Written by daughter, Heather Hall
Daughter of Susie Lindquist Mjelde
My name is Heather Hall and I am the late Susie Lindquist Mjelde’s oldest child. I live with my husband and daughter and enjoy being a mother. I was in my senior year of college when my mother was diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer. When she lost her battle with cancer, it was hard to believe that I would have to experience the rest of my life without her. I remember how frustrated my mom would get during her battle with cancer. It was like something was taking over her mind and body and she had no control over it. I remember going to the doctor’s with her and my dad the day before she died. She still had her fighting spirit, but you could tell she was exhausted. She wanted to fight through this cancer for as long as possible, so she could be there for us. She was always thinking of others, even during a time where she had the right to be selfish.
When the doctor told us she was not going to make it, I remember thinking that maybe there would be a miracle and he was wrong. She always went out of her way to make each day for others as special as possible. Special occasions in my life are always hard because the first person I want to talk to about them or get advice from is my mom. Even though, it was awful to lose such an incredible person, there are a couple of positive things that have resulted from this loss. I have been blessed to have strong support from family and friends. Before my mother’s diagnosis, we knew very little about colon cancer. As most people, we thought it was a disease that affects the elderly or “a man’s disease”. Here we were astonished to find out that my 44 year old mother had this disease. How could that be possible we thought?
Quickly, my mom and family vowed to get the word out about colon cancer, and to raise awareness and education. The positive outcome has been that our family is way more preventative about our health and aware that this disease, as well as others, can affect anyone of any age. With breast cancer in our family as well, we have to be aware and educated about these diseases. I have already had two colonoscopies at the age of 32. Colonoscopies are something that some people choose to put off, but I feel like it is essential to do, so none of us have to go through what my mom did. In my perspective, it is important to listen to your body, especially when you have cancer that runs in the family.
My advice to someone fighting this disease is to not give up hope and keep fighting. My mother always said, “Hope is where it’s at”. Secondly, accept support and help from others to uplift your spirits. My mom used humor to help her through her courageous battle, when times were tough. My mom said you have two choices: to live your life to the fullest and find happiness or to just give up. I know I always think of this when I am missing my mom or life has thrown a curve ball at me. I wish my mom was here for those milestones in my life, but I have learned so much about myself and about this disease.