Some Sad News to Share

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I wish that the title of this post was meant to lure you in, only to find me being snarky and sarcastic about something. Unfortunately, that is not the case today.

Yesterday my wife, Susan, and I got confirmation of what we had feared since last Wednesday. Susan has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

If you are familiar with this disease, you know the prognosis is normally not good. Ironically, my father died of this exact same disease in 1994; so we know what we’re up against.

To say we are both devastated is a gross understatement, and I am absolutely heartbroken.

Many of you know our story, as I’ve shared it here many times. We met at the University of Tennessee in our freshman year in 1977, and dated for several months and into our sophomore year.

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As college romances usually do, it came to an end. We both went on to marry other people and have our own children, but neither of us ever forgot the other. As I went through pointless college and post-college romances and a bitter divorce in 1996, I often thought about her. I realized she was “the one” and I had let her get away. She was apparently going through similar struggles, so in March 2001 in the days before social media, Susan found me on Classmates.com, and sent me a very fateful e-mail.

We reconnected immediately and quickly realized how much we had been meant for each other all along. It was as if we had never skipped a beat, even though twenty-four years had passed since our college romance. Since I had custody of my kids and she had hers, we decided to not do the blended family thing. We waited until May of 2012 to finally get married, and we took the plunge at IMS. Since then, I have been feeling like I am living a fairy tale.

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I don’t use this term loosely or often, but we are soul mates. I am not the easiest person to live with or to understand, but she gets me. She always has. She doesn’t always like what she sees in me, and sometimes I am a major source of irritation for her – but she gets me. She is the only person I’ve ever known who fully understands what makes me tick. Sometimes I think she knows me better than I know myself.

If you follow either of us on Facebook, you have seen our marriage on display. Many people portray a fake fantasy life on social media – hiding what is, in reality, a miserable life. What you’ve seen with us is no fantasy. It’s real. We’ve had that much fun together and love each other that much. This is a true love-story in every sense of the word. The eight years that we have been married, along with the near twenty years since we reconnected, have been undoubtedly the happiest of my life.

Although she had never previously paid attention to the sport, Susan quickly embraced my love of IndyCar racing. She has supported all of my indulgences with this sport. While she would prefer to spend every vacation at the beach, she has willingly accompanied me to every single race track I’ve been to over the past few years, as we used up all of our vacation time on racing. She did so without complaining. She has completely supported me wholeheartedly, while I did this website over the past eleven-plus years – even though it takes me away from her as I spend a lot of time writing at nights and on weekends. She has put up with a lot from me.

Now it’s time for me to support her.

As I write this on Tuesday night, we have more questions than answers. Trust me, my mind is running in overdrive right now. Writing this post has been extremely difficult, but it has also served as an odd means of therapy.

Although we’ve known this was a distinct possibility since last Wednesday, the news still landed like a ton of bricks today and our heads are spinning. I am not giving up this site, but things will get very irregular here. Monday, Wednesday and Friday will not be the norm right now. There is no way I can commit to maintaining that schedule at this time. There will be times that I simply will not have time to write. She is my top priority and my job is my second. Sometimes, my heart just won’t be in it. Other times, writing about IndyCar racing will actually provide therapy for me. I will need your patience as we both try to live our lives, while I’ll also be devoting every possible moment to helping her.

We are scheduled to fly to Road America on Thursday night after work. Having the spirit she has, she says she still wants to go. As of this writing, we still plan to go – unless doctor visits pop up for Friday or Monday. It’s one of our favorite spots we visit, and it may do us both some good – so we are planning to go. We also have every intention of being at Indianapolis in August. I plan to have a preview post here on Friday, but I’ll not be posting throughout the weekend as I usually do. I cannot even promise my usual “Random Thoughts” post on Monday, but I’ll try. We just want to spend the weekend together.

We have chosen to go public with this; not to seek pity, but so that you’ll understand why I’ll be spending time away from here. My readers here are very loyal, and I wanted to be up-front about what is going on here. I owe that to you. My posts will still be mostly about racing, but I’ll also keep everyone posted as to what is going on with us. We’ve shared the fun times here. We’ll also share the not-so-fun times.

When my father was diagnosed, he chose to not fight it – opting instead for a higher quality of life. He decided to just let the disease run its course, which took less than seven months. Susan has chosen to fight it. There have been advances in the past twenty-six years that give us hope, but we are both also very realistic about what we are facing.

Susan is literally in the fight for her life. She has two young adult sons, who were just told of all this Tuesday night, and they are just as stunned as we are. This is just a very sad, sad situation.

Please keep Susan and me in your prayers. We need them.

