Tracy

Cancerversary: August 2016

Age at diagnosis: 46

Diagnosis: Other HPV-associated cancer

Stage of cancer: II

How my story begins: I have been living a wonderful life because I had decided to make a change and get healthy. I had lost pounds and inches and was feeling the best I ever had in my life. I had been living life to the fullest - I had a great job, a new car, a great family and everything was falling into place.

I had been feeling pain in my back and the back of my legs for a long time. I had went to the ER many times with this pain and they sent me home each time with pain pills telling me it was some nerve. It was around my 46th birthday and i had been going to the bathroom and started bleeding really bad and some tissue came out while I was using the bathroom. I didn't think too much of it because of the fact I did NOT have insurance and I did not think it was anything to worry about. But 4 days after my 46th birthday, I was in so much pain in my back and legs that I went to the ER again and this time I told them about what happened in the bathroom with the tissue coming out. They said right then they were going to do a CAT scan and they did and they saw a big mass in my cervical area. They gave me the name and number of a doctor to contact, and I called the next day. She had me come in the following day for an exam and told me right there that she was sorry to say but I had Cervical Cancer. I was later to find out I have HPV/Cervical Cancer Stage 2b.

How I felt after diagnosis: I did not know how to feel after diagnosis. I just cried and cried. I thought, "How could this happen to me? I have spent the last year trying to get healthier and stuff and now this." I felt so scared and thought, "OH GOD. My world could end."

Telling my family and friends: I proceeded to the parking lot of the doctor's office, crying my heart out and I texted my family and told them the news.

My treatment: I was told I needed to go through therapy and I did 28 rounds of radiation, 6 rounds of chemo and 4 brachytherapy. I finished those in April 2017 and in August 2017, after my PET scan, I was told I was cancer free.

How I felt after treatment: Everyday after treatment, I felt ok. I just went home and slept a whole lot.

What was most difficult for me: Not being able to work was the worst because I had gotten that great job that I liked so much. Luckily, that job put me on PT and let me work from home.

What I did to help myself: I stayed strong and never gave up. I tried to get rest and be happy as I could and I kept on believing.

My life after cancer: Today I feel great and I am trying to get back to healthy like I was before cancer. I am working hard to find a new job still that is FT and to teach more people about HPV and Cervical Cancer.

Where I am today: I am currently unemployed but looking and applying daily. I am also trying to get into everything I can to learn more about this cancer and to tell more people.

What I want other women to know: This is so easy to get so we all need to be more careful.

How I will try to help others: I will educate others.