My name is Sandra, and this is my story. I had been warned that I am at risk of developing uterine cancer back in 2008 after a routine pap. Since then my life has had many ups and downs, like many of us, but the one constant was stress. My doctor at the time gave me a strong warning about how stress can manifest itself and in my case it could lead to developing cancer. Fast forward to 2017-2018, I'm now 40ish, lol, and I noticed a lot of irregular menstruation cycles. One month it would be very heavy, then I'd skip a month or two, or it would be spotty at best. I also noticed that my weight was increasing no matter what I did. I tried several different diets, I was hard core at the gym but still I'd gain, and gain and my periods were still very very irregular. I went to a new GYN and went through the usual testing. At first, I thought menopause, however, the Dr. disagreed and did another pap. Meanwhile 2 very close friends were going through their own battle. One was just finishing her 4th round of Chemo, just last month. The other, Monica, was also fighting what would be a losing battle and would pass away the day before I had my surgery. It was Monica that warned me of not being a strong advocate for my health and settling for whatever my Dr. told me. Monica was misdiagnosed when she went in for a mammogram, her Dr. told her nothing to worry about the cysts were likely benign and she had nothing to worry about. Tragically she was misdiagnosed, by the time she realized it the cancer had speared, and she underwent very aggressive Chemo therapy along with other treatments. I got to know Monica and connect with her spiritually, we felt like sisters. Like many cancer patients there were moments of hope when she appeared to be through the battle, and we hoped and prayed that it was all over, and she was cancer free.
The celebration did not last very long, Monica took a turn for the worst & I feared I'd not get to see her. I dropped everything and flew to Medellin Colombia to be with her, at least for a little while. Before she passed, she was very stern with me and insisted that when I come back to California, I insist on a second or even third medical opinion and to ask for a blood test called CA125. I did exactly what she told me, I came back, called and had second and third opinion and had the CA125 test. After all the results of my pap and CA125 came back and I had my first GYN said we can treat the cells you don't need surgery, the second and third GYN said "if you were my sister, mother, aunt, any family member" I'd schedule you for surgery right away. You can imagine how I felt. Terrified! My husband was calm, you see he's the voice of logic, and I'm the emotional one. But, in this case, I was so terrified I didn't even want to show even a little fear. Maybe I was afraid I'd completely break down, I don't know but I stayed calm, internally I was dying. I scheduled my surgery, I only have one tube and ovary left. It has changed my life. I am eternally thankful for everyone that supported me but especially for Monica. Monica taught me that every second of life is a gift and I/we need to cherish and live each second as if it were our last. Live life to its fullest because you never know when it will be your last. Cherish and value your friends and family. Learn from every moment, every experience, the good and the bad. Life teaches us so many beautiful things so many of us take for granted. I truly believe it is because of Monica that I am still here and able to share only a part of my story, if you'd like to know more I'm happy to share it with you. The last time I saw Monica I promised her that she will not be forgotten and it’s because of her that my team name is Venus. Venus because it’s the name of her faithful puppy that she seemed to love more than life itself.
In honor of Monica and all the women, and men, and children that are struggling or have lost their fight I walk. I walk so that one day there will be a cure. I walk so that all of those that have gone and are now angels will be remembered. I walk.... will you walk with me to make a difference? Will you walk with me because you were affected by or know someone, maybe someone close to you, that has or is struggling against cancer? I walk for me as a survivor, I walk for Monica, I walk for everyone that someday no one will have to fight against cancer!
I have joined Walk for Hope because I want to make a difference in the fight against women's cancers. More than 330,000 women will be diagnosed with breast or a gynecological cancer this year. More than 21% of those women will die from those diseases. I want to save these women. I want to help City of Hope researchers find cures.
Please support me and City of Hope's work to help women live longer, healthier lives. Small donations add up to make a big difference. Just click the big "Donate Now" button to make a tax-deductible donation. It's that easy. Thank you for your support!