Karyn

Cancerversary: August 2015

Age at diagnosis: 36

Diagnosis: Adenocarcinoma

Stage of cancer: I

Cervivor School Graduation: 2017

How my story begins: I knew I had abnormal Paps but didn't really understand to what path it was leading me to. I was a normal healthy, carefree woman.

My abnormal Paps started in 2008. I was told it was as a result of HPV. I did not really understand what that meant as HPV wasn't really a common term at the time. I went to the OBGYN every six months never getting a clear result. In May 2015, my OBGYN suggested a cold knife biopsy. Again, I did not really grasp what was going on. So on June 1, 2015, I walked into the hospital for my surgery with a carefree attitude. My OBGYN said it did not look like cancer. When I did my follow-up appointment on June 17, 2015 all I can remember was her saying "you have cancer and here's a list of oncology doctors."

How I felt after diagnosis: It is a very scary world out there. Even two years out, I hate going in for followup or for scans. You get scared that they will say the cancer is back. It has made me live each day to the fullest. Some days it does hit me that I was diagnosed with cancer.

My treatment: On August 5, 2015, I had a hysterectomy. I go every three months to the oncologist for a follow up and every six months for a PET scan. Last visit (April 2017) I had another biopsy which came back as in situ. At the two year mark, I will go to the oncologist every six months.

What was most difficult for me: Hearing the words "you have cancer."

What I did to help myself: The cancer center provided different classes such as group therapy.

Where I am today: I am living one day at a time. I try to make each day an eventful moment. I try to live each to the fullest.

What I want other women to know: It can happen to anyone. Cervical cancer doesn't care about your age, your race, your economic background, etc. I would also add, to listen to your body. If something doesn't feel right, ask questions. If doctors speak in medical terms, ask for them to speak to where you understand completely.

How I will try to help others: To ensure each of my family and friends get their cervical cancer screening and ensure their children receive the HPV vaccine.