01.25.2012 | 11:47 am

A Note from Fatty: Today, I’m starting work on my next book: Fight Like Susan. It will tell the story of Susan’s battle with cancer. From time to time (honestly, I don’t know how often I’ll be able to pull the energy together for this kind of post) I’ll be writing posts that fill in the gaps of the story I’ve already told — stuff that happened before I started this blog, and stuff that was too difficult to talk about at the time.

Eventually, I hope to have a complete story. Something my kids will be able to read someday and better understand what was going on around them while they grew up.

I may not write in chronological order, and I may not do these posts very often. Or maybe I’ll start doing them nonstop ’til I’m done. Honestly, I don’t know. One way or another, eventually I’ll finish this book.

In any case, thanks for sticking with me while I write this.

It was December 2003. Life wasn’t exactly easy right then. The twins had just turned two, and while they were pretty much the most adorable little girls you could imagine, keeping up with them was no easy task. “Soon,” Susan and I would tell each other, “They’ll be out of diapers. Then things will get easier. And cheaper.”

“Cheaper” was important. I was working as the editor-in-chief for asp.netPRO magazine, and — like with a lot of tech magazines — there was some serious belt-tightening going on at the company.

A Job Offer

There had been two layoffs. And with each layoff, those of us who remained took a pay cut. Which meant that I was taking home about 60% of the salary I had been hired at.

We were not making ends meet, but we faked it by closing the gap with credit cards. Obviously, that wasn’t a great long term solution.

So I started looking around for a job. Luckily, my job had given me a thick contact list, and I started reaching out to companies. Within a couple of weeks, there were two interested companies: one of them was a development house based in New Jersey. The other was Microsoft.

Either way, we’d definitely have to move.

I interviewed with Microsoft. The result was, “We’re interested in hiring you, but not for the position you interviewed for. Let’s talk again.”

I interviewed with the company in NJ. They made a verbal job offer. I accepted. We were going to be moving East.


And then, doing a routine breast self-exam, Susan felt a lump.

Wow. I had a hard time writing that.

The thing is, that moment was the moment that changed everything for us, but I totally downplayed it. “I bet it’s nothing,” I said. “I bet you anything that it’s something like this ganglion cyst I’ve got.”

That was my style. It still is, really: assume that everything is going to work out for the best. Because if it does, then you spent less time worrying. And if it doesn’t, what good did the worrying do?

But I was still worried, and Susan was too.

OK, “worried” is the wrong word. “Scared” is better, but I acted like I wasn’t.


She went to the doctor. They did a mammogram — Susan’s first, since she was only 37. The doctor said that depending on the results, they might need to do a biopsy.

Susan came back, and we worried. But I stayed positive, and kept telling her that it would not be a problem. Everything would be fine.

Then, on December 23 — two days before Christmas — we got a call. Susan got the phone. It was the doctor. Not the nurse or the doctor’s admin, the doctor. He asked if both of us could get on the phone.

Those two things — the doctor calling himself, and his wanting to talk to both of us at the same time — told us the bad news, before he ever confirmed it.

“You have breast cancer.”

I remember I looked for a way out. “You mean she needs to come in for a biopsy, right?”

“No, it’s very obvious. Can you come in tomorrow so we can start making a plan?”

The doctor wanted us to come in on Christmas Eve. Yes, we could come in.

He had already asked an oncologist to come to the meeting. We appreciated it.

We started calling family and friends, telling them the news, or what little we understood of it.

And I called the company in NJ, telling them I’d likely need to start my new job working from Utah until we had things figured out. They told me not to worry about it and to take care of my wife.

The Plan

The meeting was businesslike, which I think both Susan and I wanted. They could do a lumpectomy, although this lump was big enough that this might be too conservative an approach.

Then chemotherapy.

After that, we’d see if we needed to do radiation, too.

“I don’t want to do a lumpectomy,” Susan said, with perhaps the most certainty I had seen in her to that point. “Take the whole thing. I don’t want it anymore.”

In an instant, that breast had become her enemy. She wanted nothing to do with it; wanted it gone as quickly as possible.

I didn’t argue; I trusted her instincts. We scheduled the surgery.

Another Call

I don’t remember Christmas from that year. I really have no recollection of it at all. But I do remember a phone call that came a couple days later. It was the guy who would be my manager at the company in NJ. I assumed it was to see how Susan was doing.

I was wrong.

“I’m sorry, but we need to retract that job offer,” he said. “I hope you understand.”

Yeah. I understood.


