I’m Not a Statistic

NaplesSUNSET(words & image by sandie rossini)

You should always get a second opinion. I suppose that’s true. My gut is usually right but I do like to hear other opinions when it comes to… basically anything. That was most definitely true when it came to choosing my doctor and the hospital where I would be receiving my chemotherapy and radiation treatment following my surgery. I probably wasn’t thinking clearly, I mean I just had BRAIN surgery after all so I took the advice of my family members and went to the hospital just across the street from where I had my surgery and saw another doctor. The two hospitals were actually connected and shared information and research but it felt like I was entering a different planet. It didn’t help that I felt horrible that day. I was still recovering from surgery and I had a painful, throbbing headache that made it hard to see. I felt nauseous and couldn’t eat and I also was too weak to walk so I sat in a wheelchair. I was angry, very angry. As I sat in a torture chamber I was forced to listen to a screeching loud noise that sounded like someone’s nails on a chalkboard. I was then wheeled down a dark corridor and forced to wait for hours and had to listen to loud clicking noises and had to answer endless questions. After that I was then wheeled into a small room and surrounded by many men who then asked me more questions, which I was forced to answer. Then we waited, and we waited for an hour and then another hour. I demanded that someone wheel me out of the room but no one would. I had enough. I had made up my mind before we even met the doctor but I tried to give this place a chance but I was done, I couldn’t take another second of- then suddenly the doctor walked in casually. So I stopped my negative thinking. I gave him a clean slate. I began to understand that the screeching noise in the lobby may have been a young lady playing a harp to relax patients, the questions were probably reasonable and the clicking was most likely keyboards, my anger was most likely caused by the steroids that I was on to heal the swelling in my brain, the headaches and pain- well that was from my surgery and I shouldn’t be taking it out on this hospital that didn’t seem so dark now that I looked around. So I took a deep breath and said hello and shook this doctor’s hand. Unfortunately, he blew it. He began with the “at the most 5 years” speech and that’s when he lost me. That’s not what I wanted in a doctor. You see MY doctor needed to understand that I am NOT a statistic and that I was going to BEAT the odds. So yes, use your numbers, get the facts, do the math, the science and get me the best treatment out there but understand this- don’t ever tell me how long I will live because YOU sir, do not know that information. No one knows that. The doctor I chose- was my doctor from the start. I had a team of doctors at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, MA. My surgeon was a superhero who performed a miracle & removed the monster in my head, my Radiologist beamed positivity into my soul and my Oncologist is brilliant & continues to shield me from the evil of cancer to this day- and I can tell you that I’m positive I made the right choice. My doctor has always told me that I am NOT a statistic.

Sponsored Post Learn from the experts: Create a successful blog with our brand new courseThe WordPress.com Blog

WordPress.com is excited to announce our newest offering: a course just for beginning bloggers where you’ll learn everything you need to know about blogging from the most trusted experts in the industry. We have helped millions of blogs get up and running, we know what works, and we want you to to know everything we know. This course provides all the fundamental skills and inspiration you need to get your blog started, an interactive community forum, and content updated annually.

Runaway Home

TrainStationby sandie rossini: 6.10.14

I used to take the train by myself from Boston to New Jersey when I was in college and I loved it. I loved staring out the window and watching the world go by, one town or city at a time. I listened to music through my Walkman and daydreamed. I loved that time alone and I was able to block out all of the other passengers. This wasn’t a pushy and crowded commuter rail, it was a passenger train taking me home and most of the time it wasn’t crowded at all. It felt good to come home and when I see a train or hear the whistle blow it makes me want to run away home.

Tears on the Horizon

PieratSunsetby sandie rossini: 8.2.16

When I was a young girl I used to look out at the water and imagine myself on a sailboat. Not just any sailboat, a sailboat that would take me anywhere I wanted to go. I could just raise my sail and let the wind blow me down the coast or out to an island. There was something lonely about that feeling, yet I enjoyed looking out onto the horizon- in fact it used to bring tears to my eyes but I wasn’t sure why.  I think most of us enjoy gazing out at the ocean or even a lake. I still get lost staring out on a horizon and sometimes it still brings tears to my eyes and I’m not sure why.

Scars

FarmTunnelby sandie rossini: 11.19.2014

We all have scars. Some are visible to the world, some are internal. My biggest scar is one and the same. I have a large scar starting from my forehead across my head, it’s from my brain surgery. It’s a daily reminder of what I’ve been through over the past year and a half. Not that I need to be reminded, my surgery and cancer is something I can’t forget, no matter how much I try. Most of the time I wish I could forget and there are times that I do but then something happens- like I hear the news in the other room saying someone has died of brain cancer and it makes me feel like I’ve been punched in the stomach. It makes me feel dizzy, off balance, like my world is being turned upside down…but only for a moment. Somehow I have learned to right myself. Some people ask me- how do you stay positive? My first answer is faith. Secondly, I ask- what’s my alternative? The scary negative thoughts are just that- scary. I can’t live in fear everyday and I won’t.

