The Couch Potato

The surgeon uses a blue sharpie to write the word “yes” on the right side of my chest. She is indicating where to operate. Yes, I whisper to myself, an affirmation.

Yes. The days of diagnostics are coming to an end. The treatment, the recovery, begins today. Today is surgery day. In a few minutes, the surgeon will take her stainless steel scalpel, and cut into my skin just below where she has written “yes.”

As i drift off under the effects of general anesthesia, Dr. Kristi Funk leans over me. She takes my hand. “You’re going to do great. We are going to get this thing out of you.”

Five hours later I am home, the lumpectomy is complete.

My battle to a complete recovery is just beginning.

Suddenly, I look and feel like a cancer patient.

The effects of the anesthesia stomp on me like a bad case of the flu. I suffer through the night with nausea, chills and body ache. I feel like Barry Bonds whacked a Louisville slugger across my upper body.

“Geez, mom – it looks like you have two black eyes,” my 10 year old tells me.

At this moment, I don’t care what I look like. I only know that the marble sized tumor is gone.

“It’s a couch potato,” my doctor told me a few days ago.

“I’ve never seen such a lazy tumor.”

Oncologists rank tumors on a scale of 1 to 100.

100 is the most aggressive.

“I’ve never seen anything below a two,”  Dr. Funk explains. “Until today.”

She smiles. “Your tumor is a one. It’s just sitting there doing nothing. For such a busy lady, you have the laziest tumor I’ve ever seen.”

“Lazy is good,” says my husband in the chair next to me.

Yes, hubby I think. Lazy is very, very good.

It has been two weeks since my diagnosis. In that time I have endured a follow up mammogram, ultrasound, MRI, CT scan, pet scan, full body scan, bone scan, blood test and an EKG. The results–all good news–appear as text messages from my doctor on a daily basis.

“Pet, ct all clear!”

“Bone scan normal!”

“Bart is negative too!”

Each text is only three or four words. Those words have the same impact as if she were writing a beautiful novel of my life…how I  will survive to share another bottle of chardonnay with my handsome husband on our next anniversary, how I will be there when my daughter prances across the stage in tiny heels (“Big girl shoes mom!”) for her sixth grade graduation…and when she floats down the aisle for her wedding. There will be more margaritas and raunchy jokes with my girlfriends, and the west coast road trip with my sisters? It’s going to happen!

I celebrate and I grieve.

Grieve for the more than 39 thousand women every year who do not get good news. Instead, their doctor will steady their voice, try to comfort and say “I’m sorry, we’ve done everything we can.”

I will say it again. A mammogram–early detection saved my life.

I  know that fighting cancer will be a part of me forever. I also know that there will be tough days ahead. I am still waiting for test results and consultations with chemotherapy and radiation doctors who will advise me on the next phase of my treatment.

For now, I’m going back to work. While others are wiggling their toes in the warm sand of California beaches or gathering with friends for a backyard barbeque, I will be happy to be laboring on Labor day. Look for me on the KCAL9 and CBS2 anchor desk.

I”ll be the one wearing pink!

More from Sandra Mitchell
  • Robert C Tenorio

    Very comforting to learn about your successful surgery. My thoughts and prayers for your speedy recovery. Take care Sandy.

  • Sandra D.

    Very good news on the results Sandra. You’ll be in my prayers for a complete recovery. God be with you.
    Sandra D.

  • Chuck Davis

    Great news Sandy, this is the news we have all been waiting to hear. We will continue to pray for your full recovery. See on Labor Day. God Bless you and your family.


    this is obscene that someone would discuss such a thing in a public venue things such as this are a family issue and should not be talked of publicly SHAME ON YOU

    • Lara Robia

      This is far from obscene, It’s reason to celebrate! To hear that another woman has overcome cancer should be yelled from the mountain tops for everyone to hear! This woman (Sandra) gets a new lease on life, She can remain on this earth to watch her child grow, see the wonders that world has to offer.
      why would you see that as obscene?
      CONGRATS and a speedy recovery to you Sandra, Everyday is a gift.
      Wear pink, wear it proud and wear it LOUD!!

