How my story begins: My story begins with me noticing that things had become uncomfortable during sex. I was experiencing a lot of pain. I started having irregular periods. It seemed like I was always on my cycle. The last time that I had a Pap exam was after the birth of my younger son, who was now ten years old.
Life before my diagnosis: I was a very busy person. I worked a full time job. I had been employed there over ten years. I was a full time wife and mother. I was a very active member of my church and community.
How I felt after diagnosis: I feel like when I heard the word cancer, I went into this fighting state of mind. I remember telling my family to make sure my children were okay because I was about to go into battle. My faith was in God and knew that He would carry me through this difficult time.
Telling my family and friends: I remember coming home from my biopsy, and just wanting to go home to sleep. When I arrived home a lot of my family members were there, that’s when I knew something was wrong. My mother actually told me that I had cancer, she forced my doctors to tell her. I remember just telling family and friends. I told them that I was going to make it through this, if they would just pray for me!
My treatment: My treatment was done at MD Anderson, I was diagnosed with Cervical Cancer Stage 1B2. I received chemotherapy and radiation. I also had two radiation treatments internally. I was hospitalized for those treatments. I did six weeks of treatment, chemo (cisplatin) every Monday and radiation every day.
How I felt after treatment: I was very tired and weak. I couldn’t walk long distances without having to rest. My skin in my vagina area dry and peeling. I had pain and nerve issues. I also had issues with my bladder being weak.
What was most difficult for me: Regaining my strength and dealing with the nerve pain was difficult for me.
What I did to help myself: One day I said to myself that I will not continue to live in sickness. I began physical therapy, I began to try to eat a little bit healthier foods. I started to exercise. I started to push myself more, I stared back working and getting involved again.
My life after cancer: Life after cancer wasn’t easy, but I’ve found my way through the struggles. I’ve learned to pace myself and to be patient. I began to advocate. I started a Cervical Cancer Foundation through the National Cervical Cancer Coalition.
Where I am today: I’m enjoying life, my church family and my youth. My new found joy and peace. I learning more about myself and others. I continue to advocate, even on my job. I encourage other women and men that are battling cancer.
What I want other women to know: I want other women to know that they matter and their help matters. I want them to know that it’s okay to take care of themselves! I want them to know that I know this journey isn’t easy, but if they would just have that mustard seed of faith, it’s going to be okay. I want them to know that I get it and I’m here to encourage them along the journey. We’re in this together!
How I will try to help others: I help others by continuing to advocate and encouraging them to stay in the fight and not to give up.
Any additional information you'd like to share:
I'm on Facebook at @Sharica’s Journey and online at https://www.nccc-online.org/nccc-texas-cleveland/