Arnisha Simley is 51 years old and was born in Columbus, Ohio. She has two grown adult children and five grandkids. She has been employed with Nationwide Insurance for 26 Years.
Arnisha’s diagnosis with ovarian cancer came as a shock in February 2008. She had been experiencing pain in her stomach with seeing her regular OBGYN. “I suffered dizziness, severe cramping, and heavy bleeding, along with a few other systems.” After several rounds of medication to combat the pain with no success, she asked her doctor to take an ultrasound of her stomach. During the procedure, it was discovered that the right ovary was quite the problem, enlarged to the size of a grapefruit. The doctor said ‘there is the problem’ and her ovary would need to be removed. A laparoscopic surgery was scheduled to remove the one ovary. After that, Arnisha thought everything was fine, until she received the dreaded call that confirmed the pathology report confirming the ovary was cancerous.
“I was then referred to the Zangmeister Center and consulted with Dr. Luis Vaccarello. On February 28, 2008, the diagnosis was confirmed. Dr. Vaccarello shared with me everything I would be going through, surgery, chemo, etc, and how this would help me live and fight the cancer. I remember being so numb, in total disbelief and all I could think about was all the horror stories I’ve heard about chemo therapy and people dying from cancer. I told him I agreed to the surgery, but that was it. I was refusing to take the chemo therapy sessions. I remember telling him the surgery will get it all. My mom was in the consultation with me assuring the doctor that I would do what was necessary, but I had only agreed to the surgery. I left with that thought only, as the doctor said he couldn’t make me take the chemo. It was my choice. Chris Burton, Dr. Vaccarello’s nurse was also there trying to encourage me and she said ‘you are so beautiful and I’m sure you will look as beautiful with a new hair style.'”
On March 13, 2008, Arnisha had her second complete surgery. Everything went well and it was determined that it was Clear cell carcinoma of the ovary, 1C – Grade 3. She was discharged to go home to recover, and was laying in bed one day when her grandson, 3 years old at the time, came in with this big flower and said “This is for you NENE – I love you.” “It was at that very moment, I decided that I wanted to live to see my grandkids and that I would go through the chemotherapy and I would beat this thing called Cancer. I called to schedule the chemo session and asked the doctor how soon after the chemo would I lose my hair as this was important to me. I didn’t want to lose my hair. He said 2 weeks after the first session. Knowing this, I went to my stylist and had her cut it into a boy cut – very low as I had heard it would devastate you to see your hair fall out on the pillow.”
April 15, 2008 was Arnisha’s first chemo session. She went through 6 rounds of Carboplatin and Placitaxel (Taxol). The little hair she did have as a boy cut vanished 2 weeks after the first chemo. “I lost hair everywhere. I missed my eyelashes and had wigs made just for me.” Her last chemo session was July 29, 2008. “I can say that I was fortunate not to experience the horrible side effects that I had heard. The only side effect for me was pain in my knees and I took something for that. Having cancer is so devastating, however life is so precious, so fight it and live life to the fullest making every day count. My cancer was in remission after the 5 years in 2013 and remains there today. I credit my survival to my faith in God, the Zangmeister center and my family and friends who continues to support me along my journey.”
“Cancer has taught me how to rise up again, let go of what doesn’t matter, live in the moment, and cherish those I love. It was a mental and emotional toll and I learned to embrace it with thoughts that someone else was going through a harder battle than what I was going through. Embrace your cancer with a positive attitude. It will help you conquer it! Survivors are the best support group because we are proof that HOPE exists. Cancer started the fight, but you can finish the fight! Tomorrow is not promised, so we have to make each day count! And they all know I love them dearly for being by side through my journey and my survivorship.”
More About Arnisha
Favorite Quote: “When you come to the end of the rope, tie a Knot and hang on!”
Favorite Movie: Coming to America
Favorite Holiday: Easter – I love seeing kids dressed up!
Share an interesting fact about yourself: I’m a Jane of all trades, you name it, I’ll try it or can do it!
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be and why? Africa – to see my roots
What is the first thing you notice about another person? Their facial expressions!
Do you have a celebrity crush? Charlie Wilson – I love him!!!
What is the greatest accomplishment of your life? Surviving cancer and raising my kids as a single mother and being a grandmother
If you could have any super power, what would it be? To be the genie who sprinkles dust over any sickness or disease to eliminate it.
What is the best advice you have ever received from someone? Never look back in regret, move on & make it a lesson learned. No matter what challenges you face, you can overcome them.
What is the best advice you can give another person? Let go of what doesn’t matter and cherish those you love as tomorrow is not promised so live life to the fullest.
What are 3 word that best describe who you are? Independent, Loyal, Accommodating