Cancerversary: November 2018

Age at diagnosis: 31

Diagnosis: Squamous cell carcinoma

Stage of cancer: I

How my story begins: My husband and I were living a normal life. He is a police officer. I worked a typical office job. Our daughter had just turned one.

I started my cycle one day in November 2017. Everything seemed normal at first, but my cycle never stopped. I went to my GYN in December before Christmas. She examined me and didn’t find anything abnormal. I also had an ultrasound. She gave me birth control and told me to come back in a month because I was due for my Pap.

I didn’t get an appointment until February. My doctor ended up performing a surgery on another patient during my appointment, so I opted to see the nurse practitioner. I was still bleeding. Once again, she said to try the birth control and if the bleeding didn’t stop by May, I should come back in. She didn’t see anything abnormal during the exam.

My pap came back abnormal in March. The nurse told me to come in when I wasn’t on my period (oxymoron). In March, my bleeding got very severe. I started bleeding though my clothes. I went to my GYN at the beginning of April. When she examined me, she felt the tumor and immediately had it biopsied. She called me 2 days later to inform me that I had cancer.

How I felt after diagnosis: Scared and depressed. I obsessively researched the internet, which made my anxiety 100 times worse. I cried a lot.

Telling my family and friends: I told everyone immediately. I needed the support and I couldn’t keep my feelings bottled up. I have no regrets telling people because I got a lot of support and prayers.

My treatment: I had a radical hysterectomy. My pathology report showed that the cancer spread to two lymph nodes. I ended up getting 6 rounds of chemotherapy, 28 external radiation treatments and 3 brachytherapy treatments.

How I felt after treatment: Scared, but relieved it was over. It took me a few weeks to feel better. Treatment made me very, very sick.

What was most difficult for me: Not being able to take care of my child. Chemotherapy and radiation made me so sick that I basically slept for two months.

What I did to help myself: Sleep!!

My life after cancer: I went back to work as soon as I was able to. I resumed my life the same as before I was sick. The only difference is I have some annoying side effects from treatment and a lot of doctors appointments!

Where I am today: My treatment ended in August. I got my first clear scan and pap in November. I’m cancer free, and hopefully I stay that way!

What I want other women to know: Don’t skip your screening! Trust your gut if something about your body feels wrong.

How I will try to help others: I try to talk about my experience as much as possible.