The Day My World Changed

posted in: personal | 91

This is a post I never dreamed I would be writing. It is something I never expected to have to face. And yet the unthinkable has come to pass and I am indeed having to contemplate a vastly different near future to that which I had expected. I can think of no easy way to share what has transpired so I think the simplest way to do so is just to jump in. So here goes.

A few short weeks ago I became aware of a lump in my right breast. I kept watch on the lump for a couple of weeks and quickly realised it wasn’t going away. I immediately called my doctors and within 48 hours I found myself in the surgery being referred directly to the Breast Clinic at my local hospital. Still convinced that my lump was innocuous, the earth crumbled beneath my feet as the Consultant explained that I had a large cancerous growth in my breast and that the cancer had also spread to the lymph glands. Life since that moment has felt surreal, terrifying, unfamiliar, out of control. Within a week a treatment plan had been arranged. Blood tests, scans, consultations, appointment after appointment, a whirlwind of information, guidance, counselling and decision making has followed. On Monday I begin chemotherapy, which will last till close to the end of the year. Surgery will follow and finally radiotherapy. Life is going to change dramatically and radically over the next few months and my focus is going to have to be on recovery.

Cancer is a terrifying word. The prospect of needing to fight this malignant growth inside me is energy sapping, but fight it I must and I will. As a self-employed person with my own business, there are of course, other significant concerns which need to be addressed. My business has been the most important thing in my life, other than my family, for many years now, and I would feel that the cancer had in some way won, if my business was to suffer. Likewise the stress of not earning any money would certainly impact on my mental health. Amongst many other decisions which have needed to be made, the practicalities of ‘keeping the show on the road’ have had to be considered. My wonderful and supportive daughter, Charlie, will be spending more time working in the business alongside Gavin, and still, but to obviously a lesser extent, me. We also have a great network of friends and colleagues who can step in and help us where needed. We won’t be doing any shows for the foreseeable future but will focus on the online business and building up wholesale potential. Alongside this, Gavin will continue renovating our barn to prepare our studio/shop for the future. We have lots of new designs, publications and most excitingly of all, new yarns, to develop and launch, and I hope to continue having an active role in these activities as much as recovery will allow. Our new online shop is due to launch any day now, and The Vintage Shetland Project is about to be published very soon. So there are many, many positives in the months ahead. Unfortunately I have had to cancel plans to attend Shetland Wool Week and other woolly events in the UK and Europe for the next few months and I won’t be able to promote the launch of The Vintage Shetland Project in the way I had intended but I’m hoping the book will have a long shelf life and I can take part in events or have a belated launch party further down the line.

Please bear with us over these forthcoming months. Pattern support will most likely be a little inconsistent and friends will look after my ravelry group. In the meantime though, I’ll keep sharing on instagram and social media and we’ll keep the blog and newsletters up and running as much as possible, but if I drop out from time to time please don’t worry, I will be back. Things will have to be flexible and respond to life but I’m sure Charlie and Gavin will do a truly brilliant job of looking after Susan Crawford Vintage and me too.

At this point, I can’t think of much else to say, but I’ll continue to be around as much as possible sharing beautiful pictures from the forthcoming book and from the farm.

But for now,

Susan xxx

91 Responses

  1. Louise

    this can’t haven been easy to write. I feel your focus and positivity and I am sending love, strength and gentle hugs xxx

  2. Julie

    Oh gosh, how awful, thinking of you and praying for you. You sound positive and that will get you through. Sending love. Xx

  3. Marie Roche

    I am so sorry to hear about your illness. I will pray for your healing and speedy recovery. I have admired your talent as a designer and knitter, you are definitely a gifted lady. I also admire your spirit and determination to fight this fight!

  4. Michele

    My thoughts are with you and your family. I wish you a speedy recovery and am sending you virtual hugs and positive vibes.

