SANDRA O. GOODMAN
In Memory of Sandra O. Goodman
March 7, 1936 - February 24, 2007
SHE HAS COURAGE
She has courage and strength, I am afraid
She has cancer, its name is ovarian, I hate it
I was nothing when I met her, what will be
A wonderful wife, mother, daughter, sister
Her friends say she looks great, and she does
They don't see the pain and sleepless nights
But there is that smile and little jokes
There is concern for family and friends
After thirteen years all those chemicals
They don't seem to be working anymore
Fifty years together we are one and the same
So if you know her say a prayer, it is for us
Copyright ©2006 Fred Goodman
This information regarding Sandra's battle with ovarian cancer was provided to me by her loving
husband Fred. It is used with his blessing and approval. These are his comments: This is Sandra's story, in her own words, written 7 1/2 years before she passed away. Sandra fought this disease for 14 years. Sandra's favorite flower was the lily of the valley. Her favorite song was Ebb Tide by Frank Chacksfield. She also liked to play the keyboard, and I would sing along, so many things to miss. Her first dog was Sookie, (her mothers nickname), and the last was Boomer, a golden retriever. Boomers' ashes were buried with her. We were married in Hartford, CT on August 7, 1955.
PROFILE OF A SURVIVOR
My name is Sandra Goodman and I have been battling Ovarian Cancer for seven and one half years. I had a hysterectomy in 1979 at the age of 43, for a pre-cancerous condition. The surgeon chose to leave one ovary that he believed to be healthy to prevent an early menopause. Although I faithfully saw my doctors for regularly scheduled check ups and tests, I slipped right through all of the old proverbial cracks. Once I became aware that something was wrong, my search to find the answer took me to many different Gastroenterologists and OB/GYNís. I was never once checked for Ovarian Cancer.
I was experiencing pain, bloating, and very frequent urination. I was having problems with my bowels and was vomiting frequently. Because my symptoms so closely mimicked those of stomach problems, I endured five upper endoscopies that showed only inflammation, and two colonoscopies that revealed a few small polyps. Several ultrasounds were taken which did not show anything specific (only gray areas as I was later told) and some of the reports from the hospitals and labs never even found their way back to the doctors.
I at last had the good fortune to be referred to a wonderful, thorough and very caring doctor who was aware of Ovarian Cancer symptoms. The proper diagnostic tests were performed and my cancer was discovered. Through her, I acquired a whole new team of doctors. I owe my life to all of them.
When the cancer (tumor) was detected, it was pressing on my left ureter and part of my bowel had attached itself over the top of the tumor where it had grown and pushed the bowel out of place. I was told the tumor measured 11 cm x 16 cm and 15 cm in length (the size of two telephones back to back). Following completion of my initial surgery, I was diagnosed at Stage 3C, an advanced stage of Ovarian Cancer.
There is a tremendous amount of information regarding Breast Cancer, Lung Cancer, Leukemia, Prostate Cancer, Colon Cancer, etc. Armed with this knowledge, many thousands of men and women are able to have their cancer detected early while still curable. Very little information is available about Ovarian Cancer, or for that matter, any of the GYN cancers. Ovarian Cancer is the number one gynecological killer of women. Ovarian Cancer is usually diagnosed too late for a cure. This is due in part to a lack of knowledge of what the symptoms are, and the lack of a definitive test for this disease. It is known as THE SILENT KILLER. It just quietly and quickly grows and spreads. Unless found at an early stage, and this typically happens only by accident, the chances for a complete cure are minimal.
I had a total hysterectomy in 1979 with the exception of the left ovary.
I was diagnosed with Stage 3C Ovarian Cancer in September of 1993.
Surgery was followed by 6 months of combination chemotherapy consisting of Carboplatin and Cytoxan.
Second Look surgery was 7 months later and I was pronounced cancer free.
Recurrence in 1997. Third surgery including removal of spleen, part of
liver, pancreas, and two parts of the stomach.
Followed by 6 months of combination chemotherapy consisting of Taxol and Cisplatin.
Recurrence in June of 1999. No surgery. Ten months of chemo with Topotecan.
Recurrence in October, 2000. Chemo again with Topotecan, and I am currently undergoing treatment as of this date.
MY WAY OF COPING
I thank God for every day.
I have a good laugh at least once a day.
I keep a positive attitude.
I live life as normally as possible.
I have 1000 percent trust in my doctors and medical team.
I talk openly about my disease.
I do not dwell on my illness, nor do I feel sorry for myself.
I push myself to do things. If Iím having a sleepless night (and there are many), I attempt to put that time to good use by baking something special, catching up on letter writing, etc.
I try to get out of the house daily to meet with a group of good friends. Many of them also have serious illnesses. We joke, laugh, tease and listen to each other. After all, laughter really is the best medicine....
The most frightening time for me is when I have finished all of my rounds of chemotherapy treatments. As long as the treatment is going on I feel safe, but when I no longer have the chemo to lean on, I feel I have no control and that the cancer is going to get the upper hand once again.
I also get extremely nervous when I must undergo my CAT scans, chest x-rays, blood tests and CA 125s (tumor marker) etc. These tests are necessary to track the progress of my disease.
MY SUPPORT GROUP
My husband, family and I cope with this disease as we do with anything else. We keep our daily life as normal as possible and savor every moment that is given to us. We owe so much to God and to prayers. I am of the Jewish faith, but people from all different faiths have me in their prayers, and I know it has made the difference.
I have received many phone calls from friends and friends of friends, asking questions about cancer, chemo, medications, etc. I have even had perfect strangers phone with questions, looking for ways to cope with this horrendous disease. I hope I have been able to give them the knowledge and the encouragement they were seeking.
My entire life revolves around my family. I have two beautiful daughters, two handsome grandsons, and two wonderful sons-in-law.
