This is Rhonda Sanderson's Typepad Profile.
Join Typepad and start following Rhonda Sanderson's activity
Join Now!
Already a member? Sign In
Rhonda Sanderson
Chicago West Loop
Founder of premier PR firm specializing in franchising for 27 years-now battling breast cancer and working all along!
Interests: My child, my dogs, my staff, my friends, my colleagues and not lying down and taking it when I have been dealt a dirty hand!
Recent Activity
Well I guess if you have to turn even older its good to line that day up with something else good--the end of radiation in my case! Uggghhh surgery, complications, chemo then radiation--someone needs to give this girl a medal! And make it with diamonds please!! I am now on Armidex, a powerful hormone therapy drug and I wish it was mixed with some weight loss potion because a lot of this treatment makes you balloon--like I needed that! Anyway, back to working out and organic foods (mostly) and maybe I will see some results. On April 27th I hope... Continue reading
Posted Apr 2, 2010 at Almost Stage 3
Burn baby burn, that's the story of radiation. But this has been a journey for sure. It has taught me a lot. Who my friends are--and who is NOT my friend! Who is there for me and who is NOT. Who is whiney and who is strong--(when you go through this you don't have a lot of patience for those who complain of stubbed toes and the like). My staff has been beyond reliable and incredible. They are rocks and all went the extra 100 miles to outperform themselves. They also were excellent about pointing out many blips in my... Continue reading
Posted Mar 25, 2010 at Almost Stage 3
Ok whoever said radiation is a cakewalk is a big fat liar!! It burns like hell and scars some people for life. I have had 24 full breast and underarm radiation sessions. If you are told to do this ask about your lymph nodes. Are they are being targeted as well? Since the cancer had spread to my lymph nodes, I wanted to know--I also was told by my lymphedema specialist that radiation there would make my lymphedema worse. So I was more than interested. Now I have 9 "boost" sessions where just the tumor site is radiated. Every morning... Continue reading
Posted Mar 16, 2010 at Almost Stage 3
Rhonda Sanderson is now following The Typepad Team
Mar 16, 2010
Ok 3rd week of radiation and my half a boob is burned and red....hey what do fair skinned people do when they are radiated 34 days in a row? I heard my poor mother suffered the same fate. My sister accompanied her to radiation 23 years ago--she got burned--endured....and died anyway. All I can say is thank God for those in the radiation waiting area who share experiences and ideas and remedies (drink Golden Seal tea, said one wisened African American lady of advanced years). The people I deal with in this department at Rush University Medical Center are very... Continue reading
Posted Mar 8, 2010 at Almost Stage 3
So you must go on, get out, see people. I have actually made friends in the radiation waiting area. Whenever I feel sorry for myself I look over at the 28 year old mother whose 3 year old is going through radiation after chemo. I tell the little one that her bald little head is prettier than mine and she no time to think of me--which is best. Radiation is tedious, it burns a bit, but it's fast and next to chemo not painful. Last night I got out among friends and attended Chef Art Smith's 50th birthday party... Continue reading
Posted Mar 1, 2010 at Almost Stage 3
Well a cakewalk compared with chemo but still a pain in the tushie. First off, it is NOT without unpleasantness--it's just that after chemo it's more like a little tap on the arm than the poke in the eye with a stick which is chemo! However, the people handling my radiation at Rush University Medical Center are as different as night and day to the chemo area--the chemo area there is a dark, dank place where everyone is very brusk and wields a lot of needles! The radiation people seem to...well.....radiate! So six straight weeks of this every day at... Continue reading
Posted Feb 8, 2010 at Almost Stage 3
Great story--way back when I was athletic I went to rent skis in Aspen and the dude asked me "height and weight"? uhhhhhh, "why do you need that?" I asked--"well if I give you the wrong skis for your height and weight you could actually crash and die!" So I contemplated that-- then shaved 20 lbs off!! Hey it would have to be life or death for most women to give their real weight to a stranger--but chemo--well that's the one that counts. Your dose is based on your size, current toxicity levels, blood counts, etc and yes indeed you... Continue reading
Posted Jan 7, 2010 at Almost Stage 3
