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Teal Takeover: Stacey's Story

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My journey started about 4 years ago when I started to develop certain symptoms that were completely off and at times alarming. I sought the help of numerous doctors only to be told that everything was normal and these things just happen to women sometimes. After five different doctors and a trip to the ER I was so distraught. I was an avid fitness trainer and it was becoming harder and harder to maintain my normal life. I started losing weight and got down to 100lbs. Finally after another visit to a new doctors the nurse had notified me my hemoglobin was extremely low and to check myself into the hospital immediately. It was then that I was referred to an oncologist. They found a stage two tumor that had grown so large I was not a candidate for surgery any longer and they said I had to start chemo and radiation asap or risk death. I was so mortified going from "everything is normal" to that diagnosis. I was in my early 30s and had yet to start my dream family. But they told me that with my diagnosis and the treatment it would be impossible for me to ever have kids. No chance at all is what he told me. And that because of the tumor size I did not have the time to go through the freezing of my eggs, my treatment would need to start now.

Hearing this I was completely gutted. I didn't want to continue with their plan I was not comfortable with so much of what they said I had to do. I told the radiologist that I did not want to do radiation, I was not ok with those side effects and what it would take from me. Her response was then you will die and she left the room. I remember laying there while two men drew all over me and gave me the radiation tattoos while I cried and shook from fear. All I wanted to do was run out. I felt like this was just the wrong place for me.

A friend of mine had reached out and recommended Dr Holloway if I was willing to drive out of town. He had heard of him through his work and said he was the best and to seek a second opinion. I did and it has been the best decision I've ever made. Unfortunately, my condition worsened and instead of having an initial visit at Advent I ended up in the emergency room and thus my journey at Advent started. I was so broken at this point I was ready to accept dying. I still had it in my mind what the doctor before had said about never having kids of my own. But by the grace of God I found Dr Holloway. He refused to let me give up and said whatever I was comfortable with they would try. That it was my decision but I couldn't give up and there were ways to try and spare my fertility. So we went with chemo and moved my ovaries in case I needed emergency radiation as a last resort. I started chemo and we tried a few different combinations. I ended up doing 7 rounds and it was working. My tumor was shrinking and after a few more surgeries I was cancer free.

I was able to start IVF a few months after and I continued to focus on my health and made sure to eat great and exercise. IVF was so hard having come off chemo just prior but I was determined. Everyday I spoke to my baby and to God and I willed myself to push on. I was able to get one viable egg and from that I successfully got pregnant and I am now mother to a 4 week old miracle girl who I cannot imagine my life without. This means so much to me as I want other women to have the same options that I did and to be able to get the treatment they need while also being respected as to their future.

Please help support women with gynecologic cancer in Central Florida by donating to advance gynecologic cancer research and survivorship programs at AdventHealth Cancer Institute through this page. The process is fast, easy, and secure and your contribution will impact the lives of women in our community and beyond.

With your help, we can ensure AdventHealth cancer patients receive integrative and coordinated care, lifestyle and wellness education, and resources to aimed to optimize healing from the time of diagnosis throughout their survivorship journey. Help cancer patients every step of the way by making a gift here.

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