Tag Archive | AIDS

The Cancer!


Here is my body’s cancer journey…….

In 1963 I was 8 years old.  It was Christmas Eve morning and my mother was giving me a bath.  She felt 3 small lumps, where my left breast would develop later.  I was born a sickly child, so she quickly called our family doctor and told him I needed to be seen right then and there.  This was 1963, so doctors were a lot different than most are now.  He told my mother to meet him at his office in a few minutes.  We arrived, doc checked me out, looked at my mother and said, “Jane, these are just breast buds and there’s nothing to worry about.”  We went home and had a nice Christmas holiday.

I need to digress a bit so that you will get a clearer picture of things.  My paternal grandma was a Messianic Jew who lived in Germany with her sisters, brothers and parents.  For those of you who may not know what a Messianic Jew is, it simply means that my Grandma and her entire family were Jewish but believed strongly in Jesus.  Hitler was doing what Hitler did at the time, and eventually his group rounded up my Grandma’s entire family and they ended up as prisoners in Auschwitz…a concentration camp in Poland.  My grandma’s parents and her brothers were killed almost immediately, which left my Grandma and her two sisters..my Great Aunts’ Louise and Clara.  While being held there, they endured horrid things, the worst being experiments by Dr. Josef Mengele also known as “The Angel of Death.”  Eventually, the found freedom and ended up on Ellis Island.

As I was growing up I can’t remember a year that passed when someone on my grandma’s side of the family died of cancer.  Every single year it was a cousin, an child of a cousin, eventually my grandma, my dad’s sister, my great aunts….gone.  All from some weird, never seen before cancer.  Today, April 13th, 2012, the only people left are my brother, his daughter, myself, my three sons, and their children.  My eldest son, develops tumors often and thank God, once they are removed I breathe easier….until another shows up.

In 1984, I was working and I began to feel unusually tired, and I was thin to begin with but I began loosing weight and did not have much of an appetite.  I went to the doctor….the same one I had when I was 8, and he sent me to the hospital for a mammogram.  Well, they found multiple masses in both breasts.  I was 29…and I’m thinking..are they crazy or what.  On May 3rd, 1984 I received my diagnosis of Stage 4 breast cancer.  I had 3 sons, and my husband heard cancer, packed his things and left.  From May through mid October I went through radiation and chemo.  And 21 years and 1 day to the date of “having breast buds”, I had no boobettes at all.

All should have been much better right?  Wrong.  I recovered from the surgery, went through more treatment, and got a divorce and was still feeling not so wonderful.  There is a big difference between chemo sick and something’s not right in Denmark sick.  So, my husband had taken me off his insurance when he left…and I wasn’t aware of that.  I ended up being placed in a clinical trial because I had a rare form of cancer seen only in people who had any association with the good old Angel of Death!  Thank you God that my husband cancelled my insurance.  Had he not, I would not be here now.

I have made my final arrangements at least 16 times, tied up my loose ends often, had the hard talk with my boys, then with their wives, then with my grandchildren.  My cancer is insane.  Nothing is there one minute and the next week I have a new mass.  So far I have had the double radical mastectomy, part of my colon removed, my left kidney removed, it has invaded my throat, my ears, my lower jaw had to be removed and replaced, I have had tumors attached to the inside of my skull, 2 knee replacements, and currently I have a tumor in my heart.  It is shrinking, but I sure wish it would just vanish because this chemo has never been used on a human before.  I am the experimental rat your parents warned you about.  :o) I have to make it funny or I would go to my bed and just let go.  But, I love life.  Life is so amazingly beautiful to me it takes my breath away.  This cancer, as ugly as it is, has taught me how to live out loud, it has taught me kindness, compassion, the power of prayer and so much more.  I know what is really important and special in life and I am blessed.

When I had my first surgery, December 26th, 1984 I required blood transfusions.  In 1984 there was no way to screen blood for HIV.  A decade plus later I receive a letter from the blood bank stating that one of my blood donors had died due to complications of AIDS and they urged me to see my doctor immediately.  Well….yes I was HIV+ and now I am full blown AIDS.  I am making it.  I keep smiling even if I am faking it.  I lost my hair so many times I actually love being bald…but when I have hair it is PINK.  I have one pair of regular blue jeans that were my daddies, but if you open my closet you will feel like you just walked right into a bottle of Pepto Bismol.  I still have the old yellow star that my grandma was made to wear so that everyone new she was Jewish.  I take it with me to treatment.  I have never asked God, “why me.”  Why not me?  Better me than someone else, and because of all the experimental drugs all these years, people are using them and getting well.  So I don’t mind at all.

This is the story of my body’s cancer.  I am 57 now and I have no intention of leaving for awhile.  I will plant my pink flowers in the yard, drive my little Volkswagen Beetle when I can, and I am going to keep on smiling.

Sarah-Pink Welch ©2012

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UPDATE:  As of February 5th, 2013 I was removed from chemotherapy and put into a new study….all though the cancer is still here, it is quiet and I am participating in a French/Canadian study that is showing great promise.

