Flip-Flops Help Cancer Patient Take Step in the Right Direction

1 decade 1 year 8 months ago Thursday, March 23 2006 Mar 23, 2006 Thursday, March 23, 2006 10:42:11 AM CST March 23, 2006 in News

The slap of flip-flops signals the start of spring, and the beginning of a brisk business for Suzie Giesler.

"I had some men that were 70 or 80 years old, and they'd tell me how much they liked them, and that they wanted to get a pair for their granddaughters," she said.

Giesler makes and sells designer flip flops. Each pair is different, but her motive behind each design is the same.

"It's fun to make them and be creative in that sense," she explained, "and know you're making something that someone else will enjoy."

Giesler also enjoys biking and organizes a team for Boone Hospital for the Multiple Sclerosis 150 ride. But it wasn't MS that gave her the ride of her life.

"It's just really shocking for me to go from, at one moment, of being carefree and not having any major medical problems to your whole life just shifted, just in a matter of a couple words," Giesler added.

Those couple of words came from a doctor telling her she had cancer. Giesler found a lump in her breast last year at the age of 31. She's been through six months of chemotherapy and 30 radiation treatments to try to stop the aggressive cancer.

And, the disease affected her more than just physically.

"I could not work as much as I used to," Giesler said. "I think what's been more challenging for me has been the financial. It pretty much sabotages your life in a lot of different areas. This is the factory. This is where it all happens."

So, nurses and friends she met at her chemo treatments, encouraged her to make flip-flops to supplement her income. And, at $8.00 a pair, Giesler's already sold more than 100 pairs across Missouri.

"There's some people down in Hartsburg wearing them," she said.

And, she still bikes, with some help. Giesler couldn't pedal alone in the MS 150, so her friends bought her a tandem.

"A friend told me, in just the past couple weeks, that we have to live until you die," she said. "I thought that was so profound, and it's just much more than the words, 'Live 'til we die.' We literally have to. Everyone, whether we've been diagnosed with a life-threatening illness or you're healthy, we just have to live each day and enjoy the moment."

As Giesler knows, it takes more than medicine to go head-to-head, and toe-to-toe, against cancer.

You can email Suzie Giesler at slgiesler@cougars.ccis.edu to order flip-flops. You can also read Sarah's blog on komu.com/sarahsstories.

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