The Cancer is Gone, My Arm has been Rebuilt, now the Long Road to Recovery

Words cannot express the overwhelming gratitude I have for all the friends and family who’ve come along side the girls and I since I was diagnosed with cancer.  From my primary doctor, Kristi Kern, to my orthopedic oncology surgeon, Dr. Joel Post, I’ve had nothing but exceptional care.

Chondrosarcoma is an extremely rare form of bone cancer.  Most oncologists will NOT experience a case of it in their entire career.  Because of its rare qualities, it often gets missed until it’s in a more advanced stage.  God was watching over me that day because Dr. Kern spotted my tumor within minutes of my walking into her office.  She didn’t know exactly what we were in store for, but she immediately ordered MRIs for my arm and shoulder and a CT scan for my chest.  Chondrosarcoma typically doesn’t spread but if it does, it typically will metastasize to the lungs.

I went in complaining of pain in my shoulder-blade and 20 minutes later she discovered the tumor in my bone.

The heartfelt prayer by my close friend Kami meant the world to me the morning we arrived at the Lemmon-Holton Cancer Pavilion in Grand Rapids.  She’s dealt with the ultimate sacrifice of burying her own child so to have her stand along side me and give so effortlessly is a true Godsend.

The list of friends who’ve come along our side is endless from the Veldhouse ohana who so graciously mowed our lawn to the Curtis / Kok / Koster & Kosters families who showed up as the “Molly Maid” team to clean the house.  Alicia and Sue who washed our windows, Laurie Popma who has been driving Kekai back from practice and meets on a daily basis.  We’ve had meals dropped off from people at church and endless prayer warriors praying us through.  My mom, sister and daughters continue to fill in the gaps with in every other way and I also have friends helping me with everything from paperwork to coordinating other types of help we’ll need as the leaves begin to drop…  Thank you!!!

It’s been a long, challenging year of unwelcome changes here at the Andrade house.  My daughters and I took a pretty good hit early this year and we’ve worked hard to push through the pain and disappointment that this betrayal continues to bring to our  family.

They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger right?  Well, it must be true because when the doctor called to tell me I had a very rare form of bone cancer, it barely phased me.  My having cancer pales in comparison to hearing the gut wrenching pain that my daughter’s going through after having her heart-broken by a man she once called dad.  There’s nothing worse than seeing your kids hurt and it’s going to take the Grace of God for me to forgive him for his poor choices.


Cathy shot this video shortly after they did the nerve block.  It didn’t take long for my arm to go completely numb at which point she took full advantage to shoot a video.  I must have had some kind of happy juice too at this point.   I remember everything suddenly made me giggle, especially that goofy paper hospital gown that pumped hot air ~ all around me to keep my body at a warmer temperature.

Almost two weeks out of surgery now. I’m slowly improving but am still in a lot of pain. It makes sense when you consider how much of my bone had to be removed from my arm. Taking pain meds every two hours 24/7 has zapped my energy. It’s almost impossible to get any real zzzz’s when I can’t sleep longer than two hours at any given stretch. To top it off, the constipation these stupid drugs cause is horrific. I’m not kidding! I’m weaning off one of the pain meds this week but it’s been a challenge. Basically, the past two weeks have been hell. I do my best to put a smile on for everyone to hide my pain and keep praying for the best. I have the most incredible friends and family standing by my side and helping with everything the girls and I need. The kids themselves had been such a God send; such troopers! We are incredibly blessed by all of you!! Monday morning (9/28) I find out if any higher grade of cancer was found during the thorough pathology report so prayers for a great outcome are definitely appreciated on that. That’s that last scary immediate hurdle. I should be able to start physical therapy at some point down the road so I can begin my road to recovery. I will however have to get scans every three months for the rest of my life. Pray that I’ll find the means to do so and that they continue to come back clean. .

Yes, this is my mom and sister making fun of me… and below are a few of the x-ray shots of my new arm.  Just call me bionic or a super hero or something…

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That’s all for now.  Cathy is the smarty pants who taped Mc Dreamy to my board.  Of course all the surgeons, oncologists, anesthesiologist, nurses, techs… saw it but there was nothing I could do.  The nurse put an alarm on my bed so I couldn’t escape without their help.  Yes, I was busted the first night trying to run to the bathroom, IV’s, drainage tubes… intact because I needed to puke and the nurse call button was on the floor.  What’s a girl to do?

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By the way, the cool sox I’m wearing are compliments of my friend Ann Schneider from The Front Porch in Waukesha, WI.  She has the coolest sox and rumor has it (they keep the naughty ones behind the counter 🙂 just sayin!)

Signing off for now.  It took me a week and a half to get this written.  Visit out Facebook Page ShizzleLLC for more frequent updates and hopefully, I’ll one day be able to paint again.  For now, I’m just thankful to be alive.