So I thought "gee I am doing 30 minutes on the treadmill each morning so I must be getting better!" That was between chemo sessions 2 and 3--as soon as I did session 3--that whole theory was shot to hell. The cumulative effect of the drugs is beyond nasty--hard to breathe after each minor task--up 3 flights of stairs to the office? Remy pushes me up from behind--talk about loyal employees :-) But still could not stand to miss time with my fabulous friends and family and all those who support me. Called the administrator at Rush U Hospital and... Continue reading
Posted Dec 28, 2009 at Almost Stage 3
OK so chemo is horrific enough but when the treatment center is chaos, well you can only imagine. I am having my treatment at Rush University Hospital--it came highly recommended and is only a few blocks from my office which helps me tremendously. The downside? A city hospital is jammed to the rafters with patients and cases. It creates a chaotic atmosphere where you need a calm one. Also, most of the health care pros are wonderful--they really are doing what they are meant to do--but as in any other facet of life, you get the few who act like... Continue reading
Posted Dec 18, 2009 at Almost Stage 3
The misconceptions about cancer, chemo and side effects are amazing! Firstly, most people expect chemo patients to get very thin and haggard looking. The opposite is usually true--85% of chemo patients gain weight because fatigue causes lack of activity and steroids and other chemicals in treatment causes a ton of bloat and fluid retention--5-15lb. weight gain is common so as if you aren't feeling awful enough you are now fat and bald!!! Lovely--also the hair loss is immediate and startling--within 2 weeks of your first treatment hair falls out by the handfuls--I chose to shave my head to 1/8 of... Continue reading
Posted Dec 14, 2009 at Almost Stage 3
When WGN Radio was giving away a holiday party to a deserving person one of my employees sent this in: He was forced to show it to me by one of our VPs--and all I can say is--this is what gets you through cancer treatment: PS I didn't get the PARTY! Even the strongest of women get thrown off their game now and then. A health crisis, a death or a birth can send even the sturdiest of employees into a tailspin. However, nothing has shown me courage and strength like my boss Rhonda Sanderson at Sanderson & Associates. Almost... Continue reading
Posted Dec 7, 2009 at Almost Stage 3
OK I am not loving the bald look--you need to have the exact right shaped head to pull it off and mine is like an egg! So I have 6 wigs and all kinds of scarves and hats--with so many wigs my staff has named them. This is my Marie Antoinette and all I ever can say about it is "Let Them Eat Cake"! The best site I have found if you have very light or grey hair is YOU DECIDE!! In winter it's cold but I am ultra-sensitive so i always feel like there is a hat on... Continue reading
Posted Dec 3, 2009 at Almost Stage 3
Yes, this is the most hideous of all side effects if you ask me!! (who did?) When you have damaged lymph nodes, or you have them removed, very common with a diagnosis of cancer, your lymphatic system is immediately put on HAYWIRE status...lymphatic fluid doesn't get drained properly and swelling occurs in the affected area--in my case the left chest wall and arm all the way down to the hand. Much of mine is due to the scar tissue that formed from the removal of 21 lymph nodes! So it now looks like I have a Mickey Mouse glove on... Continue reading
Posted Dec 2, 2009 at Almost Stage 3
So they not only couldn't jab the needle far enough into my vein--they blew it out and I had to wait for someone else to jab it in--this is NOT a fun day--you come in at 7:30am and get blood drawn--then you wait for an hour to hear if you can be treated because if your cell count is down or any other problems show up--well you can't get your treatment. So finally get going and find out that 85% of chemo patients gain weight due to steroids and fatigue--so if there was ever going to be an upside to... Continue reading
Posted Nov 25, 2009 at Almost Stage 3
So come to find out I should have clearly been given the option of full or partial mastectomy by my surgeon and yet I never was! This could cause a problem--he'd better hope it doesn't reoccur on the right breast I think--why are WE not given the right to choose what's good for our lives? And just when you think you couldn't look worse you find out 85% of chemo patients GAIN weight because for 3 weeks of the month they have an appetite but are too fatigued to exercise--and you are now bald--whoo-hoo sick, fat and bald--can't beat that... Continue reading
Posted Nov 24, 2009 at Almost Stage 3
Yeah like I was saying! Regular screening mammograms do not work on dense breasts (read breasts with lots of tissue and little slack or sag) and this is why a better, more thorough test needs to become the standard---and one shouldn't have to fight so hard to get a sonogram or a digital mammogram or better. Certainly I don't believe in discouraging self-exams considering I found both my lumps--one in 2007 which was a cyst and THE BIG ONE in June of this year that a mammogran magically missed one month prior! Let's go people--it's the second leading cause of... Continue reading