No Easy Way Out

Underpassbby sandie rossini: 7.30.14

I would love to take the easy way whenever possible and I can honestly say that up until last year I was a hard worker but I never was faced with any major obstacles in life- like cancer. Now there is no easy way. People tell me I’m strong but I tell them they would do the same thing in my situation. On days that I have to go in for an MRI I am terrified, I do whatever I can to mentally prepare myself. I pray, sing, laugh, think positively- I even meditate. This underpass seemed a little scary for me and my girls but it was the only way through to the other side.

Maybe

Maybe-Sky(written by sandie rossini: 9.30.15)

Maybe I really am different now. I think it’s almost impossible not to be. I don’t just say that I’m grateful for each new day, I really am. If I said that prior to cancer, I wasn’t lying, it’s just different now. I always tried to look at the bright side, to find good, even in bad situations but now I really understand. On this day it was sunny and when the sun slipped under a cloud, just for a moment, I heard someone complain. When I looked up I didn’t see the cloud covering the sun, I saw the sun shining through the cloud. Maybe I didn’t need cancer to show me how to live my life better, but maybe it just ended up working out that way. Someone asked me for some advice recently and here’s what I said- don’t take your health or happiness for granted, don’t wait for a disease or loss to change you. See the good, if it’s not there, create it. Maybe you can have everything you’ve ever wanted, why not just go for it? I am.

Take Me Home

CitgoSign(written by sandie rossini: 1.24.16)

The Citgo sign is a landmark in Boston and I used to associate it with Fenway Park but now it means something different to me. It’s what I see when I’m leaving the hospital. Now while I’m super appreciative of the hospital, the staff and everything I get done there to make me better- I REALLY appreciate going home. When we leave we always go the same way. When we come to a certain spot on Brookline Ave and I see that Citgo sign, I feel relief. I made it through another appointment and now my reward is going home to see my babies. When I see that sign I can breathe again. At that point I look over at my caring husband and feel so grateful for everything that I have, including him. Then he takes me home.

The Second Chance

RainyWindshieldSummer(written by sandie rossini: 5.4.16)

 

I was given a second chance, that was the only way I could look at what happened to me, it was the only way I could make sense of it. When I woke up from my brain surgery it took me a little while to make sense of what had happened and to comprehend that I still had a battle to fight and that it wouldn’t be easy. For a while I refused to say the word cancer, I would just say that I had a small piece of tumor leftover that I needed to get rid of and for some reason that made it easier. While I tried to calm myself of the anxiety that began to fill my body, first in my stomach then up to my lungs and throat- but then I remembered a story in the news about a woman who was simply walking across the street who was struck by a car and died instantly but before that car hit her she was able to push her children out of the way. I remember thinking she was a hero, she was only given a few seconds and gave her life to save those children. Then there I was, I had a chance to live and at that moment I wasn’t sure for how long, but the point was none of us really know how long we have so perhaps we should all live like this is our last day. We should all seize the day and live for the moment and in the moment. So at that moment I decided I would live for that special heroic woman who didn’t get that chance and then that anxiety and fear started to fade and I chose to fight for my life. No one knows how long they have to live that’s why each day we are given is a gift and I will not waste a single moment.

Stop

BWDaisyMiddle(written by sandie rossini: June 21, 2016)

Why do we make life more complicated than it has to be? When I was a young girl I took religion classes and I had a lot of questions but when I asked them I was told that I was wrong to ask those questions and that I was wrong to question God. Even at that young age I felt that telling a young child not to ask questions was wrong. If you have a question, I think you should ask it. The church disagreed, they were teaching the fear of God and I was not to question anything they said. In my mind, I was learning to love God, all on my own, not to fear Him. I knew right from wrong. I knew not to lie, steal, cheat and even at that young age I felt that I was a good person. I loved God, I did not fear Him- THAT was very clear to me. I felt like the teacher was making everything more complicated than it needed to be and I continue to feel like that in my adult life, so many times. I see people getting upset, wasting so much negative energy whether it be about work or personal situations. It just seems to me that time and time again everyone is making things much more complicated than they need to be. I’m guilty of it too, but I try to catch myself and that’s when I find myself asking that question-why? Why do we do this? That religion teacher was just doing was she was told, I assume, but as for everyone else, maybe we should just…stop, keep it simple and enjoy life.