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Deyka Torres

If You're Going to Get Cancer...

Holy Name Cancer Center - Deyka Torres

When Deyka Torres was told she had cancer, she was scared, really scared. Immediately, she had two thoughts, "Am I going to die from this? And if not, what do I have to do to get better?"

Deyka was 37 years old, a mother of three, a wife and teacher. She was in the prime of her life, working on her Master's degree and preparing for her oldest son to leave for college. Cervical cancer was not part of the plan.

"My doctor recommended Dr. Maria Schiavone at Holy Name Medical Center and even though I live in West Orange, I didn't hesitate to make an appointment," Deyka said. "And as soon as I met her, she made me feel so much better."

Maria Schiavone, MD, a gynecologic oncologist at the Patricia Lynch Cancer Center at Holy Name, assured Deyka that "Everything would be okay and I was going to live a long life. She told me no one wants to get cancer but if you do get it, this is the one to get," Deyka said.

Dr. Schiavone performed a robotic hysterectomy on Deyka before chemotherapy and radiation treatment. The surgery went well, exactly as planned, as did her other treatments.

"I have to say that if you do get cancer, Holy Name is the place you want to be," Deyka said. "From the people at the front desk who always greet you with a smile to the chemo nurses in the infusion center who are attentive to your every need. Dr. Benjamin Rosenbluth (Chief of Radiation Oncology) who played music during my radiation treatment, Dr. Sharyn Lewin (Director of Gynecologic Oncology at Holy Name) stopped in to see me after my surgery, the chaplain who gave me communion and sat with me to talk - I can't begin to tell you how much they all made me feel so cared for.

"You expect hospitals to be bustling and noisy and it is busy at Holy Name, but never too busy that the staff members don't call you by your name and ask how you're feeling," Deyka said. "And I can't say enough good things about Dr. Schiavone - in addition to being a great surgeon, she takes the time to reassure you and make sure you understand everything."

Still, Deyka had some dark moments. There were times she would get to her car after treatment and just break down in tears. She was so tired and slightly nauseated for a good part of the months she had chemotherapy. She had to tell her children about her illness and take time away from her teaching position in a Newark high school.

Yet, throughout this time, she was grateful. She had a great prognosis and while she endured chemotherapy for several months, she saw people who had been getting treatment for years. This deeply affected her and she decided she wanted to help others.

"I've been so inspired to talk with my students and teachers about doing a fundraiser to help people undergoing cancer treatment," Deyka said. "I'm back at work, my kids are doing well and I feel really good. I just want to give back for all the care and compassion I received while I was sick."

Learn more about Deyka Torres's gynecologic oncology doctor today