Survivor Story: JoAnna Cervantes

When I first got diagnosed in November of 2010 my first reaction was normal, shock. But then I began to focus on what was ahead & needed to be done. If you just get diagnosed, know it’s normal to be in shock, then drained. Give yourself time to take in the news, then collect yourself so you can focus on what’s ahead. Keep yourself surrounded by loved ones, do not try to do it alone. I kept my family around me cause the presence of them gave me peace of mind. We laughed a lot & that kept me from feeling scared or depressed. How you feel going into it is how you get through it. I began smiling & enjoying each day a little more and before I knew it, I was strong, at peace & never looked sick. I got through all the rough & tough times at peace & ok. Smile through it puts peace in your heart which then makes you strong. Yes there will be tough & rough times but smile through it, laugh & know you will be ok. Having cancer helped me realize life is more then just waking up. It’s breathing, putting your clothes on, brushing your teeth and not letting the image in the mirror take your smile away cause that image is temporary & its just a bump in the road of your journey. When you let that image bring you down, do something to make you laugh & smile, then get on with your day. One time I was at a flea market. I didn’t have my scarf on cause it was hot out. People were lookn at me & it made me sad. I saw a man & lady doing face painting. I told my family, I’m turning this around. I paid them to paint a face on the back of my bold head. They did & it was able to laugh & smile & made others laugh. I turned it around. My biggest support was my family & fb. I never allowed my self to be alone cause that’s when I would want to cry. Not that crying is bad. Have your crying moments & wash your face & move on. If I didn’t have anyone to talk to, I joined support groups online, fb my friends and let others help me. There is so many support groups available & willing people to talk to. Never give up or turn away someone who wants to help. They may tell you something you already know but still just listen cause that’s a moment your not alone. As a co-survivor, I love to help other survivors. I listen to them, I give advice if they need it and I use my experience to help others. I never turn away a chance to share my story as long as it’s to help someone surviving. I feel that the more we tell our story & be available, new diagnosed can see what is coming & how to prepare for it. Get involved, stay educated, stay strong & smile through it. Today I am in pageants to share my story & show others you too can smile through it. One day someone in the audience was diagnosed or have a loved one just diagnosed that needs to see they too are going to be ok & can smile through it.