No matter where you are in your cancer journey, we would love to share your Story of Hope. Please connect with us by emailing: hello (at) smartypits.com to get the conversation started.
It started out simply enough, but things got serious very quickly.
In 2014, Shari had only recently given birth to her first child. During a routine checkup with her ob/gyn, they found a lump which was initially diagnosed as Stage 2 breast cancer.
"I thought, 'No biggie. I got this!" Shari recalls.
But after more scans, the extent of the cancer was found to be far more significant. The oncologist found cancerous growth in her leg bones and throughout her liver. As horrifying as that news might be to anyone, the way the doctor delivered it shook Shari to her core.
"The doctor had the worst bedside manner," says Shari, thinking back on that time. "She gave me two to four years [to live]...I went into my own bubble and don't remember anything that happened after that for two weeks."
Rather than simply accept such a dire prognosis, Shari searched for a second opinion. This second doctor has worked tirelessly to identify treatments and ongoing care to continue fighting what Shari says is an incurable cancer.
More than four years after that initial diagnosis, Shari has found gratitude, hope, and an unshakable will to live her life to its fullest. She's received unexpected support from friends and family. One friend, knowing that Shari had always wanted to take her daughter to Disney World, surprised her by raising enough money to pay for the trip!
Shari herself has raised over $60,000 to help fund her current doctor's work leading cutting edge breast cancer research."I wanted to do whatever I could to thank her because she is literally saving my life," proclaims Shari.
As someone who has outlived her first doctor's diagnosis, Shari has much to say. In fact, these are words that Shari has actually spoken to someone close to her–her mother, who is facing her own battle with incurable Stage 4 leukemia. Shari's words are an appeal for living life to its fullest in the face of a terrible disease.
"Don't give up," she says. "Have hope and fight. No one can tell you what will happen. You have to make your own path. Cancer takes so much from you, your future, your dreams. Don't let it take any more than it already does."