Since September is National Gynecological Cancer Awareness Month (symbolized by a peach-colored ribbon) and to honor all women fighting cancer, I would like to share my fight with you! Don’t worry, it has a good ending—I am a one-year survivor of uterine cancer!
The pain started right after I gave birth to my daughter, at age 19. Months prior, I had just started my Premier Jewelry business and promoted to Builder. I was focused on promoting to Designer and making a career out this “little jewelry business.” When my pain started to interfere with my daily life and caused interruptions in my business, I sought medical advice. The doctors claimed that it “was just pain related to giving birth.” I believed them; they were the professionals, right?! Well, a year after my daughter was born, the abdominal pain increasingly grew and would occasionally affect my ability to walk.
Despite the fact that my “new normal” was constant pain, I was determined that it was not going to keep me from growing my Premier Business! In fact, I was adamant to become successful and totally prepared to push through anything that tried to get in my way—especially the pain.
Thanks to my earnestness, I was awarded a trip to Premier’s Haven of Hope with my upline. I accepted the invitation with aspirations to receive training and business tips to help my business flourish. But, folks, it turns out that I would actually leave that place with something far greater than I could have ever imagined!
On that wonderful November day, miles from my home, I became the recipient of something that would change my life! I received something that instantly made me feel extremely giddy, grateful, amazing, wonderful, spectacular, joyful, happy, and peaceful—I accepted the gift of JESUS CHRIST into my heart!
That’s right, y’all, Miss Tandy Flynn became my spiritual mama right there at Haven of Hope! When I shared my troubles and my desires for “something more!” She introduced me to the most important “something more” that I could have ever needed. She spoke of the Father and how He so loved me—even though I had never really known His name!
My pain continued and I was grateful for Premier’s no quotas policy because I could not walk, much less show my beautiful jewels! Ultimately I had to take a medical leave of absence from my Premier business as I ventured to find an answer to my pain.
I started with the gynecologist. After exploratory laparoscopic surgery, he said that everything looked good, with the exception of the beginning stages of endometriosis. He reassured me that, while there was no cure for endometriosis, the pain should be drastically reduced as he carefully excised the lesions. You guessed it—I believed him; he was the expert!
In March of 2015, I was in Atlanta, when the worst attack yet nearly took my life. I had just begun eating lunch. After one bite I knew that I would not be finishing the rest of my meal.
I waddled to my hotel room as fast as I could. Once in my room, an insane pain unlike anything I’d ever felt came over my body, causing me to pass out. Once I missed my 2 pm meeting, my supervisor came to my room and found me unconscious. I was rushed to the nearest Atlanta hospital, where they discovered that a softball-sized cyst on my left ovary had ruptured. It had been growing for over 3 years!
Three days later I received the news that would change my life forever—I had Stage 0 Grade A Endometrial Cancer (meaning that Cancer cells were only found in the surface layer of cells of the endometrium). I can’t begin to describe my feelings! It had taken doctors seven years to determine the cause of my pain. Oh, I was so angry! I was disappointed! I was sad! I would say that, at that moment, I experienced every emotion that exists—all at the same time!
On July 7, 2015, my pain would finally come to an end! Thanks to many of my Premier friends God brought into my life many years earlier, the amazing ladies in my Uterine Cancer Support Group, my soccer family and my Godly church friends, I agreed to undergo a radical hysterectomy—removing both of my ovaries, uterus and cervix.
Oh, our God is so good! By the time I agreed to have surgery, the cancer had grown to my cervix and began to cover my colon! Had I waited even one more day, my colon would have ruptured causing major side effects—including death!
Folks, this cancer is no joke! It does not discriminate! And unless you know the signs, you may not be receiving the proper treatment. Do you want to know a disheartening fact about this whole experience? The doctors admitted to me, after my surgery that I was so young that they never thought to check for cancer!
I pray that my story will inspire you to, not only schedule your wellness exam today, but to encourage the women in your lives to do the same! Make sure you know the signs and symptoms so that you can ensure that you are receiving proper treatment! It is extremely important that you recognize the signs so that you can take hold of your own life and make the doctors check for that cancer, no matter your age!