Friday, March 25, 2016

Easter.....A Time For Gratitude

Easter is upon us and so is my gratitude of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Over the last 4 1/2 years I have endured much, but no more that Heavenly Father knows I can handle.  The last few weeks the pain I have experienced is much, but to know that our Savior had taken on this pain for me, my anguish, my suffering and that of all of us.

I know our Heavenly Father lives and is with us each day, we are never forsaken.  I know his son Jesus Christ walked this earth and will again.  I know so much is to come our way and it is our responsibility to be prepared.  Now there are some who are not members of that same church I belong to who are reading this.  If nothing else I encourage you to read the Bible, read it daily.  Pray about what you read, know he will answer your prayers.

When in my most painful day,  I felt the hand of God in my life get me through.  When the light at the end of this tunnel seems so bleak, he made it bright.  When the ground under my feet seemed to have left me, I was carried by him.  When I weep for one of my children,  I feel him wipe my tears.  When I want to be angry for my diagnosis, I hear him say "you must help others".  I know Heavenly Father knows me, I know Jesus Christ is by my side & I know the Holy Ghost is my comforter.  I am truly grateful for the knowledge I have been given.  May we all take a few moments out of our busy weekend and remember, give thanks and pass along these great blessings we have been given.

I encourage you all to join in and watch any of the 5 sessions of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints semi annual General Conference April 2-3 2016.  I promise you will spiritual fortified. 

Happy Easter ...... MamaSarm 

The Light At The End of This Tunnel......

The years have passed and I just kept putting off my reconstruction due to breast cancer.   So I finally got up the gumption and decided to get this done once and for all.  I showed up in my Plastic Surgeons office and she took one look at me and "Well hello friend, Its about time"!  ha ha

We discussed my options and I quickly answered the option that I felt was right for me, Tram Flap.  Now this was the most invasive and difficult of options but I felt was the best for me. This surgery would be a 12 hour long procedure and with a 6 week recovery.  Using my own body tissue, my plastic surgeon and team of surgeons, anesthesiologists and nurses would perform reconstruction.  

Tuesday March 8, 2016 arrives and so did Kenny & I the hospital at 5:45am....we were the first to arrive in Pre Op for the day & I was the last to be done in surgery for the day.  With Surgery starting at 7am I figured I would be out by 7pm.  When I woke up I wasn't in too much pain except for my arms and throat, that was so painful.  Remember now, when you are in surgery they tape your arms to boards and hyperextend them.  I began to cry asking why my throat & arms were so painful.  Listening to one of the surgeons tell the post op nurse that I would be fine and the sounds would be faint but I should be fine.  My mind was racing at this point,  I felt as though I was totally aware of what was going on but couldn't move or speak...what happened?!  One push on the morphine drip and I was out like a light. 

I woke up and in a room with my post op nurse and 2 floor nurses.  The Post Op nurse kept telling me he would stay with me for a while longer.  The two floor nurses had such fear in their faces and began to say "We need to have the surgeon come back, I can't get sounds".  My heart dropped something was terribly wrong.  I asked what was going on and they tried to reassure me I would be fine.  I then asked for them to call my husband, I wanted him right away and where is he anyway?  They said "but Mrs. Sarmiento, its very late".  What time is it?  "Oh its 2am....... 2AM!!!! what happened!?

Later I found out there were complications and my 12 hr surgery was 17 hrs.....No wonder my arms hurt so much, and my throat...ugh.  The days have been rough and not easy but having my family with me every step of the way has been such a great source of encouragement.  

I woke up to an IV in my right  hand, one in each foot and 6 drains from my body.  Over the last 17 days I have been able to have 5 of the 6 drains removed, all IVs gone, and most of the pain is gone.  I stopped taking all pain meds as they were making me sick.  There is pain but not too bad, there is a drain but that will be removed by day 21 post op.  I cannot straighten my arms fully but I can use them!!!   This was a difficult decision to make but one I know will be worth it in the end.  My own tissue & no more surgeries. 