George and Susan Phillips

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47 Responses to “Some Sad News to Share”

  1. My thoughts are with you both.

  2. Paul Fitzgerald Says:

    Prayers for both of you!

  3. James T Suel Says:

    George I am so sorry to here this sad news. You and Susan will be in our prayers. All the best. We are with you.

  4. Leslie Bissell Says:

    Prayers for you and Susan.

  5. John Henninger Says:

    I was very sad to read this. Good thoughts to Susan and you as you fight this disease.

  6. Corey L Says:

    I’m very sorry to hear this but I’m very glad you shared it. When you think of what you are and aren’t writing – don’t write for us or apologize to us; write when it will be good for you to do so. Please reach out if and when this community may be able to support you and Susan.

    Wishing you both the best.

  7. Our prayers and support are with you and Susan. Fight the fight on your and her terms, and with courage. So many of us fans appreciate and enjoy your passion for our sport and for life.

  8. Rick J. Says:

    George, I’m truly saddened to read about this development. My prayers are with you and your wife.

  9. Susan very sorry to learn of your illness. Try to stay positive and fight this disease. You have the the love and support of your husband and family. As well as the support of we strangers who follow Oilpressure. Although it may be difficult please enjoy the weekend.

  10. Steven Kilsdonk Says:

    I’ll be hoping for the best for you and Susan.

  11. S0CSeven Says:

    Never give up. My thoughts and prayers are always with you.

  12. Gary Manes Says:

    Oh George I am so sorry for the bad news. Please know that your many followers will be praying so hard for you both.

  13. This is truly heart breaking news…My prayers are with you both.

  14. Praying for you both.

  15. This is truly heartbreaking news George. I am so very sorry. My prayers for both of you.

  16. Doug Benefiel Says:

    George, not the way I wanted to start my day but thank you for sharing. I have enjoyed your writing and Susan’s for years. Though we only met briefly at a Burger Bash several years ago I consider you family. We are both part of the family of passionate fans of IndyCar. I live in Indy and will be at the track in August and will keep an eye open for you. I would like to express my sincere hope for a successful outcome for you and Susan in person. In the meantime know you both will be in my thoughts. I know Robin raves about the burger at Workingman’s Friend but they also have the best tenderloin I ever had. Would the opportunity to meet both of you again, buy lunch, and talk racing.

  17. Carburetor Says:

    Keep the faith; praying for both of you.

  18. My sister is a pancreatic cancer survivor. Coming up on 3 years cancer free. The disease can be beaten with the advances of the last few of years. Fight the fight Susan. It can be beaten.

  19. Susan and George, My God be with you. I’m pretty sure George would rather it was him with the diagnosis rather than you, Susan. True love never wants to see our loved ones suffer. Please remember my motto: “Things are never as good or as bad they first appear!”. You will get through this challenge.
    This may sound crazy, but I too find attending races very theraputic! So, hopefully you’ll make it to RA and we’ll try to look you up. We saw you two last year, but lost you in the crowd.
    We will keep you in our thoughts and prayers.
    George, keep us readers up-to-date on the progress being made with Susan’s treatment. We do all really care.

  20. I am so sorry, prayers for you both.

  21. Oh no… George, stay strong. Cancer’s hard as hell, but that doesn’t mean people can’t go on living in spite of it. Hang in there.

  22. Robert Zagorac Says:

    I’m saddened by hearing about this. Will be hoping for a medical breakthrough and this has been caught very early. You will will be in my heart and prayers.

  23. billytheskink Says:

    Add mine to the host of prayers for Susan and for you George. I pray for healing for Susan, I pray for wisdom and precision from her doctors, and for peace and comfort to be with you all. I will continue praying this, and for any other concerns you bring to your readers here.

    And thank you for sharing this with us too. The Indycar fan community can hopefully help you all – thoughts, prayers, distraction, a listening ear, maybe more… This blog means a lot to us because you two mean a lot to us. Your readers will be here when you have the time and willingness to post, but know that we are all rooting for Susan and for you.

  24. Gregory Hunt Says:

    Keeping both of you in my thoughts.

  25. Yannick Says:

    Here’s to a full recovery: Get well soon, Susan.

  26. Thinking of you both. Writing is good therapy. Hope to see you this weekend.

  27. I firmly believe in the power of prayer. And Susan has a lot of people praying for her!

  28. Paul Henry Says:

    My heart is heavy feeling the burden and pain as I pray for you both and carry what I can of your burden. God Speed George and Susan.

  29. Mark Wick Says:

    George, your focus is where it needs to be. Keep it there.

  30. SkipinSC Says:

    As I posted to Susan’s Facebook account when I heard this last night, I have every confidence that she will kick cancer’s ass. Prayers to you both. Keep your eyes up and your feet moving forward.

