Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Cervical Cancer Awareness Month- Jaymie's story

My name is Jaymie. I am a 45 year old, who has two beautiful children.  I have always been a pretty good person to have my annual pap smears,and they always came back normal, ALWAYS!

In October of 2012, I learned I had HPV 16.  The only reason I found out, is because I was dating a man who after we had sex, told me he had genital warts. I went into full panic mode, and went to my gynecologist for a check up.  I had not been in 4 years, so it was overdue anyways.  I told my Dr the situation, and she did a full STD panel on me, as well as a pap.

10 days later, I was in the office being told I had HPV 16.  I knew HPV caused cancer and warts. I wasn't sure about all the technicalities on HPV.  The Dr told me, that yes, in fact I had the cancer causing HPV, so we needed to do a colposcopy right away.  The following week I had my colposcopy, two biopsies were taken.  The Dr said at the time, it looked mild, but we would have to wait for results.  Again, 10 days later, and it was the longest 10 days of my life.  Dr told me the results were CIN I, and I could return in 6 months for a re-check.

My 6 month re-check was supposed to be in May 2013.  All along for the past 10-15 years I was having what I now know to be Cervical pain, stabbing pain, and I was having  a period every two weeks for the past 5 years.  Most would recognize the two week period, but I had my tubes tied, so I didn't pay attention to my periods.

My cervical pain was getting so bad, I had to go in early for my re-check.  Dr saw me, and did a pelvic on me, she did not say much, only she wanted to do an ultrasound. I had the ultra sound two days later and saw Dr right after.  Dr said, "your ultrasound is clear, and all looks normal, but i know something is wrong, so i want to do an ECC biopsy on you." I agreed as long as my pain stopped.

2 days later, I was back to have my procedure.  The medicine they gave me to dialate my cervix, caused me alot of pain, like I was in labor all over. As the Dr is prepping for the biopsy, I am contracting, and having a lot of pain.  Dr looks, and my cervix is closed shut. She was concerned, this is not normal and she want to do a D&C asap.

It took several weeks to book my D&C.  On June 25th I had the D&C.  My dr did not see me after procedure, so I assumed everything was fine.  

14 days later, I am back in her office for pathology results.  Here is where I go into a whirl wind.  Dr tells me, your ECC was negative, your colposcopy was negative.  When I did your D&C I found what I thought was a fybroid on the top of your uterus. It was removed, and tested.  The pathology on that was Endometrial Cancer, but my cervix was fine.

I was recommended to have a full hysterectomy A.S.A.P.
Dr told me to go home and wrap my head around this first, and in one week we will decide on. I was also given an option of just hormone therapy. I went home and decided to get a second opinion, by an oncologist.

It is now August 29....tick tock......

Dr agrees the best plan is a total hysterectomy. It is scheduled for September 11th. I have my hysterectomy.

9 days later, pathology day. The Dr is confused, and has reports from the gynecologist in front of him.  "Jaymie, you had stage 0 cervical cancer." ..."WHAT????"  Yes, total pathology show cervical cancer, but here is the kicker, no uterine cancer was found....lol, I was very confused, but the Dr has no way to determine all this now. So now I have to go for my first "Vault Smear" next week. I'm scared, because my pain is not gone.

Not all cancers grow slow like they say, my HPV, is supposed to be the slow type. Not from what I see.

Thank you for letting me tell my story.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Cervical Cancer Awareness Month- Jade's Story (a celebrity tale)

Jade Goody was a reality star who was on Big Brother. At 27 Jade discovered she had cervical cancer. She died after fighting for her life. While she was fighting she was raising awareness for this disease to anyone who would listen.

Jade Goody Legacy is now on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Follow them for awareness tips. 

Please read Jade's full story here on people: http://www.people.com/people/mobile/article/0,,20267188,00.html

Friday, January 24, 2014

Cervical Cancer Awareness Month- a YouTube Story

Women everywhere are willing to share their story with cervical cancer so YOU can be protected. The stories shared are to educate you about the signs these women had, incase you experience them you know not to overlook them or dismiss them as something else. 

YouTube is a valuable source of information. Here a woman named Belinda tells her story. 


Thursday, January 23, 2014

Cervical Cancer Awareness Month- a celebrity story

Yes, celebrities can have cervical cancer too! Actor Josh Lucas' wife Jessica was a victim of cervical cancer. 
Jessica was 25 at her diagnoses of cervical cancer. Two rounds of treatment proved to be unsuccessful. Her doctor asked her to consider a hysterectomy, at the same time she found out she was pregnant! Jessica went against her oncologist and continued with the pregnancy and have birth to a baby boy. She says she doesn't regret her decision even though there was the chance the cancer could worsen and spread during the pregnancy. While the cancer did not spread it did worsen from stage 1a to 1b cervical cancer. She continued treatment the fall after delivering her baby. 

Read the full story here: http://celebritybabies.people.com/2012/09/23/cervical-cancer-josh-lucas-jessica-henriquez-pregnant/

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Cervical Cancer Awareness Month- JJ's Story

JJ began having abnormal bleeding that she chalked up to be  symtpom of menopause. Never did she imagine it was cancer. 
JJ was at the gym lifting weights when she began heavily bleeding, even to the point she thought she was hemorraging. After seeing her gynecologist and undergoing a biopsy JJ was diagnosed with stage 2b uterine cancer. JJ underwent a hysterectomy, radiation and chemotherapy in the Fall of 2008. 

