MY STORY > Sandie Lampe : founder
In the fall of 2013, following a routine physical check up, I was told I had breast cancer.
I looked around my doctor’s office. I was sure she must have been talking to someone else. I did not meet the profile of a breast cancer person: No family history of breast cancer, not a smoker, no excessive drinking, body in good physical condition, regular exercise, and organic foods.
Whoa… this simply could not be me! My heart was pounding! What a jolt.
Once you are diagnosed with cancer your life changes and it will never be the same.
As I caught my breath, my doctor asked the pivotal question: “Do you have a team?” She told me I would need a team to successfully get through this journey.
My team certainly included my daily conversation with God; my doctors; my family and friends; and my dog Schmoozer.
Schmoozer knew about my illness way before I did. Six months before my diagnosis, Schmoozer would come and wake me up each morning in the most remarkable way. She would begin licking my left arm/shoulder to the point that I would have to stop her. She would then put her little Shih Tzu/Poodle head under my neck and just look at me with her loving eyes. A dog’s incredible sense of smell can alert us to medical conditions. I guess it is no surprise it was my left breast that was scheduled for the mastectomy! My journey had unknowingly begun.
Two months before my diagnosis, I had a complete physical. I was a happy camper when I heard that I was in GREAT health. So when I received the yearly mammogram reminder, I decided to skip it and wait until the following year. Why not skip it? My life is always busy. Then at the last minute a meeting cancelled and I had some extra time. Oh well, I might as well go.
Two weeks later I received a letter from Scripps: We need you to come back to retake the mammogram. We want to be sure that you are okay. Mmmm, I thought. The downward spiral began- Even though I was still in denial.
My /Our journey Starts:
I looked at Schmoozer with her big eyes saying I love you. I will be your sidekick no matter what!
In the weeks that followed, I turned to Schmoozer many times for emotional comfort. After the grueling tests: PetScan…MRI…Biopsies, Schmoozer would be waiting at home for me, her silhouette in the window- waiting…. waiting… waiting.
When you have a dog, you are obliged to continue a “normal” life. They still need their daily walks, to be played with, and breakfast, lunch and dinner. I realized this routine kept me in a positive frame of mind. I told myself to have faith, and be brave so the healing could begin.
I also realized, Schmoozer reacted to my emotions. Dogs are so in tune with us. They sense our feelings, our health, and also sense being part of our recovery. I had to be careful because studies have shown that dogs pick up your sadness. I had to reassure Schmoozer on a daily basis that everything was going to be okay, and thank her for giving me friendship, and all of the unrequited love I was receiving ( Which was another good thing for my psyche and helped redirect my thoughts to stay positive, be grateful, laugh, and know, no matter what happened, I would heal!
I know Schmoozer was affected for the better by these feelings and emotions, too.
When I was in the hospital, Schmoozer came to visit me every day. Each afternoon, she lay by my side, helping the healing process (Paws mojo). I love the experience of holding Schmoozer and petting her. My reward was, not only my buddy right by my side, but the lowering of my blood pressure.
Dogs want to give you love, companionship and that much needed laugh (No matter what, it is important to maintain a sense of humor. Laughter is strong medicine! We all know how important keeping a sense of humor is to healing on that long road to recovery.).
After all of that I am a Cancer Survivor for one year and and decided to create the ultimate support system online for women with stories and needs like mine. My Vision was Pink Paws > A Survivor’s Best Friend