In April 2019, severe abdominal pain led me to visit my doctor, who ordered an ultrasound scan. That was when I was devastated to learn I had ovarian cancer.
At 64 years old, I was living in Odessa with my husband and mother and leading an active life – working, doing housework, and caring for my mother who is sick and can only move with a walker. As soon as I found out I had cancer, I visited a local oncology clinic where they recommended surgery. But I didn’t trust the experience of the doctors there, so I refused the operation.
My family and friends were shocked by my diagnosis. From the very beginning and through my entire course of treatment, my mother, son, friends, and husband supported me. In particular, my husband was always by my side, giving me strength.
Choosing Sheba for my surgery
Initially, for the first six months after my diagnosis, I was self-medicating. But I knew I couldn’t do it on my own forever. My thoughts went back to seven years ago when I had accompanied my husband to Sheba Medical Center, where he received treatment. At that time, the dedication and compassion of Larisa, his medical coordinator, had left a lasting positive impression on me.
As my condition worsened significantly, I reached out to Global patients services at Sheba Medical Center for help.
In November 2019, I arrived at Sheba and was assigned my personal coordinator, Vera. She had already arranged all the necessary tests and consultations. My first meeting was with Dr. Rosenblatt, who I will forever remember fondly. That was when I knew I would have the tumor removal surgery at Sheba.
Doctors and nurses I could trust
Meeting with the team at Sheba made me realize that I had wasted precious time neglecting my situation. I urge anyone diagnosed with cancer to immediately find good, professional doctors who you believe in.
My surgery, a complex procedure, was performed in December, by a wonderful team of doctors – Dr. Rosenblatt, Dr. Brant, and the anesthesiologist Dr. Lifshitz, who made me feel at home by speaking with me in Russian. Together, these doctors instilled in me a sense of calm and confidence.
When I woke up after the operation, I realized the most difficult part was over. The doctors had done their job, and I would live.
After the procedure, I underwent a series of chemotherapy sessions, and I got to know the nurses, Victoria, Anastasia and Anna, all of whom were very experienced and deeply caring.
Coping with coronavirus quarantine
In early March, I returned to Sheba for three more chemotherapy sessions, but first, I had to be quarantined for 14 days due to the coronavirus pandemic. I don’t know Hebrew, and I have no family nor acquaintances in Israel, so I had nowhere to go. Vera helped me rent a private apartment for the duration of the quarantine. Afterward, I began chemo, always accompanied by one of Sheba’s medical coordinators. I am immensely grateful to them for always being available to help me in surviving ovarian cancer.
When I returned to Ukraine, I was forced to quarantine once again. Sadly, I still have not been able to return to everyday life because of coronavirus.
Infused with a new motivation to live
Since the start of my battle against cancer, my family has become even closer to me. While anxiety sometimes overwhelms me, I understand that for my family, I must live. I live each day lifted by optimism and tremendous gratitude for my Israeli saviors – doctors, nurses, and coordinators.