In January, Vice Principal Sera Baysinger was diagnosed with mucinous adenocarcinoma, a rare type of cancer that produces what is called “mucin,” the main component of mucus. The cancer is so rare that only two hospitals in the nation have the resources to treat it.
After researching her treatment options and consulting with doctors, Baysinger decided to undergo testing, surgeries, and rehabilitation — a process that took over nine months.
Now, Baysinger says she is excited to be watching over Bear Creek’s campus again.
“It’s a strange feeling to feel like you’ve been ripped from everything you know but that’s how it felt — as if I were lost,” Baysinger said. “The life I had been living was stripped away and replaced with a ‘new normal.’”
While she was recuperating, Asst. Principal Allen Dosty took over Baysinger’s duties.
“It was a challenge stepping into a position usually held by a person so organized and efficient,” Dosty said. “The challenge was to do a good enough job until she came back.
Baysinger said that during her lowest moments, it was the unexpected amount of encouragement that she received from staff and students at Bear Creek that kept her spirits up.
“I didn’t expect to receive that much love and support,” Baysinger said. “Students and staff stayed in contact with both me and my family through visits, calls, articles, gift baskets, pictures, cards, ‘flat-Sera’ episodes, emails, texts, and videos.”
While adjusting to her illness, Baysinger admits that it was hard for her to know how much she was excluded from.
“It was easy to understand that the world goes on and I knew that my life would never be the same as it was,” Baysinger said.
Senior Jenna Collins, ASB commissioner of activities, noticed a significantly different atmosphere in Baysinger’s absence.
“She was such a ray of sunshine, showing every kid she talks to that she cared about them,” Collins said.
Despite the pain she endured during and after the surgeries, Baysinger remained positive that she would be able to return to the life she once lived.
“I think everyone copes with this magnitude of change and loss in different ways,” Baysinger said. “First — I laughed. A lot. As often and as loud as possible.
“Second — I took stock of my life, how I was living it, and who was included in it and I leaned on those people: family and friends.
“Third — I coped by realizing I was not alone in this predicament, nor was I special. People are afflicted with things each and every day.”
Since returning to work in early November, Baysinger says she is grateful for the feeling of exhaustion that greets her at the end of each day.
“Now, more than ever, I have a deeper understanding of this community and I want to work within its strength,” Baysinger said.
Baysinger continues to receive physical therapy to help regain her strength.