Strong Army Spouse and Her Army Kid Who “Rocks”
Mrs. Lisa Shereyk
Describe yourself with one word… This was very hard for me to do, but if I had to pick just one word it would be tenacious. I am a tenacious person.
Children… Four: Paige (soon to be 13) Jenna and Hollie (11) and Bridgette (9)
To relax and unwind you…watch one of my many recorded TV shows (my favorite is Army Wives on Lifetime and Secret Millionaire.), go to the gym, spend time with good friends.
Currently reading… everything and anything I can on Type 1 Diabetes.
Listening to…Adele, Train, Bob Marley, Katy Perry, One Direction, and Justin Bieber (for my girls)
Favorite quote… “There is no cloud so dark that the sun can’t shine through.” My best friend in high school told this to me once when I was going through a really tough time and it has stuck with me all these years. I never really gave it meaning until just recently. It took me until just a little over a year ago when I almost lost my oldest daughter to a disease I never imagined I would have to deal with, to fully gather this quote’s meaning. No matter how bad things may seem, God’s light will guide my way. I have always believed in our Lord, but there have been those moments when you question, is he really here helping me or why me? I have learned that no matter how dark the sky may be, God is always right there, shinning his light down to guide our way.
Favorite sports team/s…I have never been a big sports guru but I will say being married to a Chicago Bears fan (Adam’s team) it has sort of become my favorite!
Thoughts on family…Family is the most important thing in my life. Not just blood family but all the friends I have met along the way that I was able to choose as my family. One thing the Army has given me is a world of friends I’ve met along this journey as an Army wife. I was able and honored to call those friends I met at each duty station part of my ever growing family. Living so far away from parents, sister and brother was often hard on me, especially because my mom and I are very close. I talk to my mother sometimes two or three times a day on the phone. Living so far from her, I had to make every place I went a home where love and family flowed. So I guess if you think of it this way: I was blessed to get to choose my family each and every place the military has sent us.
Thoughts on the current state of the economy…I hope change occurs soon. It is disheartening how high the cost of living is compared to the actual average household income. I remember when we had our twins in 2001 and even as an officer we qualified for WIC.
Thoughts on life in general…I believe life is what you make of it. It is a matter of attitude. I hope to encourage and inspire my daughters to be all that they can be. No matter how tough we think we have it, someone, somewhere has it harder than you. I try and live by this quote, or at least I have tried to reflect on this over this last year. Sometimes when we are going through a difficult time we often think that we are alone, and that no one is there for us. It is in these times that our true friends reveal themselves to us. I believe that even if our friends fail us, there is always our Lord, Jesus Christ right there by our side being our biggest cheerleader. I for one have prayed about and reflected on this a lot this year. As a parent coming so close to losing a child, really leaves you with an eye opener into what is important in life. I, for one, do not take any moment in my life for granted. I truly try to enjoy the moment for all its beauty and warmth. Gone are the days in the past where I couldn’t wait for the baby to crawl, then to walk and then off to school-I am living in the moment and it feels good to be here.
The most satisfying aspect of being an Army spouse…this was another hard one for me to answer. The most satisfying aspect of being an Army spouse would have to be supporting and standing side-by-side with my Solider. I love that not only does my husband serve his country, but so do I. There is something very satisfying in serving our country back in the rear for nine months to a year. Some may think I am crazy but I am filled with pride knowing I too helped serve. I wear no Army fatigues, I wear no rank, yet I serve this grand country of ours, too. Being able to manage a household, while working and having everything squared away on the home front, allowing my husband to stay focused on the mission at hand-we are a team and together we have made the six deployments tolerable. No one likes to be away from their spouse but we each have a mission to do and together we get through them.
One thing you would change about military life (if any)…Medical!!! I would eliminate all the hoops we have to go through to see a specialist, or for instance, last year my spinal fusion was denied twice by some doctor who had not ever seen me, even though my neurosurgeon, who is highly qualified to determine such, was unable to make that decision.
