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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Realizing life would be different for a while

Once I came home from the Hospital I knew life would not be the same. I was grateful that my friends Patti and Johnny came for a visit just hours after coming home. It was comforting to not have to be alone at home the first day. I did not get to see my kids for a few days yet and for that i was actually happy. I really still needed tome to adjust to what was happening to me. I needed time to adjust to having those blasted drains and emptying them myself, and having home health care come and check on me .

I was really worried about how Liberty was going to react when she realized that there would be no more breastfeeding, I really needed to work into getting ready mentally for that.
but when she came home, she looked down my shirt and was a little puzzled for a bit. she had not seen me in a few days and wanted to go do what her favorite thing to do with mom. Oh how I was dreading that moment, not knowing how she would react.  To my surprise, she was ok. she looked, looked back at me puzzled, and got a bit sad, then went and carried on her way.
Kids are so resilient i don't think we often realize that things are not as big of a deal to them as they are to us. She was really ok with it all.

I remember the first time that the health nurse came to change my bandages and check my drains. i went to the bedroom and layed on the bed and my cat Elijah who is EXTREMELY attached to me, sat on my stomach. Now you must realize that this cat is pushing 16 pounds. This was very uncomfortable to say the least, he just would not leave me alone. The nurse could not get to me, we had to throw him out of the room and close the door, and even then he was throwing himself to the door to get in at me.. now it is funny, then it just made me cry that some thing would love me so much and be worried about me so much that he was that concerned for me.

Shortly after  coming home I found that one of my drains did not feel very good, I could not get out of bed one day and had no appetite, in fact I was a bit nauseated. I had a friend  come see me that day and layed in bed with me, i just did not feel right, At about 9 pm that night I went to drain my drains and found things did not look good, I could see pus and it was VERY inflamed at the drain site.

Off to ER we go, Manny stayed home and my friend took me  on out way there i became VERY achy all over my body, by the time we got there my body hurt so bad i could barely stand it, I had taken a percocet on the way there and i got no relief from it, Wait at the ER was horrid, it seemed they were letting people in that were not as sick as I was. I still had no idea what was going on, I have never had this happen to me at all. It was almost 2 hours before i saw a DR.   They had to do blood tests and stuff, UGH The waiting was going to kill me I was sure. I just wanted something to knock me out cause i was so sick.

Well It looked like i was going to have yet another hospital stay. Infection, and IV Antibiotics for 3 days. UGH UGH UGH...... I wanted to be at home in my own bed

This was a HUGE blow to my morale. I could not understand how this could happen.  I did not have time for this unexpected visit to the hospital. I wanted to be at home getting back to normal. and i realized that normal would not be the same again.

I had all of my staples taken out the day before I went to the hospital, and while i was in there I blew 3 IV sites, I got ALL of my drains taken out and while i was unattached to anything i decided to have a luxurious shower with no friends on tubes hanging out.

and when I looked in the mirror to admire my unattatchedness and what do i see............something shiny in my chest...............OH OH what could that be?? A FREAKING STAPLE  thats what....... OMG one got missed and it was ANGRY! I told the nurse right away when she came to put the IV back in, she tried to take it out , the other nurse tried to take it out and then a 3rd came..... i felt like a science experiment. They decided to leave it for the Doctor the next day. PHEW good thing i didn't really have any feeling there yet.
The next day they pumped some morphine into me and got that sucker out! YAY!!

we got my results from the pathology back.. it was better than expected, i was stage 2 B my Tumor was 1 Millimeter from being stage 3 . like days away they said. I was glad i had a bilateral Mastectomy as there were pre cancerous cells in the other side and the lymph nodes on the other side were preparing to have cancer cells in them.... i really dodged a HUGE bullet there

Once out of the hospital i was waiting to find out if I needed Chemo therapy, I already KNEW I would have to but getting that actually OK from the Doctor was something I dreaded. the day of the appointment with the Oncologist, I took Manny AND a friend with me I needed support when I heard that news. and it was as we suspected, Chemo. because of the size of my Tumor and the lymph node involvement Chemo was a MUST.   and I was going to start in 2 weeks from then, WOW, they dont really give you time to adjust to anything before they throw you in do they? In that time it was test after test. Chemo teaching and figuring out what to do with my impending balding head....