JJ said she felt shocked at the diagnosed of cancer, and felt a bit in denial. JJ spends her time now making sure women get their woo-haas checked alon with their ta-ta's. Women don't realize they have cancer until later stages. They need to listen to their bodies and see a dr right away. Know the signs and symptoms! 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Cervical Cancer Awareness Month- Kandis' Story

I had no symptoms other then having more then normal painful cramps for about 6 months. One day I thought I was having a miscarriage, I woke up at 3am with heavy bleeding that wouldn't stop. The doctor couldn't see me due to the bleeding and I was told me to come in when it stopped.  A month Iater I was rushed to the ER when the bleeding was out of control. I had a ruptured vein on my cervix that needed cauterized.  I knew something very wrong when the doctor referred me to UCSF. At this point I was losing a large amount weight rapidly and getting sicker and sicker (fatigue) by the day. Finally, I was diagnosed with stage 3 cervical cancer. I had a 3cm tumor on my cervix that was growing into and down the vagina wall. It has spread to 3 lymph nodes on the left and 2 on the right in my pelvis.  I was alone when I received my diagnosis. I went through chemo, radiation and brachy therapy (more radiation) and I'm currently 1yr in remission. My starting weight was 174, my ending weight was 110....I lost a total of 64 pounds by the time I was done with treatment. I have no family history of cancer on either parents side, I am the first one.  I went 2yrs past my screening. I had HPV, my chemo doctor told me it took less then 1yr for my tumor to grow. When I asked "why me, why cancer, and how did it spread so fast?" All I was told "it's your environment". 

I hope my story will help ALL women feel empowered to get a pap smear every year.

Thank you,
Kandis Rawles

Monday, January 20, 2014

Cervical Caner Awareness Month- Phyllis' Story

I was diagnosed with small cell cervical cancer in May of 2012. 
did chemo and radiation and have had a full hysterectomy. I am now dealing with very painful side effects. I have had 2 rounds of hyberbaric oxygen therapy to help repair internal damage from the radiation. I have not had a PET scan yet due to the likely chance of having a ton of false positives. I have had ct scans and MRI's and exams that show no cancer has returned. 
I have two wonderful outcomes of the chemotherapy. Dead cancer cells at the time of my hysterectomy and curly hair!! 

Thank you,
Phyllis C.
Northeastern PA
Phyllis shared her story with us in July 2013 before our Panties Across the Bridge event while sending us her picture to hang on the Purple People Bridge for Awareness. Thanks Phyllis!

Cervical Cancer Awareness Month- Auburn's Story

My name is Auburn Reed.
 At the beginning of my diagnosis I was 25, I am 26 yrs old now. I was diagnosed with Cervical Cancer on March 18, 2013.   I went to see a gynecologist at the end of November of 2012. The last time I had seen an OB/GYN was when I was 14/15 and had just gotten my period and my mom wanted to make sure everything was ok. After that I never even thought about going back. Throughout the rest of my teens and early twenties seeing a gynecologist was the last of my worries since I wasn't having sex. I didn't even have sex til I was 22 yrs old. 

I was getting ready to switch jobs and thought before I lose my insurance for awhile I will see a Gyno. Pap came back abnormal and they wanted me back in immediately so I made an appointment for second week in December. I cancelled that appointment because I got my period and told them I would call them after and we can set up an appointment. Well, my period didn't stop that month. I continued to bleed throughout January. I didn't get too concerned about it because my periods were always abnormal. I also figured it was stress from just moving to a different job and new people. At the end of January my bleeding got heavier and then the pain started. I have PCOS also so I was used to ovarian cysts and the pain associated with them, but this was something else completely. Blunt cramping is the best way for me to describe it. Finally on February 14, 2013 a co-worker told me to see a Gyno, I didn't have health insurance because I just went to a new job, so she gave me the number to Planned Parenthood.  I never even thought of that!! I called them that day an scheduled an appointment for the 22nd. I went in, got my Pap smear and they did a few other tests. On the following Thursday they called me and told me they got the results back and told me I NEEDED to see a regular GYNO and get more tests done. They called my Dr office for me and explained my "situation". I didn't even know I had a "situation." My dr said he would see me without my insurance because of my "situation." So on  March 5th I went in and he did another Pap and did a biopsy of two different areas of my cervix. I heard the word biopsy and my head started spinning, I only know that word as a dangerous word. After the appointment he said he wanted to talk to me in his office. I never go to his office. So I got dressed and sat across from him as he explained what he was looking for, to this day all I remember thinking was "why is he talking to me like this?" "What's wrong?" "I should of brought my mom", next thing you know he's next to me and telling me not to be nervous it could be nothing!!
His office called me on Monday the 11th I answered and they said I was to come in that week, it didn't matter what time or what day just show up and the Dr will see me. That didn't sound good. I didn't go in on Tuesday, or Wednesday, or Thursday. My Dr called me Thursday night at 8 pm from his living room, I could here sports center on in the background. He told me to please come in by Monday or he will no longer see me. Haha, he knew it would make me come see him. I walked into the office on Monday March 18, 2013. The only word I remember from that appointment was "cancer." I walked out 2 hrs later a complete shell, I had no idea what I was to do next. I had papers in my hand that told me what my next step was,!but I just didn't know. 
I went on to do Radiation for 8 weeks Monday-Friday and Chemo for 8 weeks.    I was "clear" in July and had a couple months "off", haha but September 9, 2013, the day after my 26th birthday they told me I needed to do treatments one more time. So I did Chemo for 10 more weeks. 
Throughout the whole year everyone including my doctor kept asking me to have a hysterectomy and I knew deep down I should. That it would stop everything and I could have my life back but I couldn't do it. I know I have to make the decision very soon, but it's a big decision. I thought I could save my chances of having kids!!

