November 14, 2013

Maryanne Westphal | Sarcoma survivor


“Cancer taught me to focus on the positive in my life and to appreciate each day. I am much more content than I used to be.

I think each person has to identify a path to recovery that gives them comfort and confidence. For me, it was to accept my situation and develop a recovery plan. My plan included:

1. staying as calm and positive as possible on a daily basis;

2. reaching out to others when I needed support;

3. keeping as busy and active as my mind and body would allow; and

4. trusting my doctors.

Some cancer survivors stress the importance of fighting the disease. Others may find answers by immersing themselves in the vast information systems of the computer. Some turn to religion and God. Others lean heavily on family, friends and support groups. Some watch funny movies. Whatever works for you, do it!

It’s a scary time, but don’t give up, don’t panic and don’t be afraid to reach out.

The Cancer Institute is an Arkansas treasure. Dr. Richard Nicholas will forever be my hero. What else can you say about the person who gave you back your life? He is a superbly capable doctor and surgeon, but just as important to me, he listened and let me ‘own’ what little I could in my treatment and healing. It helped a lot.

Dr. Laura Hutchins was also a big part of my treatment team as she set up and oversaw my chemotherapy. I always had great confidence in her wisdom.

Along the way, there were dozens of other staff members whose cheery nature, smiles or words of support made me want to smile back. When you are going through cancer, smiling is a big deal!”

Maryanne Westphal
Sarcoma survivor
Fayetteville, Ark.