Sandy Beardsley
Living with a Brain Tumor
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07/12/06
Sacred Journey…
Filed under: General
Posted by: Dan @ 2:31 pm

Sandy, with my insistence (and a strong suggestion from the hospice nurse) is trying to pace herself and conserve strength. It doesn’t take much to wipe her out physically and emotionally — a short walk down our road, a visit from a friend, a rough night of sleep. But she is learning to nap, not an easy thing for her. Since she is having difficulty tracking days of the week and time of day, a nap can really throw her off and be disorienting. We know that a lot of people want to visit Sandy, but we are having to make visits short and far-between. They are just too exhausting for Sandy right now. You know how she is - wanting to help others feel better before she makes herself feel better. So please continue to honor the “Do Not Disturb” sign when it’s up.  We are staying close to home and hospice nurses, but Sandy, Cameron and I (and our two dogs) are going to the coast next week for some ocean therapy.


Cameron and Sandy

And, dear friends, we had some thoughts we wanted to share with you as this journey continues. Recently, many folks who have just found out about Sandy’s prognosis have become panicked and desperate to help. People have pushed their religious / spiritual beliefs on us, or insisted we try this or that cancer cure recipe concoction, or told us how we should handle this situation. We realize that this all comes from love and concern, and with the best intentions, but we don’t need to be diverted or spend energy defending our choices.

Sandy was diagnosed in 1999 with a terminal illness - we are not rookies at this. We were told in 1999 that what has transpired in the past few months would happen someday, so it is not a surprise that it has. We have researched this disease extensively and Sandy has had some of the best possible medical care available. She is a 7-year survivor — seven years we would not have had together otherwise.

Sandy wants you to know that this sacred journey, which we decided to openly share with you, has some parts that cannot be shared. There is good, bad and ugly to this and to make it through this we must pace ourselves and have some boundaries respected. Please understand this — we don’t want any suggestions for how to cure Sandy’s brain tumor. There is no known cure for this type of cancer, and hers is very aggressive. Her best treatment alternatives have been used. Our knowledge has given us power, so don’t undermine our decisions. This part of the journey is so impossibly difficult enough. Having to hear alternatives at this point, however well intentioned, only does us harm. She is only getting treatment and medicines now to keep her quality of life as good as possible for as long as possible. But just because treatment has stopped… hope doesn’t. We are living life and are excited about and anticipating what’s to come.

Because we do not belong to an organized church, some of you may think our spiritual strength is lacking. The opposite is true. Our spirituality has been strengthened by this cancer journey. Sandy and I have a deep spiritual faith and we pray regularly. Right now we are praying for the strengtrh and peace to enjoy this journey. And we appreciate the power of all your prayers - keep them coming. But don’t ask us to worship your God or adapt our lives to your spiritual beliefs or methods.

We are sharing this journey openly for two reasons — we knew it would help us, and we hoped others could learn from it. As we strive to continue finding peace, strength and balance these difficult days… we hope you will too.  “Life is an hourglass glued to the table…”  Carpe Diem.

Thanks again for all the love and support - in its many tangible and intangible ways (and some edible ways!)
Dan

