Read Time: 2 minutes
Author: Mandy Murry
From time to time, Huntsman Cancer Institute invites guest commentary from our community. The views reflected in these commentaries are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official views of Huntsman Cancer Institute.
At the age of 22, a significant plot twist occurred in my life story when I was diagnosed with cervical cancer. Everything began revolving around cancer—appointments, scans, visits from loved ones, calls, surgeries, and more. Just like that, my world had turned upside down.
As a young adult, having cervical cancer meant more than just losing my health—it also meant the loss of my womanhood. Having a partial hysterectomy was absolutely the right decision—I’m still alive. And while it was the tool to remedy my woes, it did not prepare me for the feelings and emotions that would come afterward.
It felt as though I’d lost something I always believed I would have—a family of my own. Becoming OK with not having children and bearing the scars on my skin was more emotional to me than hearing, "You have cancer."
As years went by, feelings of being "less than" haunted me. Somehow the loss of my uterus resulted in fears that I would never be a good enough or worthy enough woman. It was as if a uterus defined what womanhood meant.
But being diagnosed with cervical cancer or having your uterus removed does not make you "less than." All it does is add a different story in your life book. The path we walk in life is unique. Often there is no rhyme or reason because cancer dictates the next move for many. The "why" of cancer is unexplainable and perhaps even unavoidable. We don’t know if it will be us or a loved one, but we all know or have heard of someone who has or has had cancer.
This January, for cervical cancer awareness, let’s take a moment to think about those who faced this disease in the past, those who are currently suffering from it, and those who will face it in the future. I want to tell you, woman to woman, that you are enough. And while you may feel alone and different, there are many of us out here who can relate.
Cervical cancer claims lives every day. Together let’s raise awareness of this disease and of the new treatments, therapies, and research being done to eradicate it. If cancer has challenged your life, pause, take a deep breath, and believe in hope. Hope that with researchers, doctors, survivors, and improved healthcare, we can find a cure.