Location: Georgetown, Guyana

Cancerversary: February 2021

Age at diagnosis: 39

Diagnosis: Squamous cell carcinoma

Stage of cancer: II

Cervivor School Graduation: 2023

How my story begins: My journey started in 2004 when I joined Global Imaging Services @ St.Joseph Mercy Hospital where I was training to be an imaging technologist, subsequently in 2005 The Cancer Institute of Guyana was established and that is where my story began. I was allowed to be trained and become the first Radiation Therapist at the said institution. Also, I was a multi-purpose technologist whose job description was to perform CT scans, MRI, Mammograms, and Radiation Therapy. I also worked closely with our Radiation Oncologist, Dr.Narendra Bhalla. He is one of the best I have worked with. So my primary job was working with Dr Bhalla and delivering radiation treatment to patients 5 days a week. I went on to work from them until 2011 when I became pregnant with my "Miracle" daughter but because of the high-risk pregnancy, I chose to resign. That is where my journey ends, or so I think.

Life before my diagnosis: Life before diagnosis was just cool, normal and routine. I basically lived a normal life not having to worry about my overall health because I always get my regular check ups .Routine blood tests and pap smear. I was diagnosed during the heart of the pandemic where COVID was rampant at age 39 with early invasive squamous cell carcinoma of the cervix.

How I felt after diagnosis: I felt hurt, and angry and couldn't comprehend that I was diagnosed with the very disease I treated patients for. I never thought in a million years that I would battle and conquer 'Cancer' the big "C' as I would call it.

Telling my family and friends: I kept my family circle small, just my immediate family members I told because of the stigma attached. All I was thinking was to move on to treatment after diagnosis. The support from my family was paramount and most of all very important to me having them by my side especially my sister who has been and still is my "backbone" through my journey. After 1 year I choose who to tell my story to because my story is mine to tell.

My treatment: The first defense for my treatment was surgery because of the early stage, but I took a second opinion where I was told it was Stage IB.
Subsequently, I went to our Public Hospital in Georgetown, Guyana to see the oncologist where I was examined and told that I am Stage IIB, so the oncology doctors prescribed definitive treatment which was 25 sessions of external beam radiation, 5 cycles of Cisplatin chemotherapy and 3 sessions of brachytherapy and referred me to the very institution I worked as the first and former therapist.

How I felt after treatment: I felt grateful and privileged that I was able to battle and conquer "Cancer". Every day amongst the land of the living is a "Milestone" for me .

What was most difficult for me: It was most difficult for me being away from my family for two months for the first phase of my treatment with my caregiver away from my home and going to Suriname all alone, where I knew nobody, didn't know their language and had to stay all by myself for one month.

What I did to help myself: To help myself I reflected on instructions I once used to give the patients before I deliver radiation treatment to them. I put my trust in God and prayed and asked him to lend the cure to the hands of the earthly physicians to cure me and most of all I keep praying and thinking positively always.

My life after cancer: My life after "Cancer" was difficult. The do's and the don't's and accepting who I became was challenging at first but I am grateful I am still alive and here today as a "Cervivor".

Where I am today: Today I have dedicated my life to become the best advocate I can be to rally and raise awareness against this 'silent killer' the big "C"

What I want other women to know: I want other women to know that I never thought it would have happened to me so I urge you ladies to go get your GYN check ups, pap test, VIA, breast examination, mammogram and HPV vaccine.

How I will try to help others: It's my life's mission and purpose to raise awareness against cervical cancer and help to decrease the morbidity rate of the disease.

Any additional information you'd like to share: Don't be a part of the statistics but
Get informed,
Get tested,
Get vaccinated.
Early detection will save your life through screening and vaccination. Cervical cancer is curable in the early stage and preventable with the HPV vaccine. No woman should have to die from cervical cancer.