Thriving Amid a Crisis

I’m sitting here reflecting and it’s pretty clear to me: I never thought I would be in a world pandemic crisis in my lifetime. That was something we only learned about in history books, right? We’ve become so cutting edge due to advancements in health care technology like testing, vaccinations and medications. I am proving my naivety as we are not bulletproof from everything and we have several issues at stake.

My life is fairly busy and there’s not a lot of dull moments yet I’m sitting here in isolation to protect my immunocompromised body. This COVID-19 virus has proven to be something that has uprooted my life: some positive, some negative. I work as a dental assistant and office manager for two offices. The dental profession has taken a hit due to an aerosol-borne virus.  It has left my coworkers and myself unemployed for the time being.


It’s a strange feeling when you’re used to managing every aspect of every day and you go to completely nothing. I’m here a week into quarantine I catch myself thinking of all the negatives; the uprooting of lives and the health of friends, family, and people I haven’t even met yet and the financial implications this will hold for all of us. The stress on interpersonal relationships, the increase of depression and anxiety, and the general fear of the unknown for our future. I won’t disregard these negatives. It’s the social worker in me. Oh, did I mention I was a part-time master’s student for social work?

My positive thoughts are that I am thankful for a slow down. I now have more time for homework, I get to exercise, spend time with my dog, etc. But even these thoughts have expanded and deepened so much more. Where I have been able to spend more time on homework, I’ve also signed up for auditing a class through Yale (thanks to a friend), I’ve picked up my camera and snapped some photos of the birds visiting the feeder, I dove into my old iPod and listened to music I haven’t heard for a few years, picked up the exercising, cleaned and organized, written creatively and I’ve caught up with old and new friends through chat/Skype/FaceTime.

Most importantly, I have asked myself multiple times, “How can I help?”  Every morning I’ve read constant panic-filled stories on my local Facebook pages and wish I had the means to help everyone. One in particular stood out. The postal service workers needed hand sanitizer.  I knew I had some small travel bottles so I gathered them up, wrote a small note of encouragement and sealed it up in a Ziploc baggy. My dachshund, Sassy, and I walked up and put it in our lock box. The next day we received a nice thank you note attached to our mail. Later on I found a few more travel bottles and did the same thing. Again, we received a nice thank you note.

I’m constantly praying for cardinals to show up and let me know everything is going to be alright. Last weekend I received a beautiful pair of cardinal earrings in the mail from a First Descents bestie, Bethany, and yesterday I received a packet with beautiful cardinal photos and a handwritten note from my friend, Mark. These are the little things I appreciate so much during this time. It makes me miss hugging my friends and family. I’m clinging onto the feeling of the last hug and kiss I received to make the time alone not feel so lonely. 

I also knew I wanted to volunteer some of my time, while I had it, to my favorite organization, Cervivor. We’ve been hit recently with a tremendous loss to our leadership team. I think it’s safe to say that we all need help during this time. Little tasks end up becoming these wonderful projects and I know what I’m doing means a lot to those who need the help. I would highly consider volunteering virtually with your favorite organization as well! I know this too will pass but it is my hope that our society will become reacquainted with humanity and compassion through this all. 

Morgan is a metastatic cervical cancer survivor, Cervivor Ambassador, and the 2018 Cervivor Champion recipient.  She lives in the rural state of Iowa where she continues to advocate tirelessly.  You can find her networking in various communities for cancer prevention in hopes her story can help others.  She was recognized for her advocacy completed in 2019 with the Iowa American Cancer Society Action Network.  Morgan continues to advocate along side Above and Beyond Cancer, Bras for the Cause – Madison County, the Iowa Cancer Consortium, Iowa Department of Public Health, and Des Moines University.

Give Today For #GivingTuesday

#GivingTuesday is a glob day of giving. Today only, Facebook and PayPal will match donations up to a total of $7 million. We need your support to continue our work of eliminating cervical cancer. Our work changes the lives of those impacted by cervical cancer. Will you donate today to help us continue this important work.

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.