Anya Khomenko reflects on her journey as a patient and survivor of ovarian cancer and suggests why patients need to advocate for themselves and remain positive that there are always new treatment options on the horizon.
PUBLISHED December 21, 2017
Maurie Markman, MD: Anya, looking back at this 15-year journey, you’ve really experienced some highs and some lows.
Anya Khomenko: Yes.
Maurie Markman, MD: How, first of all, have you dealt with this roller coaster, or something of the sort? How has your team helped you deal with that?
Anya Khomenko: I just want to remind everybody that the human body has a tremendous capacity for fight. It’s very resilient. A lot depends on your attitude. A lot depends on your regimen. If one’s depressed, it’s very, very hard to bring back your red blood cells. It’s very hard to fight it. So, I guess a patient should mobilize all of his or her resources that he or she can take, adhere strictly to them, and have one goal in mind: Fight.
Maurie Markman, MD: So, regardless of what happens, it’s fight?
Anya Khomenko: Yes. Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead.
Maurie Markman, MD: Focusing on quality of life, though, as well. You know that you want to live, but you want to live good.
Anya Khomenko: I’ve gone through a number of chemotherapies. And, as you know, or as you’re made well aware, the first 5 days are the most difficult. Your mood depends on that. When you feel bad, of course you feel depressed. But once it lifts, and once you start feeling better, hope returns. You start feeling much better. You look forward to feeling better yet.
Maurie Markman, MD: Anya, what advice now, based on your journey, would you have for patients? And what would you recommend, from the patient’s perspective, in terms of advocating for themselves? What is your general advice to patients? What should they do to advocate for themselves?
Anya Khomenko: They should never ever lose hope. They should think about their team and maximize their support. They should call people close to them, such as their family. They should advocate for themselves. They should constantly be on the lookout for new drugs, new treatments, and new methodologies. They’re going to be here tomorrow, the day after, and more so. So, I have hope.
Maurie Markman, MD: There is nothing more to say. That is beautiful and wonderful.
Anya Khomenko: Thank you very much.
Maurie Markman, MD: Thank you. I hope you’ve enjoyed this program, this conversation with a wonderful patient and her physician, and I hope it does also give all of you hope, as well. Thank you.