.2009 | 7:41 am

    Awesome news! So happy for Susan (and you, of course). I wish I had that kind of talent but I’ll just stay quietly in awe of those who do.

    Susan, you continue to be a massive inspiration, thanks for letting Elden share everything he does with us. And for letting him conduct the Shot Blox experiements in the kitchen :-)


  2. Comment by Suze | 01.13.2009 | 7:49 am

    I am so happy to hear that about Susan. I am absolutely bowled over by her strength and yours!

  3. Comment by snobound | 01.13.2009 | 7:51 am

    This is good news. I do hope that she continues to experience these small wins – have enough of them and you’ve eventually got a big win!

  4. Comment by Bob | 01.13.2009 | 7:55 am

    Great news! So happy for you both.

  5. Comment by Jeff | 01.13.2009 | 7:58 am

    So great to hear good news about Susan!

    …and my wife is going to SO want one of those bracelets!

  6. Comment by MOCougFan | 01.13.2009 | 8:13 am


  7. Comment by Woody | 01.13.2009 | 8:14 am

    Hooray for good news!!

  8. Comment by Rob | 01.13.2009 | 8:30 am

    Congrats on the great news. Do i sense some gary fisher un-geared carbon wonderfulness on the horizon???

  9. Comment by Jaime O. | 01.13.2009 | 8:34 am

    Sending hugs of happiness to you both.

  10. Comment by Carl | 01.13.2009 | 8:37 am

    Tiffany’s doesen’t have anything on you Susan! What a beautiful bracelet.

  11. Comment by Lizzylou | 01.13.2009 | 8:45 am

    I’ve dabbled in making some jewelry myself… I never thought of using chain pieces though, that is really an awesome idea.

  12. Comment by AJ | 01.13.2009 | 8:51 am

    That is incredible! I can’t wait to see more beautiful pieces of jewelry!

  13. Comment by Don | 01.13.2009 | 8:52 am

    That is seriously one hot piece of metal! I used to make jewelry, back in the day, and have been itching to get back into it. This is making me even more itchy…

  14. Comment by Anonymous | 01.13.2009 | 8:55 am

    Great news, Susan!

    Big or small, a win is a win. Congratulations : )

  15. Comment by buckythedonkey | 01.13.2009 | 9:02 am

    Susan, will you be incorporating petrified ShotBlok into the the 2009 collection…? ;-)

    Go girl! WIN SUSAN!!

  16. Comment by Hilslug | 01.13.2009 | 9:06 am

    That is great news, hooray! BTW, I WANT that bracelet.

    WIN Susan

  17. Comment by GenghisKhan | 01.13.2009 | 9:25 am

    Another congratulations!

  18. Comment by Quin | 01.13.2009 | 9:26 am

    Great news for you and Susan! I just wanted to let you know how small a world that the world of Fat Cyclist is – When I went to the dentist last week for some dental work, I was talking with the assistant as we waited for the dentist to walk in, we were talking about kayaking and cycling and she mentioned that her son recently won an Olympus camera in a raffle to raise money for cancer research. Turns out that it was the Olympus that was raffled off through here and Jill from Arctic Glass.

  19. Comment by JEnn | 01.13.2009 | 9:28 am

    This is wonderful news for Susan and your whole family

  20. Comment by Emy | 01.13.2009 | 9:34 am

    Fabulous news!!! I think this is a HUGE win and I am so happy for all of you!

    WIN Susan!!

  21. Comment by Big Boned | 01.13.2009 | 9:38 am

    HUZZAH! Great news!

  22. Comment by Ron | 01.13.2009 | 9:46 am

    I’m down with raffle tickets for some Susan-created jewelry !!

    WIN Susan!

  23. Comment by regina | 01.13.2009 | 9:51 am

    I love good news and this is great news. WIN SUSAN!!!

  24. Comment by bikemike | 01.13.2009 | 9:54 am

    very nice, all the way around.

  25. Comment by cyclingeurope | 01.13.2009 | 10:00 am

    Awesome news!
    And I SO want one of those bracelets! And I know many, many cycling women who want one of those bracelets too, and who I’d buy them one for a gift.I bet you could create a cottage industry with a great income just from your blog readers and their friends buying those up! We’ll not just enter contests…we’ll buy them in droves. Who said there’s a poor economy? Poppycock! (Woah there Jennifer…Susan’s just steadied her hands, don’t get so impatient!! She’s got better things to do…)

    OK, so just one would do! I’m prepared to jump all over this…

    Jennifer in Vail

  26. Comment by Jeff&Jenn | 01.13.2009 | 10:28 am

    Elden —

    Yay! I would love to come up and help Susan make jewelry or just hang out and visit while she works on it. Would that be ok?


  27. Comment by Ka_Jun | 01.13.2009 | 10:41 am

    beautiful work…chain links, too. awesome!

  28. Comment by JT | 01.13.2009 | 10:47 am

    fantastic news!

  29. Comment by bobbieh | 01.13.2009 | 10:55 am

    YaY, Susan!!! I’d buy a bracelet ~ in a heartbeat!!

  30. Comment by Phil | 01.13.2009 | 11:07 am

    That’s fantastic news too!

  31. Comment by Fred | 01.13.2009 | 11:29 am

    I love cycling but Eldon, your column really puts the important things in life into perspective.

    Now I need to go find a hankie.

  32. Comment by Marrock | 01.13.2009 | 11:33 am

    Ok, I need one of those bracelets for my girlfriend.

  33. Comment by Sprite's Keeper | 01.13.2009 | 11:52 am

    Susan, your art is beautiful!
    WIN Susan!

  34. Comment by HP | 01.13.2009 | 12:09 pm

    That is absolutely incredible news.

