Blindsided: Healthy living advocate battles eye cancer

Cori poses for a photo Thursday evening from her hotel in Philadelphia where she's getting treatment . PHOTO SUBMITTED

Cori poses for a photo Thursday evening from her hotel in Philadelphia where she’s getting treatment . PHOTO SUBMITTED

I got an email Thursday evening from one of our regular No Sweat, York contributors, Cori Strathmeyer, with some bad news.

As the director of healthy living at YMCA of York County, Cori has shared with us her many tips for making good choices when it comes to diet and fitness. She works hard to practice what she teaches those around her.

But sometimes life hands us challenges we cannot control.

Cori found out recently that she has Choroidal Melanoma, or eye cancer. She’s in Philadelphia right now waiting a second surgery on Monday to remove a tumor. Despite struggling with some pain and dealing with this news on a personal level, Cori thought that maybe her story, even in its early stages, can help others.

She shared this post she wrote recently. Read her story and then please share your comments below to show Cori we’re wishing her a quick and speedy recovery. You also can visit a Facebook page created by her daughters called Eye of the Tiger. Share a photo of yourself wearing an eye patch to tell Cori you’re thinking of her.

Anyone who knows me, knows that I strive for a healthy life for myself, my family and friends and for those in the greater York community.  I try to model healthy living by eating whole foods, exercising daily, getting plenty of sleep, laughing and surrounding myself with positive people.  You can imagine my utter shock when the retina specialist stated that I had Choroidal Melanoma.  My response, “you mean eye cancer???”.  Yup. That was exactly what he meant.  

Cori's daughters created a Facebook page to show support for their mother. Share your own eye patch photo to let her know you're thinking of her.

Cori’s daughters created a Facebook page to show support for their mother. Share your own eye patch photo to let her know you’re thinking of her. PHOTO SUBMITTED

And so I now embark on the greatest challenge of my life; fighting a cancer that only affects 1 out of 1 million people.  There are roughly 2,000 cases each year.  Getting rid of the eye tumor is the easy part.  I will have a radiation patch surgically planted over my tumor on Thursday (April 10, 2014).  I will remain under the care of specialists (the best in the world) at the Wills Eye Hospital in Philadelphia for 5-7 days until the tumor is gone.

The hard part will be waiting for my systemic test results that determine whether the melanoma has spread to my liver or lungs.  Metastasized melanoma = not a happy ending.  I am not exactly sure how to proceed.  By nature I am a fighter; I am strong and I don’t back down easily.  But I am also a realist.  

Frankly, I’m pretty pissed off about this.  Who is ever going to believe all my rants about healthy living now?  Who will take my advice to “put down the crap food and get moving”?  And the age-old question from all cancer patients: “why me?”  To a point, I am flattered.  Cancer had to be sneaky and had to appear in a place that no one really thinks to search.  Cancer couldn’t affect all of the “normal” body parts because of my health practices.  

So dear friends, family, “followers” and community members, I ask many favors.  

  1. PLEASE make sure that YOU are too healthy for cancer to ever invade your body.  Eat healthy foods, drink plenty of water, exercise daily, laugh often and sleep well!
  2. Please pray for my family: my husband and four amazing children.  I love them more than anything and this trial will affect them deeply.
  3. Please pray that God will provide me with the strength and wisdom to endure this challenge, and if it is His will, let me not have metastatic cancer.
  4. Finally please send lots of positive energy our way.  

About Rebecca Hanlon

Rebecca Hanlon is the health reporter with a religion sub beat at the York Daily Record/Sunday News. Follow her on Twitter @mrsbeccahanlon or on Facebook at facebook.com/byrebeccahanlon.
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5 Responses to Blindsided: Healthy living advocate battles eye cancer

  1. Vickie huska says:

    Cori, prayers to you and your family. Cancer is a rude intrusion in our life. Thank you for all your support during our family’s battle thru navaroli nation. I know you will beat this disease. Positive lifestyle is your style!

  2. Lisa Zeigler says:

    Good luck Cori! Prayers for you and your family.

  3. Karen Strathmeyer says:

    Thinking about you, Cori. Never give up the fight. Thanks for taking the time to share your story and for the encouagement you give to others. Prayers and special thoughts coming your way.

  4. Condoda says:

    Cori dear, I am dating the most wonderful man for the past year. He, too, had choroidal melanoma and had surgery just exactly where you are at Penn. He is the absolute love of my life, never been happier. He went through this procedure in 2002. Please call me so we can talk. Much love to you. Never give up and always keep eating healthy! Condoda

  5. Condoda Smith-Boyle says:

    Cori, Never give up and continue to eat all of those healthy foods. Please call me as I have been dating the love of my life who had choroidal melanoma in 2002 and underwent your same treatments at Penn. We have been dating for one year now and he has the most beautiful eyes I have ever seen. You are in my prayers and positive thoughts. I will wait to hear from you dear. Condoda

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