How my story begins: I worked full-time. l cared for my fiancé, son and stepdaughter.
In December 2017, I began having problems with my digestive system and was constipated. We figured it was a constipation issue so that's how I treated it. In February 2018, I still was not feeling well and now began to have an awful pain on the right side of my pelvis. The doctors assumed it was a bowel obstruction. But after many hospital stays, an exam, and tons of tests and scans, they came in and told us it was advanced stage lV cervical cancer. With that, my life was changed forever.
How I felt after diagnosis: I was depressed for the first 3 months. I didn't leave, I didn't speak and I didn't eat. I was grieving the life I was losing. I worked very hard on my relationship with God. I was so angry.
Telling my family and friends: This was the most challenging. Cancer affects more people than just the patient. I was so sad. Everyone I told would just have a sad look in their eyes.... It was and is awful.
My treatment: They threw the book at me. It was 6 rounds of aggressive chemotherapy carbo/taxol/cisplatin for 8 hours every 21 days. Then maintenance with Avastin. Then I had to do cisplatin once a week and 37 rounds of external radiation and 4 rounds of brachytherapy. I have had one round of an immunotherapy called Keytruda.
How I felt after treatment: The first round was tough. I lost my hair and 60 pounds and I was so depressed. The brachytherapy was the worst!
What was most difficult for me: Having my children and fearing the unknown.
What I did to help myself: I accepted the reality that I had cancer. I searched to find peace within my diagnosis. My family moved back home with my dad and i eventually went to counseling.
My life after cancer: When I went into remission in July 2018, I was so scared of it returning. It did return in October 2018.
Where I am today: Cancer has taught me to live each day as if it were your last. Tomorrow Isn't promised, for those with cancer and without.
What I want other women to know: Don't wait. A 5 minute Pap and HPV test is better than waiting until it's too late.
How I will try to help others: I will share my story.