I went to look at wigs, I just did not feel it, I was not sure if i really wanted to wear a wig or not. Oh how I did not want to loose my hair. I found some cute hats and scarves, and I figured that would be the way I would go seeming that I would be bald over the summer.

I decided to treat myself to a spa day, I wanted a pedicure, a massage and my hair cut, I wanted to take control over this impending hair loss.

I went to my last Salon I worked at Catwalk Salon and Spa and I made my appointment. my former bosses Ryan and Levi decided to give me the roil spoil.. i got a FULL spa day in their dime!!  they even made me get my hair colored.... I wasn't sure about that because I would only be holding onto it for like 3 more weeks anyway but im glad I did it I really am... it gave me a day to not think about what was going to happen but a day of enjoying a pampering feeling. it was uplifting for sure and I am forever grateful to them for doing what they did not have to do.

Days later I came home one day to people working my my flower bed..seriously.. planting flowers and making things look pretty. I could not believe it. A friend had arranged me to have flowers donated and arranged people to get the plants planted... I could not believe it,  I really never feel worth for anything like that so to have people do nice things for me, well.. i was overwhelmed, i got a free spa day and my garden done. well that was too much.

One thing I came across was this website We decided to set up a site for me because we knew that there was no way I would be able to get things done around the house and we wold need help with the kids and stuff, it was a great tool for us to use while i was going through chemo. I really urge anyone who is going through treatment or any thing similar to use this site to get help. you WILL need it if you have a family to take care of. And it gives people something to do, because you will have people ask what they can do, or  " call me when you need something" and trust me, I did not want to call people to do anything, this gives you and out, give them your site and they can pick what they want to help with!

Now lets get down to the nitty gritty. i wasn't all peaches and sunshine while dealing with those 2 weeks of my life.. it was hard. I was angry. REAL angry People were driving me nuts. telling me I could beat this i will be fine ETC.. Who were they to say I could beat this, how do they know?  People were asking me how my family was handling it. SERIOUSLY?? I DONT KNOW AND I DIDN'T CARE  all I cared about was how I was going to handle this. People were telling me to take time for myself , Like no kidding.... I didn't care to hear that at that time either.
And then there were the storytellers
"well my aunt Mildred who was 845 years old beat this so You can too"  really?? REALLY? you are comparing me to so and so who beat it.. well my mom had Cancer and didn't beat it. So how does Aunt Mildred compare? If my mom who was about my age when diagnosed did not make it.. why are you so sure I will.... do you have a direct link to GOd cause if you do, please tell him to get me off this ride, im done!
Manny was driving me mad.. he copes with things much different that I do. He just wanted me to carry on with life like nothing was going on. I was supposed to do all of the work figuring out the logistics of how my life was going to work while i was getting treatment. He never once thought how I was going to take care of Liberty for the 2 days after my Chemo treatment. I dont think I should have been left alone with a baby while im not sure how im going to feel. If i felt like they said i was going to feel that would not be an option.. so many unanswered questions still. SO many things to figure out. what was going to happen, how were things going to unfold.......And most importantly how was i going to carry on with my life with still so much uncertainty

lets leave you with this quote

"It is not what they take away from you that counts. It's what you do with what you have left."
Hubert Humphrey

I am determined to use what I have left in amazing ways


I wanted to leave you with a few pictures of me from this time....
this was before my surgery 2 days after diagnosis at my Belly dance Performance you can see the look on my face, i was not happy at all... i was trying to keep everyting from unravelling at any moment

and here is one from days before my first Chemo. I wanted to Celebrate so we went for dinner and drinks then dancing. check out that fancy haircut!!!

I know this post hasnt been the most mind bending post nor the most engaging, but it was what happened.


  1. Living it is the most accurate of accounts...
    Being real and not sugar coating it is what people need to see.


    Love ya


  2. Thank you for sharing your story Sandra!

    I've been following your jounrney and I want to say that you have been a huge inspiration to me and I pray for you often.


  3. You inspire me. Thanks for sharing your pictures, it is interesting to see your body language Sandra.

  4. Thank you for being so open and honest about what you were going through. Being a Nurse and having experience front line with newly diagnosed cancer patients, I have always been in awe of how people perservere thru such difficult and scary circumstances. Your honesty in this blog will touch others who are going thru similar experiences and help people discover what they need.