Peoria native, Sharon Phillips hasn’t let her three-cancer diagnoses stop her from living life to the fullest.
“There’s still another chapter in my book left to write. I haven’t finished my story yet,” Phillips says.
In 2016, Phillips received her first diagnosis with uterine cancer. One year later, there was another cancer scare when her doctor removed a cancerous tumor on her groin. This year, Phillips was diagnosed with thyroid cancer.
Her hysterectomy, tumor removal, radiation therapy, and cancer journey have all taken place with UnityPoint Health’s Radiation Oncology and Gynecologic Oncology departments.
“All I’ve ever seen throughout my cancer care at Methodist has been smiling faces. They are such happy, extraordinary people. I looked forward to going in for my check-ups, procedures, and radiation,” she says.
Phillips remembers how devastated she felt after each diagnosis and the anxiety she experienced leading up to her first cancer treatment appointment.
“But the minute you walk through those doors, all your fears go away. I had the most caring people looking after me and everyone stopped by to talk to me and see how I was doing. Even other doctors who weren’t treating me would chat,” she says.
Phillips says although the hospital staff were busy, they took their time to make sure she felt comfortable and that her radiation session would be safe and effective.
“I received radiation for 33 consecutive days. For my first session, I asked what I should expect and they told me it can take time because they want to make sure the radiation targets the cancerous area and doesn’t damage my other healthy surrounding organs. It brought me comfort knowing they wanted everything to be perfect. They wanted to do what was best for my body,” she says.
Although hearing these three different diagnoses have been life changing, she wants others waiting for their cancer test results to know all the change hasn’t been bad.
“Don’t get discouraged because you hear something you don’t like. Have hope that you’ll have a positive outcome and use the experience to make your life better,” she says.
Phillips is now enjoying more time at home after retiring from her custodial position with the school district and is spending more time with her children and grandchildren.
“I really can’t speak enough about the people at UnityPoint Health. They are genuine caring people. You can’t fake it. It’s easy to know when it comes from the heart,” she says.
To make an appointment with the Gynecologic Oncology department, call (309) 671-7772.