On March 26, 2012 my life’s journey was changed, rearranged and new experiences and new people were about to enter my life. I was working full-time prior to this date, attending college obtaining a degree in Business Management, and awaiting my 15th grandchild. It was the day I found out I had cancer, triple negative breast cancer.
This wasn’t the first time I had been touched by cancer, my Mother died at 57 from breast cancer, and my father 10 years later from bladder cancer at 71. I was the caregiver, taking them to chemotherapy, sitting with them in the hospital.
Now it’s my journey, I had to break the news to my husband and children. I told my husband and asked him not to talk about it until I could figure out a way to tell the kids, I wanted to tell them all together since we have 11 children. So I invited them over on a Friday night for pizza, let them know we were having a family meeting, so it was important they were there. All week they were chatting amongst themselves trying to figure out what was going on, did we win the lottery, were we getting divorced, or adopting another child? This was one of the hardest things I had to do, when I told them, they were shocked, and in disbelief, some (most) were crying, not knowing what to say. The pizza didn’t get eaten, but they started talking and rallying around me. What did the doctors say, what happens next, I told them all I knew. They started planning a benefit, it was a way to work through all the different emotions, and bring it to reality. My grandkids attended a workshop at the Clinic that explained cancer, hair loss, and changes in eating, 5 of my grandchildren live with me with their parents. The house we live in is the house they all grew up in, so the childhood memories surround all of us, from the pictures from the first day of kindergarten to high school prom and graduation.
Now our lives were on a new journey together, I started chemotherapy in April; they take turns being with me, I lost my hair the day before my son’s wedding, we were all together in a motel, it was falling out every time I moved my head, I called my son and asked him to bring his clippers to the motel. Two of my daughter-in-laws and my two daughters cut my hair. I was doing this my way, they were upset I wasn’t. I explained to them it’s just hair, it’s not what makes up me. I am still the same Mother and Mother-in-Law just without hair. We talked, laughed about how much cooler my summer was going to be (I had 15 inches of hair that I had donated to locks of love before it started falling out). And all the money I will be saving on hair dye, hair products, and time saved to straighten or curl all that hair. I did bring a wig to wear to the wedding. That was the last time I wore a wig, I have gotten into hats, and scarves, and now match my clothes to the hats. After I finish chemotherapy, I will be having a double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery.
I had to cut back at work because of the exhaustion from chemotherapy, my boss said come to work when you can and stay home and rest when you need. She had my computer at home set up with the same program as work, so I can now work from home as need be.
My church has brought dinner, desert, about once a week, volunteered to go the Doctor when everyone else is busy with work or life. Take me to get a manicure and pedicure, my nails are dying from the chemotherapy and the nurses told me to keep nail polish on them sometimes they won’t fall off.
I joined Yoga at the cancer center, it’s taught by cancer nurses, I find that I enjoy and look forward to going, not only is it good for the body, it’s great for the mind, and soul, our class size is 11 who are in different stages of cancer, we talk before class, laugh during class, trying to remember when to breathe in and out.
I was recently asked to throw the first pitch at our local Express baseball game, the clinic was sponsoring the game and had tickets for the entire family, it consisted of 25 of us going, and we had a great time I even threw the ball to the home plate. I received an Express jersey, and signed autograph picture of all the players. We wore the shirts we had printed for the benefit the front said I wear pink for Sheri and the back said FamILY Matters, “this too shall pass”. My 16 year old daughter designed the shirts. (ILY= I love you)
I have two brothers, one that lives in Las Vegas Nevada and the other in Kaiserslautern Germany, I talk to them frequently. My brother Bill that lives in Las Vegas is coming in August for a visit, the other brother Richard is coming in October.
My husband and I just celebrated our 24th wedding anniversary on Monday July 30, 2012. This is the part of in sickness and health and I am one lucky woman to have a wonderful supportive husband.
I don’t know where this journey is leading me, but I have come to the realization that I won’t worry about those things I have no control over, but I will live my life and everyday be grateful for another morning, another day to tell those that I love them, hold my granddaughter, who was born on April 1st, and to have the chance to make a difference in someone’s life. I no longer take things for granted. God has a plan for me, and whatever it is, he knows everything and has complete control.
I want to thank Elle May who is a sponsor for Pink Fishing, I have had the opportunity to meet her in person recently, she lived in the same town as I do, and knew some of my children. Thank you Elle May for giving me this opportunity to tell of my journey, and the donations from Pink Fishing for the benefit and my very own Pink Fishing Rod. Always Sheri