Share Your Story: Asia Johnson
A Sister's Story
The following is a letter that my 30 year old sister-in-law wrote 2 1/2 years ago...
I would like to share a little about myself. In December 2006 I was diagnosed with stage 3 cervical Cancer. I am so lucky that I have a wonderful doctor. The technology and abilities our doctors have is amazing, but there is still a lot of research that needs to be done.
Back in July I started having a lot of very painful cramps that just seamed to never go away. I finally went to my family doctor in October, and he did a pap smear and had me go for an ultrasound of my abdomen. My Pap smear results came back abnormal and the ultrasound found an ovarian cyst that was as large as an orange. I was then referred to a gynecologist specialist who did even more tests. After multiple pap smears, three painful biopsies, and a CT scan that showed suspicious activity in the pelvic and abdominal areas. On December 13, 2006 I was diagnosed cervical cancer.
My doctor said that she wouldn't know if the cyst was cancerous until they did surgery and had it biopsied. After the surgery I did find out that the cyst was cancerous and I was put on 8 weeks of external radiation treatment. Oxygen is the fuel for cancer cells, so after the surgery it was very important that I started radiation therapy as soon as possible so that any cancer cells that where left behind did not spread to other parts of my body. I received radiation to my bladder, intestines, part of my stomach and my reproductive system. As the treatment went on I became more and more tired and sick as the radiation killed the cells. I had to go to the Cross Cancer Institute every morning at 7:30AM for approx 30 minutes to receive my treatment. As a result of the radiation I will never be able to have children of my own and my body has now begun to go into menopause. I still have to go to the doctor every three months for a pap for the next 3 years and every 6 months for a CT scan. If everything is clear after those 3 years I will be in complete remission. I can't wait until that day comes. Unfortunately, the cancer did spread to my stomach. I went through chemotherapy, which I wouldn’t wish upon anybody. Life was temporarily hell for me and all I can do is thank God I persevered. After another surgery removing the better part of my stomach, I pray it will all be over with for good this time.
90% of the time cervical cancer can be prevented by yearly pap smears. Never in a million years would I ever think that this could happen to me, but it did and what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. I never knew how true that saying is until now. Please if you don't do anything all year long make sure you get a pap smear. It can save your life. This experience has caused me to become more aware of how precious life is and how easy it can be ended by a horrible sickness called cancer. I am determined to be a Cancer Survivor. I believe that this disease can be beat.
The update on her is that her cancer is not gone. After the surgery on her stomach, and two rounds of chemo, she is currently doing radiation by injection. Her cancer has spread to her liver, kidney, brain, and it remains in her stomach. There is no way to explain the feelings surrounding her being sick. She is very private, very stubborn and it takes everything for her to give in and take help from friends and family. She is sadly separated from her husband, no children (thank the Lord), and determined to live on her own. Her work disability has run out and she struggles on Social Assistance.
I am doing The Weekend to End Women’s Cancers on behalf of her. The walking will be hard, but not as hard as her struggle with cancer. I am so glad that this run is shedding light on all cancers that effect women!