Sara J. on August 3, 2022
I was Diagnosed with:
Stage 3C1 Cervical Cancer
Full time, on medical leave
Type and Description of Treatments:
LEEP/Cone-2019 for Stage 1A1, Radical Hysterectomy 2022 with chemo and radiation for spread to lymph nodes and positive margins
How do you feel today?
I am tired and just trying to get through the day. I have a 14 month old daughter and my nausea and fatigue keep me in bed a lot. I am having trouble with my "sense of purpose" as I haven't worked since my hysterectomy in April. I am starting a new job in October but just don't know how to feel about everything.
Since the diagnosis, what has changed in your life?
Since my recurrence earlier this year, I have lost my fertility due to my hysterectomy. I have always wanted to have 2 children but that is no longer an option. I am very thankful that I was able to keep my fertility after my initial diagnosis in 2019 but it's hard to give up.
What is going well for you right now?
I am unbelievably blessed by the support I receive from my husband, family, and friends. The outpouring of love it incredible and I am looking forward to my new job in October.
What is not going well for you right now?
My side effects are keeping me from doing a lot right now. My blood counts are low and the side effects from radiation and chemo are tough some days.
What has been the most challenging thing about having cancer?
The worry about it coming back for a third time and what my first scans after chemo and radiation will show. The anxiety is real.
When difficulties overwhelm you, where do you go for support?
I try to see a counselor/therapist every other month to discuss my feelings. I also reach out to my family and friends.
How have your long-term goals or life goals changed since diagnosis?
Since my recurrence, yes. I was traveling to another state for work and driving about 70 mins one way. After my recent treatment, I don't want to do that anymore. I found a much closer job (even though it was hard to leave) because I want to spend more time with family, not my car.
What is your work arrangement right now? What are your hours?
I am currently not working as I previous was and am considered "as needed". I am still employed with my same company.
Since the diagnosis, what has changed in your work life?
I didn't think anything would change but after my findings from my hysterectomy in April, I reevaluated how happy I was at my current job and my priorities.
What has helped you continue to work the most?
I want to work a few days here and there when I can and I want to do that because it gives me a purpose. I feel so bored and lazy sitting at home.
What advice do you have for others trying to work through treatment?
Do what you can, I could not do it as my job was in healthcare. Listen to your body and rest when you need to. Your body will tell you what you need.
How have you dealt with any side effects of treatment?
I have had the most difficulty with nausea, diarrhea (pelvic radiation), fatigue, and headaches. I honestly thought it would be worse but some days are really bad and I need to stay in bed.
If "today's you" could give advice to "day-of-diagnosis you," what would you say?
Stay positive but honestly I wouldn't change my choice of initial treatment. I was recommended to have a hysterectomy in 2019 but I would not have been able to have my beautiful daughter in 2021. Despite the fact that I am high risk of recurrence again, she is worth the treatment I am doing now.