Mount Shasta mom stays positive while battling leukemia
A dedicated Mount Shasta mother of three is facing years of chemotherapy and dozens of costly trips to UC Davis Medical Center after being diagnosed earlier this month with Acute Myeloid Leukemia.
Jessica Sherman, 32, was forced to quit her job working the front desk at the Strawberry Valley Inn after becoming too ill to function. After several trips to the doctor to address fever, severe body aches, stomach issues, an extreme sore throat and pervasive fever blisters in and around her mouth, bloodwork revealed Sherman had an extremely high white blood cell count and she was life flighted on Nov. 10 to UC Davis, where she’s undergoing intravenous chemotherapy.
Sherman, whose youngest son, Brayden, is a first grader at Mount Shasta Elementary School, has been selected for a clinical trial with increased remission rates, said her friend, Katie Beauchene.
Sherman’s other children, Callie, age 11 and Nicholas, 13, are with their father in Redding, said Beauchene. All of Brayden’s care falls on his father, Zeb Lewin, while Sherman undergoes her first round of intensive chemotherapy during an initial four to six week stay in the hospital.
Money raised via an online Go Fund Me campaign for Sherman, with Lewin as the beneficiary, will go toward medical costs, travel costs and child care costs while Sherman is too ill to care for Brayden.
“This has totally disrupted her life,” said Beauchene, who created the online fundraiser. “It will be hard to determine her course of treatment until (doctors see) the results of her next bone marrow biopsy. What we do know is that she is anticipating a minimum of two years of chemotherapy, constant travel, and hospital stays.”
The fact that she was selected for the clinic trail is good news, said Beauchene. The current remission rate for her kind of leukemia is 57 percent, but the clinical trial medication has a remission rate of 81 percent. “Doctors are hopeful because Jessica is young and once she beats this, we hope there is no recurrence.”
Beauchene said Sherman is withstanding the chemotherapy treatment well. A pic line was placed two weeks ago to make the procedure easier.
“She was so sick before she was diagnosed – she lost 40 pounds in six weeks – that she actually feels better now that her white blood cell count is down,” said Beauchene, although now she must be careful because now her count is low, due to the chemo. “She feels better than she has in a month. She’s smiling ... She’s trying really hard to stay positive and appreciates all the love she has received.”
So far, more than $3,000 has been raised of the fundraiser’s $10,000 goal.
Sherman hopes to be able to come home for a few days in the second week of December before going back to UC Davis on Dec. 23 for another biopsy to check her progress.
Her schedule will then include five days in Davis for intensive chemotherapy, followed by three weeks at home, where she’ll take chemo pills. She’ll do four rounds of this, get a biopsy and then start again until she achieves remission.
This process will be followed by 13 months of maintenance chemotherapy, which she can be home for. However, during this time, Sherman will still need to visit UC Davis once a month.
Beauchene said Sherman is a dedicated mom and friend. “She loves her friends and is there, no matter what. She juggled working nights while trying to make sure her kids were taken care of. Her life basically just revolved around her family, friends and her cat Kai.”
Beauchene added that Sherman “cares about everyone in her realm and makes sure they know it.” She’s hoping that those who know Sherman will support her through her difficult time of healing.“She is an incredibly good person that deserves the best in the world,” Beauchene said.
To make a donation to Sherman’s Go Fund Me campaign, or to read updates about her progress, go to www.gofundme.com/f/jessica-sherman-aml-leukemia.
If you are a business owner willing to place a donation can in your business in support of Sherman, email Beauchene at email@example.com and she will make sure you get one.