Cancerversary: August 2013

Age at diagnosis: 48

Diagnosis: Adenocarcinoma

Stage of cancer: I

Cervivor School Graduation: 2017

How my story begins: Life before cancer was spontaneous! Summer 2013 was a very busy one - 3 road trips visiting family. We were always on the go, doing something. My daughter was 12. No worries!

In June 2013, I had my yearly women’s well check and a Pap test, while we were getting ready for our first road trip. Dr. Tubbs and I set a date for a hysterectomy since my cycles had been heavy since the birth of my daughter in 2001. My Pap test came back abnormal but no one was worried. We went on 2 road trips, and after a second test, I get a call from Dr. Tubbs on a Sunday. He apologized for giving me this news over the phone - "We need to change your hysterectomy on Monday to a cone biopsy to see what kind of cancer you have." BOOM!

How I felt after diagnosis: Everything stopped and was flying by all at the same time. It was the snow globe effect. Every emotion I ever felt in my life I was feeling all at once in 10 seconds. I couldn’t breathe.

Telling my family and friends: It was tough finding the right words. My daughter was starting Jr. High, I spoke with the school counselor and the school was so supportive of her and our family. She is a tuff cookie!!! My mother made it all about her. She was very toxic for me and I had to step back from her. My husband worked out of town. That was hard. His employer gave him unlimited time off with pay for the surgery; he stayed home for 3 weeks and took care of my daughter and me.

My treatment: I had a radical hysterectomy and removal of 22 lymph nodes.

How I felt after treatment: I felt like I was on a pink cloud. I was relieved that they got all the cancer and I needed no further treatment!!! Yeah!!!! It took my body a year to heal. It was not happy and it was in a lot of pain. My new normal was staying plugged into support!

What was most difficult for me: The most difficult thing for me was wrapping my brain around having cancer. I’m a 18 year recovering addict but I just couldn’t 12 step cancer. Until one day, at a gyno support group before my surgery, I heard these words:

A survivor spoke about how she heard a nurse telling a cancer patient to "own" her cancer. That pissed her off. "It’s not my cancer. I don’t want it - I’m not going to own cancer! I will own my fight. I will own my recovery!!"

That day was life changing for me. I could 12 step my fight, my recovery!!!

What I did to help myself: I knew I couldn’t do this by myself. I plugged in with the oncology counselor right away. I got support groups, support class, everything to help my family and me to keep moving forward.

My life after cancer: My life after cancer has physically been very hard. I have chronic pelvic pain, vaginal pain, and no sex for 3 ½ years. I am getting treatment now so there is hope!!! Mentally, I have been given a second chance. I see everything so differently. I embrace life now. I’m breathing now, lol. I’m living in the moment. I give myself a break!

Where I am today: Today, I'm in a good place emotionally! I'm happy!

What I want other women to know: What I want other women to know is that you’re not alone and it’s not your fault!!! Live, Laugh, Love!!! You got this!

How I will try to help others: I have wonderful strong women in my life who see things in me I didn’t see! I was asked to run a support Facebook page. I volunteer in my Gyno Oncologist office once a week as a survivor and I support the patients in the waiting room. I was blessed to be asked to go to Cervivor School and spread awareness and HPV prevention!!! I’m a flower starting to bloom!!!