Three Utah Sisters Diagnosed with Cancer Within Weeks of Each Other: 'You Have to Have Faith, Hope and Humor'
"It stinks that we're going through it, but at least we have each other for support. We're chemo buddies for each other," Lindsay Page tells PEOPLE
Sharee, Annette and Lindsay Page don’t like to discuss the worst part about having cancer. But the Utah sisters all agree on the best part: They can be in and out of the shower in two minutes flat.
“There’s no shampooing, no conditioning and no hair to clean up. “We all agree that it’s a real time-saver,” says Sharee, 34, who was diagnosed with Stage II breast cancer in April, two weeks after Annette, 35, also earned that she had breast cancer (Stage III). Two months prior, their sister-in-law, Lindsay, 38, learned that her angiosarcoma (cancer of the inner lining of blood vessels) had returned in her liver and lungs.
Sharee, who works for a time-management company and is single, also likes to joke with Annette that men have a thing for women with bald heads.
“We call ourselves the bald sisters,” Annette, who works for a nutritional supplement company and is also single, tells PEOPLE. “When a guy shouts out the window to ‘keep rocking that bald head,’ we love that. Especially if they’re also bald.”
Although the Page sisters’ responses aren’t typical of most cancer patients, “we all decided early on that we weren’t going to let this get us down,” says Lindsay, a stay-at-home mom with four children, ages 4 to 13. “I don’t know where I’ll be a year from now, and that’s a scary thought. But you have to have faith, hope and humor. You can sit around and be sad. What possible good can come from that?”
Choosing to face their diagnoses with humor and hope came naturally to the three sisters, who live within a few miles of each other in Davis County, Utah.
“We decided, ‘Okay, we’ve all been given lemons – let’s make some lemonade,” Sharee, who is documenting her cancer journey with a series of lighthearted YouTube videos, tells PEOPLE. “I’ve always been kind of a silly person. I love to laugh. Why let cancer get in the way?”
After she was diagnosed following a mammogram last month, Sharee decided to follow the examples set by Annette and Lindsay.
“It’s not the kind of news anybody wants to hear – scary and shocking, to be sure,” she says. But when she stopped at the grocery store on her way home from the hospital and saw a teenage girl with only one arm, “It just hit me that everybody has a trial or hardship of some kind. It’s how you choose to face those hardships that matters.”
Lindsay was the first of the three sisters to face cancer in January 2015, when she learned she had angiosarcoma in her spleen. After surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, she thought she had beaten it. But then in February, tumors turned up again in her liver and lungs.
Now on a new immunotherapy trial treatment, “my last scan showed that the tumors aren’t growing, so I’m hopeful,” she tells PEOPLE.
When she learned that Sharee and Annette also had cancer, “it was hard to take,” she says, “but we choose to be happy. It stinks that we’re going through it, but at least we have each other for support. We’re chemo buddies for each other.”
After Annette and Sharee both developed breast cancer within weeks of each other and learned that they each carried the BRCA2 gene, Sharee decided to start keeping a journal and share her experiences on YouTube.
“We get together and tell jokes and try funny wigs on,” says Annette, who recently helped shave Sharee’s head, “and we always go home feeling better. Attitude means everything when you’re trying to get through cancer. You can worry about everything that could go wrong, but we’ve turned that around. Now we try to think about everything that could go right.”
Although Annette’s cancer is more aggressive than Sharee’s and has now spread to her lymph nodes, “we’re optimistic that one day the three of us will look back and say, ‘Remember that time when we all had cancer?’ ” Sharee tells PEOPLE.
“Hopefully, we’ll learn and grow and become better people because of it,” she says. When their showers become longer and they are once again stocking up on shampoo, “we’ll all be extremely grateful. There’s no doubt we’ll be laughing and smiling about that.”