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Author Archives: Healing Eyes


It’s so surreal looking back at the past 7 months of our life.

I get asked questions sometimes,
“What’s the game plan, Whats the next steps, What happens when its over and you can be happy again”?

I smile and my mind goes blank because there is no answer really. Cancer is something that can never be answered or fixed ultimately.  Doctors can remove the tumor and prescribe medicine, they can’t erase the damage. I struggle with thinking of ways to explain that to others without sounding uncaring or utterly depressing. All I can say is it never will really ‘end’, this is the part in our several months of treatments and surgeries that I think will be the hardest and most challenging.  When the dust settles usually you just clean up and move on. When our dust settles we just look at that dust and try and think, ok now how can we live with this dust in our lives, the dust lingering in our lungs, and its presence hovering over us like a murky cloud of unknowns.

This week I think will be our last scans for awhile now. It already feels like the nurses and doctors are ready to push us aside for others in treatment. We are ‘without any detectable disease’.. that’s how one doctor put it when I asked, “so what do we tell people, does andy have cancer?” It’s a way to say we may have disease but its not visible to the human eye ‘yet’. So you just wait it out and see if any of that murky dust falls again and then we’ll sweep it up and live another day.

It’s hard writing this blog now.. I can’t write what I don’t know .. then again no one can really write there future down and expect it to come true. For all we know the dust could blow away and this will be are only brush with detectable disease. But how does one brush away the emotional damage caused, those memories of long nights in the hospital, of chemotherapy treatments, the fear that they could come back. I suppose we just try to not think of it, try live a new normal life, go easy on ourselves and breathe a sigh of relief that we made it this far together.

We do start some much needed physical therapy next week, getting a free membership to a health club where Andy get’s some cancer well fit classes free of charge. It will be good to get out of the house and doing something together that’s not hospital related. I love exercising, I love my Andy, so that equals good times.

Healing Eyes

Silent wait

Back in the ER again. That’s a record for us. Twice within a week.
This time they are concerned about the numbness in his legs so they are doing a mri of the spine.
God I hope they find nothing! Please no more bad news!

I’ve noticed a trend. ER nurses usually aren’t as sympathetic as cancer nurses.
I think or wonder if nurses get training in empathy for all types of illness..
It would help make visits more bearable I think.
Of course I’m sure there job isn’t easy and they get alot of complainers and difficult patients so I can’t be too hard on them. It’s just so tiring going thru all the same questions and revisiting of past wounds that haven’t healed.

By far I would have to say the nicest are those at both cancer Centers. They see how awful cancer is for the patient and the caregiver. Gives them the advantage I guess.. I could never do their jobs, my heart is nearly fried from the past months of hell already.

There is no finish line in all of this. Just endless scans and revisits and hopes that nothing comes back.
The silent wait… Lack of closure… And prolonged What ifs.

Embrace the moment.. Every day can throw the unexpected.. Good or bad.

Healing Eyes

series of events

Recap on the weekends series of unfornuate events are as follows (via the perspective of Sarah the caregiver)..

Saturday evening noticed a change in andy’s behavior and pain level. He had a small fever, more confused than usual, and the new pain meds weren’t cutting it. So as a frantic wife does I called up the emergency doctor on call that evening. An hour later we were back to nothing.. the fever was gone and the doctor saw no cause for us to fret.

Night progressed.. I took my sleeping pill and dozed off.. I then remember andy standing over me saying ‘wake up..mumble mumble..something about egyptians’. Ok that made no sense. I stumble up and see what is going on. Andy is standing in the kitchen and he looks feverish and in pain. I grab the good ole thermometer and yup 101 degrees. Ok not panicking yet since thats not the magic number.

To anyone who doesn’t know the magic number you are told when you are on Chemotherapy it is 100.5.

