Cheryl Erpelding beat uterine cancer in 2010, but was stricken a year later with a major complication after her surgery – secondary lymphedema. Lymphedema can occur years after cancer surgery involving lymph node dissection. Lymphedema is a chronic lifelong condition in which excess lymph fluid collects in tissues causing swelling which can be very debilitating.
Cheryl founded San Diego County Riding Magazine in 1986 and grew her start-up into a million dollar publishing company – Riding’s Publications. Last year Cheryl sold her company to MPM Publications and remains on the team as the sales manager. She continues to help write articles, shoot photos and video, and helps with the layout of the monthly California Riding Magazine and the annual California Horseman’s Directory. She currently also is the sales manager for the nationwide and growing Horse Advertising Network.
Although Cheryl has health insurance through her husband’s employment with AT&T, her medical costs from lymphedema are not covered. Currently Cheryl needs to wear a custom compression pantyhose-type garment every day to keep her legs from swelling and sleep in a CircAid compression wraps at night. These garments need to be replaced every 6 months and cost $2,700.
Always a lover of puzzles and a fanatic problem solver, Cheryl has been on the quest to fix her broken lymphatic system. In her research she found several doctors who are performing surgeries that will fix lymphedema. She has met with Dr. Jay Granzow in Los Angeles and is going to have two surgeries to restore her lymphatic function. The first surgery will remove the lymph protein solids in her right leg. The second surgery, about 12 months later, will transfer a lymph node from her under arm to her groin area to restore lymphatic function in her body.
Of course, these surgeries are also not covered by heath insurance and Cheryl has established a gofundme website http://www.gofundme.com/8ewey0. As of mid-June she has raised $19,000 towards the first surgery and is hoping to reach $35,000 from her supporters to add to her and her husband’s $15,000 to pay for the first surgery.
One of her longtime dressage trainer friends, Elizabeth Johnson is hosting a benefit clinic June 21, 2014, which along with some silent auction items is expected to raise another $1,000. Cheryl thanks all of her contributors and if her friends cannot help out financially they are welcome to help by sending the Lymphedema Treatment Act information to their congressman to help her change the way the health insurance industry treats lymphedema sufferers. http://lymphedematreatmentact.org
Cheryl is on a mission to help herself get better and also improve the health care for lymphedema sufferers everywhere. She is blogging about her experiences – www.LymphedemaSucks.com