The Worst News of My Life

As a journalist in Los Angeles, I am accustomed to delivering bad news. I am not used to receiving it.

Today the news comes not through high definition television from our state of the art studio. It comes from a 4 inch by 2 inch cellphone. And it is not my voice reaching out to inform. It is the voice of my doctor. My cellphone vibrates beside me. That vibration will deliver a jolt to my family and friends stronger than the earthquakes we know so well here in Southern California.

“Sandra” she says hesitantly. I already know what she will say. And for a moment I pity her having to say the words that surely will come.

“I have your biopsy results. I’m sorry to say, The results shows a malignancy. You have breast cancer.”

I am sitting at my desk in our pulsating newsroom, 27 minutes until my next newscast.

I must tell my news director. I must get to my husband. His smiling face gazes confidently at me from an 8 by 10 black and white photo on my desk. I take a moment to drag my shaking finger across the dust on the photo. Just beside it is a picture of a glorious gap-toothed smiling girl. She is a sensitive and beautiful 10 year old child. She is our daughter. In the picture, she is holding her fingers together to form the shape of a heart. And in that moment, my heart breaks. It is physical. It is visceral. I must get out of here. I must get home to my family.

I make it across the newsroom and zero in on my News Director Scott Diener.

My journalist’s composure is gone. He sees the shock, the sadness.

“Is everything alright?”

“No.”

It’s all I can say as I stumble toward his office.

The tears and the words tumble freely now.

“I have breast cancer.”

I will say the words so many more times to loved ones in the next few days. I will cry every time. But this is the first time. This makes it real.

More from Sandra Mitchell
Comments

One Comment

  1. Ed says:

    Please know that there are many people that are pulling for you to be another cancer survivor. Try and stay positive and lean on the many strong and loving people that surround you.

    1. dan says:

      I have a feeling you’ll pull through this, stronger than ever, with a new outlook on life, that down the road, may have you believing this was in some ways, a positive experience.

      A few months ago, my wife became quite ill, and we were told the situation with her heart condition was grim, with sudden death a likely outcome. We accepted this, made our peace, said things that would have probably gone unsaid forever, then deeply examined our lives, thoughts and spiritual beliefs.

      Then she got better, and people started throwing the ‘m’ word around.

      The miracle was modern medicine, and a chance to share a rare perspective of life…

      Apologies if this came out wrong, or hurtful in any way.

    2. believer says:

      Sandra you and your family are in my family’s prayers. May The Lord heal you and bless you abundantly.

      DEUTERONOMY 31:6 “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

    3. MariaElena says:

      Hi Sandra. I know the hell that it is to get a phone call where they tell you that they think they have found something on your mammogram. About a month and a half ago, my mom went in for her annual mammogram. We didn’t thiink much of it. They send you a letter in the mail within two weeks letting you know that everything is okay. Two weeks went by, but we didn’t realize it, and we hadn’t received anything in the mail. About three weeks to the day that she had her mammogram, we get a phone call on my cell phone, and I didn’t get it because I didn’t recognize the number, so we just thought it was a wrong number. What got my attention is that they left a voicemail. I told my mom that I was going to check my voicemail and when I listen to it, it was from my mom’s gynecologist’s office telling us to call them. My mom right away knew that something had to be wrong, but I couldn’t accept that. We called immediatley the doctor’s office and they told us that they had found something and needed my mom to do a magview and an ultrasound, we were able to talk to the doctor and ask him if it was cancer, he told us that it wasn’t. The following day, my mom went in for those tests and we were told that we would have to wait for two weeks to get the results. Everyday, we would call to chedk if the results were in. You have no idea the hell that it was to be waiting, my sister and I, we couldn’t eat, we couldn’t sleep, we felt physically sick. Finally, a week after she had the tests done, the results were in, and by the grace of God, both tests came back negative, all my mom had was tissue that was caused by her using a hormone patch. My mom ripped off the patch from her arm and stopped using it the moment we got that awful phone call.
      This ordeal took a toll on me, physically. About maybe a week after we got the good news, I developed incredibly severe chest pains, I was terrified, I thought I was going to have a heart attack, never in my life had I ever had or even knew what it was like to have chest pains. I had to go to the doctor and had to have an EKG done to rule out heart problems, once that was ruled out, the doctor was able to arrive at the diagnosis that my muscles from my chest were incredibly swollen. I felt like I was going to have a heart attack and I had to have two injections put right away. I am still on medication for the chest pains and by the grace of God, over these past two days, my chest pains have almost disappeared completely.
      Sandra, before I go to bed tonight, I am going to pray to God and ask Him to please help you win this battle. I hope and pray that the cancer was caught on time. With this experience that we went through, it made me realize how short life is and how more sympathetic I am towards people who are going through this awful disease. I hope and pray that God will give you the courage and strength that you need to get through these trying times.

