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Survivor Story: Shirley Prentice

Posted by Pete Visintin on


Written by Shirley Prentice

Contributed by Vickie Watson 


Greetings!  I am Shirley (Mertz) Prentice.  I was raised in Gillespie, IL went to Saint Simon and Jude school for 8 years and graduated from Gillespie High School in 1970.  In 1974 I moved to Arizona where I met and married John Prentice, my husband of 41 years, and have lived there ever since.

Together, we raised 3 beautiful children, who in turn gave us 10 beautiful grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren!!!  Our children and grandchildren are the joy of our life!



I have always been a very active healthy person!  I like to take my grandkids out for hikes, bike rides, woodworking, and many other crafts!  I love fixing things...if something is broke, my kids call for "Mom!"  

Well, recently I ran into something I couldn't fix!  At 63, after being healthy all my life, this insidious thing called CANCER entered my life.  Cancer doesn't knock politely, it barges in univited, breaking down every door, every barrier, while invading and dominating every area of your life and all or your loved ones lives around you.

It has no mercy.  It wants no prisoners.  Its aim is to kill, rob, and destroy leaving your family in sorrow and tragedy as victims of a war they didn't see coming.




My family and I have only just begun to fight this fight with a relentless enemy.  The battle for my life began in April with my diagnosis of breast cancer.  Because I had just signed up for insurance, we had a long wait through the month of May till my insurance became effective on June 1st.  PET scans, MRIs, and biopsy's all revealed stage 3 breast cancer that had spread to my lymph nodes.

We were able to get insurance but our deductibles are $5,500 each, thus the fund raisers which my family has been so thoughtfully conducting.  


Cancer not only invades you physically but financially and emotionally as well.  It is an all out fight on all fronts!!!!


This is not a war that I ever thought I'd fight for myself.  I have always been the caregiver; the one to show up and help others through their time of need.  It is what I do and a part of who I am, but the roles are now reversed.  


I am in a fight not only for my life but for those who love me and depend on me.  At times, I am scared half out of my mind but I serve a living God from whom all blessings and healing flow and that is where I draw my strength to make it through this battle ahead.



"Not by might, not by power but by my Spirit says the Lord God Almighty."  Through God's strength and the love and support of my family and friends, I am more than confident that we can whip this enemy that has invaded our lives and I will come out on the other side beat up, mangled, weary, but none the less a SURVIVOR!


Thank you for reading my story and for your love and support.




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