Mary Van Dyke S Story

Mary Van Dyke S Story

Mary Van Dyke’s Story

Having never struggled with an illness previously, visiting my doctor to check on some water retention that I was experiencing did not seem like anything concerning to me. It wasn’t until I was sitting in his office asmy doctor closed the door behind him and said,“I’m afraid it’s bad news. You have ovarian cancer,” that I realized that my life had changed forever. I knew I was in for a long journey through a world that was unknown to me.

Just days after my diagnosis, my oncologist and his team explained all aspects of ovarian cancer and chemotherapy tomy family and me. As we absorbed the information and asked questions, we decidedthat our best plan of action was to take each treatmentone step at a time.

When I first started receiving chemotherapy at the cancer center, I usually felt good until the fourth or fifth day following treatment, which usually happened on the weekend. Around this time, I would fight bouts of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, also known as CINV, which prevented me from doing the things that I wanted to do with my family. I could not attend church, go to ballgames or participate in social functions.It was during this struggle with CINV that my family encouraged me to make the cancer center aware of my symptoms.

At first, I was reluctantto reach outto my healthcare team because I had never experienced anything like this before and thought I could handle it myself. However, once I realized my pharmacist was someone I could talk to about my side effects, I was able to open up to her about the nausea and vomiting I was experiencing and we were able to adjust my treatment plan to help prevent my CINV and get me back to enjoying time with my family.

Throughout my diagnosis and treatment, my family has been so genuinely supportive that I never experienced a day when I felt alone. While my family has been my number-one support team, I was really surprised that I could feel so connected to my healthcare team, especially my pharmacist. I had so many questions to ask her about the medication and its proper use and she was always able to answer my questions and make me feel comfortablebefore I began a new treatment.I would encourage anyone who is receiving chemotherapy and experiencing CINV to speak up to their pharmacist, and to prepare and ask questions even if they are reluctant to do so, because that is the first step to helping prevent their CINV.

Mary Van Dyke is a paid consultant to Eisai, Inc.