  5. Marie Wright ght

    What a blessing family and friends are at times like this – it must be heartening to have such a strong and loving support network to help you get through this. It is a testament to the wonderful person that you are, and the strength and support that you yourself have given to others. Best wishes for successful treatment, and a speedy recovery to “normal” life upon completion. Big hugs from me. xx

  6. MoniqueB

    ❤ I’m sure that your strength in all this will keep you going. You have a strong sense of self. There will be “weak” moments, that’s okay. Take it as it comes, that’s all you can do. I send my love to you and yours. ❤

  7. Jen

    I’m so sorry, Susan! You take care of yourself. My best wishes for a speedy recovery. (((Hugs))))

  8. Carolyn Blakelock

    As a breast cancer survivor I know how devastating that diagnosis is. If you ever need someone to talk to who totally gets it, I’m here. I’ll keep you in my prayers.

  9. mhd

    Dear Susan, know that you have the support of the huge community of knitters who support your work. For people like myself knitting and craft have been the saving grace of turning life around during life-threatening illness. So you are part of our solution, we are here to be part of yours.

  10. Knitina

    God bless you and your family. You have their love and strength to get you through this.

  11. Carla Crawford Simmons

    So much love to you. Life does change in an instant, yet love is so abiding. The present moment always there. Sending all healing light to you.

  12. Wendy

    Susan, my thoughts and prayers are with you. I am so glad to know that you have a strong support network in your family, and now you have many knitters sending you love and support. Know that I am thinking of you and sending you love and positive vibes.

  13. Michele

    Oh Susan, I feel your anguish. I will keep you in my prayers. Cancer is scary but treatment has come such a long way. My mom is a Ovarian cancer survivor and my aunt just had a mastectomy this past Thursday. Keep the faith and take care of yourself, mind and body.

  14. Adrienne

    My dearest Susan, I just can’t find the words. Thinking of you and Gavin and Charlie, sending all my love.
    I will be in touch soon.

  15. meppybn

    Susan, My thoughts and prayers are with you at this time – I have walked in your shoes a tiny bit as I was diagnosed with breast cancer, but no lymph gland involvement, lumpectomy and radiation, but know the tears shed, the fear of that c=word and for future plans. You are strong, you will fight and you have the support of many, many women around the world lifting you up at this time xxxx

  16. elaine

    My daily thoughts and prayers are with you… along with strength and determination.

  17. Peg Blechman

    Please know that You are in my thoughts and prayers.
    I volunteer in Washington DC at The Smith Center for Healing and the Arts- they have programs, support groups, art workshops, and retreats for women and men who have or are recovering from Cancer. I co-facilitate a knitting group every Wednesday afternoon. I will be thinking of you.
    All the best,

  18. Deborah Herman

    I shall keep you in my prayers, and wish you a speedy recovery. Stay strong and remember, you can get through this. My best wishes from your friend in America.

  19. Jane Macdonald

    Susan – bon courage! I salute your plan-making and determination to respond to what is in store and un-knowable. I will continue to follow your presence on social media and wish you love and strength. Yours very truly, Jane Macdonald in Wellington Ontario

  20. Barbara

    I’m so sorry for this wretched news, Susan. I am sending healing thoughts your way. I hate this disease so much. Good luck with your treatments. Stay strong.

  21. Louise

    My lovely I feel so much for you – have been through this horror myself and just at the moment I guess it feels like a bad dream that you can’t wake up from. Know that you are strong and something from within WILL get you through this. Take all the help you can and rest as much as you need. One thing I found was that I had a new focus on the world and even through the tough days I was able to strangely revel in seeing things anew and appreciating every moment. I am well now and although I don’t wish cancer in anyone ever, I really am stronger because of it. My thoughts are with you and am here for those days when you want to rant – you only have to ask. Sometimes ranting to a stranger helps – family love you and don’t want to see you upset so sometimes it’s an option. My love and luck for the road ahead xx

  22. Susie Hewer

    Oh Susan, I could hardly believe what I was reading. I am so sorry that cancer has entered your life and turned your world upside down. Shock, horror & dread along with so many other feelings flit through your mind and take over your life. What was once unthinkable becomes the norm and the battle begins. You are a strong person but you will need all that strength together with the love and support of your family and friends to get through this horrible time. Try to take one day at a time and stay involved in your business as much as you can as it is such an important part of your life. My thoughts and prayers are with you. Much love, Susie xxx

  23. Freyalyn Close-Hainsworth

    Shocked and appalled for you. So glad you have an excellent support group around you. Know you are loved and supported from so many people.

