Birthday: May 5, 1956
Location: Huntington Beach, California, USA
Diagnosis Date: February 5, 2007
Type of Sarcoma: Fibrosarcoma
Location of Tumor: Left Buttock
Age at time of Diagnosis: 50 years
Cedars Sinai and Orange Coast Hospital
Dr. Marsha Fink
Dr. Earl Brien
At Thanksgiving in 2006, I sat to have dinner with my family. It felt like something was
on the chair, so I stood up, nothing there. I sat back down. I could definitely feel
something. I thought it might be a pulled muscle about a month later because it hurt and
was getting larger. I saw a chiropractor who agreed, it was a pulled muscle. I treated
with her about 3 times. Something else was wrong, I was sure of it. I called an oncologist
office near my home and told them my story and asked if I could be seen without going
through my GP, they said yes. They said to come in that day, February 5, 2007. I went
in and was shocked to hear the words 'you have cancer'. I was the sixth of six girls, no
one, not even my sisters who smoked had cancer. No breast cancer. My brother, younger
than me, didn't have cancer. My dad had prostate cancer, but my mom had nothing. I was
hospitalized that day and had surgery the following morning. They opened me up and closed
me up...too big for them.
Cedars Sinai, two weeks later. Dr. Earl Brien does a massive re-section of my left buttock.
I am now walking around half-assed...if I can walk. He is seriously worried. He had to take
all the muscle and all the tissue, leaving me with a 17' scar and just skin above the bone.
I found out I had Stage 4 tumor out of 4. He got it all with clear margins. Unfortunately,
because the first doctor who opened me up, cut into the tumor, it allowed it to bleed into
my body, so I had to have chemotherapy (AIM protocol) and radiation halfway through the
chemo. Each chemo infusion took 5 days in the hospital. Each hospitalization was followed
by an 11-day hospitalization for blood transfusions and treatment of blood infections. My
hair fell out immediately. Losing my hair was sad, but I didn't want to die, and I could
wear a wig. Halfway through I started radiation. Six weeks solid, every day (week day)
weekends off. I got really sick during radiation. It tired me and I would drift off to
sleep while driving, while talking, while eating. The chemo after was a repeat of the
previous sessions. AIM protocol. Adriamycin, Ifosfamide and Mensa. They finally decreased
the amount to stop the return hospitalizations a few days after chemo and it worked.
After 132 days in the hospital and what ended up being a year of treatment, I was given a
PET scan in December 2007 and found to be cancer free. I get PET scans every 3 months, so far
so good. In three more months they will remove my port-a-cath and my morphine pain pump. I
am getting busy living instead of worrying about statistics and dying.
I joined the outdoorsclub.org
and go on hikes with a bunch of great people. My only problem
is that I cannot sit for very long without experiencing some severe pain. I am back to work
and I alternate between standing and sitting to do my job...which is publications. This is
my story. My name is Sandy, and I am alive!
What I want to share with others is not to give up, to keep fighting...remember, you have cancer,
it does NOT have YOU!
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