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A Year After Diagnosis: How Surviving Ovarian Cancer Shaped Jenise Sienkiewicz into an Advocate

September 23, 2019

“You can’t let cancer defeat you. You have to defeat it,” said Jenise Sienkiewicz. “Whatever your situation may be, try and stay as positive as you can.”

Sienkiewicz, a patient of Dr. Robin Wilson-Smith and an ovarian cancer survivor, recently attended the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition’s Annual “Together in Teal” awareness run/walk, surrounded by family and friends.

Cancer-free since this past winter, it was Sienkiewicz’ first time attending the walk, and she hopes to attend for many years to come, growing her team each time.

“Participating in this walk truly felt amazing,” said Sienkiewicz. “Being there as a survivor and seeing that there are so many other women who have gone through the same thing felt so surreal and uplifting. Sitting together, standing on stage together, and walking side-by-side with people who are virtual strangers – it really hit me that this walk was for women like ME. I’ve never felt more blessed.”

Sienkiewicz expressed how important to her it is that more women educate themselves and understand the prevalence of ovarian cancer, and how it can happen to anyone. “Even though, statistically speaking, ovarian cancer is not as common as breast cancer, it has a very similar and severe impact that needs to be shared. Both of these diseases are incredibly life-threatening to women.”

Sienkiewicz recently learned that she carries a gene mutation placing her at high risk for breast cancer. She knows that, in the future, she’ll be facing a double mastectomy.

“All I can tell myself is that I can’t control the past, and I can’t control the future,” said Sienkiewicz. “Dr. Robin really instilled this in me. Instead of worrying, I just take it one day at a time and enjoy the moment that I’m in. It’s the best advice I could give to anyone.”

Sienkiewicz also explained how helpful it’s been to focus on herself and her family.

“Receiving advice can be helpful,” continued Sienkiewicz. “However, sometimes it gets to be too much. It’s perfectly okay to keep to yourself.”

Sienkiewicz urges other ovarian cancer survivors and families to advocate with her and to take their experiences into their own hands.

“Everyone handles cancer differently, but I strongly believe that if you have the right, positive mindset, you can tackle any obstacle that comes your way,” said Sienkiewicz. “Thank you to all of my family and friends who have supported me this year.”