  1. Comment by Rob W | 01.25.2012 | 12:04 pm

    Thanks Fatty. Your descriptive writing makes me feel like I was right there with you when you got the diagnosis. I cant even begin to imagine how you and Susan felt. You guys were and are warriors! Thanks for sharing. I think your book will comfort a lot of people.
    Sending you some love from Rupert, ID !

  2. Comment by Laura S | 01.25.2012 | 12:04 pm

    Wow Elden. I can’t thank you enough from sharing with us something that must be so difficult to share, and for writing this book.

  3. Comment by davidh,marin | 01.25.2012 | 12:11 pm

    Fatty. It was Lance’s ’shout out’ about your blog that got Wife#1, and then I reading. We had never seen the early work, only Susan’s Fight. Her courage and your words made us part of the Team Fatty.

    I cannot imagine how difficult this book and these future updates will be, I do know it is an amazing individual who is letting us in on the story and we thank you.

    Bravo to you, Lisa, and the kids. These members of Team Fatty will always do whatever we can, whenever you ask.

    Thank you,
    davidh,marin, ca., Wife#1, and our kids.

  4. Comment by Mary Timberlake | 01.25.2012 | 12:18 pm

    Thank you for sharing your difficult journey with us.

  5. Comment by KM | 01.25.2012 | 12:20 pm

    Keep writing.

  6. Comment by NYCCarlos | 01.25.2012 | 12:23 pm

    Thanks for sharing, buddy. Susan’s story is why I came to the blog. I think this is a really important story to tell, and I’m glad you’re doing it. Good luck with the rest. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it.


  7. Comment by Bykertony | 01.25.2012 | 12:38 pm


    I think most of us cannot imagine how you felt during that time. Your writing is tough to read but inspiring at the same time.
    Thank you for sharing.
    JZ in Boulder, CO.

  8. Comment by Scot | 01.25.2012 | 12:40 pm

    Keep writing! The more stories like this out there, the more awareness it generates, the more lives can be saved!

  9. Comment by Liz | 01.25.2012 | 12:51 pm

    Elden, thank you. I started reading your blog right when Susan died (which was within a week or two of when I finished chemo). I really appreciate the back story which is unfortunately all too familiar to me and my husband, and we both look forward to the book. I know it is difficult but you have a gift and you are reaching a big audience.

  10. Comment by TK | 01.25.2012 | 12:53 pm

    I have a lump in my throat after reading that post. It feels like I was there. Keep writing. There are lots of us out here that need to know what it was like living through it. Most of us will have cancer affect us, a family member, or friend. This blog might just be the best preparation we can get.

  11. Comment by off-roadie | 01.25.2012 | 12:54 pm

    You’re blog is one of few that I really follow. I’ve been reading for the last year or so. In reading it, I have discovered a strange phenomenon where in I consider someone I have never actually met to be a dear friend. I’ve known about Susan’s fight for a long time now, but never any details. I tell you this to tell you that reading this post very nearly brought me to tears. I wish you strength in telling your story, my friend!

  12. Comment by Skippy | 01.25.2012 | 12:56 pm

    This story needs to be told but i am already on the edge of my seat wondering what other difficulties you had to face in a period when everyone should have been celebrating !
    Your positive attitude has always come through your blog and i hope that putting the story out will help others to cope with the difficulties that Cancer creates for families .

  13. Comment by Arpad | 01.25.2012 | 12:57 pm

    Your writing skill/style will, without question, generate a very powerful and useful book for cancer caregivers. I look forward to reading it.

    Just this morning I was looking through your older posts when you were caring for Susan. And then you posted this…wow. Last week my mother was diagnosed with Stage3 pancreatic cancer. Chemo and radiation therapy are now scheduled. It is hard to imagine the fear that one must feeling when they get this diagnosis. And I’m wondering what I will be able to do for her.

    Anyway I just wanted to tell you how much your blog means to me. I have been following your blog since probably around 2004 (did it exist then?), and will probably be doing so until the year 2104. I imagine you’ll still be blogging then…probably about your obsession with geriatric unicycling.

    Thanks, Arpad

  14. Comment by Jason | 01.25.2012 | 12:59 pm

    I love Susan posts. Biking is awesome. Family is way awesomer. These are the post Elden that make me want to be a better husband. This is what matters. Thank you being that example of what it means to sacrifice for something/someone more important than oneself.

  15. Comment by Christina | 01.25.2012 | 1:00 pm

    “‘I don’t want to do a lumpectomy,’ Susan said, with perhaps the most certainty I had seen in her to that point. ‘Take the whole thing. I don’t want it anymore.’”

