Fighting Cancer with Faith
by Audra Mincey
At twenty-five years old, Littleton Colorado's Stephanie Madsen thought she had her entire future planned out. Newly married, she wanted to move to a new city, buy a new house and start a family with her husband Matt. Life seemed to be perfect for Stephanie until one day her list of dreams quickly turned into a battle plan to fight cancer. "It was so tough, I felt like we had lost our freedom to plan our lives," says Stephanie.
"I can't imagine not having my faith in a situation like this."
Earlier this year, Stephanie was diagnosed with large-cell neuroendocrine cancer of the cervix. "I had been trying to find out what was wrong with my body for almost a year and although I received bad news I was relieved to know what was finally wrong with me," she explains. Not only would Stephanie have to endure a very long and aggressive chemotherapy/radiation treatment but she would also have to have a hysterectomy. "Hearing I had cancer was tough but hearing that I was going to have a hysterectomy at twenty-five was even tougher," she explains. "We hope surrogacy can be an option for us one day but we've talked about adoption before and now that it's a choice we might have to make, we've accepted it," she says.
One wouldn't expect to be embraced by smiles, hugs or laughs when speaking with Stephanie but she says her faith is what keeps her going. "I can't imagine not having my faith in a situation like this. God is my rock and I know when I'm weak, he'll be my strength. I just had to take my diagnosis and turn it into something positive. I thought ok, my sole purpose right now is to fight this cancer and be as strong of a solider as I can be. I'm a Christian and God will get me through this!"
Stephanie is currently undergoing both chemotherapy and radiation treatments at Rocky Mountain Gynecologic Oncology here at Swedish Medical Center. "I love it here. The nurses and doctors really get to know you and develop a true friendship with you. For me during this experience to come into treatment and know who you’re going to be seeing and know that they truly care is so comforting," says Stephanie. "Our patients are like family to us. We want every patient to feel as comfortable as possible as they go through treatment. It’s our duty to make sure that happens," explains Dr. Mary Jo Schmitz.
If she's not making new friends with other patients she's updating the latest entry on her blog, Derailing My Diagnosis; her way to inspire others battling cancer. "Cancer for me was really taboo. I never knew the details of it. I wanted people to lose the taboo with cancer so my blog is a way to open that door. I like to write about things like losing my hair! I was a hairstylist and I knew I was going to lose my hair so I shaved it off before it could fall out. It was so liberating and helped me take back control of this cancer," says Stephanie.
After treatment Stephanie plans on vacationing with her husband in Hawaii! Her one piece of advice to others in treatment: "Stay strong, it's a battle and it's gonna get hard but you can handle it, you will soon learn just how strong you are!"