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I’M BACK! » Apart From My Art
Masthead header


Wonder Woman

Back in February of 2014, I had two major surgeries in one day: two benign tumors removed from my lungs, two ribs removed, internal bleeding, and infused with four pints of blood.

Even now, a year and a half later,  I still get anxious just thinking about my surgery, let alone writing about it. I get a knot in my stomach and the tears start  to well up.  I planned on writing in great detail about all the medical interventions that kept me away from my blog for so long. I wanted to explain to my readers why I seemed to have deserted them. It’s still very painful for me to go into too much detail, so this is Surgery – The Light Version.

Woman in fear under blanketsMy operations put me out of commission, both emotionally and physically, for over a year. Even though it wasn’t cancer, it was major surgery and serious and my recovery was slow, painful, exhausting and depressing. I simply had no energy or desire to write or communicate with anyone. And then, about ten or  eleven months into the healing process, another black cat crossed my path. Or to be more specific, I smashed my left wrist.

Black cat crossing my path

I was working away on my computer, when suddenly an error message popped up telling me  that there was “no more space” on my hard drive. I phoned Apple tech support, left a message and went into the house to make myself a cup of tea and maybe steal a cookie. A few minutes later,  Apple called back. I ran out the front door to go to the studio and my sick computer. I was so intent  on getting  the phone call that I didn’t see a small stack of wooden beams that our handyman was using to repair our walkway. Suddenly, I was launched like a jet off a carrier deck. Zoom. Crash. Bang. Eye glasses smashed into my face. Blood dripped all over me and my left wrist dangled, broken. My surgeon said that the fracture looked  “ as if two sixteen-wheeler trucks had collided.”


So, it was back to the operating room and three hours under the knife. The post-op me included a titanium plate, iridescent purple screws, miscellaneous bits of wire and metal embedded in my wrist. The doctor informed me that I would be in a cast for three months followed by three weeks in a splint, and another surgery. Seriously?

Hand x-ray

Yes, this really is my hand.

So three months later, it was back to the operating room for another surgery to remove the wires. The titainium plate and purple screws remain a part of me forever.

Can’t wait for 2016!

I’m trying to be optimistic and as someone once said…

Train, light at the end of the tunnel

 “There’s always light at the end of the tunnel. Just pray it isn’t a train!”


woman writing and musing


1. As long as I’m able, I need to take charge of my own medical care. I need to pay close attention toGolden medical discovery labelmy health and well-being. I cannot assume that anyone else will. That includes my doctors. I had a reality check on my mortality, too. I am (gasp!) 74 not 35!  To be honest, I’d been living my life as if there was no end and as Woody Allen put it, I am not afraid of death, I just don’t want to be there when it happens.

woman asleep at computer

2. I asked myself what did my compulsive frenzy of Tweeting, Facebook-ing, GooglePlus-ing, Pinterest-ing, and Instagram-ing mean? I was suddenly overwhelmed with social media existential angst. Fortunately, I had one of those “Ah-ha” insights and now I engage in social media for the fun of it and for the special friends I make.

helping hands3. My husband and my children are my gifts. They are my advocates. Look out for them, because they roar and insist I be well taken care of when I can’t take care of myself. I’ll never forget my daughter informing me, as I was wheeled out after my second lung operation,  thatWe made a decision, Mom, and we will not leave you alone at any time!” They were always with me and even insisted that I get more pain medication when the nurses said I had enough. They were right, bless them!

4. After four days, the doctors insisted that I needed to have the epidural, which was dripping pain medication into my body, removed from my back. They wanted to transition to pain medication taken orally.  At one point, the epidural remaining in my body collided with the oral meds, and threw me into a tailspin. I felt like Alice falling down the hole, not knowing where I was going to land. Our son, Matthew, saw this and grabbed my hand. My husband grabbed my other hand  in an attempt to keep me conscious, Matthew started reading articles about the Royal family. He knew I was a “royalty groupie.” He showed me selfies that the Queen took of herself, Kate Middleton, and her corgis. I was amazed that the Queen would take selfies. It turned out that she never did, but it got my attention and brought me back from whatever dark hole I was sinking into.

Alice falling down therabbit hole5. Every morning as the sun rose and the nurses began their probing and testing, I would distract myself by glancing out my window. There is an incredible view as the rising sun is reflected on the red glass panels of the Pacific Design Center. The building looks like it is in flames. I would always insist that the nurses take a moment to stop and savor this remarkable sight. They usually barely glanced and returned to their needles and bags. I was  surprised, but they had their jobs and I had my visions.

Sunrise on the Pacific Design Center from my hospital room

6. The nurses and I really connected when we talked about makeup. Our discussions shifted from bedpans to brushes –– makeup brushes. I have a gazillion of them, loads of lipsticks and a bounty of blushes. I was amazed that every nurse seemed to be an expert at applying  makeup. So it only seemed natural that I’d be asking them the brands of eye shadows when I was awakened at 2AM. What else is there to talk about at that hour?

