It was early fall 1995 when a young mother of two beautiful girls got news that would shatter her family's hearts
forever. Cheryl was having unusual hemorrhoid bleeding. Her loving and devoted husband told her to call the doctor.. Cheryl said no it be ok besides we can't afford it. Andy decided to call their daughters and let them know what was going on. He also called his mother-in-law. They talked to Cheryl and got her to agree to go see the doctor..
Two days before her appointment with the doctor she started bleeding heavy. Andy came home from work saw what was happening. He told her to get ready, and that he was taking her to the Emergency Room.He then called their daughters Faye and Irene and Cheryl’s mom Daisy. He told them to meet them at the hospital. They all met at Good Samaritan hospital.
Cheryl was only back there in the examining room for 30 minutes when Dr. Sandy came out said it wasn't hemorrhoids, and that she lost a Lot of blood. He said they needed to run test in the morning and give her blood transfusion. Then they admitted her and the family went in to see Cheryl. She told them don't look so sad it's probably nothing. She told everyone she'd be ok and to go home and get some rest. So after awhile the family left.
Early the next day the family gathered at the hospital to be there for her as the doctors ran the test. They wasn't in the waiting room long when Dr Sandy came out and told the family the news. He told them they found a tumor on Cheryl’s colon the size of a softball and that it was malignant. Which means cancerous he told them. Andy and Daisy’s faces went pale as a ghost. Faye had tears and Irene grabbed Andy's hand for comfort. With tears in her eyes Irene asked Andy “.Mom will be alright won't she Dad.” Andy told her he didn't know but to remember that her mom was a fighter. They said they wanted to operate and do chemotherapy and radiation treatments.
They all went up to Cheryl's hospital room after talking to the doctor. Cheryl said the doctors had already talked to her. She wanted to know what they thought and if they were her would they have the surgery. They all talked about it for about an hour going over all the options and the pros and cons of the surgery. Cheryl finally decided to have the surgery. She had already been getting blood transfusions from the loss of blood. The doctors scheduled the radiation treatments first. Then followed by chemotherapy for several months to shrink the tumor before surgery could be done.
Cheryl was grateful she did not lose the hair on her head from the treatments. She did chuckle when she would tell people she had found the best hair remover for her legs. God was great for sparing Cheryl's beautiful hair. Cheryl praised God everyday despite how weak and sick the treatments made her. Pastor Baird would bring her tapes of the services, so she could feel as if she was present at the church services. Cheryl would fill the room with her beautiful soprano voice, singing hymns. The doctors and nurses were surprised how she sang despite the pain and suffering she was going through. Cheryl became an inspiration to her fellow cancer patients on the oncology floor.
Irene and Andy inspired by Cheryl's faith decided to surprise her. Irene went to rival with Cheryl when she got out of the hospital before her surgery and got baptized. Few months later Andy went to church with Cheryl and got baptized. Both times she was filled with joy to see her loved ones come to Jesus and accept him as their savior. Cheryl had prayed for that day for many years. Cheryl was close with her family and church family. She was always willing to help and lend an ear or shoulder, no matter what hardships she was going through.
Andy and Cheryl's love for each other grew stronger every day. The cancer brought the family closer together so it seemed. Cheryl wrote her poetry and submitted a few for publishing. Love and faith seemed to be what inspired her. She had one of her poems win a contest. Andy had the poem wrote on a painting. He got her some flowers and took her out to dinner to celebrate. They were not rich and times was hard, but Andy still wanted to do something special for Cheryl. Irene helped Andy with a budget so he could save some money. When he had enough he took Cheryl and her Mom to little Nashville for a nice fall drive and outing and then to Nashville Tennessee. He claimed he missed his exit in the dark. Cheryl knew he was joking cause Andy never went very far past a wrong turn before. They had a great weekend and gave her nice break from the treatments and therapy she was going through.
The ladies from church helped Cheryl and her family out by helping with the housework and bringing meals at times. Cheryl tried to as much as she could and didn’t like just sitting or lying around. It was hard for her to let others come in and help, cause Cheryl didn’t like to be fussed over. She always sat out to prove she could do things other thought she couldn’t. The church ladies was amazed how she always found a new way to do something.
Finally late winter it was time to have surgery after months of chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Everyone was nervous but not Cheryl she said if it’s God’s will for the doctors to heal me they will and if not then they won’t. Either way God has a plan and there’s a reason for everything. Everyone said a prayer before they took Cheryl for surgery. After what seemed like hours Dr. Tuttle came out and told the family they tried to get all of the cancer but was unable to. Everyone cried the doctor said they could do more treatments to try and kill the remaining cancer but there were no guarantees.
An hour later the family was allowed to see Cheryl. The doctor said she already knew they couldn’t get it all. Cheryl looked at her family who all were sad and said cheer up God can still turn this around and I’m not quitting. She said we all have to pray and have faith, no matter what God will see us all through this.
Several months later after more treatments the doctor had blood work and other test done to check the cancer cells. He met with the family and said the treatments weren’t working and that the cancer had spread everywhere and was just a matter of time. He said she had only 6 months to live if that. Cheryl told everyone not to sad because she was going to be with God and be healed. She also said God had a plan for her and somehow this was part of it.
