WEST CHAZY — Lori Kashorek and her son, Timothy, have received more than 138 cards in eight months.
The mother and son, both battling cancer, were diagnosed within just months of each other.
Lori, 41, a former choral teacher at Cumberland Head Elementary School, found out by accident in March that she had cancer.
An X-ray she had for a frozen shoulder showed swollen lymph nodes in her chest. After seeing a few doctors, Lori was diagnosed with Stage 3 lung cancer. She has never smoked.
She posted the news about her illness on Facebook, asking for prayers. And that month, she underwent surgery and chemotherapy.
An outpouring of support from friends and family followed.
”It’s been very comforting the whole time to know my name is being put before God constantly,” Lori said from her West Chazy home. “And he listens.”
When Lori became tired and weak from the chemotherapy, the daily responsibilities of her husband, the Rev. Doug Kashorek, increased significantly.
“He had to be him and me at the same time,” Lori said.
Doug, pastor of the Church of Life in Plattsburgh, had to cancel Bible study classes so he could cook meals, help his children with homework and keep up with the housework.
“I’d have to tell people, ‘My family comes first,” Doug said.
Timothy has two sisters, Rachel, 16, and Rebekah, 13, who attend Beekmantown Central School.
Less than four months after his mother was diagnosed with cancer, Timothy, 18, noticed something was wrong.
He was in Pennsylvania singing at a Christian camp with Express, a vocal group from Ohio Valley University in Parkersburg, W.Va., where he is a freshman.
Timothy went to the emergency room there on July 3. Three days later, a urologist in Rochester told him he suspected the teen had testicular cancer.
“It hit really hard,” Timothy said. “Initially, I was discouraged.”
He underwent surgery to remove the tumor a week later, and a biopsy post-surgery found that it was cancerous, as the Rochester doctor had suspected.
After the whirlwind experience, Timothy and his family were hopeful they could put his cancer behind them. But he started having abdominal pains in late September, and a CT scan and blood tests in Parkersburg showed the cancer had likely returned.
Dr. Jan Duus at CVPH confirmed Timothy’s cancer was back on Oct. 15.
The difficult situation is made easier by the support Timothy has received from friends, professors and administrators at Ohio Valley University.
His friends planned fun activities for him, including a surprise trip to the movies, and the entire membership of social service club called Kappa, which Timothy participates in at college, wrote messages and signed a large board for him to keep.
“It will just be something encouraging to look at,” he said.
If the cancer warrants treatment with drugs, Timothy will undergo a nine-week course of chemotherapy done in three-week cycles, with doses of the medicine tapering off over time, he said.
Duus told him he would likely feel tired, run down and feverish as he progresses through the treatment. But because of his young age and otherwise good health, chemo would likely to be easier for him than others.
“I will feel the symptoms less than most people,” he said.
Timothy had to return home from college on Oct. 9 to prepare for treatment, should it be needed. Fortunately, Ohio Valley University officials agreed to let him complete all his classes this semester online, and they refunded his room and board money.
Insurance has covered most of the cost of Lori and Timothy’s treatments, Doug said.
And the Kashoreks have received much help from the community.
Rebekah’s friends helped organize a dance at her Middle School to benefit her family, the Beekmantown Booster Club donated money to the family, and friends filled their refrigerator with meals.
”We could not keep up with the amount of food that was coming into the house,” Doug said.
Despite the ordeal they have been through, the Kashoreks said the experience with cancer hasn’t tested their faith in God.
“It’s built our faith,” Doug said.
“There have been a whole lot of blessings that have come through this whole experience,” Lori said.