When I Heard the Heart Shattering Words: “You Have Cancer” | Nefa-Tari’s Uterine Cancer Story

When I Heard the Heart Shattering Words: “You Have Cancer” | Nefa-Tari’s Uterine Cancer Story

Nefa-Tari Moore

My cancer journey began in 2013. I was 33 years old, and had just gotten married six months prior to being diagnosed with uterine cancer. Being diagnosed with stage 1c uterine cancer changed my life and body forever.

I had experienced two months of heavy bleeding and severe lower back pain. One morning after waking up feeling seriously weak, I made the decision to go visit the emergency room. At the hospital the doctors were giving me the runaround, but the most devastating part was how dismissive they were to me. The ER doctors tried to tell me the heavy bleeding may be just a change in my menstrual cycle, stress, or something emotionally wrong that I may not be aware of. They told me that I should go home and take a couple of ibuprofens to help with the pain, drink some fluids and get plenty of rest. I fiercely explained to the ER doctors that the symptoms were completely out of the norm for me, that I am very attuned with my body, and that I wasn’t going home without tests being performed. I had been working as a licenced practicing nurse (LPN) for 12 years, so I was aware of my patient rights.

Forty-five minutes after I refused to go home, a medical technician performed a transvaginal ultrasound on me. I waited anxiously for more than two hours for the doctors to give me the results. The transvaginal ultrasound showed my uterus was enlarged. At that point I had not yet been diagnosed with uterine cancer, but at least now the doctors who had initially blown me off knew that there was something wrong.

The emergency room doctors wanted me to see a gynecologist as an out-patient, so I immediately made an appointment. After viewing the results of the transvaginal ultrasound the GYN performed a procedure named Dilation and Curettage (D&C) on me. A week later my results were in and I heard the heart shattering words from my doctor: “You have cancer.”

I didn’t hear anything else that was said afterwards. I was devastated; I cried every single day for four months. I was put on Megace tablets 360 mg as treatment, which is a progestogen sometimes used to treat endometrial cancer. I experienced some terrible side effects from being on megace, such as 30 lbs of weight gain, always feeling cold - even in 90 degree weather, and developed an itchy burning rash all over my face. The rash on my face made me feel very insecure, which I had never been before.

After taking megace to treat endometrial cancer, the cancer went into remission. I visited my doctor every three months for a biopsy, and during my 3rd biopsy it was revealed that the cancer had recurred. Once again I was devastated. At age 35 I had a hysterectomy, which meant that I would never be able to bear my own children.

My life has been forever changed due to cancer, but it hasn’t stopped me from living my happiest life. While I’m no longer working as a nurse, I am working in an area of women’s health. In 2018 after battling ovarian cancer I was introduced to SHARE, an organization that supports, educates and empowers when affected by breast, ovarian, metastatic breast cancer, and endometrial/uterine cancer. As a part of the uterine cancer program team I get to advocate and help support women affected by this disease, and say I survived uterine cancer!