It was just a few months ago when I first heard about Joey Feek of Joey and Rory. It wasn’t because of her angelic voice, her natural beauty, or her kind and happy spirit; she popped up in my newsfeed due to her battle with cervical cancer. As an advocate, the cervical cancer piece hooked me; all the other wonderful things about her and her family drew me in, and I’ve followed them closely for the last few months via media and her husband’s blog This Life I Live.
The more I read about Joey, the more I realized the similarities we shared, and I found myself somewhat reliving my cancer journey along with her. Joey was born and raised in central Indiana; so was I. We were both born in the fall of 1975, less than a month apart. Both of our lives have been touched by people with special needs; her daughter, my brother and my profession. I was diagnosed with cervical cancer shortly after giving birth; so was Joey. We also endured the same initial treatment plan during the beginning phases of our cervical cancer diagnoses, and we both have a strong faith. Following her story has brought back the physical pain of enduring treatments and side effects as well as the emotional pain of losing my fertility and the fear of potentially dying as a young mother and wife.
Sadly, Joey passed away last week, and there’s one thing I can’t get out of my mind:
This doesn’t have to keep happening to women!
The advances in medicine and options available today have the capability to eradicate cervical cancer and to protect not only ourselves, but the women in our lives: our mothers, daughters, sisters, friends, and even our favorite public figures. While not every woman has easy access to these advances and options, many of us do! Some women recognize this and take advantage of these opportunities; however, not enough of us are! Here’s a short list of some opportunities you shouldn’t be missing:
- Get a well-woman exam EVERY year.
- Ask for and HPV test (in addition to a Pap test) – not all physicians will automatically do one.
- Have your daughters AND sons vaccinated for HPV as early as possible at (or as soon after) the recommended ages of 11 or 12.
- If you’re under 26 and haven’t been vaccinated yet – do so.
Please make sure you’re taking advantage of these opportunities to keep yourself and/or the women in your life from having to go through what myself, Joey Feek, and many other women have had to!
Cervical cancer is preventable now, and we all have a part to play in eradicating this disease. What will be your next step?
-Cervivor Ambassador Heather Banks
3 thoughts on “This Doesn’t Have To Keep Happening To Women!”
I too am a three time recurring cervical cancer survivor. I wonder at times what my purpose is. I’ve had surgeries, chemotherapy,and internal and external radiation. I have spoke to other women who have battled this horrible disease but I have yet to meet any women that I can actually spend time with and talk to ,and out this. I’m so sorry that Joey list her battle. I always tell everyone to get their paps. I too have HPV. I pray everyday that a cure is found. Too many women are battling a disease that others think is just no big deal. Atleast that’s what circled around me at the time of my diagnosis. I was told by friends and family not to worry. Not to make a big deal about it because it’s just cervical cancer. It can be removed with surgery. How wrong they were. I was terrified. Today I am going on 4 years of no cancer. I’m scared to DEATH that is well return. I remember a short conversation that I had with Dr. Decesar. I asked him what my chances were of it not coming back. He said 75%. I asked him if it came back would it come back in the same area?, because I can’t have any more vaginal canal removed or I’ll have nothing keft. His reply was.. that he didn’t know. Because the cancer made it to my lymph nodes that it could return anywhere. Please get your paps. It’s not painful. It’s not humiliating. It could honestly save your life. Your important to someone. You are special to someone. If you have no one then understand that you have yourself. You mean something to someone. To lose you would impact their lives. Finding out if you have HPV can save lives. Take the time to put yourself first. Go get it done. You still have so much left to do my friend.
I have been battling cervical cancer for 4 years now. I have had chemo radation serveral times this is the second time it has come back in my liver. Done treatment and have a pet scan this coming wed. Are there still people out there that has been through all this. Still hoping they got it with radation.
How are you doing?