Lots of red lipsticks7. Because they had inserted a breathing tube in me twice in one day, I had trouble swallowing and talking. After four days of not eating, they really wanted me to get started. Believe it or not, liquids are hard to swallow. You need solids. What did they suggest? Apple sauce and mechanically chopped meat. Mechanically chopped meat? OK, I’m a game gal. It tasted like a four course frozen dinner that had been all ground up together. Bring on the oysters, bring on the snails, bring on the octopus but please, no more mechanically chopped dinners.

OMG< I have to eat mechanically chopped mea?

8. When your left wrist is broken, do not use your elbow to squeeze toothpaste out of a tube. It will fly across the sink and cling to the mirror.

crushed toothpaste tube

9. While showering, hopefully you will have someone who loves you to help. I had my dear husband. He became an expert at shaving my armpits and told me how much he enjoyed our quality time together.


10. Hair. One hand? No way. I’m embarrassed to admit I became a Beverly Hills Housewife and pampered myself by going to one of those blow dry places. It’s addictive.

Hair blowing


You know, I guess I’m REALLY back.

Wonder Woman

All images appearing on I’M BACK! are the expressed property of Sandra Sallin. All rights reserved. In other words, don’t steal it!

Facebook Comments
  • Judy - Wow, I wondered where you had been. I’m just a follower of your blog. Don’t even remember how I found it. Anyway, thank you for sharing this. You’re right about the light at the end of the tunnel thing…….gotta just keep on keeping on but it’s there!! I’m very happy you are getting all better now and I certainly appreciate all you went through with your surgeries. Welcome back!!ReplyCancel

    • sandra - Thanks for following me Judy. I really appreciate it that you take the time to comment. Hope you enjoy my blogs. Thanks for the welcome back!ReplyCancel

  • Cathy Robinson - Sandra, Oh happy day your back. Looking forward to blog posts.ReplyCancel

    • sandra - Hi Kathy, Thanks for commenting. I’m looking forward to the future also! Glad your following along.ReplyCancel

  • Judith Eton - So happy you surfaced, I didn’t know your absence was so serious. Hope to be reading a lot more from you now that you are”on the mend”.ReplyCancel

    • sandra - Thanks Judith. I’ve felt the same way about you. Would love to catch up one day. I always enjoy your posts.ReplyCancel

  • Judi - Oh Sandy, I knew it was bad, but after reading the blog I realize I had NO idea of the travails you have been through. You weathered the storm. What a lucky lady you are to have had your family to take such good care of you.
    Your WWF buddy, JudiReplyCancel

    • sandra - Thanks Buddy. There was no way to describe all of this in short messages. I had even more but I thought it would be just too much. But I’m back so stop beating me! 🙂

      Yes, my family have been so caring, helpful and loving.ReplyCancel

  • Julie Guenther - Sandra, I was so delighted to discover you had a new post that I waited to read it when I would not feel rushed…I wanted to savor it. And that I did.
    I’ve been recovering from a total shoulder replacement (right arm). After a not-so-comfortable session of physical therapy today I was dragging my feet over the need to get in my afternoon exercise routine. And it was rainy and gray outside. Then I read what you wrote.
    And you know what? The cloud cover outside lifted, the rain stopped, and the sun is now shining through 🙂 Let’s call it the physical version of “light at the end of the tunnel”. A jolt of renewed hope that my energy and ability and attitude will continue to improve.
    This getting old definitely makes recovery from surgery a bit more difficult. But your recovery has progressed to bringing you back to all of us who were silently cheering you on for the way too many past months.
    Thank you for sharing.
    And yes, bannisters are good friends who should not be overlooked.
    Smile on,

  • Kathy - Wow – you have been through a lot! But glad you’re on the road to recovery and back to your blog. I did wonder what had happened, but didn’t want to be intrusive either. Have you been able or interested in painting at all?ReplyCancel

    • Sandra Sallin - Thanks Kathy. Never worry about being intrusive. I’m thrilled I’m blogging. I’ve got the use of two hands. You have no idea howout of it I feel with only one hand. Painting. In time.ReplyCancel

  • Julie Guenther - I put on my Happy Dance shoes when I saw your post was awaiting my attention. You’ve endured some amazing struggles…it must feel really good to know inside yourself that you can persevere just about ANYthing:)

    And my own struggles to get back on track after getting a new shoulder are just a piece of fluff in comparison. By sharing your tale you’ve put renewed energy into my spirit.

    Yes, bannisters are our friends and friends should not be ignored 😉


    • sandra - Oh, you’ve had a tough time also. Shoulder are no fun. I’m sure your physical therapy is truly painful! I love putting my hand in a heating pad before I do my exercises. I was kinda shocked when they said it would be a least a year for my hand to maybe be kinda normal. No one dares tell you the truth. I figure in a year I won’t remember how my hand used to be. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Anita Rivera - Sandra! I made it here and I am glad I did. Like I said on IG, I saw your post come via email (I subscribed a few weeks ago) and I was SO DELIGHTED to know you had a new post out! I was out of the house however, and was unable to visit until now.