UPDATE:  A full year has almost come and gone.  I still have the cancer but it seems to be taking a nap.  I am doing as well as I can and I feel wonderful.

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If You Really Knew Me…….


You would know I am more than pink hair, tattoos, piercings and the like.  If you really knew me you would not assume anything based on my appearance.  If you really knew me, you would know that I am not brave and strong but I struggle to appear that way.  I am fearful more times than not.  If you really knew me you would know that I am not a “party” creature or fond of groups of people.  I like being alone, but not lonely.  If you really knew me you would know that I miss my dad so very much it hurts; you would know that my mom, my brother and one of my children do not even like me.  This makes me sad, but there is nothing I can do to change that.  If you really knew me you would know that I have less than 5 friends…people who truly know me inside and out.  If you really knew me you would know that life has been difficult for me.  You would know I was molested for several years and blamed myself, I was abused and blamed myself, and I was raped twice and blame myself.  If you really knew me you would know that I grew up hearing….”you aren’t good enough”, “get out of the way”, “why did you live”, “why can’t you be like so and so “, “you ruined my life.”  If you really knew me, you would know that I wear my feelings on the outside and get hurt pretty often.  If you really knew me, you would know that if I love someone, I love them with all that I have and would do anything to help them.  You would know that the word LOVE is important to me and I see it as a verb.  If you really knew me you would know that I have cancer and AIDS but I don’t let them define me.  They are just another stumbling block that I keep flipping over to make a stepping stone going forward.  If you really knew me you would know that I am not impressed by money, cars, clothing, name droppers, fancy anything.  If you really knew me you would know that I envy families that are close knit and care about each other.  That is probably what I have always missed in my life the most.  If you really knew me you would know that the pink hair happened because of the cancer and my need to make a statement about finding a cure.  The tattoos and piercing and my clothing are all meant to keep people at a distance so that they won’t see how shy I really am.  If you really knew me you would know that I have always wanted to make a difference, for the better, in someone’s life.  You would know that if something is wrong, I will speak up and try to fix it or find someone who will.  If you really knew me you would know that I believe drug dealers and child molesters are the same as someone who kills just because they can.  I have no use for them and they are ruining lives every day all around the world.  If you really knew me you would know I love to read, write, listen to music, play in the snow, go fishing and camping, make things, bake, sew, dream, and take naps.  If you really knew me you would know that my husband is a truly wonderful man and I wish I had met him a long time ago.  If you really knew me  you would know that I do matter, I am worthy, I am intelligent, I am somewhat pretty, and I am finally content.  If you really knew me you would know I love words, board games, popcorn, flowers, my dog Pink, my grandchildren I have never met and the grandson I don’t see very often.  If you really knew me you would know I have begun saying to a few people….”you are NOT allowed to be mean to me anymore.”  If you really knew me you would know I lose games on purpose so people won’t know I am smart.  I ask questions I already know the answer to.  You would know that I “dumb down” 95% of the time so people won’t be intimidated by me.  If you really knew me you would know that it takes every ounce of courage I have to speak to groups of “at risk” kids or adults about drugs, alcohol, abuse, and leading a happy life and knowing they matter.  If you really knew me you would know I do that with the hope that it will help just one person.  If you really knew me you would know I go through my day in prayer for others.  I you really knew me you would know that I like things simple, free of chaos and drama, peace filled, hope filled, and joy filled.  If you really knew me you would know I would be very happy living in the country, in a small cozy house with a fireplace, with a huge garden, a few chickens and goats, maybe even a cow.  I would not mind not having a computer, a phone, and all this crazy electronic jazz.  If you really knew me…………

Sarah-Pink Welch © 2012

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Lesson #8 Normal……..really?….just sayin’!


I have spent time thinking about the word or the concept of “NORMAL”.

I have finally come to my own conclusion about “normal”.  I researched it, read about it, and have realized that I don’t fit the description in any way, shape or form.  I’m not sad about it.  I am happy that I made my own definition for it and I am totally content with it.

Normal is definitely not what I am.  No, I don’t eat worms, or wear hats made of tinfoil, but I am not normal.  The people closest to me really aren’t normal either.  That is where I found my definition…right there in my inner circle.  And it’s going to be the very same place where you will find what normal is for you.

My Definition:  Normal is whatever the majority of people in your life decide it is!!  It’s that easy or that difficult.  I have pink hair, tattoos, piercings, and like baggy clothes.  Now, some of my people have some of those things and we like each other a lot.  Some have none of those things and we remain good friends.

When I step away from my people,  I stand out like a 60 foot statue of Pooh Bear.  People stare, they whisper, they even point at me as if to say, would you look at that!!  How dare she look like that and in public too.  I dare because I can.  If I didn’t believe how I believe, if I didn’t dress as I do, If I didn’t surround myself with like minded people, I would not be me.  I would be someone else.

So, normal is whatever you decide it is.  As long as you are being true to yourself, not hurting or offending anyone, then you are on your own journey of normal.  Enjoy and smile!!!

Sarah-Pink Welch © 2011

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