Cancerversary: October 2018

Age at diagnosis: 30

Diagnosis: Cervical cancer (unspecified)

Stage of cancer: II

How my story begins: I was a busy mum of 2 and pregnant with my third child. When I had my third baby in January 2018 by emergency c-section, they found a growth in my cervix. Being in recovery, not having even held my baby, to be told I needed to come back for biopsy in 2 weeks was shattering. Going back in for results with a 4 week old to be told results came back as cancer and it’s aggressive was absolutely devastating. Then to go down to the city for tests was so overwhelming.

How I felt after diagnosis: I was devastated. I don’t think anything can ever prepare for you for the words, "You have cancer."

Telling my family and friends: It was so hard for me to tell my family, especially my mum and dad. I actually got my husband to call as I was beside myself. I had a 4 year old, a 2 year old and a 4 week old baby. The thought of not being around to see them grow up made me sick.

My treatment: I was diagnosed with stage 2b and the best treatment was 6 weeks radiation and chemotherapy, followed by 3 lots of brachytherapy.

How I felt after treatment: I actually didn’t feel too bad. I didn’t get many side affects from it all. I had a few trips to the hospital with effects from radiation, like inflamed bowel and exhaustion. But it’s hard to know if I’m tired from that or just from running around after 3 kids.

What was most difficult for me: Brachytherapy really knocked me around. And just the whole process while having 3 small children - I was lucky to have a lot of family support!

What I did to help myself: I just kept going. I didn’t have much choice really. My babies needed me and I kept fighting for them - every day, one day at a time.

My life after cancer: I’ve not long got the all clear and yes, it’s amazing. But there are also challenges. Emotionally, some days, I just break down for no reason. I feel like I’ve changed but I’ve slipped straight back into mum life, which I think has helped my recovery enormously.

Where I am today: I'm very happy and thankful. I think going through this whole process changes you and makes you see things differently. I still think about it a lot and I’d be lying if I said it hasn’t changed me a little but I don’t let it get me down. Sure - I have ups and downs, but I’m one of the lucky ones.

What I want other women to know: Listen to your bodies! I knew throughout my pregnancy something wasn’t right. I kept going back to the doctor as I was bleeding. I had many ultrasounds and internals done and each time, the baby was fine. But I still knew something was wrong. Even though it wouldn’t have changed the outcome, I should’ve pushed for a second opinion. I’m very lucky the doctor made the decisions that day and checked my cervix as they would never have found it. All my Pap tests have come back clear. It's very scary to think what would’ve happened in the years to come.

How I will try to help others: I did the relay for life this year, which was amazing and so empowering.

Any additional information you'd like to share: My Frankie boy is my miracle baby. If I hadn’t had him, they might not have found it. I’m so very lucky.