Piako Fete draws in Red Hat brigade
Headaches alluded Marcela Sandin to a dark secret.
The Matamata mother of three was diagnosed with a brain tumour just 12 days ago.
A month of headaches prompted the school cleaner to visit her doctor.
‘‘The last two weeks it was getting worse and worse.
‘‘ I went to the appointment thinking they were going to say, ‘it’s a migraine, go home’ but no, he did everything on me and said can you go now to emergency at Waikato Hospital? I said now? He said yes, as soon as possible.’’
Sandin said her doctor didn’t want to worry her, but he saw something in her eyes.
Sandin said the staff at the hospital moved quickly and were efficient. She was in hospital for two days undergoing scans and blood tests.
What they found was a 4cm tumour.
Sandin, who works at Matamata Intermediate and Firth School and previously at Pohlen Hospital, will now have brain surgery.
‘‘It’s the only way I’ve got to survive. Nothing else can do it.’’
It’s not known if the tumour is cancerous or benign.
‘‘The doctors say with the MRI and scans it looks like it’s benign, but after the surgery and a biopsy they will see if it’s benign or not. They need to take it out first.’’
Sandin, who is originally from Uruguay, arrived in New Zealand five years ago.
She and her family have lived in Matamata since arriving in the country. ‘‘We love it here,’’ she said. However, the family doesn’t have residency, only working visas. They hoped to one day become citizens.
‘‘We want to be here forever,’’ Sandin said.
The family aren’t sure how much surgery will cost, but it could possibly be around $50,000.
‘‘It’s not just the surgery, it’s what comes after that,’’ she said.
Recovery from surgery will take between six months and a year. She won’t be well enough to work.
Things have moved quickly. Sandin said she was lucky because she had a warning.
The headaches, despite being painful, alluded to a dark secret within her own body.
‘‘The doctors said that kind of tumour, it normally doesn’t say anything, when you are blind it’s too late.
‘‘I’m lucky they found it early so they can take it out.’’
It makes her heart swell to know her friends, family and now the wider community are right behind her.
‘‘ People that I’ve never met before are helping me with a lot of money,’’ she said.
It’s this support that makes Sandin emotional.
Surgery will be taking place in the next week or so. ‘‘The time is going so slow.’’ She hopes nothing will happen, but Sandin said before the operation she is at risk of blood clots, heart attack and seizures.
Despite being diagnosed just days ago, the Matamata community has already rallied around Sandin.
The kind- hearted woman wanted to thank all those who have already offered support. ‘‘Everything counts,’’ she said.
She doesn’t want to think about it but Sandin is worried about her and her husband’s work visa that expires in March.
‘‘I don’t know if they’re going to renew it.’’
She says news of her tumour has been especially hard for her children to accept.
Sixteen-year-old Bruno stays at home to help care for his mum because she can’t be left on her own.
‘‘My husband and him, they’re crying all the time. My little one [ 4- year- old Lucas], he doesn’t understand what I have, but he understands everything else around.’’
Intermediate principal Marion Henriksen said it was sad to see Sandin in this condition.
‘‘It’s lovely that everyone in our school community and hopefully everyone in the Matamata community will get behind her and help her get through this.’’
‘‘ I’m so thankful,’’ Sandin added.
But Sandin said she was most thankful that her mum and eldest son are on their way from Uruguay.
‘‘It’s the best thing that I have because when I knew about that [the tumour] I was thinking about them.
‘‘In your mind you don’t want to think negative, but I’m going to have my family with me.’’
By TERESA HATTAN
FUNDRAISING: Matamata woman Marcela Sandin, far right, pictured with Matamata Intermediate students, from left, Olivia Warrender, 11, Oceanna Paul, 12, and Chloe Lowe, 11, with the groceries donated by rooms 7 and 8.