A breast cancer diagnosis can cause a woman’s life to come to a temporary standstill – not for our cover girl model, Sheryl Long.
Sheryl, age 42 is a 2 times breast cancer survivor, a mother, a wife, a community care worker and she holds an array of Titles to be proud of such as: Global United “Life time Queen”, Mzantsi Africa Mrs Western Cape Role Model 2012-2013, Mrs Worldwide “Queen of Hope” 2011 -2012, Spirit of HOPE International Award 2011, Mrs Smile Western Cape 2010, Lions’ Woman of the Year 2010 and Mrs Western Cape 2008
‘My first experience with breast cancer was found in my right breast in 2 004. My oncologist at the time instructed I had a lumpectomy, chemotherapy and radiation. I had no idea what I was in for. I went ahead with the treatment as a fragile human being, really battling to cope.
To get me through this traumatic time, I spent a lot of time at the beach just gazing into the sea and the horizon. So many thoughts filled my mind and I began to accept this part of my life as a challenge that I can overcome. I began to get busy and take my mind off what was happening, and started to get involved with community and charity work. I have done everything from bathing orphans, collecting items for the needy, soup kitchens, toy runs, and just about anything that anyone needed, if I could help out, with the help of my community, I was there.
In 2009, I created a charity called “Race to Live” a charity drive for children suffering with life threatening illnesses whom had various wishes to be fulfilled. I assist the families with their various needs and we treat the children to outings at Killarney Raceway with passenger rides in real race cars, dress them in the full race gear and entertain the children afterwards as well as their families for the day. I assist with fundraising for the families going through tough times as we all know that have a life threatening disease is also costly.
In April 2011 I was diagnosed again with breast cancer, this time in my left breast. Again, I had a lumpectomy done and surgeons confirmed that 2 of my 11 lymph nodes which were removed under my armpit were cancerous so the cancer cells had spread through to my bloodstream. I was overwhelmed as I could not believe that so much can happen to one person But nevertheless I began to try alternative ways of treating the disease myself.
In January 2012 I decided to get a second opinion, and booked an appointment with a “new” oncologist. She advised me of the treatment required to “melt” the tumor and reminded me that should I choose to leave it the way it is, it will spread to my organs. I made the decision then and there to start with the aggressive chemotherapy as soon as possible.
Once all chemo had been completed, I was scheduled to have a bi-lateral mastectomy and reconstruction. I had my operation on the 14th August. I was in hospital for a week. Considering all that I have been through, my pain had become bearable. On the day of my release I received the news that the MRI, CT scans and Histology reports from the breast tissues that were removed, is all clear. There is no sign of tumors within my body. Whatever my bad experiences were with the chemotherapy and the amount of suffering I went through, it was well worth it as I received these wonderful results.
I have come this far and my message is for other women to NEVER give up!! I believe that nothing is impossible. With God ALL things are possible! It doesn’t matter that cancer has stolen my identity; it has not stolen my life! I will not allow it! Cancer is just a word, not a sentence.’