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A Lifelong Connection between Ovarian Cancer Patient and Her Doctor: 10 Years Later

Read Time: 4 minutes

Video transcript

Carine Clark: When I was diagnosed with cancer they sent a counselor over to talk to me and those three words, "You have cancer." Like you don't hear anything after that.

Theresa Werner, MD: Right.

Carine Clark: Like I needed someone who knew that this was going to be hard and that we could unpack this together. And I didn't—

I had ovarian cancer—I didn't know anyone who had ovarian cancer who had survived it.

Dr. Werner: Right.

Carine Clark: And I can't imagine having that diagnosis and having to do it somewhere else. I don't think I would have survived.

Dr. Werner: One of the things that I've learned specifically from our relationship is how important just that listening to your patient, right. Like, you're meeting someone—you're meeting me for the first time—and I'm gonna hopefully be part of your life forever after that, right? The important thing, sort of long term, is that relationship continues to build every time we meet. And as you said, like, you were here every week and I saw you on a regular basis. I probably know you better than some people you've known even longer than me, because we just went through a hard thing together.

Carine Clark: To have a 20% chance of beating it was like crushing for me. You're in that chair by yourself for all those hours doing that treatment. You're awake for three days because you have steroids, and you're like, "I'm exhausted but I have insomnia." It's like can you all have a handshake and in the middle of the night like you can see the despair on the horizon, but you never let despair get close to me.

Dr. Werner: To get you through, you know all of that, and have you sitting here with me—now a grandma, seeing your son get married—you made a difference in someone's life, right? And you as a physician learn, you know, from every patient that you treat and it makes me a better doctor for the next person. I'm doing clinical trials. I'm trying to do everything else I can to, you know, advance treatments for ovarian cancer and that's a full-time job and yet I've got to do that. And that would not be possible without help from my co-workers, colleagues, and patients, and donors, right? It's us here now doing what we can do to fight that good fight against cancer and help that next generation.

So I think this is just a perfect example of someone who's been on this really long journey herself and now you're giving back. Like I hope you know how important that support is.

Carine Clark: When I ride for Huntsman at the Little Red Riding Hood race or at the bigger Huntsman race, I have a jersey that says "has hope" on the back and I proudly ride as one of the survivors. So at the Little Red race, the riders, because they pass me because I'm not fast, but they say, "Hey Hero—what kind of cancer? Hey Hero—we're glad you're here! Hey Hero—thanks for giving people hope," and for someone that could have had no hope I came to the place that filled all those gaps. Because it wasn't just about hope for, okay we're gonna find a cure, but it was like we're gonna give you a peek into what your future could be like.

Dr. Werner: I like people to know that the money that they raise, the money that they donate, you know, there's a person on the end of that receiving that money and so, so grateful for that support and that it can help fund all of these missions and investigations and things that we're doing to bring new treatments for cancer, new ways to support people who have cancer. As a physician, as a researcher, you know, as a mom as well, it's like "wow", there are so many wonderful people out there who may never meet me or may never meet you, but they're all going to support this sort of greater mission and they may not even realize it. There are people that I haven't even met yet that I know that, you know, this important work that we do is going to offer them hope.

Cancer touches all of us.