How my story begins: I hadn’t been feeling good for sometime. My period hadn't been normal for years. I had told my doctor a few times but not much was done. I wasn’t feeling good after we had moved into our house in May so I went to hospital. The doctor there said I had pneumonia and told me to go home and rest. That didn’t happen, as I put on a big trade show Mother’s Day weekend in our local town. So I had run myself down even more. We had family over in July of that year (2016) to see our new house and to spend time with my gram and my parents. I was having a hard time peeing and my kidneys were killing me. But I didn’t want to go to hospital while my family was visiting. Once my family left, I went to hospital. I was bleeding a lot and it wasn’t like a normal period. Doctors gave me some medicines to slow down the bleeding. They spoke to another hospital and said I was starting menopause because I had started having kids early. (I had my 1st one at 17. She was a big surprise. I didn’t know I was pregnant but that’s another story.) For the next few weeks I was going to the hospital every week because things weren’t getting better. They tried to examine me, but it was hard because of the amount of blood I was putting out. On Aug 17, 2016 my husband came home early from work and found me passed out in front of our 7 year old. I don’t remember taking a shower or anything. He rushed me to hospital again. The doctor on call that night sat in my bed and said "enough was enough" and that I needed to be seen by gynecologist at another hospital. I had to get a blood transfusion that night. I was admitted and my husband went home to get the girls looked after. He came the next morning to take me to the other hospital. I had so many thoughts going through my mind. We arrived shortly after 8:30am and I was taken to another room to be seen. They asked my husband to just wait for me. The doctor examined me and asked his nurse to put her hands on my shoulders. His words were: “sorry miss, but you have cervical cancer.“ I dropped to my knees. I yelled. How did the other doctors miss this? The nurse went to grab my husband. He knew once he saw me things were not good. They admitted me for more tests.
Life before my diagnosis: My husband and I had just bought our dream home in May 2016 after 8 years living in a small trailer with our two girls. Our girls were 16 & 7. We were on cloud nine and enjoying all the space and the property. We enjoyed walking through all the woods and trails. We had lots of wildlife in the woods and loved seeing the deer.
How I felt after diagnosis: My feelings were all over the place. I was so mad. My husband hugged me so tight and kept telling me it would be okay. I was admitted for more tests and scans. The scanned showed the cancer was spreading and was in my bladder. That was the reason I was having a hard time peeing. I needed surgery for stents, ASAP. My urologist wasn’t able to get both stents in due to the size of tumor. He was honest with us and said things didn’t look good and gave me 3 months - to Xmas that year - to live.
Telling my family and friends: My husband was the one who started to call our family. Since I was being admitted, we had to call them and let them know what was going on. Those were the worst calls he ever made. I texted a few friends to tell them what was going on. My friends started to pull all together and had started planning a fundraiser for us to help with treatment and travel so that my husband could be with me and miss work.
My treatment: My treatment plan was 6 weeks of hardcore chemo, 30 regular radiation and 5 rod surgery radiation.
How I felt after treatment: I was very sick during treatment. I lost 79 lbs and couldn’t eat. Week 4 of treatment I was admitted - as all my numbers were dropping and was knocking on death's door.
What was most difficult for me: The most difficult for me was being away from family. The hospital where I was doing my treatment was 2.5 hours away.
What I did to help myself: I just kept pushing through everything for my kids & my family.
My life after cancer: Life after cancer sucks. Radiation did a lot of damage to my body. It burned all my nerves from my belly to my knees. I have very little feeling in my legs. I lost all control of my bladder and now have to wear Depends and that sucks. I have 2 nephrostomy tubes in my kidneys. My kidneys don’t empty into my bladder.
What I want other women to know: This journey of life hasn’t been easy, but with support of family & friends I wouldn’t be where I am today. I never gave up. The days my head was in toilet I kept telling myself, "tomorrow is a new day."
How I will try to help others: I want ladies age from 16 to 116 go get their yearly paps! Not every 5 years or 6 years, but each year. I know some doctors won’t do them yearly, but demand that your doctor do them for you!