Sue Hessel (Pinky Pie)

Sue Hessel—personal historian, gifted writer, humanitarian, wife, mom, granny, and friend to all (especially Democrats)—has spent her life giving freely to others through her myriad roles. Now it's our privilege and your opportunity to give back. At the request of Sue's colleagues and friends connected over the past decade and more through the Association of Personal Historians (APH), I am opening this fund drive to help her contend with the enormous medical expenses incurred due to her recurrence of breast cancer. Below is Sue's story told in her own inimitable
style and excerpted from her "Pinky Pie" blog at

The password I set for my blog in 2009 {after the first breast cancer diagnosis} involved the F word and cancer. As I’ve emailed and talked to people {following the recent recurrence}, I noticed there was use of a variety of swear words. I myself kept saying shit to my doctor and apologizing. I’m guessing that many if not all of us were raised by parents who frowned on such words, but shit, damn and hell, there are times to use them. I believe this is it. . . .  I do believe we need to be kind to each other—but not to cancer.

Alas, there is cancer. I can be glib; I can be funny; I can be terrified. On any given day, it’s a mixture of all three. Going into my oncology appointment yesterday, I was terrified of hearing her tell me, “There is nothing that can be done. Go home and get your affairs in order.”

What she said was the CT scan showed a couple of small spots in my liver . . . And the pathology report indicated it is the original breast cancer in my lung and bones, which is better than having a new lung cancer. We may be able to treat those nasty cancer cells with a couple of oral medications for a time
{depending on the receptor activity}. If the receptors don’t match whatever needs to be matched, I will be started on some big gun chemotherapy. . . . I will also have monthly IV treatments to strengthen my bones.

Sue next had to have an MRI of her brain to ensure the cancer cells had not spread there. Luckily, they have not. They have identified, however, a tumor on her spinal cord that could cause paralisis if not treated and that required emergency radiation treatment. That's when she discovered that her insurance will not cover radiation or chemotherapy. Luckily, the Mayo Clinic
Charity Care agreed to help pay for the radiation therapy, but just enough to get the treatments started.  The Mayo Special Pharmacy has arranged to discount  her various medications, including the $10,500-per-cycle drug required to treat the cancer. Even with their help, Sue and her family obviously are overwhelmed financially at this point.  In another year, Sue will be eligible for Medicare, but that doesn't solve her current predictament at all.
So we're asking you to open your hearts and your wallets to help Sue through an incredibly difficult time. Those of you who know her realize how extraordinary a lady she is, always ready with a smile and joke to make the best of any given situation or to simply brighten our spirirts. As soon as she learned about her own recurrence, she became obsessed with reaching out to other friends (including me) who had experienced breast cancer after her first bout with it. Not wanting them to be any more frightened than they already were, she reassured each of them that her experience did not have to be theirs. Those of you who don't know Sue are missing something special but can remedy that a bit by reading her uplifting, often hilarious blog (even while dealing with such serious subject matter).
Once we've met our goal, I'd love to invite you to a very special cyber "Pinky Pie" celebration. Please be generous with your donations!
 ***The photo  is of Sue Hessel at an APH Conference in Nashville in 2007 (pre breast cancer days) demonstrating "Breast Reconstruction Surgery, Wisconsin Style." That's our girl!


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Organizer and beneficiary

Paula Stallings Yost 
Yantis, TX
Susan T. Hessel 
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