Cancerversary: December 2018

Age at diagnosis: 31

Diagnosis: Cervical cancer (unspecified)

Stage of cancer: No stage specified

How my story begins: An abnormal routine Pap test had me seen for a colposcopy, which showed abnormal cells that were then biopsied. One week later, on November 7, 2018, I was diagnosed with cervical cancer and referred to an oncologist for further treatment.

How I felt after diagnosis: Very surprised! I always, always went for exams and was vaccinated for HPV when it first came out. I never had any abnormal Paps.

Telling my family and friends: They were surprised. My father has multiple myeloma and went through the ringer with treatments and a stem cell transplant. So he understood and was supportive and positive. So was everyone else!

My treatment: Due to the fast progression of the cancer developing within about 1.5 years, my oncologist recommended a radical hysterectomy. Three hospitals confirmed my biopsy as well. I figured I would have my fallopian tubes and ovaries taken at the same time to save having an issue with them down the road. According to scans, my tumor was the size of a pea. After surgery, the pathologist says it was the size of a grape and starting to grow further up into the uterus. I’m lucky to not have needed chemo or radiation.

How I felt after treatment: Relief and sadness are normal. I felt and still feel both sometimes.

What I did to help myself: Stay focused and stay positive. Be proud to have to fight this battle and take it on!!

Where I am today: Still recovering! Some bumps in the road, but I can’t wait to feel 100% again and have a new appreciation for life! I’m grateful for having a new outlook on it!

What I want other women to know: Get your exams. Don’t say, “I have no symptoms,” because neither did I! And that’s the best time to catch it!

How I will try to help others: Talk, talk and talk. The subject can be so taboo and I’m sick of it! I have no reason to hide my story. I was vaccinated and always went to my exams and I STILL developed cancer.