How my story begins: It was October 2022. It was just another routine exam. I was due for my yearly check up and just so happen to be due for a pap. I was in the mindset of making sure everything was looking good so we can start trying again for another baby. My doctor at the time of my exam didn’t show any real concern and it was routine as usual. About a week later, I got a call for the office stating my results came back positive for HPV and they would like to go ahead and do a biopsy just to be safe. About two weeks after my original appointment, I was in for the biopsy. When the doctor stated she took a biopsy of a couple spots, I already knew then that something wasn’t right. It only took two days for my results to come back that I had adenocarcinoma of the cervix and she was going to refer me to a specialist that she just happened to know personally so she would work to get me in quickly.
Life before my diagnosis: I was living a really good life! I have an amazing husband, adorable little boy and 4 fur babies to love on. We were planning the next steps in our life and planning to have another child in the near future.
How I felt after diagnosis: The next few days after I got the call, it felt like I was moving in slow motion and I couldn’t stop crying. I didn’t know what to expect and never thought that something like this would happen to me. I was scared, angry, sad and emotionless all at the same time. I was not in a good place mentally, but was definitely trying to remain strong because there was nothing else I could really do at the time.
Telling my family and friends: I was quick to share the news with my parents because after I got the call I needed someone with me since I couldn’t get a hold of my husband at the time since he was at work. They had no idea anything was even going on, so to say they were in shock was an understatement. There is never really an easy way to tell someone you have cancer. It’s like word vomit, you just throw it out there and wait for the reaction. Everyone was very supportive though and rallied behind me. It was amazing to experience that kind of love and out pour from everyone around us.
My treatment: I was officially diagnosed Stage 1B2 adenocarcinoma of the cervix in November 2022. I was given two options as treatment, but resulted in surgery and one could’ve possibly let me have another child, but ultimately the risks outweighed my hope in having another baby and I decided to have a radical hysterectomy. My family I have now was more important than anything else and I wanted to do whatever it was to make sure I was here for them. My surgery was January 2023.
How I felt after treatment: After surgery I was pretty numb. I was in fighter mode and just wanted to do anything to recover quickly. When I got the news no further treatment would be needed after surgery, it was a huge relief and at that point I knew I would get through this!
What was most difficult for me: Most difficult part was the first two weeks after surgery. I’m a mom so being the one down and out and relying on other people to do everything was very hard. I was hard on myself and felt like I was failing because I couldn’t help take care of our son and I hated putting so much on my husband.
What I did to help myself: I listened to those around me and let people help. I’m very prideful so to let my walls down was hard, but I’m thankful for the tribe of people who helped keep me going. Without them, my recovery would’ve been a very different story. I’m blessed!
My life after cancer: My life after cancer… I’m not sure that has fully sank in yet since I’m recently cancer free. I keep replaying the rollercoaster in my head of the past 6 months, but overall I’m feeling like a weight has been lifted. I have my moments of doubt and worry that it will come back, but I have put a lot of faith in God throughout this journey and he gives me the peace of mind.
Where I am today: I’m in a good place again (most days). Although I’m not back to 100% after surgery, I feel better. My mindset has been shifted and although the stressors of every day life still get to me, I can see more beauty in all the little moments. I hug my loved ones a little tighter, I say I love you more, I want to spend more time with all those closest to me because you just never know what tomorrow might hold. This life I have is a blessing and I want show others the love and appreciation I have for them being a part of my story. I couldn’t be more grateful.
What I want other women to know: Listen to your body! I didn’t realize what symptoms I was having. Everything that I experienced I would just assume it was this or that and nothing to worry about. I had a baby in 2020 so I figured my body was just changing and had no idea what was really going on. So be aware of of what your body is trying to tell you because if you actually listen it can tell you a lot.
How I will try to help others: I want to encourage the women around me to make their health a priority. Women push off their own appointments because we get busy planning else’s. As inconvenient as they are, it could possibly save a life.