Faces of Survival: Cheryl Elms

“I didn’t expect to go through so many emotions until they hit me,” said Cheryl Elms. “I didn’t expect I would learn to love myself in so many different ways.” MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF

Cheryl Elms worked to keep her sense of humor throughout her cancer treatment.

 

“I was transparent through all of it,” said Elms, who took to her social media pages to post of her pole dancing – with an IV pole that is – and wearing a wacky pink wig, as a way to fight the emotional side effects the disease can bring.

She also used all the fun photo filters she could to dress up her photos. Elms was diagnosed in Dec. 2015 after a routine mammogram picked up something suspicious. While the doctors didn’t diagnose cancer immediately, she said she “just knew” something wasn’t right after a second mammogram and sonogram.

“I had a biopsy the next day and I saw it,” said Elms, a licensed practical nurse at Fort Gordon’s Connelly Health Clinic.

Elms watched her biopsy and could tell from the suspicious growth’s irregular borders that it wasn’t simply a cyst; she knew it was malignant. Her Feb. 2016 lumpectomy was followed with 14 rounds of chemotherapy and 33 rounds of radiation.

“I’m cancer-free,” she said after recently having her second six-month mammogram. She encourages every woman to follow through on their routine tests.

Cancer changed her life more than physically.

“I didn’t expect to go through so many emotions until they hit me. I didn’t expect I would learn to love myself in so many different ways, a cancer patient, bald, sick, then on to learning to love myself as survivor. It’s OK to come out of this experience different,” she said.

Elms said she received a lot of support from family and friends through the process. Co-workers donated their time to her, and others helped financially.

“People came from every direction,” she said. She encourages anyone going through cancer to accept help, even in the smallest things if it’s offered. Now that she’s on the other side, she wants to help others who are facing cancer now.

”I am very active in helping others going through the same thing. I want others to feel loved. I really tune in to others with health conditions and want to just talk about it with someone who understands,” she said.

Upcoming events

6th annual Grovetown Pink Friday Benefit: 6-9 p.m. Oct. 13, Liberty Community Center, 1040 Newmantown Road; open mic night, food/craft vendors, inflatables; $5 (ages 5 and under free) to benefit Lydia Project; (706) 860-7691.

Miracle Mile Walk: 7:30 a.m. pre-walk party, 9 a.m. walk Oct. 21, Augusta Common, 836 Reynolds St.; supports University Hospital’s Breast Health Center and Mobile Mammography Unit, themiraclemilewalk.org, (706) 667-0030.

3rd Annual Wacky Wig Walk: 8:30 a.m. Oct. 28, Columbia County Amphitheater, benefits Georgia Cancer Center-Image Boutique Fund; $20 registration, giving.augusta.edu/wackywigwalk.

3rd Annual Fashion Show Fundraiser: 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 28, Trinity on the Hill UMC-Wesley Hall, 1330 Monte Sano Ave., benefiting The Lydia Project, holiday fashions by custom clothier Alethia Hudson, Cato Fashions and David’s Bridal, music by A Major Sound, catering by Southern Girl Cooks; shop for holiday gifts; $20; email sewmuchtalent@yahoo.com or (706) 414-1958.

 

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