Wednesday, November 18, 2009


I know I have been horrible at keeping up on this blog. At the last blog I was on I believe on my third chemo treatment. God has been good and I was able to only have to endure 3 more treatments after that for a total of 6 in total.

These treatments showed me the strength of God and how my strength is not in myself but from God. He has shown me that all things work together to those who love him and for me to live in and for HIM.

I have wasted much time, instead of living solely for him I was living for myself. It's hard to explain. I have made mistakes in my life, that had consequences, but the suffering is beautiful because the scar that is left behind is a testament of where and what God has carried us through. The journey is not always pleasant, it gets hard and sometimes the results are not what we want them to be- but when we are truly living for HIM- no matter the outcome - HE is still praised and HE is still Almighty.

When I went in for my latest appointment this past week- I was scared. Scared that my latest CT scan would show that the cancer was back and that I would have to go through more chemo OR some other treatment. This whole journey has been a bundle of emotions- happiness, saddness, goofiness (esp when I couldnt find my keys (oh wait, I did that before "chemo brain"), and anger. I know that God allowed me to experience this journey for a reason and those reasons are a daily reminder of why I am in REMISSION today.

I no longer live for myself and the things that make ME happy. I take joy in spending time with my son and pushing myself at work over and beyond has taken a back seat to relaxing and seeing the beauty in life.

This song has been very special during this time.

I have had numerous surgeries and procedures during this time and have scars that were left behind. Although they are not pretty to look at- I wouldn't change it because it reminds me of where I was and what I came through. Just like when we go through hard times and maybe we don't make the right decision- the scars are left behind not to remind us of our mistakes- but to remind us that God loves us and has healed our hearts. I know this may seem like I am rambling- but I am just so amazed at the love and graciousness of our Lord Jesus.

Heal the wound by Point of Grace.

I used to wish that I could rewrite history
I used to dream that each mistake could be erased
Then I could just pretend
I never knew the me back then

I used to pray that You would take this shame away
Hide all the evidence of who I've been
But it's the memory of
The place You brought me from
That keeps me on my knees
And even though I'm free

Heal the wound but leave the scar
A reminder of how merciful You are
I am broken, torn apart
Take the pieces of this heart
And heal the wound but leave the scar

I have not lived a life that boasts of anything
I don't take pride in what I bring
But I'll build an altar with
The rubble that You've found me in
Find More lyrics at
And every stone will sing
Of what You can redeem

Heal the wound but leave the scar
A reminder of how merciful You are
I am broken, torn apart
Take the pieces of this heart
And heal the wound but leave the scar

Don't let me forget
Everything You've done for me
Don't let me forget
The beauty in the suffering

Heal the wound but leave the scar
A reminder of how merciful You are
I am broken, torn apart
Take the pieces of this heart
And heal the wound but leave the scar

Thank you for your prayers and thoughts during this time and continue to pray for me and my family as I continue to get better. :)


Saturday, August 22, 2009

It's been a while----

Hi Everyone!

Well it's been a while since I posted on this blog. It's been hard trying to update, while working, getting chemo and taking care of things that need to be taken care of. I recently had my third chemo treatment and this one wasn't so great.... not that chemo is great... but my 2nd chemo was not so bad.

The 3rd treatment was HORRIBLE. I have been nauseated for the past 3 days-- but really hungry--- thank that to my daily dose of prednisone for the next five days- and I just want to EAT- it's a really weird feeling. I kind of relate it to the feeling I felt I when I was pregnant- I was nauseated and hungry and moody- it's crazy cause it gets better and then it gets worse.

I am really trying to keep my spirits up, and really trying to put this all in God's hands- but in the past couple of days I have been feeling down. The hair thing I was getting used to, but then this week I started to feel self concious- since my eyebrows have thinned out quite significantly. I am trying not to be shallow because hair is hair- but it's hard. THEN--- because of my increased appetite I have gained some substantial weight- which makes it even harder because not only have I lost my hair, some eyebrows and now my wardrobe- it's getting really hard to look in the mirror and really love the way I look. I really should be happy that God has allowed me to stay healthy these past three treatments. No medical issues, no blood work issues. My blood count, platelet count and white blood count have been great. It really could be worse off- and I am worried about hair??? I thank God everyday that He is pulling me through this and I am remaining prayful and hopeful and standfast in Him, knowing that He will get me through this and His Name will be praised through this valley in my life.