39 Responses to “Sacred Journey…”

  1. jkw Says:
    “And nobody does it better…” Keep living it and doing it on your journey. Continued Love, Prayers, Positive Thoughts, and Wishes for you both!! LIVESTRONG!! OXOX ;)
  2. The Lofas family Says:
    This came into my email inbox from a fellow cancer mom (her son had the same type of brain tumor our son, Johan, has). I hope it tickles your funny bone as much as it did mine. Some letters even Dear Abby couldn’t answer: Dear Abby, A couple of women moved in across the hall fromme. One is a middle-aged gym teacher and the other is a socialworker in her mid twenties. These two women go everywhere together and I’ve never seen a man go into or leave their apartment. Do you think they could be Lebanese? Dear Abby, What can I do about all the Sex, Nudity, Fowl Language and Violence On My VCR? Dear Abby, I have a man I can’t trust. He cheats so much, I’m not even sure the baby I’m carrying is his. Dear Abby, I am a twenty-three year old liberated woman who has been on the pill for two years. It’s getting expensive and I think my boy friend should share half the cost, but I don’t know him well enough to discuss money with him. Dear Abby, I’ve suspected that my husband has been fooling around, and when confronted with the evidence, he denied everything and said it would never happen again. Dear Abby, Our son writes that he is taking Judo. Why would a boy who was raised in a good Christian home turn against his own? Dear Abby, I joined the Navy to see the world. I’ve seen it. Now how do I get out? Dear Abby, My forty year old son has been paying a psychiatrist $100.00 an hour every week for two and a half years. He must be crazy. Dear Abby, I was married to Bill for three months and I didn’t know he drank until one night he came home sober. Dear Abby, My mother is mean and short tempered. I think she is going through mental pause. Dear Abby, You told some woman whose husband had lost all interest in sex to send him to a doctor. Well, my husband lost all interest in sex and he is a doctor. Now what do I do?
  3. Susie Archuleta Says:
    Sandy and Dan, Very eloquently stated. Thank you. We are so grateful for all the diverse choices in religion/worship that each and every one of us is blessed with. I remember something that you, (Sandy) wrote in chapter 18…… “I don’t care what you believe… it can be to God, the Great Spirit, Mother Nature, Buddha, you name it I’ll accept it. It is all about the energy, believing, and hoping. Don’t ever give up hope.”…..I loved those words because it summed up how I usually felt about who I was going to pray to on which day. I’m still not sure where I fall under these choices. I thank you so much for those words Sandy, because they let me feel comfortable “praying” in a somewhat public setting. (The Blog). You see Sandy, my very wise cousin, always the teacher and forever will be. Love and yes always prayers. Love, Susie
  4. Susie Archuleta Says:
    Oh I forgot to say….Cameron, nice six pack!
  5. HAMSTER Says:
    Dearies, today was an incredible day. It started to bird song while doing volunteer work looking for my dear ol’ friend, the spotted owl. We found one, where we hoped they still reigned. Then the rains came and freshened the air. The clouds floated in and out of the mountain tops. I think of you and pray as I walk, and a part of a poem by Emily Dickinson comes to mind “Hope is the thing with feathers; That perches in the soul; And sings the tune without the words; And never stops at all.” - Blessings with Love, Heather
  6. D2 Says:
    Sandy, Dan and Cameron, We totally agree with you and respect your desires and wishes! You are the best ones to judge what is best for you! We love you bunches and we’ll see you in a couple weeks in the Lance bike ride! Just know that you are constantly in our thoughts and prayers (however and to whomever that is!). Any cheesecake requests? I feel the need to bake! All our Love, Deb & Don
  7. Linda Cozzolino Says:
    I am sure that the two of you are too busy to be reading this, but I wanted to say that you guys have the sweetest spirits and that I have learned more from your actions and love toward others than I can ever express. From many miles away I am priviledged to be informed of your journey and to feel admiration and love for the both of you. Thanks and Live Strong
  8. Leda Says:
    and, thank you,thank you so much for sharing so much and allowing me to learn from you. One big hug full of strength and blessings!
  9. Annie Says:
