Jeremy Shelley is a firm believer that humor is the best medicine. With his upbeat attitude and ability to find the positive in whatever life throws his way, nothing seems able to keep him down…not even cancer.
In 2003, shortly after Jeremy’s 30th birthday, his endocrinologist felt a lump in his throat. Although he thought it was minor because of thyroid issues in the past, Jeremy soon learned he had thyroid cancer. “It felt like a kick to the stomach,” he said. “In my mind, cancer was something that happened later. Not at age 30.”
In April 2003, doctors removed Jeremy’s thyroid. Shortly after, he began an oral radiation treatment to kill the lingering cancer cells. During his three-day treatment, Jeremy had to be totally isolated in a saran-wrapped hospital room. One of the toughest side effects of his medication was a shortened attention span. “To worsen things, I couldn’t even make it through one daytime television show,” Jeremy quipped. “I was constantly reminded how awful they all were each time I changed the channel.”
After his stint in the hospital, Jeremyrsquo;s thyroid sample was sent to Mayo Clinic. When the results came back inconclusive, his sample was sent to one of the foremost thyroid doctors in the world. It was only then Jeremy learned what he truly had – a rare cancer with only six documented cases in history. Jeremy joked, “I always knew I was unusual. Now I have medical proof to back it up.”
Now cancer-free for ten years, Jeremy was able to overcome his disease through his faith in God, the support of his family – wife, Alicia, and son, Liam – and his unyielding sense of humor. “If you can make someone laugh about your cancer story, it has no power over you,” he affirmed.
For his garden, Jeremy selected a cross centerpiece consisting of white SunPatiens – symbolizing faith and church family. Neighboring this is a field of blue petunias and red salvia, followed by rosemary and a small section of herbs for Jeremy to use incorrectly while cooking.
Jeremy wanted his garden visitors to remember these words of encouragement: “People have told me I don’t strike them as a cancer survivor. I take that as a compliment. Some people expect the worst when they’re diagnosed, but if you look for grace and peace in God, you can find it everywhere. You’re not alone in this.”