As soon as Autumn heard that she had cancer, she assumed worst.
"You have cancer" are words that no one wants to hear. Unfortunately, I heard them at 30 weeks pregnant with my daughter. I initially went to see my ob/gyn because I was bleeding. He found a polyp which he removed and would test, but claimed it really did not look like anything to be concerned about. I was worried, but everyone assured me that polyps were common and nothing to get nervous about.
The next day actually flew by and I was thinking I was in the clear because I hadn't received a call. That is until about 4:30 p.m. My Doctor called me at work to inform me that I indeed did have cancer. The polyp that he removed the previous day tested positive for Large Cell Neuro Endocrine Carcinoma of the cervix.
I honestly only remember bits and pieces of the conversation. He told me that I would be having my daughter in two weeks via c-section and I would have a radical hysterectomy to follow. After that I was to have four rounds of chemo. My Doctor also told me that this type of cancer is very rare and aggressive and we really needed to act quickly. I was scheduled that next week to see an ob/gyn oncologist and we would go from there with any further appointments.
After I hung up the phone it all started to sink in. I have cancer.
That is a huge pill to swallow. I knew I had to get home and tell my husband. Telling him was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. We had been through so much in the past three years with infertility and then losing our son. I immediately jumped to the worst possible conclusions. This cancer diagnosis marked almost a year since we lost our son and now I may not be able to raise my daughter. I didn't want to have to deliver more bad news.
I just kept thinking how life can be so incredibly unfair. After everyone was asleep that night I had a much deserved crying session. I cried for my daughter and the hardships she would face. I cried for my hair and the other things chemo would do to my body. I cried because I knew I would not be able to have any more children. I cried for the unknown. I cried while imagining the worst.
The appointment came pretty quickly and we decided to go ahead and do a CT scan. We wanted to see if the cancer had spread beyond my cervix. Luckily it hadn't, so we stuck with the original plan. After talking with a NICU Doctor and my ob/gyn I felt better about having my daughter early. The way they put it to me was, "Your daughter will not remember being in the NICU but she will remember a life without you." I think I will always have guilt about having her early but I feel we made the right decision.
The next two weeks flew by and we awoke early on October 16, 2012 for my C-section and hysterectomy to follow. At 8:32 a.m. that morning I heard the cry I had been waiting to hear for so long. I was able to see my daughter's face and then she was whisked off to the NICU and I was whisked off to sleep. When I awoke I was happy to learn that I was able to keep my ovaries. The cancer had been contained to my cervix only and when the path came back I learned I was stage 1b.
After four rounds of chemo I entered remission in February 2013. I still have three more years of scans left but I will take a scan any day over treatment. My daughter is now a happy and healthy three year old who does not remember being in the NICU.
If I'm faced with another life-threatening emergency in life, I will probably assume the worst again, even though I was wrong this time. I think it's human nature after being through as much as I've experienced. But I'm here to tell you that if you're reading this right now and assuming that the worst is going to happen to you, take a second to take a deep breath.
I learned that having a positive attitude is one of the most important parts of receiving a cancer diagnosis. A positive attitude and outlook will take you through your diagnosis, treatment and beyond. You need to be positive to be able to keep fighting and win. Take it one day at a time and remember, cancer is a word, not a sentence.