Location: Kentucky

Age at diagnosis: 39

Diagnosis: Squamous cell carcinoma

Stage of cancer: II

How my story begins: I had not had a pap since my daughter was 2. So, it had been almost 20 years since I had been seen. I have always had what I THOUGHT was irregular, heavy cycles WHEN I had them. There was nothing consistent with it for a long time. In my mind I was trying to convince myself it was early menopause. As time went on, intercourse became extremely painful, with what I felt like was a lot of blood. My menstrual cramps became unbearable most months. My depression was through the roof. My pelvis was sensitive to the touch and would double me up in pain often. I continuously stayed exhausted, and nauseous.

Life before my diagnosis: I took advantage of life before diagnosis. Always with the mind frame that nothing will happen to me.

How I felt after diagnosis: After diagnosis I blamed myself. Daily I blamed myself because I did not stay regular on checkups. When I would tell someone and they would apologize, my statement back was "it's my own fault."

Telling my family and friends: My family was mostly aware of my symptoms and tried to get me to go to the doctor but I continued to make things up in my head, like menopause.

My treatment: My treatment first consisted of a radical hysterectomy two days before Christmas. I was heartbroken. I was due to go home Christmas Eve but due to some complications I was there until Dec 27. Once they sent everything over to the pathologist I was asked to come back in January to see my oncologist. He told me that the cancer was in my blood vessels and LVSI and he wanted to put in for the approval for radiation and chemo. Radiation and chemo began around early February. The treatment was 6 weeks of radiation, 5 days a week and chemo once a week for 5 weeks.

How I felt after treatment: After treatments I felt lost and alone. Extremely exhausted and menopause has been a very hard thing for me to deal with.

What was most difficult for me: Accepting the fact that I could not have any more children. Although I said I did not want another one, having it confirmed and not on my own will, devastated me.

What I did to help myself: I continued to work as I worked in the school system as a Kindergarten teacher. I gave my body rest when it needed it. Listening your body is huge.

My life after cancer: Life after cancer has left some pain, scars, mentally and physically. My bladder will never be the same, and I have gained so much weight. BUT I am alive.

Where I am today: I just finished another round of large radiation as I had cancer cells in my blood stream. I am currently waiting for a follow up.

What I want other women to know: "Listen to your body. Stay up to date on checkups! You are not 'crazy" and it is ok to not be ok. Use your friendships and family circle for support. If all else fails join support groups and ask all questions.

How I will try to help others: I will try to help others by encouraging them to stay up to date on appointments. Assisting with travel to and from if needed. And assisting if they need help with where to start.