During this preparation and post op I had learned 2 friends have been diagnosed with Breast Cancer and are now fighting this courageous battle.  One has completed Chemo and is now receiving Radiation.  The other has just had her lumpectomy and is awaiting a meeting with an Oncologist to decide her course of action.  I actually sat and cried one day thinking I really don't want to see one more person go through this.  My heart aches for each who are diagnosed and their families.  

My husband, children and family have been by my side.  My dad and step mom even came to take care of our family for a week, what a blessing.  So many good friend have fed my family and visited with us.  We so appreciate the love shown, texts and calls of concern and encouragement.  This has been a long road and bit to go but I can finally see the light at the end of this tunnel.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Sleepless Nights

So much on my mind....or is it just too hot?  What ever the case, I just can't sleep!  I never fails, here it is 3am and I am wide awake!!  Yes I worry about my kids...will they; succeed in their dreams, make good choices, be safe, good examples, do well in school/work.  Then I worry about other members of my family and their health, future etc....  Then I realize I am just rationalizing why I am still awake!  UGH  Lets face it, this is what happens due to Post Chemo and current medication.

The summer months bring what I really don't like....heat!  I love tempters in the 50s-low 80s.  I wouldn't mind 20s once in a while too!!  I love weather change, but here in So Cal that is a rarity.  School has started and the weather should become like fall right....oh wait, school started in August!  Mother Nature may need to change her ways to accommodate.  The heat doesn't help with sleeplessness but AC and a big fan does.

This last month I have rededicated myself to exercising again.  The side effects I have with exercising from the Arimidex I take is painful, but I push through so I can participate in my first Race!!  Labor Day 2015 I will run in the South Jordan Temple 2 Temple Steeplechase!  I am so excited, however when I signed up I thought I was going to run a 5k...3 miles that I can do.  After I registered online I realized Oops this is a 5 mile race!!!  Looks like I will be walking most of this, but at least I am doing it!  I think I will sleep really we'll that night....he he he.

Counting Sheep, Reading, Watching TV.....done it all.  I could complain but hey, Im still alive and I will take that.  Got to go and rest up for my 5:30am wake up alarm....

Saturday, January 3, 2015

A Year of Change.........

So this year I have decided to make more of an effort in physical health.  I am going to go to the Gym and see if its for me.  I have a few friends who have gym memberships and attend faithfully.  I started last year to lose weight, first I walked then started to run.  I thought I would hate running but I actually like it.  I was hoping to run in a 5k with my girls but that didn't pan out in 2014.

Taking things one step at a time is what my plan is.  Last year I lost 9 lbs in 9 months.  The medicine I take daily helps to keep the weight on.  I was feeling great, then began to feel so much pain for about 18 hrs after each day I ran.  I went over this with my Oncologist who sent me to a Rheumatologist, yep one more specialist to add to my new collection.  She told me the pain I feel is totally normal and a side effect of the meds I take.  I know feel like I have Fibromyalgia and Rheumatoid Arthritis, but this will all go away once I am done with my meds.....accept in my knees.

So with this new information I sulked for a few days, spoke with a good friend who teaches water aerobics and she told me to join as this would be great for my side effects.  Well, then got busy with Christmas and traveling.

So today I am proclaiming that I will work out at least 3 days a week each week.  This will not be easy for me.  I am in need of help, if you are willing to.  I need you to encourage me, help me, join me.  My dream once JT left for his mission was to lose weight so JT can pick me up when he arrives home.  Well 20 months have gone by and that hasn't happened.  So I am hoping now to just become healthy and a good example for my kids.  I want to do this for me....not for a one day event but for a lifetime.  Being healthy doesn't mean a size 2, it means being healthy.

This year I will try my best to blog about this weekly and be accountable.  As I do this should make it easier and more consistent.

Heres to a New Year.... A Year Of Change.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A Day to Remember & Honor

A friend passed yesterday.  She leaves behind a Husband & Children as well as many family & friends.  Her fight was so courageous.  I remember her smile & the love she had for her family.

