Nicole Sandler’s fight against lung cancer

8-17-16 Surgical Consult #3 – Cleveland Clinic, Weston FL

Yes, we have a Cleveland Clinic in South Florida. It's actually in Weston, just about a 15-minute drive from my home, making it the most convenient of the three hospitals I've narrowed my choices to. The surgeon we met with there, Dr. Edward Savage, is certainly a rock star, with the Columbia-Yale-Harvard-Penn and more credentials to prove it. Dr. Savage also uses a minimally invasive technique to do the surgery I need. But instead of using the da Vinci robotic technique (apparently the OB/GYN surgeons at CC monopolize the use of them), he does it using his own minimally invasive [...]

8-11-16 Surgical Consult #2 – University of Miami/Sylvester Cancer Center

Our second surgical consult was with Dr. Dao Nguyen from University of Miami/Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. The photo above was at the Deerfield Beach clinic, 20 minutes from my home, where I'll have my follow-up appointments if I choose to go with them. Dr. Nguyen's CV is truly impressive, as was he in person. He went over the reports with us and showed us the tumors on the CT scan, and gave his recommendations. Although his diagnosis and recommendation of surgery was  consistent with Dr. Robinson's at Moffitt the day before, his approach to surgery is different. Dr. Robinson uses [...]

8-10-16 Surgical Consult – Moffitt Cancer Center

It’s been 35 years since I’ve been on the USF campus, but that’s where the world renowned Moffitt Cancer Center is based.   Moffitt didn’t exist when I was studying broadcasting at the University of South Florida and working at my first radio job at WUSF. And the campus was virtually unrecognizable from the nascent commuter school that any Florida high school graduate could attend. More about my visit to my alma mater  at another time, but now the reason for the trip. The Moffitt Cancer Center is ranked in the Top 10 cancer centers nationally, and is the highest [...]

8-8-16 Nicole Sandler Show – Cannabis Cures

  As you probably know by now, I'm fighting cancer. I'm nothing if not thorough, and the search for the right surgeon to cut this cancer out of me is frustrating at best. I've long known of the medicinal and healing properties of cannabis. A few years ago, I even narrated the TV program, Should Grandma Smoke Pot? My research brought me to, the official website of cannabis as a cure pioneer Rick Simpson, who famously began giving his home made "hemp oil" to friends and neighbors in Canada, with astounding results. Today, Rick is living in Croatia, still [...]

8-6-16 Good News, Relatively Speaking

After four weeks (but a veritable lifetime of waiting), we finally met with the oncologist yesterday to go over all of my test results. After finding out I had a mass on my lung by mistake through an x-ray of my chest after a suspected heart attack (that thankfully wasn't one), followed by weeks of poking, prodding, CT scan, PET scan, brain MRI, biopsies and other procedures, we got the best news we could have gotten, under the circumstances... with a couple of caveats. At this point, my cancer appears to be Stage 1 adenocarcinoma, localized in the lower lobe of [...]

8-3-16 Time for EBUS

This was as horrible as it sounds. After a horrendous experience with the front desk women at the outpatient services desk at Holy Cross Hospital (detailed in this Yelp review -- the only recourse I had at 6:30 in the morning), I was taken into the prep room. The nurses there were wonderful, and I was soon over the stress of my first encounter of the day. They went over what this test involves, and I knew it wouldn't be pleasant. The first thing they had to do was numb my bronchial tubes. So, a syringe filled with a lidocaine [...]

7-31-16 One More Test

  That's my brain. An MRI of my brain was performed on Wednesday to determine if my lung cancer has spread there. I took the disc home with me and spent an hour or so going through the images looking for any spot that looks slightly wrong. Thankfully, even in my paranoia, I couldn't find any. This Wednesday, I'll submit to the last in the battery of tests to determine the stage and the recommended treatment plan. The final test is EBUS, or Endobronchial Ultrasound Bronchoscopy. Although I have to be at the hospital at 6am for a 7:30 procedure, I'll take [...]

Thursday, July 28, 2016 – Still Quoting Tom Petty

"The waiting is the hardest part" -- Tom Petty I just emerged from the MRI machine where my brain was scanned to determine if the cancer in my lung spread to my brain. At this point, I'm trying to remember to count my blessings whenever possible, so I was happy to see an open MRI machine like the one pictured above instead of the claustrophobia-inducing regular tunnel type. I'm killing some time in The Heart Healthy Cafe at the hospital, waiting for my 10:15 appointment with the surgeon who just might be removing the lower left lung lobe, and maybe [...]

7-26-16 Non Small Cell Lung Cancer

  I had my first consultation with the oncologist yesterday. The entire experience was a bit surreal. Although I'm impressed with the cancer center at Holy Cross Hospital in Ft. Lauderdale, I was immediately put off by the women who greeted me at the reception desk. From the one young woman who, in her very chipper voice with a big smile on her face asked, "How are you doing today?" to the other one who, without bothering to check, said "You have a $40 co-pay today," I was ready to turn and run out of there. Instead, I told anyone [...]

7-25-16 First Oncologist Meeting; First Denial of Benefits

  The crooks at UHC have now officially denied my first claim. Following the Angiogram, I was ordered to not move for six hours, making the time I was able to get off the bed 11:30PM Friday night, at which time there was no doctor around to discharge me. But UHC decided that was not "medically necessary." This is going to be a long, long treatment period ahead. I will not be on the air today, but will let you know later what the oncologist says when I have my first consult this afternoon. Watch this space...

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