Day 5 - and only two days before the show! Today we meet Sharon Yorkiv, caregiver.
Sharon has been sharing her real life husband’s journey with cancer for a year. They have been told by different doctors that the best case scenario is that he may live to see their oldest son graduate from high school next June. She says: ‘I have learned to take each day at a time, enjoy and make the most of the good days and just get though the bad days.
‘You know how when a couple is expecting a baby they say "WE are pregnant" ... well in this case WE have cancer. A year ago my husband started having chest pains. It turned out that there was a tumor wrapped around his spine, which proved to be Stage 4 cancer of the duodenum with a secondary Stage 2 tumor on his spine.
‘From the time we found out, our lives became a date book of appointments for office visits, treatments and surgeries. Since he was diagnosed I have been doing all the things a good wife would do for the man she loves. Driving him back and forth, making sure he had his medications on schedule, helping him bathe after surgery, making meals that he could keep down and that would help him to try to put back some of the weight he had lost. I must have driven him to and from the cancer center more than a hundred times. Since his surgery he has a hole the size of my fingertip in his back that will not heal. It is the spot there he received radiation. I have learned to change the dressing daily to keep it from becoming infected.
Sharon joined SL about 13 months ago. She is passionate about her family and friends in both real life and SL. She says: ‘I feel very honoured to have been chosen as a participant in Makeover Magic. I know the real life program it is based on and all the good it does for people. This comes at a time when I was feeling tired out and drained with life and being treated so special is more then I can put into words.
She continues: ‘One night while in SL talking to a friend (crying on her shoulder is more like it) about my problems she said I should do a search for cancer support and I did. I was very happy to have found the SL Cancer Caregivers support group. I joined the group and within minutes I had three new friends. I started going to the group meetings and found out that I am not alone in all of this. And that there are others to lend a hand, an ear and even a shoulder.
‘The best thing about the group and help I have here in SL is that they are here when I need them. Not just the first and third Tuesday of each month like the RL groups I have found. During the day it's easy to keep your mind on other things, like real life (cooking, cleaning running Mom's taxi service...) For me the hardest times are late at night when I can stop and let my mind fill with all the things that scare me and made me cry. All the things I don't know how to handle.
‘I have to give a very special thank you to Akasha Divisadero [moderator of the caregivers group - ed] and Ren Stonecutter. I was in a panic late one night and talking to Akasha, she was able to have Ren IM me and talk to me about the issues my husband had. He helped me so much, I don't know how I would have gotten though that night. Akasha also stayed on with me that night until she was sure I was OK.’
In real life Sharon has been happily married for nearly 20 years and has two teenage sons. For most of her life she has lived on the Wisconsin farm her family has owned since 1919. She loves to cook and work in her flower garden.