Location: Utah

Cancerversary: February 2021

Age at diagnosis: 40

Diagnosis: Adenocarcinoma

Stage of cancer: IB2

Cervivor School Graduation: 2023

How my story begins: My journey began with making the phone call to establish care with a new OB/GYN provider as I had recently moved from one state to another. I found the first OB/GYN clinic that took my insurance and was closer to home and when I called in November 2019, appointments were booked 3 months out and the soonest I could be scheduled was January 2020, for what I thought would be a routine, preventative, annual exam.

Life before my diagnosis: I was learning to be a single Mom of a teenage son. Life just moved slowly. I was working full-time for a UT based convenience store and fuel distributor in the accounting office. We attend the local university football games, enjoyed living near the mountains and getting used to being in a new state.

How I felt after diagnosis: I felt lost and didn't know what to do. I tried to stay as calm and positive as I could but it was impossible on some days until I had all of my appointments to determine what was next.

Telling my family and friends: I told my family the day I received confirmation on February 6, 2020, that it was indeed cancer. I sent my partner a text message from the parking lot of the local hospital asking him if he was busy and he quickly called me to ask what I had found out. He promised me he would be right here by my side and that he wasn't going anywhere and I would beat this. I had never cried so hard as I did when I told him.

The next call was the hardest -- calling my Mom and stepdad, to tell them. I bawled my eyes out. I was so scared. The only way to reach the rest of my family was via Facebook and it took several days for me to find the courage to say anything but I had to tell my 15-year-old son first.

My treatment: My treatment consisted of 5 weeks of internal radiation, 5 days a week. Once a week chemotherapy for 6 weeks and then 2 days of brachytherapy. In the end, I had a radical hysterectomy which forced me into menopause.

How I felt after treatment: I was very sick. Radiation left me weak and tired and experiencing so many more symptoms. Some days I felt fine and then other days not so much and that was usually the day after chemo and radiation. On those days, I was usually sleeping as long as I could and barely able to function beyond crawling to bathroom.

What was most difficult for me: The most difficult for me was having my treatment days without a support person. I had to physically push myself to drive to my appointments and hope I was strong enough to get back home all because of the pandemic restrictions. It was also difficult for me to take care of my son alone during my treatments. He was homeschooled and I was trying to work full-time from home but some days none of it worked well and that was usually when I was so physically sick from all the treatments. Thursdays were my hardest because Chemo/Radiation was on Wednesdays and it took everything out of me, emotionally, mentally, and physically.

What I did to help myself: I joined Cervivor during one of my many nights of being unable to sleep due to the stress and all the other concerns of the world weighing on me. It was the best thing I could have done, even if I am sometimes not always present in the group to this day.

I also started college courses after my treatments to keep me occupied while working from home and I am almost done with that degree.

My life after cancer: I have had some ups and downs since my diagnosis and treatment. My health has been a roller coaster but I'm still here. Mentally and physically working on myself.

Where I am today: Today, I am almost 4 years out from my diagnosis and treatment. I work in an OB/GYN clinic as a scheduler and life is starting to be less chaotic and more intentional. The diagnosis scared me into a more intentional life.

What I want other women to know: Get your annuals done. Ask questions and always know that you are not alone.

How I will try to help others: I am always spreading the word about cervical cancer and thanks to my outspokenness, this year, my employer recognized January as Cervical Cancer Awareness Month. I try to always wear my teal and white bracelets or anything with the cervical cancer ribbon. I am still trying to get the State of Utah to recognize Cervical Cancer Awareness Month and I'm always trying to connect with others to spread the word.