    This gave me chills. I can’t quite explain why…I’m shocked/inspired/moved by her strength/conviction/determination in that moment. I’m simply not doing the moment justice. It makes me want to yell and do something and hug my family all at once. That moment says win.

    PLEASE keep writing this story.

  16. Comment by Charles | 01.25.2012 | 1:02 pm

    I’ve been inspired before by Susan. I’m inspired again by her initial response to “take the whole thing.” I’m sure that was incredibly difficult and yet all she cared about was fighting as hard as she possibly could. Inspiring!

    Thanks for sharing Fatty.

  17. Comment by Kukui | 01.25.2012 | 1:04 pm

    Wow, Fatty. Thank you for sharing this difficult part of your life with us. I can’t even imagine how hard it must be to write all this down. I know this next book, as well as the Caretaker’s Companion, will be indescribably comforting to cancer patients and their families.

  18. Comment by Dan O | 01.25.2012 | 1:07 pm


    Scared is the only word to describe it. We come from a generation where our parents didn’t talk about the dreaded ‘C’ word. Having been through it, being one of the lucky ones, I still get scared thinking out it. I almost broke down going into Children’s hospital for a routine appointment with my Daughter last week. She’s fine, the Dr we were seeing has his office there as he is also a teacher. I saw a few things that reminded me just how lucky I am.

  19. Comment by Dana | 01.25.2012 | 1:14 pm

    I’m reading Comedian Mastermind now. I had to put “Infinite Jest” down – too heavy. Your book is perfect reading material for me right now. As a woman, to me, this book reads like “The Hangover” – except with bikes, and other stuff. I roll my eyes a lot, as most women do when dudes do stupid things. But it’s great, and hilarious, I mean, I laugh out loud A LOT.

    I’m very much looking forward to your second book. That’s the one I’ve been sincerely waiting for.

  20. Comment by Gillian | 01.25.2012 | 1:21 pm

    I just really want to say Win Susan right now, even though I don’t know what it means anymore.

    I hope writing this is meaningful and helpful for you. Reading it is very powerful for me.

  21. Comment by Lisa Eirene | 01.25.2012 | 1:31 pm

    Eloquently written. This made me tear up a bit. I went through something similar about 4 years ago. I was 28. I felt a lump. It was the scariest time of my life. There was a lot of waiting to see specialists, ultrasounds, tests, etc. I thought the waiting would kill me.

    It turned out it was a fibroadenoma. I had surgery and the biopsy said no cancer. I was lucky. It was terrifying though and something I still worry about.

  22. Comment by FliesOnly | 01.25.2012 | 1:36 pm

    I got nothing. I’m just staring at my computer screen.

  23. Comment by Beth | 01.25.2012 | 1:37 pm

    I got the same phone call many years ago & remember it like it was 5 minutes ago. Got the call at work in the middle of a hectic day in the lab. I remember struggling to concentrate on the exact words she was using. I remember saying, “what do you mean by ’suspicious’”? Yes, your life changes forever at that moment. And right away, you know it. You tell it well, Fatty. Keep going.

  24. Comment by Janet B | 01.25.2012 | 1:41 pm

    Thank you for sharing your story with us. Most of us will benefit from experience and your words.

  25. Comment by Zak | 01.25.2012 | 1:45 pm

    Fatty- I have been in that exact same position. Just these few paragraphs floored me and I’m choking on tears at my desk in Michigan. I’m looking forward to your book, but if I am being 100% honest I am not sure I will be able to get through it myself.

  26. Comment by Zak | 01.25.2012 | 1:49 pm

    …but by the way, please, please keep writing. I was “lucky” in that my wife and best friend survived her ordeal and it inspired radical life changes for us both, but reliving it is still very hard and we are dealing with the specter of cancer every day for the rest of her life now. I thought about putting my old blog posts together in a “digest” for other guys out there in my position, but I’m counting on you instead, friend.

  27. Comment by Paul Guyot | 01.25.2012 | 1:50 pm

    And once again, we are reminded of the real reasons of why we all ride….

  28. Comment by Jenni | 01.25.2012 | 1:53 pm

    Awh, my friend. Such a sad place to return. I can tell you’re holding back, I respect that, just want you to know that we’re here for you. Allow this to be the truly cathartic experience it can be and lean on your friends and people who care about you for some help. When you need us to comment w fart stories to lift your mood, say the word. Of course I don’t have any myself, but I’ll ask around and share stories from others.

  29. Comment by Lucas | 01.25.2012 | 2:07 pm

    Thank you for sharing, beyond that I have no words.

  30. Comment by Fat Monte | 01.25.2012 | 2:25 pm

    I want to give you a hug right now. Or maybe, more accurately, I need you to give me one.

