Cervical Cancer Survivor Story | Diagnosed at Age 30


Location: London, Canada

Age at diagnosis: 30

Diagnosis: Cervical cancer (unspecified)

Stage of cancer: I

Cervivor School Graduation: 2016

First thing I did when I heard my diagnosis: After calling friends and family, I tried to get as much information as possible on the type of cancer I had, how it was treated and what all the options were, especially in regards to fertility outcomes and having children.

Other than looking at medical websites, I went to my trusty website – Youtube.com. Since 2006, it was my go-to website for just about anything: how to do a smoky eye, the best type of bikini for your body type, cooking and cleaning tips… You name it! So naturally I wanted to find vlogs that were from real women going through what I was about to go through. I found probably 4-5 videos from different women; all were videoed at the start of their cancer journey. They promised updates and routine videos but they all had one or two videos. And whilst they helped a little, they really did not have the information and the details I wanted. I had so many questions. So, I started my own Vlog and the next day made my first video. I stayed true to my word, as it was a great way to update family and friends on how I was doing without having to individually update people, which can be exhausting. It also served as a way of informing anyone else out there who wanted information.

My treatment: 25 external radiation treatments, 5 chemo (cisplatin) treatments, 4 internal radiation, and surgeries

How I help others: I help others through my vlog. I now have over 50 videos on my cervical cancer journey in a series aptly named: Cervical Cancer. The videos contain everything, in very intimate detail, from my chemo days, to using dilators, to sex, to bleeding from my girlie parts. It’s a no holds barred account. I felt it was important to be detailed to portray what I went through as accurately as possible.

Women (and men) who have seen my videos thank me for being so real and informative. They said they had found my channel to be a blessing as they too could not find any ‘real’ accounts on the Internet and my channel was just what they wanted. The more I did my videos, the more I realized how important it was what I was doing. I got emails from people around the world going through the same thing. I had created this amazing community of empathetic, strong, (yet fragile) woman and men. I even had doctors at universities asking to use my videos as part of their lectures to show how cervical cancer affects women – emotionally, as well as physically, so that they can be better as doctors and not just treat the physical side effects of cancer.

The vlogging also became therapy for me. By vlogging, emailing and skyping with my viewers during and after treatment, it allowed me to get outside my head and focus on helping others. There is so much joy that comes from helping others. Being alone and deep in your grief can be so detrimental to your healing. It is important to surround yourself with like-minded people, even if you just sit in a room and don’t say a word. No one understands what its like to go through cancer than a person going through cancer.

What was most difficult for me: Other than the treatment and the side effects, what was most difficult for me was that my husband left me. He told me he was leaving me right after I came out of abdominal surgery, still in a semi-drunk state from my meds, as I held onto him while we walked to the car from the hospital. It was the day that my doctors found out that my cancer had spread into my lymph nodes and that it wasn’t just a “straightforward, cut out a tumour via radical hysterectomy” deal.

A horrific divorce battle ensued, which involved emotional and psychological trauma and utter heartbreak – all this whilst trying to go through cancer. Those were very dark days indeed. Usually I can try to find a light in a situation… a silver lining. There were days that it was so dark, it took the biggest effort just to get out of bed. I would make promises to myself that if I got out of bed and took a shower that I was allowed to feel like shit for the rest of the day. Vlogging during this time helped…but on some days it didn’t. In some of my videos I just cried and cried on camera and then thought twice about posting the video. Funnily enough, those videos created the most feedback and people responded.

Long-term effects of treatment: I now take bio-identical hormones every day, as I have little to no hormone function as a result of the radiation therapy. These hormones have been a godsend for me and I don’t miss having a period or the up and down moods/ food cravings/ bloating and breast tenderness. My underwear is now all lacy and satin and sexy… I don’t have that ‘period underwear drawer’ anymore! I had my eggs frozen to give myself a chance at having a child. I now have 6 little eggs in a freezer waiting for me and I am grateful for that everyday. I will never be able to carry a child, so it will be surrogacy all the way.

My life today: Today my life is very good. In many ways, my life has changed for the better. I moved to Europe; I travelled; I made new friends; I continued my Vlog with a series called Life After Cancer and Divorce; I have interviewed with a few cancer foundations; I met some of my subscribers (who have become amazing friends); I got into a Masters program. I even got approached to give feedback on a new app being created for the cancer community.  I fell in love again and had the most amazing relationship that I had never experienced before. We aren’t together now but remain good friends. That relationship taught me that I am loveable and one day, I will have my own family. None of this could have happened if I hadn’t gone through cancer.

What I want other women to know: There is life after cancer…and, I would argue, a better life after cancer!

Check out my YouTube channel here.