Tuesday, March 22, 2011


I had to work this past Saturday. As you know, this didn't make me happy. I wanted to be in my studio... playing with paper and ink and mod podge... yet here I was, dressed in my scrubs, standing in my office holding a clear plastic garbage bag in front of a patient while he puked.

You would think that would have just put me over the edge... but it didn't. Yes, it was kinda gross - but you know I'm all about gross. What it did was embed even further that kindness and compassion go further, and make you feel better, than anger and resentment.

My patient, Matt, is a high functioning Downs Syndrome man. He's 28. He holds a job, and drives a car. He frosts and spikes his hair. He doesn't have a mean bone in his body. He looks at you with all the honestness and earnestness that a human can have.

He was so ascared of having two fillings done. I sat him in the treatment room and I saw the tears roll down his cheeks. I patted his back as I put the bib on, and tried to reassure him that he would do just fine... but as brave as he tried to be, he failed.

The sobs started to come... and it took some time to calm him down. I sat in the treatment room next to him as he told me about his bad week. He hit a deer, his boss yelled at him because he did something wrong... and now "THIS". It was just all too much for this innocent boy...

All of a sudden he looked at me and said "I'm not feeling too well, I think I have to gag."

I'm usually NOT the one you want around in a panic situation. I tend to go sit in a corner and hide.

But something was guiding me... I quickly removed the Nitrous mask and sat him up... grabbing the first thing I could get my hands on - the clear plastic garbage bag. And I held that bag while he got sick... over and over again. And in between heaves he would cry and apologize... And I rubbed his arm and softly told him that he was going to be fine, and that it was ok...

I actually amazed myself. Didn't think I had that in me...

Of course, when he was better, and I left the room to dispose of the bag, I collapsed in the back room and shook. After-shock...

Matt was sent out to a dental office that could meet his special needs... and he's going to be just fine. I'll miss him. He touched my heart... and my life.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Um. Help?

So, I don’t know if this will translate well. It might be one of those ‘you really had to be there’ moments.

My friend Linda gave me a beautiful silver necklace. I wear it every day. Last night, I was SO dead tired as I was getting ready for bed, that I decided to get lazy and see if the necklace would pull over my head instead of unclasping it.

Voila. It worked.

Pleased as punch, this morning I decided to pull the necklace ON without unclasping it. (Remember, I am the epitome of lazy) (also – just so you know, bsgirl pronounces epitome as Epi Tome (rhymes with Rome))

Well, I had hot rollers in my hair, and the necklace got stuck over the roller on my left side, and UNDER the roller on my right side, and was pulled completely across my eyelids. I was stuck. With my eyes closed. Well, I couldn’t OPEN them, the necklace was pulled so tightly against my lids that I had no choice.

And there I stood.

I’d only had one cup of coffee, so the brain cells weren’t completely firing. Took me a moment to realize the only way to get the necklace off was to unclasp it. That was one hell of a long moment...

Monday, March 7, 2011


Lump. Lump. LUMP. LUMP.

Of course, the doctor didn't even have to SAY the word 'lump'... the longest 30 seconds of my life were spent with her fingers massaging one single spot on my left tata. I knew when she didn't just move along like she usually does, that the next words out of her mouth were words I was NOT going to want to hear.

And sure enough... I was right. "I'm feeling something right HERE", she said. And she grabbed my fingers and put them where she was pressing.

"I don't feel anything".

"Here. Right HERE".

"I still don't feel it".

That's almost as ascary as feeling it. WHY couldn't I feel it???? Who knows...

And the rest of my nice, calm, happy doctor visit was not so nice, calm or happy.

The doctor said "it's probably NOTHING, but I want you to have it checked out, and don't wait." Those of you that know me, know that this was equal to telling me "you have cancer and you're going to die within the month".

I called the moment I got home and made the appointment for another mammo and ultrasound for today, Monday. And I then spent 72 hours worrying. Even though logically I knew that it was PROBABLY nothing, most breast lumps are benign things... this was ME. I'm a worrier... to the n'th degree. Once you've had one cancer diagnosis, you always think you're getting another one. Even though it will be 20 years for me in May, it's ALWAYS in the back of my mind.

I'm not one to keep stuff like this to myself, so within moments of leaving the doctor's office on Friday I had texted a few people... and the phone calls and texts started rolling in... I went home and got on my boards and filled in the friends that I hadn't texted or talked to. I was in close contact with my sponsor - and although I know she was worried, I was never in danger of taking a drink. But her support was invaluable. As usual. ;-)

I spent the weekend in my studio - creating stuff. That was the only time my mind didn't work overtime. Hb was good about it - he left me to my own devices, and just offered support when I needed it.

And then FINALLY Monday came. And I went for the follow up Mammo (my last one was just 5 months ago) and down to Morristown for an Ultrasound.

The Mammo girl couldn't find the lump. The U/S girl couldn't find the lump. I couldn't find the lump. We knew about where it was, 4:00, according to my doctor, but we couldn't feel it.

The U/S tech rubbed and rubbed with the U/S thingy (that's my technical name for it) and I watched the screen intently.

"do you see anything?"

"Nope... everything LOOKS normal."

My heart sank. This was not what I wanted to hear - if my doctor FELT something, something WAS there, and it was hiding itself from the rest of the world.

The radiologist came in. Nice doctor. He's been reading my mammo's for the past 16 years.

"Sandi - there is absolutely no change in your mammo from the last ones, and I don't see anything on the U/S, but let me take a look."

He rubbed my tata. (my tatas have had a LOT of attention lately) He zeroed in on it immediately - I guess you have to have an MD after your name in order to feel my lump. And he grabbed the U/S Thingy (again - techy term) and rubbed all over it.

"You're fine. Normal breast tissue". (He wasn't big on words, but the words he spoke were good ones)

I said "Normal. Just tissue. No cyst? No TOOMAH?"

"Nope. Normal."

I said "So... what IS it?"

"It's you. It's just YOU and the way you're made."

Ok. I can accept that.

Thanks to all that supported me and held me up with your prayers and good thoughts... those Dawg thoughts worked their magic once again.

My friends are my lifeline, I've said it time and time again, and I mean it everytime I say it.

And I never want to hear the word LUMP again.