June 11, 2015
Large cell cervical cancer survivor: Thoughts on my annual scans
BY Stephanie Madsen
Three years after my large cell neuroendocrine cervical cancer diagnosis, I've defied the odds. The statistics gave me less than a 20% chance of surviving one year.
But I have yet to make it an entire year without cancer. I've hit the three-month mark and have even made it to eight months cancer-free. Soon, I'll lie on the cold, hard, metallic table while a machine takes pictures of my insides from head to toe. Then, I'll wait for my results. I'm hoping this time I'll be able to say I've been cancer-free for a whole year.
Praying to remain cancer-free
Once I learned that my life was not guaranteed, my prayers were taken to new heights.
Not one of my prayers ends without the utterance of a plea to remain cancer-free for the rest of my life here on Earth. I ask for my dreams to come to fruition.
"I'd love to grow old with my husband. Please allow me to experience motherhood. I want to watch my children grow into adults and have their own children. I ask that I live until I'm wrinkled, hard of hearing and gray."
Truth be told, I'm desperate.
I am desperate for life. Desperate for time. Desperate for memories. Desperate for survival. Desperate to hear the words "no evidence of disease." Desperate for answered prayers. I am desperate to receive yet another clear scan to stamp the one-year mark.
Striving to stay positive
The battle in my mind is often much harder than the physical fight against cancer. I have to constantly and consistently cling to hope that someday I will live a cancer-free life. I must avoid the dark traps and triggers that can send me into pits of despair. I must, with every fiber in my being, believe that I am healed. Though I still experience aches and pains, I must respond rationally, rather than place myself in a worst-case scenario.
Time moves by slowly and at the speed of light all at once. Some days I wish I was receiving my scan right this minute, and other moments I wish I could put off the inevitable for one more day.
This is a scan I've never made it to, and the importance sears itself into my heart. I've gotten pretty good at avoiding the "what ifs," but know that I very well could be in a position I'm all too familiar with. Overcoming my worry is accomplished solely by my reliance on my faith. Though this is the scan I've never made it to, I'm believing that I soon will.
TopicsScreening Cervical Cancer Screening Cervical Cancer Cancer Recurrence Survivorship Treatment Neuroendocrine Follow-up Guidelines Prevention
Some days I wish I was received my scans right this minute. Other times I wish I could put off the inevitable for one more day.