I was diagnosed with aggressive stage 3 cervical cancer on May 21st, 2012, after being misdiagnosed earlier in the prior year by another doctor. I remember that day vividly. My whole world changed in an instant. The drive home was silent. I felt like I was in a music video where the lights and people around me were flashing by, and I was silent and still, just looking around. So many thoughts consumed my head. How do I tell my kids? What do I do? How do I do this? Why?
Instead of staying in my female organs, it shot out the side of my cervix and grew to wrap around my ureter tube, thus choking off my kidney and causing me to eventually lose it. I endured aggressive rounds of chemo therapy, external radiation, and internal radiation surgeries. I eventually went into remission, but by now, I needed my kidney removed. All this among other small stent surgeries, biopsies, etc. to find the cancer was back in July of 2013 in my lymph nodes. I was devastated. The biopsy showed I tested for the same cells in which the cancer derived, thus leaving limited options for treatment. I tried a trial which shut my liver down. I tried an aggressive chemo and had severe reactions, causing a halt on treatment.
All in all, I have endured about 17 different surgeries and lost my kidney. I’ve had numerous external and internal radiation and chemo which we have come to find I have severe reactions to, and due to the extreme reactions, I can no longer continue. This journey by far has been bittersweet. For in this darkness, I have been finding myself. I am now 46 and declared terminal, but I refuse to give up the fight! This is not where my story ends! I am currently looking into alternative treatment and trials. People ask, how do you get up every day after being told you are going to die? What’s on your bucket list? How do you do this? Is there anything I can do? Unfortunately, when you’re told something like I have been, it is hard to swallow. I get up living every day as my last. I say what I feel. I don’t live to please others. I try to make a difference and live with purpose. I pray. I try to inspire. I tell the people in my life who are important to me that I love them. I don’t wait. I live for myself. I AM FREE!
As for a bucket list, well, at first you make one, but then you come to realize there is no bucket list. The only thing that is important or would be on that list is to spend as much time as possible with the people you love. I wish you all could see the world like I do. My eyes are wide open. There is beauty in everyday moments and people that I took for granted before. It’s like I’m living in color instead of black and white. You realize the car you drive, the house you live in, the clothes you wear, all mean nothing. How do I do this? FAITH. Faith in knowing there is a God. Faith in knowing that the doctors are not God and are only there to try to help. They don’t determine my timeline. God does.
I try to stay positive and surround myself with positive people as much as possible. Every morning, I wake up to read in bright red lipstick on my bathroom mirror. “Where there is HOPE, there is FAITH… Where there is FAITH, MIRACLES happen! I smile, breathe, and stand to fight another day. As far as doing anything to help me, please understand you can’t. So don’t feel helpless or frightened. This is between me and God. The most you can do is LOVE me without restriction. MAKE ME LAUGH!!!! LIVE!! Share in as many moments as we can and enjoy life with me. Don’t treat me differently. When I do have a weak moment, know there is nothing you can say to fix this, so DON’T scramble for words in your head to try to do so. Just hold me in silence until the last tear falls and I’m done, and know you are privileged to be one of those people who see me cry. Don’t feel bad. I am bleeding out the old. I’m making room for strength and pouring out the weak. And know that it is a good thing for me.
So now, let’s do this! Let’s live, breathe, and enjoy every moment God grants us. My advice to all SMILE and LIVE!!!!! GOD BLESS!!! And ALWAYS STAND STRONG AND FIGHT LIKE A GIRL!!!!!!!
The informational content of this article is intended to convey a personal experience and, because every person’s experience is unique, should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.
This story is intended to convey a personal experience and, because every person’s experience is unique, should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.