    Dear Sandy and Dad, Pat Morgan, your sister-in-law, is a good friend of mine and I have been keeping tabs on your journey through her and through your very generous blog. I have wanted to offer words of hope and encouragement for a long time, but didn’t feel that I could be that presumptuous as I’ve never met you. However, after this post I have decided to share something I saw in my doctor’s office the other day because when I saw it, I had a strong reaction to the words on an energetic level (and it most definitely IS all about the energy) and a very strong feeling that I should share it with you: “What the catepillar calls the end of the world, the Master calls a butterfly.” God bless you; I am praying for you every day.
  10. Susie Archuleta Says:
    SANDY,…………………HAVE A GLORIOUS BIRTHDAY!…………LOVE, FROM YOUR FAMILY IN DUVALL.
  11. Anna and Lee Says:
    Hear, hear, you guys! Ocean therapy - next to mountain therapy, that’s some of the best. Fill your lungs wtih ocean air and your ears with the sounds of waves. “Carpe diem”, indeed.
  12. Millie Says:
    Dan, I continue to be impressed by your eloquence and your willingness to keep us all up to date while you and Sandy and Cameron have so many other things that demand your attention. Glad to hear that Sandy is pacing her days. I hope you are able to pace yours as well to renew your energy. We are keeping Sandy, you and all your family in our thougts and prayers.
  13. Caryn O\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ Says:
    Sandy and Dan–I know this day (July 13) is very special to you for several reasons–not the least of which is SANDY’S birthday. So birthday greetings from the Oregon coast. You were here a year ago on this day cracking crab in the gazebo and relishing every precious bite. May you be relishing the many joys of this day, right now ,where you are together in love and tenderness and caring for one another. Mom
  14. Tina B Says:
    Happy Birthday Sandy!
  15. Rose Marie M. Says:
    Praying for you, Dan, and Cameron. May you have a very special and Happy Birthday today! I hope to come by and see you all soon.
  16. jkw Says:
    Hey, Hey, Hey! It’s somebody specials’ Birthday today!! Hope you can feel the Love flowing your way Sandy. My youngest son turned 14 yesterday! Love, Positive Thoughts, Wishes, and Prayers to you and Dan!! ;) OXOX
  17. Aunt Shari Says:
    Dear Sandy, We have a Special feeling for July Birthday Gals. WE are so happy that we had a visit with you,family and friends. Our prayers are for you and your journey. Hope you have a enjoyable trip on the Oregon Coast. Love Shari and Stan
  18. Caryn O'Connor Says:
    HAPPY, HAPPY, HAPPY BIRTHDAY SANDY!! Something AMAZING happened today and I wanted to share. Yesterday my good friend Sue at work lost the diamond out of her wedding ring. She was devasted and was in tears for awhile. She has had it for over 30 years and there is a very wonderful & sentimental story behind it. She was certain she lost it somewhere in the office, so 8 of us were looking high and low, on our knees, we even dumped a HUGE rolling bin full of scrap paper for recycling and plowed through it. We did not find it, so it was a very sad day. However, this morning while doing the deposit one of the gals found it amongst the checks and cash. We are just certain it had been in the money bag since yesterday when Sue did the deposit. We decided to surprise her, so we wrapped it (very securely) inside a small box and then put it inside a bigger box. Today our truck from our Portland office came to drop off a large shipment of travel store products so while she wasn’t looking I gave it to the driver and had him take it outside & then bring it back in with some of the boxes that he was delivering. We had put her name on the box and so that was the first box she opened, because it was a bit unusual for her to receive a large box with her name on it. The look on her face was priceless…she was in shock and speechless because she was staring at it not believing what she was seeing!! Later she told us she was trying to figure out how the heck did our Portland office end up with her diamond which she just lost yesterday!! Oh boy……..what a HAPPY day it was for all!! She was so APPRECIATIVE AND SO VERY THANKFUL!! So the moral of this story….wonderful things happen to wonderful people and some of them are AMAZING miracles!! Love, your sister!!
  19. D2 Says:
    Hey there - for unknown reasons we failed to know yesterday was your birthday….. Thus, Happy Birthday to YOU! Happy Birthday to YOU, Happy Birthday Dear Sandy, Happy Birthday to YOU. Get the idea that we are singing this…? Thought so. Once again we head north this weekend even though we think we should stay home and get some things done - like riding the bike….. But, you know how that goes sometimes…. Be back in communication on Monday. Have a great weekend - we’ll be on the other side of those big ol’ hills thinking of you! Love, D2