  24. Kim Barrett

    Susan, please come join us on Ravelry, Knitters with Breast Cancer. We have been where you are now, and while we hate to see another woman join us, we will welcome you with open arms. If you don’t want to join or post, then just read, you’ll find a lot of commonality with our experiences in the threads. You can do this, sometimes it will suck, but you will get through it and we’re here to help you in any way that we can.


  25. Cindy Vogel

    Susan, such sad news. My husband and I will pray daily for you that you will feel his comforting arms around you.

  26. Cathy

    I’m so sorry to hear this Susan. I know how hard and for how long you’ve worked on this, your passion. But you have a wonderful family and a loyal customer base so while you need to do what you need to do to get well, I’m sure they’ll keep things ticking over until you’re back at the helm. All my love, I’ll be thinking of you X

  27. Jane

    Susan, it’s my first time on your blog. What is happening to you is so personal and full of emotions. Now is a time for friends and family, pull them in close. Xxx

  28. Louise Pritchard

    So sorry to read this – sending positive thoughts to you and your family who I am sure will do a marvellous job of looking after you and the book. On the plus side I’ve found hanging round waiting for appointments is the perfect opportunity to get some knitting or crochet done and if they fit you with a PICC you can even knit whilst you’re having the chemo – I so hope it all goes well for you xx

  29. Jo Sinclair

    I’m so sorry to hear about your cancer diagnoses. You’re doing the right thing. Concentrate on getting better.

  30. Sue

    Dear Susan, I am so sorry to hear this news. I don’t have any words of wisdom except that it sounds like you are surrounded by people who love you. So let them help and support you and concentrate all your energy on getting well again. I only met you briefly at Woolfest a few years ago when I bought Coronation Knits but I will certainly be thinking of you in the months to come and wishing you well again. Sue x

  31. Pam Jones

    Susan, I am so very sorry to hear of the challenge facing you. What a horrible thing to have to deal with, but you will. You are such a strong woman and you will do what you must. I am sending you my love and my prayers. I will miss you in Shetland this year, but your spirit will still shine and we shall be thinking of you and willing you on. Stay strong but be kind to yourself. You will need to get plenty of rest. Take care of yourself and allow others to take care of you too. Blessings to you. Pam.

  32. Karen

    Sending you so much love and healing thoughts Susan, you will get through

  33. Carole

    Stay strong Susan, keep your family close and put all your energy into getting better❤️

  34. Linda Henderson

    Be strong – you are – on your rollercoaster ride. At times you’ll feel your life is not within your control, taken over by appointments, endless undressings, little indignities and you start to count the number of people who’ve seen you naked ( in more ways than one). From my experience, it wasn’t a fist fight, more a way to find little ways to keep control, more a ‘don’t let it grind you down’. As you’ve already realised it is the time that everything changes; I looked on me and the world differently but change is OK, change is fine and ultimately change can be so creative. I carried a set of colour pens and a small sketch pad at all times – the senses, heightened, came to me in colours. I haven’t used that work yet, here four years’ clear, but it is there.
    Hugs and loves and much warm woolliness xxx

  35. Melissa

    I’m so sorry to hear you news. That must have been a difficult blog post to write. My mum was diagnosed with breast cancer last year and she is in recovery now. It is a horrible situation to be in, but one thing that made it easier was the support of the breast cancer nurses. I hope you will find similar support at your local hospital. Thinking of you and wishing you all the very best xxx

  36. dyedinthewool

    Best wishes to you and your family and I how things go as well as they possibly can.

  37. Janet

    Susan, I’ll keep you in prayer. Thank you for your post. It couldn’t have been easy to write.

  38. Louise Heys

    This has upset me so much Susan, no words sweetie, you have a lovely family around you x

  39. Sue Kristiansen

    Prayers for strength and healing. Focus on the future, and know this shall pass. Hugs to all

  40. Vanessa

    Such terrifying times for you. Well done on being so strong as to put yourself first. Times will be hard, but I will pray with all my might that it’s not too unbearable and you will come out the other side. Much love. Xxxx

  41. Sarah

    So sorry to hear what you’re going through, Susan. Sending all the love and warmest healing wishes. xxx

  42. Teresa

    All the best to you and your familiy. May you find all the strength you need to recover. Sending all the love!

