Location: Kansas

Cancerversary: December 2019

Age at diagnosis: 51

Diagnosis: Squamous cell carcinoma

Stage of cancer: I

How my story begins: I was actually referred to a gyno by my doctor as I was having heavier periods, cramping and wanted to get a hysterectomy to alleviate all of that. Upon my visit to the specialist she suggested testing my uterus to make sure all was clear for my upcoming surgery. They called me to come in for test result (very nervous), my husband and I sat together as she told us there was abnormal cells that were likely cancer. I was referred out for the specifics and so my journey began.

Life before my diagnosis: I was working full time. Mom and grandma… love my family and they are my everything. My mother recently had a medical event that changed all our lives.

How I felt after diagnosis: I was in shock. I just couldn’t believe what I heard; the thing I had feared most in my life and I had it. I have a faith in Jesus that grounded me - I was scared but I knew he would be there with me so my husband and I geared up for the fight.

Telling my family and friends: It was hardest telling my babies (all grown); many tearful conversations. They were great by lifting me up right away. The one thing I definitely missed was the comfort of my mom as she had an aneurysm the year before which affected her memory and she just didn’t know.

My husband was my rock, he worked full time only taking the day off for my chemo treatments each week. He drove me 1 1/2 hours every day after work for my radiation each day. My friends and family made sure we had food and gas for the trips each day. I am so thankful for them all.

My treatment: I was scheduled for 5 total chemo treatments, once weekly. I had external radiation everyday for 26 days. After completing that I had 5 internal radiation treatments which lasted 3/4 hours each time.

How I felt after treatment: They tell you to drink lots of water while doing chemo, rightly so, I found out what happened if you don’t follow that one. I became very ill after my first treatment - dry heaving and it was awful. I couldn’t miss my radiation appointment so they had me come in, gave me fluids so I could continue with treatment.

Radiation made me very tired and I had a lot of difficulties with my bowels. It was an exhausting time but my friends and family were there to lift me up and keep me going. Again, so thankful for my people, couldn’t of made it without them.

What was most difficult for me: Finding the energy to get up each day and make it to my treatments, the very thing that would keep me alive.

What I did to help myself: Read my Bible, rested and leaned on my people.

My life after cancer: I can remember the day the doctor called and said you are clear!! No Evidence of Disease! My family and I were so thankful. Praise Jesus for my healing. I definitely had an army behind me to help me get there. I was very fortunate that I could be home after and take my time getting my stamina back and to be back at a somewhat normal place.

Where I am today: I am enjoying my big family; children, grandbabies and so thankful I am here and able to love on them. I am working and living life.

What I want other women to know: Go get the tests you need, don’t put yourself last. You are important as well! Whatever it takes stay on top of your health. This is a very beatable disease if caught early.

How I will try to help others: Bring awareness to this disease. Tell everyone who will listen to take care of your body and listen to it when it’s telling you something is not quite right!

Any additional information you'd like to share: My cancer was found inadvertently when testing was done on my uterus. The doctor accidentally got some of my cervical cells on my uterine scrape. I am so thankful she did because I may not be here today. I am so thankful for all the medical people and my friends and family that got me through this journey.