Upper Arlington woman grateful for life after 80 surgeries


From battling cancer to spine surgeries, Shari Finnegan says it’s the little things in life that keep her grateful.

UPPER ARLINGTON, Ohio — Many people say it’s the little things that count.

Shari Finnigan can attest to that after going through 80 surgeries from the time she was a teenager.

She’s now 58-years-old.

“Yeah, I’ll keep fighting,” Shari said from her Upper Arlington home that she shares with Meridith Finnigan, her partner of 28 years. “I got cancer, and I kicked it. I’m kicking everything.”

When Shari says “everything”, she means everything.

Shari says her first surgery at 15-years-old was for a pilonidal cyst on her tailbone.

In the 1980s, she suffered extreme endometriosis that led to a hysterectomy in 1986. In a list she sent to 10TV’s Angela An, Shari says doctors removed an enlarged thyroid two years later. She also had five breast biopsies in 1989.

“I lose track after a while,” Shari says with a light-hearted chuckle. “Adhesions, thyroid, spine surgeries, lower back, three back surgeries, four knee surgeries,” she added.

The surgeries read on like a grocery list.

In the 1990s and early 2000s, doctors removed Shari’s ovaries, right adrenal gland, and lymph nodes. Not to mention Shari’s bout with stage-2 cancer. But Shari wants her story to focus on something else.

“You just have to keep going,” Shari said. “When someone says you do something, you do it. I’m glad to be alive every day. I went through all these surgeries; I didn’t go through them for nothing.”

Meridith says it’s important for family to be the fighters for the person going through health challenges such as Shari’s.

“Keeping that will up to fight for the person you love, it’s immeasurable,” Meridith said. “You have to be strong enough to endure that.”

The couple says they describe gratitude as being thankful for the little things in life.

Their cats give them joy.

Their home gives them comfort.

And their optimism keeps them grateful.


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Marya Vinget

Marya Vinget is a freelance writer who works for may content writing agencies and for personal blog owners. She loves to write about everything from Tech to entertainment, You can hire her for the versatile writing attitude.