I am writing you this letter because I feel that I have been blessed with a wonderful miracle. I was diagnosed with cervical cancer 13 years ago. The cancer was found as a result of an irregular pap smear. When my doctor told me the news, the first thing that came to my mind was "the Lord is going to work it out". My doctor, Dr. Stephen Blank, immediately scheduled and performed the procedure Cone Biopsy that confirmed the fact that I had cervical cancer. Dr. Blank explained that he could perform the Cone Biopsy again in an attempt to remove the cancerous cells or worst case, I would have to undergo a complete hysterectomy. He recommended I obtain a 2nd opinion before making any decision and referred me to a Gynecologic Oncologist, Dr. Benedict Benigno.
Dr. Benigno examined me and concluded that because the cancer was so close to my uterus, I should have a complete hysterectomy. (Neither Dr. Blank nor Dr. Benigno ever discussed chemotherapy or radiation as an alternative to a hysterectomy.) Through all of this shocking news, my spirit remained positive. My faith in the Lord Jesus Christ kept me strong. Dr. Benigno also explained to me that there were no options except surgery. I was 29 years old at the time and the doctor was very concerned about someone having such a major surgery at my age. He was also very concerned about me not having or being able to bare children if I had a hysterectomy. However, my health was first priority. Dr. Benigno recommended I go home, digest all of the information I^d been given, and discuss it with my family before making a decision.
My primary concern was my health. I knew that I could always adopt a child. I even considered using today^s technology and asking my mother to carry my child (my ovaries were fine). After much discussion with my husband, at the time, and much prayer, I decided to have surgery. Once again I met with my doctor, Dr. Bengnio, and set a date for surgery-June 12, 1998.
On June 12 as I was getting out of bed, I begin thanking the Lord and asking him to give me strength as I prepared to undergo this major surgery. As I completed my shower and stepped out, the phone rang. Dr. Benigno^s office was on the line saying that the doctor wanted me to come in to his office as soon as possible. I went into the office accompanied by my loving family. I must tell you, the love and support from my family and friends was unbelievable. I could not have had more supportive or loving people around me. Dr. Benigno sat us all down in his office and told us that my family and I had so inspired and touched him that he felt a sincere concern to take my situation and my diagnosis to his weekly board meeting. He wanted to discuss my prognosis with them once again. One of the board members, Dr. Mathew Burrell, stated that he could do a procedure that would remove my cervix while keeping my uterus and making it possible for me to still conceive and bare children. Dr. Benigno asked Dr. Burrell to share this information with my family and me just hours before my previously scheduled surgery.
Dr. Burrell explained that he could remove my cancerous cervix and attach my uterus to my vagina/pelvic and this would allow me to bare children. He explained that this procedure is very unique. This surgical procedure had only been performed on six patients int he United States and approximately 1200 patients in Europe where it was originated.
I was the seventh U.S. patient to have this particular surgery. After about 30 minutes of listening to Dr. Burrell and what he could do to make it possible for me to have children, I knew that my prayers along with those of my husband, family and friends, had all been answered.
On July 13, 1998 Dr. Burrell performed this unique surgery and it was very successful. After the recuperative period and around the first part of 1999, my husband and I started to see if I could get pregnant. We tried for about eight or nine months without success. We decided to consult a fertility specialist. Around October 0f 1999, my husband and I began seeing a Reproductive Infertility Specialist, Dr. Lisa Hasty. Dr. Hasty examined me and decided that she wanted to do a Dye examine. She also wanted to check my husband with a semen specimen. My husband checked out wonderfully but I did not. Dr. Hasty saw from the Dye examination that my fallopian tubes were blocked. The blockage was scar tissue that probably occurred as a result of my surgery. She respectfully told my husband and me that we should have the In Vitro Fertilization done.
My husband and I were more that a little discouraged by this news. Not only is In Vitro Fertilization costly, but my tubes were blocked and my cervix had been surgically removed. We felt that we were back to the drawing board. Nevertheless, the two if us kept a strong faith in God and a positive attitude. We began to consider having the In Vitro Fertilization procedure but did not proceed with it. After the first of the year in 2000, we both said that we were not going to let this current situation stress us out. If I became pregnant, GREAT, we would rejoice and be happy. Well the rejoicing has begun!
On March 18, 2000, I told my husband that I felt nausea. We went out for breakfast to Cracker Barrell and I could only take in one or two mouth fulls. Not being able to eat was really aggravating because I didn^t know what was wrong.
Because of my nausea and inability to eat, I purchased an in-home pregnancy test. With a little apprehension and a lot of hopefulness, my husband and I read the results. Sure enough the test results were POSITIVE! We both wanted to scream for joy. We decided that I would call the doctor first thing Monday morning. Dr. Stephen Blank, the doctor who originally diagnosed me, confirmed that I was 6 weeks pregnant.
I am writing my story to let you and world know that my husband and I have been truly blessed, time and time again. I was cured from cancer and now I am pregnant. Seven months later , our daughter bounced into this world weighing only 2 lbs 12oz. Autumn was hospitalized for 5 weeks. With little apprehension but a lot of excitement, Sterling and I had finally become proud parents of a true miracle.
Autumn is now 11 years old and her health could not be any better. I hope that my story will touch others and help them remain positive. My faith in the Lord Jesus Christ kept me strong.