Sherry Pollex's Positive Attitude Through Cancer
- Sherry Pollex, 43, longtime partner of NASCAR driver Martin Truex Jr., 42, was diagnosed with stage 3 ovarian cancer in 2014. Her cancer returned last September.
- The health-enthusiast and yogi is keeping a positive attitude through her cancer journey.
- Ovarian cancer has been called “the cancer that whispers,” due to its hard-to-spot symptoms.
Sherry Pollex’s Ovarian Cancer Journey
Pollex is taking her cancer battle in stride, and she indicates she has more wisdom and confidence than she did when she was first diagnosed at age 35. Now at 43, she says, “It’s very scary, especially when you’re young.”
Pollex tells The Athletic, “I often wonder if that’s my purpose here. It’s maybe not what I would have chosen for myself — nobody really wants to be the poster child for any type of cancer — but maybe I’m supposed to go through all this so I can pave the way for other women.”
She continues, “On some days, that can be a really hard pill to swallow. But on other days, it’s like, ‘You know, I’ve been given this really important role in this life, and if I’m going to leave a legacy behind and help other people, then I need to do it 100 percent.”
SurvivorNet caught up with Sherry in April and she had mused about the term “warrior” and how she had been feeling. “It’s hard to see yourself as a warrior when you’re in it. You’re in fight or flight mode,” Pollex told us at the time.
No matter what she wants to call it, the real life Wonder Woman seems more determined than ever to fight, noting that she’s not giving up and is “keeping faith” that there will be a treatment match out there for her as she currently awaits results of a recent biopsy.
The last time Sherry underwent chemotherapy, a few months before her latest recurrence, she unfortunately found out that her cancer was what they call “platinum resistant,” so she and her medical team are determined to find other options. Surgery, sadly, is not one, now that she says that her cancer is spreading from her lung into her esophagus.
“It’s heavy, because it’s not like you’re just making a decision on your house or your car,” she says. “It’s your life. What you decide needs to work. The pressure and the mental side of it is really hard.”
In the meantime, as she plays the waiting game for her next move, her doctors have urged her to “go enjoy your life” and travel, but as a “type-A personality,” that’s not always achievable—especially when you can’t tune out what’s going on on the inside.
“The worst thing you can do is sit still by yourself and give yourself too much time to think about it, because then you just can’t stop,” she continued to The Athletic. “You go down that rabbit hole of, ‘Well, what if this doesn’t work?’ And that becomes so dangerous, because we don’t know whether that’s true or not. So to take those possibilities and run with them can get you in a lot of trouble. And I try not to do that. But it’s really hard.”
What she does have control of is advocating for other women and cancer patients, and that is exactly what she has dedicated her life to doing. Even before she was sick, Sherry co-founded the Martin Truex Jr. Foundation with her love in 2007 to help pediatric cancer patients.
“I often wonder if that’s my purpose here,” she expressed. “It’s maybe not what I would have chosen for myself — nobody really wants to be the poster child for any type of cancer — but maybe I’m supposed to go through all this so I can pave the way for other women.”
The Signs & Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer
Ovarian cancer has been called “the cancer that whispers,” due to its hard-to-detect symptoms. Dr. Beth Karlan, a gynecologic oncologist at UCLA Medical Center, explains in an earlier interview, “What we’ve found from multiple studies, it’s this constellation of symptoms,” she said.
“If that’s really happening and you’re experiencing it every day, and they seem to be crescendo-ing, getting worse, even if that goes on for only two weeks, you should call your doctor.”
Ovarian cancer symptoms may include:
- Feeling full earlier/decrease in appetite
- Feeling bloated
- Changes in bowel habits
- Pain in the pelvis
- Urinary symptoms, such as an urgent need to go
- Extreme fatigue
- Abdominal swelling
- Pain during sex
Contributing: Marisa Sullivan