How my story begins: I had just lost my dad 6 months before I was diagnosed. I had made some decisions to go back to school and finish my degree as well as to be healthy. I changed my diet, started going to the gym, and balanced course work in. I was working full time as a service coordinator for a human services agency, am mom to an amazing young man and girlfriend to the man I have been committed to since 2009. Life was great!
I began having some minor abdominal pain and swore it was cysts on my ovaries. I had my IUD removed and began experiencing random bleeding, including with sex. I scheduled an appointment to see my OBGYN and she felt it was nothing serious. She listened to all my concerns and scheduled an ultrasound and colposcopy to err on the side of caution. The ultrasound was clear but she found abnormal cells in my cervix. She biopsied a few spots and we waited for results. Seven days later, I was scheduled for a second set of biopsies. The days waiting for the results were so long. A little after 9 PM on a Monday evening, I got the call from my OBGYN with news I had endocervical AIS and she was referring me to an oncologist.
How I felt after diagnosis: A wave of emotions came over me. I had so many feelings. I was scared, angry, devastated, and confused. After I had a chance to step back and take it all in, my attitude was that this disease was not going to define me and I was going to come out a Cervivor!
Telling my family and friends: This was pretty difficult. I only told those who were closest to me and who I really felt needed to know. I held off telling my son anything until we had definite answers and a treatment plan in place. Those I did tell were wonderfully supportive. I felt such an outpouring of love!
My treatment: On February 13, 2018, I had a radical hysterectomy, but my ovaries were not removed. It was determined after surgery that the cancer was not AIS, but stage I. I was then scheduled for a second surgery 8 weeks later to remove my pelvic lymph nodes.
How I felt after treatment: I felt relieved. It was as if a huge weight had been lifted and I was determined to share my story with others! I also had some feelings of uncertainty, wondering if the disease will return.
What was most difficult for me: Telling my son. No matter what I was going through, I knew I needed to be strong for him. He was 15 years old when I was diagnosed and is very much a mama's boy. I needed him to know I was going to be ok.
What I did to help myself: I educated myself and others about the disease. Diet and exercise have helped to keep my stress to a minimum. I surrounded myself with the right people.
My life after cancer: I am living each day to the fullest and look forward to the future!
Where I am today: I am not 6 months out yet, but I am NED at this time!
How I will try to help others: I want to continue to advocate and educate others. Early detection is critical.