Chanel

Cancerversary: July 2013

Age at diagnosis: 36

Diagnosis: Cervical cancer (unspecified)

Stage of cancer: II

How my story begins: My husband and I wanted to have another child - hopefully a daughter. I went for a routine physical to find out why I had not conceived, being that I had been pregnant before. I was told that I had cancerous cells and needed a LEEP procedure. The procedure in November 2012. I was told December 5th, 2012 that I had cervical cancer.

Life before my diagnosis: Before cervical cancer, I would stress and complain about how my life was compared to other people's.

How I felt after diagnosis: I honestly felt like I wanted to die. I thought about committing suicide because I thought my life was over. But I realized that I could not leave my sons without a mother and my loving husband without a wife.

Telling my family and friends: It was not easy telling my sons as they were 9 and 7 at the time. But my husband and I sat them down and explained to them what to expect. They were very supportive.

My treatment: The doctor told me to be prepared if I needed chemo or radiation, so I went home and cut off my hair because I didn’t want to wake up to my hair falling out when I started treatment. Plus I didn’t like dealing with my hair anyway so I made the best out of a somewhat bad situation. On July 26, 2013 I had a radical hysterectomy. No other treatment was needed.

How I felt after treatment: My new life began. Before having cervical cancer, I was really afraid of driving. And one day, after cancer, I really thought about it and said to myself "What am I scared of? I just beat cancer!" I over came that fear - so much so that I became a Uber and Lyft driver!

What was most difficult for me: Seeing other people with children, especially baby girls, was difficult. My husband and I had wanted a daughter so badly. But God reminded me of a prayer I'd prayed when my husband and I first started talking about having another child. I told God that if having another child would take away from the love that our sons needed, then I would rather not have another baby.

What I did to help myself: I found out as much information as I could about cervical cancer. I tell every woman I know to take care of themselves by making sure that they have an annual physical and women's health visit and to be sure to follow-up with doctors if they tell you that your Pap results are abnormal.

My life after cancer: I look at life totally differently now. I don’t complain. I am even more grateful for my life. I don’t allow things to stress me out as much. My husband and I are more in love. I celebrate life.

Where I am today: Today I realize that I am here on this earth for a reason. God allowed me to beat cancer to help other women know they can overcome too. Cancer, divorce, rape, molestation and grief. I AM A WALKING MIRACLE.

What I want other women to know: Please take care of yourselves. Your family needs you, but they need you to be healthy. Don’t make sure everyone else is ok without making sure you are ok.

How I will try to help others: My dream is to travel this country and tell my story letting people know if I made it, you can make it too. GIVING UP IS NOT AN OPTION. Someone out there is depending on you. They need to see someone who has been through hell and came out fighting.

Any additional information you'd like to share: Because I am so passionate about preventing this disease, I would like more attention brought to cervical cancer education. I want to go in to high schools and educate young women about taking care of themselves before they go off to college.