Location: Texas

Cancerversary: October 2021

Age at diagnosis: 38

Diagnosis: Squamous cell carcinoma

Stage of cancer: III

How my story begins: In the beginning, I didn't think that cancer would happen to me.

I felt tired, but I thought it was because I worked so much and was always on the go. Then I started bleeding when I wasn't even on my cycle. But once again, I thought it was related to stress and work. I started having massive blood clots that would come out when I was doing nothing.

I ended up in the ER one day because I was bleeding so severely that when I walked to the bathroom, I was bleeding uncontrollably. After my ER visit, they recommended I see my OBGYN, and she did a Pap test and biopsy. The nurse called me a few days later and said my doctor wanted to talk to me about the results.

I knew it was terrible because I had worked in the medical field for over ten years, and when a doctor asks to speak to you in person, it is always not good. I went in and she said that I needed to be referred to a specialist because I had cancer. She was explaining the result of the test but my mind just blacked out after she said, "CANCER".

Life before my diagnosis: I worked two jobs, I was a foster parent, and very active with my kids.

How I felt after diagnosis: My first thought was that I didn't want to die, and I didn't want to leave my girls so young.

Telling my family and friends: The first person I called was my mom. I told my three older girls first and then I told my baby girl a few days later.

My treatment: My treatment was chemo and radiation first to shrink the tumor and surgery if the tumor was not gone after the chemo and radiation.

How I felt after treatment: I was tired, weak, and had no appetite at times. I would also sleep for days and I wouldn't know if it was night or day.

What was most difficult for me: I was very depressed.

What I did to help myself: I'm still trying to figure out how to help myself.

My life after cancer: My life after cancer was hard because even though the cancer was gone I started having a lot of other problems.

The fact that I had to get a colostomy and an IVC filter because the radiation put a small hole in my intestines. Then I lost the function of one of my kidneys because the chemo drug Cisplatin that attacked my kidneys.

Where I am today: My cancer is gone but I have traded one illness for another. I have a permanent urostomy because my kidneys never recovered and in January of this year, I had a stroke. BUT I'M STILL HERE!!!

What I want other women to know: If you know that something is not right with your body, go to the doctor, and don't put it off.

How I will try to help others: Spread the word about HPV and its link to cervical cancer and get tested.

Any additional information you'd like to share: This is my first time hearing about this site and I wish I had known about Cervivor while going through my treatment.