  43. Kathryn

    So sorry to hear of your diagnosis Susan. I went through chemo and then radiotherapy for 25 days plus 1 day of chemo every week of the 5 weeks for pelvic cancer. I was very lucky and had no problems, didn’t even feel tired and even kept my hair. The system for trying to keep your hair is not very pleasant but in my case it worked. I managed to work throughout and my colleagues were very good at swapping work times. Most people don’t eleven know I was ill! I hope it all goes well for you and please remember it’s not always as bad as some people say and some tv programmes depict. The nurses are great and we could even have a foot massage or have our nails done thanks to a lovely girl employed by Anchor.

    Take care, stay strong and remember many people are keeping you in their thoughts, as well as your friends and family

  44. Sarah Preston Hall

    So desperately sorry to hear your news. Wishing you love, strength and hope for the months to come. You are surrounded by wonderful family and friends, and a loving woolly community who will be rooting for you all the way. Fight like the yarny devil! Hugs xx

  45. Rachel

    Just take care of yourself and know that there are many positive thoughts and prayers coming your way!

  46. Carole

    Thinking of you … and very sorry to hear your news.
    Wishing you all the very best during your treatment … With love..
    (Hooked by Design)

  47. Karen B

    Sending hugs, and you know I am there for you in the coming months.

  48. Emily Poleson

    I am so vexed to read about your illness – I’m thinking of you now and I know you’ll be in all our thoughts through the months ahead – sending you love to you from a warm and humid Shetland! x

  49. Janet

    You are right, your world will change. I am a two-time breast cancer survivor and wanted to reach out to you. I started following you on Instagram a few months ago and have enjoyed following your projects. Breathe, then brace yourself for the journey to come. Some of your days may be horrible, but there also may be wonderful surprises. Conserve your energy for what is important to you. You have supporters all over the world. God bless you.

  50. Anna

    I am at the tail end of chemo for bowel cancer (in my case the op came first and the mopping up). It’s a horrible time and I have felt like my life is on hold. However, knitting has been a constant. Even if it’s something very plain there have been very few times when I couldn’t knit something. In fact I’m knitting something at the moment using some of your 4ply cotton yarn that I bought from you in person at the Harrogatd K&S show a few years back and I’m in love with the bourdeux colour and how soft the yarn is so your work has brought me comfort.

    Ne kind to yourself and don’t push too hard, recovery is your first job and you’ll get back to the rest in time.

    You’ll be in my thoughts.

  51. Cynthia Grant

    Dont despair

    This has happened to me too. I am self employed and had to continue earning something – and somehow manaed to continue to work throuhghout the radio & chemotherapy . Was only stopped for a while in the emediate aftermath of surgery, but even then couldwork on the computer afetr a week or twoo

    And the work was enormously helpful to me, even though sometimes it felt like climbing a very steep and impossible hill

    SO good luck, and I hope you dont find it an impossible battle

    PS – I’ve been ok for two years now

  52. Liisa

    I will add my prayers of healing and strength to those already offered. May you feel those prayers working in your life.

  53. Helen

    Dear Susan, what a cruel blow to someone so vibrant and full of creative energy. But you will get through this. Please remember you have incredible support from your wooly followers. Two steps forward and one step back – a familiar refrain, I’m sure, over the next few months so please look after yourself and keep up your blog. Hugs from Bristol x

  54. Peg

    Susan- prayers for you & your family. Your positive attitude is one of the best things to have to fight this – that & your family,friends & medical folks. All the best.

  55. Helen Gibson

    Dear Susan So sorry to hear of your diagnosis. With very best wishes to you as you undergo your treatment. Helen Gibson x

  56. Jan

    Dear Susan,

    Sending nothing but the best in hopes and prayers for you. I am also fighting the big fight and like you, have a wonderful network of family and friends. I will keep you in my heart.

