The spectre of breast cancer blew its chilly breath down Weatherford resident Cheryl Caudill’s back in May 2007, when a physician’s assistant discovered a lump in the course of a regular doctor’s visit.
She was 43 and had never had a mammogram.
Now, three years later, she wants to tell women why they should.
Caudill followed that grim diagnosis with a double radical mastectomy (both breasts removed) and is still undergoing reconstructive surgery.
Now, her “huge” goal in life is to help those suffering from the life threatening disease by putting together a special cookbook.
“I want to get people who have been affected by breast cancer to give me their recipes with a story,” she said. “It doesn’t have to be long. It can be their story or the story of someone they love. It can just be a dedication.”
“I think this way, it becomes everybody’s book.”
Caudill, who describes her goal as her “heart and soul,” first decided to tell her story and publicize her passion by creating a website she calls 3 Chilies and a Bean.
On the website, named after herself and her dogs, she explains the project and encourages people to submit recipes online. The book will be a keepsake, she says, a way to keep the memories of loved ones alive.
In doing so, Caudill is keeping a promise to her cousin, Jatonne, who died of breast cancer in Weatherford Regional Medical Center the year after Caudill was diagnosed.
“When I was diagnosed she was really sick, but for as long as she could, she drove more than an hour to bring me her best comfort food, chicken and dumplings, after my surgeries.”
“She had such a fear of people forgetting her. This is a way to keep her beautiful spirit alive and pass on the comfort she gave me to others.”