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A hui hou ~ Shelly

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15 Replies to “The Cancer is Gone, My Arm has been Rebuilt, now the Long Road to Recovery”

  1. Will pray your results don’t come back with anything else. Someday you’ll be able to paint again, will just have to learn new way to do it. Sure throws out any ideas you might have had for your life huh? I am so glad to hear you have love and support on your side. It won’t be easy but you will persevere. Nothing like what you’ve been thru and will go thru will be fun, but you will persevere. I”m so sorry about your kids Dad, it hurts but sounds like you and your girls will make it anyway, not easily but you will make it.
    Our grandson had testicular cancer when he was not quite 14 yrs. old. When they finally got him to doctor he has stage 4 all thru his body, maybe if she had listened to him sooner might not have gone so far. He had 2 surgeries for tumors in his neck, first surgery was loss of one testicle. Last surgery was 12 hours, surgery on his abdominal area where he had 5lbs, of tumors removed. Just before his surgeon ready to close him up he found tumor that was cancerous behind his heart.
    He had been complaining to his Aunt and I all summer that he hurt and didn’t feel good. His Mother was pretty busy- screwing around while my son was working in Singapore. She was not to be found most of time. Was having an affair with guy she worked with, tried to tell my son and us she hadn’t had sex with him. sure. Son was going to divorce her but when they found out about their son he put it on hold. This woman continues to do whatever she can to hurt our family including lying to ones that don’t know her as we do, they don’t live here. When DIL learned I knew about her she told me was none of my business, it was all over this valley since she worked at a mtg. broker. She has done as much as she could to keep my son away from his family. I found about what she was doing from another business owner in small town I worked in. She told my boss who told me.
    After 3 yrs. they believed him to be cured – until this summer when he hadn’t been feeling well so went to his doc. He has blood cancer in his lungs, liver is worst of all, his throat and back. He’s had 2 rounds of chemo and a stem cell transplant couple weeks ago. His numbers are up again and has to have more chemo. We’re not allowed to see him, speak to him, call him, leave him messages on his facebook page. His Mother has blocked our family. He’s in Denver at Children’s hospital since they have best unit there for what he needs. MY son can’t call us or his sister as his wife gets mad.
    We are so sick about him, he’s 21 will be 22 in Nov. HE lives in Grand Junction, we haven’t seen him in over 3 yrs. now, won’t have anything to do with us. How do I stop hating this woman? From time she got together with son she has been trouble and that’s over 25 yrs. ago.
    I hope all will be well with you, I am sorry you’re having to go this, I do understand how hard it is.
    God bless you and may you get thru this well. So glad you could let us know whats been going on in your life.

    If you choose to reply please do so to my email address.

    1. My hearts breaks for you and everything you, your grandson, son and entire family have had to endure all these years. PRaying for a physical miracle and emotional healing as well. I can’t even begin to fathom your agony. I’m so very sorry! Lifting you all up in prayer!!

  2. Happy healing from the UP Shelly. Prayers abound for you! I’m thinking you will be painting some really cool sh*t after this experience! Tragedy can really call forth some fantastically creative stuff. Hugs. Alison

    1. Thanks Alison! Right now I’m tempted to paint this stupid sling. There’s got to be something out there that offers more support and at least looks better. I think I could get better support for my arm if I hung a thong panty around my neck ~ seriously 😀

      1. Keep your chin up! And don’t forget to breathe! Inhale the good stuff (God) exhale the bad stuff (you insert here)

  3. So thankful for courage and loyalty of friends and family. God is with you always. Prayers from a friend and fan in Virginia.

  4. Shelly, I can’t believe you’re the one taking the pictures from your hospital bed! You still have it ! No, you don’t know me, but doesn’t everyone who reads your blog feel as if they know you ? 🙂 I haven’t commented enough for you to recognize me. But I’m in your corner. I find it hard to understand why or how a parent can completely give up on their child. I was adopted, so I have that feeling. But, my gosh, they were in his life for years ! I pray for them that they will eventually get through this, and go on with their lives, surrounded by people who will encompass them with love. And one day, that man, who walked away from the best things in his life, will be the loneliest old man with no one to give a damn about him. I simply cannot imagine it. I am glad for you that God led you to the people who helped you so quickly before things got bad. Thank God for the miracles of medicine and science which will get you through this. You are stronger than you know, and God is giving you a great chance to prove it to yourself. It is within you, Shelly! God continue to shower you with blessings!

    1. He hasn’t given up on the kids but he’s pretty much lost one of them already due to his poor choices. Praying that time and the Grace of God will heal their relationship some day.

    1. I don’t think I’ve ever tried it. But with everything else I’m eating, taking and using I should probably pick up some Depends because one these days it’s going to catch up with me 😀

  5. Praying that your results come back good. I identify with the heart wrenching difficulties. It took me a long time to be able to forgive but it did happen and I have so much peace. Let him make his stupid mistakes and pay the price for them. You just focus on you and your girls living the best life possible with peace, joy and hope for the future. God bless!

    1. Thanks Christine! I know brighter days are ahead. Until this situation happened, I couldn’t figure out why it was so difficult to forgive somebody. My pain is directly related to how my girls have been hurt. Just like any mother, I think we all want to take our children’s pain away and make it all better again.

  6. I hopped on tonight to look at luscious colors for my next project. I am SO sorry to hear of the hurt you and your children faced this year (what a turd) and for the incredible challenge you are going through right now. But, the blessings and support you shared…that’s the good stuff. Praying the news is great at your next appointment and that you find your new normal soon.

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