Cheryl’s is a story of early prevention, being responsible for your own medical care and staying aggressive. It gives hope.
In 1992, at the age of 27, Cheryl was diagnosed with Cervical Carcinoma in Situ – Cancer that involves only the place in which it began and that has not spread. She had had normal yearly PAP tests for seven years and was surprised when this one resulted in the need for further testing. A colposcopy (a test where a scope is used to view the cervix and where biopsies are taken) was performed and she awaited the test results. But, after two weeks, no phone call had come.
Cheryl did not continue to wait, just assuming “No news is good news.” and she called her doctor requesting her results. The test results were located… buried is a stack of paperwork on the doctor’s desk.
A cone biopsy was then performed , which removes a cone-shaped piece of tissue from the cervix and cervical canal. Thankfully, it was determined than no further medical treatment was necessary, other than frequent follow-up testing.
Cheryl heard the words from her doctor, “You may not be able to carry a child to full-term. You may not be able to have them at all (due to the cone-biopsy).” She was told that the cancer will most likely return so to try and have all the children she wanted within the next five years. These are all very scary words to a young woman who was recently married and had dreams of raising a family.
But, remember, just because a doctor says it that doesn’t mean it is the absolute truth. Miracles still happen, even today. Cheryl’s cancer was caught early and treated. In 1994, her first child, Samantha, was born. In 2000, another girl, Quinn and two years later, her son, Joshua. Faith, family and the support of friends is what has seen her though life’s ups and downs.Cheryl says , “I do not consider myself a ‘cancer survivor’. I live with the knowledge that my body can, and has, host cancer cells. It will not surprise me to hear those words again one day. But, I do not let it dictate my life and I really only give it thought once a year… while waiting for my PAP results. I try to live each day just carrying out the work in my mission field; which, for now, is building three beautiful ‘cathedrals’… my children!”
Cheryl’s advice is to be pro-active. Get yearly testing, even if are considered “low risk”, always follow-up on test results, and don’t be shy about taking control of your own healthcare. It is, ultimately, your responsibility to ask questions, research online or in books, get second opinions, and even choose a different doctor, if needed. Your real power comes from knowledge.
It was her husband, Larry (Bud) who first enjoyed the sport of archery and each of their children has picked up a bow. It is something they enjoy doing together as a family. Larry is a 4-H Shooting Sports program instructor and he was part of the 2005 four-man team that took 2nd place in the IBO National Triple Crown competition. Cheryl and her family’s faces are recognized at their local archery shop and the archery range is their second home. They truly believe in “Archers helping Archers”.