Organized by: Krystal Kadoun
I want to impress upon you how costly this disease is, both in terms of dollars and all emotions. I am not one to ask for handouts but in this case I could use a little help. The money I receive will ALL be going towards my medical bills. I have a great job with excellent benefits but as you know, the insurance company only covers so much. I have been out of work since May 5th with short term disability leave, from which I do receive pay. I receive about half of my normal paycheck which goes to normal finances, weekly travel, & weekly stay in Sioux Falls. So any support I receive will be more than helpful & more than generous. I went in for a normal pap test which came back abnormal. My gynecologist wanted to run some more tests & take a few biopsies. The following week I went back in to have my cervix biopsied. I was told the results would take a few days. My gynecologist contacted me ASAP with the "I'm sorry to have to tell you this, but you have cancerous cells." She referred me to the top female doctor in Sioux Falls, whom specializes in gynecologic oncology & radical robotics. I had an appointment for a colposcopy, which is a medical diagnostic procedure to examine an illuminated, magnified view of the cervix and the tissues of the vagina and vulva. Well mine lit up like a Christmas tree. My doctor wanted to set up another appointment to perform a procedure called the LEEP procedure. The LEEP procedure uses a thin, low-voltage electrified wire loop to cut out abnormal tissue. LEEP can: Cut away abnormal cervical tissue that can be seen during colposcopy. She was hoping this would be all that needed to be done. She said she was going to take a look inside before coming to a conclusion. If she could see lesions on my cervix without the microscope then that would not be a good sign & we could not do the LEEP procedure. The next thing she said would change my life forever. She said "You have 2" lesions on both sides of your cervix, you have Stage 1 cervical cancer that is progressing quickly." She started telling me about my present & future options. She stated that I would immediately have to have a radical robotic hysterectomy, in which my entire reproductive system would be removed. My ovaries would be positioned up so I wouldn't go into menopause at such a young age. As a young, single woman this fact leveled me. I have always thought of having children, at the right time. I have never wanted children so bad until now. Now motherhood has been quietly stolen from me. Even though I can't have children, I consider myself lucky. My doctor said that if I would have waited 4 months, it would have progressed to Stage 3 with roughly a month or so to live. On May 5th, I had the radical robotic hysterectomy. It was my first surgery ever. Everything went 100% & textbook smooth. I was in so much pain after surgery. I'm a very determined woman & was told I could go home after a day in a half, as long as I could urinate on my own. I didn't think it would be so hard, it was. It took some time to completely empty my bladder, but I did. I really wanted to go home & start the healing process. It took almost a month to fully recover, it was such a long & painful recovery. After my surgery, I was to immediately start chemotherapy and radiation treatment. This is to be done over a six week period. I decided, through Sanford to rent an apartment in Sioux Falls during the week. It is fully furnished & close to Sanford, but it's not home. Due to one of the nineteen lymph nodes they removed & tested, one came back cancerous. So without the radiation & chemotherapy, there is a 95% chance of return and drastically spreading. All of this is a wonderful future precaution. I am in my second week doing both treatments. I have radiation Monday through Friday once in the morning. The repetition of hospital rooms, nurses, & doctors becomes routine. In some ways, radiation is amazing to witness. I lie down as if getting a CAT Scan every time. I'm lined up & measured with the permanent marker markings they placed on me. Then the room becomes a red laser grid. Like a GPS system, the lasers find my markings & radiate their formation. It literally takes about 15 minutes. I want to bring someone to witness with me, but of course, that is impossible. Every Tuesday I have chemotherapy. It's not painful but it's not fun. A special IV nurse hooks me up to get me going. Thankfully I have amazing veins & there's never an issue. I normally spend up to 3 hours sitting in a lounge chair in my own little room, watching TV. I try to relax the best I can while being pumped up with a half bag of fluids, then the steroids and anti-nausea medication, then something to make me urinate to flush the steroid out, then the chemo cocktail which takes the longest, and finally a little more fluid to flush my vEinstein from the chemo. Chemo varies with each person, some get really sick & some don't. I have been extremely fortunate, so far, to not be sick. I have only had very few side effects. I've been a little fatigued, my hair is thinning, & weekly bruising and tenderness from the IV's. My blood work has been excellent each time before chemo along with the rest of my labs. Throughout this entire process I have had great support through family & close friends. It's still been a lonely road. If you know me & are reading this now, don't think I didn't tell you because I don't consider you family or a close friend. I really just didn't want all the pity & sympathy that goes along with being labeled "a cancer patient." I don't consider myself a victim, never have. I consider myself a survivor. I knew from the day I was told that I would overcome this hiccup in life. I've been put to the test with crazier & worse obstacles throughout my life. I've only come out stronger. I will continue to update you with my current situation weekly. Thank you for taking the time to read my story, I truly appreciate it & hope it can help someone. Go get screened, it could be the difference between life and death.