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Health review: hope triumphs over adversity

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We are family: Sherlyn Swan-Caisey with her grandchildren, from left, Joaquin and Djimin O’Connor

Six months after a kidney transplant, Simone Barton has a new lease on life.

Randy Edwards also has chronic kidney disease but hasn’t been as lucky, yet.

Lifestyle checked in this week with people we’d interviewed with health problems in 2016.

Cnthia Dias wants to be more social this year.

She’s been sick with Hodgkin’s lymphoma since 2009. The disease has robbed her of time with family and friends.

“I’ve been on my own during the days so much it’s hard to reach out,” she said. “Not every day is the same, emotionally and physically, so I find it difficult to commit to outings or events. I have immunotherapy treatment every two weeks and I am dealing with a few side effects such as pins and needles and numbness in my fingertips, toes, chest and shoulders and at the top of my legs. Fatigue is another thing I am struggling with.

“I am hoping after the next four treatments and CT scan I might have a break for a while. It just depends on if the CT scan results show any trace of lymphoma.”

Despite it, she considers herself “very lucky”.

“Each day brings its own battles, but it also brings new beginnings, new reasons to smile. It’s important to focus on the positives and be happy, but I do want to socialise more with others — attend a crafting group, spend time with friends. I have an understanding friends’ circle who check on me and are understanding of the bad days. I am beyond grateful to have the support and love of my family and friends.”

Simone Barton is thrilled about the freedom her operation brought her.

“For the first time in years, I don’t have to think about my life with dread,” said the 56-year-old. “There is a new sense of being one with the world again. I can do things I haven’t done in years.”

Fatigue used to make lots of things she previously took for granted, impossible. Watching a late night movie with her husband Bradley was high on her list.

“Now I can enjoy the simple things,” she said. “I am forever in deep appreciation mode for my donor. My life today would have never have been possible without her.”

Her goal is to continue to try and improve healthcare awareness and management on the island.

“My hope is to keep moving forward for ever reaching upward on this amazing journey I call my life,” the CEO of the Bermuda Heart Foundation said.

Randy Edwards had one kidney removed after tumours were found on it a few years ago.

Plans for a transplant fell through in October when doctors found tumours on the second.

He now has to wait before he’s eligible for the life-extending surgery to ensure he’s cancer-free.

“I believe God has been good because they have found out these things before anything serious happened,” Mr Edwards said. “I didn’t have to get any chemo or radiation treatment, but it disappointed me that the transplant would be delayed.”

It helps that he’s got something big to look forward to while he waits.

“My biggest goal will be to walk my daughter, Gaynete´, down the aisle when she gets married in October. I am looking forward to that day. She is marrying a good man so I am good with that.”

It also gives the family more time for fundraising. Their share of the planned surgery comes to $200,000. So far, they have raised $27,300.

Singer Sherlyn Swan-Caisey plans to make an album this year.

It’s something she’s always wanted to do, but battling her many health challenges took up a great deal of her time.

The 61-year-old has a rare blood cancer and a handful of chronic illnesses.

“I always said I’d do it someday,” she said. “Well, someday has come.

“I want my grandchildren to be able to hear my voice in case there’s ever a time I’m not around.”

Earning a few dollars from the album would be a bonus.

“One of my goals for 2017 is regaining a healthier financial position,” she said. “Medications, doctors and dentists are not inexpensive and can eat into my disposable income.”

New battles, new beginnings: Cynthia Dias and her daughter Katrina. Despite hardship, she considers herself lucky
Moving forward: Simone Barton with her son Baron, daughter Sionna and husband Bradley and the family dog, Haps
God has been good: Randy Edwards and his granddaughter Ramaya