Hello Chigne Warriors!
Three years ago, we were able to raise 15k through Sandra's GoFundMe Page to help her through the difficult challenge and expense of battling a brain tumor. This is no small endeavor and the money raised helped her tremendously, but it has since dwindled down. While we are grateful to still have Sandra fighting this bad boy, its not cheap and once again we are reaching out to humbly request more funds. It has been a while since our last update and so much has happened since then. She was able to celebrate more birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, enjoy her kids growing older, and through it all made slaying a brain tumor seem easy (newsflash: It is NOT). After numerous rounds of chemo, Sandra was finally able to start a maintenance chemo therapy. Considering everything she has been through, “maintenance chemo” is a good thing and God clearly is hearing all our prayers! Throughout these years, she grew stronger every day, she was able to drive again, participate in activities at her kids’ schools, continue to get regular check-ups, all the while embracing her “new normal” with much gratitude. But time passing, has sadly not meant “bye-bye” tumor and the battle is not won (yet). To bring you up to date, I will recap 2017 for our dear, Chigne:
January 2017 - Brought another birthday for Chig , (I'll be kind and not reveal an exact number ). January also brought her first attempt at an OTF class...sore much?
February 2017 - Celebrated another Valentines with Raul and the kids. What a blessing!
March 2017- Sandra resumed PT for her back. And in true form, she did it without any complaints. Our friend pushed through with a little wobble, but like a true champ.
April 2017 – Hoping to reclaim a little more normalcy, she tried to go back to work. A few days here and there and she filled in when needed. She was excited to be productive again.
July 2017 - During her MRI it appeared as if the tumor was larger, but the doctors felt it was really necrosis. This is when cells exposed to radiation start dying. Imagine they sort of get inflamed and push the tumor outward. So, the "tumor" isn't really growing.
Sept 2017 - Hurricane Irma! (Need I say more??? ). Luckily, Raul was able to stay with Chigne and the kids through the Hurricane madness. What we didn't know, because our sneaky friend didn't tell us, was that she was having a few "issues".
Oct 2017 - Brought a new possibility. Sandra's doctor found a chemo trial that could target her specific tumor markers. The hope was she could start this treatment in the coming weeks.
Nov 2017 - Sandra couldn't start the chemo, because the insurance would not cover this course of therapy, as it was still in the trial phase. Operation “figure out how to pay for this" started. November also brought the opportunity to meet with doctors at Baptist for a second opinion. After meeting with Dr. Odia she agreed with the trial treatment Sandra's current doctor had recommended. This doctor also felt that the tumor was indeed growing and not necrosis, as she had been told.
As fate would have it. Dr. Odia went home that day and decided to see if "this" was Sandra's only option. Turns out she found something else. She called Sandra that same night. Although this new option was also trial out of NYU, it was showing to have greater success in Sandra's type of tumor and better yet - with minimal side effects. This NYU trial had also been tested in adults, whereas the first one had only been administered to children.
Pretty amazing right? Our friend went from having zero options to now having TWO! So, after much thought......
Dec 2017 - The decision was made to try the trial at NYU! The study has shown many positive results and we are hoping this happens for our mighty Chigne!
Jan 2018 - Our new hope begins! Sandra spent close to two weeks in NY going through the process, tests and first round of treatment. This is the start of many trips they will need to make together on a monthly basis.
February 2018 - Another Valentine’s and zero side effects to the new chemotherapy.
March 2018 - So far so good!!! Sandra went through a procedure to assist with one of the "issues" she had been dealing with. Apparently, one of her eyes wasn't closing 100%. This appears to be a symptom caused by where the tumor is pressing down. Before it causes more damage, it was determined the best course of treatment was to install a weight to help the eye close. The final product will be installed in April and we will be sure to confirm whether or not “el plomo” works.
This now brings us up to speed on what life has been like for our friend. It's taken us quite a bit of time to convince them to allow us to relaunch a GoFundMe, because they feel like they can figure it out. But monthly trips to NYC, while raising three amazing kids and figuring it out with one salary is more than we feel they need to shoulder. Plus, we love Sandra and know she is a worthwhile investment! We ask that you donate any amount you can spare towards these medical trips. The money collected will be used toward the mounting expenses related to traveling to the Big Apple, which really adds up quickly. This donation will relieve some of the stresses that come from a single income household dealing with a medical situation. Please assist us in reaching our goal. We want Sandra’s sole focus to be conquering this tumor and regaining her health. If you can not help monetarily we understand and request that you keep Sandra in your prayers. We ask for God to intercede and smash the life expectancy and statistics she was given, so that she can be a walking, talking FULLY healed miracle. Most importantly, we want our friend to be healthy and in our lives for the long haul. We have too much to do and laugh about yet!
With love and appreciation,
Family & Friends
- Susan Yaskin
- Gretchen Fonseca
- Milsa Alfonso
- Sylvia Quinones
- Lizbeth Lazcano-Lloyd
Yvette Casal Blanco