Stage IV Lung Cancer Survivor Was Put on the Path to Wellness
Sharon Carlton didn’t know what the knot on her neck was, but she went to get it checked out. The diagnosis she received in August 2015 was cancer. Even worse, the original tumor was in her lung. The spread to her neck indicated the cancer was Stage IV, the most advanced stage.
Heart of Oak
After the diagnosis, Sharon went back to her home in Hopkins County and took a walk.
Her mother had died of bone cancer. Her oldest sister had been diagnosed with breast cancer. Two years after her diagnosis, Sharon’s brother died from colon cancer. Her husband, Henry, had a lung removed in 2017 because of cancer.
“I’ve got a big yard and I’d go out by the woods and me and God would have our conversations,” Sharon said.
Sharon vowed not to give up. The only major change she made to her life was to leave her job at a woodworking business, where she helped take wood from white oak trees to make bourbon barrels. Like the oak, she’s made a habit of being strong, whether that was as a wife, a mother or in her faith.
“If God can give me the strength to get up and move, I should have the strength to fight it,” Sharon said.
To Fight and Conquer
Sharon saw Dr. Jewraj Maheshwari at Owensboro Health Medical Group – Hematology & Oncology, who put her on chemotherapy every three weeks for about five months. She then had five days of radiation therapy a week for 13 weeks with Dr. Ryan Abel. Then Dr. Maheshwari began treating her with an immunotherapy drug, which works to kill cancer cells using the body’s immune system.
Her husband Henry said her courage and strength were evident to everyone.
“It was kind of unnerving until I saw that she had it down pat.” Henry Carlton said. “You can’t give up.”
With Head Carried High
In late 2016, Dr. Maheshwari, gave her the news: She was cancer-free.
“I wouldn’t take nothing in this world for Dr. Maheshwari. I love him just like he’s my dad,” she said.
She became fast friends with staff at the Mitchell Memorial Cancer Center.
“I had so many that were pushing me. My friends, my brothers, sisters and family, my church family. I had a lot behind me, and it helps,” Sharon said. “You’ve got to have faith, you’ve got to believe and you’ve got to fight the battle. That’s how I feel like I beat it. That and my family and friends.”
"You just keep fighting. You make yourself get up," Sharon said.
A year after learning her cancer was gone, life has mostly returned to normal. She likes to go fishing and spends time with her three children, her six grandchildren and her seven great-grandchildren. In January, 2019 Henry and Sharon will celebrate their 53rd wedding anniversary.
Sharon still comes to the Mitchell Memorial Cancer Center once a month so she can receive her immunotherapy infusions.
“With that and God’s help, I’m good,” Sharon said.