Cancerversary: July 2016

Age at diagnosis: 24

Diagnosis: Cervical cancer (unspecified)

Stage of cancer: IB2

How my story begins: My story begins when I found out I was pregnant with twins: a baby boy and baby girl. My pregnancy with my twins started are fairly normal . Unfortunately my happiness for my pregnancy didn’t last too long. My body had forced me into early labor causing me to give birth to my twins early and them passing. About a month after, my family noticed that my weight was dropping rapidly and other changes in my body. My family decided it was in my best interest to be seen in the emergency room. When I was taken to the emergency room, my family explained their concerns and informed the doctors of the recent events with my twins. The doctor decided to perform a Pap test. They quickly realized that I had a tumor the size of a grapefruit on my cervix. This had contributed to me going into early labor. So unbeknownst to me, my twins played a part in saving my life.

Life before my diagnosis: In my life for before cancer I was a single mother to three wonderful children. I was also attending cosmetology school and was the last to graduate before my school was unfortunately closed.

How I felt after diagnosis: When I was diagnosed, I was filled with a lot of different emotions from anger, to sadness, to disbelief. My first thoughts were: who going to take care of my kids if I didn’t make it through? How was I going to raise three kids and deal with going through my treatments?

Telling my family and friends: Once I found out about my diagnosis, telling my family and friends had to be one of the hardest parts for me to go through. I was worried. If all these thought are floating through MY mind, what’s going to be going through theirs? But my family and friends were 100 percent there for me through all the hard times.

My treatment: Before starting my chemo treatments, my doctor at the time was having issues with my insurance to get my treatment started. She was beginning to get frustrated with my health insurance company because she wasn’t able to begin my treatments without approval. I received a call one day with my doctor telling “Ms.Fraser. you are young and you have three kids to live for. I can no longer wait for your insurance to be approved. So my next step is to have you come into the emergency room and be admitted into the hospital.” At this point I had no other choice but to believe in my doctor and do as I was told. I was checked in and admitted. I was mighty scared. My doctor came in and explained to me my chemo plan. She informed me the only way for me to begin treatment was for her to keep me in the hospital and bill my insurance later. After talking to me about my treatments, she brought in the doctor who would be doing my radiation treatments and he informed me he would be doing my radiation treatments for free. I stayed in the hospital for over a month and a half. I even celebrated my birthday in the hospital all while doing chemo and radiation. Eventually I was released from the hospital and able to go home - not to my kids but instead to a family members house because my house was over an hour away from the hospital. I continued my treatments and eventually the tumor was no longer there. However, the cancer had spread to my lungs. I had to have a small piece of my lung removed and started chemo all over again - and this time I lost my hair.

How I felt after treatment: After chemo life hasn’t been the same. I still deal with the changes my body is going through and I am still learning how to live a new norm with the changes.

What was most difficult for me: The most difficult part was when I was willing to give up on myself. And, being away from my kids.

What I did to help myself: To help me get through, I would think about being with my family and my kids and about building new memories. My go-to song when I felt like giving up was MaryMary's “Can’t Give Up Now.”

My life after cancer: For a long time, I keep my cancer journey between myself and my family. But now I’m ready to open up about my journey and bring awareness to others.

Where I am today: Today I’m still a mother of three beautiful kids. I’ve been able opening up more and am looking forward to doing my part to bring awareness.

What I want other women to know: I want other women to know they are not alone.

How I will try to help others: I plan to try and help other by sharing my story and doing my part to increase awareness.