After noticing a lump in her arm and occasional numbness in two of her fingers, Sherry Buchsteiner of Bryan, Ohio, made an appointment with a local nurse practitioner to get it examined. An MRI revealed that Sherry had sarcoma in her arm.
She was referred to Joel Mayerson, MD, of The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James). Initially, Sherry was reluctant to receive treatment and care so far from home. Columbus is nearly three hours from Bryan.
“You have to be open to moving on. At first, I pleaded with my physician to care for me in my hometown, but I am so thankful I was referred to Ohio State,” Sherry recalls. Looking back, she is glad she stepped out of her comfort zone and encourages others with the same trepidation to do so as well.
Sarcoma is a cancer of the connective tissue in the body such as muscle, bone, fat or blood vessels. Dr. Mayerson presented Sherry with two treatment options: a complete arm amputation or aggressive surgery to remove the tumor, which in older patients could result in limited mobility and feeling in her arm. Opting for the surgery and 11 days in the hospital, Sherry was resilient and defied the odds to beat her cancer.
She cites not only the OSUCCC – James with helping her beat her cancer but also the immense love and support she received from her family and her faith. From day one, Sherry’s family was by her side during her cancer journey. “My daughter stayed at my bedside for the 11 days I was a patient at The James. My husband even learned to curl my hair,” recalls Sherry. “Not everyone has family support, but I did, I do, and I’m so grateful.”
Following her recovery, Sherry and her family wanted to do something in support of her cancer care team, so she became involved with Steps for Sarcoma, a running and walking event that benefits sarcoma research at the OSUCCC – James. “I have personally benefited from people who have given before. Giving back is a very minimal way of saying thank you to so many involved with sarcoma at Ohio State,” she says.
These days, Sherry and her family continue to be active in giving and fundraising for Steps for Sarcoma. “I encourage any person touched by cancer to get involved in fundraising. Opportunities are abundant. Giving for me is my way of responding to the gifts and love that I have been so freely given in my life,” says Sherry.