In March 2010, Cheryl Gorringe’s chronic headaches didn’t seem to be cause for worry. Cheryl contributed these afternoon outbursts to stress, but by September, the afternoon headaches intensified and she began having random blackouts. Cheryl tried several methods to alleviate the pain, but none seemed to ease the pounding pressure.
On September 15, Cheryl’s mother visited her home in Melbourne, Australia, after her concerned son noticed Cheryl’s slurred speech during a phone conversation. While her mother was visiting, Cheryl had another blackout and was rushed to Royal Melbourne Hospital. The following day, the doctors delivered debilitating news. Cheryl had a four centimeter mass behind her right eye. The doctors immediately began surgery to remove the tumor, capturing all but a few cells attached to the lining of the brain wall.
Cheryl thought the operation was the end to her struggles, but throughout the next year, her cancer traveled from one area of her body to another. Doctors discovered a 4.3 centimeter carcinoma on her lung shortly after her brain surgery. While her month–long chemotherapy and radiation treatments reduced the tumor, doctors found another cancerous mass on her L5 vertebra. Cheryl has undergone several intensive treatments, and her spine is currently healing, but doctors recently found a spot on her hip that required more radiotherapy in July 2011.
Cheryl’s biggest struggle throughout her journey was learning to ask for help from others. “I’ve always been fiercely independent and private,” said Cheryl, “But with the steadfast support from my partner George, my family, and my friends, I was able to push through each adversity.”
Cheryl has been working as a receptionist at Intergraph Australia for seven years. “I would like to give a special thank you to Intergraph for their strong support and a thank you to my boss, Michael Greentree, who provided wonderful understanding and encouragement,” she stated. Cheryl’s cat, Bella, has also been her constant companion throughout her journey.
In homage to Cheryl’s home country, her garden incorporates native Australian plants. She selected her favorite flower, a blooming rose bush, and surrounded it with colorful pansies and spring tulips.
Cheryl hopes her experience will encourage others to talk about their illnesses. “Sharing your experience with others helps you know you’re not alone. Be positive and don’t dwell on the inevitable. Always look toward the future.”