Sheyene Gerardi, the Venezuelan actress who has captivated audiences worldwide with her performance in Latin soap operas, is ready to return to showbiz after beating stage 4 cancer.
In 2007, he life was paused after she was diagnosed with advanced lymphoma stage 4 and she was given three months to live.
"It was not easy, but I took it with positivism. The mind is a very powerful tool in favor or against the human body. I received chemotherapy for 3 years... I feel like I broke a Guinness record. And far from feeling as a victim, I can say it was a great learning experience for me and I'm a truly transformed person after all this. I have much to be thankful for in life."
It's been five years since the actress began her chemotherapy treatment and is currently in remission. She always maintained a healthy appearance and did not even lost her hair.
With a personal memoir in the works, the beautiful actress focuses much of her time currently on the Sheyene Gerardi Foundation, as she is an advocate for children, a dire necessity to any child going without and hurting or in need.
Sheyene is currently living between New York and Miami, a city were she moved from Venezuela to be under treatment and where she begins a new life. Within her immediate plans are starting to analyze the proposed projects and resume her acting career. Sheyene said she would like to work in the U.S. because it became her new home and is a country where she has been welcomed with much warmth and has met very special people.
Sheyene has learned the power of not only positive thinking, but of the expression of gratitude and thanksgiving.
Beside the works of selflessness Sheyene Gerardi devotes herself to daily, by taking the time to read her blog at www.sheyenegerardi.net, you will observe an amazing mix of wonderful photography and beautiful words that pour from a heart filled with hope for a wonderful future and life; words of wisdom and love.
Q: Sheyene, where were you born? Is your family with you or are they are here in our country? Do you have brothers or sisters?
A: I was born in Caracas and I'm the only child... my extended family is small but lives in Venezuela; as for my immediate family, my parents have died. I currently share my time between NY, Miami and L.A.
Q: When you were a kid, did you dream of showbiz? I have understood that you were a model and studied medicine. Why did you decide to venture into TV?
A: The truth is I always wanted to be a doctor. My showbiz career was an accident. Initially I did it as a hobby. When I started college I did it to pay my medical studies and gradually more projects were presenting themselves that demanded more time and professionalism...
At that time the university had many problems and they were considering closing it. Students marched and protested, so that semester was "lost," but at that moment I was offered a character in a teen drama called, on RCTV in my country, Venezuela. So I decided to interrupt college to devote time to this project. After that, more opportunities/characters followed...
Q: Why did you decide to leave the Venezuelan TV?
A: Well, I did not decide. The circumstances did. I was forced to stop working to receive medical treatment.
Q: When did you discover that you had cancer, and how was that moment?
A: I knew in the middle of the recordings of "Camaleona," a soap opera of RCTV.
I was exhausted and I just had lost my parents, so my mind was weak and that allowed something negative to trigger in my body. After a week of analysis, they said I had a very advanced lymphoma (stage 4) and that they couldn't do anything for me.
I encouraged myself and took a plane to the U.S. to get a second opinion. They also gave me about 3 months to live.
I was lucky to find Dr. Humberto Caldera, who literally "saved my life." He personally put everything in order, so that I could receive the best treatment.
And so began my struggles and little by little, my victory.
Q: What kind of cancer? And how was the treatment?
A: It's called lymphoma, not Hodgkin. And I received chemotherapy for 3 years ... I feel like I broke a Guinness record. And far from feeling as a victim, I can say It was a great learning experience for me and I'm a truly transformed person after all this. I have much to be thankful for in life.
Q: Why do you think you did not lose your hair despite chemotherapy?
A: The truth is that's what worried me the most. I did not want to be bald, beyond the banal, I felt that it was a mental and individual thing-- Even talking about cancer or chemotherapy or hair loss brings an immediate sense of unease to people. The words are so strong and negative. I think we condition ourselves before going to a treatment. I didn't want to do it and I just did not.
Yes! I felt bad sometimes. There are good days and bad days. Even in the best of times, we all have good days and bad days. But I never knew what it was to go beyond "just a bad day," because for me it's unnecessary to get to that point. We all have a machine that is more powerful than any medicine and that is the mind. Of course when I say this, I don't mean that medicine is not worth it; I trust it a lot. What I want to say is: when we join these two components, a synergy is created so that no cancer, no matter how bad it is, can achieve its mission.
I also remember that I was given a movie called "The Secret" and without any advertisement intention, I must say that it opened another door and it took me to another dimension in my healing process.
This positive thinking is something that is not new, but this DVD helped me understand things more colloquially and in a very simple way, Just when i needed it most. And when I heard that "the mind can do everything," I decided to try it out with my hair and it worked! It worked with my mood and it worked with my goals and it is still working among many aspects of my life.
Q: What advice would you give to people who have or have had cancer?
A: I'll tell you something that happened to me last week. We were celebrating with my stylist because it had been "after 3 years" and I had the same amount of hair that I had always had. She supported me throughout the entire process.
And a woman who heard my story told us that her brother was diagnosed with cancer and had been given 6 months of life, and two days later he killed himself.
I think attitude is very important; fatalistic thoughts are not allowed. The truth is that we never know what will happen. Give yourself the opportunity to write your own history. It's hard, but worth it...
I'm not here to save people's lives, but I always think that if I could, others can as well. There is nothing different about me compared to other people...
I achieved my health in a foreign country, working and staying active. In my mind the words disease or suffering have never existed. They are just circumstances and barriers that we must pass. Everything depends on the oneself.
I adopted the phrase: incurable is curable from within!
And to people in general I say, don't wait until a tragic moment force you to change your life; decide to be happy and be happy, because happiness is also a decision.
Q: How has your life changed?
A: Well, as I said before I had lost what I loved most--my family--in a car accident. Being the only child, this affected me so much. I was very sad, I felt I had no one, and I felt unprotected because my mother was always my best friend. When they left so unexpectedly, their unconditional love disappeared and suddenly my life felt empty. I simply had no desire to live. After a year I was so sick already that doctors gave me just 12 weeks to live...
I needed a lot of help. Many people worried about me and offered their support. I realized through this experience that I am not alone, I just lost my parents and I still have many wonderful people around me.
In Venezuela I'm blessed to have a school named after me, thanks to the people who love me. The most important gifts of my life were and are words of encouragement. I can say that the support was unconditional...This positivity is the most beautiful thing you can give to the people you love.
My parents have left and now it is my turn to give life--to teach my children what I learned from my parents...
Q: Where do you get your strength and optimism?
A: I think it helped me a lot to be surrounded by intelligent and positive people. I always got good advice and lots of love...
It is also a part of my life and personality to always look on the bright side of things. Life is meant to be happy, everything else is just an excuse.
Life itself is a synonym of strength and optimism, and the desire to live and enjoy every waking hour. We are the result of what we think.
Q: Tell me a little about your personal life, if you are currently married...
A: I am single and i live with Mardo (my dog), my unconditional friend. And I'm open to start a family when the time comes, without rushing it. And when that day comes I would like to have the family for a lifetime.
Q: What new projects are you working on? What is your short-term goal?
A: I have many plans, dreams, and ideas ... Especially to keep working on soap operas and movies. I'm even considering getting into the production side. There are more things that you will know soon, but I can't give many details yet...
She is a woman worth knowing, with strong heart to write a book, interested in photography, art and travel. And as she describes herself: "With an addiction to only positive emotions."