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HealthIamA 27yo woman finishing cancer treatment in two weeks! AMA!

May 30th 2017 by MrsHazel • 12 Questions • 39 Points

Super bored while stuck at home. Help me alleviate some boredom! AMA about my cancer or life or whatever! Cervical cancer - four surgeries so far - multiple rounds of chemo and radiation under my belt. Ending chemo and have one more surgery to go before I'll hopefully be declared cancer free!

Proof: ummmm I guess here's a hospital pic of me getting chemo? http://imgur.com/bVzzIax

Q:

I'm sorry you have to go through all that! I was diagnosed with Thyroid cancer at 26 but that was a walk in the park compared to what you've been through.

Have you been sticking with the baldness or wiggling it up? I think baldness works on some women and shouldn't hold such a negative stigma in society.

A:

I thought for sure I was going to wig it up but I never ended up getting one! I wore a lot of head scarves the first few weeks of being bald but then just decided, eff it, and embraced the bald. It's weird though because every once in awhile I go to "adjust" my hair when obviously it's not there. My husband says I have phantom hair lol!

Congrats on beating thyroid :) any cancer is tough!


Q:

Congratulations!!,

thanks for the AMA, some questions for you.

1) How are you doing? And how do you feel? 2) Which was the hardest part of chemo? 3) How did you found out, and what was your reaction? 4) Did you have a "I love life" realization after all of this?, I mean, are you gonna change your life in anyway, or life just goes on? 5) Do you have any crazy plan from now on? like traveling, etc 6) Do you have a bf :)

A:

1) I am doing....alright. I'm feeling pretty crappy right now due to my chemo last week, the joint pain makes me feel like I'm 110 years old with arthritis in every joint lol so some days are harder than others.

2) Jeez....honestly there were a lot of hard parts. Losing my hair was huge. I think a lot of times for a woman hair is equal to femininity and that was definitely the case for me. The bone pain though is especially rough. There are days where I can't stand on my own or get out of bed.

3) I found out last June. I hadn't had a pap smear in three years (GET YOUR PAPS LADIES) and it came back abnormal. I was sent to a specialist and had a colposcopy and a LEEP which then determined it was cancer. My reaction was very not good. I have no children but desperately want them. I can no longer carry a child due to my surgeries and that realization was extremely difficult for me. Luckily we were able to harvest eggs and we now have four successfully frozen embryos awaiting a surrogate :)

4) I definitely do! I have so much more life to live and even though I'm terrified of having a recurrence I plan on living life to the fullest. I'm not really changing my life in any big way but I definitely want to be more proactive about getting out there and doing things that I might not have before.

5) No crazy plans as of yet! Cancer treatment is expensive haha so while I would LOVE to travel and see more of the world, it's just to in the cards for me currently. (I haven't been working since last year due to being in the hospital basically all the friggin time)

6) I have a wonderful husband! We got married in February and he has taken amazing care of me in the last year since I've been sick.

Thanks for all the questions!!!!


Q:

Thank you so much for answering.

Now that you are talking about Paps, My GF had a pap 2 weeks ago, and it went wrong because she started bleeding (iAnotagirl but that is not normal out of period)... We are still waiting for the results, she is super scared... I just hope everything is OK.

Once again thank you, I wish you the very best :)

A:

Good luck to her! Some bleeding can just be from a mishap on the doctors end, so I'll hope that's what it is for her! Good luck with everything and if she (or you!) needs any support or advice if it DOES come back with a bad result feel free to inbox me! I've been through every step of a bad pap so I know the drill!


Q:

How does it feel to KNOW you are epic?

A:

Am I epic?! I don't think so lol a lot of people deserve that title before it would get to me!


Q:

Well you might not think you are, but I, and I'm sure many others here would agree, you ARE epic.

A:

Aww well thank you! ❤️


Q:

What have you learned about life through this ordeal?

A:

Oh man...to not mess around with taking care of your health. There's a good chance that if I would have kept up with my yearly paps that we could have caught this before it turned into cancer. Instead, here I am at 27 with multiple surgeries and chemos under my belt, unable to carry children, and constantly living with the fear that I will have a recurrence.

It's really been something I've been hardcore advocating with my friends and family: get your medical check ups when you're supposed to.