      • sandra

        Lara it is OBSCENE because this woman is a news reporter this site is for the reporting of news that impacts the community not a place to talk about her personal issues or battles yes im glad shes doing well but this belongs on something like facebook or twitter or some other SOCIAL network. if i posted my personal business on the web site of the company i work for LOWE’s i would surely be fired quick fast and in a hurry because my personal stuff has nothing to do with home improvement or hardware. and to me it is obscene to discuss your personal business with anyone other then your family i hightly doubt anyone who has commented on this with the exception of her co workers even know her personally so why discuss it with us/them

      • Sandra D.

        You;re full of yourself and full of !@#$%. You have no heart. You’re a cold and callous person. This is a blog idiot. Get a life or go bury your head. You’re pathetic. SANDRA MITCHELL… …..YOU GO GIRL!

      • ???

        ur an idiot. These newcasters come into our home every day & nite, we get familiar w/ them. We actually choose the news station based on the likeability of the newscaster. We get to know & like them. I am interested in Sandra and am GLAD she is updating us about her cancer, and by her talking about this, she is bringing attention to early detection. The audience cares about her.

      • cindy

        im glad this woman is doing well but i must agree this is not something for public discussion i am a woman and i see absolutely no value in this blog other then to get her self and likely the station some publicity. someone else stated here that someone from boston once did this with the ok of her news station and that THEY GOT A GREAT REACTION from the female viewers. That to me says it all they EXPLOITED the health issue to garner a higher rating PURELY SAD. and the premise that this sort of blog will get women to go to their doctor and therfore get early detection and treatment i find that laughable because i have a personal friend who had this and her 5 sisters that watched as she went through the ordeal NEVER went to the doctors to have them selves checked and all 5 in later years got it and 2 passed from it so if seeing your own loved one deal with it does not get you to a doctor why would a new anchor you DO NOT KNOW cause you to go see a doctor??

    • ginny

      Because Sandra is a news commentator, she has the ability through the media, to not only report on others going through things like this, but to put her personal spin on the entire experience. You would be surprised how many other women who are faced with the same news every single day that will look to her for some of their hope, strength and advice. There was a woman news reporter in Boston (Kelly Tuthill), who went through this same thing and she, with the OK of her station, chose to share every stage of her treatment (the goods and the bads) with the viewers. It was amazing the positive reaction this received. Many women who heard about her from her stories being shared around the country, acted on their need for checkups and were able to receive early intervention. Sometimes, bringing what some think is a personal issue to the public is more then beneficial. I thank Sandra for putting her life in the public eye with something as personal as this.

  • Sam Le

    Thats why its called a blog? DUH!

  • Laura B

    As someone who received an abnormal mammogram diagnosis the day Sandra announced the frightening news of her own diagnosis, I have followed her blog nervously wondering what lies ahead for me. I have felt immensely encouraged and awed by both her bravery and candidness. Her honesty and willingness to share such a personal story should be commended, as her resolution has helped me face what is next. I wish her a speedy and complete recovery, and know that she is wise enough to dismiss the astonishingly insensitive remarks of people like “old world values.” Thank you, Sandra!

  • Sylvia Lopez

    Sandra- We are cheering at all your good news so far and in awe of your strength and grace. Beautifully written, too!!

  • Roy Da Costa

    Sandra- That is Great News Happy For You.

  • ???

    good job sandra & dr funk


    for those of you who think this BLOG is so wonderful, think on this. You say this new lady is posting her life to get the word out there about this illness and to use her star power to get women to get early detection. if thats the case, if shes trying to spread awareness and also get early detection and if you think she really cares about your WELL WISHES and not purely about the publicity this is getting her and the news station. I challange you to try to go visit her in the hospital if shes in one or at her home or at her office once shes back at it and give her your well wishes in person i venture to guess she and her PEOPLE will not let you anywhere near her to give her your true support. this whole blog is a self serving tool to further her carreer and the ratings of the station and has NOTHING to do with her desire to SPREAD AWARENESS and i see that my first comment was removed which i find funny these news stations tout their first ammendment rights but when someone posts a decenting view to theirs they remove it so i guess the first ammendment only applies to them???

