Location: Massachusetts

Cancerversary: February 2014

Age at diagnosis: 35

Diagnosis: HPV

Stage of cancer: II

How my story begins: At the time, I was a single mom of two. I was going through an emotional and rough breakup. At the age of 35, I received my first abnormal pap test result but my doctor had few concerns. She said it was pretty common and she would do a repeat test in a few months. Then, the repeat pap test was abnormal. Now they wanted to take a closer look at my cervix by doing a colonoscopy. During that exam they wanted to take a sample of the abnormal tissue for future testing. I can remember how uncomfortable and painful it was for me. I spent the whole time wishing it was over! The testing showed low to moderate dysplasia. Treatment was discussed and I would have a LEEP to remove the precancerous cells. I remember going in for the procedure a little nervous my confident that they would remove all precancerous cells and I would be back to normal. After the procedure was done, I remember the doctor telling me and my mom that they had to cut away more then they thought because they discovered more precancerous cells when they went in. But they were confident that they had removed all precancerous cells and that my cervix was still able to hold a baby.. That was important to me because I wanted another baby.. I was never married . But I had plans on it one day! And to one day give my future husband a baby! I was under close watch by my gynecologist and was schedule for pap tests to continue to monitor my cervix. But then, the pap test was abnormal - again. I couldn't believe it! I don't think my doctor could believe it. I had to go through a 2nd colonoscopy and a biopsy! Ugh. I struggled as I was really not wanting to go through it again. But it was needed. Somehow I built the courage and the strength to go through something I thought was painful. The results were now moderate cells changes. Another LEEP was scheduled to remove the remaining precancerous cells. From August of 2012 through October 2013, I had several abnormal pap smears, 2 colonoscopy, 2 biopsies and 2 LEEPs. During the 2nd LEEP they went and discovered majority of my cervix had to be cut away. I was heartbroken and confused.

On November 27, 2013 - the day before Thanksgiving - I had an unexpected appointment scheduled as my gynecologist wanted to go over the results. I left work, rushing to get the appointment over with so I could start cooking with my mom to prepare our Thanksgiving dinner! I remember as it was yesterday. I sat in the room waiting anxiously, there was a know on the door, as my gynecologist entered, along with two of her colleagues. I thought it was weird as they came into the room. The results of my last LEEP was moderate to high grade adenocarcinoma stage 2. I was not expecting that kind of news because I'd thought the 2nd LEEP was successful. But their analysis showed that the cells were not confined to my cervix and that it was up through my uterus. Devastating news! I had to choose between what treatment plan was best for me: radiation, chemotherapy or a hysterectomy. Tears rolled down my face uncontrollably.. How was I supposed tell my family? It's Thanksgiving!!!! I went home to my mom and cried! Her strength and faith is what got me through the toughest choice of a lifetime and a dark period in my life. My Hysterectomy was scheduled on February 4, 2014. I had a vaginal hysterectomy to remove my cervix and uterus.

Life before my diagnosis: I struggled to find purpose.

How I felt after diagnosis: I felt extremely emotional after losing my womb. I felt "less." I was empty and confused. Why had this happened? I'd never heard of cervical cancer or HPV! Why me???

I became curious as to why my life was spared, as I read a story of a young woman the same age as me (35 at the time) who died of cervical cancer! I became passionate and started really reading and researching about cervical cancer and HPV. It can be prevented! It can be detected early! Wow!! I was in awe. That was defining moment for me. I was determined to get involved to help other women so they don't have to go through what I went through.
The next was a major defining moment: I found the Lord Jesus Christ, who healed me emotionally and physically, who ultimately carried me through. He conceived passion and purpose within me. He's allowing me to make an Impact to others! I can now be a light! Hope! Encouragement! I can be an inspiration to others! So awesome and so fulfilling.

Telling my family and friends: It was hard but they were the best support system! I needed them.

My treatment: Vaginal hysterectomy.

What was most difficult for me: Losing my womb.

What I did to help myself: Faith. Faith. Faith.

My life after cancer: I am now an advocate motivating others!

Where I am today: I am writing my be published this year! Stay tuned!

What I want other women to know: "Diamonds are formed under pressure."

"There is purpose in the hardships and obstacles of life."