Location: Tennessee

Cancerversary: October 2020

Age at diagnosis: 40

Diagnosis: Cervical cancer (unspecified)

Stage of cancer: IV

How my story begins: I went to the doctor in July 2020 for my normal check-up. I had just had an ablation (for abnormal bleeding) in January, so no findings of nothing was there. My doctor had asked to do another test because she felt a ring of balls and I agreed and she also asked if my paps had ever been abnormal and I stated no.

She looked back over my charts and she didn't see any abnormal paps ever; she continued to tell me what she was doing and that it will take about five days for the labs to come back. Five days later I get a call from my doctor stating the results had come back and would I like to come in her office to discuss my results. Me, thinking everything was find, plus I had my son at home sleeping as well so I asked could I be told over the phone. She asked was I sure and I said yes and she went on to tell me the samples came back cancerous. My world stopped at that moment.

All I could think about were my kids and who was going to raise my kids. I broken down into tears at that moment. Dr. Le went on to console me and I asked what was the next step. She stated she was going to reach out to the oncologist that she knows and set me an appointment with him. The oncologist's office called and set me an appointment for that following Friday.

Life before my diagnosis: I was a happy go lucky young lady that was always on the go; working and taking care of my family. I love to hang with family and friends and make sure we enjoyed ourselves.

How I felt after diagnosis: I felt my world was ending. I had even made preparations for my family to raise my kids. I was just beginning a new relationship and I tried to end that but he would not let me push him away. I isolated myself and I just wanted to be left alone.

Telling my family and friends: I really was trying to keep this quiet because I didn't want anyone to feel sorry for me. When I hung up the phone with Dr. Le, the first person I called was my mom and as soon as she answered I busted into tears saying, "ma I have cancer" and she said, "What"? I repeated myself and she said, "oh baby I'm so sorry. Do you need me to come over" and I said no because I was wanted to cry all day in my dark room. The next person I told was my oldest sister and she immediately started praying over the phone. Then I phoned my two friends. I tried to push my boyfriend away without telling him but he pulled it out of me. I also told my kids and brothers a few weeks later when I knew what I was facing.

My treatment: My oncologist did a pap and said I was stage 1B so he scheduled a hysterectomy two weeks later. The labs for came back and he found that it had spread to my rectum and I was at re-staged 4B. I had to get chemotherapy once a week and radiation five times a week.

How I felt after treatment: I was weak and in pain from Monday to Saturday. The following Monday morning is the only time I felt ok. It was horrible.

What was most difficult for me: The most difficult thing for me was not being able to care for my kids; it broke my heart. I was the strongest person in my family and at this point I was the weakest and needed someone to care for me.

What I did to help myself: My mom literally had to move in with me to help me. She was my strength at this point. After a few weeks of getting use to my treatments, one day I was forced to drive myself because my ride I had bagged out. I slowly started back driving by myself and it was hard but I didn't want to miss any treatments.

My life after cancer: Cancer took my self-esteem. I felt I wasn't the woman I use to be. I had lost weight and all my clothes was to big. I didn't like looking at myself in the mirrors. I didn't like going out cause people I knew would stare at me. I tried to wear a smile everyday but I was really broken inside.

Where I am today: Today I am in a much better space than last year. I can truly say I am feeling like I'm 95% back to myself and I am able to care for my family again. I'm slowly getting back to work. I am in the medical field so I was very scared of COVID due to my low immune system.

What I want other women to know: I want everyone to know that God doesn't put more on you than you can bear. Your life is not over. I thought my life was over but I said to myself, "Hunny get up and don't let this cancer beat you. You get up and beat it!" Get got this ladies!

How I will try to help others: I want to be a listening ear, an inspiration to other women who is dealing with cancer and I want to do walks and events for this cause.

Any additional information you'd like to share: I would like to thank my family, my friend and everyone that was right beside me during my time of need. I love each and everyone.