    All the best,

    Jan (from Seattle)

  57. Katja Lührs

    Dear Susan,
    I´m so sorry. Wishing you all the very best
    Katja (Stade, Germany)

  58. Laurie Post

    Your email brought me to tears with shock, although I don’t know you personally. Just know that if you have a good support system it will really help for the challenging times ahead. I pray for you and keep you in my thoughts. Keep knitting if you can. It will help keep a sense of normalcy to life to some degree. And keep working with your sheep, even if it’s just to sit with them and commune. Animals can be very healing in times of stress. I will be following you and thinking of you.

  59. Paula

    I’m so sorry to hear this. Prayers to you and your family. It’s so good that you have your family to lean on so God bless them.

  60. Kate

    Thank you for sharing this. Thoughts and prayers are with you and those close to you.

  61. Elke

    Though we have never met I wish you all the best!
    I have been going through the whole process 8 years ago, so I know how it feels. After reading what you had to say about it I remembered how the first weeks of diagnosis, anguish, disbelief, uncertainties, sometimes complete fear were the worst of it. It felt like life would stop and there would never be happiness again. Then I met other women who were already in the middle of their therapy who were laughing and chatting happily, taking me under their wings and I thought `This can´t be the end of life and there is life even during chemotherapy´. Well the months of therapy weren´t exactly easy but I made some wonderful friends, I received so much support from friends and family and I had time to think about myself, my life and what is really important to me. I learned how to really look after myself. It made my life richer.
    Look after yourself and allow yourself plenty of time for healing.
    All the best!

  62. Jane from Dorset

    So sorry you are having to go through all this. I was in the same state of shock two years ago almost to the day so I know something f how you feel right now. Just small steps now, one day at a time, don’t look too far ahead.
    You will find some wonderful people offering great support along the way.
    Love and prayers

  63. Donna Schoonover

    So sorry about this. I went through a similar ordeal but fortunately it was precancerous lesions, not cancer. I am hoping of the best possible outcome for you and I urge people not to wait when they find a lump.

  64. Jacinta

    I hope all goes well with your treatments, you will be in my thoughts and prayers.

  65. vintagejoan

    So sorry for you. Just want to wish you well and a speedy recovery. Courage and do take small steps.

  66. Susan

    Thinking of you Susan. A very tough few months coming up for you. Look after yourself, keep that confidence and strength going. Wishing you wellness.


  67. Christine

    I read your shocking news and imagined your voice, the voice I have heard several times in Shetland and earlier this year in Edinburgh. Your enthusiasm will be chanelled in a different direction now. With the support of your family, friends and the knitting community you will get through this difficult and challenging time.

  68. Cheryl

    So very sorry to hear of this. Sending you warmest wishes and prayers and hoping that this dark cloud doesn’t obscure the achievement of bring the Vintage Shetland book to fruition for you. Please take care of yourself in the next weeks and months.

  69. Jan

    Dearest Susan- I am praying for you…so sorry…I follow your blog-love it. Please look to Jesus to help you with this-He can carry you through just trusting in Him and His heart. I am so thankful myself that He died for me and rose again and lives to help us. Just know you are in my prayers .

  70. Celeste Garcia

    Dear Susan
    I have been following you this last year as your book project has been unfolding. Although we have never met I feel like I know you through reading your beautiful writings. Cancer and chemo are scary words and a scary place to be in. Each day I send you light and love and good hopes that the healing path you are on will be a little less scary and that your treatments go very very well. Hugs, tail wags, and a heart full of love.

  71. Catherine

    Susan…. I’ve just stumbled upon your blog and this very post.
    My heart goes out to you but ……you stay positive and in control of the cancer …… don’t let IT dictate to you!
    Sending all my loving thoughts and prayers.
    God Bless.

  72. Elizabeth Robertson

    So sorry to hear your news Susan, my thoughts are with you as you receive your treatment. I remember the whirlwind of tests and the shock of my ovarian cancer diagnosis as if it was yesterday. It was nearly ten years ago and I have recently finished my twelfth line of treatment. Knitting has been my constant throughout that time, and following your Shetland dream has given me much pleasure. May I wish you strength and comfort for now and the months ahead. Liz

  73. Danielle Auerbach-Byrne

    My thoughts are with you- it can be beaten- I am 30 years clear of cancer. All my love xx

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