Evelyn Spears – “I Couldn’t Have Asked For A Better Team to Care For Me.”
Evelyn Spears, a fifth-grade math and science teacher in South Point, Ohio, was just a few years away from retirement when she noticed some changes in her health. After many tests, she received the news: ovarian cancer.
Spears chose surgery with follow-up chemotherapy treatments. When the surgery began, however, her oncology team realized that it was much worse than expected.
“My left ovary had a tumor so big that it was splitting my ovary open,” Spears explained. “My left kidney, my liver, even into my intestines, there was cancer. There wasn’t much they could do at that point. It was terminal.”
Despite the prognosis, Spears remains full of smiles and laughter and is enjoying every moment of life.
“It’s been seven years since my surgery, and it hasn’t always been easy, but I am beyond blessed at the life I have been given to live,” Spears said.
Spears’ surgery in May 2015 was performed by Marshall Health’s Dr. Gerard Oakley, who later retired in 2018. Dr. Nadim Bou Zgheib then took on her care. Spears said that she believes she wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for the dedication both doctors have shown to her.
“Stage 3c is right next door to Stage 4, which is a scary prognosis, but Dr. Oakley and Dr. Bou Zgheib have been so good to me,” Spears said.
Since her surgery, Spears has had two rounds of chemotherapy treatment and is now on blockers to prevent the cancer from spreading any more. This treatment has allowed Spears to meet her first grandchild, see her son get married, and get back to the active lifestyle she always loved.
“When I was going through the chemo, I was determined to keep myself moving to stay strong,” Spears explained. “At first, I could only walk the length of the block. Within a few weeks, I could walk around the whole block several times. I think living an active lifestyle is what helped me stay healthy during the whole process.”
Spears described her experience with Dr. Bou Zgheib as more than she could ask for. She explained that his staff, including Nurse Practitioner Lindsay Bias, were “beyond kind and helpful.”
“Every person that I have met these last few years have been nothing short of amazing. They are incredibly kind, answer all my questions and provide me with so much support,” Spears explained. “I couldn’t have asked for a better team of people to care for me.”
Spears emphasizes the importance of staying positive.
“Every day I wake up and remind myself that there are people who have it worse than I do, and that I have so much to be thankful for. I have lived such a great life, and my treatment allows me to keep living. Some people don’t get that chance,” Spears said. “Now, I get to watch my granddaughter turn five years old next month, and I hope to share many more birthdays with her.”
Spears said she tells her friends and family to be proactive in their health and find doctors who listen and take care of them, as her team at Marshall Health has done for her.
Dr. Nadim Bou Zgheib is trained to diagnose, treat, and manage cancers of the reproductive system in women. This can include preventive care, diagnostic services to determine the type and stage of cancer, the creation of a customized treatment plan, and, when determined to be medically necessary, surgical operations to remove the cancerous area. To learn more, visit https://www.marshallhealth.org/services/oncology-gynecologic or call Marshall Obstetrics & Gynecology at 304-691-1400.
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