In the Spring of 2010, Sherri woke up with sore, achy feeling in her upper right arm. At first she thought she had pulled a muscle, but the soreness didn’t go away.
“A few days later, I felt a sharp pain in my right breast, so I did a self-exam. When I discovered a dime-sized lump, I got really scared. I started shaking right away,” she said.
Sherri’s best friend urged her to go to University of Minnesota Physicians, where she was diagnosed with the relatively uncommon Papillary Inflammatory breast cancer. The university assembled a medical team for her, including a primary oncologist who would oversee all phases of her treatment.
“My oncologist was a blessing to me right from the start. She was warm and compassionate when I needed it the most. She really cared,” Sherri said.
Sherri’s medical team recommended an immediate, comprehensive treatment to prevent the spread of this particularly aggressive cancer: chemotherapy, radiation and surgery.
Sherri met with her surgeon who would perform the mastectomy and lymph node removal.
“He was my second blessing: so skilled, so knowledgeable, but also warm and caring.
“My radiologist was my third blessing, and the radiation nurses really boosted my spirits. They supported me when I wanted to be silly. I’d wear bright pink clothes and fun hats or bandanas. I decided that just because I had cancer, I was not going to let cancer have me.”
Sherri’s spirit of determination served her well throughout her treatment. She pictured herself on a journey to wellness. Her operation was scheduled the week before Christmas 2010. “Before going into surgery, I put on bright pink lipstick. I took a deep breath and felt a sense of peace.”
Two days before New Years, Sherri’s surgeon delivered the news: the treatment was a success. Sherri was relieved, then ecstatic: “I began 2011 cancer-free!”
Sherri continues to see her oncologist once every three months. “Cancer will always be a concern for me, but I am not going to live my life in fear. I am going to live each day with as much joy as I can. I feel like a strong warrior, complete with a beautiful battle scar.”
We invite you to discover University of Minnesota Physicians. Whether we’re pioneering treatments for cancer or developing new remedies for common illnesses, University of Minnesota Physicians work well past sunset because we believe all of our patients deserve the same thing: more sunrises.