Survivors

Survivors
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  • Colleen
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  • I am a cancer survivor
  • Female cancer runs ramped in my biological mother’s family. I was fortunate enough to find this information and be proactive. I was diagnosed with Ductal Carcinoma In Situ (a form of non-invasive breast cancer)in 2000 and came through that experience relatively unscathed. I was 32 at the time. In the summer of 2006 I was in the process of moving back to my hometown and had been under a tremendous amount of stress when I started noticing some symptoms having to do with my menstrual cycles and a discharge. I was diligent in going to my well woman checkups every year and was not due back until October of 2006. Because of this fact I was not too concerned and went in to the doctor thinking I had an infection of some sort. My world was about to change forever. After several days of pathology and exams from different doctors, we had a diagnosis; I had Small Cell Neuroendocrine Carcinoma of the Uterine Cervix or Small Cell Cervical Cancer (SCCC). It was advanced and very aggressive. I did not have HPV and the prognosis was poor. Very little is known about this type of cervical cancer and how it works, so my doctors coordinated my treatment with doctors from UCLA and Mass Gen. I went through 6 rounds of carboplatin with etoposide, then 4 rounds with cistplatin and etoposide. In the middle of my chemo I underwent 40 days of external radiation to my pelvic area along with 4 treatments of internal radiation. I never had a hysterectomy as time was of the essence and waiting to heal before starting treatment was not an option. The main thing about small cell is it responds well to chemo and radiation and starting treatment immediately was my best bet for survival. Because I did not have surgery it was never distinguished whether or not my cancer had spread outside the pelvic walls or if the lymph nodes were involved. I decided they weren’t. This cancer usually recurs within the 6 to 8 month range after diagnosis and I have been cancer free for 18 months and more than two years since diagnosis. I felt isolated from the other cervical cancer patients because no one had this type and I felt no one knew how bad this really was. Since recovering from treatment, I found a woman surviving cancer free just a few months shy of what I am. We clicked immediately and designed a website to help people just like the two of us; seeking support from others who are going through the same battle. We also wanted to give cervical cancer a voice. I am a published author. I wrote a book when I was sick and it was published in the spring. It isn\^t just about surviving cancer but surviving life as well. I have written a few articles on the internet about my journey with SCCC. Before my illness I was a time/money/lifestyle management teacher and public speaker on the subject. Through all of this I have realized that no matter what the diagnosis and even the woman dealing with HPV and have not been diagnosed with cancer; that we are all in this together. We need to educate the public. We need to empower young girls to be pro-active and we need to find a cure for cervical cancer. I intend to help in any way I can. I will use the gifts that God has given me to make a positive change.
  • 10-20 -2008
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