Cancer can be an extremely isolating experience. This is why we feel it is so important to share each other's stories- so that no cancer student ever feels alone.
Meet Cervical Cancer Student Katie Adamson.
Katie graciously opened up to us about her diagnosis and fertility issues.
Name: Katie Adamson
Age at Enrollment: 30
Major: Stage 1B1 Cervical Cancer
What were the primary symptoms you had experienced prior to diagnosis? None, and this was the weird part. By the time it was found, I already had a 3cm tumor growing on my cervix, and they said I should have had symptoms by then, but I literally had none. After being diagnosed, I had a few mild bleeding episodes in between periods, but that is it.
What symptom(s) lead you to go to the doctor? I just went in for an annual check-up, which came back abnormal, so they did a colposcopy biopsy, and found the cancer.
Courses Completed: I was diagnosed only 4 months ago, so I am still in the midst of figuring out my treatment plan. My doctor initially attempted to remove the tumor and cancerous cells with a cervical conization surgery (while leaving my cervix intact to preserve fertility), but after studying the tissue removed, it was determined that the cancer was too invasive. I am currently scheduled for a radical hysterectomy in early December.
What would you like other women (and men) to know about Cervical Cancer? Although it is highly treatable and curable, I have found out that pap smears are not 100% accurate. I have been getting my yearly paps every year since I was 16. It just so happened that the cells and tumor were growing very high on the posterior of the cervix, so it was not where the doctors usually swab. I highly recommend that every women request an HPV test. Apparently they only start testing you for HPV after the age of 30, and if they had tested me earlier and found out I had it, I feel we could have caught it earlier.
Any helpful tips or tricks for other women navigating a diagnosis? I will say this about any cancer diagnosis, as much as it sucks and it’s not fair, one thing that has helped me stay positive is knowing that being sad, angry, or depressed will not change your diagnosis or situation. Don’t let this ruin your enjoyment of life. I have definitely had my sad moments, but then picked myself right back up and kept going. If anything, it has reminded me that life is short and anything can happen, so enjoy it now.
Did you learn anything about yourself? If so, what was it? I did learn that I am stronger than I thought, and that I have an amazing support group in my friends and family.
Anything else you'd like to share? The part about all of this that is the worst for me, is that my husband and I were trying to get pregnant when I was diagnosed. We don’t yet have any children, so this was devastating news to us. We are currently looking into IVF and a surrogacy, but have found that these costs are astronomical! We are also speaking to a few non-profits in an attempt to gain some assistance, as we really have no other choice, if we want to have our biological children. If you feel so inclined, we would greatly appreciate any donation, or even for you to just share the below link to your social media page, in an attempt to help us. We have always planned on having children, and while we were waiting until the time was right, our time ran out. www.youcaring.com/KatieAdamson