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Bitter sweet St. Patrick's Day involving breast cancer


9 years ago at this time, I was at the hospital preparing for surgery. After being diagnosed with breast cancer the month before, it was time for my modified radical mastectomy.

Changing into a hospital gown, booties and hair net - taking several pills in advance with no more than an ounce of water then waiting to be called was not easy but having my husband and sister by my side made it more bearable

Meeting my surgeon for a brief chat after which I was escorted by a very kind empathetic nurse to the operating room made what was about to happen all the more real. Upon entering the operating room I felt a blast of cold - I was helped onto the table and from there, things moved quickly

As sheets were positioned and an IV inserted, my Surgeon said “With us today is Angela Sandow….” The sedation started to kick in and for whatever reason, I tried to fight it. I wanted to speak but realized that I couldn’t move my jaw. I couldn’t move anything. A pang of fear and then………

……. this is part of my story which I share in my book titled “FROM CHEMO TO THROTTLE”

Every St Patrick’s Day I thank my medical team which included my Surgeon, Nurses and Volunteers for making this experience as positive as possible. For allowing me to maintain my dignity and for treating me with respect. For holding my hand and speaking with kindness. For their patience and understanding.

I am blessed to share that I will be speaking at a meeting with the Canadian Association of Nurses in Oncology on Wednesday, April 4th which coincides with the 18th anniversary of Oncology Nursing Day. Presenting on this day to this very special audience is an honour for me and will allow me to share how much the endless hours and actions of Oncology Nurses are valued, appreciated and remembered.

Whatever type of work you do and the position you hold, regardless of who you interact with on a daily basis, your actions make a difference to people. You might never know how you impact others but you do. Make sure that the encounter is a positive one. Ensure that your behaviour, your body language and your communication style allow others to retain their self-worth.

Until next time, why discourage when you can encourage!


Inspirational Speaker,

Motorcycle Enthusiast, Musician, Breast Cancer Survivor, Author, Executive Producer,

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This must have been very difficult for you. Glad to see that things went well! You are an inspiration!

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