  31. Comment by roan | 01.25.2012 | 2:38 pm

    Read the posting today & the comments. I seem to be suffering from the same symptoms of others, lump in my throat, staring at my computer. I don’t have the words, except thanks Elden for doing this. Now I need a drink of water.

  32. Comment by gregc | 01.25.2012 | 2:51 pm

    Hey Fatty,
    I feel that I’ve been friends with you for a long time, through hard times and good. Todays post is a reminder, rather a hard kick in the teeth, on why we all need to celebrate each day. Its hard to read, I cant imagine how hard it is for you to write. Thank you for letting us into your family!

  33. Comment by AngieG | 01.25.2012 | 2:55 pm

    Oh Fatty…I am in tears. I agree with @Fat Monte on the hug! So here it is (((( )))) my virutal hug!

    I am so truly blessed to know you and all our Fatty family. I can honestly say I have become a better person because of it.

    Dumb, Freaking Cancer!!!

  34. Comment by melicious | 01.25.2012 | 3:18 pm

    Wow. Jarring to the core, both your excellently written description of the discovery of the cancer and also the jaw-dropper at the end. It sent chills through me (both things). I hadn’t realized Susan was only 37 when diagnosed. I’m 38, so that hit hard. Wow. You and especially she are/were so strong.

  35. Comment by Philly Jen | 01.25.2012 | 3:20 pm

    Hurling off a 40-foot embankment at Leadville was probably a piece of cake compared to writing this.

    It’s a testament to how much you love your kids that you would choose to take such a flying leap with your writing.

    You’re amazing, friend. Thank you for doing this.

    +1, this is the book I’ve been waiting for.

  36. Comment by Philly Jen | 01.25.2012 | 3:22 pm

    Ooops, sorry for the crap HTML tagging. There was something moist in my eyes.

  37. Comment by ClydeinKS | 01.25.2012 | 3:31 pm

    F#*&K Cancer! Thank you Fatty for opening the door for all of us, I agree with Jenni and hope catharsis is experienced for you and all reading with similar experiences. The past attitudes of “shhh, don’t talk about that” are being conquered and you are a hero in getting the word shared, raising awareness, raising money, etc, etc. Thank you many times over and please continue, I’m on the edge of my seat and hope for more of the story, but understand if breaks are required for other posts as well.
    Jeff D

  38. Comment by zeeeter | 01.25.2012 | 3:36 pm

    Now I remember why I’m getting on my bike in prep for Davis later in the year . . . thanks for being brave enough to tell the story, reliving something that no person or family should have to live through even one time.

  39. Comment by Layne | 01.25.2012 | 3:38 pm

    Good stuff Fatty. How do I pre-order a book? Thanks for sharing.

  40. Comment by ten penny | 01.25.2012 | 4:02 pm

    “I hope you understand.”

    Words to fear. I’ve been a productive, hard-working citizen for many years. I work in biotech, producing drugs to fight diseases like this one. I also have metastatic breast cancer (and, yes, I am still working full-time. For now. And going to grad school part-time.) I’ve stayed at the same company for years because it was decent pay – and good health benefits. And in the next year or so, I will be laid off, since the site is shutting down, just when I may be least likely to be hired (would you hire someone who looks sick?)

    I know you generally avoid political stuff, but decent health care shouldn’t be tied to a job.

  41. Comment by RodNeeds2Ride | 01.25.2012 | 4:20 pm

    Wow. Powerful stuff Fatty.

    I first came here because of a silly donut race. I hadn’t ridden a bike since Junior High (and that was just because I couldn’t drive yet) and didn’t have a clue about any of the behind-the-scenes awesomeness.

    I’ve since donated money, bought a carbon road bike, dressed in Lycra AND signed up for Davis! I am honored to be a part of this. GO TEAM FATTY!

  42. Comment by Brian in VA | 01.25.2012 | 4:32 pm

    I’m sitting at my desk with tears in my eyes, never having met you, spoken with you by phone, only having read your blog for the past 6 months and your book. Yes, please keep writing this. And thanks.

  43. Comment by Geoffrey | 01.25.2012 | 4:47 pm

    Your mention of Christmas gave me the willies. I was on my way out of town for Thanksgiving in 2002, and had a sonogram, and found out that I had cancer. Got surgery. Then in 2005, just before leaving for Christmas, I found out, it was back. Chemo that time. Add to that appendicitis on my birthday and a broken pelvis this past day-before-Thanksgiving, and my wife has understandably asked that I spend the day before holidays staying relatively quiet. Or, as she says, “I’ve enough ‘in sickness.’ How about a little more ‘in health’?”

