Location: Georgia

Cancerversary: May 2005

Age at diagnosis: 30

Diagnosis: Cervical cancer (unspecified)

Stage of cancer: I

Cervivor School Graduation: 2016

How my story begins: I was just a normal military wife and mother of 2 daughters, living in Ft. Worth, Texas at the time. My family and I had just moved from Germany.

I began cramping & bleeding like nothing I've ever seen. Once I realized it wasn't stopping, I called and made a doctor's appointment. After test were taking, you have some cists on your ovaries. The Dr. removed them, not only did they come back but with a tumor. This went on off & on for about 2yrs. In the meantime different symptom showed up, I began throwing up constantly, loosing so much weight. I then was diagnosed with GERD & had to have surgery for that due to the damage caused to my esophogas, which has left me with a plastic piece that has to help me digest my food. After this surgery, I had to eat baby food for 4mnths because I couldn't swallow. I then started passing out, having headaches, throwing up blood just feeling the worst. My mom told me to get a second opinion, something is seriously wrong with you, she literally refused to let them do anything else to me again. I did just that, made appointment to see another Dr. Right from the start, he ordered some blood work(which showed my white blood cells were low) another biopsy which showed cancer cells( he asked did my family have a history of cancer? I said my great grandmother & my grandmother both died from breast cancer/my mom had the genes as well. The nurse called me on a Tuesday and said " your test results were in" can you come tomorrow at 9am. I started crying immediately because I knew it was bad. My mom looked at my face & called the family for support. Wednsday morning came, I went and he told my us"you have cervical cancer"

How I felt after diagnosis: Honestly, I felt emotional because I had been through so much, so many different doctors.

Telling my family and friends: My mom was with me, so it was easier for her to tell my family than it was for me! I took that time to spend with my daughters. My only issue was telling my husband, who was still in Iraq at the time & dealing with his emotions.

My treatment: The doctor told me that there was so much damage and blood loss, that he needed to admit me that same Wednesday for surgery on Thursday. I wasn't prepared for that at all, but felt it was best for me and I said ok! One option was to have a total hysterectomy and some radiation, which would leave me sterile with some side effects. The 2nd option was to start taking medicine to transition into chemo, which would leave me with those side effects and maybe death. My decision was easy - I chose the first option so I could be with my daughters as much as possible.

How I felt after treatment: I was in a lot of pain mentally & physically. The whole process was a bit much. I was still sad, crying because my husband didn't get there until 2 weeks later. By then, I had lost the hair on my eyebrows (which barely grew back). I didn't feel pretty or worthy.

What was most difficult for me: The hardest part was my daughters having to watch my go through all of this!

What I did to help myself: I stopped crying and started reading a lot about cervical cancer.

My life after cancer: I started school and have a degree in Medical Science, determined to rise above it all! My husband was stationed at a military base in Georgia & we moved a year later. I began researching for doctors for me and schools for my daughters. In 2009, I got a divorce and decided to stay in Georgia. My daughters loved their schools, plus they were in sports. I had a job as well that I loved.

Where I am today: Today, both of my daughters are out of high school. My oldest is married & my youngest is in college. I've been in a job I enjoy for many years and recently, I've started a luncheon for women called Totally Teal.

What I want other women to know: I'd like other women to not settle for what these doctors tell you. Force them to hear your voice when you say something is wrong.

How I will try to help others: Sharing my story, showing support in any way I can! My Totally Teal Luncheons will definetly provide awareness & comfort.