How my story begins: Life before cancer was one that was hectic with 3 children ranging from 8-13. Finances always a worry and I definitely never understood just how much bringing dinner to a family struggling would mean to them.
My only symptom was bleeding every day for 2 months before I decided to go into the doctor. I was on a diet 2 months before the bleeding started and credited my awesome weight loss to the 1200 calorie diet I had been doing. When I started bleeding, I thought I just upset my system because I was on a very low calorie diet. From April to September, I had lost 50 pounds with no exercise involved, only eating. My gyno suggested I start taking birth control pills to level out my hormones---until he went to take a look inside. He turned white as a ghost, he got a biopsy bag and was literally picking big pieces of cancer right off my cervix. My cervix was so fragile it was breaking off. He looked at me and I was told immediately that it was cancer. I had a PET scan that confirmed 1B1 stage that same week.
Life before my diagnosis: Life before cancer was one that was hectic with 3 children ranging from 8-13. Finances always a worry and I definitely never understood just how much bringing dinner to a family struggling would mean to them.
How I felt after diagnosis: I was so shocked. I immediately thought I was going to die and leave my husband and kids. In fact, I'm a year out and I still worry about that every day. It was my one worry - death.
Telling my family and friends: I cried telling my friends and family because cancer never really came up in our family. We all die of heart disease. I think about 200 people got a BIG dose of reality when I went through this. Everyone got a lesson in life and death.
My treatment: My diagnosis was one I'm told that no one else in the world has. Yup, my doc is actually writing my story.
My tumor was made up of mesonephric cells and clear cells. Two cancers in 1 tumor ON the cervix.
So my doctors had no one in the world to compare myself to. There have been maybe 50 people in the world that have had 1 cancer or the other on the cervix BUT never have they seen both of these rare cancers engulfed in 1 tumor. Aggressive as aggressive can get. So my plan was a radical hysterectomy with everything removed, 41 lymph nodes, ovaries and omentum (the omentum is a layer of the membrane lining the abdominal cavity and covering the abdominal organs, which connects the stomach with other abdominal organs). The reason they had to remove the omentum bis ecause if one cell survived and clung onto the omentum, I was in big trouble.
After surgery, I was on carbo/taxol for 6 treatments along with 5 brachytherapy sessions. My surgery 1 year anniversary is Oct 13, 2016 and so far NED. My tumor was not HPV-related and they do not know if it was estrogen-based or not because its never been seen before.
How I felt after treatment: I felt like I wanted to take on the world and do everything possible. I booked a flight to Montana the day I got the all clear and I have had the best summer ever!!!
My life after cancer: My life after cancer is filled with scared feelings of recurrence, for sure. I think everyone that went through this feels this way. Every muscle ache has me nervous but I've learned that it is part of my new normal. The surgery and chemo did a number on my insides and of course things are going to change. I still have my port in because I'm just not ready to lose that right now.
Where I am today: I am getting 3 month checkups and 6 month CT scans, but so far so good.
What I want other women to know: Listen to your body. I should never have let myself go 3 months bleeding like that. No pain, but it still wasn't right.
How I will try to help others: Now I go to more fundraisers after I see how much mine helped me. I make dinner for someone else going through treatment and I try to offer advice any way I can!
Any additional information you'd like to share: I'm hoping that my doctor's research on my unknown tumor will help someone else, if it ever evolves again in this world :-/