by Sarah Hoffman
They missed it. She had an eight-pound tumor on her kidney and they missed it. Shelia Burnett of New Franklin, Mo. was diagnosed with stage IV Renal cell carcinoma in May of 2011. Recently her cancer reoccurred in her liver and is no longer curable. Burnett is preparing her family for her death. “There’s a lot of times I ask myself why am I having to go through this? I don’t know why I am going through this other than making my daughter a stronger person.” said Burnett. Burnett’s daughter Lauren Burnett, 17, has stepped up to help her mother with chores at home and at their family business Boggs Auto Salvage and Sale.
According to a study by Kathryn E. Weaver, assistant professor at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, rural cancer survivors reported more psychological distress, were more likely to be in fair or poor heath and unable to work because of a health condition than urban cancer survivors.
Burnett fears burdening her family with her emotion and she wishes there were more resources and support groups for people living in rural areas. “That’s part of a rural community we don’t have the resources a big city would have so you learn to use your family.”