Posted Nov 17, 2009 at Almost Stage 3
What I want to share is the pure exhaustion you feel the subsequent weeks after treatment. This is probably why they give it to you every third week--so you can recover. It feels exactly like what it is--your cells are dying and with that hopefully, the cancer. I am trying to walk through the tiredness when possible. John and I go to East Bank Club and one thing you can do for yourself is to build muscle. When you have lymphadema, as I do, then you need to be careful to NOT overdo on the side of the lymph node... Continue reading
Posted Nov 16, 2009 at Almost Stage 3
So support, comments all from family, friends and colleagues are like doses of vitamins to fight this thing--you never realize how much you need it until you get it--and then it helps you sail through. Well, SAIL might be pushing it--so chemo treatment people promised me a lovely 3-5 day EXTRAVAGANZA of feeling like shit and I could check each item off one by one starting Thursday Nov. 5th--right through to today the 10th when I am just barely walking--but did make it up the 3 flights to office to have great morning meetings with my staff--the miracle workers getting... Continue reading
Posted Nov 10, 2009 at Almost Stage 3
So I am warned that in the next few days I will have hideous reactions--they don't sugarcoat it in chemoloand! I start to feel some last night--but I decide to have a night out anyway while my hair is still here and attend Project Runway judge and designing superstar Michael Kors store opening and Fashion Show in Chicago on the Mag Mile. My BFF Candace Jordan has the hottest blog in town and of course she invites her God-daughter (My Samantha) and me to all the fun stuff. What a pleasure to get the support of all your friends... Continue reading
Posted Nov 5, 2009 at Almost Stage 3
OKay so today was first chemo treatment and boy-it's fun. Take blood first and who doesn't love that? Then they analyze it because hey, you could have low blood count and then they can't even give you chemo so after waiting 3 months to get it, they can refuse to treat me if I DARE have any cold, fever, low blood count etc. No wonder people die from this! Anyhoo, went off well and had the lovely help of Isabel and Autumn (yes adorable too) from Rush Hospital. Accompanied by my sister and daughter and piles of mags and my... Continue reading
Posted Nov 3, 2009 at Almost Stage 3
Nov. 2: After having an open wound for 3 months I finally start chemo tomorrow. I am proud because I AM THE ONE who closed the wound by following the strict instructions of the visiting wound care specialist. I have been tending the wound myself since late September and have gotten it closed or I would NOT have been able to move forward since chemo would have nearly guaranteed an infection of an open wound. The old adage "if you want something done right..." certainly applies here. Had to argue to get the wound care specialist to visit my home... Continue reading
Posted Nov 2, 2009 at Almost Stage 3
As if having this diagnosis isn't enough--things DO go wrong--well it's ALL wrong--but once you have had your surgery like I did--you go home with drains installed and it's a hoot to take care of--needs emptying and you need to log those times, how much is pumping out etc. Beyond pleasant!! And lovely to try to hide in your clothes--the instruction sheet tells you what to do and that this will be out in 7-10 days! Another lie! At least 2 weeks and even 3 weeks with the drain is common. Even after mine was removed lymphatic fluid kept rushing... Continue reading
Posted Oct 29, 2009 at Almost Stage 3
Once I was over the shock and the anger (although every day I get a fresh dose of that) I was referred to a well known surgeon in the Chicago area. I waited 3 hours in his office until he gave me the hideous biopsies--don't let people tell you those are nothing either! Big long needles in breast and one in armpit to see if it's already in lymph nodes--which puts you in a whole other stage and danger and leaves you with profound affects after surgery and the danger that it has spread through your entire body. That's why... Continue reading
Posted Oct 26, 2009 at Almost Stage 3
Ok, it's important to realize that you go through (or I did) similar stages of grief that you always hear about concerning a death. So, in my case, fear, anger, denial, sadness and then acceptance. Fear because the radiologist I had been using since 2002 pointed to the screen and said "there's your cancer"! And a pit in my stomach developed-then anger because he had just missed this in a mammogram about 60 days before this with the comment "I don't write the orders" (because a mere screening mammogram would not catch this with my dense breasts) Denial because he... Continue reading
Posted Oct 24, 2009 at Almost Stage 3