How my story begins: I was very active with my yard work and I worked in a hospital as a CNA/unit secretary. I thought all was well in my life.
I started to lose weight and was extremely tired. Then I started having a very bad discharge, so I scheduled a Pap smear. The day I got the results, my world was turned up side down.
How I felt after diagnosis: There were a lot of tears and my first thought was, "So, this is how it's going to end."
Telling my family and friends: Every time I had to tell anyone that I had cancer, I would break down and the tears would flow again. But my family and my work family were so supportive and they made my journey a little easier.
My treatment: I went through 7 weeks of daily radiation and once a week for those 7 weeks, I had chemo.
How I felt after treatment: It made me so worn out and I had no energy. I hated to have to depend on others...I hated the urinary incontinence and the frequent bouts of diarrhea. I hated that my life was no longer the same as before, but yet I was grateful that I was a survivor.
What was most difficult for me: Hearing the words...you have cancer.
What I did to help myself: I followed my doctor's orders and tried to walk as much as I could each day, even if it was just around the yard. And I attended my first Relay for Life at only 5 months from my all clear. It helped to see so many survivors and that gave me hope.
My life after cancer: My life is close to what it once was, even though I have bladder incontinence and still have bouts of diarrhea...It is a small price to pay to still be here today.
Where I am today: I am now in a very loving relationship and he supports me 100%. I am able to get out and take long walks with my pug and I am seeing the beauty in all things - all the things I used to take for granted.
What I want other women to know: To please get your cervical cancer screening and go to the doctor when you start having any symptoms. The earlier detected, the easier the fight.
How I will try to help others: To advocate for the early detection of cervical cancer and to lend support to those just beginning their journey of fighting this horrid disease known as cervical cancer.