Her Illness

Sandy was diagnosed five years ago with interstitial lung disease (ILD). Unfortunately, there is no cure for ILD.  It basically is scarring of the lung tissue. How you get it is not known as it can be triggered by many things.  In her case, it was thought that it was untreated pneumonia but there is no way to know.  Once the scarring starts, you can't stop it.  The lungs try to fix themselves but the more they try the more scar tissue they end up creating so the problem just gets worse.  As the scar tissue build up, less oxygen could get into the lungs.  The treatment is just to slow it down as much as possible or to get a lung transplant.  Unfortunately, by the time Mayo Clinic accepted her for an evaluation for a lung transplant it was too late.  Her other organs and body were too weak.  Her heart was already pumping overtime to compensate for her lungs. The hard part is you didn't see it from the outside.  She tried to hide that as much as she could.   Even in the transplant unit, as she was applying makeup before the doctors came in, we had to remind her "it's okay to look sick here."  

She hated being dependent on the oxygen tanks.  Who wouldn't?  I remember when the movie "Fault of our Stars" came out, she hoped it might result in oxygen tanks having less of a stigma. (If you haven't seen the movie, the 16-year old star is on oxygen due to cancer.  Great movie, but have some tissues close by.)  

So between being tired and having to tote the tanks, she didn't go out much.  But once she did, she loved it. On a recent visit she joined us at the airshow at NAS Jax. She was sitting on a ledge with her tank waiting for us to get the car. While there, an elderly couple walked by and the gentleman looked at her, noticed her breathing tubes and said to her "you know, you are beautiful".  It made her day.  

Sandy always was and still is beautiful - inside and out. 

Her Favorite Things

Her home
Her family
Skitz and Skippy
Mom's cooking
Cook outs
The mountains ("Mom! Dad!  The mountains - they are still there!")
Christmas
Jewelry making 
Painting
Sushi (She got us all eating it!)
Clothes
Flowers (Orchids were here favorite. Then, delphiniums and hydrrangeas)
Gardening
Nails
Watching movies (Netflix, Roku, Hulu, she had them all)
Sister time (miss that!) 
Alone time
Relaxing
Aromatherapy 
Creamy desserts  (cheesecake, banana pudding, not chococlate)
Halloween
Voice texting on her phone (she was AMAZING at this  before it was the norm)

Brief Bio

Sandy (Sandra Susan Akel) was born on June 9, 1972 in St. Vincents Hospital in Jacksonville, Florida. She was the third daughter of 4 girls to Salem and Siham Akel.  She grew up in Murray Hill where her parents still live.   Sandy went to Ruth N. Upson Elementary School which was walking distance from her house.  For middle school she went to St. Paul's Catholic School and then to St. Matthew's Catholic School. She graduated from Robert E. Lee High School in 1990 where she was on the tennis and cross country teams.  She later attended Florida Community College of Jacksonville.  

Sandy was always the style queen of the family, always known for her beauty and sense of fashion. She followed her passion and fulfilled her dream by opening Cheveux, a full service nail and hair salon.  She took a old building and completely renovated it making it more "spa-like" than a "salon".  

Earlier, Sandy was married to Edward Anderson for almost 10 years. They had no children.  Instead, she enjoyed her niece, nephews, her dog Skippy, and her cats, especially Skitz. 

Sandy passed away at the young age of 43 on September 12, 2015.