    4. Ed Masterson says:

      Sandra, it’s Ed Masterson from Taste of the Town…God bless you for your strength in sharing the news, which I know must be very difficult and frightening to grasp…you are such a kind and giving and courageous person, and your willingness to share this news, while making yourself vulnerable and available to people is a testament to the quality of your character…I’m honored to know you…the SCV community is here for you in any way that we can be…thank you, again, for your strength and courage…you are a warrior and I’m proud to know you…

  2. Scott Gutman says:

    Sandy, I know there are very few comforting words we can offer. Please try to focus on “survive” and “fight.” And know you have friends you can lean on. Love you.

  3. Javier Rivas says:

    Just try to be positive, my heart and soul goes to your family.
    Make plans to show the world you are a strong survivor.

  4. www.team-roxy.com says:

    I’m sorry you had to receive that news and experience that feeling. I was in your shoes less than a year ago. I’m sure you’ll have lots of supporters rooting for you. You’ll need everyone of them. Thanks for sharing your story. It’s never easy but stay strong & positive. You will get through it. Wishing you the best! – from a survivor

  5. Ara says:

    Sandra, I’ll be praying for both you and your family. I survived kidney cancer a few years ago, and I’m sure God willing you can and will beat this too.

  6. tyler says:

    Hang in there Sandra and fight, you can beat this! Stay positive! You have a lot of people pulling for you and you will be in my prayers. You are strong and you will be another survivor. We are all pulling for you!

  7. Jen says:

    Thinking of you and will continue to follow your blog. My husband and I watch you daily and am sending positive thoughts your way, Hugs, Jen Levinson(Jen’s List)

  8. George Spink says:

    I hope and pray you will be victorious in your fight against breast cancer, Sandra! You have a battle ahead of you, but from what I have seen of you on CBS2, I am betting on you to be able to over breast cancer.

  9. Chuck Davis says:

    Sandra I am so sorry to hear this news, after watching you on TV for years I feel like a close family member has just told me of this. My Wife and I will be praying for you everyday morning and night. I know God will heal you. Your family needs you more than ever now. Please Lord hear this prayer. Take Sandra in your arms and cure her breast cancer. Thank you Lord for hearing our prayer. If everyone who reads prays for you I know this will bring a positive result.

  10. Liz Y says:

    I know how frightening it must be for you to hear your doctor say that you have that word “cancer” because my doctor said the same word to me eleven years ago. But you must believe that you will survive and ask God to help you get through this difficult time. Lean on your family and friends for support. You will get through this. You are in my thoughts and prayers. God bless you.

  11. Char Bennett says:

    I received the same news just 8 months ago. The word cancer always elicits a visceral response. But if one gets breast cancer today, this is the best time….it is no longer a ‘death sentence’ but a ‘life sentence.’ Everywhere i go i hear the words ‘I am a 5/10/15/etc. survivor.’ The face of cancer has changed and you will come out of this stronger, more empathetic, more loving and more understanding. You will bounce back!

  12. angelino says:

    Dear Sandy,

    you have glorified our town with your presence as a reporter and your diligence as an achor for many years…….
    If you know what I mean, Hal Fishman would be your biggest fan.

    Stay with it, your family is the most important thing in your life. Everything else goes and fades.

    You WILL live through this, LA needs you. We love you and we get a little raison-d’etre through you every day you are on the air,

    Be sure our thoughts are with you and your Familiy.
    Be strong, and we will be through you.

    Love
    Los Angeles

  13. E Lindsay says:

    Sandra, hang in there and stay positive!! I know many survivors! My first cousin fought this and won… you can too!

  14. Debbie Hobday says:

    Sandra, My thoughts and prayers are with you. The news may have come as a shock to you, but know that you can get through this. My thoughts will be with your family as they learn the news, and support you through this journey in your life. I look forward to your good news of healing, and pray for peace and comfort to be with you in the days ahead. Blessings to you and your entire family. Stay well Sandra, you have lots of support.

  15. Frank says:

    Sandra, We will keep you in our prayers and believe you will beat this.

  16. Kevin says:

    Please visit the Association for research and enlightenment and get some holistic therapies! Remember to always keep and alkaline balance to beat this.

