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Lincoln County News
March 9, 2000

"LifeLines" My journal about living with cancer

by Sandy Labaree

This journal submission has been prepared by Ben and Christy Labaree, Sandy’s husband and daughter.

Those who have read Sandy’s column from near or far have probably been expecting that one day the column would shift from the first person to the third. Avid readers look for the column each week and are glad to read—and in a way, hear—Sandy’s cheerful words as she describes both the good and the bad in her daily battle with cancer. More often than not, she is writing about the good, which in some respects has insulated her readers from the true decline in her condition. At the same time, this focus on the positive is also a reflection of who Sandy is and, in particular, how she has lived her life during the past two years that she has been writing this column. She has found a way to enjoy each day, and in fact, each moment. None of us has looked forward to the day when Sandy could no longer tell her own story. However, writing her column right now would take away from the strength she needs to continue fighting and living with her disease.

Sandy’s last journal entry (February 24) described her most recent trip to see Dr. Tom and to receive a transfusion of two units of blood. Since then her decline has been steady and now, marked. While her medications have not fluctuated it is clear that they are no longer keeping pace with the progression of her disease. The fluid and swelling around the tumor in her brain is now seriously hindering her ability to uphold her "daily routine." Even an increase in the Decadron that she has been taking to reduce this swelling has not yielded any results. Fortunately, she is not in pain (perhaps even less than in the past) and is still trying as hard as ever to do what she can.

As a family, it is obviously difficult for us to acknowledge this decline, but at the same time, we are thankful that right now she is comfortable during the day and sleeping peacefully at night. We also know that if anyone has the tenacity to hang in and to continue "fighting the good fight," it is Sandy. She has been eluding cancer’s tenuous grip for over 25 years and has surprised her family and doctors more than once. She hasn’t given in yet—we can tell. Her battle has just become a more quiet one, as she wrestles internally with a body that no longer seems to be on her side.

The three of us thank all of you for the outpouring of support that we continue to receive from friends, neighbors, readers and other members of the community. You have made this difficult road easier for us all to travel. Sandy loved reading her fan mail, visiting with her helpers and other friendly callers, and sharing the many thoughtful gestures and gifts she received over the past two years. Now more than ever, we need your thoughts and prayers.

We will continue to keep the Lincoln Country News apprised of Sandy’s condition through this column space. As you open the paper each week, please keep Sandy in your mind, as we know she is in all of our hearts.

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(Sandy died peacefully on March 6, 2000 as this issue was going to press.)

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