I truly will say 2013 was a "journey." This whole road has changed my outlook on everything so much. I appreciate so much more and I love easier. Life is precious and we need to not take the little things for granted. 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Cervical Cancer Awareness Month- Sherri's Story

Hi my name is Sherri, and I'd like to share my story with you. 
My day started out like many others; some belly cramps and back pain. Nothing new over the past few years. Another sign of a painful period again, so I thought. As my day went on the  bloating continued to get worse and worse, and within an hour I had to unbutton my pants and just sit because the pain knocked me off my feet.  My belly continued to swell so much that it looked as if I was going to deliver a baby at any moment. I called my husband saying something was seriously wrong and he came right home to take me to the hospital. The look on his face told me he was scared too. As soon as we got to the hospital, the nurses were running for a wheelchair because they thought I was in labor! I kept explaining I was not pregnant, that this had only happened an hour ago, but no one listened. I was taken to a room where a doctor followed me in immediately. He kept saying they were not prepared to deliver a baby at this hospital and they may have to airlift me to another hospital.  Again, NOT listening to me. They throw me on a table and do an exam. Well, you are NOT pregnant they say. Not a big shock to me! I told you this 20 minutes ago! So they take me for further testing. Thankfully they did give me something for pain. Hours later I am told there is something abnormal, it is  a growth, but we don't think its cancer. I was told to follow up with a gynecologist the next day. My mother went with me that day and it was an experience i pray everyday I could forget. The doctor did the exam with POOR bedside manner to say the least. He told me it was an obvious reason as to why my periods were so painful, I had a tumor, a large tumor. I was told to clean myself up and meet him in his office. My mom and I sat down and waited. Now this is NO exaggeration, he walked in, sat in his chair looked at results and said, "You have cancer, there is nothing i can do to help you,so I will refer you to another doctor."  I couldn't hold back the tears. He was so thoughtful to TOSS a small box of kleenex to me as he continued to write a referral. My mom made the call to the gynecologist oncologist and we went there  within the next hour. I hated him before I even got there! I didn't trust doctors now. I was cold, shut down, you name it. I sat in his office waiting, and when he walked in and looked at me, he patted me on the shoulder and said, "I'm going to do everything I can to help you. Do you trust me?" I told him no. I trust no one. We went to the exam room and he did everything possible to make it easy. It was a fast exam. and we were back in his office in no time. The look on his face said it all, it was bad. We didn't have much time. I was sent for biopsy and then a radiation oncologist in no time. I was stage 3B and given 9 months (if i was lucky) without treatment. The tumor was the size of a six month fetus, and the plan was to shrink it, and then go in and remove it. After 60 radiation treatments and 8 chemotherapy, and four HDR treatments, they told me we can't do surgery! The treatments did so much damage they could not go in and remove the tumor, so now we will just continue ct scans and pet scans on a regular basis to make sure it doesn't grow. I was diagnosed in 2008. Six years later, my intestines are destroyed beyond repair. I have been in and out of hospitals more times than I can tell you. So many doctors all blame the chemo and radiation. I am SO VERY thankful to BE here. So many are not as lucky as I have been. But, so many people think if you beat cancer that thats the end of it, no one tells you about the life some people live afterwards. It is difficult too. For the last six years, my boy Taz has got me thru this. He never left my side, even when friends and family did, because it was too much for them to handle. My mom has been amazing through this journey. I cannot thank her enough for everything she has done for me. 

Friday, January 17, 2014

Cervical Cancer Awareness Month- April's Story

My name is April Becraft.  I am a wife and mother of two children.  
My story with cervical cancer begins with my last pap smear in June, 2013.  I went to my yearly pap, expecting everything to be fine, just as it always had been.  I had never had an abnormal pap or any other gynecological problems and I felt fine.  I went to my appointment and the doctor told me everything looked good.  I went home thinking that was the end of that until next year, but I was wrong.
   The next week I got a call from my gynecologist telling me that my pap results came back abnormal and that I needed to come in for a biopsy.  I was a little shocked but not too worried at this point  So, I went back in to see my doctor.  When she examined me again she found the abnormal cells on the inside of my cervix, rather than the outside which is most common.  This is why she did not notice the problem during my initial exam.  Because of the placement of the abnormal cells and the fact that the pap results showed high grade abnormal cells, I had to have a LEEP procedure done, which is just a more extensive biopsy.  I was told they would call me the following week with the results of the biopsy.
   The very next day I received yet another call from my gynecologist, asking me to come in as soon as possible so that we could go over the results of the biopsy.  At this point, I knew it couldn't be good news.  I went in the next day and she told me that I had a rare type of cervical cancer and that it was invasive and fast progressing.  She referred me to an oncologist, who I was to meet with immediately, to determine what our course of action would be.
   The following week I went to my appointment with the oncologist.  After examining me herself and reviewing the results of my previous tests, she determined that I needed to have a radical hysterectomy that she would do as a robotic procedure.  I felt better now that we had a plan in place, but also saddened that I would not be able to have any more children.  Thankfully the Lord had already blessed my husband and I with two healthy, beautiful sons.
   I went in for my surgery a week and a half later on July 22, 2013.  The procedure took five hours, but the results were good.  The doctor was able to remove all of the cancer, and because she got it all I did not have to get radiation.  Also, my ovaries weren't affected by the cancer, so she was able to leave them in and prevent me from going into early menopause.  
   I am cancer free now and doing well, but have to get a pap smear every three months for the next couple of years to make sure it doesn't come back somewhere else.  My first one came back clear, and I am having my second pap in a few weeks and am hopeful that it comes back clear too.  I thank God every day for the blessings He has given me and the guidance and love he gave me throughout this time in my life.  I would not have been able to get through this with a positive attitude without the love of Christ, and without the prayers, love, and support I received from my family, friends, and church.
   I want to leave you with the message of how important it is to get your yearly pap smears.  I have always gone and had I missed this year, I would not be alive to raise my children.  I didn't know I was sick. I had no symptoms that I was aware of that indicated a health problem.  Now that I know more about cervical cancer, I realize the light bleeding I was experiencing after intercourse was a symptom, but at the time it didn't seem worrisome.  Getting a yearly pap saved my life because it allowed the cancer to be detected before it could spread too far, and I was able to be treated.  So again, please make sure you get a yearly pap smear done.  If you haven't had one in the last twelve months make your appointment now!  I am thankful that I am alive and able to spread the message to other women so that their lives saved too.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Cervical Cancer Awareness Month- Aimee's Story

