Sandra Bishnoi's Journal
Avon Walk for Breast Cancer
Written Dec 18, 2013 4:54pmDear friends,
I have been debating this a while. Though I have participated in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer for the last two years, I normally don't commit to the walk until I get the results of my January scans. I also was really tempted to not do the walk in 2014. Training for the walk takes a serious time commitment and now that I am working full-time, I doubted that I would be able to make that type of commitment. However, in light of the events of 2013, I feel more compelled than ever to do this walk. The loss of four young women (Carla, Genevieve, Rachel, and Jennifer) from metastatic breast cancer has brought the reality of the disease to a new level even beyond my own experience. I will start serious fundraising in the Spring, but I wanted to let everyone know now in case they were interested in year-end giving. I have appreciated your support in the past and hope that you will be willing to support me again this year. I am hoping that I am not being overly optimistic and that my scans on Jan 6 will continue to show no evidence of disease! If anyone is interested in joining me on a 40 mile walk, please let me know and we can form a team!
I hope that you have a relaxing holiday season. Remember to hold on tight to those that you love. Being there for one another is truly the most important aspect of the season.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
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,