My journey with ovarian cancer began when I arrived home from a fantastic winter break vacation and went for my annual gynecologic exam. At my exam, I mentioned to my doctor that I was experiencing heavy bleeding. He suggested we do an ultrasound and that’s when my life changed forever.
Without sharing all the details, I had many tests that led to two major surgeries. The good news was that my tumor was found before anything had spread throughout my body. I completed chemotherapy, which I was able to tolerate fairly well. A year later, during one of my regular CT scans, we found a small recurrence. I consulted two doctors and decided on a very heavy regimen consisting of two very strong drugs. With three young children at home, you can imagine the stress of wanting to feel good and be strong.
I changed my diet and I also changed my outlook on life. I try to enjoy each day with my family and try not to sweat all the small stuff. Throughout my experience, my goal for myself was to remain positive and take each day at a time. With an unbelievable support system from my family, friends, my community, and Sharsheret, I was able to not only get through this, but was able to continue living my life as normally as possible.
In partnership with the Sharsheret Supports program, I developed a local support group for the women in my community who were touched by cancer. Through our Sharsheret Supports group, women, including me, have connected with one another and found comfort, knowledge, and friendship. It means so much to me to be part of such an incredible network of women. I pray every day that I will heal and continue celebrating this life – the life that God has given me!
By: Vicki Hamersmith of Coral Gables, Florida, Sharsheret Peer Supporter and Sharsheret Supports Facilitator