Monday, March 28, 2011

This Day is Good

This day was good.  A very  close to normal day and I think it was the normal that felt good. I am grateful for a normal, good day.  A day my head wasn't consumed with thoughts of my illness.  Yesterday, while sitting in Quaker Silent Worship and having my head filled with thoughts of cancer, treatment of cancer, what ifs of cancer and longing for the inner peace that I usually find in this Sunday morning gathering,  I angerly decided to order all thoughts of cancer out of my head!  It worked and I had possession of my mind again!  Today was better more normal, I slept well and late, photographed young children enjoying a concert of Irish musicians, went out to breakfast at a favorite restaurant that ended up being lunch as we got there late but enjoyed the artsy casual atmosphere and the lunch offering.  I have to admit, after running errands and somewhere in the middle of the super Wal Mart I was fading but the energy lasted longer today and will last even longer tomorrow, I know.  Yes, this day was good.  And all of you dear Friends, friends and family I hope yours was too.  There is real value in a good day.  Or maybe I am just learning to appreciate it more. . Hugs, Sandy
P.S.  The photo is a closeup of the inside of one of the tulips that Tom brought me on our anniversary.  So many time flowers prove that  looking within is where true beauty is found.  . . .

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Flying High

I awoke feeling so good this morning that I had to dig out this photo of the flying lady used in parades here to express myself.  Yesterday was a down day until I got the good call from Mayo. I was just dragging, both physically and mentally.  I guess it happens.  Anyway, I slept well last night without any sleeping aids and woke this morning feeling more like my old self.  I am sure knowing that I don't have to return for a mastectomy or other surgery has made a big difference.  I don't know yet whether I will have to have both chemo and radiation treatment, but that is ok.  I have dodged the big bullet of invasive cancer.  I am so fortunate.  I am grateful for early detection and so much more.  And  I am just grateful for a feel good morning.   Hugs and love to all. . :)   Sandy

Friday, March 25, 2011


I just got the call from Mayo.  The lab results are back and the borders are all clear!  So no more surgery!  Made my day!  Hugs all around!  Sandy

Home is Good

It was so good to be home yesterday afternoon, to sleep in my own bed, to breathe the fresh cool air through the open window as I slept.  Home is good.  Home is best.  I am grateful for how the last week has gone.  The outcome is better than I even dared hope for.  Yet, I am a worrier.  Those close to me know that.  If the results from the lab work that is still out come back that the good doctor did get all and the borders taken and biopsied  are without any cancer cells you will probably here a big yippee from me  all the way from Silver City!  That would be so wonderful.  I would worry less.  Then the question of radiation or chemo or both? Where should I have radiation? At Scottsdale Mayo or at the Silver City Cancer Center?  I have read that you have to be careful of heart damage with left breast radiation. I may not have those questions answered until I meet with the oncologist April 18th.  If  the lab results are not good  and I need to return for the mastectomy sooner I will have more answers sooner.  Today I need to concentrated on Gratitude. .for early detection. .  for wonderful medical care . . for friends .. .for family. . for today being my 3rd Wedding Anniversary to Tom, who has been my source of strength when mine wobbled.  Thank you all . . I am fortunate. . in so many ways. Gratitude. . Gratitude. . Please overcome that worry thing. . . Hugs and love to all, Sandy

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Comin' Up Roses!

Ok, they're cactus flowers, but you get the idea!  I am so grateful to all of you for your thoughts and prayers and to Mayo Clinic and Hospital and the good doctor and all of the kind nurses that took care of me today.  The results were better than I even dared hope for. Someone must have had good connections with the man above!  Then biggie is that all of the lymph nodes were negative!  And don't have the lab work back yet the doctor did feel like he had gotten it all.  If that goes the other way I may still be facing a mastectomy but for the first time the possibility of no chemotherapy was mentioned. I will have lab results on Friday or Monday.  The doctor said the chest xray and the blood work done yesterday looked good with no indication of problems beyond the breast.  Thank you all so much for being there and your support and prayers.  It has meant so much.  Love and hugs to all.  :)Sandy

