Emotional Ups & Downs

I am not a crier.  Never was.  My sister is a crier. We can’t even mention the movie Up without her breaking in to tears for 30 min.  And just forget about mentioning any movie where a dog dies.  In fact, she is probably crying just reading these sentences! (I love you baby sister!).

But, not me.  I never cried at movies, cards or commercials.  In fact, I balked at those who did.  I considered people who were so sentimental and empathetic, weak.

I am not a crier.  Never was.  My sister is a crier. We can’t even mention the movie Up without her breaking in to tears for 30 min.  And just forget about mentioning any movie where a dog dies.  In fact, she is probably crying just reading these sentences! (I love you baby sister!).

Enter Cancer.

After caner I can’t watch any movie where anyone dies of cancer.  Not a mother  Not a child.  Not a dog.  In fact, I can’t watch movies where anyone dies, period.  It send me in to a panic attack that can last for days.

After cancer everything feels risky.  Traveling anywhere, forget internationally, and even short domestic trips.  Driving fast.  Sometimes even just leaving the house for a dinner out or a night with friends.  After cancer there are many days were I just want to cocoon up in my bed under the covers because that is the only place I feel safe. Every accident on the side of the road, every news story about a shooting, every Amber Alert, every Facebook post asking for prayers, I feel like it is happening to me.

After cancer I feel so much empathy for others going through trauma that it can be completely overwhelming and draining.  I feel the pain of a death or a recurrence from cancer deep in my hear..  It is a stabbing, throbbing pain that cuts me to my core.  I feel the pain of a mother taking her child to the ER as a tightening in my chest that can take days to subside.  

After cancer I am a crier.  I cry at movies and tv shows.  I cry at Facebook posts and on the phone with friends.  I have probably cried more in the 2 1/2 years after cancer than I did in the 36 years leading up to it.  It feels unnatural to me.  Like I am being a wimp or not being strong.  But I know that’s not true and that this is who I am now.  I am a much more sympathetic and empathetic person after cancer.

This empathy is for both the trials of friends, family and even strangers, but it is also for their joys and triumphs.  I cry when I see my kids up on a stage during a performance.  I cried when I watched my sister walk down the aisle.  I cry when a coworker celebrates good news.  Cancer intensified all of my emotions, the good and the bad.

Feeling so many emotions for both myself and for others can be draining and it has also forced me to sometimes shield myself from others.  There are days when I have to take a break from social media or phone calls and texts because I just can’t “feel” any more.  There are days that I know I can’t show up for a party or a girls night out or a family dinner because I am overwhelmed with feelings.  I need to give my brain, my body and my heart a break, from both the bad news and the good news.  

The highs after cancer are even higher and the lows after cancer are even lower, and this constant pendulum swing can take a toll on even the strongest person.  Be kind to yourself, during the highs and the lows.

Ana is a stage II cervical adenocarcinoma survivor & Cervivor Ambassador.  She lives in Mountain View, CA with her fiancé and two children. She is excited to take on a new job next year as the Dean of Greene Middle School and enjoys spending time with her family and being an advocate for the HPV vaccine.

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Our community is the heart of our organization. Cervivor Ambassador Morgan shares how we helped her find her place.

 

“Finding My Place” 

Dear Friend,

There is nothing worse than hearing the words, “You have cancer.”  This is hard for anyone and it is especially hard to hear at the age of 24.  

There is something special about finding a community after surviving this disease not once but two times.  This community is available thanks to caring folks like you.  I hope you’ll take the time to read my story – it might even save the life of someone you love.  I’m not a fundraiser, I’m a cervical cancer survivor.  

I was your typical twenty-something just starting her life out.  I went in for my yearly well-woman exam.  I never missed my preventive visits.  The doctor’s office called me to let me know my Pap test came back abnormal for the very first time.  I went through several tests only to be referred on to an oncologist.  It was then that I received those three life-changing words, “You have cancer.”  My family and I were shocked and scared.

I went through treatment including chemotherapy and radiation.  I made it through all of it and at a routine scan appointment they told me there were suspicious lesions in my lungs.  More tests were done, and a recurrence of cervical cancer was confirmed.  Chemotherapy was started once again and after five long months I was considered all clear from treatment.

I never thought I would out live that second round of cancer but I’m glad I did.  I found an incredible community where I fit in.  Cervivor has given me the gift of using my experience to help others.  I have gained credible knowledge from various professionals to educate and prevent this disease for future generations to come.  

Today, I have purpose in life after cancer.  I have remained in a no evidence of disease diagnosis.  I’ve been given the gift of Cervivor to share my story and make a difference.  I’ve had the opportunity to sit on discussion panels to educate providers from a survivor’s point-of-view.  I’ve lobbied on Capitol Hill to ensure we have proper screening guidelines, and I’ve incorporated the knowledge I gained from Cervivor School of the human papillomavirus (HPV) into my career as a dental assistant.  I feel extremely fortunate to represent Cervivor!

I’m hoping you will join me in helping to provide this same support for women like me.  Please send a gift to Cervivor today so we can educate and prevent this disease.  As a cervical cancer patient who almost lost her life twice, I can tell you that your contribution will make an impact on others.  You will give them an incredible gift.

Sincerely,

Morgan S. Newman

2x Cervical Cancer Survivor 

Cervivor Ambassador

Cervivor Champion 2018

Donate to Morgan’s #GivingTuesday fundraiser today via Facebook or directly on our website via PayPal.

Your donation supports our entire community of cervical cancer patients and survivors – a place where we provide learning tools, advocacy resources, and an online community for women who are looking to network and thrive. Some women will choose to connect for sisterhood, while others will choose to become advocates for early detection and prevention of cervical cancer. We are working hard every day for these women who need our support now more than ever.
 
In fact, to date, Cervivor has:
  • Supported 206 women through our Cervivor School program
  • Held 10 Cervivor Schools, our most recent having taken place in Cape Cod this past September
  • Ambassadors in 7 countries, with more being added after each Cervivor School
  • Supported, inspired, and empowered 10,000+ women via our online platforms
This year alone, 13,000+ women in the US will be diagnosed with invasive cervical cancer; and 528,000 worldwide. Even though cervical cancer is now fully preventable through vaccination and regular health screenings, more than 4,000 women in the US and 266,000 globally will die this year of cervical cancer. For us here at Cervivor, that’s 4,000 women too many. Through education and advocacy, we hope to be the generation to end cervical cancer. With your continued support, we believe we can do just that.
Thank you once again for your friendship, your donation, and for supporting the mission of Cervivor.