  • Thank You

    I think it is incredicbly courageous of Sandra Mitchell to share her journey. And, yes, it WILL motivate women to go get checked. Those of you who seem somehow “offended” . . . I wonder what your personal issues are that are causing that offense. Cancer is something that effects us all. WE ALL need to keep on top of our diagnostics, blodd tests, health, etc. Many of us let those appointments go to the wayside because we are too busy. This is a good reminder for all of us to take our health seriously.
    And, NO . . . . when you have CANCER, you do not need to keep it a secret. You are allowed to talk about it, get support, inform others. You don’t have to stuff it just because others feel funny about it.

  • Beatrice

    I am crying tears of joy for you! Can you feel the love I just sent your way? I hope so!

  • mteague

    You don’t know me. I’m a simple woman sharing this earth like many of you. For 16,198 days, I have greeted each new day. Each day thus far, I have lived carefree, worry-free and thankful to meet my life’s demands, cancer free.
    My reaction to all of this and to all of your comments, however, is compromised.
    I know this woman, Sandra Mitchell, away from the cameras and the everyday news. She’s my friend. She’s been in my home. We’ve chatted about the same life concerns and the ways we can grow our kids to be great people. She is an unpretentious woman with the heart of goodness. She gives relentlessly.
    It’s really hard to hear the negative comments posted about her drive for publicity and greater attention for her news station in her decision to address her cancer fight publicly. The truth is that it’s so easy to be callous and make such personal judgments without knowing the woman.
    If you REALLY knew Sandra, you would feel regret over some of your hasty judgments. Aside from the job she holds from 9am – 5pm, she’s a wife, mom, sister, aunt and friend. She has the same concerns and fears about life – the same fears about her future and watching her family mature and the dreams of being present for every event- great and small. She wanted to tell her story honestly. So without reading into her motives, simply hear her heart.
    Won’t you?

    • old world values

      your right MTEAGUE i don’t know this woman and thats why its offencive to me that she posts this publicly you state that shes a good friend of yours and that is fantastic its people like you and any other good friends she has added with her family that she needs to discuss this fight with i am a very pvt person any issues in my life health or otherwise i would only discuss with my family and closest friends. this is my core belife SYMPATHY IS DEADLY if i had this issue and i put it out publicly all i would get back is exactly what this lady is getting her SYMPATHY you can not use sympathy to cure cancer you can not use it to make you stronger in your fight quite the opposite in fact sympathy makes one tend to make statement like WHY ME?? I’M A GOOD PERSON WHY IS GOD PUTTING THIS ON ME and so on. i AM NOT saying this lady is saying this but if she keeps getting all this feed back from people who do not know her i fear that is what she may do and that is when she will lose her fight. when one has cancer or any other life threatening thing all they need is family. if i had this i would focus on my kids my mate the things in my personal life that i would miss if i passed and the people who would miss me if i passed well wishes from people who do not know you WILL NOT DO YOU A BIT OF GOOD IN THIS FIGHT and putting this out there in the public view clearly in my view will not do a single thing to get others to see their doctors i use as evidance for this the fact that countless other actors, singers, sports stars and other public figures down through history have died of various things that are preventable if you see your doctor on a reg basis. so ill conceed my statement that she is a publicity hound may have been out of line since your right and i dont know her. but i stick to my core belife that this being in the public will neither serve public good nor ms Mitchells

  • josephgrahn

    Hello Sandra, Good girl, you did everything right. These things are important to understand. You are a smart, beautiful, hard working person.Life has so many things to it. Take care, see you on the news…happy day!

  • Dr. Judi

    Congrats Sandra on the great news! you are one courageous woman and I am in awe of you. If you saved just one life by bravely telling your story, that is probably more than most people will ever do. Thanks a million for your candor and strength.

