Survivor Sanctuary Survivor Stories
Devastating and incomprehensible are the only words that come close to describing the genesis of my journey. By the end of it I understood the meaning of unconditional love and acceptance.
February 2006 I received the diagnosis that no woman wants to hear. I had breast cancer. Just two months prior, I had thrown myself into the planning of my only daughter’s wedding. Samantha was to be married in March 2007. I was at home when I received the call and I wept uncontrollably. My husband, Charles, who has been my rock, rushed home to be with me - he never left my side. In the days and weeks that followed I thought often about my daughter and all the plans and details of her wedding. My diagnosis, the surgery, the treatments – nothing would stop me. I had only one choice – I would beat this and I would see my daughter walk down the aisle on her special day and begin her new life. Her happiness became my reason to fight through the most challenging event of my life.
In May, after my mastectomy, I began chemotherapy treatments. There is no other way to say it – the treatments made me horribly sick. So sick I could not leave my home. A self-employed accountant, I had to give up clients that required me to travel. But my focus remained clear – I had a reason to fight.
During my journey, my family and friends were phenomenal. I wear pullover blouses. Prior to my first surgery, you would be hard-pressed to find a button-down blouse in my closet. I just didn’t wear them. After my surgeries, it was difficult, nearly impossible to raise my arm over my head, which is the only way you can get into a pullover blouse. My amazingly wonderful friends went out and bought me enough button-down/zip-up blouses to replace many of the pullover blouses in my closet. If that’s not a demonstration of love, I’m not sure what is.
Not only do my friends like to shop, but they like to party, too. To celebrate my two-year cancer-free anniversary, I hosted a Pink Party – everything was pink and my friends came bearing gifts of every kind of pink you can imagine. It was a beautiful night. The next day, I told my husband that I was going to have a Pink Party the following year, but instead of gifts to me, everyone would make a donation toward helping women with breast cancer. This was the beginning of the Sandy B. Muller Breast Cancer Foundation (www.sandybmullerbreastcancerfoundation.org). While most foundations raise money for research, we raise money to help breast cancer patients who are in treatment pay their household bills. The money we raise helps them to meet the month-to-month expenses of maintaining a home and caring for their families.
My journey has been incredible. I have learned so much about myself. I am stronger than I ever imagined and I have unbelievable determination. March 2007 came and I witnessed Samantha’s walk down the aisle. She was breathtaking and it was an amazing day. Even more amazing, I now have a granddaughter. I was here for her birth – all because I decided to not give in, but to fight through it