Honoring Cervical Cancer Caregivers

This week on the blog, we honor those who are caregivers during National Caregiver Awareness Month. JR, the husband of Cervivor Ambassador Erica, shares his thoughts and feelings about his wife and their life living with cancer. Please leave us a comment and let us know your thoughts and if you have an awesome caregiver you want to give a shout-out to or the type of support you wish you had during your diagnosis.
— Tamika


JR, Indiana


My wife has cancer.




How I felt when I heard that my wife had cancer… Which time?  The first time I wasn’t surprised as I knew something was wrong and recommended she go to the gynecologist. The second time? I was upset, raised my voice to the nurse practitioner and wanted answers. The third time? Helpless. I have watched the love of my life go through surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation, and more surgeries while knowing that a cure isn’t in her immediate future and people do die of this disease.


What I did to support her, and what I do now are not enough. I could build her a million bridges or take her around the world one thousand times and not be able to cure her disease. In an attempt to support her, I simply care for house and home, I ask her how her day was, allow her to vent and let her know that I love her with all my heart.

What was the most difficult for you… What isn’t difficult? Only one time have I felt like the situation was bigger than us: Leaving the hospital after my wife had been hospitalized and my 6-year-old son looking at me with tears in his eyes. “Daddy, is mommy going to die?” His realization to the subject is something that I hadn’t prepared for.




To help someone, loved ones, go through a diagnosis…  Its easy, people will ask if they can help, say YES!!  At no time while you are being a “Caregiver” should you go without someone coming over and making dinner, cleaning the kitchen/bathroom, or doing laundry. It doesn’t have to be once a week but twice a month is needed.


What I have learned about my loved one…  She has only shocked me in each facet of our relationship. I knew that she was strong, motivated, stubborn, tenacious, courageous, bold and beautiful. What I didn’t know was the extent of her qualities. She gets up and goes to work everyday working with special needs children. She comes home and is mommy, then goes to bed as wife. She finds time to juggle other labels — patient, friend, sister and daughter. Her ability to manipulate cancer and live life without regrets, impacting those around her with a positive attitude after years of treatment still amazes me every day.



Why I’m a cervical cancer advocate

ericaSometimes life takes you in directions you never expected. I have never thought of myself as a writer. I never set out to be an inspiration for people or even to be an advocate for a cause. I also never planned to hear the words, “You have cancer.”

Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans. I started out blogging for very selfish reasons: I wanted to be able to update my family and friends without having to call each person individually. I wanted a way to document what was happening to me, and it was honestly therapeutic to get all my feelings out in writing.

I didn’t set out to make a difference, be an inspiration to others, or even to create cervical cancer awareness. As my cancer journey evolved, I was contacted by a variety of individuals and there was one common connection: they had all seen and were touched by my blog. It was after these individuals started contacting me that I realized my blogging wasn’t just for me, or even just for people who knew me. It was a platform to inspire others and spread awareness about cervical cancer and HPV.

Today, advocacy is an important part of my life. I have been fortunate enough to work with Roche to develop a video chronicling my story which has been used to reach out to doctors across the state of Indiana to express the importance of screening for HPV. Through Cervivor, I have had the opportunity to join a group of women who share my passion for advocacy. I had the fabulous experience of attending Cervivor School San Diego to learn more about how to effectively advocate for awareness and how to share my story in the most impactful way.

Cervivor School ignited a flame for advocacy. Working along with these passionate women, there are several great things in the works. We are working to do outreach at a variety of colleges to help educate students and professionals about HPV and cervical cancer, organizing more opportunities for Cervivor schools, and developing a fabulous campaign for January, which is Cervical Cancer Awareness month. So, why is advocacy important? Well, for starters, did you know that it is possible to completely eradicate cervical cancer? Let that sink in for a minute.

According to the American Cancer Society, it is estimated that there will be 12,900 new cases of cervical cancer diagnosed in 2015 and about 4,100 women will die from cervical cancer in 2015 alone! That is more than 11 women per day dying from a cancer that is preventable! I cannot imagine a better reason to advocate.

We could end this cancer! We could end these deaths! Advocacy is important, no matter how big or small. I have embraced my passion for advocacy. Afterall, if everyone just waited for someone else to do it, it would never get done.

Cervivor Erica