Q:

hows it feel to finally beat cancer but realise you became the cancer? just kidding, you look absolutely radiant in that pic :)

A:

I've been trying really hard to come up with a witty response but I just can't seem to lol I blame chemo brain shrug

and thank you, that's very kind of you :)


Q:
  1. What are your chemo drugs called?
  2. How often did you receive them?
  3. What kind of radiation did you receive (I assume involved site?)
  4. Do you have a medical port?
  5. Did you have nausea?
  6. If your cancer were to return, what would be the next step in treatment?
A:

I'm going to combine one and two - My first round of chemo was cisplatin, I received it once a week for I think just about two months (can't really remember honestly, that was during radiation and my brain was not functioning well in that time) My second round was a double dose - I had both carboplatin and paclitaxel which I received once every three weeks, the side effects were much stronger so waiting three weeks between doses gave me time to recover a bit.

3) This is going to sound ridiculous but I honestly don't remember what it was called. I would lie down on a table and a giant machine would move around me for like 15 minutes concentrating on my abdomen/pelvic area. To be honest, my radiation therapy came right after I found out I wasn't going to be able to ever carry children and my mindset was er....not good at that time to say the least.

4) I do! It's a pain. I hate it. I get it out June 13th and I am SO excited.

5) Oh god, yes. The nausea and throwing up has been HORRIBLE.


Q:
  1. What are your chemo drugs called?
  2. How often did you receive them?
  3. What kind of radiation did you receive (I assume involved site?)
  4. Do you have a medical port?
  5. Did you have nausea?
  6. If your cancer were to return, what would be the next step in treatment?
A:

I Just realized while scrolling I missed your last question in your original post! If the cancer comes back I honestly am not sure of the next step. Since I've had a trachelectomy (sp?) and hysterectomy there's really nothing left to take out lol I assume it would be another combination of chemo and radiation. Possibly surgery if the cancer has spread to somewhere new or developed a tumor that needed taken out.


Q:

Btw congratulations on finishing (or almost finishing). I feel like everyone's cancer experience was scarier than mine lol

A:

Thank you! I think any cancer experience is scary! Congrats on being cancer free :) what a relief I'm sure!!


Q:

which drugs/therapies have you found most useful for alleviating pain/discomfort? what are the more exotic ones you've looked into?

A:

Well after my surgeries I was prescribed Oxycodone which helped a lot. Later on they switched me to percocet which helped with the pain but sadly made me EXTREMELY sick to my stomach so I just avoid taking them now. I also do Gabapentin to help with my neuropathy (which is really bad right now, so I'm trying to be careful about typing but apologies for any errors)

I've had lots of friends recommend different things. Everything from essential oils to acupuncture to weed. I've not tried them though. I guess for me I just chose to stay on the medically prescribed stuff than to try anything outside or holistic or whatever. It's just not my thing. My sister in law is a huge proponent for the "natural" way and tries to shove essential oils at me every time we see her. It drives me nuts.


Q:

What was your initial reaction to finding out you had cancer? How did you stay strong through the process of knowing your life could end young?

A:

Oh jeez....so my husband (then boyfriend) and I had just got home from vacation and just moved not a new house so our lives were a little crazy at the time. My doctor called while I was unpacking boxes and told me over the phone. I literally just sank to the ground. I didn't initially cry or anything until I picked my phone back up to call my mom who was out of state at a business meeting. As soon as I hit the call button I started bawling, I couldn't even articulate what had happened so she basically hung up on me (I don't think I even noticed) and called my grandmother to come to the house because she lives two streets away. My husband is an arborist so my grandma called his boss (friend of ours) and they had him come down out of the tree and come home before he even knew what was going on. I had always known it was a possibility, my mom had ovarian cancer and my grandma had cervical cancer, but both of them caught it early enough that they had a small surgery and it was over - they both had also already had children when they found out.

There were a couple times where I just felt like giving up. I had my first surgery that was supposed to be the end of it (a trachelectomy [sp?] aka removal of the cervix) but they had taken lymph nodes as well and found out that my cancer had gone to my lymph nodes. Once it was found out it was decided that I had to have a hysterectomy and radiation/chemo. That's when I really fell into depression for the first time.

I guess I stayed strong because of my family. My husband was there every step of the way and my mom and grandma accompanied me to all my appointments that he couldn't be at. Without them I would probably have just let myself die to be honest.