  44. Comment by Tracy W | 01.25.2012 | 4:53 pm

    Powerful words…must have been hard to write.

    I followed along Susan’s final year, and was nearly moved to tears more than once by your love for her and honesty in sharing.

    Kudo’s to you, my friend.

  45. Comment by PL | 01.25.2012 | 5:06 pm

    Thanks for having the courage to write this….I too have followed your blog since Lance mentioned it, and despite all you had written wondered how you were REALLY doing. Now we can all share that journey with you. And know we do share it….

  46. Comment by Mark in Ottawa | 01.25.2012 | 5:15 pm

    Thanks for writing this – I understand that it must be incredibly difficult, but learning more about cancer and peoples’ responses to it is valuable.

    Bon courage my friend.

    Mark (in Ottawa, Canada)

  47. Comment by BigShorty | 01.25.2012 | 5:19 pm

    Thanks for having the cajones to write this. You kick ass, cancer sucks!

  48. Comment by Erik Stoneham | 01.25.2012 | 5:34 pm


    I am almost done with your book. It is great, thank you for the unique perspective on your life, both cycling and personal. I look forward to reading about your wife and all the trials I am sure you and your family went through. This post and what you are going to put in your new book is no easy task I am sure. It is difficult for any man or woman to put their emotion’s on their sleeve for all the world to see. I am sure I speak for all your fans that we are here with you and can appreciate what you are going through and went through. Not all of us have/had cancer, but we all know someone close to us that has.
    Thank you and Keep up the good fight!
    Oh and as my parents told me when I was younger, keep both tires on the ground!

  49. Comment by Cat_Rancher | 01.25.2012 | 5:36 pm

    Wow. Simple, to the point, honest, and powerful. I’m waiting to hear how a good friend is doing in the hospital now- cancer truly does suck. When people gripe about getting those tests we all must get, I always say “it can’t be worse than cancer.” You have touched more lives than you could even know by putting all this out there. Thank you.

  50. Comment by HeidiR | 01.25.2012 | 5:59 pm

    You write about the experience so well, and fully capture the feelings associated with a diagnosis. I originally started reading your blog because of Susan, but stayed because you continue to inspire. As hard as it is, telling the full story will be cathartic. You were there supporting Susan for so long, let Team Fatty be here to support you now. It’s story that needs to be told, and you are the perfect person to do it. Thank you for sharing.

  51. Comment by Nancy_in_MN | 01.25.2012 | 6:35 pm

    Thank you. Seriously.

  52. Comment by Linda | 01.25.2012 | 6:45 pm

    Fatty, I have been following your blog for quite some time now. You have brought me to tears on more than occasion, and today was no exception. As difficult as it must be to write these posts, they are so incredibly valuable to us, and so well-written . . . and they may even be cathartic for you as well.

    I can remember the exact moment that I heard my best friend say those two words that changed the course of her life: “It’s cancer.” My world stopped momentarily, and she too told the doctors to take it (actually, THEM), she was done with them. I thank God EVERY DAY that, almost three years later, she is still here and is completely healthy. I wish all women who were diagnosed with breast cancer could become survivors. Until that day, I do my part by walking (the 3-Day). Actually, I’ve been wanting to talk to you about starting a Team Fatty for the 3-Day . . . would love to set something up, so let me know!

  53. Comment by MSN | 01.25.2012 | 7:04 pm

    Fatty, are you saying that your wife never had a biopsy before they did her surgery?

  54. Comment by Carl | 01.25.2012 | 8:25 pm

    I am glad you have begun writing this story Fatty. I’ve been looking forward to hearing the whole story. The timing is weird though. This is the first I’ve checked your blog for a couple of days, because my friend and co-worker for the past 30 years just died of cancer on Monday. He was only diagnosed on November 1st and he was only 51.

  55. Comment by Lesley | 01.25.2012 | 8:56 pm

    Thanks for being brave enough to go down the road and take others with you a little as you write. You’re going to teach (and re-teach) a lot of people by telling this story.

  56. Comment by leroy | 01.25.2012 | 10:01 pm

    I was going to say something profound. Really, I was. But the words won’t come.

    This may be a tough book for you to write, but I hope it brings you peace.

    The thing about wrestling with sorrow is that when you’re going through it, it’s so damn hard to know if you’ve won.

    The thing about your experience is that it shows that how you fight is what determines if you’ve won.

    I know Susan won. I know you’re still fighting. I also know you’ve won.

    My wish for you and Susan is that when your children read your book they will be reminded of their parents’ strength and their own.

