Morgan’s Cervical Cancer Story
Life was going well. I was 24, had a great social life, and had moved into my first apartment, I was becoming more established in my job, and I was diving into a new relationship. I’ve always been one to be proactive with my health so as per usual, I went in for my yearly exam. For the first time, I received a letter back stating I had abnormal results. It was then I was scheduled for a colposcopy and further testing. I didn’t think twice because a lot of my friends had been through these motions before and they were fine.
The time came for my appointment. I was expecting everything to be normal, but the pain and hemorrhaging were trying to tell me otherwise. The provider referred me to a gynecologic oncologist next.
I never connected the dots regarding what seeing an oncologist could mean for me. I was 24; what could possibly be wrong? The oncologist performed a few biopsies and then he and his Physician Assistant met me in a small conference room afterward. He flipped open a women’s health booklet to a teal-colored page and said, “I’m sorry Miss Newman but you have cervical cancer.”
On February 4, 2015, my life forever changed. I was alone, hysterical, and in shock. Walking out of those hospital doors seemed like a bad dream. I remember picking up my phone to make all of those difficult calls. Then, I had to go home to my boyfriend at the time and tell him that all the dreams we discussed just a couple of nights before would be gone.
My treatment plan was chemotherapy concurrent with external radiation followed by vaginal brachytherapy. In August of that year, I was considered in remission. I beat cancer! But that celebration would be short-lived as the next follow-up scan would show nodules in my lungs. After a couple of biopsies and other tests, the doctors concluded the spots to be a metastatic recurrence.
After weighing my options, I sought a second opinion. This was a life-or-death decision for me. I am so glad I did because it truly made a world of difference. I felt understood and most importantly, I felt heard. After just three chemotherapy treatments, I was scanned and the results were completely clean!
It has been nearly six years since I heard those words and I continue to remain in remission. I am fortunate, I know I have beaten the odds. I can’t explain why or how, but I know that I can make my survivorship count. Shortly after treatment, I stumbled across Cervivor, a global community of patient advocates who inspire and empower those affected by cervical cancer. Their values aligned with mine and in 2017, I signed up for Cervivor School. I have been involved in patient advocacy ever since. It has come full circle. Now, I serve as the Community Engagement Liaison for the organization.