Today is 4-11 — a perfect day for a quick check-in… and “namaste” blessing to all!
On April 1, I celebrated my birthday with a visit to the Self Realization Fellowship Mediation Gardens in Encinitas.
I said a prayer of gratitude and wished for everyone to have the blessings of love, truth, light, (health) and peace — the meaning of my word for the year — “namaste.”
One friend who is in my heart and soul is Sandie Walters.
I was so shocked and sad to learn that Sandie died suddenly from pneumonia in January. Sandie’s spirit will live on forever through DCIS Redefined, a website we created together in 2013.
I am so thankful for the meaningful work I am involved with along with my health, my family and all my dear friends near and far!
Wishing everyone peace, love, light, health and truth.
~ NAMASTE ~
Donna Pinto, 4-11-18
About Donna Pinto
I am originally from New Jersey and moved to Los Angeles with my family at age 12. After graduating from San Diego State University with a BA in Journalism, I had a short-stint in magazine advertising sales before landing my "dream job" with Club Med. For two years I worked at resorts in Mexico, The Bahamas, The Dominican Republic and Colorado. My husband Glenn & I met in Ixtapa, Mexico and we embarked on a two year honeymoon around the world. This was also a research project for a book we wrote called "When The Travel Bug Bites: Creative Ways to Earn, Save and Stay Abroad." I am also the author of a quote book for new graduates -- "Cheatnotes on Life: Lessons From The Classroom of Life." In 1997, we settled in San Diego and I was blessed to work part-time from home for non-profit organizations while raising our two boys. In 2010, a DCIS diagnosis changed my life. DCIS 411 is the culmination of my on-going journey and discoveries.
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This is a very sad piece of news indeed. I looked at Sandie’s website to see if she had updated her readers about her situation and couldn’t find anything. At some point, she developed invasive breast cancer, even though her DCIS had originally been deemed low risk. I can understand why she probably didn’t want to go online and share every detail of her personal battle.
On the other hand, it would have been enlightening to know what her approach was (did she ever do rads?). When a person starts a site such as hers, unfortunately it comes with the territory to report on the good as well as the bad. We are all in this journey together, whatever the outcome may be. The one big issue we all have to accept is that there are no guarantees in the world of cancer. And I still totally respect and support the decisions she made. She did everything she possibly could to determine her risk factors, including being evaluated by Dr. Lagios in 2007. I would have done the same things she did. She pioneered this area of DCIS for others to learn from.
I’m sure there will be negative people who point to her case and use it to set us all back light years in this journey, to continue to push for over treatment, including invasive surgeries and radiation that are not necessary. Our hope is for solid, evidence based studies to lead the way.. We don’t hear much about women who do all the surgeries and radiation and still develop invasive cancer and die from the disease. .All the “what ifs” aren’t helpful and don’t do any good. We DO know that many, many women are being overtreated for DCIS. Sandie’s sad outcome is not a reason to turn our backs on all we have learned, and I”m sure she wouldn’t want that, either.
I don’t know what the future of her site may be, but I know for sure that there is now a ton of information out there that DCIS needs to be re-evaluated and re-categorized , from being a “killer cancer” that requires rush rush immediate “treatment”.to a risk factor that needs surveillance.
Sandie’s DCIS unfortunately did become invasive, and I’m sure she did all she could at that point to eradicate it, as I would also do if faced with that situation. But we can’t continue to sacrifice women’s health and bodies on a “what if? basis. If we treated all cancers and diseases like that, most of us would have limbs removed, organs removed, and be in the surgical suite day and night. We don’t do that, and we need to stop doing that for DCIS!
Sending love, strength and prayers to you for the loss of your dear warrior friend, and prayers to her husband and family. She was obviously a very special person!
Hi there and thank you so much for taking the time to write your thoughtful comment. I know there are many questions about Sandie and I plan to respond more in depth, but for now I wanted to say that Sandie’s invasive cancer was found in the opposite breast from the DCIS breast and it was found on RODEO MRI by Dr. Steve Harms who invented this special “dedicated” breast MRI. Sandie was told by Dr. Lagios that the new invasive cancer had NOTHING to do with the original DCIS. Hers was a rare and special case…having DCIS, LCIS and invasive cancer in BOTH breasts within 10 years. Sandie continued to do extensive research and was planning on created a new website. I have some of her writings that I will be posting about her experience. She was extremely public and candid about everything and only wanted to help women be more informed and understand their choices both with conventional medical procedures and alternatives. She was a very special indeed and she helped thousands of women find life and breast-saving resources — including me! Please stay tuned on this and thank you for the inspiration to write about Sandie’s continuing journey which she did share very openly with me. I know she would want me to share everything. Thank you so much for your love strength and prayers. Sandie is with me every day — and with all of us!! Namaste, Donna
Donna, thanks so much for clarifying what Sandie’s situation was. Indeed, it sounds as if she had a more complex/rare scenario, including LCIS. It is very interesting to know that the original DCIS was not the cause of her passing, which once again supports the changes she (and you/we) are fighting for regarding less invasive treatments for DCIS. I am so sorry that her overall situation was more serious and that there wasn’t a good outcome. But at least she and her family know that she went through that difficult journey in the most informed way possible. It’s also extremely informative to know that the invasive cancer was NOT found via mammogram but through RODEO MRI. i wish more insurance would cover that screening method.
Most of us are aware that even when it’s only DCIS, that doesn’t preclude more serious issues cropping up that may require surgery, radiation or chemo
( depending on what one’s personal feelings/choices about those invasive treatments are ).
It’s wonderful that you have some of her writings and will share her thoughts with us in the future. She has left a powerful legacy, and I know you will continue that with your incredibly important work as well! Again, thank you for the full update. Light and love to you!