  57. Comment by AKChick55 | 01.25.2012 | 10:24 pm

    Wow. Just. Wow. That made me teary-eyed. Thank you for sharing.

    It is posts like this that reaffirm why I ride and fundraise for LIVESTRONG. Why I joined Team Fatty.

    And that company in NJ? They suck. Like major suck. Like huge layer cake full of suck with super duper suck frosting.

  58. Comment by Dave T | 01.25.2012 | 10:26 pm

    Thank you for sharing your story Elden. This book will be a gift, not only to your children, but to all of us. Your writing is powerful because it is honest and from the heart. Know that we value your courage and commitment to share this story with us. Take as much time as you need.

  59. Comment by AKChick55 | 01.25.2012 | 10:39 pm

    Also, for those riding in Davis, I started a Facebook page for those of us on Facebook to share info and get to know one another. :)

    It’s here https://www.facebook.com/pages/Team-Fatty-LIVESTRONG-Davis/271783436216181

    It’s legit and Austin Team Captain Steve can vouch for me. :)

  60. Comment by Debi | 01.25.2012 | 10:57 pm

    i can’t tell you how moving I found this post. I want to hear the rest of the story. thanks for being brave enough to share it

  61. Comment by Ben S | 01.25.2012 | 11:54 pm

    Thank you Fatty –

    I mean that with all the sincerity of the word.

    I first stumbled on your site while looking for information on breast cancer after my mom had been diagnosed with it. I followed along and caught up over many months and was completely floored when Susan passed. Deep down I knew that my mom was going to have one heck of a fight on her hands, and your blog helped me work through it quite a bit before I was personally confronted with it.

    I have to admit, I trailed off my reading once the runner came more into the picture and pretty much stopped for a while when the wedding was announced – I just couldn’t handle the thought. Honestly, I was thinking “how could you?”, it seemed way too soon to me. I didn’t know then, but I do know now that I wasn’t really putting it in terms of you and Susan- but in terms of my mom and step dad.
    My mom appeared to beat the breast cancer after surgery and radiation. Then soon after my wife got pregnant with our second child, my mom got a pain in her back. Between a PET scan and some other tests, it was confirmed to be metastic breast cancer. It was one hell of a fight from them on. I pointed my step dad to your blog as he was needing a bit of a compratriot, but he’s not really one to share with strangers, so the virtual you worked very well.

    The fight went on for nearly two years and then almost a year ago, in the matter of two months, the cancer spread to her brain, liver, lower instine, and throat. The mom I once knew was turned into a hollow shell of pain and suffering that no being should have to endure. In March, she told cancer that it could take her body, but not her.

    In a strange way, since I had already “pre-delt” with the grieving process through reading your blog, it wasn’t as bad of a blow to me. oh yea, it still sucked major donkey balls, I’m not going to say it was fun; and to be honest, I’m still dealing with it – hell, I’m probably getting FU Cancer integrated into the paint job of my cyclocross bike.

    Since my mom’s passing, my step dad has found another great lady. Had I not found your blog before and already worked through that part, at least subconsciencely – that situation could have seriously damaged the relationship I have with him. After slowing reading a few posts of yours here and there, I saw how the runner and you were happy; but also there were hints here and there that you haddn’t walked away from Susan and forgotten her. Yup, I was pretty harsh in my initial condemation of you in my own head (Sorry!). As I had already had that reaction and some how worked through it by reading more here and there; when my step dad let me know that he had run into another lady he liked, I’m able to actually be happy for him as she is honestly a great person and makes him very happy.

    Your writing style and honesty is a welcome sight along the “infromation superhighway” – I look forward to your book and please keep posting.

    - I also commend you on the levity you are able to inject; I had a serious but witty reply in my head, but as I tried to get it down, it all went to crap; apparently along with much of my knowledge of sentence structure…

  62. Comment by Maggie | 01.26.2012 | 1:15 am

    Tears are freely streaming down my face right now, even though I knew what was coming. It just hits like a ton of bricks every time I read posts about Susan, whom I never had the pleasure of meeting. All I know is that her life, and her fight, has touched the lives of thousands, maybe tens of thousands of people who have come across Fatty’s blog. She must have been one freaking incredible woman. I look forward to reading more about her. Please share some happy stories too, otherwise I’m going to need to start buying stock in kleenex!! So much love surrounds this blog, it’s blows my mind.

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  64. Comment by Kevin Swenson | 01.26.2012 | 7:28 am

    How can we pre-order teh book. I’d be willing to front ya the $29.95 in order to help your process. Thanks for being YOU!!!

  65. Comment by Henrik Wist | 01.26.2012 | 7:29 am

    thank you for sharing this, it brought tears in my eyes. Cancer sucks.