She helped me with our Elementary School Variety Shows and other PTA events.  She was always about the kids & never about her own gain.  The downside to this is, we will put others I front of our own needs. There are those out there to thrive off attention wither it be good or bad, no matter, the love of attention and control is what some are after.  This women would rather help and never ask for any accolades.  She always did everything with a true intent of her good heart.

Cancer is not easy to fight, over come or even sometimes talk about....but it is becoming increasingly common amongst us.  Its how we fight it, how we win it that makes a difference. Cancer didn't beat this amazing women, she beat it to the very end.  Sadly life goes on for us left here, but for her, well she is in a much better place without pain and in full dignity.

As our hearts & prayers are directed to this amazing, athletic, fun loving woman & her family at this time....I can't help but reflect on this thought that keeps coming to my mind... "Pap & Mammo Ladies"!  Do yourself a favor & Schedule your next appointment.  Do it in honor of someone, do it for your family, do it for YOURSELF.  Lessons are not given to us without learning.  So we go on with this lesson learned, life is all about making the most of every day in a positive way.  I have chosen to live a much happier and positive life since I was diagnosed.  I hope to always be involved in all my children and husband do, I don't want to miss a moment of it.  Life can be so short and lets be honest, for some of us its shorter than others. 

I have much that I would hope to accomplish in this life, I pray I am given the opportunity to do the many things I would like to.  I am very blessed to be here today, my story could have been very different.  I was reminded of this by a very good friend this morning, she texted me "I'm so thankful that you beat your cancer.  It's so scary-that could have been you.  I'm going home and schedule my Mammogram & Pap :)"  I was at the dentist office with my kids and read this, I started to cry in front of all those in the waiting room.  I feel her love and I am grateful for her words. 

May we all stop and give thought to all those who fight & win this great battle.  No matter if the win is in Heaven or on Earth....we will always win!!!

Hugs, Kisses & Smiles 

I Love You!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Socially Acceptable............

This last year we have struggled with an issue at our sons school, bullying.  He has been harassed, pushed, kicked, tripped, teased, made fun of, singled out, and roughed up after school.  We have tried to work with the Administration of our school, but have been told "its all him" or "he is blowing things out of proportion".  There hasn't been a week that hasn't gone by this school year where he comes home talking about how he is picked on.  At first as a parent you are so defensive and want to find out who is doing this.  Then you talk to the school only to hear this is all in your child's mind.  You start to rationalize it just to cope.  All year we have seen his self confidence start to diminish, his happy go lucky attitude go dark.

I even went on a field trip with his class so I can see how he interacts with the kids, what I saw broke my heart.  Kids were indifferent to him, while on the bus I sat in the back and could hear a few boys taunt him and make fun of him.  The teacher was in the front so I am assuming she didn't hear this.  As a parent I wanted to protect him and tell those boys what they were doing was wrong, but then thought I may make it worse for him.

So many days he tells us how kids trip him and make him fall to the ground only to laugh at him.  Other kids bully him into giving him part of his lunch.  Girls have even circulated a picture of him on cell phones making fun of him at home and school.  I have even listened while kids bullying him while on XBox Live while playing games together.

I am sure you are asking yourself "where is the school in all this"?   I have spoken with his teacher who admitted she has seen somethings happen in the class.  It has gotten to the point were he will start to verbally fight back, which we have discouraged.   The Principal has told me "kids do trash talk on the playground but what can we do"?  We send our children to school thinking it will be a safe and educational environment and for the last 21 years having our children in the same elementary school district we have never experienced anything like this.  The principal even offered for our son to meet with a school councilor who can meet with him and teach him tools to use to cope with situations.  After an interview on the phone the councilor told me he would be benefit but because we have an HMO he doesn't qualify for this service.

