Location: United States
Tell me you don’t believe in miracles and I’ll tell you my story.
In July 2010, just a few days prior to a planned family vacation and one month prior to finalizing the adoption of my three sons, I heard the words that still make my blood run cold. You have cancer. And, in my case, not just any old run-of-the-mill cancer. I was being diagnosed with Small Cell Neuroendcrine Cancer of the Cervix at just 34 years of age.
Prior to my diagnosis, I was completely healthy and navigating my way through newly-acquired motherhood as a single mom to three pre-teens and working full-time in a fast-paced career in the tech industry that I loved. The cancer diagnosis knocked me to my knees. As did the tears in every doctor’s and nurse’s eyes as they met with me over a whirlwind few weeks that were comprised of PET/CT scans, blood draws and consultations with some of the best oncologists I’ve ever known.
I was blessed to be treated by doctors who reached out to industry specialists to determine my course of treatment. I would come to find out that none of my doctors had ever seen or treated a case like mine in any of their careers and I remember hearing the word ‘interesting’ more times than I would like during those early conversations. Interesting is not what you want to hear from your doctors when they are reviewing your case.
Over the course of the next six months, I would undergo a radical hysterectomy & lymph node removal, four months of ‘our’ chemo (Cisplatin & Etopocide) and so many blood sticks that my veins still ache to this day. I trusted my doctors implicitly to treat me as they would their sister and I trusted my God to protect my body, mind and soul as I walked a path I had never in my worst nightmares imagined for my life.
Throughout this time, my younger sister was my own personal research assistant. I was too scared, too tired and too consumed with surviving treatment to even care to search online for information. In hindsight, it’s probably a good thing because at that time, according to outdated information online, man’s odds for my long-term survival were merely 15%. My angel sister was tireless in her pursuit to find someone to help me and in doing so, found MD Anderson Cancer Center. We were ultimately put in touch with a team of doctors who would change the future for anyone being diagnosed after me.
In the eight years since my diagnosis, we have created a social media presence (together with other early survivors we located), we have created and funded a tumor registry (together with our tireless network of supporters), we have published white papers and determined standard courses of treatment (this is all from our incredible doctors!) and we have built the most amazing network of survivors from around the world. What was once a terrifying, lonely journey through unchartered territory has become an amazing collective of women who rally around each new member and hold their hands across the miles. A sisterhood of the most amazing miracle women you could ever hope to meet. Together… we are now a movement.
“…with man this is impossible, but with God, all things are possible.”Matthew 19:26