A couple weeks ago, a good friend of our family Millie ( who is also a cancer survivor) decided to shave her head if I lost my hair. Well my hair was falling out and it was time to shave my head. We went to the hair cuttery and we both got our heads shaven. Also, the gal that shaved our heads knew too well this side of cancer, as her mother had and passed away from cancer- so it was a bit emotional. It was a very awesome moment to have someone who understood how it feels to lose your hair and to be willing to go through that again to show support. I didn't expect her to do it, she did it out of the kindness of her heart and how she knew she could support me.
A week after I got my hair cut short.

1 week later

2 weeks later after getting my hair cut- after my 2nd treatment

Getting ready to shave the rest off.

Buzz- Buzz- Buzz!!!

Millie is next!

Buzz- she has a smile on her face!!


I also got a brand new wig!! :)

I thank you again for all the prayers that are being sent out to me and my family!!!!

Lots of Love,


Sunday, August 2, 2009

ROUND 2# ......DONE!

Hey everyone!

I am trying to get better with this blog- but I am finally getting around to it. I had such an amazing week- even though I do not feel good at this moment. This week was round 2 for my chemo treatments and in comparison with my last chemo it was a WHOLE lot better. Thank you Jesus. Last time my chemo felt like I had the flu and on top of that I had an allergic reaction to some medications so I felt awful. This time around, other than nausea and not feeling to uppity, it was a whole lot better. Thank you to all who are praying and still continue to pray.

I got my results back from my PET scan and bone marrow biopsy. Thankfully everything came back fine. My PET shows that the cancer was confined pretty much to my groin and abdomen- although there were some areas in my neck and other areas that didn't catch the dye, and they are not sure if that was starting of spreading- so it looks like I am at a Stage 2-3- prognosis is very good :) Again thank you for praying.

Awesome thing though- when I was searching for another physician for another opinion- I had prayed that God would lead me to the right doctor to give me the answer I was searching for. I had prayed and really just went into the website for our health system and picked by random this surgeon. He was very nice and really took the time to explain to me everything that was going on AND what needed to be done. He was a gem and I am so thankful I found him. He was the one who did my biopsy and my port and did it quickly without even a thought. His office was awesome. The other day when I went to have my port checked he wanted to see my test results and wanted me to come to his office to discuss them. I had no idea what I was going to see next- on his desk there was a bible and all around the office he had signs- esp one that said JESUS NEVER FAILS. I smiled and I told him- you know what I had prayed God would send me someone who would take care of me- and look at this- I had no clue this man loved God as much as I loved God- and he said I knew there was a reason why God told me there was something about you. I know now that asking God to lead you and to really follow him- because you might miss out on the blessing. I had goosebumps when I left that meeting- cause I knew God was in the midst and he knew that this was the doctor that would figure out what was wrong with me after all of these months.

This weekend I went home to go see my family and to bring my mom back with me to stay for a bit to help me out while she waits for her house to be fixed. I was given a free salon day by this awesome salon in Palmyra- called NDULDGE- God bless these people for what they did for cancer patient's today. They had all kinds of services free - including facials, manicures, airbrush tanning, pictures, food etc. They were so kind and loving and it was awesome. My sister went with me and it was a good time out with one another. I felt for the first time in a while super relaxed and felt good- esp when your hair is coming out in clumps and you don't feel super pretty- it was nice to be in the same room with lots of women going through the same thing. It was really nice and I got a gift certificate to come back- super nice.

Please continue to pray for my family as we go through all of these hurdles together- my family's home is going to take up to 6 months to be repaired- and it's hard to see my parents -pretty much without a home- but that's what they have kids :) It's our turn to take care of them and make sure they are ok.

I will keep up on this blog a little bit better and hope you will continue to read as I go through this journey :)

<3 Sandra

Monday, July 20, 2009


(before getting my port placed- like my lovely hat??)

What a week!

This week was crazy and full of heartache, tears, sickness and laughter- just a bag full of emotions. My week started with a nasty medical adversion to some medications I was taking. I spent the day with itchy skin and my hands and feet feeling like they were on fire. I had to take a double dose of Benedryl just to sleep.

On Monday I had my very first PET scan. A PET scan is a type of scan that gives the doctor a good idea if cancer is elsewhere in the body. I was feeling so bad with nausea that I ended up falling asleep on the table for the 30 minutes it took for the scan to be over and done with. Thankfully, they give you one of those blankets that feel like they were heated up in a dryer- so cozy. Afterwards, for some reason I was massively hungry- it was crazy because I was so nauseated. I scarfed down eggs, pancakes and bacon :) I paid for it later.

On Tuesday- I had to get up early AGAIN and have a port placed. A port is a device that is placed under the skin so that when I go for chemo treatments instead of the IV going into my arm and risk getting bruised up, it goes into this device. Everyone at the surgicenter at Christiana were amazing and so caring- that I was actually very calm about the whole thing. The whole procedure took about an hour and a half and I left with my new accessory. It's hard to get used to something being in my chest, and sleeping is not fun- esp when you like to sleep on your side and stomach- haha!

