Susan C. Anthony

Sailboat at anchor in Rocky BayPrince William Sound 2005

By the time summer rolled around, two friends of mine in their 30s and 40s had been diagnosed with breast cancer. Now it was my turn. We found out for certain June 27, met the surgeon July 6, and scheduled surgery for July 25.

The sailboat was ready to launch and I felt great, so we spent two weeks before surgery on the water.

The first two days, we anchored for shelter from a tremendous storm and read, read, read. Dennis fixed a few things.

The third day on the boat, the skies cleared and the wind was perfect. We had 12 hours on a beam reach on 2’ seas. It was the best day of sailing in our lives! We explored the far reaches of Prince William Sound including Port Etches, Zaikof Bay and Rocky Bay, where we wouldn’t dare go in inclement weather.

Despite some days of rain and wind, overall, the weather was perfect.  We encountered a pod of humpback whales the day before we had to head home.  Most years we wouldn't dare venture onto the big ocean outside the Sound, but if we'd had more time, 2005 would have been the year to do it.

I made an iMovie with scenes from the trip.  The music is "Star of County Down" by Ned Spurlock, from his album Reflections.  Used by permission. 

Surgery called us back to town. The next week...well, I spent eight hours in surgery and three days in the hospital. Then I spent a couple of weeks at home recovering before we went back out on the boat with a couple of our favorite kids and a friend with his Bayliner Trophy.  The doctor gave permission to go, as long as someone else did all the work. The boat is more restful for me than home. Our friend in the Bayliner took some good footage of our craft under sail.  It's hard to get that without a buddy-boater to help.

Here's a video from the trip after my surgery. Notice that Dennis is hoisting the sails rather than me. I was in recovery, but what a way to recover! Two of our young homeschooled friends joined us for the trip. We made it back to port just before a big storm hit. The music, "O'Carolan's Cottage" is by Ned and Rebecca Spurlock, from their album O'Carolan's Concerto. Used by permission.

Thanks to early detection of my cancer, I needed NO chemo, NO radiation, and NO drugs. I've had NO recurrence. Just a day in surgery and before long, I was back on my feet. Ladies, let me encourage you right now to schedule a mammogram. Life is precious!

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Source:, ┬ęSusan C. Anthony