I’m 17, and I’ll never be able to have kids.
September 26th, 2012, was the day my life changed forever. I was diagnosed with Clear-cell Endocervical Adenocarcinoma. Cervical cancer is literally unheard of in my case: a 17 year old virgin, HPV negative.
It was homecoming week. My LAST homecoming week. I’m a senior in highschool; I was high on life. I was so insanely happy at this point in my life. I really didn’t think anything could knock me down. This story is extremely personal and graphic to say the least, but I want to tell everyone. I want everyone to know that I am strong enough to deal with this. This is my new reality. If I am strong enough to deal with it, then so are all the other teens in the world who have to deal with cancer. It sucks, and it’s scary, and it’s NOT fun. But, even though my journey has just begun, I’ve already had some great experiences and met some amazing people that I wouldn’t have if I hadn’t have been diagnosed.
It all started in summer. I had noticed in the past year that strange things were going on in my feminine area. I had been having excessive discharge for a long time. But, in summer, I was starting to bleed when it wasn’t time for my period. It was happening more and more until it became an everyday thing. I didn’t really think it was a big deal at the time. I am a virgin. So, I mean what could possibly be wrong with me? I was thinking probably just a little infection that would go away. I was wrong.
I figured it was time that I tell my mom what was going on and go to the doctor, but I was so terrified of going to the “girl” doctor. I kept putting it off. I really wish I hadn’t of put it off. When I finally decided to tell my mom, she was concerned and immediately called the doctor and scheduled me an appointment for September 18th. It was two weeks off, so I wasn’t really concerned about it yet.
The day finally came for me to go to the doctor. It was a traumatic experience for me because it was painful. I had to go into the examination room, strip down, and open my legs to someone I had just met, and let them look at my personal area. EW, RIGHT? I was absolutely terrified. The fact that I am virgin made it painful enough, but to add to it, the doctor told me I was abnormally tiny down there. Great. As he was examining me, he spotted an area on my cervix that looked rather questionable. He said that it looked like a cyst. He took a few swabs and was done. He perscribed some antibiotics for me to take and scheduled a follow up a week later. He was assuming it was just infection, but he wanted to do a pelvic ultrasound at the follow up just to make sure. I was relieved that he thought it was just infection.
As we were pulling out of the parking lot, we passed a building with sign on it that said “Cancer Rehabilitation Center.” I stared at the word “cancer.” I had a feeling in the pit of my stomach. Somehow, I knew that this wasn’t just an infection. It was much worse.
I went back to the doctor the next week. It was Tuesday. Homecoming week. The last thing I wanted to be doing was going to the girl doc. My mom drove us back to the doctor, and we passed that cancer rehab center again. I stared at the word again.
I went back to the ultrasound room and the tech squirted the sticky gel you always see on tv on my stomach. I felt like I was pregnant or something. She moved a little wand thing around my abdomen. She asked me what exactly the doctor was looking for. I told her a cyst on my cervix. She replied with, “Oh…I don’t see that.” I felt relieved, but then she called another lady in to have a look. The whispered with each other for a few minutes. I was scared.
Once again, I went into the same examination room to do the dreaded thing all over again. This time the doctor told me he was going to do a pap smear. I bled a lot. This wasn’t normal. They made me and my mom wait for a long time before the doctor came back in and explained what the ultrasound revealed. He said there was a 4cm x 2cm mass on my cervix. My stomach dropped. He said he was going to get the pap smear results rushed so that we would know as soon as possible what kind of cells that it revealed.
It was hard to sleep that night. I knew what was coming. The next day. I was in speech class when my iPad lit up with a text from my mom. It said that the doctor called and wanted us to come in as soon as possible. This was it. The truth would finally be revealed.
When we got to the doctor, the nurse led us back into a big conference type room. We sat down and waited for awhile. I was sitting a coffee table staring at a bookshelf in front of me. My eyes went straight to a book the said in gold letters “CANCER.” The doctor finally came in and sat down and just kind of looked at us very seriously. He said, “I don’t know what this is, but it’s not good.” I looked at him and waited for something else. He said that my pap smear revealed malignant cells. My mom began crying. My throat stung and tears were welling up in my eyes. I cried for a minute, and then dried it up. I was going to fight this. Whatever it was. I was going to kick it in the BUTT. He told us two kinds of cancers that it most likely would be. He said I most likely had Rhabdomyosarcoma. It was more of a childhood cancer. He then said that there was a chance, but it was extremely rare, that I would have Adenocarcinoma.
I went home and began preparing myself for the next day where I would be at St. Jude Research Hospital all day. I was excited to see what the hospital was like since it is considered one of the best children’s cancer research hospital in the world.
Everyone I met there was amazing. Everyone was so nice. I had a MRI while I was there to see if anything looked suspicious in my abdominal area. The results looked pretty good. One of my lymphnodes was a little bit suspicious.
The next Monday I had a PET and a CT scan done. Everything was looking good besides the huge tumor on my cervix. The next step was to get a biopsy of the tumor. It was going to have to be done surgically since I was so tiny down there.
I went in Wednesday and had the surgery done. It went well. I went to another doctor that was specializing in gyno. oncology Friday. The results were back. Clear-cell Endocervical Adenocarcinoma. I was the exception. I was the rare one. I was the one who blew doctors minds. The thing about all types of cervical cancers is that virgins just don’t get it. It evolves from HPV which is a sexually transmitted disease. Once again, I am a virgin. Another thing is that this certain type of cervical cancer is only seen in older women, like 50 years old and up. This was crazy for me to have this, but I do. My doctor told me that they were gonna write books and articles about me. This was a huge deal.
At this point, I didn’t care how rare I was, I just wanted it out of me. I was scheduled for surgery the next week, October 10th. It was a huge surgery. I was having a radical hysterectomy and a lymphadenectomy in addiction to getting the tumor out. A hysterectomy is a surgery to take out your cervix, uterus, and ovaries. This means that I will never be able to have kids. Luckily, I got to keep my ovaries to avoid menopause for as long as possible. But, If I do have to go through chemo and radiation, then I will have to go through menopause, something only 50 year old woman and up have to experience. It’s now October 17th. It’s been a week since my surgery, and now I am just doing my best to recover and get back to myself. I have a follow up next Friday to find out the next step in treatment. I pray that the surgery is enough, but it looks like I will probably have to go through some chemotherapy and radiation to make sure my cancer doesn’t come back and to make sure its all gone.
I just found this website, and I thought it would be cool to reach out to other people my age who are having to deal with cancer this young. It’s a tough experience, but with courage and strength and faith in God, we can do this. I can do this.
Please feel free to talk to me. I’d love to make some friends who are going through cancer too since I’m new to all this.