Cancerversary: June

Age at diagnosis: 16

Diagnosis: Recurrent survivor

Stage of cancer: No stage specified

How my story begins: Life before my first diagnosis was just beginning, I was only a child and was living life as one.

I was a 16 year girl that was full of life. I had became sexually active and my mom was afraid I’d end up pregnant at a young age so she took me to get on birth control. While there, the doctors encouraged my mom to allow me to have a Pap smear. A few weeks later, we get a call to come in for my results and we were told that I had an abnormal Pap and that there were cancer cells present in my cervix. My mom asked how and they told her TYPICALLY cervical cancer is linked to HPV; however, I didn’t test positive for HPV. They told us that the sooner we take care of this, the better.

How I felt after diagnosis: After my diagnosis, I felt really scared and didn’t understand really at that time what was going on.

Telling my family and friends: It all happened so quickly and in the beginning everyone was ok with it because we all were thinking THEY CAUGHT IT EARLY and it wasn’t cancer YET, just cells. It wasn’t until after my surgery that it actually hit everyone.

My treatment: I went under thinking that I was going in to have “CELLS” removed but come out being told that I actually had FULL BLOWN CANCER. They started with a LEEP and ended with removing part of my cervix with a laser and something called a LOOP. I was told that I won’t be able to have kids because they had to remove a large portion of my cervix. They had to act so quickly that my mother didn’t even get to tell them "yes, go ahead" or "no, we’ll get a second opinion."

How I felt after treatment: After treatment, I had a lot of mixed emotions and went through severe depression! All that played in my head over and over was “NEVER HAVE KIDS.” I want to be a mother and like every other little girl growing up, getting married, and having a bunch of kids was something I always wanted. I started drinking alcohol at a young age, I didn’t feel like a man would ever want a woman who couldn’t have kids! I lost all sight on my other dreams that but by the time I was 18 years old I had already had about 4 miscarriages! I sought out to prove the doctors WRONG but nope I just caused myself more pain!

What was most difficult for me: The most difficult for me was accepting that I would never be a mommy.

What I did to help myself: I began focusing on doing hair and being there for my family. I figured, "Okay. I’ll never have kids to love and spoil so why not just spoil my mother the way I’d do my kids?" I babysat for everyone to fill that emptiness and kept myself busy.

My life after cancer: After I turned 20, I finally had a somewhat successful pregnancy and gave birth to my first child at 21 and my second child at 24. In 2016, I had another abnormal pap and THIS TIME I had been told that I did test positive for HPV and cancer cells were once again present and later was told, “YOU HAVE FULL BLOWN CANCER IN YOUR CERVIX." I went through both chemo and surgery this time and was told I may have to have a hysterectomy. In 2017, I went back to determine if a hysterectomy was necessary and it was not. The cancer was completely gone. I gave birth to my third child in 2018 and I’m finally feeling whole as a woman.

Where I am today: Today, I’m currently waiting to be retested because unfortunately my last Pap came back abnormal and my current doctor doesn’t want to believe my results. If a hysterectomy is an option at the age of 30, I will happily take it because at this point mentally, emotionally, and physically I’m tired.

What I want other women to know: I want other women to know that BREAST CANCER isn’t the only threat that we face! Unlike breast cancer you can’t feel cervical cancer so PLEASE get your Pap smears!

How I will try to help others: I try to help others by sharing my story and providing other women with information to where they can go for free exams and health care.