Cancerversary: February 2014

Age at diagnosis: 36

Diagnosis: Cervical cancer (unspecified)

How my story begins: I am a single mom of 2. Before my diagnosis, I was working full-time in Management, living life on my own terms, and wondering in purpose.

I always followed up with my yearly exams. One particular exam, in the early part of 2013, my Pap smear came back abnormal. I was told it was not uncommon for Pap smears to come back abnormal, no worries, usually the body corrects itself. They scheduled a recheck in 6 months. Six months later, my Pap smear was abnormal once again. They scheduled a biopsy, which was so uncomfortable! I was diagnosed with pre-cancer cells and headed for a LEEP procedure so they cut cut away the pre-cancerous cells.

I was now under close supervision with my gyn. My next appointment, it was discovered the abormal cells were progressing. I was scheduled for a Cone procedure, cutting away the majority of my cervix, which would throw me in high-risk pregnancy category if I conceived (which was very alarming because I wanted another child when I got married). I think it's every woman's dream to walk down the aisle... Well this time, I had to go under anesthesia and was told once they went in, they had to cut more of my cervix then expected.

On November 24, 2013, the day before Thanksgiving, I was rushing out of work in high spirits because throughout the year, it's been doctor appointments after doctor appointments, procedures after procedures. Besides, it's one of my favorite holidays, Thanksgiving! I had a doctor appointment at 5pm and then to my Mom's to prep Thanksgiving dinner for our family. As I arrived, waiting in the room for my doctor, I had no clue what the appointment was for. Well, as she entered the room, she entered with another colleague and everything just felt wrong. As she read the diagnosis of the cone procedure I had, the findings were advanced stages of cervical cancer that went beyond the cervix to the uterus and I only had a few options - radiation, chemotherapy, or hysterectomy.

How I felt after diagnosis: As I left the office, I had tears of sadness, confusion rolled in, and I was in disbelief. I have cancer. I have 2 small children. I'm the head of my household. What am I going to do? Will I live? Will I raise my kids???? I'm very close to my family. How can I share the news? What a major life choice to make. Do I really want to give up being able to carry life? Lord, I didn't meet my husband yet! Lord, how can I give up being able to carry life? I'm losing my womanhood. But ultimately, it could save my life! I've been so disconnected from God, I didn't even believe he heard my heart cry!

Telling my family and friends: My family was very supportive. My mother was my Rock! As my caregiver, she went to every appointment and procedure. She was right by my side. Her faith led me to the light.

My treatment: On February 4, 2014, I underwent a hysterectomy at 36, removing my womb! It was the hardest decision of my life. Awakening from anesthesia was challenging. I almost ended up in the ICU.

How I felt after treatment: Amazing! Blessed! Once I was home, I had to gear up for my post-op appointment. This was a very big appointment - to make sure the cancer did not spread outside the uterus. My God! I owe you my life. The diagnosis was the cancer was confined to the cervix and uterus. Everything was removed successfully!!!! Healing and recovery underway! During this time, I read that a woman of 36 years died of cervical cancer. Now I wondered why my life was spared.

What was most difficult for me: The choice to remove my womb to save my life.

What I did to help myself: August of 2014 - I gave my life to God! New life began! Glory to God for his Goodness! Healing and Mercy! The Enemy took my womb through cervical cancer, but God conceived purpose in my Spiritual Womb! I don't hate Cancer because It took something from me and tried to take my life. But it made me discover life and purpose! I was always born with purpose! But disconnected from it. Today I am reborn again with Purpose! Authority! And a testimony to help encourage other women!

My life after cancer: I can't hate cervical cancer! I discovered Life! The meaning of Life! Be Fearlessly Created with Purpose, to be a light to others by sharing my testimony and experiences to others.

Where I am today: Seeking to give God glory! Seeking My purpose! Empowering Women! Writer! Speaker!

I am now advocating for cervical awareness as an Ambassador with NCCC - I am the Chapter leader of the National Cervical Cancer Coalition of Springfield Massachusetts.I am also the Founder of Women Fearlessly Created! I was created to Move Fearless! Cervical Cancer gave me a platform to spread my testimony! God's healing! And for me to Support! Inspire! Empower! Be a light of Hope! I educate others, provide prevention tips to help eliminate this enemy of Cervical Cancer! And Pray that God heals others like he did me.

What I want other women to know: Our battles equip us for service! Move fearlessly into battle! We already have the victory.

How I will try to help others: Serving others to be and become Fearless! Seek to see life through a different lense. Inspire others to become the best version of themselves. Empower others.

Any additional information you'd like to share: I'm here for any and everyone!