I have come to see that Socially it is acceptable to use foul language at such young ages, its Socially acceptable to tease others and get away with it.  I think its a travesty that anyone at any age has to be told to just toughen up and deal with others making fun of you.  This is not how anyone should have to live.   I can't but help see that those who are the perpetrators are the ones who dictate what is Socially acceptable....This is where I draw the line.

I have asked a few moms at this school to ask their children if they have noticed if he is bullied or picked on.  The response was the same from each child, "yes he is and the language those kids use is not right".   "The kids pick on him and some bully".  "He's a nice kid and I don't know why they do this to him".   That is when my heart sunk.  When I told the Principal this she told me "I wish you wouldn't have done that, that is an inaccurate way to know.  I invite you to come and be on the playground to watch for yourself".  I appreciate the invitation but what will I see, kids being on their best behavior,  who will then later pick on my son for having me there?  I went to talk to his teacher before school stared and my son said "I hope the bad kids don't see us come out of the class, they will make fun of me and make stuff up".    I spoke to a mom about this and she said her daughter has expressed the same to her.

We have prayed with our son about this issue, to give him strength and peace.  There are so many days he doesn't want to go to school, he would rather be home, but we tell him to keep his head high & just tell them to STOP IT!  We pray for those who are committing these mean acts on our son, we pray that their hearts will be softened and they will see how their choices have been.  Each day we tell him to be strong & know Heavenly Father is walking right along side him.

Recently our church held its annual General Conference and President Dieter F Uchtdorf delivered this message to the world:

I watched this video and as painful as it is to watch, I had my son watch with me.  I told him "see President Uchtdorf says to just say STOP IT".  I can only hope and pray you who are reading this will watch this video and share this with your family & friends.  If only we can all learn from two little yet very powerful words...Stop It.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Its Time For Spring Cleaning.......

Happy Spring Ladies, now don't forget to clean out closets, move furniture to clean behind and get all those dust bunnies and clean out the garage.  While your at it don't forget to detail your car, its needed it for a while.  Then make sure to turn all the mattresses over and donate all the items you don't need to a worthy cause.

Now that you have done all that take a look in the mirror.  Now it's time for you!  Call and make that appointment for your annual, or for some your first, Mammogram.  While you at it call to schedule a Physical as well.

One day while I was performing a self breast examination I found a lump.  Now this was about 2 months before our first daughter was to be married, so I resolved myself to "its nothing and if it is I will deal with it after the wedding".  Then came the end of the school year, the beginning of summer and finally I had my 2nd annual mammogram appointment to attend.  While I was there I told the Technician that I felt a lump but its was up high on my chest wall.  She right away said "the mammogram wont detect that area so I am going to send a referral off to radiology for you to have an ultrasound mammogram for that area".   When I attended my 'ultrasound mammo' I was told my Mammogram looked great and they really couldn't find anything.  I had to show them where and after a few minutes BINGO, they found what I had felt.  Fast forwarding I had 3 different types of Cancer, one of which was very a aggressive cancer.

After much prayer and discussion my husband and I told the breast surgeon that I wanted a 'Bilateral Mastectomy'.  My breast surgeon told me after they performed the biopsy "it was only a matter of time before it spread, You Literally Saved Your Life".  Now this was after 2 lumpectomies and 4 rounds of Chemotherapy.  I know that listening to my still small voice & being proactive is what saved my life.

Just 3 weeks ago I ran into an old friend, totally out of the blue.  When I asked how she was she said, "I was just diagnosed with Breast Cancer".  She seemed to still be in shock and didn't know how she and her husband were going to tell their children.  My husband and I pray for her and her family daily.  Over the last 2 years I have meet many wonderful and inspiring women who have been diagnosed with Breast Cancer.  All of us have our own unique story and all of us have something in common.....we are Survivors.

I encourage you....No I Challenge you to get your Mammogram.  Challenge your moms, sisters, daughters & girlfriends to get their Mammograms too!!!  Its a simple test that take about 15 minutes out of your daily save your life!

Love You..... Marri