Where do you see yourself five years from now… Five years from now I hope to be living in our permanent home. Adam, who will have 20 years of service this November, will hopefully be retired and we can finally settle down. I would like to live back east of the Mississippi, our families live in Illinois and New York. My oldest, Paige, will be a senior in high school, Jenna and Hollie will be freshmen and Bridgette will be in 8th grade. I would love to work in the school system in some capacity wherever we go. I have an Associate’s degree and would like to finish my BA. I devoted my life to raising my children when I got married and that is why I never finished college-a choice with no regrets.
What do you love most about your Soldier… What I love most about Adam is his work ethic. Adam gives 110% effort to his work. Adam started his career as an enlisted PFC. He rose quickly through the ranks to E6 in a little over four years. He was pinned E7 and a few months later went to WOC. He currently is a CW4. Adam is what many would call Top Dog. He is admired and sought out by his peers. People look to Adam for advice and he is well respected by his comrades. I am proud of his determination to become his very best. In 2009, he completed his Masters degree, something we as a family are very proud of. I love his love for his family. Our four girls leave a sparkle in his eye, daily.
Words to the wise for other Army spouses…Build those connections within your base. Get out and meet your neighbors, go to a coffee, join a play/moms group. When my children were younger those connections were vital. Remember that even if someone lends you a hand and you are not able to pay your thanks at that time for whatever the reason, know one day there will come an opportunity for you to pay it forward. When my babies were younger, I relied a lot on my friends because in a matter of four years I had three back surgeries, two hand surgeries, and a lapo done. Although I was forever grateful, and still am, for the gift of love and kindness that group of women gave me, I was unable to give back to them. Yet I always believed in paying it forwarded; and in my five years in El Paso, I have paid it forward to many different people. And each time I do, I say a prayer to the group of ladies who truly carried me when I needed it the most.
I currently work as a Temporary Instructional Aide for the Socorro Independent School District of El Paso, TX and have worked as a Substitute Teacher and PreK Instructional Aide. I was awarded the Molly Pitcher Award in December 2008. I volunteer my time at my daughter’s school and work in the capacity of Volunteer Coordinator for the school. I was awarded Volunteer of the Year from Sgt Roberto Ituarte Elementary for the 2011-2012 school year.
Strong Army Spouse’s Army Kid Who “Rocks”
Who and/or what inspires you… My daughter Paige inspires me. Last April 15, 2011, my daughter at the tender age of 11 almost lost her life to a disease I never imagined would wander across my doorstep. Paige was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. There is no history of this disease in either family line, Paige is the first. Type 1 Diabetes is a lifelong disease with NO CURE. To a parent, that is just devastating to hear.
Adam had deployed earlier that year in August. Three weeks after he deployed I was in a terrible car accident three blocks from my home, with all four of my girls in the car. Paige and I suffered injuries, which included 25 stitches to Paige’s face. I myself suffered neck and back injuries. As Paige’s face healed, little did I know that the rest of her was beginning to die. Five weeks after the auto accident I noticed Paige had lost an incredible amount of weight, 26 pounds. I chalked it up to being in Jr. High and wanting to fit in. It wasn’t until after the holidays that I started to become alarmed with symptoms of frequent restroom breaks, large amounts of water, constant eating of food but never putting on weight, leg cramps, and just feeling exhausted all the time. She suffers already from Hypothyroidism; so I brushed it off as needing her meds adjusted. Trying to get my spinal fusion approved for during R&R, I did not even notice how sick Paige was becoming.
