Sheryl Meek-Molitor and her husband, Hal, are a team. She’s the one with breast cancer, but he’s equally involved in the recovery. Where you see one, you see the other.
In December 2011, Sheryl’s primary care physician at Harris Health Casa de Amigos found two masses, one large and one small, in her right breast. She had a mammogram, and then an ultrasound. In March 2012, when the doctor first gave her the cancer diagnosis, he held her hand and encouraged her.
Sheryl credits Hal with much of her care. “He is fabulous. He’s comfortable with the medical world. He speaks the language. And he’s my stand-up comedian.”
The support they have encountered in the Harris Health System has surprised them. Hal says, “All the doctors and employees are so responsive. They spontaneously smile and are helpful. We haven’t found that elsewhere.”
Sheryl, who deals with a number of health issues in addition to breast cancer, participated in a clinical trial before her mastectomy. Surgery was followed by chemotherapy and radiation. “I’m very special. I’ve had all the side effects,” she says. One side effect has been very pleasant. “I love being bald. I like to rub my head and feel the sensations of touch and air. I’ve never felt this before. It’s a good feeling.”
Even better is the feeling she gets when she enters Harris Health Smith Clinic. “The people are always happy to see me. They’re really nice, really helpful.”
That’s partly because Sheryl spreads happiness wherever she goes. Cancer doesn’t overwhelm her. “Take it one day at a time,” she tells others. “Don’t look ahead and be scared. Find a support system wherever you can, whether it’s family or friends or church.
“I try to stay busy with things I love: art, photography or writing. I never pass up an opportunity to write. And we live on Allen Parkway, so I get to see lots of activities and festivals. I stay upbeat. When I lose my smile, I get concerned. When I can smile all day, I know life is good.”
Hal adds, “Cancer is just something that has to be done. Skip the ‘Oh, ain’t it awful?’ part. Be as social as you can be. The disease that really needs to be cured is loneliness.”