Buddy Check 7: Sisters beat cancer together
Laughter... and each other, the recipe to get through just about anything.
"The weekend before, I remember saying to my sister, I said, you know what? Cancer don't have us and it doesn’t have me. I said, we're going to have a party. She said, ok. Shelly was always there in my corner," Jamie Betry, said.
Jamie, the younger of the pair by just two years, was the first to find out she had breast cancer, in the beginning of 2015.
"It was a 13 hour surgery, and it helped me, it helped me laugh again. You have to have laughter, you have to have family and friends and laughter. There's no way around it," Beltry, said.
Instead of being upset, she and her sister threw a “Ta-ta to the tatas party.
"I remember telling them I had cancer, that was the hardest moment of my life. My daughter cried and said, are you going to die? I said no. I will not die. I will not let it take me, and I didn't. I guess that was part of having that party to let her see that we're going to be great, we're going to be good, and we did," Beltry, said.
Good indeed. Jamie beat cancer, and had the strength of her sister Shelly to thank.
"You're going to have bad days,” Beltry, said.
“You’re going to cry. Then you're going to call your sibling, and cry. And then she's going to make you laugh and then you're going to be in pain, and then you’re stronger"
Jamie would need that strength to return the favor when Shelly was diagnosed in late 2015.
"I have two teenage daughters,” Shelly Konkol, said.
“They saw what their aunt went through, and they're like, wow mom! What are you going to have to go through? I'm like, well we don’t know. You take one day at a time,” according to Konkel.
“Like Jamie said, I followed her lead, too. You get up in the morning and you put on some eyeliner on and you comb your hair and you don't let the girls see you struggle with this because you are going to beat this," she said.
Jamie recalled the day, she heard the news from her sister, "When she told me, it was hard. I prayed that whatever hers was, wasn't like mine."
Their cancers were different. Jamie needing a full mastectomy, while Shelly needed radiation.
As of today, they're both cancer free and working to share their story.
"We had it, and it's gone, but we both have daughters, so we gotta figure out what's next," Beltry, said.
The women are currently participating in genetic testing to support cancer research.
While the disease didn't run in their family, strength certainly did.
"Don’t let it beat you down, you have to beat it," Konkol, said.