  • CopTodd

    Yea Sandy!
    Lets keep those ‘ Good News’ texts coming. Speaking of road trips….I sometimes pause and laugh when I think about my cranberry seat while traveling south of the boarder…or maybe the C-note that got everyone safely across the boarder! What fun!

    Love and Miss you all!

  • Craig M.

    Congratulations Sandra!!!!

    Such wonderful news for you & your family, friends, colleagues & fans like me!

    My mother, had a mastectomy about 5 years back when she was 76 & she finished her 5 years of medicine & thanks to God she is still cancer free now at 81!

    I called & read your Blog to her & she like me, was overjoyed to hear all is well with you!

    So nice to see you back & strong as always!

    Best wishes & Blessings, Sandra…..

  • Craig M.

    Old Values & others with that twisted opinion, shame on YOU !

    One, this is a personal Blog, NOT a News Blog ion behalf of KCBS OR KCAL!! & two, for those that complain that they should not have to read about this, fine, do not read it!

    Lastly, Sandra’s fight & victory are to be shared & with hope it will encourage other young women to get checked & follow thru.

    Sandra, thank you for so doing this – gives hopes to so many women out there!

  • Regina Galyean

    Sandra Thank You for the updates on your cancer. I to am a survivor. I had breast cancer at the age of 67. An mastecory was done on my right breast.It has been 3 years and I am feeling fine. You will be ok. Thanks

    Regina Galyean

  • Chris Maxwell (Mrs. Paul Skolnick)

    Sandra – I hadn’t checked your blog in a few days and I had tears (of joy and relief) in my eyes as I read the news of the laziest tumor in the world. That is GREAT. Thank you for sharing your story with us all – it will save lives! So glad the news was so good!!!

  • Charlene Davies

    On your side. Hang in there.

  • Van

    To OLD World Values:

    Pull yourself out of the 18th century and look around. (I was going to tell you where to pull your head out of, but thought better of it. Would you complain if it were a male broadcaster talking about testicular cancer? I went thru stage 4 Lymphona, and beat it completely, with the help of a great Oncologist. Unless you’ve had something like that, you can’t begin to undestand the fear, uncertainty, chemotherapy side-effects and then sheer happiness when you find out you’ve beat the odds. If Sandra Mitchell, who is a newswoman, wants to declare to all her situation, then she as an American (remember the part about the right to free speech AND the Press?), has the right to do so. The fact that she is a newsperson doesn’t even factor in, since she’s not selling shoes or insurance as tie-ins to her story. As far as I’m concerned, her story is news!

  • old world values

    Van my comments have NOTHING to do with her freedom of speech, but more to do with her bad choice to use it in here. in my view you DO NOT AIR YOUR PERSONAL BUSINESS in a public venue. it is my total belief that she is doing this solely for personal gain.. i had NEVER heard of her before this event so either she is new to the biz or simply not that well known. but she is now ALL OVER THIS SITE. if she wants support get it where a decent perosn does that being from their own friends and family. or from her team of docs. lets be real blunt i would say the vast majority of people commenting on this have no medical background and i admit i am one of them ive read in other posts about this where people are telling her MEDICAL THINGS she can or should do, unless those people are in someway trained then they need to not advise her. as for if i would be anoyed if it was a man telling simulare stuff YES I WOULD. talk of such things belongs in pvt not in the media. just like ads for jock itch cream or tampons are not appropriate. if someone has need of those products they know full well where to find them. and in finishing if you belive we have freedom of speech see how fast you get arrested if you stand someplace in public and state that you think this president or any before him that is still alive, should be “GOTTEN RID OF” just use those simple words and i PROMISE YOU they will arrest you very quickly. my simple proof is your responding to me in the negitive. if you really belive in FREE SPEECH you have to accept my views along side yours, you can’t tell me to get my HEAD OUT OF anywhere, and then tout a fake freedom like free speech

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