By Cheryl Schoonmaker
I want to give a special thank you to my family, friends, and community. The contributions you have graciously donated to my kids and I help in both a physical and mental aspect. I feel honored and blessed to live today, experience today, and give thanks to all of you today. Read more...
2012-2013 Journey Begins...
2014 ER, ER...
2015 Heart Dilemma..
2016 Make Some Changes...
2017 Chasing Cancer...
When I first started this cancer journey, I searched for others input and a possible time line to get a better understanding of what I was up against. Maybe it wasto help me through it. Like to say I was not the only one dealing with this unforeseen challenge. I found one person with my same condition. She was from another country, but her story was never finished perhaps she passed. I recently stumbled on Jody Schoger a writer and advocate for cancer patients and survivors. Her story was unique and her writings hit home. I would like to share one of her writings:
Living with stage 4 In a culture focused on survivorship, those with metastatic breast cancer who will be in treatment for the rest of their lives can feel isolated and misunderstood… Read more…
Oct. 24, 2014 … By Diane Mapes / Fred Hutch News Service
Unfortunately Jody passed of cancer on May 18, 2016. But her writings live on - Read more at: - Read more at: Legacy.com
My Chemotheropy Time Line
Chemos 8 months, Surgery, Dailey Radiation for 8 weeks back on Chemo,
2013Chemos Daily and every three weeks.
I was on a daily chemo pill and on and off Herceptin as much as my heart would allow.
The early Fall of 2013
I started having some pain in my abdominal right side. It became worse to the point where I could not breathe. I took very short breath to keep me going. I had the kid’s call 911. The ambulance came and took me into Auburn Memorial where they prepped me for possible gallbladder surgery removal. But after several test they discovered the gallbladder was fine and my Cancer had grown in my liver. Grown enough to create this pain and obstruct my breath. I was given some kind of a pain pills and sent on to my oncologist. They put me on some steroids and got me into Syracuse for a liver biopsy cancer confirmation. Read more...
This was to be a fairly simple process and would not take long. The entire procedure was explained while I was being prepped. During the prep there were a few odd things that happened that worried me as far as how the rest of the day may go with issues beyond anyone’s control. My port turned sideways so it was impossible to access. Then the first try through the arm was a miss and the tubes were breaking. The worst was just before I was to undergo the biopsy the doctor informed me that there could be a small complication. It seems the cancer lies under the right lung and they may need to go through the lung which would collapse the lung. But if this happened they would put me on chest tube that continuous removed air until my lung healed.
I knew I needed the biopsy no matter what. It was the only way my oncologist could properly treat me with the correct chemotherapy. I also knew that there is a small amount of cancer in the lung. So I jokingly requested that he could remove the cancer in the lung while getting the biopsy. I was concerned but felt like it would all end up ok.
I was in the middle of the procedure when I lost my breath completely. I yelled”8...9...10 can’t breathe”. It felt as though someone took the life right out of me. Doctor said hang in there just a few more minutes. All I could think of was drowning and trying to stay alive while holding my breath that I did not have. After that all I can remember was that I spent a painful night with a chest tube. I was released the next night with no more complications. Even though the event seemed so crazy I had a wonder time and felt like I was in good hands despite the complications. I was never in the dark. They told me everything play by play before it happened with detailed explanations. I also met some very kind people there. When I left I felt like there was more accomplished than just a biopsy.
The biopsy results confirmed the cancer type and they added heavy doses of xeloda to my medication.
A year later I needed another lung test. The test showed that the lungs were clear of cancer. I smiled and said the collapsed lung was so worth it.