Few minutes later I check again.. 101 .. then 101.99 .. then 103 .. then 103.99. Ok now something is definitely wrong. Start calling the doctors and then wait for one of them to call back. Meanwhile I check again and his fever is dropping.. GREAT .. now when a doctor calls me back I’ll look like a fool because he has no fever.

Eventually someone calls me back. Not the doctor I was hoping for but good enough..we get the cue to go to the ER. I start pacing back and forth, which hospital (because we have 2 different doctors at different hospitals). My gut says go to St Mary’s ER because that’s where the surgery was and that’s where the most number of doctors are that know us. Plus if we get admitted than I already know the place like the back of my hand.

I drag Andy to the car, he isn’t very coherent which makes it actually easy to persuade him to come with me. We pull into the ER drop off zone and Andy steps out of the car where a security officer grabs him a wheelchair..I leave him behind and find a parking spot. We’ve doen this before so I have my emergency bag of knitting to keep me busy that I run to the main door with. I find him at the front desk talking to the receptionist. The lady asks our name and asks our problem. I say ‘CANCER’ long pause  ‘FEVER’  long pause ‘Insurance card please’. The receptionist asks what type of cancer, I guess she had cancer and wanted to tell us to stay positive. Yea ok, thanks.. we’ll do that right after we get thru this lady.

It must have been a slow morning because no one else was there.. we were brought right back to a private room and the questions began, the several nurses and various doctors of different specialities started there list of questions. Bla Bla Bla.. yes.. cancer.. yes.. no stomach.. yes fever.. yes I brought all his medications let me just spill them all out on the counter for you.

I learned there is such a thing as a portable X-ray machine! and I can’t be in the room when they do it, it’s quite interesting they wheel this large thing in and then turn the lights off and everyone steps out (except the patient ha) and then the push the bottom from this long extension cord that looked like an old rotary phone cord.

Next thing I learned was what ‘Full Code’ means. It means yes please save his life at all costs, electric paddles and all. I guess we signed something saying that last time we were there and they wanted to confirm because Andy’s heart rate was ‘Full Flow’ (another new term meaning his heart was beating very very fast). His oxygen levels were dangerously low too, this was all very fascinating as they rattled on about heart rates and no oxygen and full code and save his life.. I of course said Yes please keep him alive:)

We had hoped we wouldn’t stay long but when you come in with these symptoms and you are still recovering from chemo they don’t let you walk out. We were admitted back to the ICU room. Down the hall from where we were during the surgery months before. We even had the same nurse as last time during the day shift…funny…full circle.

The official diagnosis reads : Fever, unknown cause. Some doctors said Pneumonia and some said nah it was just a little fluid in the lung. Either way it was something and some sort of infection but a butt load of antibiotics were prescribed… and then halted .. and then I’m not sure but the IV bags did lessen. Two days later we are free. Back to nurse Sarah and assistant Miko… and mopey Yoshi.

Healing Eyes



Healing Eyes

Deja vu

Back in the hospital again. Woot woot.
Andy had a Fever this morning , actually he had a little one last night but it went away.
This morning we awoke and the original plan to drive to lansing for Easter was out the window.
The diagnosis is pneumonia we think. Waiting on lots of blood tests and cultures and scans to know 100%.
When the doctors come back from vacation tomorrow we should know more and what other tests are to come. Hopefully we can just go home tomorrow and miraculously be better.

For now I’m going to pass out on the lovely nurture fold out bed in ICU while andy does his thing in the bed next to me.

Healing Eyes

Cancer Fundraising

I am trying my hand at fundraising now. I am mixing my love for Biking and my love for Andy in one sport. The Gran Fondo Bike tour is June 29th and I have started a fundraiser page. My goal is $500. It benefits Skin Cancer research. Of course Andy doesn’t have that cancer but any form of cancer sucks and advancement in one cancer research can always help out other studies.

I am biking the 80 mile loop that day but you don’t have to be a rider to donate.

Check out the fundraising website here: Gran Fondo

Choose my fundraising page from the list, its called ‘cancer sucks – ride harder’ and click the green Donate Today button.

