Susan Lynne (Shanbaum) Rosen, age 53, passed away on January 18, 2019 from metastatic breast cancer surrounded by her husband Mark Rosen of 28 years, daughter Michaela, son Max, and dog Wally.
Born and raised in Southbridge, Massachusetts on February 20, 1965, Susan was the daughter of Florence and Sam Shanbaum. Susan grew up loving art- waking up at night to draw and paint throughout her childhood. After graduating from Southbridge High, Susan attended the University of Massachusetts Amherst where she graduated with a B.A. in Early Childhood Education. Susan applied her degree as a daycare teacher in Tewksbury and Boston, began her own home daycare, and substitute taught in the Franklin Public elementary schools.
At UMass in 1986, Susan met Mark. Having been made for each other, they were married in June 1990 and lived briefly in Melrose. Susan and Mark then moved to Peabody to start their family. Two kids and several years later, the family settled in Franklin MA in 2003. Devoted wife and mother, Susan enjoyed baking, cooking, gardening, and helping others. Susan loved family vacations- Hawaii, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Disney World- the happiest place on earth.
“My story begins in July, 2010. We had just got the most wonderful dog, a Coton de Tulear named Wally. I noticed a pulling/stretching sensation when picking Wally up. While sitting at the kitchen table one day, I followed the strange sensation up my right arm. I found a very large lump under my right armpit.
I had a biopsy done soon after. It was determined I had a malignancy. I had further testing, and it was decided I would have a lumpectomy and right axillary dissection. The lump I had found was a lymph node. I had 42 cancerous lymph nodes removed along with a very small, but very aggressive tumor. I was diagnosed with stage III invasive ductile carcinoma. I had genetic testing done, and tested positive for the BRCA2 gene mutation. After receiving chemotherapy and radiation, I received a bilateral salpingo oopherectomy.
I had 3 great years cancer free!
The summer of 2013, I noticed a lump on my head. I also started having nausea, especially in the morning. I didn’t pay much attention to it because I was busy getting my daughter ready for her freshmen year at The George Washington University, and my son ready for his freshman year in high school. After the kids were back in school, I went to my primary doctor to get these problems looked at. An X-ray was performed, and I had blood work done. I received a call later that afternoon to make an appointment with my oncologist.
A PET scan showed metastases in the bones and liver. I was told I had stage IV breast cancer, there was no cure, but the cancer was treatable. On top of that, I have thyroid cancer too!
I started chemotherapy right away and continued for the next six months, and I also took Zometa for treatment of my bones. After chemotherapy ended, I began Faslodex for my hormone therapy, while continuing with Zometa.
Now here I am.
My life is not determined by metastatic breast cancer…”
As a true teacher, Susan educated friends, family, and strangers about MBC and the lessons she learned along the way. Susan inspired many with her honest writings. She was recognized as a top MBC blog and was interviewed in newspapers, forums, and by Robin Roberts’ production team for WebMD.
“When you die, it does not mean that you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and the manner in which you live.” -Stuart Scott