After a multitude of test, scans, and a three-week wait to hear back from the pathologist on her biopsy; she was hit with life-altering news. Through God’s grace, she is cancer free. However, she found out that she has a tumor that has replaced her jaw bone and must be removed. It is just as extensive to remove the tumor as if she did have oral cancer. After multiple consultations, the doctors have determined that her surgery will consist of removing a large portion of the bottom jaw that is currently the tumor and cleaning out any spots they see as problematic. They have to take a bone from her hip and replace the removed section of jaw with that bone. If not enough jaw is left to fuse with the hip bone after the tumor is removed she will also need a titanium plate to be inserted. All of this will be determined once the doctors are in and can see how extensively the tumor has progressed. The doctors have also made a point to say that they cannot guarantee that this tumor will not come back.
Upon being given this scary news, Sheena’s immediate words to her surgeon were, “what about my son???” Her mind was flooded with questions. How long will she be out of work? Who’s going to take care of her baby? Who will take him to school? Will she lose her teeth? How is she going to pay for this? Will she lose her job? She felt numb, petrified, and her whole life has changed in the matter of minutes.
Can you imagine taking a year out of your life and not being able to do the simple things with your child like taking them to the library, wandering through the supermarket, going to the playground, attending their school activities? Sheena’s mind is overwhelmed with all of the concerns associated with this life-changing surgery: wondering how her son will cope with seeing her in this new state, how will he handle not having mom be able to go outside the home, and worrying about who will take care of him initially after the surgery.
Sheena’s estimated recovery time will be six months to a year. It will be a year before her face is strong enough and healed enough to withstand any manipulation for reconstructive work; a long year before she can return to living life as she knows it with her son.
In preparing for surgery, Sheena must move to be closer to her family in Philadelphia for the help she needs to take care of her boy. Currently her son goes to school an hour outside Philadelphia. Due to the state of the public school system in the city and her inability to get her son into a suitable charter school or pay for private school, she is struggling to find an area in the right location with a good school. She’s been diligently looking for a place in the surrounding counties of Philadelphia so that during her time of incapacity she can have some comfort knowing that her son is getting the best education and is surrounded by his extended family so they can step in to do the simple daily tasks that Sheena cannot. He is the source of her strength and what inspires her to get up every day and face these new obstacles bravely. Even in these trying times, she needs to be the best version of herself every second of the day for him. She can’t even describe the feeling she has had lately wondering how she will provide for all their needs during the extended time that she will be out of work with everyday expenses and mounting medical bills.
Sheena has stayed prayerful and kept a positive outlook because she understands that however stressful a time she is experiencing, she knows that there are many lives impacted by hardships. She keeps everyone who is dealing with something taking a toll on their lives in her prayers as well.
Sheena thanks everyone who has taken the time to read her story, thought of or prayed for both her and her son. All is greatly appreciated and received with the utmost humility.
As friends of Sheena’s, we are starting this GoFundMe account to try to alleviate at least one of the many stresses that she faces in the coming year, how to pay for everything when she cannot work. Please consider donating whatever you can to help this strong mother in her time of need. If you cannot afford a donation, we know that Sheena would also appreciate your prayers and positive support. Thank you.
- Leigh W
- Morgan Wallace
- Jennifer Leonard
- Julie Leonard
- Bill Leonard
Organizer and beneficiary
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