    …and I so want one of those bracelets. Beautiful work!
    Win Susan!!

  35. Comment by | 01.13.2009 | 12:29 pm

    Wow, I LOVE that bracelet. Of course, having a Susan “original” would make it priceless.

  36. Comment by Matt | 01.13.2009 | 1:08 pm

    Fatty, I’m thinking that with just another year of ’seasoning’ for the shot-bloks, you could actually cut them like gem stones and use them in Susans jewlery! Pick your flavor of fine jewelry! And in a real pinch, you could actually attempt to EAT it!

  37. Comment by Jamie | 01.13.2009 | 1:11 pm

    Yay for Susan!

    And I know what you’re raffling tomorrow… It’s a unicorn, isn’t it?

  38. Comment by stuckinmypedals | 01.13.2009 | 1:31 pm

    What great news! I love, love, love the bracelet.

  39. Comment by Di | 01.13.2009 | 1:53 pm

    Wow, that bracelet is absolutely beautiful! I sincerely hope that Susan can find comfort in practicing her art, once again. :-)

  40. Comment by ricky | 01.13.2009 | 3:37 pm

    great news. glad susan’s able to do something she loves doing.

  41. Comment by P. | 01.13.2009 | 3:50 pm

    Never commented before, but followed for quite some time. Would LOVE to have one of those bracelets. Perhaps contract the work out for Susan’s design and sell the bracelets. You’d really see the support out there for her! Not that we don’t support you, Fatty…but to really support SUSAN’s passion – what a deal!

  42. Comment by kellene | 01.13.2009 | 3:51 pm

    I have one of these lovely little gems that Susan helped me with while you were living in Seattle. The worst part is disassembling and cleaning the chain! So…fatty, my dear brother, it looks like you have another job on your hands! Start breaking down some chains so Susan can start creating these masterpieces once again. I see there are many people in dire need of one! I will come up and help her with this soon! Glad she is feeling a little steadier.

  43. Comment by Kathleen | 01.13.2009 | 4:39 pm

    That’s just the best news I’ve all had all month! Will keep fingers and toes crossed that Susan continues to have steady hands. Whether or not she graces us with her lovely creations.

    WIN Susan!

  44. Comment by p.j. | 01.13.2009 | 7:06 pm

    Excellent news! I hope Susan is able to enjoy jewelry making again. I would love to buy a bracelet for a good friend who is a mucho serious urban biker and one for myself as well. The bracelet in the picture is so fun!

    I also like the idea of shot blok jewels. I thoroughly enjoyed the experiments. Reminds me of some brownies I made when I was 16. My brother used a hammer and screw driver to get them out of the Pyrex pan. We never figured out what went sooo wrong!

    Take care and WIN Susan, Elden, and family.

  45. Comment by Walter | 01.13.2009 | 7:55 pm

    That is WONDERFUL news about Susan’s hands — thanks for sharing.

  46. Comment by Kt | 01.13.2009 | 8:10 pm

    Susan, that’s awesome that you’ve got your hands back.

    I’ve got a good friend with Parkinson’s, so know (peripherally, not first hand), what it’s like to not have control of yourself. It’s so hard to watch as the things Gloria wants to do are taken away, one at a time– and it makes it even more poignant when we can make her dreams come true, one at a time.

    So, I’m there with ya. I’m looking forward to whatever it is your husband is cooking up tomorrow, and I hope he’ll leave the raffle up for long enough (it’s W2 season in my office, and I’m slammed– that’s what I get for being the only one who does these things!) so I can get in on it.

    Yay! Win!

  47. Comment by John the Lawyer | 01.13.2009 | 9:21 pm

    Susan, I don’t care what you produce. Just do it. And I start the bidding at $500. No joke.

    Fatty, your call whether the money goes to you or the LAF.

    John the Lawyer

  48. Comment by Barb | 01.13.2009 | 10:02 pm

    I want a bracelet.

  49. Comment by Jenni Laurita | 01.13.2009 | 10:37 pm

    I make jewelry and I’d totally be willing to work some Susan stuff up.
    Fatty, email me if you’re interested. I can do that bracelet above (let me just grab the chain off my husband’s bike to get started, he doesn’t use it anyway). Or maybe Susan has other things I might be able to copy and we can do it that way too…

    Awesome news!!

  50. Comment by Susan | 01.13.2009 | 10:44 pm

    Tell Susan to enjoy her hands – doing whatever she wants to do!! Great news!!

  51. Comment by Mike Roadie | 01.14.2009 | 4:46 am

    Thanks for the good news. This month, we can all use a little of that.
    I hope Susan has fun making jewelery again. I’d be afraid that there is no way to keep up with the demand if you start selling them for the LAF!


  52. Comment by Pam | 01.14.2009 | 6:56 am


  53. Comment by Janel | 01.14.2009 | 6:56 am

    yeah for Susan…we love to hear good news. Sounds like you have a business opportunity Susan…and some workers to help you.
    It is wonderful to see those tender mercies given to you and your family Elden.

    Dad and Janel

  54. Comment by Isela | 01.14.2009 | 12:40 pm

    I would like a couple of those to give to my friends.

  55. Comment by Penny | 01.14.2009 | 4:13 pm

    I definitely think these need to be in bike shops across the country. I want one too!

  56. Comment by vivid dadas | 01.14.2009 | 5:56 pm

    What are your thoughts on a “boy” bracelet without the “dangley” parts?

    Carol’s pretty wrist would look elegant in one of your beauty bracelets, me, errr not so much, but I would love a guys version without dangles.

  57. Comment by Beth | 01.15.2009 | 9:11 pm

    That is so awesome. I really hope she can do some jewelry. As a jewelry-maker myself, I am really interested to see what she comes up with!



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