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Local woman shares her story of cervical cancer

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A series honoring Cervical Cancer Awareness Month 
 

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Part 3

Humble says her first appointment at M.D. Anderson was eye opening. She and her husband learned that with this type of cancer, it is aggressive and can cause ‘skip lesions.’ Endocervical Adenocarcinoma cells can skip over healthy tissue and implant higher up into the reproductive system, making eradicating it with biopsies or tissue removal procedures alone impossible. “Because of this, I will need a hysterectomy at 33-years-old,” said Humble. 
Humble says the doctors at M.D. Anderson want to do their own biopsy, due to the close margins on the cone biopsy. She is hopeful to avoid chemotherapy and radiation treatments following the Loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP) which uses a wire loop heated by electric current to remove cells and tissue biopsy. “We have many friends battling cancer much worse than mine and watching them suffer the effects of those treatments breaks my heart and also makes me grateful at the same time,” Humble explains. 
“Having cancer at any age, feels devastating,” Humble said. “It is truly a whirlwind of emotion. Some days I even forget I have cancer, until a painful reminder pops up in the form of my hair thinning from stress, breakthrough bleeding, remembering why I’m so fatigued all the time or having an appointment reminder text come through on my phone. Other days it is all I can think about and it steals hours and days of my time. Despite these factors, I wake up every day thankful. Thankful that my cancer was caught relatively early because I listened to my body, thankful to play with my beautiful daughters and thankful to share a sweet kiss with my supportive husband of almost 10 years. I am especially thankful knowing God holds tomorrow and that he has never left my side on this journey,” said Humble. 
In December, Humble and her husband traveled to MD Anderson in preparation of her hysterectomy. Once there, Humble says pre-op blood work revealed extremely elevated liver enzymes and her oncologist felt it necessary to address her liver issues before proceeding with the surgery. 
“I was sent to an Internist and then a Hepatologist, both within the MD Anderson network. After returning the following week for a liver biopsy, my Hepatologist has diagnosed me with Nodular Regenerative Hyperplasia, which has led to Porto-Sinusoidal Vascular Disease,” says Humble. Both of these diseases are rare and will lead to more tests like an upper endoscopy, MRI and CT Scan to figure out where she goes from here.
“Once my liver enzymes are down, we can schedule my hysterectomy. We are so fortunate to have a thorough medical team who caught this. I can’t say enough positive things about MD Anderson. For now, I am on a very strict diet and exercise regimen, in hopes that my liver enzymes will come down as a result,” Humble explained. 
Humble shares this message for women: “As women we are conditioned to take care of everyone else around us before our own needs. Please remember, you must put on your own oxygen mask first before you can help others.” 
Cervical cancer risk factors include a history of Human papillomavirus (HPV), smoking and having a weakened immune system, among other things. Less than 200,000 cases are diagnosed per year. According to the World Health Organization (WHO)Trusted Source, cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer in females. In 2018, it accounted for an estimated 570,000 new diagnoses and 311,000 deaths worldwide. Sometimes there are zero symptoms. Humble urges women to get their Pap smears and for men to encourage the women in their life to take care of themselves. 
Most importantly, Humble says, “Always listen to your body, don’t Google, fight for yourself and fight for your life.”