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A story of a 3x Cancer Survivor married with five children fighting The Good Fight of Faith.

 

My Diagnosis   

       I could not possibly put everything that occurred during my sickness on one page, but I hope you get an understanding of where I’ve been, where I am and where I hope to be in the future. In 1996, I was diagnosed with mass Fibroid Tumors in my uterus, an area that the doctor said was not cancerous and if it didn’t bother me, we should leave them alone. Being a smoker at that time didn’t help the situation much. A few months later, I started working at a new job and needed to have a physical to start officially. I was having my annual GYN visits, so I had my pap smears on time. My doctors told me I had Cervical Cancer and had to have a Cone Biopsy immediately. I was so nervous I passed out three times and cried all the way home. When I left the hospital, I really looked at things around me differently. Things that have always been there, like the trees, the sky, the flowers and the people who didn’t even know me. I noticed couples walking together and children with their parents while I thought about possibly not being around for my family. I don’t remember how I got home that day. I do remember going back to the hospital because I was hemorrhaging from that procedure and in a lot of pain.

         When I finally got home, I cried and screamed out to God so hard when no one was around. I looked at my family's pictures and thought I may not be here to see my children grow up. What will happen to my mom and my husband? How will I tell them? I couldn’t work, and I couldn’t sleep until I got the result back to see if it had spread. When my result came back, it was positive and ten doctors told me I had one month to live. I had my mother with me this time. Not one doctor, but ten doctors said I would die in thirty days if I didn’t have surgery now. I had to get a second opinion and a third. I went to Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital, and they said “we will look after you and you will be alright”. The Doctors said there was a 95% chance that cancer would come back. They took good care of me. 

Cancer during Pregnancy

         In 1997, I became pregnant with my son and everything looked good from what we could see. I had a healthy baby boy. My doctors told me not to use protection because I was going to have surgery (just in case the cancer was still there, and they were unable to see it). In 1998, she became pregnant again and was baptized into Christianity. Due to my faith, I would not be able to have an abortion unless it was life-threatening. When I heard the news, doctors I couldn't have the baby with tears running down my face.  I was so scared I would die but my doctor said I was not going to die yet. He would just recommend the surgery after I have the baby. They kept a close watch on me 2–3 times a week and never saw Cancer. My OB GYN doctor partnered with my Oncology doctor in the Cancer center to oversee my care straight through delivery. Oh, God! Gave me another beautiful baby girl. I couldn’t hold her without help. I had to have a nurse to take care of me and my children. Thank you GOD for not letting my children be touched while in my womb. No treatments and no signs of cancer through two pregnancies. 

The Cancer Recurrence

     After she was two months, I tried to go back to work, and I was doing well. Then I started having pain in my groaning area around my back and down my right leg. My right leg became swollen. The pain was unbearable, especially during intimacy with my husband. Doctors misdiagnosed me. At that time, I had no insurance and could not pay for medication.  I went to the ER twice and was told the same thing and there were no charity for patients who couldn't afford it.

The Treatment

       The pain got worse.  I was crying in pain while I was at work. The Doctor said I had to go right away, and I had my girlfriend pick me up and drive me to New York. When I got there, they admitted me and told me I made it just in time. The cancer was there all along through both pregnancies waiting to rise. I was diagnosed with Stage 3 Cervical Cancer that extended to the pelvic area. I made it before it spread into my bones. My doctors were not sure if I would make it yet. They put me on heavy medication. Then came the special tattoo placed inside my body, then the chemo. I could not walk, so I had to go in a wheelchair everywhere. I did not know where my five children were because I was so medicated, but they would call me to talk to me. Thank God I had a wonderful mom, friends and family who helped my husband out by keeping the children, so he could try to work. I stayed in the hospital for a month and a half. I was sent home to take over 15 pills a day with over $1200-$2000 worth of medication at a time, which was refilled every month. With continued appointments to Pain Management, Chemo and radiation for months.

        At home, I looked like a drug attack. I would fall asleep while I was talking to everyone. I had to have a nurse take care of me and ambulate service pick me up and take me to all of my appointments because I was too weak to walk. I was ashamed because I used to weigh 180 pounds. Now I weigh 125 pounds, the same as my 16-year-old daughter. People would look at me and say I was either on drugs or an AIDS patient. Who cares I was no better than either one. At least I stopped smoking, and now I am no longer dying for a cigarette. What does normal really mean? What may be normal for you may not be normal for me. You have to understand and know how to accept your normal way of life at the moment while believing anything is possible with God.  Every year, doctors tell me “It looks like cancer has come back” and I say okay, let’s do the test and then talk about the next step. I have had 6 masses in three parts of my body with three beginning cancerous. There is a plan for my life. There is nothing worse than finding out my child has cancer. I believe watching my daughter go through it was as bad if not worse than me having it. God knows I survived being there for her and hold back the pain of not being able to save my child held but trust that God has the last word. She is a survivor too.

 

Getting Back to Life

Since then, I have had 6 masses in 4 different parts of my body. One mass on my back and one in my knee which was removed. A mass in my breast twice but one was removed surgically and needed to be biopsied. I have had two masses in my cervix area. I still have pain from time to time in my breast from that procedure. Another sighting in my cervix area that has been stable for years. For over 16 years, suffering from pain in my groin area extended to my pelvic area, which extends down my leg and raps around my back, along with nerve damage from the chemo and radiation.

        Life is too short to spend it worrying about not being here. I live for today because tomorrow maybe too late. My motto is never say can’t, anything is possible with faith and never let an opportunity pass you by. Dream for today. Don’t wait for tomorrow. I will continue to spread the word of faith, hope and prayer while I continue to be grateful for the time that I have. I will have all my dreams I go for today because tomorrow may be too late. We Care 2 Share because someone has too. I will continue this fight to promote awareness until the day I die. With knowledge comes wisdom and with wisdom comes good decisions. I started a not for profit in 2003 and turned it into a non-profit in 2019. S.A.V.E.D 4 Life Cancer Corporation- S4LCC Cancer ReSource Station (the first Cancer ReSource Station in the nation) is owned and operated by minority women who are Cancer survivors. It is making a difference in the community today, because tomorrow may be too late. Thank you for your support.

"My life is based on pain, passion, and purpose."

                                               Elijah Cummings

                               For I know the plans I have for you says the Lord. 

                                                                                                                             (Jeremiah 29:11)

                                                                         

My Battle with Recurring Cervical Cancer while pregnant twice

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