Cancerversary: November 2008

Age at diagnosis: 44

Diagnosis: Adenocarcinoma

Stage of cancer: IB2

Cervivor School Graduation: 2017

How my story begins: I was happily married, working full time as a maternity postpartum mother/baby nurse.

I went for a physical with my primary care provider. My Pap test came back with glandular cells, which I was told were not normally found on Paps. I was then referred to my gyn in May 2008. At the gyn appointment, my provider found a pin-sized polyp so she did a biopsy. I was called to return for my results. When I returned, I never thought cancer was possible. I was told the results was 4 out of 6 - with 6 being the worst. I was then sent for a cone biopsy. An ob/gyn that I worked with did the biopsy on July 3 and on July 7, I was diagnosed. I immediately decided to go to Dana Farber Cancer Hospital in Boston. But they would not even see me until they knew if an HPV test was done with my Pap. I didn't start chemo until August, after all the communication back and forth between my providers. I did my chemo in the local MD’s office and chemo at the local hospital. Brachytherapy was all done in Boston.

How I felt after diagnosis: I had a positive attitude and had lots of positive thoughts and prayers on my side. My coworkers were amazing. They did fundraising for my trips to Boston. The 13 weeks I missed work, my amazing coworkers made sure I received a paycheck. Everyone donated hours to me, something I will never forget. I worked with an amazing group of friends/coworkers.

Telling my family and friends: Going to Boston and meeting the doctors was the hardest for myself and my spouse.

My treatment: Chemo- 6 weeks
External radiation- 30 treatments plus 5 boosts
5 brachytherapy treatments under general anesthesia

My team of nurses, Katie and Uma at Brigham, got me through my treatments.

How I felt after treatment: If all my treatments were like my 4th brachytherapy, I would not have been able to do it. I had to get oxygen updrafts, blood transfusions and horrible IV insertions. The pain after brachytherapy was always the worst.

What was most difficult for me: Dealing with the changes in my body - pain and discomfort, ongoing bowel issues to this day.

My life after cancer: Sad about body changes and sexual health

Where I am today: Cancer free! I always have the fear of it returning. I wish people understood that it is not my fault that I got cervical cancer. I am sad for women who still struggle or live with cancer and especially sad for the good women lost to cervical cancer.

What I want other women to know: It’s not anything personal or our fault we got cervical cancer.

How I will try to help others: Educate and advocate about HPV and cancer. It also can affect men.