I am Aimee's mother and I will try to tell her story.

 Our lives changed in March of 2011. Aimee decided to go to see a doctor, her period would not stop. I think her last visit to see a Gynecologist was about two years before this visit. Aimee was supposed to go back for some type of ablation. She told me it had nothing to do with her cervix. I remember her telling me that she had been bleeding for about a month!!! I told her then she needed to get in to see a doctor because that isn't normal. Aimee visited a clinic, she had quit her job to do her clinicals to be a surgical technician . What a time not to have insurance!!  Aimee was referred to see Dr. Pavelka, a gynecologist. Aimee said as soon as they seen her cervix she could tell by the way they talked it wasn't good. They drew her a picture to show her what the cervix looked like. The cervix was covered by a tumor, a biopsy was taken that day. Aimee had to go back to get the results and find out what the plan of action would be. I remember that day clearly....it was CANCER, a rare cancer that is usually found in the lungs!!! Small cell cervical cancer!!!  Aimee would start chemo on May the 7th, 2011. Aimee would endure chemo 3 days straight once a month for six months then have a  PET scan. Those treatments did a number on her body to say the least.  We ended up in the ER several times because she was passing out and having other issues with the kind of chemo she was getting. When Aimee was feeling good, between treatments,we stayed busy doing things together. We had Kings Island passes so we stayed at that park, she loved it. We went to festivals and walked and walked....she rarely complained. We started taking her a wheelchair so she could sit when she was hurting. At the end of the 6 months we were so happy, chemo would be over, have a hysterectomy and the cancer would be all gone. At least that's what we were praying for. The scan showed the tumor was pretty much gone but......the cancer had spread to lymph nodes in her chest and pelvic area. The chemo did not kill the cancer so more chemo. Aimee had one more treatment and decided she had had enough. She started having severe pain and was hospitalized several times. The pain doctor decided in order to stop her pain they would have to insert an epidural and do radiation. The pain got better but never went away.  Aimee got to spend Thanksgiving with the family but ended up at the ER a couple of days later. One of her legs had tripled in size and I noticed she wasn't urinating. The day she was being dismissed from the hospital she talked to the doctor and ask how long she had. That was the first time any doctor had told us it was stage four cancer. That was on Monday, the doctor told her she had about 18 months. Aimee died four days later, surrounded by lots of people that loved her dearly. 
 Aimee complained of low back pain and said she couldn't sleep on her side, she complained of the side pain for a couple of years. Aimee did visit her family doctor for the low back pain. He told her to have breast reduction!!!! Aimee fought it hard, but just couldn't beat it. Aimee was 33 years old when she died. She was the mother of one child, a daughter named Devin who was 12 years old. Aimee was going to school and was months away from graduating and loved what she was doing. Listen to your body if something doesn't seem right it probably isn't. Early detection is the key.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Cervical Cancer Awareness Month- Katie's story

My name is Katie. My story begins when I was 28 years old. I was recently married, and wanted to start a family. I went in for a routine PAP in 2011. I Had no symptoms going into the PAP. The doctor called with the results and my world fell apart. The results revealed that I had High grade squamous cell CIN3.  I'm doing well now and am on annual exams.

Thank you Katie for sharing your story. Your story shows women how important a yearly checkup is. Your story showed no signs. And your routine check-up just saved your life. I hope you reading Katie's story helps saves yours as well. Get your yearly screening!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Cervical Cancer Awareness Month- Marsha's Story

Hi my name is Marsha Madison. I am married, a mother of three children, and 9 grandchildren. 
What made me want to get things check out, was I kept cramping like I was going to start my menstrual, but it would never come. I put off my Pap test for years. I got my tubes tied back years ago, so I thought it was no need. I went to my family doctor and got a Pap smear done. They called me and told me that I need to see a gynecologist, and the test came back  abnormal. At that point I knew I messed up. I went to the gynecologist and had three procedures done. They were doing biopsies. The first three came back as no cancer, but my numbers were elevating. I had the leep procedure done at the end of March and went back in 6 weeks on May 16, 2013 for my results. I was told that the doctor needed to go in right away and get everything out, A total hysterectomy. I was numb, felt lost of words because if I had of been getting my Pap test done yearly maybe I would not be going through this situation with
cervical cancer. I had a total hysterectomy on May 23,2013. When I went back for for my check up he told me he think he got all the cancer, but he wanted me to see a specialist. At the same time I'm thinking (Think) the cancer is still there. I was so nervous! I saw the specialist the first week in August and there he told me I need a second surgery, and scheduled it for September 12, 2013. A robot hestorectory  and the lining of my wall and remove some of my girl part and lymph-nodes..Wow was I in bad pain! I had two major surgeries within 3 1/2 months apart and when I went back for those results I was told I was cancer free, no chemo and no radiation needed. God is so good!  I could not do anything, but thank God and cry! I have to be checked every 3-4 months for 3 years and after that every 6 months. It was all worth it to be cancer free, so ladies please stay up on your Pap smears! It can save your lives! Now I am dealing with lymphedema. This is where I have to be wrapped every day or where compressor stocking be on the machine and have very sharp pains where they took out the lymph-nodes in my stomach and other places. They say it could be scar tissue. Please keep me in your prayers.....God bless..