Sadly, later that day- I received a phone call I wish I never receive. My brother had called me that my parent's home had caught on fire. Their attic caught on fire and caused extreme damage to several rooms in the house. I was so glad that my parents were ok. My family is my life and if anything happened to them I really don't know what I would have done. As of this evening they are waiting to hear about the status of the house. It's sad to see your home. The home where you grew up and had so many memories be hurt and battered. It's even worse to see a orange note on your home saying it's uninhabital due to danger. How did it get there and why did it happen to loving parents who would do anything for their kids? I didn't want to question God with my why's cause I thought that would mean that I didn't trust Him. I didn't know that my journey would now include my family and hoping that they would have a place to live. God is good and His way is Perfect- although it may not be evident in the beginning

The rest of the week was full of sickness, tiredness and just plain wishing I felt ok. It was like I lost everything I had to just be able to move around and be normal. Little things like being able to type on my computer or just watch a tv program was so difficult, because I felt so horrible. Luckily, Friday came around and I was able to go to the chiropractor and felt so much relief.

On Saturday the time came for me to cut my hair. I wanted to cut my hair because I couldn't face the fact that I could lose my long hair during simple things like sleeping or washing my hair. I figured the shorter the better. I was nervous because the last time I had short hair was 1991 in the 7th grade. I thought I looked like a boy. haha. It was a bad year, and I remembered what my hair looked like when it was growing out- shallow as it sounds, I was scared of looking bad- I know there are other things to be worried about, like living, but this was a big concern of mine. I have the best support a girl could ever ask for. Just to have my hair cut I had my family waiting outside the salon waiting with hugs and prayers- knowing that this was one of the hardest things I would face on top of being diagnosed. I am glad Ashli was fabulous and knew how to make it cute and funky. Something I would not even try without having a reason to try it. Through tears and support, I made it through and guess what? I actually like it.

The final result:

My awesome family:

(i have to get a better picture) lol
Sunday was an awesome service- the best part was to finally grieve. I had been trying so hard to be strong and stay positive that I really forgot to grieve and really cry out to Him. It's hard letting go and letting emotions really show when you feel tired or scared. I heard this song below many times this weekend- and it really rounded up this week. Praise Him in the Storm.

I look forward to feeling better this week and prepare for round 2. Keep praying!

Praise You In The Storm
Casting Crowns

I was sure by now,God, that You would have reached down
and wiped our tears away,
stepped in and saved the day.
But once again, I say amen
and it's still raining
as the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain,
"I'm with you"
and as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise
the God who gives and takes away.

And I'll praise you in this storm
and I will lift my hands
for You are who You are
no matter where I am
and every tear I've cried
You hold in your hand
You never left my side
and though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

I remember when I stumbled in the wind
You heard my cry to You
and raised me up again
my strength is almost gone how can I carry on
if I can't find You
and as the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain
"I'm with you"
and as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise
the God who gives and takes away


I lift my eyes onto the hills
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth
I lift my eyes onto the hills
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth


Saturday, July 11, 2009

My story so far....

Well, I am not new to the blogging era, as I have been part of the Xanga, Myspace and now the Facebook generation. I refuse to Tweet ;) I am usually the reader of several blogs that have blessed me or intrigued me into trusting our God, no matter what comes our way. These blogs have pressed me to look at God and faith more deeply, however you never know faith and true trust in God until you are faced with a challenge.

I am an ordinary girl, who grew up in a small town in NJ. I went to a private Christian School and College. I got my Bachelor's Degree in Music and thought my life would consist of a job, family and just being normal.

I have been blessed with a beautiful son, who is 4 1/2 and a wonderful family. I have a great job and a great life. I have a great church and great friends who support me and love me for who I am.

However 7 months my journey down an unknown road began:

It all began December 2008 and I was enjoying the festivities of Christmas with my family. I was coming back from a friend's home and notice my son had fallen asleep. I really did not want to wake him up- and if you know Josh you know he is not a small kid (at the time he was almost 4 and weighed a good 65lbs and stands at 3'9") I made the decision to pick him up. I immediately heard and felt a pop and thought to myself, did I do it this time? Did I give myself that hernia my mom always told me I would get from picking him up? I ignored it but felt a bump the next day. It wasn't painful and I really thought it was a hernia or pulled muscle. In February 2009, I decided to finally have it looked at. The doctor decided to send me for a CT scan and this is where my journey began.

