My Journey with Cervical Cancer
Almost 2 years ago my life changed in an instant when my doctor called to let me know that I was being diagnosed with cervical cancer. (Read more about that day here.) I was a healthy 33-year-old mom of 2 who’s biggest concerns in life were where my kids were going to go to school and where our next family vacation would take us. I had no symptoms, no signs; just cancer.
Cancer is one of those things that you are never ready for; you never think to prepare for. I know each of us has been affected by cancer at some point in our lives. Some of us know someone who has had it or is battling it now. We all go to our doctors to make sure that we don’t have it. We read articles on how to prevent it, and walk to help fund the research that is constantly being done to cure it. Cancer is one of those things that we all know is out there, but we always tell ourselves that it won’t happen to us.
“Cancer does not have a face until it is yours or someone you know.” -Anthony Del Monte
We have all had those key moments in our lives that we know have changed the core of who we are. The day I found out that I was going to be a mom. The day I found out I was having a miscarriage. The day I learned my husband and I were changing states for new jobs. The day I found out I had cancer. Some of these moments were planned for and celebrated, others were shocking and soul crushing.
I was very lucky in that my cancer was found very early. I did not have to undergo any chemo therapy or radiation, but I did have to have a hysterectomy to ensure that the cancer was fully removed and did not spread. There was a 3-month time from the day I found out that I had cancer to the day I found out I was cancer free.
Those were the hardest 90 days of my life. The amount of fear and uncertainty that I felt in that time cannot be explained in words. Just the act of telling family members and friends was gut wrenching. There were so many tears cried, both while being held by loved ones also alone, hiding in my bathroom while everyone else slept in my house.
After I had my surgery and found out that I was completely cancer free and no more treatment was necessary I tried to let it go as much as possible. It was so liberating to not have the word “CANCER” be the first thing that went through my mind when I woke up in the morning. I celebrated with my husband, my family and my friends and I tried to put it behind me.
It was around the time that my 1-year anniversary came that it started to haunt me. I started to realize that I still had real fears about recurrence. I had real guilt about how easy my treatment was. I felt completely deceived that my own body would let this happen. I felt true loneliness in not having someone else to talk to about it. Don’t get me wrong, I have a great support system around me, but I wanted to talk to someone who had been through what I had. Someone that could relate to the emotions that I was feeling.
It was at this time that I realized that even though I no longer had cancer, this cancer was now a part of me. It always will be. Cancer will be something that I will think about every day. My cancer will shape the way I parent my children and love my husband. It will change the relationships that I have with my friends and family. Cancer will, from here on out, change the way I treat and love and advocate for myself.
I know I still have a lot of growing and learning to do. I have not fully processed exactly what happened to me. My body has healed physically (for the most part), but emotionally I have so far to go. When I started this blog, I felt like I didn’t need to talk about my cancer, that it didn’t affect the person that I really am. But the longer I have my blog the more I feel like I am lying to you by not talking about it. I realize that I do need to talk about it. If you are going to know me, you are going to know the whole me and whether I like it or not, this cancer is a huge part of me.
I know that cancer is uncomfortable. No one wants to talk about it. It is scary, overwhelming, intimidating and inconvenient. But this is exactly why I need to talk about it. I fully understand if you choose not to read the following posts I write about my experience with cancer. But I must get it out.
I am going to be honest, I am incredibly scared; which is exactly why I haven’t shared this part of myself until now. Scared to share this part of my life with you, and scared to open a wound that I have kept hidden pretty well. But I know that I will be so much stronger for going through it.
So here it is. Over the next few weeks I am going to share my story. January is Cervical Cancer awareness month, so what better time to tell you about my Cervical Cancer. It is not only my hope to share about my experience and grow my soul and strengthen my heart. I also hope that in this I can educate you about what cervical cancer is; how it is caused and how it can be prevented.
Please come along on this soul-searching journey with me. I know I am going to need some hands to hold along the way.
“Put your ear down close to your soul and listen hard.” -Anne Sexton