Monday, January 13, 2014

Cervical Cancer Awareness Month- Heidi's Story


My story is more my daughters story, but it also effected and changed my life also.
It is a mothers worst nightmare to hear your daughter has cancer.

It all started early spring of 2013. It started as a bad experience that turned into a blessing...
My daughter Heidi was just 28, a single mom to two little boys, 5 & 9. Her rocky relationship came to a point when she found out he was seeing another girl (and Heidi knew this girl and her reputation and  common knowledge of being with a lot of different men) and so Heidi made an appointment with a doctor to be screened for sexually transmitted diseases. Well the good news was there was no sign of any STD's, BUT the doctor said she needed to be seen by a specialist as he could see some "suspicious looking areas" that needed to be checked out ASAP.

After a couple appointments, a colposcopy was scheduled and after a LONG weeks wait for results. The call came, it was cervical cancer. NO SIGNS and NO SYMPTOMS, just her wanting to be sure he didn't give her any diseases.
Her doctor scheduled her for a "cold cone cut", he had to cut out a bigger area than he thought, and she had A LOT of pain from this, but the doctor assured us he was very confident he got it all. There was just one "funky looking area" he was a little concerned about, but otherwise, very confident. So we had to wait another week. After a long weekend of waiting and counting down days, the call started out, "We are very sorry to have to tell you this but..." The doctor was wrong, he did not get it all, and  she was being scheduled with an appointment with a gynecological oncologist 200 miles from home for a consult.

At the consult it was decided they would do a radical hysterectomy. Her surgery was scheduled to be a 1-2 day hospital stay. Well, surgery took "longer than they expected, 6 1/2 hours, but overall she did "fine". We had high hopes of being home in a day or 2. Heidi had one complication after another:!severe pain, vomiting, bowels not working, bladder not working, fevers. Our 1-2 days stay turned into12 days....12 LONG days of pain..tests..pain..vomiting..pain..bloating..and oh, did I mention severe pain?! Pain from bigger surgery, severe bloating, organs not working correctly..she was upset as being pregnant twice she did not have stretch marks, but the bloating was so severe that she got stretch marks from that! lol. She couldn't eat without causing severe pain and leading to vomiting.

After we finally got home, we thought we were on the road to recovery. Well, there was LOTS of complications that led to trips to the hospital 200 miles away, more 2-3 day hospital stays. Throughout  all this, the second hardest thing for Heidi was being away from her boys. She was never away from them for more than 2-3 days at a time.

Also rough was the "middle of the night chats" we had about the concerns and care of her 2 boys in the event she lost her battle, very hard for her as a young mom of those 2 boys, also heart wrenching for me to try to ease my baby's mind about her babies!!

Long story short:

NO further treatments to date. NO further tests to date.
Her first post cancer surgery check-up/tests are coming up in a week or 2.

To date - 9 months post surgery-Heidi still: DOES NOT have regular bowel movements, sometimes goes a week or more without any (even tho she takes something for it). DOES NOT urinate regularly, sometimes only goes once daily. STILL CAN'T eat a lot of foods, especially breads, pasta, pizza, etc., without causing severe pain within minutes of eating, making her almost afraid to eat a lot of days. BUT NONE of the doctors or specialists are concerned about this , OR about the fact that we have been told that because they left the ovaries when they did her hysterectomy, her chances of cancer returning went from single digit percentages (if they HAD taken the ovaries) to over 55% (because they left the ovaries). Ournconcerns and questions are many, but we have not received satisfactory answers or had our minds put to ease as of yet.

So this is our story. 

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Cervical Cancer Awareness Month- Nellie's Story

I lost my mom to cervical cancer when I was 8 years old. Her name is Nellie Meurer. Everyone who knew her called her Sissy.
She lost her battle to cervical cancer at the age of 32 on February 6,1999, 5 days before her birthday. 

In the Fall of 1997 she went to her doctor for bleeding during intercourse. They did a pap smear that came back normal. At the end of 1997 or beginning of 1998 she got a phone call saying her test results got mixed up with another woman's test. She then went to the doctor to find out she was at the end of stage 2 cervical cancer.  She  battled for almost 24 months before she ended up loosing her battle. She left behind her 3 children who were the ages of 6,8,10.

Story told by her daughter Amanda.

Cervical Cancer Awareness Month- Mandy's Story

My name is Mandi Powell. I'm 29 years old, and I would like to share a story about my battle with cervical cancer. 