  17. James Brown says:

    Sandra. I wish the best for you and your family and I am confident that you will beat this issue. Stay strong. Jim

  18. Ida says:

    The world is still your oyster. Just keep holding onto the brass ring. It’s yours and you deserve it. I’m not sure what to say at time like this. Words don’t come easily for me. But, I did want you to know that I sent up a prayer for you and your family. Put God on your shoulders and ask him to walk with you. I asked him to walk with me….and he did…..all the way through my troubles. God bless you.

  19. Dorothy says:

    Hang in there Sandra. You & your family will be in my thoughts & prayers. Please keep everyone posted.

  20. Stella Gonzalez says:

    cindy have compassion, i watch sandra and i am so sorry that this has happened to her but you seem like a strong woman and with gods blessings you will be alright!sandra that is! some people are so damn rude, it comes out of their mouths and when they drive, my thoughts and prayers with you and your family sandra!!!!

  21. Virginia Green says:

    Sandra,

    No one wants to get the devastating news that you have cancer. Today, with advancements in modern medicine and daily breakthroughs in the field of cancer, and especially breast cancer, thank God that it DOES NOT mean it is a death sentence. Fight it, keep a positive attitute and surround yourself with a strong support group. And, prayers really do work! My brother was in stage 4 cancer, the doctors gave him only weeks to live. He was placed in Hospice for some time. One day he called me in tears telling me that Hospice had “kicked” him out of the program. So I called Hospice to see what had happened. I was told that his health had improved so much that he was no longer terminal. That was in 1999. I spoke with him last week by phone. He is still standing!!!! He is still here!!!!
    I will keep you in my prayers for a speedy and full recovery.

    Virginia R Green
    Palm Desert, CA

  22. Peggy Drong says:

    you will be in our prayers You are a wonderful reporter and I think God has plans for you .

  23. Drew says:

    Sandy,

    My prayers for your strength and perseverance in such a tough time in your life will continue until you beat cancer. I pray for your loved ones to form an impenetrable force around you that will not allow you to feel alone in your time of need. May you continue to realize that GOD is on the throne and you’re his child…he said he would not give us anything that we could not handle and this is your time to show up and show out your unwavering love for him…Don’t express how big cancer is…express how big your GOD is and he will deliver unto you a sense of courage and strength you did not know you possessed. Your destiny and job here is not done. I will continue to keep you in my prayers everyday and all day until you’re in remission. Stay true to your beliefs and GOD will show up and show out in a tremendous way! As I bow my head…Heavenly father, I pray that you bless our sister and your daughter, Sandra Mitchell with your everlasting love by helping her witness the overbearing power of the words…Let Go and Let GOD! May she find peace in her quiet times, strength in her weak moments and faith when she has questions that only you have the answers to. May her friends and loved ones be compelled to speak words of faith unto her thus never giving her a moment without feeling your comfort and love! In the name of your only son and our savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

  24. Todd says:

    Prayers and best wishes Sandra… have been watching you since your St. Louis days…

  25. Juan Fernandez says:

    Sandy,

    I’ve been with you during many happy times. Today I stand with you during this difficult time, offering my love, support and prayers. To a full recovery!

  26. i saw your post while “tag surfing”. I will tell you what my docotr said, “You will go through hell but you will be okay.” Take one day at a time and just keep swimming. I am five years out, and I know those first weeks are horrifying. hang in there.

    Lauren
    afterfiveyears.com

  27. Ryan Doyle says:

    Sandy,

    My thoughts and prayers are with you my friend. You are a strong woman — you have incredible strengths that you’re not even aware you have! Your strength will help you to overcome this obstacle. BIG hugs to you Sandy.

    Ryan

  28. Charlene Davies says:

    I am so sorry. That kind of news just sucks. I am thinking healing thoughts for you and hopefully the universe will acknowledge just how lovely a person you are and give you all you need to beat this.

  29. concerned says:

    i wish u the best. please update us on how you are feeling & doing. That was tough reading your story. I’ll be thinking of u

  30. adam serratelli says:

    you are in our thoughts and prayers. i know you will pull threw my family like most have been in the scary dark place before but it has always pulled out and made it threw so i know you will just like most of the news stories u give to us every night and day. we are all behind you in support and prayer till the very end.

  31. Sandra M says:

    Sandra
    Allow yourself to feel, express, shout, scream, cry! Every emotion you go through. Give yourself freedom to use your voice. Reading your words are so heartfelt. God Bless your courage! You, your husband, beautiful child will be in thought & prayers…as well as your news family & friends. So Cal loves & cares for our CBS channel 2 gal. Keep us informed of your up to it. You’re amazing, beautiful, strong, and your followers are standing with as you start your road to full recovery! God’s love, support, guidance, protective healing arms emdrace you…as well as your loved one!

