ENCOURAGING OTHERS AFTER SURVIVING CANCER
Mary was originally diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2010. Because her cancer was detected early, she only had to undergo one surgery.
How were you diagnosed with cervical cancer?
In 2010, I felt itching in my private area. A friend told me to have it checked, so I went to the hospital. They referred me directly to AMPATH Oncology and I set up an appointment for the next day. The doctor examined me and took a test. I needed to wait 3 months to get the results, but it felt like 30 years. When the results came back, my doctor told me that I had cervical cancer Stage 1a1, which means that we detected it very early and my odds were very good.
What was your treatment?
My doctor recommended I have surgery very soon and not wait for the cancer to spread. My husband and my family were very supportive and told me to have the surgery even sooner. I had my surgery on March 8th, 2010, and was discharged 7 days later. I felt quite good. Since the cancer was detected so early, I did not need to have chemotherapy or radiation. My doctor told me to come back after 1 month, which I did. Then he told me that they would monitor me for 2 years to make sure the cancer did not return, but then extended that to 5 years. So for 5 years, I came to the clinic on the 1st Wednesday of every month to be checked. I did this until February of 2016, when I was finally told that I am officially a cancer survivor!
How was your experience with AMPATH?
The nurses and doctors at AMPATH are very good. They understood my cancer and were concerned for my health. They healed me!
How important was the support from your family and friends?
I was blessed with much support during my cancer treatment. My husband and family supported me both emotionally and financially from the day I was diagnosed to the day I was called a cancer survivor. I am also a teacher, and my principal and students were very supportive as well during my treatment and recovery.
What do you tell other women about your experiences?
People do not like to talk about cancer, but it is important for women to go for regular screenings – at least once or twice a year. It is better to detect the cancer early. I speak to them privately about the examinations and try to tell them not to be embarrassed. I also speak to the husbands and tell them to have their wives checked and to check their own bodies for any cancer. And if you are diagnosed with cancer, don’t give up hope. Many times, you can survive cancer if you follow the doctor’s advice.