    WOW.All I can say is that I am thankful that you did not experience a cancerous tumor in your lungs. But what you’ve had to endure is unimaginable, but what an experience to see your family step up – but when you love someone, you will do anything to get them back on the right track! OHHHHH YOU POOR THING, YOU! The way you described your fall; I need to be careful as well for I often run and forget I’m 57 and having stiffer joints these days….a fall at our ages can be life-altering! YOUR WRIST! Thank you for being there to visit or comment in IG, and all the while you are over there trying to recover! I have to say that since I started on IG, my right pinky has been very sore and stiff….from all the swiping of my tablet and phone to view photos!

    But this way of finding such interesting and kind people is worth the little pains that come from overuse of the fingers and hands, and I am so glad we’ve met. I wish you peaceful recovery, and a new season of creativity. You certainly have a legacy of working in a field of creative professionals, and your skills and personality grace our blogworld and IG world! BIG HUGS TO YOU! AnitaReplyCancel

    • sandra - Thank you Anita. What a treasure you are. Poet, French teacher, photographer, writer. I found this pot of gold on Instagram thanks to La Contessa. You are one of the delights of Instagram. That’s what I meant when I said I would use social media for the fun and the friends. It certainly takes me out of me world to see such beauty and meet such fun creative friends. Thanks for following and commenting.ReplyCancel

  • Shirley Abrams - I’m glad you are doing so much better. I have missed you. I always enjoy reading your blogs.ReplyCancel

    • Sandra Sallin - So nice hearing from you Shirley. Would love for us to all get together. Our grandaughter is coming into town. Let’s connect after that.ReplyCancel

  • AlexandraFunFit - I’m glad you’re back in any form. HugsReplyCancel

  • Emily - Welcome back Sandra – so glad you are healed and blogging again! You are a strong woman inside and out, as well as a wonderful writer!ReplyCancel

  • Manal The Go Go Girl - I’m so sorry Sandra you’ve been through all this. I had no idea 🙁 I hope you’re feeling better now. HugsReplyCancel

    • sandra - Thanks Manal for the welcome back.ReplyCancel

  • Jenny - So surprised to get this and thankful that you have bounced back so well.
    Life is full of lessons for us all. Looking forward to ‘hearing your voice’

    • sandra - Thanks for commmenting Jenny. I’m happy to be telling stories again .ReplyCancel

  • pia - I can’t imagine all you went through this past year and more (and hope I never have to, however…)

    just reading your post, especially the part about looking out the hospital window, and seeing your picture, I understand why your family is so intent on making sure that you’re healthy, happy, and here!ReplyCancel

    • sandra - Thank you so much. I coudn’t understand why others weren’t in awe of that rising sun was so stunning in the morning as it hit the Red Building. As I’ve said I wonder if the architect ever saw this view?ReplyCancel

  • Lisa - So happy to see you back Sandra. I think it’s a real thing, learning to embrace one’s frailty and one’s enormous appetite for life at the same time. How to continue to forge an authentic identity, through all the stages of life. I am glad you’re writing again, and even more glad that your health has stabilized. We’re aren’t 20 any more, and nobody has really articulated what exactly we are. I suspect you just might do that. xoxox.ReplyCancel

    • sandra - It’s truy shocking to admit to myself that I will be 75! I need to remember that I’m not a teenager. It’s tough until life hits you in the face. I’m still learning to adjust. Still on that journey. Thanks for always being there.ReplyCancel

  • Queenoftrashytreasures - I found you through La Contessa and caught up on all your previous posts. I really enjoyed them and I am glad you are back.ReplyCancel

    • sandra - Thanks for finding me. I also found you through La Contessa. She has a great group of women who follow her. Thanks for taking the time to read all of my posts. Looking forward to your posts and instagram photos.ReplyCancel

  • Jane Dalea-Kahn - Glad you’re better. Nice story telling. Good visuals!ReplyCancel

    • sandra - Thank you so much Jane. It’s great being back. So glad you enjoyed the story and the photos. Love putting it all together. It only takes me days and days. Nothing to it. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Corinne Rodrigues - I’m so happy to see you back, Sandra. Sorry that you’ve had such a tough time, but as always, I admire your spirit!ReplyCancel

    • sandra - Thanks Corinne, and thanks for taking the time to comment.ReplyCancel

  • Ellen Dolgen - Good lord! I had no idea you have been going through so much. I adore your words and am so glad you are on the other side of this! You’re attitude is amazing and inspirational. ReplyCancel

    • sandra - Thank you so much Ellen. It’s fun to be back and it’s fun to have all of that in back of me!ReplyCancel

  • Lillian Plummer - Hi Sandra, I have enjoyed your posts on IG and have been reading your blog. Happy to hear you are over the worst of it now. Lung surgeries are tough so I feel for you. Best wishes lillian xxReplyCancel

    • sandra - Thanks for coming over from Instagram. It’s fun over there, yes? You’re right lung surgeries are definitely tough!ReplyCancel

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