One Life To Live's Erika Slezak was chosen to present
the socially relevant and extremely important story of a woman's fight to
overcome breast cancer. An issue that has certainly touched the lives of
most every viewer in some way. Her depiction of the stages of fear, grief,
anger, determination and hope were an inspiration to all who watched. She
made us cry, she made us laugh, but most importantly she made us realize
how fragile life is. How very important it is that a woman does self
examination monthly and has regular mammograms. (M.Raymond)
Erika on the Breast Cancer Storyline: For Erika Slezak, playing her character's latest trauma - in this case, breast cancer - has been hard work. "It's a very difficult story to tell," she states. Not that Viki's a stranger tohardship. "We've done a lot of things with Viki: Eterna, heaven, the Old West...But most of them, the heavy-duty stories, are things people can relate to. We wanted to do this [breast cancer storyline] as best we could
because, unfortunately, not everyone is a survivor .
Viki Battles Breast
Written By: M.
A hint of concern for Viki's
health first surfaced December 2, 1999 when Larry quizzed her about
canceling her physical. However, you know Viki. She always put herself
last and made all kinds of excuses. She was concerned about Ben's being
investigated for Max's brain damage, his quitting his job at the hospital,
and his decision to get away from Llanview alone. She wasn't happy finding
Skye at Kevin's and the fact Dorian took her in. There was Jessica's
birthday party to plan and the busy holidays. Then there was Ben. Would he
come home for Christmas, or would she never see him again?
there was still no time to schedule a physical because of the New Year's
Eve wedding of Sam and Nora. January brought more concerns as Ben tore up
his medical license and refused to even attend a hearing' Ben's precarious
relationship with Asa; Jessica's budding romance with Will; and her own
bouts of insecurity even though Ben reassured her he loved only her.
She had cancelled
and rescheduled her physical several times for over a month, but Ben
finally convinced her to go. After January 19 her world would never be the
same again because the last thing she envisioned was being told, "there is
a suspicious area on your mammogram." How could that be? Could there be a
She felt fine. She took care of herself. She had to
talk to Ben. He would listen, give her advice, comfort her, and be there
for her. But again her world fell apart because Ben was engrossed in his
fight with Asa. They argued, and she gave him a choice - her or the gun.
His anger took over, and she tearfully left knowing this was her battle to
A week later Viki
received a call from Dr. Hanson suggesting an ultrasound and needle
aspiration, but she couldn't keep her secret for long because Kevin
intercepted a note from Dr. Hanson. She confided in her eldest son but
asked that they not inform Joey and Jessica until they were certain of the
tests. Kevin became her rock and gave her strength and hope. He was with
her when she went to Dr. Daniels for a second opinion and was told it
could be cancer, and a biopsy was suggested.
She had several
encounters with Ben, but his vendetta and hatred for Asa was so strong
that he still couldn't choose her and be there for her. She was crushed.
She wanted to tell him about the cancer but she didn't want him to come
back to her because she was sick. She knew he'd be at her side in a
minute, only the last thing she wanted and needed was his pity. The only
other person she confided in was Dorian who was leaving town. Dorian would understand because she had battled breast cancer. The woman, who had been her enemy for so many years, offered to stay and help her through her ordeal, but Viki, not concerned for herself, told Dorian to "Go for It!"
She tried to puther fears of the biopsy results out of her mind by playing games with the children and going to the Banner. But nothing could prepare her for that tragic news on March 7 when Dr. Daniels told her the tumor was malignant. Kevin was with her - so strong, so confident, so reassuring. He was her source of comfort and the only one who could completely help keep her from
falling apart. Dr. Daniels suggested a modified radical mastectomy.
She couldn't put off telling Joey and Jessica any longer. In disbelief they listened as she tried to reassure them she would be fine, and her chances were very good. But later both Joey and Jessica broke down in despair and fear.
Crossroads, and she instinctively had to go for "one last time." They
danced to their song, and as emotions overwhelmed her in the coatroom, she
told Ben, "what they had was so special, and she'd remember it until the
day she died." She sobbed, "I wanted one more beautiful memory with you
and me in this place before." She fled leaving Ben confused, but he
followed her to the parking lot where he told her how much he loved her
and suggested they get married the next day, go to Florida where he first
proposed, dance, dine, and lie on the beach and make love till dawn. She
loved, needed, and wanted him, but Dr. Daniel's words, modified radical
mastectomy, kept overpowering her, and she told Ben theirs was a beautiful
fairytale, which couldn't come true.
She tired to put the surgery out of her mind by making extra food for the children, going to the Banner and talking to the staff, speaking at a playground fundraiser, and going to see Asa in the hospital.
Still the reality of what was ahead forced her to
retreat to the attic where she tearfully had a conversation with an
The children accompanied her to the hospital, and after
she was alone, she sat on the bed and sang, "I Will Survive." The surgery and reconstruction went well, but she received more devastating news when test results revealed some lymph nodes had cancer cells, and chemo would be necessary.
During Viki's first chemo session, she became ill. Ben thinking Jessica would lead him to Will, followed her to Cherryvale Clinic where he discovered Viki's illness.
He was destroyed and realized he had to be with her. There could be no secrets between them anymore, so when she came back to Llanfair, he was there. Afraid she may not love him anymore when he revealed he was Asa's son, he was thrilled when she told him she didn't care what his last name was. She loved him more than ever. She was heartbroken when he revealed he already knew about the cancer. He reassured her he loved her, and they would fight this dreaded disease together. Ben took her to their special place, the attic. This was where she had save his life, where they had revealed their identities, where they made love for the first time, and he asked her again to marry him.
Their love was stronger than ever, and no one or nothing could touch them. When they made love for the first time after her surgery, Ben was understanding, gentle, and very sensitive to her apprehension. But his caring erased all he fears of intimacy, and they basked in their deep love, passion, and desire for each other.
He was with her during the chemo session and saved her
life when an allergic reaction caused her to go into shock. He comforted her when she lost her hair and offered to shave his head to make her feel more comfortable.
After months of fear and speculation came the good news that the cancer was in remission. They rejoiced fully aware that the journey might not be over. But for now there was joy and hope and the possibility of a future. They had fought this horrible disease together, and they had won. No matter what the future brought, Ben was with her again - body and soul, and she'd never
have to fear the unknown again.
Click here to read the script for the scene of Ben trying to win Viki back at Crossroads.
Click here to view the cover of script for the scene of Viki cooking before her surgery.
Click here to read the script of the scene of Viki cooking before her