How my story begins: Where to begin?! I was just minding my own business, being monogamous with my now-husband/then-boyfriend, and my annual Pap smear came back abnormal for the first time in my life. I asked my husband if he'd ever been with someone who had HPV (no), and whether he'd always been faithful to me (yes). Guess what? We went to Planned Parenthood and they detected a few bumps on his genitalia, sent the biopsies out for testing, and it was HPV 16+. Needless to say, he felt awful, but neither of us ever thought it would turn into a worst case scenario like it has in the last year...
How I felt after diagnosis: Numb. The fear didn't set in for a few days, and then came treatment and all of the side effects that went with it. I felt overwhelmed and underprepared.
Telling my family and friends: This part was especially hard, since I don't do well being treated differently. I was afraid people would treat me with 'kid gloves' if they knew, so I only confided in three close friends and my parents at first. Full disclosure: this was possibly the hardest part for me. I hated watching the people I love the most cry out of fear for my health and my life.
My treatment: Chemo, radiation, brachytherapy, and an upcoming radical hysterectomy.
My life after cancer: Stay tuned!
Where I am today: I'm finished with chemo and radiation, and this summer I will undergo a radical hysterectomy.
What I want other women to know: LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. You know yourself better than anyone else - listen to what your body is telling you. If something feels 'off' - go to the doctor! Advocate for yourself - the squeaky wheel gets the grease, ladies.