Yolaine Ridore is a walking miracle.
She is one of the few pancreatic cancer survivors.
Many of our readers may know Yolaine Ridore. A Canarsie resident, she serves on the board on the 69th Precinct Community Council, is a member of the Canarsie Lions and attends St. Jude’s Church.
Yolaine participated in the Lustgarten Foundation Walk for Research in Marine Park on September 18th. She was the only person there wearing a purple hat with the words “Survivor” on the brim.
Yolaine shared her story of faith and optimism with the Canarsie Courier.
One day in September 2017, she was sitting in a meeting when a colleague told her that her eyes looked yellow. Up until that point, she said she felt healthy. “There were no problems until a week before – I started scratching non-stop.” Itchy skin is one of the symptoms of the disease.
After visiting her primary doctor, she went for a cat scan of her stomach, which revealed a mass in her pancreas. She was admitted to Methodist Hospital shortly thereafter, and her oncologist confirmed that the mass was cancerous.
Yolaine underwent an intensive round of chemotherapy for four months. “I would go to the doctor once a week, for eight hours of chemo. Then, they sent me home with a machine, hooked up to a computer that administered chemo 24 hours a day. I’d sleep with it. Three days later, I would return to the hospital and they would remove the machine.”
Yolaine was scheduled to receive chemo for six months, but after four months, her doctor decided to take another cat can. “That’s when they learned the tumor was reduced by 75%,” she said. “I continued with two more rounds of chemo, and by the fifth month, my surgeon decided that they have to go in there to find out what happened. So, they gave me surgery. When they opened me, they found no cancer!”
Throughout her battle with cancer, she had a lot of support from family, friends and her church. “I was very optimistic. I had a lot of prayers – my priest, my church, St. Jude, would come to my house. Father Mike [now at St. Bernard] prayed that when they opened me, they would find no cancer, and that’s exactly what happened!”
Survivors are considered cancer-free after five years. Yolaine told the Canarsie Courier, “It was a perfect time to walk. I was diagnosed on September 16, 2017.” And now, here she is, walking five years later, almost to the day of her diagnosis, cancer-free.
“The doctor said after five years, the cancer would not come back,” Yolaine said, but she still visits the doctor every three months and gets a cat scan every six months.
She formed a special bond with her surgeon, Dr. D’Silva. “He told me it was in his heart; he wanted to treat me in memory of his mother, who died of pancreatic cancer when he was only 16 years old.” The two established a close relationship and remain good friends.
“I was always positive; I never thought it was a problem. I was surrounded by love, friends, the whole community. I was very grateful for that,” Yolaine said.
“I believe a lot of people are not paying attention. A lot of people now are dying of pancreatic cancer. Pancreatic cancer is very scary. We have to do the research and make sure we find a cure for pancreatic cancer, because it is a dangerous thing.”
“I’m being considered as a miracle.”
By Linda Steinmuller