  66. Comment by Sara | 01.26.2012 | 8:14 am

    Thank you for continuing to tell your story.

  67. Comment by Cyclin' Missy | 01.26.2012 | 8:42 am

    Thank you, Elden. I continue to feel your pain and your love for Susan. I admire how you both fought. This story is so important. Thank you for sharing it and for writing this book.

  68. Comment by Doug (Way upstate NY) | 01.26.2012 | 8:58 am

    Keep writing. Take it like a long climb on a bike. One peddle at a time. Keep the cranks turning and get to the top!

  69. Comment by cyclingjimbo | 01.26.2012 | 9:43 am

    It has to be difficult for you to relive such a gutwrenching experience. Cathartic, perhaps, but difficult nevertheless. Thank you for letting us in on your story.

    I live in the business world, and my first reaction to the NJ company was “good response” – then having them call you and retract the offer was more than a little sucky. Good thing you didn’t name the company.

    Cancer sucks in every way. I have a friend whose family just put him into Hospice care after a 13 month battle. Glioblastoma. Sucks. They have been courageous and have shown grace and love at every turn. Sometimes the only choices we can make are how we choose to live in the face of insurmountable obstacles and devastating circumstance.

    Your posts, and I hope your book, show / will show how you have lived your life in the face of this same struggle. Thanks for sharing yourself with us. Your story and Susan’s story are inspirational on many levels.

  70. Comment by Clydesteve | 01.26.2012 | 11:26 am

    Hi Elden, Thanks for this. I have been a virtual friend starting somewhere in the timeframe between Susan and your 1st fight with cancer and the 2nd.

    At that point, your blog was mostly jokey stuff about cycling and fighting weight. I coveted, and eventually got a copy of the 1st FC cycling jersey.

    What I never realized was that your & Susan’s 1st fight with cancer nearly coincided with my brother’s fight. It was because of his diagnosis, earlier in 2003, that I was involved in the 2003 Tour of Hope, a precursor to the LiveStrong Challeng rides.

    Thanks for being real. It is much easier to always be funny, and it is much easier for me to read a blog that is predominently funny. But it is your ability to shift over and be honest and transparent about important stuff that keeps me liking you and reading your blog.


  71. Comment by Skippy | 01.26.2012 | 12:29 pm

    @Zak , your blog is worth the visit and follow BUT even more important is you help others by doing as Fatty has started ! As a survivor your wife will be an inspiration to others .
    @tenpenny i am a supporter of the ” occupy Movement ” because of their attitude to the US health care system . I am fortunate to be living in Austria where i pay ” self insurance ” and as my blogs detail i am the better for their system . Hopefully you will recover and the USA will adopt a system that protects you and other cAncer sufferers !

    Today is Australia day and shortly i will again ring an old colleague there whose wife was suffering and being treated for Cancer . In their 80’s so i hope to hear that she is at least holding her own because i am unsure how Brian could cope alone .

    MY earlier comment was made with a lump in the throat like so many other commenters !

  72. Comment by Fan in Seoul | 01.26.2012 | 2:12 pm

    Fatty, life has gotten so hard for so many of us the past few years. Reading your story inspires me. Good things come to those who deserve it. You and your family deserve it. I cannot imagine just how alone you must have felt.
    Thank you for having the courage to share your story. I hope your kids feel all the support and love your blog followers are giving you.

  73. Comment by Marco | 01.26.2012 | 6:11 pm


    Thanks for sharing. Keep writing! I’m looking forward to shaking your hand in Davis in June!

  74. Comment by gogogo | 01.26.2012 | 7:11 pm

    thank you.

    this posts brings up many painful memories. i lost my best friend in 2003 to ovarian cancer. i remember her call with the diagnosis as clear as day. from then on, everything changed. i traveled overseas several times to spend months taking care of her and her family. i learned a lot.
    i think of her when i am out running or riding. still miss her. since then, i have lost 3 more friends to cancer.
    other friends are surviving.

    your writing is an inspiration. keep going. i am looking forward to your book.

  75. Comment by Shauna Park | 01.26.2012 | 7:18 pm

    Elden, I remember when Susan was diagnosed and when she had surgery. She was so brave. And she was still so sweet.

    I am not sure I realized back then how much it all affected you personally. All of the attention seems to go to the one who is diagnosed and not the caregiver.

    I don’t think you know this but we lost my mother in law to breast cancer about 4 years ago, and so this all hits home for me.

    Thanks for taking the time to share your story. I know it has to be painful.