My story is a little different than others, because mine started at such a young age. I was 16 when I first found out I had Pre-Cell Cervical Cancer. I started feeling sick, had unusual bleeding and irregular periods with lots of pain. I was so young I never dreamed it could be anything serious. I assumed that my body was just adjusting to my menstrual cycles. The symptoms got worse and I continued to get sick, and feel weak. So my mom made me a doctors appointment. My doctor sent me to the hospital to have an ultrasound done. That's when they discovered my Pre-Cervical Cancer cells. They said I needed to see a Gynecologist. I'm in a panic one because that's very over whelming news for me, and two because I had never seen a gynecologist before, so it was all new to me. I was terrified! They started doing pelvic exams and biopsies on me. I had to have a Laser Surgery done, which is a laser beam used to burn off cells. I spent a lot of time at the doctors. I had four different Laser Surgeries done before they got it all. It was the best feeling in the world knowing it could have been so much worse. I started feeling better and went on living my life the way a young girl should. When a couple years later it all came back. The symptoms were so much worse this time. I wanted to put it off. Not wanting to go through all of that again, I knew it was for the best that I go. I found out I was in the early stages of Cervical Cancer. I then had to have a Leep procedure done. This was the best approach for me since I was young and obviously wanted to have children, even though they said there was a chance that might never happen for me. After that I was in great health. I was having Pap Smears done every six months, then I was able to go once a year. I then went on to have my first child when I was almost 19. I was so thankful that I was able to survive my battle and start a family. When I was 20, I went for my yearly and it came back I had Pre-Cells once again. I went through all the same steps and was back to feeling great again. I had my second child when I was 22. After my second child, my doctor suggested I have my tubes tied. He thought it was for the best because my second pregnancy took a lot out of me. That pregnancy was very hard and I was very weak, so I had that procedure done, and I've had several other surgeries since then, including an ablation for my dysfunctional uterine bleeding, and a partial hysterectomy for my endometriosis all before turning 30. I'm so thankful to say I survived all of this at such a young age. I hope my story makes more young girls more aware of how serious your health is, and how important it is to see a gynecologist and get regular pap smears like you should. I know doctors and gynecologist can be scary, but please look past your fears because it could save your life.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Cervical Cancer Awareness Month- Katrina's Story

If anyone desires a wish to come TRUE, they must first capture a BUTTERFLY and WHISPER that WISH to it.


I had my Butterfly, January 30, 1985, her name is Katrina Danielle Fisher. Free spirited, stubborn, loving, giving, caring, feisty, and a person who believed in BUTTERFLIES, Hope, Faith and Love and the FUTURE


As we traveled through life together there was always a lot of LOVE, and Laughter, and Happiness, and the occasional time when mom and daughter butted heads, got angry with each other….But it never lasted long with my Feisty, BEAUTIFUL BUTTERFLY, who loved life and who celebrated her life by marching to the beat of a different drum.


In April 2012, Trina’s belly had swelled. This started back in November 2011. She would have an appetite, then not have an appetite. She had excruciating pain, trouble with BM’sfeeling full faster than usual, back pain that would keep her in the bed ,her weight went up and up, she was tired all the time, and had to urinate everytime we turned around. Then all the sudden she did not have to go as frequently. She was throwing up, and fatigue- OH MY GOSH, she was always tired. She has big dark circles under her eyes. Everything about the way she looked and acted had me SCARED. A MOMMA knows when something is WRONG WITHTHEIR BABY…….


Now mind you, she had just given birth to her 3rd child, a son Kamron Lee, on May 18, 2011. We visited Katrina and Kamron and Kevin all the time, but something was not right with my baby girl, I could tell. She had went for her 6 week checkup, and had been to the hospital several times for this bleeding- ONLY TO BE TOLD SHE WAS FINE!


In May, I took Katrina to a private OB- he tried to reset her period, he did a couple of other things, and we would go back and see him- she was getting no relief. And in between seeing him, she was in and out of the ER a total of 36 times! They always did blood work, CT Scans and internal exams, ultrasounds, only for them to tell her she was fine, the pain was in her head. All the while she was getting worse and worse.


Finally, the OB said we have to do a hysterectomy. So, on Aug. 8, 2012 she went in for the hysterectomy. They took my BEAUTIFUL DAUGHTER back and said, "she will see you in a couple of hours". Next thing I knew I was in the waiting room with my husband and the nurse called my name. I turned to my husband and said, “This isn’t good she has only been back there about 40 minutes!”


The nurse took David and I to a surgical consultation room (a private room). When I looked up here came in the Dr. – you could tell he was crying as a tear was rolling down his cheek, probably as he remembered he had delivered all of her children.Calli Hope age 4, Daniel Lee( who passed away at birth), and finally Kamron Lee about 1 ¾. He started out with, "I am so sorry to have to tell you this Kari, we are dealing with CANCER." I went numb, my mind spinning, my heart hitting the floor, everything swirling around me. Finally, I got a grip on things, and he explained once he got her to sleep, and totally relaxed and he internally checked, her cervix was like WOOD as he knocked on the desk. Through my tears and numbness and broken heartedness I asked him, "WHAT DO WE DO? IF THIS WAS YOUR WIFE, YOUR DAUGHTER, YOUR MOTHER WHAT WOULD YOU DO?” He said “I would get them to Birmingham UAB, WIC Hospital ASAP." I said, "Fine that’s what we will do."  HE said, "I will get her an appointment up there ASAP, as I want her there ASAP. " The Dr. and I walked back to the recovery room, arm in arm, my head resting on his shoulder, and I saw my BEAUTIFUL KATRINA. She was smiling and happy, she thought she had had the surgery, and it was over. He walked to one side of her bed, me to the other. He started to cry as he told her what he found. What had to be done, what to expect to be done in Birmingham. HE hugged her and held her, and said I will get everything setup ASAP Katrina, don’t worry about a thing.


