Sherri Gernhart is a loving, strong and supportive mother and
Sherri Gernhart is a loving, strong and graceful mother and friend who recently went the most difficult health impacting part of her life and stayed brave throughout the most challenging situations for any human. Now Sherri is cancer free but needs our help to support her in being able to put the financial burden behind her.
October 2017, at 50 years old, Sherri Gernhart, a single mom of two, Cole (18) and Jacqueline Butschky (12), was faced with some very difficult medical decisions. A suspicious lump was picked up in Sherri’s left breast during her annual mammogram. Shortly after an Ultrasound Guided Biopsy, she received that unexpected call, she was diagnosed positive for Triple Negative Breast Cancer and after genetic testing, it was determined that she also carried the BRCA1 mutated gene.
After a very intense 2½ hour consultation with her breast surgeon, Sherri decided to fight back aggressively because of the significant family history of breast, ovarian, prostate, and colon cancer in her father’s family. She had lost her Dad, Grandmother, and Great Grandmother all to the same cancer diagnosis she was facing.
Sherri opted for a double mastectomy upfront followed by 6 months of intensive chemotherapy. It took a few weeks, but in Mid-December Sherri had her double mastectomy with reconstructive surgery and from 24 hours post op, she knew something wasn’t right.
It took 3 weeks for an intense, chronic Staph Infection that to surface, but when it did, it was extremely aggressive. Sherri contracted this infection during her initial surgical procedure. It is hard to believe but from there, she ended up struggling to fight that very same infection over the next 12 weeks. She underwent 3 additional emergency surgeries, and spent a total of 14 days in the hospital with the Infectious Disease Team trying to stabilize the staph infection. While in the hospital to get the infection under control, Sherri suffered a severe burn on her left breast from hot compresses that were being placed on the infected area of the left breast. This occurred because the breast tissue was very thin and she had no feeling or sensitivity as all of her nerve endings were removed. Two weeks post stabilization of the staph infection; Sherri was diagnosed with chronic C-Diff and spent another 7 days quarantined in the hospital.
While hospitalized, Sherri continued with her chemo therapy treatments and was able to finish up on June 21st. She had to have another reconstructive surgery to place her left expander back in on July 25th. 2 weeks later, Sherri underwent her hysterectomy surgery which included removal of her uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes and cervix. This surgery took place on August 7th.
From July 25th – September 14th, Sherri continued to have reconstruction office appointments to fill her expanders to stretch the skin for her permanent implant surgery which took place on September 19th. Trying to save being put under an additional time, Sherri had her port removed at the same time.
Sherri’s journey battling cancer was not easy. From the staph infection, to losing almost all of her toenails and fingernails to infection brought on by chemo, to severe neuropathy in her hands and feet. From nights lying awake with hot flashes and chills to days where she could only sip chicken broth. At times, the muscle and join pain was almost unbearable, but she continued to do what she could to be there for her children each and every day – never once complaining.
Although she is getting stronger and healthier each and every day as the chemotherapy drugs and steroid effects are beginning to wear off, her hair and nails are beginning to grow back, her appetite and energy are picking up, she is faced with the reality of how she will pay off the medical debt all of this has brought on her at a time she should be focusing on going back to work and getting her daughter ready to start high school.
Sherri had no choice but to go out on disability to focus on her health and while doing that, she because a mentor for other breast cancer patients suffering worse than she. Sherri is such a giving, compassionate woman. She is not one to ever ask for help or look for recognition for anything she does or goes through, which is why I feel this is our time to give back and help her with the medical expenses which were incurred as she fought the fight of her life so that she can focus on getting back to work and preparing her daughter for high school.
Help support Sherri and bring the largest smile to her face.
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