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Road Ahead

After Saturday, Sunday and Monday of sight seeing and visiting with friends here in the Scottsdale area and Tom's family  in Tucson, this morning we are back to the task at hand.  I will probably bore you with the details, but somehow I need to put them in print.  Therapy here?  At 12:45 my pre-op procedure starts in radiology where they put a radioactive "seed" to guide the surgeon into my cancery body part and also inject dye to detect the desired lymph node.  I asked the nurse about the possibility of using a zannex that I had left over from my last such procedure for the seed implant and she said I wouldn't  need it,this is a very small needle, not like the last time. Whew. . At 2:30 I go to the lab for blood work and then at 3:15 for an ECG. I was thinking EKG, but they said ECG, so I will be there and see what happened.  I complete the day at 4:00 with a chest xray .   And as best I can determine, as the result of the first appointment, I may have a glow in the dark left breast!  I will have to check!  Wednesday I am to be at the Mayo Hospital, a few miles down the road from the Mayo Clinic for surgery.  I need to be there at 5:30 am, so we are definitely going to need a wake up call and be on the way at 4:30 AM.   In surgery they will do a lumpectomy, as best I can figure 4 small areas.  I have no lumps, but they are taking out two border areas of microscopic stuff left behind from my last surgery in Silver City, as well as,thankfully,removing  the two areas of suspicious calcification that were not detected by the Silver City surgeon.  And then also doing whatever they need to do with the lymph nodes. They will dismiss me from the hospital and I will be free to travel back to Silver City the next day(Thursday).  It will be good to be back home,  but I am grateful to all that is available to me in medical care here, for the distractions of the Phoenix Zoo and the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum for the days I was waiting for my pre-op day and surgery day, and of course for the kindness of all, definitely including the patience and attention of sweetheart hubby Tom.   Thanks  to all of you for listening.  More detail than I needed to give.  But morning therapy complete! Love and Hugs, Sandy

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Tiger Spirit

Looking for some tiger spirit here to combat the big "C" in the days and weeks ahead.  Friday was such a positive day and I don't have to be back to Mayo for pre-op tests till Tuesday so we are taking advantage of the days between for a trip to the zoo yesterday and traveling a couple of hours down to Tucson to visit Tom's extended family there and back here Monday night.  All this is great distractions from sitting and thinking about the "what if's". We didn't venture back in the pool here, but after a day of being on our feet opted for Baskin Robbins root beer floats over standing in line for dinner and a soak in the hot tub afterward.  I was asleep by 8.  Grr. .I am going to try and channel a little of this tiger spirit for the week ahead. But  I think he was really just a big  kitty  at heart!  Love and Hugs to all.. . Sandy 

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Gratitude, Big time!

I am so grateful to have come to Mayo Clinic and for the skill, expertise and kindness shown to me there yesterday.  The surgeon there found areas of suspicious calcification that had been missed by the surgeon in Silver City. I am scheduled for surgery to take care of that and other issues on Wednesday. Tom wrote  an email to some of his family that covers yesterday's Mayo visit so thoroughly(the newspaper editor/writer thing) that I have asked him to copy it to the comment area of this post for your information purposes.  I am so fortunate, to be here at this excellent medical facility, to be here with Tom to helpand give me lots of hugs, to be here knowing that I have the support of so many wonderful friends and family.  My thanks to all.  Very positive vibes in Scottsdale this morning!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Arizona Greeting

Outside of Scottsdale,the Arizona desert greeted us yesterday with an array of enticing native plants and desert landscapes.  This was before we reached the subdivisions and traffic.  We did some photography at what lay around us as we stopped to stretch our legs. I loved the contrasts in the harsh cactus, the gentleness of the blue skies and the distance mountain ranges overseeing it all and bringing it all together.  It was there for a moment I lost the thoughts ever circulating in my brain that I was on my way to have my body sliced again and hopefully start the purging of breast cancer cells from wherever they lurk within. We found our choice of motel a great one, clean, friendly with pool and spa.  We took a quick dip in both to refresh ourselves.  I tried to encase my body part with the incision in a taped plastic baggie(under swimsuit) so I could swim.  Warning: Don't try to bag a boobie!  My inventive solution didn't work for keeping the water out but the swim felt so good!  Priceless! We went to Outback for steak dinner and on to the nearby mall to walk off the chocolate sundae we shared for desert.  Tom was delighted to find purple converse hightop tennis shoes that he had been looking for for months.  They will go well in Silver City and they are very "Tom".   The thoughts, prayers and experiences that have been shared with me via this blog and beyond will carry me into my appointment today.   I have never thought of myself as having a lot of friends.  Who knew!  I didn't.  Thank you all so much!
With Love and Hugs all around

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


First of all, and most of all, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the comments in the last few days filled with messages of caring and support.  Thank you all so much!  Those positive thoughts, prayers and energy mean everything to me right now.   It is also occuring to me that I am finding messages of encouragement everywhere as in this beautiful colorshow at sunset last night.  In Colorado, the bright  sunrises and sunsets abound.  Not so much in New Mexico.  But the sunset out the back door last night was spectacular!  A message just for me.  I knew it!  And  then there was a really strange health news runner on MSNBC Morning Joe this morning. I was up early and a few moments after turning on TV to catch morning news,  a scroll across the bottom of the screen  read "Older women with breast cancer live as long as their peers who are cancer free."  When it registered the first time around I thought "OK, Sandy, have more coffee, you are losing it."  So I waited until it rolled the second time before I believed I had read it correctly.  Doesn't make sense! But could there have been a more encouraging message for me the day before I leave for Mayo Clinic and enter the world of breast cancer treatment!  So I am accepting all positive messages.  Thank you,Friends, friends and family.  Thank you, Mother Nature.  Thank you, wherever and whomever was responsible for the bit of health news that makes no sense.  Gratitude here for it all.