  76. Comment by will | 01.26.2012 | 8:11 pm

    Reading this post brought back a flood of memories regarding my wife’s diagnosis of breast cancer. We were on vacation in the outer banks and shopping for groceries for the week. We received the call while in a grocery store from the doctor. I can still remember the look on my wife’s face. She didn’t want to ruin our vacation……. Eight years later she’s cancer free and I feel VERY lucky indeed.

  77. Comment by J Alvarez | 01.26.2012 | 9:27 pm

    Thanks for sharing your story…. I wish you the best

  78. Comment by Bryce | 01.26.2012 | 9:58 pm

    Damn! What a dose of reality.

    I’ve been pouting all weak about a burglary at my clinic that took 2 days of my life with insurance calls and police reports. Poor, poor pitiful me. Insurance will take care of all of it.

    And then your dose of reality and what truly is important. Thank you for posting your story. It brings perspective in many ways.

  79. Comment by Heidi | 01.27.2012 | 12:48 am


    Thank you.

  80. Comment by Nic Grillo | 01.27.2012 | 9:49 am

    I can’t even begin to imagine how difficult it waste deal with that news.

    I will never stop supporting this fight. ( at least not until Lance turns Livestrong HQ into a pie shop)

  81. Comment by Nic Grillo | 01.27.2012 | 9:49 am

    Waste = was. Stupid iPad autocorrect…

  82. Comment by David | 01.27.2012 | 1:03 pm

    And I have what to complain about?

    …look forward to buying the book when it’s finished.

  83. Comment by pedalpink | 01.27.2012 | 1:18 pm

    Your writing means so much to so many of us, Elden. I started reading your blog in 2004 – it is the only blog I regularly read. I have learned so much from you and Susan over the years about how to face cancer and so much more.

    My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer forty-three years ago. She was just a little older than Susan when she received the diagnosis; she had a double mastectomy the next day. I was 14 and had my learners permit so I drove her to the hospital.

    Your experience came much later, but it’s a story that will help so many people. It would help other people with cancer to fight like Susan. It will help other care givers to give like Elden. Book 2 is going to be very challenging so lean on your readers for support. The final book, the Caregiver’s Companion, will be worth so much to others.

  84. Comment by Jason | 01.28.2012 | 12:50 am

    Fatty- Thanks for all your posts over the years, never commented, only been a lurker. I owe you one, I’m buying your book now and the next one as soon as it comes out. Your courage to put yourself out there for all to see is amazing. Fight like Susan (and you)!

  85. Comment by Anonymous | 01.28.2012 | 8:01 am

    Wow. If this book was written, I’d download it RIGHT NOW and cancel my plans for the rest of the morning. I hope writing this story is as powerful an experience for you as reading it will be for us.

  86. Comment by Donal, UK | 01.28.2012 | 6:33 pm

    I’ve been a fatcyclist.com lurker until I read your post this evening and felt a lump in my throat.
    Keep writing, I hope it helps somehow.

  87. Comment by The FORMER 560 Pound, Cyclist | 01.29.2012 | 2:03 pm

    Painful and inspiring to read , Thanks Fatty for sharing

  88. Comment by Nancy | 01.29.2012 | 10:22 pm

    Thank you for your blog.
    I have been reading for several years, started back when you were still working for Microsoft.
    Your blog helped prepare me for what I just went through.
    We found out in July that my Mom had cancer, bladder cancer and she need major surgery. The end of September they removed her kidney, urter, and part of her bladder. She lived with me so that made things easier. I took off work and took care of her. She came through the surgery with flying colors and I went back to work only 3 weeks after she got out of the hospital.
    But she was still having pain, we knew that was a bad sign. We visited the oncologist and we were right it had spread to her liver and several limph nodes. So it was onto chemo.
    It was a new very strong chemo because now we knew that her’s was a two site cancer, it was also kidney cancer. She only survied 6 sessions. The chemo was too strong for her remaining kidney and she died of kidney failure December 19.
    Because of your sharing I was better prepared to handle taking care of my Mom – I was the only care giver. I am now working through the grief and shock of now being alone. (My brother died of cancer at 15 and my father died when I was 19).

    Thanks for your continued sharing.

  89. Comment by bobbieRN | 02.8.2012 | 9:28 pm

    You write it; I’ll buy it. Sending you vibes for strength & courage ~

  90. Comment by Trey | 02.14.2012 | 3:40 am

    A dear friend of mine had her right breast removed on 2/7/12. Their 17 years old told his dad that he could get a second job and still do well in school to help with the bills.
    The fight continues and the prayers go out to all those in battle like a stone thrown into a still pond let the ripples touch each soul.


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