This month, in partnership with AdventHealth for Women, we’re recognizing some of the women in our community who are survivors of breast cancer, who have had a recurrence, or who are currently going through treatment. To us, all of these women are survivors in their own right. It is the hope of these women that by telling their stories they inspire and educate other women who are facing a breast cancer diagnosis.
As an OB-GYN with AdventHealth Medical Group in Altamonte Springs, Dr. Vonda Ware has had the unenviable task of having to inform patients about tests that suggested they might have cancer. And she has also found out what it’s like to be on the receiving end of that information. She says being a doctor and a patient felt like she knew a lot but also not enough.
“I knew what was being said, and I knew what it meant, but I couldn’t navigate through the feelings and the information quick enough,” Ware says of the moment she was being wheeled into surgery. She didn’t find fault with her medical team. What she found was a renewed sense of compassion for her own patients when she eventually came back to work.
A deeply spiritual woman, Ware says she trusted that God would take care of her during her cancer treatment. After being diagnosed, her regular women’s Bible study group asked if they could pray for her. That was nothing new, but she realized how vulnerable she was and knew she had to let others, not just God, take care of her too.
All in all, Ware says, her experience has been a blessing. Going through cancer made her draw closer to her faith and to her mother. Not that long ago, her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. “I got a whole new level of appreciation for my mom. I knew if she could fight breast cancer at 70 years old. I could do it in my 40s.”
Ware says she thinks she has come out the other side a better doctor because she knows exactly what it feels like to be a patient.