  32. Scott L. Rindenow says:

    Sandra
    Our love and prayers are with you always. May your life be filled with strength and determination to fight this and win. You know you have our complete support in any way possible.

    With you always,
    Scott L. Rindenow

  33. Sibila Vargas says:

    Sandy,
    No matter what storm comes your way God is forever on his throne and you will forever be his loving daughter. If God is for you what can come against you!
    Be still and know.
    Love,
    Siblla

  34. Lizzy Ford says:

    Sandra…you’ll make it. Modern medicine does have amazing answers these days.

    But what concerns me is that you got the news VIA CELL PHONE!!!! What happened to to those days ( and doctors) when news of that kind was told to one IN PERSON.. in sympathetic surroundings?
    When did we get so cold?

  35. Regina Galyean says:

    Sandra I know what you are going though. I am a breat cancer survivor since 2008 at the age of 66. First you cry, scream and say why me. I went though six Chemo treatments and 30 days Radiation. I also have a strong husband. You are a strong person and will make it though. I will pray for you and your family.

    Regina Galyean

  36. Jeremiah King says:

    My deepest sympathies go to you and your family. A breast cancer diagnosis is a horrible thing to hear. My mother is currently battling it with radiation and chemo. The treatment is ravaging her body, but in the end, she will survive this disease, as will you.

  37. Michele Morgan says:

    Sandra – I am almost a 4 year brest cncer survivor. When I was diagnosed, I was angry as it was an inconvenience – it was happening in the middle of my busiest time at work! I was diagnosed in October – Breast Cancer Awareness Month. At the time, there just happened to be a promo on TV – it said “I have cancer, cancer does not have me!” I said this over and over again and it helped me to not let the cancer take over my life. I was an early diagnosis and went thru radiation. The key to getting thru this is not only family and friends but to surround yourself with the best medical team. You will find that they will become part of your family. Your life will not be same, you are beginning a new journey! Once you are a survivor, you will be able to say “I had cancer, cancer never had me!”

    My thoughts and prayers qre with you and your family. Any questions, I am her.

  38. Andy Hernandez says:

    Sandra, I was with my wife when we recieved the same news you did, only 13 years ago. We both teared up when we read this, we looked at each other and at the same time we said “she’ll make it, she’ll be fine……”
    The Love that you have from your friends and family will touch your soul and will ease your heart ache. The hope that you, your husband and your daughter now have for your recovery will be in your every breathe you 3 take, together you will beat this! And most inportanat the faith you have in all that is good and true and loving that you hold so close to your spirit, will pick you up when your down, help you smile when all you want to do is cry.
    Believe and it and it will happen. I believe that you can, you will over come this minor detour in your life.
    You and your family are part of our daily prayers.

  39. Mary Howard says:

    Hi Sandy,
    Thoughts, prayers and big hugs are being sent your way. I am sorry to hear about the journey you and your family will have to take. You were such a wonderful support and a friendly face throughout my journey. Although in a different way, I understand the walk. You will come out the other end shining brighter than ever. Always your friend,
    Mary Howard

  40. Heather says:

    I cry, too, remembering this part of my own experience. Put up your dukes! I’m cheering for you.

  41. Alex Calder says:

    Sandy… Everybody has said it well. I’m just here to offer you my best wishes and to say that I’m here if you need anything. And most importantly, thank you for sharing your story so others may benefit. The perfect ending is at hand – you beat this awful curse, and hopefully you save a few lives by sharing your story as well. Take care, my friend. Alex

  42. Marcy says:

    I wish you a very happy outcome. My husband has a crush on you, so we want you on the news for many more years. Something you might try to help your immunity is to have more yogurt in your diet. The beneficial bacteria in yogurt helps build up your immunity from the inside out. it couldn’t hurt anyway. Stay positive – we are all pulling for you!

  43. Brad Lucas says:

    Hi Sandy,
    This is one of your long last pals from Temple Ambler, Brad. I just heard this news. Hope you are doing well! I’m living in San Diego with my wife and two girls. We are thinking about you and wish you a speedy recovery!

  44. Shirley McKinzie says:

    I just watched your piece on preparting for your Cancer treatment. It was spot on, as I as well just completed my Breast Cancer program at the Green Hospital in La Jolla.on September 9, 2011, 36 radiation treatments. I also got the ONCOTYPE study with the same results and was so thankful to know that Chemotherapy would not be advised and the possibilites of future cancer very unlikely. Thank God for new research and care for us. Continued prayers for you and your family. I was treated so wonderful by all staff and Doctors at the Green Hosptial.

  45. doc01 says:

    so wonderful therapy is shown in this site…..Natural child birth can avoid this type of cancer ……nice commets….

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