A terminally ill 35-year old mum is preparing for what could be her last Christmas with her husband and 15-month old son.
Sheri Ekladios, 35, from Solihull, was told in November that she had just six months to live.
Sheri and her husband Tifa were hit with the devastating news just over a year after the birth of their first child, Daniel.
Despite the heart-wrenching reality that the family are having to face, Sheri plans on spending the festive period making memories with her loved ones in the little time she has left.
Sheri Ekladios, (pictured) 35, from Solihull, was diagnosed with incurable stomach cancer last month
Sheri said: ‘It has made me value every minute with Tifa and Daniel and it has changed the way I want to spend time with them.
‘Before, I had a fast lifestyle and my career, and now I have taken a back seat and am taking time to prioritise Daniel and Tifa and make memories with them.
‘I feel Daniel is aware, being only 15-months-old, he is being very gentle and loving towards me and he has adjusted to hospice life. He has shown compassion with everyone he meets with a smile’
At her last appointment, Sheri was told that the cancer that she has is incurable with life-prolonging intervention of 10 per cent.
She has been given six months to live and plans on spending as much time as she can with her husband Tifa (pictured left) and little boy Daniel (pictured centre)
The devastating diagnosis came just a year after she had Daniel. She says that despite his young age, she feels that he is aware what is going on
Tifa and Sheri only married in 2015 and had Daniel in 2016. But she says she is still fighting the fight and will go when it is her time
For Sheri, this news came just as she felt her life was beginning – she married Tifa in 2015 and had Daniel in 2016 but her world crumbled in November this year and doctors told her that she had just six months to live.
Tragically Sheri lost her mum, Christine, to the same type of cancer 15 years ago.
She said: ‘I had no symptoms except for post-pregnancy symptoms such as acid indigestion, heartburn as I had recently delivered Daniel. It was a feeling of being a bit full’
Through her treatment, Sheri has lost her hair. She is now living at the Marie Curie Hospice in Solihull
Her father, Adel, (pictured with Sheri on her wedding day) lost his wife to the same type of cancer 15 years ago
‘I think I felt I already knew because of what my mum had gone through. I cried but only because it only confirmed what deep inside I already knew.
‘To put it into words, the emotion I felt was “worried” to put my family through it all again.’
Determined to have a traditional Christmas with her family, Sheri hopes to be well enough to be able to spend it at home. But she has said she is prepared for it not to go to plan.
Pictured with Daniel as a newborn, Sheri says that he has adjusted well to live at the hospice
This time last year the family were enjoying Daniel’s first Christmas in the comfort of their home
Sheri wants people to take a lesson from her and ‘stop being busy’ and ‘take time to listen to each other’
She said: ‘I’d like to have a normal traditional Christmas, at home if possible, post-chemo. If unable to do that, my family will come to me here at the hospice and we will try to re-create Christmas here.’
‘My faith and belief in God gives me peace, comfort and hope. Nobody can tell me when I’m going to die, only God can control this.’
Being ill has made Sheri realise the importance of things that others may take for granted, she said: ‘ This is the biggest lesson that I ask everyone to take from me. Stop being busy, take time to listen to each other and build your memories now.’
What are the symptoms of stomach cancer?
Stomach cancer is a relatively rare form of the disease, affecting around 7,300 people in the UK each year.
The early symptoms are vague and easy to mistake for other, less serious conditions.
- persistent indigestion and heartburn
- trapped wind and frequent burping
- feeling very full or bloated after meals
- persistent stomach pain
As the disease develops, more advanced symptoms include:
- blood in your stools, or black stools
- loss of appetite
- weight loss
In many cases, due to the face the early symptoms are so similar to other conditions, the disease is often advanced by the time it is detected.
It is vital people suffering the early symptoms get checked by their GP as soon as possible.
There are different types of stomach cancer – 95 per cent of cases develop in the cells of the stomach lining – known as adenocarcinoma of the stomach.
Less common forms of the disease include lymphoma of the stomach, which develops in the lymphatic tissue and gastrointestinal stromal tumours, which develop in the muscle of the stomach wall.
Around 15 per cent of stomach cancer patients live at least five years after diagnosis, and around 11 per cent live for 10 years.
In the UK around 5,000 people die from stomach cancer each year.
Source: NHS Choices