My name is Carrie Oliveira and I am a 41 year old woman. I have an amazing life – great family, good job, wonderful friends, faith in God, etc. etc… I was married for 7 years before deciding to divorce. After that, I met Filipe. I love this man and wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. The only reason I hesitated was that I knew he wanted children and I was told I could never have them. I had severe endometriosis and was 37 years old at the time. Numerous doctors had told me that I could not have children naturally and with my condition, didn’t know many doctors that would take on my case to try and do it artificially. I explained this to my love and he said we could adopt – we were in love and there were so many children who needed good homes. No wonder I love him.
So, it came as the shock of a lifetime that in July of 2011, I called him to say that I thought I was pregnant. He replied that I obviously did the test wrong (like it’s hard), to which I responded that I took 6 and they were all positive. We called the doctor who immediately, like my husband told me I must’ve done something wrong and to come in the next day for blood work.
I had the bloodwork done. The doctor tells me the bloodwork shows I’m pregnant, but he still didn’t believe it – he had me repeat it 2 more times. I will never forget the look on his face when he came in after the 3rd test, slammed my file down on his desk and said, “whod’ve thunk it”!!!!!! This was a fertility specialist telling me there was no way on earth I should be pregnant, yet I was. He also told me there was a very high probability with my condition and my age, that I wouldn’t maintain the pregnancy, but that I had to remain positive.
At my 35 week appointment, my doctor informed me that my son was breech, but not to worry because he still could turn. At 38 weeks, he was still breech and I was told I would need a C-section to deliver him. On April 10, 2012, we welcomed Giovanni Adams Oliveira “Gino” into this world. He was perfect in every way.
After Gino was home for 6 weeks, I went to the doctor for my first checkup since the delivery. This is usually a 5 minute conversation where the doctor lets you know all is well and you can start to get back into exercising, etc. No big deal. But when the doctor entered the room, I knew that’s not what I was going to hear.
He informed me that during the C-section, he’d noticed something that didn’t’ look “quite right”. He took a sample of it for further testing, but wasn’t too concerned since I had such severe endometriosis.
I could not have been more shocked at hearing the words “you have cancer”. I didn’t know how to process it – I just kept thinking about Gino and who was going to take care of him when I was gone.
What the doctor saw was a tumor on my uterus that of which the samples he took of it came back malignant. When I asked about treatment, he told me that he first had to make sure it hadn’t spread to other parts of my body and then remove it, which only meant one thing – no more children.
I don’t know how I got back home that day – all I know is somehow I did. I ran into the house, grabbed Gino and just held him and sobbed. My husband came in and I told him the news, to which he was devastated as well. My doctor had scheduled an MRI for me to see if the cancer had spread. It had not and was contained to the uterus. We scheduled the hysterectomy for a week later. Every day for every minute of that week until the surgery, all I could do was think if the doctors missed something and the cancer did spread and I was going to die. I secretly thought about my funeral and who I wanted to take care of my son.
I am happy to say that the surgery was a success and I am cancer-free now. I still get sad about not having more children of my own, but am incredibly blessed with the angel that I have. That little boy literally saved my life. Had I not gotten pregnant when all the odds were stacked against me and had that little baby not been breech, I never would’ve had a C-section and they never would have found the cancer. He is truly my angel!
But I still get angry. Angry that this happened and angry that there is no test for this awful disease. I was the lucky one, but how many women out there are not so lucky? Why is there so much lack of education on this type of cancer? With these thoughts, I decided to turn my anger into something positive and start this foundation. I chose the name Iris because she is the goddess of hopes and dreams. If there is just one woman that can read my story and beat this horrible disease, then I’ve reached my goal – I have given hope.