  31. Lynn Weinberg Says:

    George and Susan, my thoughts are with you both. Although we’ve only known each other for a few years, I consider Susan to be a close friend. Bruce and I have had a lot of fun with the two of at Barber. My Dad asks about you every time I talk to him. (He doesn’t ask about Bruce that often). I know how much Susan loves Road America, so I am glad you are still going. Maybe you should let her drive the golf cart this time, she told me you drove it too fast last year! Hugs and prayers….We will see you soon.

  32. George…So sorry to hear this. Wish I had something prophetic to say but nothing comes to mind. Take care of Susan and know that we are all thinking about you and her. Prayers and best wishes.

  33. Oliver Wells Says:

    My prayers with you both. Be strong.

  34. Bruce B Says:

    George, I have never met you and Susan but feel I know you as race friends through this sight. This is a gut punch and I have both of you in my thoughts and prayers. Godspeed this weekend and beyond!! 🙏🙏🙏❤️

  35. Alex Cain Says:

    George, prayers with you and Susan… Please look into the pancreas transplant program at Vanderbilt and contact the Pro Cision Proton cancer treatment center here in Knoxville. Both programs are saving a lot of lives.

  36. I just stared at this article this morning. Didn’t know what to say. Still don’t. I don’t really know you guys at all, but sure feel like I do. You fight this thing Susan and keep hope. Thinking of you both.

  37. This is heartbreaking. My thoughts are with you both and wishing you the strength for the hard road ahead.

  38. Matthew Lawrenson Says:

    Pretty much the same experience as redcar above. I read this blog this afternoon, and I couldn’t think of anything to say either. I’ve been thinking about this for 12 hours, so you know my thoughts have been with you. Keep on keeping on the both of you, and know that I’ll be rooting for you from across the pond.

  39. George – I felt the floor fall away when I read your post this morning. I tried to leave a reply and like many others struggled, and didn’t know what to say. I am praying for you and Susan. Power of prayer right?! Hang in there and know that many of your loyal readers are thinking about you both. When I watch the race this weekend at RA , it will have extra special meaning to know there are two very special people there amongst the crowd enjoying IndyCars and having their normal fun and living life! Your blog site has brought many years of enjoyment to me and I’m sure many many others. Thank you for writing especially during those cold winter days in the off season. You and Susan are a fantastic story. I will always remember that picture of you and Susan at Pocono sitting above the billboard in turn 2 with Felix Rosenquist flying up into the fence right in front of you guys. Here is to all the great adventures and the relationship of you both which is the envy of many.

  40. Talón de Brea Says:

    In this time of pandemic and social unrest, it has occurred to me that racing — even given one’s long-time love for it — might be trivial in the larger scheme of things …

    But then, with the distressing news of this personal upheaval — in light of your lifetime passion for racing and the long-time love and tolerance of a good woman — I have to think that for the two of you, racing has been a more than worthy part of your shared lives. Clearly, you didn’t get married at IMS on a passing whim.

    That you’ve been able to share parts of your journey together with people online is an extra validation of the joy you’ve found in life. Racing is definitely not a trivial thing for the two of you. We get it, and appreciate what you have.

    As one of this blog’s readers for several years, I’ve appreciated the vicarious accounts of race attendance and enjoyed Susan’s insightful photos and comments. I’ve felt like part of the blog family, and as such, I’m so sorry to hear this news. I wish you both strength.

  41. LurkingKiwi Says:

    My thoughts are with you. Like previous posters, I’ve really appreciated an enthusiastic fan’s views of Indycar.

  42. I am incredibly saddened to hear this news. My experiences with your both have been nothing but gracious and I’ve always appreciated Susan’s takes on your site here, as well as in person.

    You all will certainly be in our thoughts up here in Northern Indiana and will be wishing the very best for the days ahead.

    Much love to you both.

    PS I feel it is important to say that we all hope you don’t feel like you owe any of us anything with regard to this site. We understand totally about your priorities and that would never have been in question. We (and I’m sure Indycar as well) have appreciated all you’ve written for this wacky racing community and your output can be zero if desired going forward and we can all still be very happy with what we’ve had.

  43. Deborah Drake Says:

    Look up Geoff Fox – he’s on facebook, and has his own web site under his name, although I’m not sure he’s still updating the web site. He is a survivor of pancreatic cancer who is doing very well and has talked extensively about his experiences.

  44. Thinking about both of you this weekend, and very much hoping that you’re both enjoying your time in Wisconsin.

    Take care.

  45. I always love Susan’s occasional posts. Take all the time you need. You guys are in my prayers.

  46. Thoughts and prayers are with you both. Have a wonderful weekend and stay strong!

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