Here is the first part of Sandy’s story……
The trees were starting to form buds and the grass showed signs of green mixed in with the brown. A beautiful day in 1998 and spring was in the air. Sandy had decided to take the kids to the YMCA to burn some of their rambunctious energy off at the heated pool. This would also give her some time to work out and sit in the sauna. Sandy is a single mom of two blond-haired, blue-eyed beauties who were eight and five years old at the time.
While the kids were swimming, she did her work out and went to the ladies locker room to sit in the sauna and think. As she was sitting there her face turned sad and tears welled up in her eyes. She had had her first mammogram and that the radiologists had found a lump. She was scheduled for a biopsy the following week. Her fears and anticipation of the results of the biopsy were weighing heavily on her mind. She is not a person that cries easily, she is well grounded, easy-going, and a soft-spoken person who does not let much ruffle her feathers. On that day, she was scared and worried and it showed in her sad blue eyes.
Her biopsy results were not the ones she expected, her lump was malignant. She arrived at her oncology appointment and was asked to fill out the normal paperwork for personal history, insurance, excreta. She was called in to discuss what was going to happen next. The oncologist was direct and matter of fact, like he was telling her that she had a common cold. He must have had to be that way in order to cope with giving news to people who would drastically change their lives forever. He started to explain the procedure for surgery, recovery, and discussed the types of chemo therapy available and what he thought was the best drug cocktail out there to get rid of her cancer. The side effects of the chemo drug were explained and she was dreading the day when her beautiful naturally blonde hair would fall out. She would be nauseated and tired from the medication and would most likely vomit the entire afternoon after her treatments. She would have to have at least nine straight weeks of the stronger chemo treatments or 18 weeks of low dose treatments that would cause fewer side effects. Sandy wanted to kick the cancer in the ass and get it the hell out of her body so she chose the strong stuff. “Got any more good news for me Doc?” she asked.
The process began. Her doctor scheduled her surgery to remove the right breast and lymph nodes under her right arm two weeks later. The chemo treatments would start immediately after her recovery. Sandy had contacted her niece to come and stay with her for a while to help her with her two girls while she recovered from surgery. Her niece Cindy, whom she grew up with, was like a sister to her. They are essentially the same age only a few months apart.
The surgery was a success. The surgeon was able to remove the breast and scrape the tissue around the lump area to remove the cancer cells. All the lymph nodes that were removed were tested and the results were negative for cancer. “I was elated, finally some positive news.” Now began the long journey through the chemo treatments. These were starting within the next three weeks or sooner as she felt stronger after surgery.
To be continued in part II-my next blog…….