Cancerversary: December 2023

Age at diagnosis: 32

Diagnosis: Cervical cancer (unspecified)

Stage of cancer: IV

How my story begins: On January 20, 2022 I had a seizure. I went to the ER and they discovered a met on my brain and I was told I needed to have brain surgery. I was transferred to another hospital where the neurosurgeon was and they ran more tests and did more scans. It was then discovered I had an irregular cervix and found an 8cm tumor. They did a biopsy and staged me at 4B and tested the cancer cells and determined I had glassy-cell carcinoma which is extremely rare and aggressive and had spread to my brain.

My treatment: My treatment included three rounds of CyberKnife brain radiation, thirty-three rounds of external radiation, four rounds of internal radiation, and seven chemo treatments.

I could have approached this challenge as a roadblock stopping me in my tracks. I could have succumbed to my disease and let it take over and take away my life. Instead, I chose to fight, and I fought hard. There was never a day when I said that I was not going to make it out alive.

I was unable to drive due to my seizure and the hospital I was getting my treatments at is about a thirty-minute drive each way. I am extremely lucky that I have a best friend who dropped everything to help me. She drove me to my appointments and made sure that my disabled mother was taken care of.

If she was unable to drive me, she made sure I had someone else there to drive me. I had a large support system of family and friends who brought meals, did yard work, sent cards and flowers, went grocery shopping, and provided more support than I could ever ask for.

Where I am today: Facing this adversity made me realize that I was not happy in the career path I am currently in. I have wanted to be an educator since I was young but fell into the banking world when I graduated high school. I was making decent money for someone of my age, and I decided to stay in banking instead of going to school for my degree. I excelled at my job and went from a teller to assistant manager through a series of promotions. From there, I went to a back-office servicing position.

My diagnosis led me to reevaluate my job and lead me back to education. I am currently working full time while going to school full time and financially supporting my disabled mother.

I believe that I was given a second chance at my life, and I am going to take advantage of this opportunity by pursuing my passion and become an educator. I want to make an impact on my students lives and help them to discover and pursue their own passions and I want to be the teacher that I needed as a student. This scholarship means that I am able to continue to work towards my degree and ultimately my dream career where I can make a lasting impact on the lives of every child I work with.

Multicare.org wrote an article about story titled, " 'Living miracle' beats stage 4 cervical cancer" (https://www.multicare.org/vitals/cervical-cancer-patient-remission/)

What I want other women to know: Take my advise and don't avoid doctors.