Location: Kansas

Cancerversary: December 2019

Age at diagnosis: 52

Diagnosis: Cervical cancer (unspecified)

Stage of cancer: IB2

How my story begins: I actually went to my doctor because my bladder had fallen. They sent me to a gynecologist because I wanted my female parts removed as well because of heavy, painful periods. She took a sample of cells from my uterus to be sure all was good. I got the call a few days later saying she had inadvertently got some of my cervical cells and there were some abnormalities. I had a colposcopy to verify and in August 2019, I learned I had cervical cancer stage 1B2.

Life before my diagnosis: I was enjoying spending time with family, especially my grandbabies. Work was beginning to be a little hectic. So, I'm just living life and taking one day at a time.

How I felt after diagnosis: I was in shock and I could not believe it. I had a great fear of cancer because my grandma died of it and now my biggest fear was upon me.

Telling my family and friends: I told my close family members first. I dreaded telling my dad because we had just went through a horrible time with my mom (aneurysm), so I didn’t have her to be there with me. Everyone was supportive and all were there for me.

My treatment: I had five rounds of chemotherapy and 25 days of radiation, followed by five rounds of brachytherapy.

How I felt after treatment: Chemo exhausted me and took me out the whole day. Radiation didn’t bother me at first but ended up causing a lot of intestinal discomforts, sometimes being unable to make it to the bathroom and soiling myself (that was humbling). My husband was very supportive and helpful during this time.

What was most difficult for me: It was exhausting riding three hours everyday for radiation when I didn’t even feel like getting up and ready each day.

What I did to help myself: I leaned hard into my savior and my loving husband, family, and friends. I wouldn’t have been able to make it without them.

My life after cancer: It was hard at first, believing this journey was actually behind me. My body was forever changed. I am learning to live again and do regular activities.

Where I am today: Today I am grateful for every day I have. I am thankful I walked this journey as it made my marriage stronger. My husband was by my side every step of the way, tirelessly caring for me, and seeing that I made it to each and every treatment.

What I want other women to know: Get your checkups regularly. Don’t skip them and don’t be embarrassed. This is your life and you are important. If something doesn’t seem right, advocate for yourself and get the answers you need!

How I will try to help others: I will be supportive of and encourage women to care for themselves and get their regular checkups.