 Hugs, Sandy 

Monday, March 14, 2011

First Blooms

Thank you all for your positive comments.  They are putting some glue in these weak knees of mine!  These tiny forsythia blooms are the first blooms in the yard.  There are many spring blubs coming up, but being pruned as fast as they grow by all of the deer in the area.  The plants that are fenced off are doing best. The bright splash of yellow was a nice surprise.  A big hug from me to you on this day. 


Sunday, March 13, 2011

Defining Tragic

Gratitude. .I find myself finding gratitude in the little things. . The darling triplet fawns that came to the backyard watering spot.  The forsythia blooming with a burst of yellow in the front yard. The wind in my hair!

I am trying hard to not let this diagnosis take over my mind and my life.  Tragic is a young boy with a rare heart defect that threatens his life and cannot find a fix for it.  Tragic is a young mother threatened by breast cancer who has children she has not yet seen through college.  Tragic is a young man with a family who is just beginning chemotherpy to fight Cancer.  And this is just from my friends and family. I am sure the list is miles long. And at this time I must add those in Japan in such extreme tragic conditions.  I am humbled and a bit ashamed of my concern with self.   Tragic is not  a 68 year old grandmother  , who has raised her family and had a good life, with a treatable and hopefully cureable breast cancer.  I am fortunate, I am blessed. 


Saturday, March 12, 2011


As a nontechy person it always feels so good when I am able to figure out a fix on these crazy computer things!  It appears that the comment function is now working so that anyone can post a comment, even without a google account!  Yeah!  I think I can. . .I think I can. . determination ( and growing up as  a hard headed Okie ) helps  Hugs!

Morning World

My comment function doesn't seem to be functioning properly.  I am working on it. . . Beautiful day here with colorful sunrise. .

Friday, March 11, 2011

Gratitude in Easy

I am grateful for the sunrise this morning, for not being in Japan, for Scooby-Doo and Tom both waiting for their morning hug when I woke.  Wow!  Gratitude is so easy when you have Cancer.  Every day more precious. Everyone who cares for you more appreciated.

I am feeling well.  Somehow I think dealing with my diagnosis would be easier if I weren't.  I would be going to medical specialists to make me well not seeking out the best doctors I can find to do surgery on this feeling good body and to give me chemo that will make me feel worse so that it can kill off the invisible threat to my life. Gratitude. . .think gratitude. . I am grateful to live in a time that breast cancer is cureable. . I am grateful for early detection . . . I am grateful that the part of my body that I may lose is not my heart, or my kidneys or part of my brain. It is not essential to life.  I can live without a breast.  Many women do.  So can I.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Purpose

Dear Friends, friends and family,

Statement of gratitude. . I am grateful for the life I have had, for the love of  my dear Tom, for  family and friends and for those around me who contribute so generously to the joy I find everyday. 

I plan on opening each post on this blog with a statement of gratitude.    I find that concentrating on gratitude is where I am finding a lot of strength. 

Which takes me to the purpose of this blog.  In the last few weeks, I have gone from being an extremely healthy 68 year old to being diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma, or breast cancer, in common language. The good news is that I have been told that it is early enough that it appears to be at a stage that is curable. After a month of tests and two biopsies I am going to Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale for whatever further surgery is needed and a treatment path.  My appointment is March 18th and I will be able to post my progress here during that time and as I have chemo and other  treatments .  So a big part of doing this blog is to communicate with family and friends that are concerned and want to know how things are going. And another purpose is awareness. . a reminder to get those regular cancer screenings!  That test the guys have is even more uncomfortable than the one we ladies go through but It is so important for early detection!  And a third, and selfish reason is that it may be therapeutic for me as I go through the next months.  So this first post is just an explanation of the blog.  Hopefully future ones will be more informative , and hopefully even a little entertaining, on living with,and ridding my body of, the big C. 

I do apologize for the blog looking incomplete and some things being totally out of proportion.  I am working on it and it will get better.  I can say Tom is just so relieved that I did not name the blog "Sandy's Left Breast" as was my first inclination!

  Hugs and love  to any of my friends and family that stop by this blogspot.  Just because I am keeping you updated doesn't mean that I wouldn't love to talk to you on the phone when you have the time.  Thank you all for being there!

(With the goal of being a cancer survivor!)

I Did It!

Dear Blog Visitors,

I have struggled to set up this blog and if you should stumble across it ,thank you for stopping and please return! This blog a work in process.   It does have a purpose and I need to find the right words to express that purpose.  Check tomorrow for a real post.