Help Sandy Joachim Kick Pancreatic Cancer

Friends, we are asking for your help. As difficult as it is to ask for help, we know how much Sandy has helped so many people over the years. Since her diagnosis, it has been made very apparent to her (we already knew), how many people she has touched throughout her life. There has been a mass amount of people reaching out asking to help in whatever ways they could.  Since so many of you know Sandy through her cleaning business, you are all feeling her pain of not being able to work, just as much as she is. She loves working and loves the families she cleans for even more. Sandy sees most of her cleaning customers as her own family. Unfortunately, instead of working, she will be having chemo every other week, PET scans, and multiple other medical expenses that will be accruing over the next several months. In order to fight with a vengeance, we need your help. We are hoping to cover some of her medical expenses and maybe help with a bill or two while she is out of work. If a financial donation is not feasible for you right now, we more than appreciate well wishes, positive thoughts, and you keeping us in your prayers during the difficult days ahead. Your support is beyond appreciated by all of us. 

Sandy's story is below: 

July 21:   

Sandy had experienced a couple of weeks of decreased appetite, fatigue, and abdominal discomfort in her left lower abdomen but, in true Sandy fashion as not to “bother anyone”, was pushing through it. Her pain seemed to get worse after eating, so she and Bridget thought that modifying her diet would help and perhaps, it was her gall bladder acting up. Saturday was a small family get together for Adam’s birthday and, even at the party, she reported that food just didn’t look appetizing. Although she didn’t feel the best, she did manage to swim in the pool with the three grandkids, and all of her clothes on (Not all grandmas would swim with their clothes on to entertain their grandkids, but she would). To anyone that knows and loves Sandy, it’s not surprising to hear, as she is someone who is always asking what “she can do for everyone else”. She has always put her children and family first, and never misses a good time with her girlfriends. On Tuesday morning, she had been feeling “ok” so she got up, had some toast, and was planning to go to work. As she got in her car to head to work, she became overwhelmed with a feeling of nausea and immediately became ill. She went back inside and, after several episodes of vomiting, she knew that something was different. Her concern was ensuring that she didn’t have any symptoms of Covid, so she called in to see where her best place to be tested was. When she spoke with the nurseline they directed her to the ER to be seen for what was most likely diverticulitis, gall bladder, or possibly a virus. She had made a primary care appointment, but it was only a telephone visit and wasn’t for another day. So as “stubborn” as she is, “not to bug us kids who are busy enough” she drove herself to the ER to be evaluated (she was in big trouble when we all found out). When arriving at St. Francis, she reported the continued nausea and abdominal pain to the doctor, who proceeded to order an abdominal CT scan. 

The scan: 

Unfortunately, and much to our surprise, the scan didn’t show diverticulitis as we had hoped, but rather a 2 cm by 2 cm mass within her pancreas. The scan showed the mass was within the pancreatic body as well as lesions present on the liver, appearing to be metastasis. Incidentally, pulmonary emboli (blood clots in her lungs) and a splenic clot (blood clot in the vein from her spleen) were discovered on the scan. Luckily, she had shown no signs of complications to this point, from the blood clots in her lungs and the splenic clot was a valid explanation to her left lower quadrant abdominal pain. We learned that blood clots in the lungs are a common complication of pancreatic cancer.  She was immediately started on Heparin at St. Francis. The heparin would hopefully keep her blood thin enough to prevent new clots from forming, as well as stabilize her current clots so her body could dissolve them on its own. She was transferred to Methodist to better monitor her clots and to devise a plan with the oncology team. 

The plan:

After taking a few hours to attempt to swallow the devastating diagnosis that all of us were in disbelief of, Dr. Trottier kept things moving right along. Within 18 hours of diagnosis, the biopsy was completed and a port was placed in her chest (to facilitate treatments and blood draws). Most importantly, we had a plan. Our hope is for the biopsy results to be back Monday, and chemo will begin Friday. She will be starting on Folfirinox, which is a chemo combination used for pancreatic cancer, which is administered on a two-week cycle. She will be treated on Friday’s and then will be sent home with a continuous IV infusion for 48 hours. When the infusion is completed, she will return to the hospital for removal and can return home for rest. While Sandy and the rest of us know that there is a big journey ahead of us, we are heading into it with a heart full of strength, faith, hope, and trust. We are prepared to be there with Sandy each step of the way, and we hope that you share your encouragement, prayers, and thoughts with her on here as well. She already misses work, she misses her friends, she misses being out and about, and we know you all miss her. Unfortunately, as much as she’d love to see everyone, we are asking that people refrain from visits at this time. With all that is going around, we just can’t take the chance that she could catch something that would keep her from beginning treatments on time. We need her to be as strong and as fierce as ever as she enters her battle. She is faithful and full of hope and plans to battle each day as it comes. Anyone that knows Sandy knows she doesn’t do anything halfway. She is full force, strong, and courageous and she has no plans of changing that now. 

Keep the prayers coming my friends, 

"One day at a time, one step at a time. Do what you can, do your best. Let God handle the rest." 

 -Michelle Jones

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Organizer and beneficiary

Brittney Joachim 
Organizer
Prior Lake, MN
SANDRA JOACHIM 
Beneficiary
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