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I am a below knee amputee. More importantly, I am also Mommy to two boys, a very active 10 year old (Robby) and an mischievous toddler (Timmy). I have learned that being a parent with a disability can create some unusual and sometimes humorous situations. This blogger is available for hire! Let's talk and learn how a blog can expand your business.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Learn From My Experience

It is hard to believe that January is halfway gone. I had meant to write about this topic earlier, but I never quite got around to it. I would be remiss if I didn't take this opportunity to discuss an issue that is near to my heart (and my health). After all, January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month. 

I am a cervical cancer survivor. Although I don't discuss this part of my life often, the cancer experience has shaped who I am now and how I view the world. I am grateful that I have nearly 9 years of being cervical cancer free, yet I remain vigilant and guarded about my health. I continue to live in fear of hearing the doctor tell me that I have cancer again, but I also know that I owe it to myself and to my family and friends to stay proactive about my cancer screenings.

All too often fear of a positive diagnosis keeps people from seeking cancer screenings. Let me assure you that those pesky and dangerous cells will continue to grow whether or not you know that they are present. As with most diseases, early diagnosis is the key to successful treatment.

I have no doubt that my life would be very different had I not given in to my mother's nagging. I knew that "something" was wrong, but I was in my 20's and busy with life. I knew in my heart that there was no way I could be diagnosed with cancer. After a series of phone calls and requests, I finally appeased my Mom and scheduled an appointment with my doctor. Although my physician took swabs to determine a diagnosis, I considered it a test to prove my mother wrong. 

Unfortunately, she was correct and I had cancer. Those words struck me to my core and the memory continues to elicit a visceral reaction. I am alive and healthy now squarely because I got tested. I can never thank my Mom enough because I truly believe that she helped to save my life.

Cancer is a terrifying diagnosis, but beating the disease is a realistic and attainable goal if it is diagnosed early. Not knowing that your body is being ravaged from the inside out can be a catastrophic disadvantage. I found out I had cancer, was able to receive treatment and have continued to live a wonderful life. Being a cancer survivor is part of who I am, but it does not define me. I am a mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend, writer, amputee, and advocate. If I hadn't been tested and treated, none of these roles would be possible. I would simply be known as "dearly departed." 

I am urging all of my female friends and readers to get tested for cervical cancer. Yes, going to the gynecologist is an inconvenience at best. Nobody relishes being exposed in the stirrups, but a few moments of embarrassment is a fair trade for the rest of your life. Learn from my experience: if cervical cancer can happen to me it could happen to you.  Getting swabbed just might save your life!

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