Niki's Story: Fighting For The Underdog
I, like every other human being, keep getting back up every time shit, most call it life, knocks me down. I'm beautiful because I always strive to be positive and full of love and light. I continue to practice patience and kindness towards anyone who’s path I’m lucky enough to cross. The goal is to land in a happy place. The disastrous part so far has been trying to get there because at the moment it doesn’t seem to exist. I know it (happiness) comes from within but I feel like a fool these days for even trying.
Life lately has NOT been fun to be honest with you. I turned 47 this year, but I’ll begin my story in May 2019. It’s when I was forced by family and friends to go see a doctor due to excruciating pain and heavy bleeding because aunt flow didn’t know when to quit. She’d stay for 3 weeks at time off and on for years but this time she’d been hanging around for about 9 months, which caused me to become anemic and exhausted. They won because my quality of life was daunting. I’d take 3 changes of clothes to work everyday for months when it got really bad, bleeding, no hemorrhaging to my knees every time I’d stand up from sitting to long. I found a local gyno and she gave me 3 options; 1) Birth Control (NOPE) 2) Ablation surgery with Myosure (which was basically a glorified DnC), and 3) a partial hysterectomy (too scary and I was only 45). So I chose door number 2- Ablation with Myosure, which was scalding hot water that they used to cauterize my uterine walls to help stop the bleeding. It was out patient surgery.
My boyfriend, Bliss, of 15 years at the time never left my side. Now I have to say – the ONLY way I’m like most men is when it comes to my health I’d rather not deal with it – avoid, detach, ignore. I had the surgery on Monday, June 3rd 2019, and although nerve-wracking I was eager to be done with my cycles once and for all. Morning of surgery, all of the doctors and nurses came to introduce themselves to me and explained their role in the procedure that was about to take place in me. They were nice and cheerful, reassuring me that it was an easy procedure and I was probably the healthiest one there that day. The whole thing probably took about 7 hours. I was home resting not long after it had started. I stayed home and continued to recover till that Friday, June 7th. I went to work because I thought I could handle it, but decided it was too much and went home at noon to take some meds and relax. I, no sooner than arriving home, popped my pain meds as my phone began to ring: it was the gyno. She was calling to ask me what my day looked like because she wanted to see me in person. I explained the above to her and asked if I could make an appointment for the following week. She said no, that my pathology report had come back and that she needed to speak to me about it. I said well you’re speaking to me now, to go ahead and share. She said no, I need to see you in person.
F*CK – why did I suddenly feel like I was being summonsed to the principals office for something I didn’t do but was in trouble for? Turns out I was, in trouble – but it wasn’t my fault. I called Bliss to come home from work and take me. He only worked 20 minutes away but with the pills I had just taken and the fear that as starting to take over it felt like 20 years before he got to me.
When I finally saw the gyno, she told me that the pathology report showed I had uterine endometrial carcinoma. Apparently, it causes temporary hearing loss too, because I went deaf for two minutes. Bliss jumped up so fast, I was confused and unable to comprehend words, mainly due to NOT being able to hear them (racing through my mind was the fact that I had had a pap smear, so why did the test come back negative for cancer, if she was telling me, now that I had cancer – which was the reason for the heaving bleeding) I thought he was going to flip me over his shoulder and take me back to the hospital to get treatment right then and there, but he didn’t.
She told me that she was going to have a nurse oncologist reach out to me to help me find a gynecological oncologist to perform a full hysterectomy and that if anyone were to be diagnosed with cancer, it's the kind they would want and that it was not “that bad”. I responded, “So then I don’t have to have surgery then right?". "Oh no you def need surgery, but it’s common and it’d be ok" she replied. I drug my feet finding a doctor, because I live in Panama City, Florida and we were still recovering from Hurricane Michael and so was the entire county.
