Cheryl and Greg are photographed in Times Square with their children, Kyle and Alexandra.
© 2012 Mark Jason Photography
Cheryl — Age: 44
Breast cancer survivor since 2008
Greg — Age: 39
Cancer survivor since 2008
Cheryl is CFO for a medical waste company.
Greg is a COO for a medical device company.
What does being Survivor smean to you?
Having been diagnosed just four months apart from each other (Cheryl — breast stage IIIc; Greg —esophageal stage IVb) being Survivors together is very special to us. While we were in treatment, knowing exactly what each other was going through physically and mentally helped us tremendously and brought us closer together. Being told to “suck it up” when you are drained from chemo or feeling down probably wouldn’t go over well with most couples. However, when you know your spouse is dealing with the same issues, it forces you to keep active, help out around the house and avoid getting locked to the couch. Strangely, the days on which our schedules lined up, and we both had chemo were probably the most motivating — each of us would try to help the other as much as we could by taking care of the kids, cooking dinner, etc. Because we shared so many of the same experiences at the same time, being Survivors has made us more understanding and appreciative of how strong we are individually, and how much stronger we are together.
How has being Survivors affected your life?
It is a struggle to come up with a simple answer to this question since there are countless ways that being Survivors has affected our lives. At the most basic level, it has made us greatly appreciate the little things in life that one would usually overlook. Being able to walk up stairs without losing your breath, not having to plan your day around treatments and medications, or just walking somewhere with your children and holding their hands have all become more important to us. Overall, we have learned to keep our focus and priority on living life and having fun. Being hard working business executives, it is easy to get wrapped up in your job as you strive to succeed and further your career. Both of us continued to work full time (and then some) through our treatments. As Survivors, our work days have not gotten easier or shorter, but at the end of the day work is over and no longer on our minds. Getting our work done is now our priority, allowing us to spend more time with our friends, get to a football game, go on vacations with our family, and enjoy life to its fullest. We work to live and do not live to work.
Lastly, being Survivors has put us in a unique position to help others. We are contacted pretty regularly by friends, co-workers or associates who have been recently diagnosed or know someone that has been diagnosed. We have shared our story, given advice or just listened to many people over the years. This, hopefully, has helped all of the people we have spoken to, but it really has had a beneficial impact on us. Being able to turn an awful experience into something positive by helping others makes it easier to deal with it personally.
The photo: Cheryl and Greg chose to be photographed in Times Square with their children Kyle and Alexandra.
Thanks to: Wei West Restaurant for providing dinner for the Sadowski family.
Produced by Todd Ehrlich, T-Line TV.
Video and Editing by SA Baron.