The CT scan came back and the results pointed to a large cyst on my left ovary and a left pelvic mass. My doctor told me well it isn't a hernia. Right away I was given the names of Oncologists. I was numb and all I could do was cry because in my mind at the time Oncology = Cancer= Death. I went to my PCP who sent me for a large amount of blood work. To my surprise everything came back fine except for two tests that were associated with inflammatory disease. I went to see the Gyn Surgical Oncologist who was very nice. He did the exam and suggested that I have a fine needle biopsy of the mass. It wasn't so bad and the results that came back a week later said that it was normal. However, the surgeon stated that since I had the large cysts and the mass it would be wise to have a laprotomy and have the ovary removed and a lymph node removed for biopsy. I was hesitant, but felt that since it was for my health and for the future of my son it was wise to just proceed.

My laprotomy was on April 23rd, 2009. I arrived at Cooper Hospital and was completely nervous. I have never had surgery before, in fact I have never had any type of injury such as a broken bone, stitches etc. I was brought to the room and told to not be nervous- but I couldn't help it. I think I cried all the way from the assessment room to the pre-op room. I kept trying to sing to myself all the songs that I had sang in church and that automatically brought a peace that by the time I reached the OR I was at peace- and that was before the sedative. My surgery lasted 2 hours and resulted in a series of no answers. First, the cysts that were on my ovary had disappeared (which I would find out later would mean that they never existed) and the lymph node on my pelvis was unable to be reached for removal and all that was removed were tissue samples because the mass was embedded. I hoped that some answer would come from the tissue samples- but that came back normal too. So here I was with a stomach full of staples and pain and no answers. I was then sent to another surgeon, to address the lump and he wanted to do another surgery for a dissection of the lymph node. This would be another big surgery with another 4-6 weeks of recovery and possible side effects such as nerve damage and lymphadema. I was hesitant about this. He sent me to have a repeat CT scan, this CT scan discovered that the lymph node had grew larger and was now threatening my kidney, it also pointed to that dreaded word, Cancer. I was concerned and not to happy of how this surgeon handled the whole thing. My dear sister in law's mom took my results to an oncologist she knew and he was concerned about kidney and thought I should have this taken care of right away. I decided to seek a third opinion with a doctor here in Delaware. He was wonderful and wondered why I was opened up in the first place. He did an outpatient incision biopsy on June 23rd, that left me sore but OK. I was back to work a few days after, however the news was not good. The initial pathologist though Lymphoma but wanted a second look. My slides were sent to the Mayo Clinic. On Wednesday July 1st, I was given the news that I had T-Cell Lymphoma. The first thing I did was cry, cry for grief but also cry for relief- it was finally refreshing to know what it was and know now how to treat it. I was told that this type of lymphoma is rare and not too much information is available- but the one thing they did know is that it's treatable and curable.

I had my first appointment with my oncologist on Tuesday July 7th. I was so nervous, I had so many questions and so much in my mind. The doctor met with me and told me that I would need several tests and chemotherapy. One of those tests was a Bone Marrow biopsy, which was so painful that if I had to rate it on the most painful moments in my life I would have to rate it next to Labor (giving birth). The resident held my hand for what felt like forever- but I got through and was even praised on how good I did. The next test is a PET scan scheduled for Monday July 13. My doctor decided the best thing was to begin Chemo right away because it had been way to long.

I began Chemotherapy on Thursday July 9. It must have been the most nerve wracking days of my life. I was up early and got my son to school. I decided to treat myself to a DD coolata because I knew I wouldn't be able to eat anything later on in the day. I arrived at the doctor's office unknown of what was going to happen or how I was going to feel- but I knew that there was a purpose that I was going through this and if I did not know it now it would be shown to me somehow, somewhere through the journey. The medication was injected through an IV, 4 different medications- on top of the 6 other oral medications that I have to take to stay healthy and fight off different diseases. One of the chemo drugs will make me lose hair and others that will leave me fatigued and sick, but in the end will allow me to beat cancer. I didn't know what I was getting in to. The treatment took about 30 minutes- which seemed long for me but was fast to the staff. They were very kind.

I came home and felt so bad. Chills, headaches, and fevers. I thought oh my is this how it's going to be. It felt like days but was only hours of pain and fever. The next day I was super tired and slept for half the day. By the time day 3 came around (today) I was up at 3 am ready to begin my day, although I think everyone around me is not ready to being their day just yet.

I have a long road ahead of me and know it will be filled with tears, fears, and lots of hurting- but I know out of it will come healing, trusting and knowing that God has brought me through and brought me closer. I have decided to write this blog to not just remember where I have been but where I am going and who I will become. Please keep me and my family in your prayers as I we go through this journey and we will keep you updated!