I have my husband of nearly 46 years who is my staunchest supporter, very best friend, and my rock. During this entire battle, he has been by my side for every single blood test, lab test and chemo, and never once complained. He keeps me going when I have run out of strength.
My nine year old Golden Retriever Boomer is a daily joy and a great comfort.
We have very special family lunches each and every Saturday for the grandchildren, children and my mom. I look forward to these more than anyone can ever know.
I love to bake, work on the computer, and enjoy my music and keyboard.
I keep in touch with my former work friends and still try to help a bit with the Christmas Cookie Project for the children. I created a 72-page cookbook when I found that I had to retire earlier than planned. I left this as my small legacy in the hopes that all would remember the good years we shared together.
I enjoy going to the "Look Good Feel Better" program. It is excellent for self-esteem and so much fun.
It seems as though my head is always bald. Friends surprise me with new scarves to make sure I always have a good supply. I think I could open my own store.
A friend of my youngest daughter has sent me a card every single week for the past seven years, with the exception of the one year or so that I had been pronounced cancer free. I look forward to receiving them.
Cancer can teach you many things. It can show you how much you are cared for and how many wonderful and thoughtful people are out there just waiting to help....You get a new appreciation for life and a greater awareness of the beauty and love there is around you....You get a chance to show what kind of stuff you are made of.
SANDRA, THE LAST YEARS
Since Sandra wrote the article for Bits and Pieces above, which was in the fall of 2001, she continued to live her life. Sometimes sick, often times without hair. She volunteered on the committee for Survivors Day. She wrote their programs and greeted the survivors at the door. She walked the "Relay for Life". She attended each annual family reunion where she would bake a turkey and other treats, but everyone looked forward to her candy apples. She never missed a birthday party. She would reschedule her chemo appointments so as not to interfere with fun times. Mother's Day at Sharon's and Christmas Day at Beth's. Thanksgiving at her Sister-in-laws home. She made potato pancake (latkes) party for Hanukkah. On Friday nights Sharon and Bruce came. Saturday, Beth, Jake and Zack would come for a special lunch. We celebrated our 50th anniversary on August 7, 2005. We attended a wonderful celebration party with 70 guests and renewed our vows. We even visited Hampden Beach, New Hampshire. She loved the sun and browned like a berry. Sandra lived what she wrote: "Live your normal life". 2003-2004 were chemo treatments that seemed less effective than before. Sandra became less comfortable, pain was getting worse.
In Jan. 2005, the CA125 (marker) rose to 74. Cancer was on the move. More chemo treatment. May's test told us CA125 never went below 45, not an encouraging sign. June's test revealed CA125 on the rise again - 64. By August it went up to 85. Soon after it was 170, I thought we can't stop this cancer. October - 234. More chemo tried, December CA125 was 236. Sleeping for Sandy was almost impossible. The pain in her back was getting worse. Sandra had four weeks of daily radiation to try and get some relief. After treatment we would go and have breakfast with our friends. She was always cheerful with them. In May the CA125 dropped to 140 but in November the pain was back and CA125 was on the rise again. By January 2007 the CA125 rose to the thousands.
Sandra was admitted to the hospital. She couldn't eat very well. Lots of talk by doctors, that didn't seem to do much good. TPN was given intravenously for food nutrition. She developed a blood clot in her leg that went to her lungs so they installed a filter. She had Plural Effusion and they drained the fluid. She had biopsies taken and they did lots of scans. After two weeks she was sent to a nursing home, which continued to administer TPN. Her legs and feet swelled to a huge size. She was very weak and unable to walk. I asked them for an ultra sound, kept asking with no results. After I got real angry, they sent her back to the hospital. She had cellulitis. She spent a week in the hospital, with the same talk. I felt we were not getting anywhere. Doctors wanted to send her back to the nursing home. I told them "she is not going back to that old nursing home." Then they sent her to Evergreen convalescent home, which was a beautiful place. She rallied for a couple of days, then faltered badly. On the Saturday before her death, everyone came, daughters, grandchildren, me, and others. The boys said it was just like the Saturdays at our house. Sandra enjoyed it. It became increasing clear she would never have a Saturday like that again.
The next couple of days were hard. She was in pain and didn't want to eat or drink anything. She took a little ice cream, I think only to please me, like she always did. On Wednesday, she looked at me and said "Iím sorry I have to leave you." I did not answer. She had diarrhea for the next 24 hours.
Thursday was quiet, Sandra just lay there. When Beth arrived at 5:00p.m. things had changed and Sandra told Beth to go home because she was very sick.
On Friday one could tell she was in pain, the nurses called the doctor and they gave her pain medication. Sharon and Beth left work to be with me and Sandra. That night Beth and my nephew and nieces came and stayed. I was there also. She was restless so we tried to keep her comfortable. We cooled her off with wet cloths. When asked if they felt good, she said "wonderful." Her last words were "I love you". Early morning things changed, as Sandra was now unresponsive.
On Saturday nurses moved Sandra to a private room. I, my daughter Sharon, her husband Bruce and Beth kept a vigil. The end was near. Within the hour Smita Bhagat arrived, trying to give us comfort. Sandra passed away on February 24, 2007, finally at peace, her long 14 year battle with Ovarian Cancer was over.
Sandra had requested that in her death notice, there would be a request for donations to the cancer society. Make sure, she said "donations be made for Ovarian Cancer research." Almost $2000 dollars was donated in her name.
Sandra's daughter Beth has created her own web page in honor of her beloved Mom.
To view it, go
The Lily and Star Of David graphic was provided by SPDuBois"at"aol.com
In top left box click on right mouse
button to start/stop music.
Please send Email to Ray Clark at: RayClark"at"satx.rr.com
Last updated on: 04/22/07
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