That following Monday hospice came in to help with Cheryl’s home care. Cheryl wanted to stay at home til the end. They helped with the healthcare equipment and nurses.
One day Cheryl told Irene she wanted to go and make her funeral arrangements so it be done and everyone would not have to worry about what she wanted. Andy didn’t like the thought of it and neither did Faye. After Cheryl kept telling Andy that she’s dying and nothing was going to change that and she wanted to have a say in where she be buried. He finally agreed to go and meet with Don the funeral director who handled the family’s funerals for years. Faye didn’t go said she couldn’t. Irene went with them. They went to the graveyard where Cheryl picked the plots in the back row close to the honeysuckle patch and big old oak tree. She loved the smell of honeysuckle and said it was perfect. So they got the plots and she looked at caskets. Cheryl chose a simple baby blue colored coffin she loved the color and said it go with her dress. She then said she wanted a one day service with visitation same day. She wanted her funeral to be like a church service. So it was all planned out.
Few weeks later Cheryl wasn’t able to move about she had limited movement and had to use the wheelchair all the time. She got and was admitted to the hospital several times . She still made it to church even stuck in a wheelchair and sang her praises. She was an inspiration to everyone.
Six months had went by and Cheryl was still alive praising the Lord. She seemed to be getting her mobility back. Irene thought maybe she was in remission. Then Cheryl few weeks later was able to move about with a walker and tend the spring flowers. She even made Irene a birthday cake. Irene started to think maybe God cured her mom he was known to deliver miracles. But sadly a week later she started to go back to the way she was before. Irene knee then it was just remission. Cheryl told Irene don’t be sad God granted me the strength to give you a great birthday and Easter with y’all.
Few weeks later Andy came home from work with bad news. The warehouse he worked at was shutting down and he only had two weeks left. Cheryl told Andy don’t worry God will get us through this. Everyone helped them find a cheaper place to live. Cheryl had gotten to where she couldn’t even be in a wheelchair anymore. They found an apartment and was set to move in. The local ambulance company sent a paramedic to help move Cheryl. They told Andy that they wasn’t going to bill him and it was there gift to them. Cheryl and Andy thanked them. Cheryl said see I told you God would see us through .
They had lived in there apartment only few weeks when Cheryl was getting to where the pain meds wasn’t helping. Irene was there helping to get things in to place. Cheryl was giving her directions where to put things. Later Andy said it was getting close to dinner time and asked Cheryl what she wanted. Cheryl said is it Friday cause I’m craving some catfish from Mom’s Cafe. Andy said yes it is Friday. Irene called placed the orders and went to pick them up. Cheryl was so happy to have gotten catfish she thanked Irene for getting it. No one knew that would be the last meal Cheryl would eat. Cheryl told Irene to go home get some sleep and she would see her in the morning and to be careful and she loved her. Those were the last words Irene was to hear her mom say to her.
The next morning Irene saw Dr. Combs leaving the apartment. He told Irene he had to put her mom into a coma to ease the pain and that it was just a matter of time. She went up to the apartment and saw Cheryl lying in bed sleep. Her Dad and Grandma told her how Cheryl was in a lot of pain during the night and they called the nurse and doctor. They said it was all the doctor could do to ease the pain.
Later that afternoon Doctor Combs came by and said he needed someone who could be taught how to give Cheryl her shots every two hours around the clock. The nurses couldn’t be there all the time and someone had to be able to do it when they wasn’t in order for Cheryl to be able to stay home. Irene said she would do it. So the doctor and nurse worked with Irene. Few days later Cheryl was doing what is called fish out of water breathing and the doctor said her kidneys shut down. He said was just matter of hours now and to call the family in. So Irene, Andy and Cheryl’s mom made the calls. Cheryl had a brother who was out of town and couldn’t be reached and they was close. Everyone else started coming by saying their goodbyes.
Two weeks had gone by and Cheryl still hung on. The doctor said he never seen someone live that long doing death gasp and kidneys shut down. Then one morning around 1 A. M the phone rang it was Cheryl’s brother he had just got back and got the message. He told Irene to put the phone to Cheryl’s ear. He told Cheryl sorry he wasn’t able to call her sooner but he just got back. He told her he loved her and that she could let go now and he’d be there at her service and she didn’t need to suffer anymore. He then talked to his mom. Andy told Irene to go get some rest. Irene went to lay down. Five minutes later Irene saw several blue light angel figures come in from the window and hover Cheryl. Irene got up went in to Cheryl just as she took her final breath. Irene checked Cheryl’s vitals and called the doctor. June 28, 1997 at 1:30 am Cheryl went to be with Jesus. The Angels left with Cheryl. She was not suffering anymore. The cancer had literally eaten and ravaged Cheryl’s body. You wouldn’t had known that she had a hole in her back to where you could see and touch her spine. Cheryl sang and praised the Lord until she couldn’t speak anymore. This makes her an amazing lady of faith.
Cheryl was an inspiration to everyone who knew her. Cheryl showed everyone what strength and peace of mind faith in our Lord can give us.