My mom and Bliss went with me to meet with the gyno oncologist on a Wednesday in mid July. She said she could perform the surgery the next day to spend the night and she would perform it asap. I was like um, NO – I have animals and people I’d like to at least kiss good-bye in case I died on the table. Surgeries are scary to me in the sense that you just might not wake up. The following Thursday July 25 we went back for the procedure. It was scary as F*CK – when they rolled me into the operating room – it looked like they were rolling me into a spaceship. It was a robotic surgery that the doctor controlled. I’m sure she touched me but not with a knife in her hand, but one in the robots – claw/grip/tongs.
The pain afterwards was the worst ever. My mom had gotten a room for the night but Bliss stayed glued to me the entire time. I was grateful to not be left alone and felt safe with him there. I knew he was uncomfortable in the creaky recliner and felt bad, I knew he’d felt for me because any little movement he’d make would cause the chair to jolt me awake. We went home the next afternoon. I thought I’d be able to return to work in a week or so, but that didn’t happen. In fact two weeks after surgery the gyno called to tell me that, are you ready for this? I still had cancer! No joke- I was like are you kidding me?
Part of the procedure there is a prepping process called a wash – where they flush me internally. When they took samplings from the wash they discovered I had a very aggressive form of cancer, a second kind in fact, called uterine serous carcinoma. The tumor had released these little bastard cells and they were floating around looking for a new home aka organ to host. The survival rate is very low when being diagnosed with this type of cancer, a 5 year or less timeframe.
They wanted to come up with a treatment plan asap - 6 rounds of chemo 3 weeks apart with two different chemo’s at the same time was the plan. I insisted on working as much as I could during all of it. Why? Because – F*CK CANCER!
Biggest bully I knew of – I didn’t want to but I fought. I started chemo the beginning of August and my last round was December 19th. We went to Vegas in January to celebrate not only my birthday but my last round of chemo and finally being told I was cancer free. Although my immune system was corrupt and I was tired – I was excited to get away from all I had recently been through.
What I didn’t know was lurking in the shadows was Covid. It hadn’t blown up yet. We flew out on Wednesday, Jan 23rd – the 24th is my birthday and Friday the 25th was Chinese New Years! We went to as many places I as I could – The Bellagio was one of them. They went all out in celebration of it. The following March, Bliss went with a co-worker to Biloxi to gamble, since we didn’t do much when we were in Vegas. It was an over night trip – left Saturday morning and came home the next evening. When he did, I could tell something was off with him.
Long story even longer – found out in August of 2020 he cheated on me with a PROSTITUTE in my shower and my BED!!! How am I not committed for losing my shit? Good question because even though I strive for positivity and all I mentioned above – it’s been fucking HARD! Especially since I couldn’t leave! Where the fuck am I gonna go? Oh it gets worse…I’m still living with him and he continues to do him because he can he says…He’s a man (HA far from it) and if I don’t like it, too bad. This type of abuse is just as damaging as physical. For me it's continual unfortunately, since I have literally nowhere to go. The stress has brought the cancer back too. I couldn’t understand why I had survived so much to be put in a situation like this. Don’t know right now but I have to believe that I will one day. I will be brutally honest when I say almost every day is a struggle to put one foot in front of another with continuing to live. I made a promise a long time ago, to God – that I’d never slap Him in the face by trying to end the life He gave me.
To me Beautiful Disaster is a badass suit of armor that shows the world, IDGAF and won’t take shit from the negative people that seem to grow like gremlins everyday, PERIOD. I’ve always been a rebel at heart when it comes to bullies and I hate negativity – whoops is that negative? #SorryNOTSorry, I fight for the underdog, always have always will.
I've just been focusing on staying positive as much as I can with love in my heart and a conscious effort to stay in the present moment. IT’S SO HARD! I love this brand and it would be so hard to pick only one collection as my favorite – but if I must choose it’s the Bella Collection – during cancer, even before but especially now feel so ugly and worthless. Bella reminds me that there is beauty everywhere you just have to see it with your heart instead of your eyes!