ASCCP Annual Meeting with BD

I recently attended the American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology (ASCCP) Annual Meeting in Las Vegas Nevada to represent Cervivor in the BD exhibitor display area. BD is one of Cervivor’s sponsors. What an amazing experience this was for me as a Cervivor Ambassador!

BD had recently received FDA approval for their BD Onclarity™ HPV Assay and they had information in their display area on their product The BD SurePath™; a liquid-based PAP test.

BD was raising funds for Cervivor and had this set up where the attendees would have an opportunity to spin the wheel and whatever dollar amount it landed on would be donated to Cervivor. Once they had their turn at spinning the wheel they would fill out their name and the dollar amount on a teal and white sneaker sticker that I would place on the BD/Cervivor display wall. By the end of the meeting we had the wall filled on both sides and $3000.00 was raised for Cervivor!

I interacted with many people in the women’s health field about my story and what impact having cancer had on my life. Nearly everyone thanked me for coming out and talking so openly about my cancer journey. It was such an honor for me to be able to share Cervivor and the work we do with this group! Several shared that they did not know of a resource like Cervivor, where they could direct their patients.

One moment that really stood out for me was when an OBGYN I had shared my story with earlier in the day came back after the afternoon sessions and asked to take a photo with me. She told me that she was so moved by my story and willingness to share it that she was going to carry this photo with her. This photo of us together was going to be her reminder about how to treat her patients that were diagnosed with cervical cancer. This literally brought me to tears. I was so touched by this and to know that my story will help other women in her practice is truly heartwarming!

Attending this meeting as a Cervivor Ambassador to represent our organization was such an honor for me. The work being done in women’s gynecologic health is really fascinating and I am excited to know that studies are being conducted and products developed to make some of what we go through less invasive/painful. Everyone in this field realizes the importance of early detection, better screening options for women and less invasive procedures as well as the importance of vaccinating against HPV related cancers.

 

Paulette Apostolou resides in Illinois with her loving husband and two rescue Miniature Pinschers. She is the owner/designer of ThePartyDeeva.com and founder of Operation Teal; an awareness ribbon campaign she founded in 2016 after attending Cervivor School Louisville. Contact Paulette@Cervivor.org She is available for speaking/advocacy events. Read her Cervivor Story here.

Stressed Spelled Backwards Is Desserts

Do you know those moments in life where they hit you so strong  you will never forget it?  Moments that change your direction in life?  For me that moment was months before I was told I had cancer.  At the time I was living in McLean, VA and I was at my doctor’s office which was close by.  It was a follow-up after my annual exam and the exact words were “what did you do in the last year that stressed you out so much.”

Funny, I responded so nonchalant and said, “work”.  It didn’t even take the doctor a second to come back and say “find a new job.”  That was the appointment I was told I had HPV.   I had no clue what that meant except I was told that so many people had it and it was probably just lying dormant in my body waiting for the breakdown.  Imagine that, a dormant disease waiting for stress to weaken you just enough that it can begin battle.  It is like the tale of the Trojan Horse, an army waiting, hiding for their moment to concur.   I was completely ignorant to the stigma associated with HPV, well, at least until I told a family member and that was met with words so hurtful that I was speechless.  The days following led to a Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure (LEEP), a lot of reading, and many lectures on managing stress.

That was my moment.  Now, I can’t say I don’t stress.  I am human, it is part of life, but I can say I am much better at stepping back and minimizing stress.  My HPV resulted in cervical cancer and luckily it was caught early.  From the moment I was told I had HPV to the moment I was told I had cancer and then what I call the year of many surgeries, I took a step back and told myself to wake up and reprioritize.

Some people exercise, some change careers, some seek spiritual guidance; the list goes on, and on, and on.  Me? I bake cakes.  Cake decorating was a hobby that I enjoyed and I found that it was a great outlet for me.  Taking classes, learning new techniques, or simply painting on fondant.   It’s not a business, just a hobby.  The best part of my reprioritization was that I remembered how much it meant to me to volunteer.  I found a volunteer opportunity that allows me to make creative birthday cakes for children who live in shelters.  Baking and volunteering; equals one happy me.   How awesome is that!  I get to bake while bringing smiles to lots of children who would not normally have a birthday party.  I go all out.  It brings me such joy to create a special cake for these children.  

So what is your outlet?  What things or activities help you manage your stress?

Read Tina’s Cervivor Story here.