Dancing in the Rain: Lessons Learned on my Personal Journey with PD (more at www.PDPlan4Life.com) Copyright 2013-20 Sheryl Jedlinski
By Sheryl Jedlinski
Two weeks ago, though it seems more like months, I was diagnosed with a fast growing and spreading uterine cancer, hopefully in its early stage. The good news is that it is “treatable.” The not so good news is that the treatment, which is not a cure, is a total hysterectomy, followed by “aggressive” chemotherapy. It is all so surreal. One day I am feeling healthy and strong and the next I learn that cancer is a war raging inside of me, and I have been drafted to fight on the front lines. I cling to the hope that my test results and lab work were mixed up with someone else’s and I really don’t have cancer.
Having both Parkinson’s disease and cancer is unquestionably unfair, but I cannot afford to waste my limited energy feeling sorry for myself. It falls under the “shit happens” umbrella, and no one is immune to that. I am fortunate to be starting out ahead of the game, with an army of friends and relatives already lined up to fight alongside me. Led by my husband, Tony, they are with me in good times and bad, helping me laugh in the face of my fears and celebrate even the smallest of victories. With their support and encouragement, my own resolve, and an outstanding team of doctors, I will weather this latest medical storm just as I have earlier ones.
This is a war I cannot lose. In fact, it requires a decisive victory if I am to achieve my goal of long-term remission. I am well aware that cancer is the toughest opponent I’ve ever faced, and I would be lying if I said I had no fears going into this battle. At the end of the day, however, I am a survivor, and I will survive this, too. The young general leading my army is a highly decorated gynecologist, oncologist, and surgeon who exudes confidence, and has that rare combination of good technical skills and good bedside manner. She will perform my surgery next week, either through a few small incisions using surgical and robotic technologies or abdominally, depending on which offers the best opportunity to find and remove all of the cancer hiding inside of me. In the best of all possible worlds, the minimally invasive approach will get the job done, allowing me an easier and shorter road to recovery, and sparing my trademark “abs of steel” that took 17 years to sculpt.
The most painful part of this journey with cancer is breaking the news to those who have already been through so much with me. With a cure for Parkinson’s still eluding us, I worry how I will keep up with the exercises and activities that have enabled me to live well with Parkinson’s for so long, while fighting cancer on a second front. My neurologist assures me that the Parkinson’s will be fine, and that getting rid of the cancer has to be my first priority.
I am putting my cancer on notice right here, and right now: I will prevail. You are in my house, playing with my ball, and by my rules. Every room is packed with my fans, their deafening cheers empowering me to keep fighting, and never give up. Rachel Platten’s Fight Song, has become my anthem:
“This is my fight song
Take back my life song
Prove I’m alright song
My power’s turned on
Starting right now I’ll be strong
I’ll play my fight song
And I don’t really care if nobody else believes
‘Cause I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me.”
This blog, as all of them are, is as awesome as you are! You have the best team and the best attitude….it is another battle and you will be the victor!
Awesome blog from an awesome person! Will see you shortly! Tem
I hate to hear the news, but am so glad to hear you’re taking it head on by the horns! You, my dear, are a diamond; nothing can break you!! ☺️🌷💕
I love that comparison, thank you Melissa
Am saddened to hear this news, but know you can win the battle. Big thumbs up!!
Just so you know that there are those of us who have only met you through your blog who feel part of your team now. I am heartsick that you have to deal with this now but you clearly have figured out how to battle the beast. Strength and love in abundance, Sheryl. I know you have both.
I too am a PWP with cancer and on treatment. It is an uninvited visitor but you can fight it and win. Take advantage of the health care offerings that your medical facility, like yoga for cancer patients. I love your website and you can smooth this bump in the road. Hugs, Celeste Stoddard
Sheryl, you are my inspiration! You have helped me so much with your humor and positive attitude since I was diagnosed with PD and I am very grateful to have found your blog. We, your grateful fans, are praying, sending you strength and cheering you on as you begin your treatment. Keep smiling and thumbs up!
Sheryl, your grit and determination are an inspiration. I’m part of your ball team!