Healing Eyes

Lay down for this

Update on andy….he’s spunky and then he’s tired. But good news and progress is he has for the first time since the total gastric bypass surgery in November 2012 slept the majority of the night laying flat! Flat on his back without the big pillow behind him to prop himself up! Yes this is good news finally!!
Of course who knows if we can repeat it every night but one night is a start at least.

Now to just conquer the nauseau, dizziness, cracking feet and hands, drowsiness, and overall side effects from fricken chemotherapy!

Healing Eyes

How was your day dear

Day 1 million it seems. What I wish the most for today is for Andy’s pain to stop. I want to wake up tomorrow and see him smile at me the way he used to..with pain free eyes. I want the chemo out of his body. I want his body to heal. This won’t happen over night, it will take many more nights.
Many more silent nights together where I look in and see him hunched over in his chair from his drugs. At least the drugs can give him the relief he needs desperately.

I wish to find a way to brighten his day that doesn’t sap his energy. A way to pull him back from the abyss. If I could just be strong enough a bit longer to bring him thru this.
Oohhh the adventures we could have, the fun we will have, the new normal to begin.

I will wait..gain patience as I silently watch thru my foggy window. Shadows of andy slide by and come into focus long enough to remind me don’t lose sight of our love. It’s there resting and growing stronger. Come back to me.

To anyone that sees thru my eyes for a moment..I know others walk this road. We all have different twists and bumps that make that road unique to you. Cancer is unspeakable. It literally is a topic we hide from because it is so painful for patients and caregivers. We are one in this never ending battle. People avoid you, they stumble over words to say, the will say our prayers go out to you by default but that does nothing for the moment we are in. It’s fear of saying the wrong things that make it hard to talk. No matter what or how careful anyone is there is no right thing to say.
I like honesty over fluffy words. Yup it sucks, yup still in limbo, and yup I still go to work, and yup i deal with trivial things while my husband fades in and out at home.
..and how is your day?

Healing Eyes

Cancer Sucks Jersey came today!

Yesterday Andy was told to stop taking his daily Chemo pills. I guess that’s good.. that means Andy will come back to me now.

We had a week and a half to go but the side effects were just too painful and the doctor made the decision enough is enough and let Andy not suffer thru more. So now we wait…wait for the chemo to get out of his system.. and for the next round of doctor appointments and Scans. Oh boy…exciting stuff.. being not ‘normal’.

Now I need to get out and cycle…try out my new snazzy jersey and draw attention to myself as a cancer hater 🙂 haha.. yea i think its another month before i can get my bike back out on the road, I miss her so.




Healing Eyes

Lose to Win

Sometimes you have to lose to win.
How does one define losing?
Loss of a life..loss of health..loss of a dream..and loss of hope. That’s four definitions that come to mind. There could be loss of your mind. Or Loss of materialistic things seems trivial when you lose so much of what is truly important.

Have we won? I hear people say cancer survivor, look they must have won.
No, I am not at that step in our journey yet. Perhaps never.

Have we won? Some events in your life may never happen if you do not feel loss first.
If andy had never gotten cancer, I would never have lost my heart. Never have reached out to friends for help to find my heart. Would never have found that strength you only can learn from going thru such pain. I would never have ran my first 5k if not for Andy’s cancer. I wouldn’t have gained empathy for others suffering from cancer. I may never have understood what it means to come so close to offering My own heart to ease another’s pain.
In the hospital I watched, I had purpose, I saw what cancer was doing to my soul mate.
But now..now I don’t know how to watch and not lose my heart again. I feel anger, so much anger.
We don’t even know what we are waiting for. Answers? Ha! We may not like what we hear in a few weeks, I think either way we won’t find happiness in the test results.
We will lose that’s a sure bet…
But what will we win?
Today I don’t know..I can’t know now because it takes a series of events (sometimes awful ones) to find what we didn’t know was waiting.

Healing Eyes