Member Profile

Erryn Austin
Name Erryn Austin
Location Hays, Kansas
Age 42
Joined 174 days ago
About Me In home Daycare Provider. I love my show and the kids keep me laughing at the things the do and say!!!
Erryn Austin
Shutterfly Helps a Family in Need
174 days ago

Hi Ellen, I am sharing an amazing story with you about a dear friend and her family and all then have gone through.

This was wrote by her teenage daughter when she was in the 8th grade!

In 8th grade I was asked by Mrs. Link to write an essay for a contest, the topic being my hero. The choice was a no brainer. I chose my mom, a cancer survivor, and an inspiration to not only me, but
our whole community. Little did I know my family's life would be sent into that same whirlwind in the near future. These past few months have been rough on us. I don't know where we would be without the support of such amazing friends and family. I am incredibly thankful for each and every one of you. I want to share my hero essay with all of you. I hope you enjoy it, and I hope you know that my family is very appreciative of everything that you guys have done and are doing.
Thank you all,
Kinzee Hoover

When you think of a hero, what automatically comes to mind? To some, fictional characters like Spiderman, Superman, and Indiana Jones hold the title of a hero. Others might think of a mighty soldier who has served in war. Often times a hero is someone admired for their great strength or ability. Bravery and courage are also qualities of a hero. Heroes can be men, women, children, and even animals. To me, a hero is a person that can overcome huge obstacles while maintaining a positive attitude.
Everybody has a role model in their life that inspires them. My mom,Shani Hoover, is not only my role model, but she is also my hero. She is a remarkably brave person whose character was tested after being diagnosed with Stage 4 Breast Cancer in May of 2005.
At the age of just 34, my mom’s life was turned upside down. Her normal routine went from being an active mother and wife to also fighting for her life. Her days went from taking me to school and arranging play dates to finding doctors, deciding on a treatment plan, coordinating treatment dates, and trying to keep a 5 year old’s life as normal as possible. She now had issues of life uncertainty, treatment sickness, losing hair, wearing a wig, several surgeries, radiation fatigue, and financial doubt. Couple that with the incredible emotional stress that was draped with overwhelming sadness and shock.
After diagnosis, my mom couldn’t even say the dreadful C word. She told me that her life kept flashing before her eyes and she could only focus on her bleak situation. She told the doctors she didn’t care what they cut off or pumped into her, she just wanted to see her daughter grow up. My mom’s mind was flooded with thoughts of how I, being so young, would adjust to no mother. How I would watch her ugly fight with a silent monster tear her down. She couldn’t believe there was a possibility she would miss so much if things didn’t go right.
While my moms initial reaction to the news was shock, she eventually came to terms with her diagnosis and knew she would do whatever it took to rid her body of this disease. The doctors began to shape a treatment plan that they believed would cure my mom. They agreed that the best option was to hit the cancer hard with a strong round of chemotherapy. The combination of drugs used were known as the “red devil”. It was named for its bright red color, and its powerful punch. It had side effects that made my mom very ill, but it attacked the cancer ferociously. She would lay on the couch trying to hold her head in one place so it wouldn’t hurt. It gave her excruciating neck and back pain and long episodes of nausea. Just when she was feeling better, it would be time for more treatment.
The next step was surgery. A double mastectomy left my mom with a large scar across her chest and a painful recovery. To complicate it even more, live cancer cells were still present. We were disheartened and discouraged with this news. This was a grim prognosis and set the stage for more aggressive treatment. The doctors assured us that they would do all they could do, and then put it in God’s hands.
After healing from the surgery, my mom began a 7 week radiation therapy treatment. This required us to live near the hospital as it was a daily procedure. The side effects of radiation were not pleasant. They radiated a large area. My mom suffered from open burns and extreme fatigue. Living near the hospital meant being away from my school. My mom stepped in as my teacher and kept me current on my many assignments. We enjoyed the time together and I loved the hot cocoa and chocolate chip cookies the hospital served, but looking back I don’t think I realized the seriousness of my mom’s situation.
A specialist in Kansas City recommended a hysterectomy and a second round of chemotherapy. She first tackled the hysterectomy. Lab results showed my mom’s cancer was fed by hormones, so the doctors felt it was necessary to eliminate her ability to produce hormones. This was a routine surgery, but again required more recovery time for an already weakened body. The second round of chemotherapy would be the round that would test my mom the most. On top of having the common side effects, she added a condition called brachial neuritis. This meant all of her nerves in her left arm were inflamed. This ailment is very painful. They treated her with nerve medicines and high doses of painkillers.
After 2 years of treatment, we could finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. Checkups were improving, and my mom was as well. She still struggled with arm pain and fatigue, but she celebrated that she was alive. Her hair slowly grew back, and she started to look more like herself. The treatment had taken a toll on her body, but her positive attitude kept her going.
My mom credits her recovery to the power of prayer, a strong spirit, and great doctors. Looking back on this dreadful adventure, I remember my mom as happy and joyful. She was always trying to cheer me up in times of sadness. When my mom got bad news, she processed it and then searched for the best treatment option with a great determination in her eyes. The obstacles she faced throughout her fight tested her spirit and character, but she never failed to be positive, uplifting, and humorous. My mom exhibited great strength, faith, courage, and bravery in her battle with cancer. These inspiring characteristics make my mom my hero.

Please look at the link below it is about the fund raiser my sister and many of Shani's best friends are doing for her and her family!!
P.S. She loves you and your show!!!

Thank you,
Erryn Austin
Hays, KS