We came home in shock and disbelief and numb and needless to say a million tears, but true to his WORD he had an appointment set up for August 15, 2012 at UAB WIC (Women’s and Infants Cancer Center). So, the day arrived and we drove up there. Katrina so full of life, and hopeful. I have pictures of her from that day where she looked gorgeous.


We arrived at WIC to meet Dr. Alvarez. What a wonderful man. And his staff were top notch. He confirmed our fears, it was CANCER. The Dr. said the day of surgery, the Dr. from our home town was saying she was stage C2, but in a matter of a week she went from a C2 to a 4B. She went through PET SCANS, CT SCANS, BLOODWORK, X-RAYS, you name it, every test imaginable she went through and they concluded “The OUTBACK” was the TREATMENT for her. We were sent home after meeting her OB -ONOCOLOGIST and Radiologist, and had a plan set up. THEY NEVER TOLD US KATRINA WAS GOING TO DIE. They had us so built up with HOPE; that that was not even in the realm of our possibilities. We came home started packing our things and were waiting for the one week mark to get there.


As we waited Katrina’s father and step-mom; (Ray and Tammy) got Calli, and our best friend from Florida came racing up here. Thank God she came rushing from Florida, the day she got here there was something wrong, terribly wrong with Katrina. Patty and I rushed her to our local ER, told them she was recently just diagnosed with cervical cancer. Katrina could hardly breathe. The next thing I know they are telling me they are flying her to Birmingham. Then the Dr. in the ER came in and said no it’s too risky, too unsafe, we  will be sending her by ambulance.  I asked why what the heck was going on? He said to Patty and I, “Katrina is in full blown RENAL FAILURE!”  Before I knew it they were there to get her, I held her hand, kissed her , and held her for a moment and said “I Love YOU Butterfly, Aunt Patty and I will be coming up behind the ambulance, but we are going to run home real quick and get our luggage.” She replied PLEASE hurry and don’t make me wait on you too long. LOL that was my Trina.


When Patty and I got to Birmingham Katrina was in surgery her kidneys were not working. She was drowning in her own fluid. They rushed her in to surgery without me being there. THANK GOD THEY DID!


As Patty and I sat and waited, and waited, and waited. Finally the Dr. came out and said everything went fine. HE mentioned the word Nepstronmy Tubes and something about her kidneys, and they had pulled 8 gallons of water off of her. My head was dizzy from everything he was saying, he said she coded once she got there, but everything was OK now. And she would be able to start her Treatments as scheduled.


As they came to get Patty and I, we both wondered what we were about to see as we entered Katrina’s room. There was my BEAUTIFUL GIRL; groggy, looking a lot less swollen, and smiling at us. After a while another Dr. came in, and was showing and explaining to us about the “TUBES” coming out of her kidneys. My God it looked like the Alaskan Pipeline. It looked uncomfortable, but she would never KNOW LIFE AGAIN WITHOUT THESE TUBES THAT SAVED HER LIFE. SHE WOULD DIE WITH THEM IN PLACE.

After that she started her Chemotherapy and Radiation- everyday 7a.m. Sometimes Chemo would take 2 hrs. Sometimes it would take all day, depending if she needed blood, or they could get the needle in to start it. I was screaming put in a PORT, put in a PICC LINE, but no one was listening. This just made us feel more and more like guinea pigs. One Dr. would come in and tell you one thing, and another Dr.would tell you something else. And sometimes you were bombarded with 20-30 Drs. at one time. One day Trina was at chemo, and as we got there she said “Mommy I am cold, can you run and get my blanket that you have your apartment?” I said “OK, I will be back in a few minutes”. As I was coming out of the apartment, my phone rings. It's my Katrina on the other end screaming and crying, “Mommy, just get here, just get here, I can’t take this anymore!” I flew, and ran into the Chemo room, and she was crying hysterically, blood running down her arms, the nurse telling her we got to get this in Katrina, she said matter of factly. I said “How many times have you all stuck her?" Trina piped up "32 times momma they can’t find anymore veins”. I said ”WHOA that is enough, I want see the Dr. now!" They got him, and I said “Why have you not put in a port or PICC Line in yet?” He said "ok we are directly admitting her right now for surgery to put in a PICC LINE, and a PICC LINE will be in place in just a little bit!”Sure enough the sweetest PICC LINE Nurse I ever met came to do Katrina’s PICC LINE…… I got to gown up and watch the entire procedure- AMAZING- First shot in PLACE……WOW…. And my Katrina, my HERO, went through that, the CHEMO, RADIATION, Brachy Therapy with such HOPE, FAITH, STRENGTH, DIGNITY and GRACE and a SENSE OF HUMOR.


Her brother RJ came from IL in October for a weekend visit to see his sister. On the day he was leaving he said, “I can’t leave her Mom, she is to sick, I need to be here and she needs me and you need me to take the load off!” He NEVER left her side. He was there caring for her when I was totally worn out. He held her hair back as she was throwing up, made sure her ice pitcher was constantly full, and she had water, he held her as she cried, he made her laugh, he never ever let  her go through anything ALONE. One night she got a pass from the hospital, and RJ said “Katrina what do you want to do?" She said, lI want a Daiquiri”. He said "ok fine, I will push you over to the Doubletree and we will get you a Daiquiri,"  and off they went! Soon they were back.  She thought she was buzzed from the Daiquiri, but what she did not know was her brother got her a “VIRGIN DAIQUIRI"! We didn’t want to take any chances with all the medicines she was on, so he ordered her the VIRGIN. She was so Happy, and Excited she got out for just a little bit…SHE HAD SO MUCH FUN!!!!