  20. Mary (thelma) Says:
    friends we of the brain tumor support group and a couple of her friends and even one of her docs surprised her (hmm maybe) Wednesday night and did just a wonderful birthday party for her. We do have lots of pictures from it but I am sorry and don’t know how to get a site over to you all, but maybe one of the people involved can do it. Ending the party Katie director of Wellness Place read the new edition for our “I Have This Day book, gee it is call “Thelma and Louise”. Everyone loved it and will have the book with us at the Lance Armstrong event.
  21. Susie Archuleta Says:
    Sandy, I hope you are, or soon will be relaxing near or on the beach smelling the salty sea air, feeling the sun and wind on your face. I imagine Dan on one side of you and Cam on the other. The silhouette of three…or is it one. I imagine the surf sounding distant, but the gulls rather loud. I imagine the silhouette only divides occasionally to reel in the two energetic dogs that are easily making friends with passersby. There is no imagining the love that flows from this scene in my head. Enjoy!!!! And give those doggies a squeeze for me. Love and prayers, Your Cousin Susie.
  22. mary pat barton Says:
    Hi Sandy, Dan and Cam - As usual your letters are so uplifting and filled with love. thanks again. Glad to hear you are all going for a ocean fix. The sunsets should be wonderful. If you could use a few free nights at a beach Best Western - please get ahold of me. John has alot of free nights stacked up - Happy trails love mary pat and family.
  23. Hank & Ruth Says:
    Hi Dan and Sandy: You have treated this whole cancer journey with such dignity and courage. Sharing through this journal has been such a gift to everyone that cares about you — and there seems to be a zillion of us out there !!! We, too don’t belong to a church - I believe we’re referred to as “recovering Catholics..” Our spirituality is found in these wonderful mountains and people like you who set such a great example of the good life. Hope you enjoyed the “Safeway” turkey (we don’t cook) and the Opera C.D.’s (we don’t sing) … but we love it. Love you, too Hank and Ruth
  24. Kellee Bradley Says:
    Dear Dan and Sandy, You’re in my thoughts and prayers and I’m sending love and white light to surround you during this time. While part of me is praying for a miracle, another part is celebrating the fact that you’ve both made this the most incredible journey for all of us. The lessons we’ve learned are so precious. Thank you, thank you. I’ll be up on August 5th for the music festival…I’ll stop by. Love, Kellee
  25. Mary Lou Johnson Says:
    Thoughts and prayers to all of you. And to the three of you, I so admire your choices of how you approach this journey that we are all on. You are brave to be so open and as a result your reasons have the desired effect….to educate others and to give increased understanding of what love and compassion really mean. The message, at this juncture, that I want to share, is just that this phase of the journey that we all will take, but that you are knowingly taking now, is for the way to be gentle. It can’t be easy but gentlesness for you Sandy isn’t too much to ask. And that’s part of my prayer. much love, mary lou
  26. Robert Bowman Says:
    Dan and Sandy, I am impressed and inspired by your strength and dedication to each other. I am reminded of the scripture, “For every animal of the forest is mine, And the cattle on a thousand hills- I know every bird in the mountains, And the creatures of the field are mine. For the world is mine, and ALL that is in it.” Sandy and Dan, you are God’s! Livestrong! -Robert
  27. Anne and Andre Nowacki Says:
    Sandy and Dan, We thought to share with you a little quote from your old friend Shakespeare, which Andre came out with suddenly at dinner the other night. In thinking of your trip and the balance between the pleasure of friendly company, and the pleasure of solitude…. “And this our life exempt from public haunt Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, Sermons in stones and good in everything” Quick hugs don’t hurt, either… And just imagine giant hugs from all your friends at once! We are sending ours. Enjoy your Pacific Ocean and Portland outing! Anne and Andre
  28. Tracy Ismert Says:
    Dear Dan and Sandy You are the most dignified, spitiual people I have ever come across. To life a life with honesty and love is to live a beautidul life, a true life, a good life. To go against what YOU BELIEVE in right now would be waste of precious time and energy. LIVE STRONG Dan and Sandy and Cameron. Thankyou for teaching us how how to LIVE. Tracy.
  29. D2 Says:
    Hi again from Puddletown. Your trip to the ocean sounds like a good one and at a good time - supposed to be really hot this weekend. The ocean is a powerful and spritual asset and we are certain you will take full advantage of it. If you are close, stop by the barn and see your what your hard work accomplished. Its a beauty. We are likely in Portland this weekend and next and continue to be excited for the upcoming walk and ride - and your arrival! Love you tons! D2
  30. Janet Says:
    Sandy,Dan and Cameron, I sure hope you have a fantastic time at the ocean.I can hear the waves and feel the breeze and imagine the beautiful sun sets.I am glad you are there in person .I think the ocean is very therapeutic.Just what you guys need.Thinking and praying for you often.Love, Janet
  31. Rena Says:
    Dear Sandy, You don’t know me, but thankfully, I know you — because of your generous website and blog. I found you shortly after I was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2004. By being able to witness your amazing journey since then you have given me hope and strength. One week ago, today, (on your birthday!)I had Stereo-tactic Radio Surgery on my tumor. Time will tell if the procedure was successful or not, but whatever the outcome, I can only hope to find your courage. I respect and admire you for expressing your needs to your family and friends, it is such an important part of the journey. I learn and grow from your experiences and life-lessons everyday. You are an amazingly beautiful person and I feel like I know you and Dan. Thank you so much for sharing your heart with me — I AM CHANGED because of it. Dan, your hope that others would learn from your journey has been fulfilled in me, but I am quite certain I am only one of MANY who call Sandy their teacher…Love, Rena
  32. Susie Archuleta Says:
    Yes…Rena, I have also been taught by Sandy and Dan. Sandy’s cousin in Duvall, Wa. Love and prayers, Susie
  33. Pam Wilds Says:
    Dan and Sandy… Deeply impressed, once again, by a visit to the website. You have been in my prayers since I received e-mail from Carolyn three weeks ago or so…just wanted you to know that… Pam
  34. Pam Wilds Says:
    Also… I love the gnome and the comment made by one of Sandy’s students about whether or not Dan’s hair will grow back. Belated congrats on your anniversary. I remember the wedding well — a very special day! I had never been to the wedding of a sibling before… have never been since. Thanks for including me/us in your lives.
  35. HAWM Says:
    Blessings to Rena, you also are in our prayers. Sandy and Dan have added a huge “community” to those of us who love them. May you walk in the knowledge that goodness is out there and you are cared about. God Bless all, Heather M — P.S. to Dan & Sandy…we were on Poe Mountain last weekend, 5500′-6000′, snow patches still, and the flowers just unfolding buds. Peak flowering in the high country will be for several weeks. The humingbirds have risen in elevation too and are feeding on God’s nectar. So many birds. Also some fresh bear scat, always intriguing what they are eating - grasses right now. Pikas, oh, I love those guys too. - Again, love, Heather & Pat & Clover barky-bark-bark & Rufous & Prunie meows of love.
  36. Susie Archuleta Says:
    Just stopping by to say hello. I’m looking forward to Portland. Love, hugs & prayers. Susie
  37. Becki Heath Says:
    Dan and Sandy, I have been priveledged to read your blog for some time now. Corky shared the address so that I could keep up to date on you journey, which you have so graciously shared with us all. I am deeply moved by the learning and joy expressed here. I wish you both the best and thank you for your generous spirits. You are in my prayers. Becki Heath (and Monty too)
  38. D2 Says:
    Hi there - just a note to say hello and tell you that you are in our thoughts everyday. Good energy, prayers, and the Livestrong spirit head your way with all the love we can muster. See ya soon. Love always, D2
  39. Jennifer Says:
    I am a stranger, but feel compelled to write. You have touched my heart and taught me so much through sharing your experience, lessons that will stay with me forever. Thank you. I think of you all everyday.

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