Sandra Bishnoi's Journal
Beauty, even in sadness
Written Nov 20, 2013 5:00pmHi everyone,
This has been a hard week and a half. My dear friend, Carla Armorgan Bailey, died of metastatic breast cancer last Monday, November 11th. She was surrounded by her family and many friends and left this world knowing that she was dearly loved. Though several people have died of cancer that I was acquainted with, Carla is my first "pre-cancer" friend to die of this disease. She and I were chemistry graduate students at UT and if it weren't for a fateful birthday party of hers, Sanjay and I may not have ever started dating. She was the kind of person who glowed from the inside-out. Though she was definitely a physically beautiful individual, it was really her smile that could lighten your load and endear her to you. She was someone who not only thought about others, she would actually act on her concerns. I remember a time when I had moved back to Austin to work at IBM. Carla was stuck at home, writing her dissertation and suffering from sciatica. I was ill and she told me to come by for a quick visit. I arrived to a sweet friend who listened to my troubles and provided freshly made chicken soup (she was a fabulous cook). As I spoke to friends who had spent much more time with her recently, I heard similar stories about how she had reached out to others even during the midst of her own treatments.
I rarely get sad or mad about cancer, but this week has been hard. My own journey has been a walk in the park compared to Carla's. Though she had only been living with a metastatic diagnosis for about a year (she was diagnosed two weeks after I was with "early" stage disease and went through surgery and chemo), her cancer reoccurance was swift and nothing that they gave her seemed to be able to stop it. This is why we must not stop putting time, money and energy into research into how to prevent and treat metastasis.
Off my soap box and back to my friend.
Carla's funeral and wake were last weekend in NY. I was floored by the outpouring of love by so many people this weekend. It was hard to see so many people that were truly hurting because of the loss of Carla, but it was also wonderful to hear stories of how she touched others. There were hugs shared by all, old friends getting re-acquainted, people becoming friends through their love of Carla, and a beautiful spirit among the people gathered in her memory. May we all have such a positive impact in this world. Carla Armorgan Bailey will always be an inspiration to me in how to live life with passion, style, and love.
Hugs and love to you all,
Written Nov 1, 2013 9:21amHello everyone!
I am so happy to say that I survived "Pinktober"! It was a busy time full of conferences, lunches, and other breast cancer-related activities, but I am happy to say that it is over. I am now ready to resume part of my pre-cancer life. Starting today, I am a full-time Research Scientist at Rice University, working with a phenomenal group of scientists and engineers. Even more exciting is that some of our projects are actually related to the development of cancer therapies, so I get to use my advocacy experience in my day job. Now that I am working full-time again, I will have a lot less time for advocacy work, but I think it will bring some much needed balance back to my life.
Sanjay and I just passed our 40th birthdays. We had a great time celebrating this new phase in our lives and I couldn't be happier to have made it this far.
Thank you all for your continued support. I couldn't have made it this far without your love and prayers. May you all have a wonderful first day of November.
Hugs and happy thoughts,
Work in progress
Written Sep 25, 2013 9:30amHi everyone,
I haven't updated in a while, but it has been busy the last couple of weeks. I attended the MBCN conference this weekend and visited with so many amazing men and women living with metastatic disease. I was privileged to be asked to speak and tell my story. The video will be available soon and I will post the link when it is. I also had a CancerWise blog posted yesterday. http://www2.mdanderson.org/MT/mt-search.cgi?search=%22sandra+bishnoi%22&IncludeBlogs=6&limit=20
It is essentially my last CaringBridge post rewritten.
I have been pleased to be able to use my role as Advocate to help the general public to understand what the 150,000 men and women living with metastatic disease are facing. As we get ready to start "Pinktober" please resist the urge to buy a product because of a pink ribbon on the label. Instead, give directly to organizations that are truly trying to understand the causes of cancer and treat metastatic disease. If you know of organizations that would benefit from some education about metastatic breast cancer, please let me know! I have friends all over the country (and Canada) who are willing and able to educate others about this disease. Final note for today, I am thinking about migrating my CaringBridge writings to a blog. Any thoughts? This would allow me to have a place to play "Advocate" while keeping my CaringBridge site to be "patient." Your support has meant the world to me, so I would really appreciate your opinion.
May you all have a fabulous day, full of good health, laughter and love!