What I Learned from Cervical Cancer

I was diagnosed with stage IB2 cervical cancer in February 2017. After my diagnosis, I learned that January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month. I learned that the colors of the cervical cancer ribbon are teal and white. And I learned that it was hard to find cervical cancer support groups on social media, until I found Cervivor. 

At that time of my diagnosis, I was 31 years old. I battled cervical cancer for nine months, had a hysterectomy in October 2018, and did 27 radiation treatments over five weeks in early 2019. At the end of treatment, I was hoping I would go back to living a normal life, hoping to have a positive outcome with positive results, and hoping to fully heal from having cervical cancer.

The most difficult part for me was the fear of having surgery, becoming anemic, dealing with pelvic infection or other body pain, and feeling alone. But most difficult has been that I can’t plan to have any more children due to my cancer treatment. 

Today, I am cancer free! I try to do my best to live a healthy life. I still go to the doctor for follow-ups and scans. I have learned the importance of continuing after-cancer care with your doctor. I have learned that it is important to get vaccines, like the HPV vaccine. I am thankful for my life after treatment. I am happy and excited that I was able to finish my higher education and receive my Bachelor’s Degree while battling cervical cancer. 

I have learned it is important to stay connected with other cervical cancer survivors, to get involved in the community, to go to events, to join Cervivor’s monthly Creating Connections meetups, and to support current fundraisers. As members of the Cervivor community, we all can learn from other cervical cancer survivors and raise awareness to end cervical cancer.

Rachel Sutton is a cervical cancer survivor from Orange County, California. She is a single mom who was diagnosed with stage IB2 cervical cancer at the age of 31. She underwent cancer treatment while raising her son and pursuing her Bachelor’s Degree.