Video from July 2011
July 2011 – One year ago I was diagnosed with “stage 4, terminal cancer.” The doctors predicted I wouldn’t live more than two months, it was difficult to determine. But here I write, one year later. I won’t say it’s been a blissful year, without any pain or difficulties, I just know I wouldn’t change much about last year.
Aside from being diagnosed with cancer, there were a lot of good things that occurred during the same time. I had a race prepared and ran in my name, married my boyfriend of three years, moved into a new house, and my health began to improve. The new chemotherapy started working shortly after I was married so I wasn’t bed ridden the first year of my marriage. I was living life to the fullest! Unfortunately all good things do come to an end and I ended up in the hospital for three days one month ago. My chemotherapy had stopped working and my painful tumors (sacral), grew back, causing severe nerve pain. I remained hopeful and faithful and the physicians were able to treat me with a pain pump and an additional ten days of radiation.
I thought I was through the worst when my oncologist informed me we were almost out of chemotherapy options. I hadn’t realized I had been on four different chemotherapies in the course of a year. Next Tuesday will be the second dose of my new chemotherapy treatment, (a chemo used to treat breast cancer). I’m currently receiving treatments to drain excess fluid that has built up around my lungs and abdomen. Apparently it’s a common treatment with advanced cancer patients. The tumors produce excess fluid and the liver can’t process or filter the extra fluid. Today I had approximately seven pounds of fluid removed to make me more comfortable. I laughed when I realized seven pounds was the size of a newborn baby!
With symptoms of pain and labored breathing decreased, I remain faithful that the Lord has a plan for me and remains mindful of my needs. I find it very difficult to give in to the fight against cancer while I still have friends and family refusing to give up on me. I remain forever grateful for the love and support given to me by so many.
All my love,
Sarah Hays Shurtz
Update- November 1, 2011: Sadly, Sarah passed away the day after Halloween 2011 in the early evening of 11/1/11 (All Saints Day) from complications due to cancer. Halloween was Sarah’s favorite holiday of the year. She loved dressing up. She was able to enjoy one last Halloween as she dressed up as Raggedy Ann from “Raggedy Ann and Andy.”
To view Sarah’s obituary, please click here.
**Join us as we show support to those in our community battling cancer by running in the Sweatin’ for Sarah Salt Lake City 5k Race.