SHERYL, ANOTHER BATTLE, WILL BE PRAYING FOR YOU, MY UTERINE CANCER WAS CAUGHT EARLY, I HAD A HYSTERECTOMY IN JULY, HAD IT ABDOMINALLY, I WAS LUCKY YOU WILL BE LUCKY TOO!
I don’t know you, Karen Handler, but you rock!
Oh, good grief! I am so sorry. Thank you for sharing with those of us that you constantly inspire with your humor and tenacity, two traits that will go a long way toward winning this battle. please keep us posted. We really care!
Sheryl, I am one of your fans cheering you on!
Sheryl, we don’t know each other but your humor and wisdom have helped me get through many rough days. Count me in your “army” as I will be praying for you and sending positive energy your way. You are a strong lady and cancer has picked on the wrong person!! Go get ‘ em!!
You are an inspiration to me, and my thoughts and prayers will be with you as you begin this new war.
We’ve already cradled each other’s woes via he telephone, but I just wanted to share with other warriors how having friends in like situations strengthens the troops in our battles. First, you need not go looking for friends that meet the same criteria as yourselves; they will “find” you. And the best way for them to easily spot you is to post in a forum or blog. I believe we stumbled across each other through the NeuroTalk forum, sponsored by Psych Central. That shortened word “psych” stands for psychology, and knowing how the psychological mind works is absolutely a necessity to making it through a chronic illness ( or something more aggressive, like cancer) and coming out sane on the other side. It’s kind of neat the way we can “read” each other’s emotional status through our posts. Like when you called me the other day sensing that I needed to talk about my situation. And I in turn sensed your down side when you were contemplating sharing your situation. Our friendship has upscale do over the years of joining hands in our fight against drug companies, national organizations, and all those associated with the clinical trial process. As you know, I am currently in the middle of a 5-stage protocol to have the same surgical intervention (DBS)) as was shown last Sunday evening live on television sponsored by National Geographic. Oh, yes; I was about to forget our commonly shared diagnosis of both PD and cervical stenosis, a narrowing of the vertebral bones surrounding our spinal cords. Cervical stenosis is progressive and also complicates some of the symptoms of PD, such as affecting balance.
I didn’t mean to take over your blog. That’s a gift you have in writing that I have not yet mastered. You can state your topic briefly and have the same effect toward your topic as it takes me about twice as many words. But I do wish to reiterate how glad I am that we share such a strengthening friendship.
Amen sister to what Leslie Davidson said!
Sheryl. You have incredible strength I admire your attitude. You are an inspiration to many. Call me if you want to talk.
Thank you, I may just do that. Hope you and your family are doing well
Dear Sheryl, I am a fan of yours, considered very lucky to have your friendship, ans I expect nothing less than the best and more for you. Life brings lessons everyday, but I am sure you can give life more than one great lesson. I watch your fight and fear your fears and cheer your victory. You are an example to all of us. You can do it! You can do it!! Kick cancer away!!
October 31, 2015 Dear Sheryl, With so many friends and family cheering you on
you’ll make it through this tough time. You’ve done so much for
so many people, now it’s your turn to collect some help, warm
fuzzies and GOOD LUCK. You’ll make it through. Your
attitude and approach to life are positive and that’s what it
takes. You’re in my prayers Pal.
Thank you my friend. We have been through hell and back together these many years and we are going to be at the party when the cure is found. Cancer has underestimated the power of women who have unfinished business of lunching and shopping
OK, I’ve read through the comments. It’s great to have a troop of PEEPS, who love and respect you and support you with words or support and inspiration. I’m going to be a little more direct and get the elephant out of the room. THIS SUCKS. There I said it. But you will persevere, as you have done previously. By the way, I’ve had a hysterectomy. All those internal parts are HIGHLY overrated …. gosh, I felt so much lighter when I had them removed! Seriously, I will be praying for you and your journey. Keep us posted as only YOU, wonderful YOU – can do.
You are an inspiration for many. I have no idea why you arrived in my mail but I am a suspect uterine ca and have just about completed all the tests so just anxiously awaiting results. I feel as though I have entered into a whirlwind this last week. It’s just a week today since all this started and I am trying to stay strong.