03/08/2019 By Carol Lacey
I’m a California girl who spends her free time talking about cervixes because as a cervical cancer survivor, it’s important to talk about ‘below the belt’ cancers.
Eight years ago at my annual well-woman visit I hear my doctor say that she sees something. What the heck can she see up there?! It was a 7cm mass on my cervix.
Now I’m suddenly a cervical cancer patient. I go through three rounds of pre-surgery chemotherapy, a radical hysterectomy, two more rounds of chemotherapy and let’s add 28 rounds of external radiation too because we found a cancerous lymph node. Ten months later my cancer is back.
My oncologist says my best hope is a pelvic exenteration — this removes everything from your pelvic cavity. No more vagina, bladder, urethra, rectum, anus — nada. You are left with a colostomy and a urostomy and in my case, you’re sewn up like a Barbie doll. I was only 46 and I wanted a whole lot more sunny days so as scared as I was, I was all in. And now, I am heading into my THIRD YEAR IN REMISSION and I feel pretty grateful.
The silver lining in my cervical cancer diagnosis was finding Cervivor. This amazing organization teaches women like me that our stories matter and collectively we are smashing the stigma of HPV and cervical cancer. Our mission is to educate and advocate for cancer prevention and this movement gives my story a purpose. We’re making our cancer pay by being the last generation to face an HPV cancer diagnosis.
GRYT is knowing that even in my darkest days, I am living #moresunnydays.
GRYT is living your best life with your joy and pain side by side.
GRYT is not letting my battle define me.
GRYT is being okay with not being okay sometimes.