How my story begins: My life was pretty normal. I worked a full time job as a Clothing Designer. I hung out with friends, etc. My boyfriend and I had an apartment together.
I started to have bleeding during sex. It wasn't just a little blood; it was a lot and it scared me. At the time, I didn't have health insurance. So I went to a clinic to get a check up and my Pap test came back abnormal. They had me come in and get a biopsy. It was a very scary feeling waiting for the test results to come back. I had no idea what to expect. So finally, in May 2012, I had my appointment and that moment changed my life. I walked in and sat down. My doctor said, "YOU HAVE CERVICAL CANCER." And at that very moment, all i heard was cancer and I asked, "Can I die from it?" He said, "Yes, if you don't get treated." I grabbed my bag and rushed out the door, jumped in a cab and went home to where I thought I would find my boyfriend to tell him this news. But he was out for a run. I was devastated! My mom just so happened to call before I could call her and I was a mess, crying and trying to explain to her.
The next day, I took off work and then I took off the day after that. The 3rd day, I knew that I didn't want to die and I wanted to live. My father had passed away from Lupus and I felt in my heart that maybe I was supposed to die from a sickness as well. But then I said, "I don't want to die." I went back to the doctor's office and they directed me the right way to to get help. First, they got me to file for insurance coverage. Then they directed me to a doctor and his team and they were amazing.
How I felt after diagnosis: I felt terrible, like how could this happen to me? "Why me?" is all I kept saying. I felt terrible for my boyfriend that had to deal with this with me. He was amazing, even though I didn't think it was fair for him. But he loved me enough to stay there. All I wanted to do was get it out of my body as fast as I could.
Telling my family and friends: Telling my family was very hard. They were very upset and we all cried so much, but they made sure I was OK. My friends are amazing. It was hard telling them - they really couldn't believe it. I remember telling my BFF Tee. She cried like they told me I have one day to live. But I told her I was going to be OK and I really felt like I was going to be OK.
My treatment: My treatment was a lot to do everyday, but I didn't care. I just wanted to be cured. I had radiation everyday for about 4 months and radiation and chemo every Friday I also had to do about 8 rounds of internal radiation, which was pretty painful at the time.
I was 38 years old. I knew I never wanted to have children so I was open to a hysterectomy. But they said that it wasn't a smart idea to do - they didn't want to cut me and make the cancer spread.
How I felt after treatment: After my treatments, I was OK, just pretty tired and not a lot of energy. I wasn't in a lot of pain, only with the internal radiation. I hear stories of people having a hard time during treatments and losing there hair, etc. I didn't lose my hair, but my skin did get very dark and discolored and dry.
What was most difficult for me: I think having to telling my family and friends. It was hard to say the word cancer. I still sit and think about it and I still can't believe it. I did have to get a port in my chest and that was a little difficult. It was painful at first and then when people ask "what is that?" and I have to explain.
What I did to help myself: I am a very humble person anyway, but I just made sure I prayed and meditated and still had a normal life. When I felt up to it, I still hung out with friends and did things. I just knew I had to make sure I wasn't around people that were sick. I just made sure I stayed healthy.
My life after cancer: My life went back to being normal. I had to work myself back to having a normal sex life. Sometimes now, it still is difficult and can be painful. I did go through menopause. I did have some scares and I was freaked out and called my doctor. Right at this very moment, my life is pretty normal.
Where I am today: Today I am still working as a Designer and I still have the same boyfriend. I live for the moment, because at any moment, it can change. I tell my story when I can because I do think it should be heard. I say to myself, "Had I gone to the GYN more often, I probably would have found out sooner." But I also know that things are supposed to happen when they are supposed to.
What I want other women to know: JUST learn your body and listen to your body. When it tells you something is wrong, go and have it checked out.
How I will try to help others: I tell my story all the time. I explain to younger women that you have to get your self checked out.