I’ve always taken good care of myself. I was sure to try and eat healthy, exercise when I could, and always had an annual doctor’s exam. I did what I needed to do to make sure that I could live the fullest life possible. I placed my faith in God and knew I was in good hands. But the spring of 2018 presented a challenge like no other…
I began to experience some unusual post-menopausal spotting in April, which raised some concerns, so I made a call to my doctor to set up an appointment. My doctor performed several different tests and scans and called to tell me to come back for a follow-up appointment a week or so later. I didn’t think much of the follow-up until the she told me to bring my husband before we hung up. Bring my husband? My mind started to race and I began to worry. I prayed for the best and tried to ease my nerves as best I could as I waited for the appointment.
When I got to my doctor’s office, she sat us down, explained the test results and then explained that they found a tumor on my uterus, which turned out to be positive for cancer. My mind immediately went blank. It was like I couldn’t think; I heard them talking, I heard what was being said, but nothing was processing. The news just came as such a shock! I thought, “How could this happen to me?” I’ve taken care of myself; I went to all of my doctor’s appointments, I prayed for no cancer! It was simply the news I never wanted and now had to face.
After getting home from the appointment, I spoke with my husband and we decided that we needed to share the news with our children. We decided to make a trip to visit, we would have dinner, and then tell them when everyone was together. So, we did just that. When I shared the news, I could see the shock and fear in their eyes. One of my sons said, “Mom, cancer?” And all I could do is answer him, “Yes! The big C.” But I told them not to worry, not be fearful, that we would get through this.
My treatment planned began with the removal of the tumor and a total hysterectomy. The procedure went well, the doctors were confident in the outcome, and we moved forward with my plan. The next step was “sandwich therapy” which included 3 rounds of chemo, followed by 6 weeks of radiation, finished with 3 more rounds of chemo. Treatment was hard; I experienced many of the known side effects and struggled with finding the energy to do daily tasks. I was so grateful to have my family and friends there for me to help me through the journey. I was also grateful for my faith, my prayers, and my God. While I had always prayed to not get cancer, having watched my mom lose her battle, I put my confidence in knowing He had a larger plan in the works. I know my prayers, and the prayers of so many others, helped lift me up and lift my spirits to keep fighting and keep pushing through.
Among my many blessings, I was blessed with a place like the Breast & GYN Cancer Pavilion. Everyone there is so incredibly nice and compassionate. Every time you walk in the door, they know you and greet you by name, and that makes such a difference. I knew why I was there, but everyone did such an amazing job to comfort and support me and just make me feel loved. And when you feel loved and supported, that makes your world and that makes everything better.
I knew that I wasn’t alone in my circumstances, and that there were so many other women going through similar situations, so I did what I could to stay positive and pass that positivity along to others. I made sure to attend the cancer support groups and be a support to others. I made sure to reach out and help who I could, how I could, even if it was a simple hug or a silent prayer.
We go through life everyday, and often don’t take the time to think of how precious a gift that is. And since all of this, I have just become so grateful for each and every moment. Every morning I take a few minutes to be grateful and thank God for another day. I thank him that I’m still here with my husband, I’m still here to be with my family, I’m still here to do what I’m meant to do. And I take a moment to be thankful for not only a facility like the Breast & GYN Cancer Pavilion, but for the people that work within it.
I’m Rosa. I’m a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a woman of faith, a GYN cancer survivor, and I am the sisterhood.