I can’t begin to tell you how many surgeries she went through, she developed DVT’s in both legs. First the Left one, her leg swelled to 88 cm and larger at times. Then the right one started in, and then they were putting stints in to make sure they (the blood clots) did not break off and travel to the heart, lungs or brain.  She developed heart problems. Everything you can imagine, my Butterfly went through.


Now, I will roll forward to Feb 28, 2013. Dr. A. walked in Trina’s room as Trina and I were visiting with our patient navigator Elyse.  He slowly walked in the room and greeted all of us, he then actually CLIMBED INTO THE BED WITH KATRINA, and took her in his arms, and started to cry. He told her there was nothing more that could be done. He was sending her home to die. The way they had discussed. She told him at some point "Dr. Alvarez, if it comes down to it and I am not going to make it, please let me go home to die, so I can have a death with dignity and be surrounded by the people I LOVE."  He told her, “If I had a magic wand I would WAVE it for YOU, because Katrina, I have grown to LOVE YOU and YOUR FIESTINESS and the way YOU HAVE HANDLED THIS WHOLE SITUATION AT YOUR AGE. If I could save one of my FAVORITE patients, IT WOULD BE YOU."


Friends and family came from near and far. Ray and Tammy( her father and step-mother) were here when we brought her home, as was her Uncle Robert Ellingsen, and her Brother Bradley, and Uncle Toby and Aunt Kari, Charity Heilman and of course her daughter, Calli Hope.Shortly after arriving home, Katy Ling our Hospice Nurse,  said it has gone to the bones……… TALK ABOUT PAIN…. And then a couple of weeks later she had some test done, and it was now in her brain. That cervical cancer had now spread to her blood, bones and brain and every vital organ. DEVESTATED is all I can say. My nights and days were filled with making sure she had the correct dosage of meds, emptying her urine bags, keeping her fed and clean, changing bandages to the PICC Line and her TUBES. ALL I could do was focus on her- and I was PROUD of her and she is MY HERO.  


Bobby and Leanne Kidd, Melanie Garner, Tiffany Popwell, Charlotte Pevehouse, Wade Young, Tiffany Caswell, Brother Billy Berry and his wife Gayle, Sandra Popwell, Pastor Gene Bridgeman and his wife Julie,  and all my FACEBOOK FRIENDS were following Trina’s progress on my page under Katrina’s Journey. Bobby and Leanne held a benefit to help cover her funeral cost. The community all came together in our time of need. Everyone in our lives who was suppose to be here during that time- was here- whether physically here or in spirit.

At the Benefit Singing with the Gospel Group "Anointed Harmony" that Bobby Kidd sings with, we were unsure on April 6th if Katrina would be able to make it that day. The family showed so we could thank everyone. My phone rang. It was Trina. She said "Momma, please send my brothers to get me, I may only be able to stay a few minutes cause I am sick." I said," if you are not feeling well people understand." She said "Send them, I need to be with everyone, and in God’s house today." I never told anyone Trina was on her way!


Bobby had made sure there was a chair, a big overstuffed chair if Trina should come. The group was singing, and the back doors opened up, it was my sons bringing Trina in by wheelchair. Everything STOPPED, Bobby Kidd up there singing, just cried, and said,"MY HERO just came through the door." And he came down and hugged her like he never wanted to let go. And then Susanne Coleman, one of the singers, had sung at Trina’s wedding, MY GOD IS ABLE and that was Trina’s song all through this JOURNEY- SANG THAT FOR TRINA RIGHT THEN AND THERE. Not a dry eye in the house, and Bobby sang ,I Can’t Even Walk Without Holding Your Hand! So many emotions that day. And Trina was in her glory. She LOVED EVERY MINUTE

OF IT –and felt up to staying for the entire Benefit. A young man walked up to Trina, he wanted to hug her, but was afraid he would hurt her, she told him “Get down here so I can HUG YOU SAM THOMAS!” And Tiffany Caswell hugged Trina, and Trina told me afterward “Momma, I think I was hugged by angel."

On April 17th Katrina went into in- patient Hospice Care at Gentvia Hospice in Columbus, GA. We all gathered. Everyone came. We fell in love with her nurses and staff. You could tell they loved Katrina. They did not treat her as a patient, but like a member of their own family. Thenway they touched her, talked to her, tenderly cared for her, help her, and were just not there for her, but us her family as well. We are forever grateful for THOSE BEAUTIFUL ANGELS.

And for all my friends that were there every minute they could be  to help me through it. I LOVE YOU GUYS.

Sadly, on May 3, 2013 at 6:15p.m. our BUTTERFLY ANGEL TOOK FLIGHT TO HER ETERNAL HOME. Katrina Danielle was just 28 years old and she left behind a husband, Kevin, a daughter Calli Hope 4 ½ and a son Kamron Lee who would have been Two 15 days later, and her FAMILY WHO LOVED AND ADORED HER.


Katrina would tell people about her cancer,"Listen to its whisper, it sneaks up on you and nobody knows your body better than you. If we can SAVE ONE LIFE because of Katrina’s Journey through the colors of Teal and White, it will have become HER REALITY, HER DREAM. So please get your sons and daughters vaccinated for the HPV Virus, and WOMEN get your SMEARS. And if YOU feel there is still something going on and something wrong don’t stop, keep going till YOU ARE SATISFIED. As Katrina would say "My God Is Able!”


By making a WISH and GIVING the


The WISH will be taken to