In September of 2011, Sandy went for a regular check up at the Mayo Clinic, but she came back with news that would drastically change her life. She was diagnosed with stage 3 multiple myeloma with damage to her kidneys. In addition, 70% of her plasma cells were affected and she was in renal failure. Her medical team at Mayo put her on chemotherapy four days a week through September and October. After October, she continued with the chemotherapy once a week until April 27th, 2012 when she received a stem cell transplant. Before her diagnosis, she did notice more fatigue, bruising, and colds, but she thought it was part of getting older, working at her job cleaning houses, and taking care of her mother who was sick at the time. If she would have gone in a couple weeks later, the doctors told her she would have had a very different outcome.
Even though Sandy lives close to Mayo Clinic in Zumbro Falls, the multiple appointments daily led her and her family to seek housing in Rochester. Affordable housing, Sandy said, was difficult to find in Rochester. At the time, she was unaware of Med City Foundation and the services and support that they are able to provide for blood cancer patients. Sandy and her daughter, who was her caregiver during her treatment, found a room at the Samaritan Bethany Nursing Home in their caregiver suite. In this space, her daughter slept on a blow-up mattress in the living room while Sandy slept in the only bed.
It was not until Sandy’s daughter came across a Facebook post of Med City Foundation asking for stories of patients, that they became aware of what Med City provides. Sandy remembers how hard it was for her and her family to find a housing option that was right for them, and she wishes she would have known about Med City. She says there is a need for organizations like Med City Foundation because there are many patients coming from all over to the Mayo Clinic that need this type of housing for different periods of time and the many unknowns of cancer. From this difficult time, Sandy advises other patients to trying to keep a positive attitude during this very challenging time, take one day at a time, and look for support in places you may not know it exists. She is now on maintenance chemotherapy every other week since her transplant and maintains her optimistic and grateful attitude.