Hello, my name is Amanda Niebergall and I am 32-year-old stage four Cervical Cancer survivor. Whether I was ready for it or not this label has becoming such a defining aspect of who I am today. My healthcare journey towards getting to this diagnosis had been long and difficult, but I`m fortunate that due to the quick action of some doctors I met, today I am currently NED. I am hoping that in sharing my difficult story, I can make someone else’s better, and in the very least let them know they are not alone and there is hope in this terrible disease.
Part 1: The Difficult Journey to Diagnosis
The road between my initial symptoms and later diagnosis was long and bumpy. I was often felt discouraged and not heard when talking to my providers about my symptoms. From 2013-17, I knew something was very wrong with me and I was struggling to find answers. My periods were very painful and I never felt healthy. I was prescribed numerous different pain pills and birth control, told to take iron and to change my diet. Nothing helped. I was constantly on prescriptions for bladder infections and UTI’s. I underwent pap exams, blood work, urine analysis. Although I was proactive in trying to identify the problem with my health, it was difficult to get clear answers. In part, I think I was never taken very seriously because of my age and some early assumptions about my outward health that were thought to be genetic because I shared a family doctor with my mother. In all this gynecological drama, I’m sad to report that none of my providers mentioned HPV testing, or the vaccination. So after four years of feeling down right terrible, I advocated for myself. Enough was enough. In October 2017, I went back to my GP and convinced them that I needed an ultrasound, but before this I ended up in the Emergency Room because of constant heavy bleeding. After waking up covered in blood my partner and I decided this was definitely not normal and went to the ER.