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'They’re going to keep me going': N.S. woman grateful for care, compassion at QEII Health Sciences Centre

An Amherst, N.S., woman is sharing her cancer journey as a way to inspire others.

Susie Hicks-Gordon, 54, was diagnosed with a rare form of liver cancer two years ago.

But, she hasn’t let her diagnosis change her outlook on life.

Susie remains positive, grateful for every moment she spends with her family.

“My cancer journey started in February 2021,” she explains. “I entered the Amherst hospital with an unknown diagnosis at that point. I was in the hospital for about three weeks until I travelled to the QEII and started with testing, some biopsies and went home to wait.”

That spring, Susie was diagnosis with hepatocellular carcinoma – stage four liver cancer.

Susie says there were many tears at first, but she promised herself she wouldn’t let the diagnosis bring her down.

“I think the unknown is worse sometimes, not knowing,” she adds. “But once I found out, and I found out there wasn’t a cure, but there is treatment, I had to change my thoughts on everything. This is what I have to do. I’m a positive person anyway, so I felt like it was time to be strong and stand up.”

Susie worked closely with doctors Alison Wallace and Mark Walsh at the QEII Health Sciences Centre.

Her tumour was removed shortly after her diagnosis, and chemotherapy treatments followed.

But about one year later, her tumour had grown to a size that required another surgery.

“I see her every six months just to keep an eye on her,” explains Walsh, Susie’s surgeon. “She’s not like other patients that we have, some patients I have operated on three times for various types of issues, not exactly what she has. Her mutation is extremely rare and it can be inherited by family members, so we’ll screen them too, all of them.”

At Susie’s most recent check-up with Walsh, her bloodwork and scans looked good.

Walsh credits the entire QEII Health Sciences Centre team for their dedication to patients each and every day.

He says it’s important for him to form positive relationships with his patients, like Susie.

“The best thing about clinic is meeting people,” he says. “I always ask them what they do, and where they’re from – always. Because that creates a bond, right? You’re not just some doctor telling them they need this cut out or whatever. And she’s just a warm, and generous person.”

Susie says she is grateful for the quality of care and compassion she receives at the QEII Health Sciences Centre – a place that has extended her life.

“They’re going to keep me going,” she says. “As long as they can, and I have the right mind set to keep going as well.”

Giving Susie more time to live her life, with the people she loves. Top Stories

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