How my story begins: My story began midst my husband and I planning our first baby. 2019 is when it went downhill. But first, 2016 is when I first had my abnormal Pap test. I got a phone call from my OB/GYN's office that my Pap test came back HPV positive and that I needed to get a colposcopy done because some strains of HPV can cause cancer. After the results of tests came back, it was conveyed to me that it was not a higher risk HPV strain and that my immune system should eliminate the virus on it's own.
In 2017 I had another Pap test done and this time with the colposcopy performed the results came back with AGUS. My doctor at that point did not show any concern and said that there is no risk and that my immune system should fix it. I then had to change OB/GYNs due to a change in my insurance plan. In 2017, I began to bleed heavily in between my periods. I would bleed and have my periods for more then 2 weeks or so. One day I headed to an urgent care and the doctor advised that I should had to the ER as I could be anemic as the bleeding was quite heavy. In the ER, multiple tests were conducted including an ultrasound and there were not signs of any fibroids or polyps. In 2018, my husband and I got really caught up in the process of buying our new home. The process was a headache and caused a lot of stress in our lives but we finally got in our new home. That year I missed my Pap test. After living in the new area for couple of months, I finally found an OB/GYN with great ratings and feedback. I scheduled my Pap test and wanted to speak to her about fertility programs or get fertility tests to make a progress towards getting pregnant. I told her about my prolonged bleeding issue - but as of mid-2018 into 2019, my periods were back to normal. The doctor conducted a saline ultrasound which came back with no issue. My Pap test was conducted and those results came back abnormal, so the office called and asked to to come in for a colposcopy. The results for the colposcopy came back with Adenocarcinoma in Situ. My doctor said it was pre-cancer. At that point she did not believe that I could be even at stage 0. I was referred to an OB/GYN oncologist for further treatments.
Life before my diagnosis: My life before cancer was as normal as it ever can be. My husband and I enjoyed our free time at the beach watching the sunset. We'd just bought a new home in 2018 and we spent most of the time enjoying our new home with our family and friends. We both love gardening, working out and just having a great time.
How I felt after diagnosis: I felt really upset, broken and kept asking WHY. WHY me? This was happening in the midst of wanting a child. It was heartbreaking and very devastating. I just lost all hope.
Telling my family and friends: I only told my close friends and my most close family members. They were in disbelief at first, but they all became my strength. My husband was my biggest strength. He was with me in every step of the way, as a pillar is there to support a building.
My treatment: My treatments consisted of a cold knife cone biopsy which was performed on Feb. 26th 2020. I waited three weeks for the results to come back.. The results for the biopsy came back with adenocarcinoma of the cervix stage 1b1. The cone biopsy showed invasive endocervical cancer moderately differentiated with 7mm of invasion but exceeding to the deep stromal margin. My endocervical and ectocervical margins were close. Before my treatment plan was discussed the doctor ordered a PET scan and the results came back with residual tumor around the biopsy site.The oncologist discussed radical hysterectomy, radiation and chemo for treatment plan. My doctor knew how fertility was important to me, so he also discussed a radical trachelectomy option as well. But looking at the type of cancer it was, he said the best plan was for radical hysterectomy with removal of the cervix, uterus and fallopian tubes with lymph nodes dissection with transposition of my right ovary and suspension of my left ovary as a precaution if I needed radiation and chemo after the surgery. I was given an option / advise to get a surrogate if I wanted to have a child in the future. I opted to radical hysterectomy which was scheduled for May 13th, 2020.
How I felt after treatment: After the radical hysterectomy and 12 lymph nodes dissection was performed, I had a hospital stay of one day. I was in real pain. I had a severe reaction to the pain meds that was prescribed and ended up just taking OTC NSAIDs for pain. I was taking blood thinner shots which also gave me severe rashes. I had a foley catheter to assist with my bladder healing for two weeks. The pathology results of my hysterectomy came back negative for any signs of tumor. I BECAME CANCER FREE. There was not any signs of residual tumor. No further treatments were required (radiation. chemo). My foley catheter was removed after two weeks as the bladder was showing signs of improvement.
What was most difficult for me: The most difficult part was finding out I had cancer. The second was that I was not going to be able to get pregnant or carry my own child. I was not going to be able to feel my baby or hear my baby's first heart beat, baby's first kick or those pregnancy feelings. The other thing was telling my family. Everyone was just devastated by the news. But they all became my strength and made my journey so far very comforting. The emotional part does take time to heal, though.
What I did to help myself: I stopped asking myself "WHY ME?". I started to tell myself that thankfully it was found and I am cured.
My life after cancer: My life after cancer has become very different. I appreciate life more and am thankful for this new journey. Even though, I am currently cancer free I still have to be under close observation by my OB oncologist for the next 5 years to ensure there are no signs of reoccurrence.
Where I am today: I am currently still recovering, but everyday is a new blessing. Everyday is a new chapter to be written.
What I want other women to know: That you are not alone if any of you are going through this. I found Cervivor in my cancer journey and I was inspired by so many women on here.
How I will try to help others: I will try to spread awareness of how important it is to get tested for us women. Early testing can save lives!!
Any additional information you'd like to share: I would like to share that if you feel like your body is sending you a message, please do not ignore it. The prolonged bleeding was telling me something was wrong, but the test that were being performed kept coming back normal until I found another OB/GYN. Also, I did get second opinions in my diagnosis. Please always feel free to get second opinions. My second opinion doctor recommended radical trachelectomy but I went with my surgeon's treatments as I looked at him as my treating doctor who probably knew what is best for me.