My parents came in town to care for me after my surgery. Due to typical Tricare issues, my surgery was denied twice before I finally got it approved three days before he was to return back overseas-it was devastating for me and hard on Adam not to be by his wife’s side. I ran into some complications and spent six days in the hospital. I was home just a few days and with my ever growing concerns for my daughter, I made an appointment. Dr. Yeary had told me that she suspected Type 1 Diabetes but could not be sure without having some blood tests done. At that moment, I still was completely unaware just how much my world was crashing down around me. Words that have echoed in my mind and heart since were, “Lisa, if she gets worse, do not wait for these results, go straight to the ER.” That night my mother took my girls to their karate seminar and when they got home, Paige looked as if she was dying. The doctor had given us a testing meter and I took her blood sugar. Normal blood sugars are 80-120, that particular evening, Paige’s meter measured “HI.” At that time I had no idea what that meant until I read the manual, which read: when the meter reads HI the blood sugar is above 500. My father and I went up to the ER. We were rushed into the trauma area and I knew at that time it was not good news.
They ran her A1C, which is an average of blood sugar readings for a duration of three months. Anything below 6.0 is good and considered non diabetic. Paige’s A1C was 16.5. It was in that moment that I realized I was hours from losing my first born child and needed to get in touch with my husband in case we lost her during the night. The doctors are still not sure why she never fell into a coma.
Reflecting back now, I can see that it was Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ holding her in the palm of his hands. (In the fog of my life this past year, it was very difficult for me to cope and deal with. I was very angry. As a parent you want to keep your kids healthy. To find out your child has a disease with no cure, is very overwhelming. I went through stages of grief. I still am working through them; but I feel with each passing day and seeing the life come back into my daughter’s eyes helps.) Our Lord, I believe, kept her alive long enough for me to get through my surgery and get her to a doctor. That evening, they transported us to a hospital that had a pediatric ICU unit. The doctors there said they had never seen a child’s A1C as high as Paige’s. They prepared me that if she did not do well through the night they would fly her to San Antonio. Thankfully she did not have to go and was able to be released from the hospital a week later.
Paige truly is my inspiration. She is a fighter, although for most of her 6th grade year she was fighting death, she managed to receive straight A’s in school and have the highest GPA of her entire class. Paige has had to grieve her own loss of life, and I cannot imagine how hard that must be for a 12 year old. Paige’s sugars are all over the place from 45 to 600. One of the hardest things I have witnessed as a parent is that of your child begging you to stay awake because she is afraid she will die in her sleep. My life now consists of checking her sugars, counting carbs, giving insulin, waking up 1 to 2 times a night, every night, to check her blood sugar. Sometimes it’s going days without sleeping because your child is afraid to sleep. Through it all, Paige has held her head high and carried on, though it hasn’t always been easy. Paige inspires me to be a better mother, wife, daughter, sister and friend.
My Army Kid “Rocks”
Favorite school subject . . . Math and Science
Favorite food . . . Chocolate ice cream with sprinkles
Favorite sport . . . Basketball
Currently listening to . . . Justin Bieber
Currently reading . . . The House of Night Novels
Future goals. . . To raise money and be an advocate for Diabetes
Words to share with other Army kids . . . I would like to tell other Army kids to always make friends with anyone and everyone you can; because we are a part of the military and move often, we are always the new kids. Befriend other new Army kids so that they feel welcome. Sometimes no one talks to the new kids because they are different, and we all know how it feels to be the new kid. Do not listen to what other people say or what they think either; if they think you are crazy for talking to the new kid then that makes them crazy.
For example, just last year I was hurt by someone whom I thought was my best friend. The whole incident happened because I was friends with a new Army kid. It was in January when I became close friends with the new girl at my school who no one liked. We started talking often and hanging out together, and I didn’t care what other people thought. At the end of January, I invited my BFF over to my house (P.S. she is military to). When I found out the other girl was going to be PCSing soon, I invited her over that same weekend and had to change my plans with my BFF. When my BFF found out who and why I had changed my plans, she was furious. She started rumors and turned people against me. She would talk smack about me in front of my face, and it came to a point where I couldn’t take it-it really hurt. After about a month of torture, it all faded into the shadows. The other girl had already moved and everyone forgot about her-except for me. Be different and the one that stands out to help others.