Life was just starting out for me. At the age of eighteen I just enrolled in my first college class and began packing to move into a dorm at a local university. I was so excited to venture out on my own that it never dawned on me that my life would change with a simple phone call from my doctor’s office. Two weeks before I moved into the dorm I went to get my first Pap smear. A week later the doctor called that my test results came back abnormal and I need to be seen for a follow-up. My doctor began explaining that I had HPV and that due to my young age the recommendation was to wait for the HPV to clear up on its own. I was asked to come back every six months for follow-up appointments. However, after a year of abnormal test results I learned that I had a strain of HPV that caused cervical cancer. I underwent multiple procedures to remove the cells over the course of two years. I went on with life, graduating from college, and working and in the middle of it all meeting the love of my life. About a month before my wedding, I learned that the HPV had developed into cervical cancer. With my husband and family’s love and support, I underwent additional treatments to remove the cancer cells. I thought it was all behind me, until after celebrating our one-year anniversary we began thinking about starting a family. After trying for two years, we went to seek professional assistance. My OBGYN told me that conceiving would be difficult due to the scar tissue that surrounded my cervix, and if I were able to conceive my cervix would be compromised due to the multiple surgeries I have had which have shortened my cervix. The news was devastating. I cried for days wondering if we would every have a child. I thought that HPV and cervical cancer were behind me, but instead it reappeared itself, haunting me from its grave. I poured myself into researching every alternative, seeking medication, herbal remedies, and lifestyle changes to help improve my chances of conceiving. After another two years and one miscarriage, we decided to seek assistance from an infertility clinic. We met with our doctor and developed a plan for the next month. I waited patiently, but before I could start the treatment, my husband and I discovered we were pregnant with a precious baby girl. We were overjoyed with the news. Twenty-eight weeks into my pregnancy my perinatologist informed me that my cervix was shrinking at an alarming rate and I needed to get a cerclage and be placed on bed rest until delivery. I was scared that after all these years of trying, hoping, and praying we could loose our miracle. The last four months have been a rollercoaster ride, going to weekly ultrasounds and praying that our baby would be safe, but I am thrilled to say we are now at thirty-eight weeks and counting the days until her arrival.
Check out Michele speaking at the 2012 DC Walk to Beath the Clock: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=hqhTDBvAlTg
Follow Michele on Twitter/@MicheleAPrigo
Thanks, Michele for all you do. We are honored to call you our friend.