Help for Cheryl


It seems that everyone has a story about Cheryl Denz, her farm, Terra Optima, her animals, her poems, or her community outreach. My relationship with Cheryl began one year ago, when I retired my horse, Simon, to her farm. She told me his only responsibilities would be to walk to the field, eat, and be adored, and I have learned in the past year, that every animal there is adored. Aside from running a farm that raises, cows, chickens, goats (one sheep), horses (and very loveable donkey), pigs, pigs, and more pigs, Cheryl also does landscaping design, teaching, and writing. She also volunteers. A LOT. In her free time Cheryl… wait, no, Cheryl has no “free” time, and yet I have never heard her complain about the work. In fact, when I first pitched this fundraising idea to her I suggested that “Maybe this money would allow you to take some time off?” To which she responded “I don’t need to work less, I need to work more!” I suppose this is the mentality that is required to run a successful farm for over 20 years.

With the inception of her farm blog on facebook five years ago, Terra Optima has become a Midcoast icon, with such an influx of visitors that I sometimes wonder how Cheryl manages to get any work done at all.

This community is made better because of people like Cheryl. People who have given far more than they ever take.

This week Cheryl bravely revealed that she is struggling with difficult medical diagnosis of her blood and blood vessels, that can only be managed with high doses of steroids, which come with a litany of their own side effects. We all know that even with good health insurance, basic medical treatments can cause major debt. Being sick is stressful enough, without the additional concern of survival.

It is my hope that we can raise enough money to cover Cheryl’s current and future medical debt, any alternative treatments that may help manage symptoms, and of course keep all the animals knee deep in carrots and oats and popcorn.

Thank you for your generosity.

From Cheryl: 
Posted June 27, 2017

4:15 am Farm Report 

After much internal debate....
Do I write about this or not

I decided 
Why Not

Not about the Farm
Definitely about the Farmer

One doctor
One year and one half
knowing something 
was very very wrong inside myself

But what?

Shortness of breath
Unexplained rashes
Nasal cavity lesions
Hemorrhaging under my skin
Low fevers
Cold night sweats
Coughing gasping for air no apparent reason

Some of these things
Getting old worked work hard 
Something is bound to give 

The breathing the breathing really really hard
Even I 
couldn't chalk that up to aging

One doctor
Thought he knew what might be ailing me

Had to rule out
Blood Cancer Specifically 

Tried a few experiments with 
Left me nearly blind with fluid pressuring 
My Optic Nerve

That's why periodically 
I couldn't write
Couldn't see the key pad 

Fortunately for me
six weeks later
My eye sight returned....for now

I wanted to give up
I was scared so scared
maybe maybe I am imagining this...

The sweating lack of sleep 
If it hadn't been that I was having trouble breathing
now intense nausea 
Can't get off the Farm much

One doctor said
Hang in there with me...

So many blood tests later 
So many So many
Lead to
Bone marrow biopsy
a CT scan 
showing enlarged lymph nodes everywhere inside me

Especially in my lungs....

Comes the lung biopsy
By this time 
I can hardly speak sleep stand
coughing gasping choking

I spent a few days afterward
Under the weather

Waiting the worst...

There is a diagnosis of inflammation of my blood
Every Single Organ 
Start with skin and keep going inside

Currently affecting my lungs
Go figure...

There is no cure 
but some relief of symptoms with 
Strong high doses of 
Steroids possibly oral chemotherapy
Looking into alternatives...

However long my life is
There will be this problem

This news about one month old

Folks close to me know

Neighbors Friends stepped up offered a hand
I have been trying to get used to this
Keep going 
Keep going 

Walking Orrie yesterday 
Nausea so strong 
I wondered would I make it home

Stopped at the mailbox

A mountain of bills 
Hospital stay biopsies blood work 
Some things 
I'll have to look up don't have a clue

So far the total charges
At least 
Six times my yearly income

I have insurance 
Many things are covered I am truly truly grateful 

I'm just getting these first bills now
More are coming 
More tests scans biopsies in the near future

When I opened my news feed
All about the 
New Healthcare Bill 
Which would leave me personally me

Probably dead 
A little sooner than expected 

This is a blood disorder
Every single organ affected maybe maybe not 
Show up devastating liver eyesight kidneys lungs...
Whenever it wants
Or Not

I'm older
Not well off
Earning potential diminishing
Medical bills
Forever Now

If I can't have or keep my insurance....

What will I do...?

The writing this morning
About the Farmer

There is an 
Absolute Need for Healthcare that Works
For All of Us

Keep urging those in charge 
Our lives on the line
Work together figure it out 
Right or Left 
Doesn't matter when you're broken sick dying

We need to take care of each other 
Should Come Naturally....

Thank you for your time this morning.
I'm off to the barn
I'll be back later
  • Anonymous 
    • $50 
    • 55 mos
  • Christine Crandall 
    • $50 
    • 56 mos
  • Debra Morgan 
    • $100 
    • 57 mos
  • Caitlin Clark 
    • $40 
    • 58 mos
  • Janice Walk 
    • $50 
    • 58 mos
See all

Organizer and beneficiary

Alison Wheeler 
Rockland, ME
Cheryl Denz