Hi, I’m Sarah!
I’m really glad that you’ve found my website.
I am a wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend.
I love playing the piano, going to the movies, watching FRIENDS, creating slideshows for special events and spending time with those that I love!
I am also a cancer fighter.
In 2001, my world changed as I knew it.
I was in junior high and just coming off the high of placing 2nd place in a state softball tournament.
I woke up the next morning and my eye was swollen shut.
I didn’t want to go to school like that, so my parents let me stay home.
I simply went back to sleep and hoped my eye would clear up.
A few hours later, my mom (an RN) was getting concerned and thought that it was time to take me to the hospital.
On the way out to the garage, I had a metabolic seizure.
My dad rushed me to the local hospital in record time.
I was stabilized and transferred to a St. Louis children’s hospital where I was diagnosed with a chronic kidney disease – Membranoproliferative Glomerulonephritis Type II.
I returned home to have a broviac catheter placed and begin dialysis immediately.
I began dialysis the day before my 14th birthday.
Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday after school, I would hook up to a machine for 3.5 hours each day.
Excess fluid was pulled off of my body, doing the job that my natural kidneys were no longer doing.
I was immediately placed onto the National Transplant Waiting List, and after 13 months of dialysis,
there was finally a kidney waiting for me.
On December 16, 2002, I received my second chance at life.
I felt so blessed that someone would so selflessly choose to help another
when they no longer needed their organs.
I enjoyed life as a normal 15 year old, spending time with friends and getting involved in extracurricular activities again.
However, I developed a bad cough in the summer of 2003. I had a few tests done and was told that I had PTLD – Post transplant lymphoproliferative disorder.
This was one of the complications that could happen after receiving the kidney transplant and keeping my immune system suppressed.
At 15 years old, I had 6 months of chemotherapy.
How ironic it was that my one year transplant anniversary fell on the final day of my chemotherapy.
I thought, surely, I could get back to regular life and put my illness history behind me.
A few months after finishing chemo, I was informed that I was eligible for Make-A-Wish.
My wish was for a new piano since I had turned to music a lot over the past few years when I was no longer able to play sports.
In 2004, I received my “grand” wish!
Unfortunately, my health battles were not yet over.
A few months before my high school graduation, I started having pain when I would take a deep breath.
Because of my health history, this wasn’t taken lightly.
Tests showed a tumor – Ewing’s sarcoma – on my T3 vertebrae.
I had 11 months of chemotherapy and 12 weeks of radiation to get rid of this beast once and for all.
Upon finishing treatment in early 2007, I celebrated by going skydiving!
(Something that I would be scared out of my wits to do now!)
In 2008, I graduated with my Associates degree and transferred to a 4-year university where I earned my Bachelors degree in Psychology.
This move brought more than just a degree for me. It was also where I met my husband.
(Read about our fabulous story here and here)
We married in 2014 and anxiously began trying for a child in early 2015.
(We were successful immediately!)
We discovered that I was pregnant shortly after Valentine’s Day and we were thrilled!
My health had been on an uphill for many years and we were ready for this next step in our lives.
Near the end of June, at approximately 23 weeks pregnant, I began having severe shortness of breath.
I knew that shortness of breath was a common pregnancy symptom, but my gut told me that this was something serious.
My OB doctor told me to make the 2-hour drive to see him so that he could rule anything out.
Upon arrival, a chest X-ray was performed and the doctors saw an extensive amount of fluid in my left lung.
I immediately had a chest tube put in to drain the fluid.
The hospital staff was fabulous at doing the minimum testing needed to help diagnose me while protecting my unborn child at the same time.
Once the fluid was drained, they could see several masses in the pleural lining of my left lung.
After one week in the hospital and an official biopsy, I was diagnosed with a recurrence of Ewing’s sarcoma.
My husband and I were devastated.
Just two days before all of this had happened, my husband and I had found out that we were having a little girl!
Now we were wondering if she would make it through this with me.
Since there were multiple tumors taking up a lot of pleural space, we didn’t have time to wait.
I had a port placed immediately and chemotherapy was started a few days later.
That first day of chemo – July 13 – was excruciatingly difficult.
I could not stop crying and worrying about how this baby inside of me would handle all of this.
I had three cycles of chemotherapy while pregnant.
5 days at a time, every 3 weeks.
We made a plan to induce at 6 weeks early so that I didn’t run the risk of going into labor while my blood counts were very low.
On September 15, we welcomed our beautiful baby girl, Abigail, into the world.
I had a 4th round of chemo one week after Abbie was born.
When she was one month old, I had a thoracotomy and tumor resect surgery, where they scraped the remaining tumors out of the pleural cavity.
2 final sessions of chemo followed to make sure the cancer was gone.
My final chemotherapy was on December 11, 2015.
I returned to work in February, which was extremely difficult, having to leave Abbie.
I had been back for 4 weeks when I started having pain on the side where my surgery had been done.
Testing was done immediately and showed the worst news possible –
A mere 3 months after finishing treatment.
(I wrote my feelings down right after I had been diagnosed. Read it here.)
I began a regimen of different chemotherapy drugs in March and prayed like mad that they would get rid of it.
Unfortunately, more pain came in June and it showed that the current medicine was not working.
We changed the regimen again after connecting with a Ewing’s specialist in Cleveland, Ohio.
(Read details here)
After the change in medicine, we expected some positive results.
That was simply not meant to be.
(Read more about it here)
So here we are…
waiting and hoping for nothing short of a miracle.
I created this site to be a source of inspiration for others going through tough times,
as I have clearly had my fair share.
Everyone needs a pick-me-up now and then ~
my goal is to send you away, smiling with Sarah!
Life will throw us some nasty curveballs. And we won’t be able to dodge them all.
It is in our darkest moments that we discover the amazing amount of strength we have.
I’m so happy that you stopped by to see what this site was about!
If you need someone to talk you through difficult times, I’m your gal.
Thank you for visiting!
Come back soon!