Sarcoma Story: Chastity Sabanjo

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Type of Sarcoma: Leiomyosarcoma
Date of Diagnosis: 2016
Location: eye

My name is Chastity, a two-time cancer survivor. In my adult life, I have moved and lived around the Twin Cities area and enjoy spending time volunteering. Most of my volunteering was on the resident council, organizing events, balancing checkbooks and purchasing items for events among other things. I also like to read, go outside for walks and enjoy the weather.

I was born in 1975. Just three months after being brought into this world I was diagnosed with Bilateral Retinoblastoma or cancer of the eye. There were 15 tumors behind both my eyes which would have to be treated with chemotherapy and radiation before the tumors were surgically removed. I was in and out of the hospital three times a week for about six months for the treatment process. When this chapter of my life was finished, my lenses had to be removed due to the radiation treatment which damaged them.

I started experiencing blurry vision in 2016, a year that would yet again alter my life. After going in to address my vision, a tumor was found that had formed on a muscle behind my eye, and a biopsy was done to see if the tumor was cancerous. I returned to the hospital to have an infection looked at that was separate from the biopsy done earlier. However, it was this appointment when the oncologist came in and told me the results of the biopsy, a high-grade cancer called Leiomyosarcoma.

December, 2016, is when my second go at beating cancer began, this was also when I was introduced to Rein in Sarcoma. The course of action for treatment this time was radiation. The image shown is of me having my face molded for the mask used during treatment. After two weeks of radiation, my face was already showing signs of red, sunburn spots which led to a decrease in treatment intensity. February, 2017, I had surgery to have the tumor removed, which resulted in vision decrease.

At this point, I have beaten cancer not once, but twice. I am currently waiting for 100% recovery of the surgery site before potentially having plastic surgery done. Today I go to check-up appointments every six months, and oncology appointments annually.

Although I have been tested and challenged by cancer twice in my life I have always told myself, I am not going to let this cancer take me down without a fight, and if it’s going to be one of us that wins it is not going to be cancer. It is an ongoing challenge since my last treatment. Having my vision decrease has made the things I enjoy a test, walking outside and seeing the street lights, walking Deva, my dog, and everyday reading. Being introduced to Rein in Sarcoma has allowed me to pick up volunteering again where I am assisting with the 2018 raffle for Party in the Park.

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