Cancer Warrior Nicole Schone
"2017 started well. My husband and I were blessed with a strong and healthy baby girl. I was lucky enough to carry her myself and bring her into this world. Still, I knew something was wrong with me.
When our baby was 2 months old, in the midst of figuring out how to be a mom, feed and take care of a newborn, I had a tentative diagnosis of breast cancer. Luckily it was just a scare but still I had to go through a mammogram and biopsy. It was preparation for what was to come but I didn’t know that at the time.
After that - things got strange. The rest of the year and my first few months of motherhood were spent in an endless parade of hospitals, doctors, testing, scans, and biopsies. Just two months after that first scare my IUD perforated my uterine wall and ended up in my abdominal cavity. With a four month old at home, I found myself going under anesthesia for the first time in my life. After I was relieved and ready for recovery. But a month later my doctors informed me that they thought they found pre-cancerous cells in my cervix. I was sent in for more tests.
Our baby was 6 months old when my doctors found a cancerous tumor growing in my cervix. After a more invasive biopsy I was diagnosed with cervical cancer in October 2017.
After my diagnosis my life became a search for a solution. I began the not-so-delicate dance of ignoring the diagnosis and allocating only the time required to get to appointments, tests, scans, and biopsies. I became a droid --- accepting and interpreting inputs, assessing pros and cons, and consenting to the next step. It was easier for me to think of this as one more thing on my “To Do List” rather than deal with the potential reality of not being there for my family.
While my girlfriends were making resolutions in January 2018 for “new year, new body”, I was facing an abrupt removal of my female reproductive organs. I went in for a radical hysterectomy, pelvic lymph nodes removed, and ovaries transposed. Yes. My ovaries now live in my abdominal cavity. My body didn’t really like this adventure. I was in and out of the ER with pain. Doctors were dumbfounded with the state and location of my organs. That’s been an adventure in and of itself.
In February 2018, I received the news that I was cancer-free. Just five short months after my diagnosis. I was overwhelmed with joy and gratitude. I would never take this gift for granted. I’ll have oncology checks every few months to make sure I remain cancer-free.
With remission comes worry but also gratitude. Gratitude that my cancer was found early. Gratitude that my treatment was brief. Gratitude that I was able to conceive and carry my daughter.
Now that I’m done searching for physical solutions I’m focused on emotional healing.
As part of my healing I shared my story for the very first time with the Cancer Warrior Foundation. I could feel their strength. It’s just what I need --- to be supported by a community of vibrant women and to bring others together in positive ways. I am happy to be a member and help grow a tribe of strong women in San Francisco.
This is just the start."