At only 24 years old Candice J. was diagnosed with ovarian cancer which is very rare for young women. She had to endure months of chemotherapy and lost so much weight that she weighed only 89 pounds. Now almost four years later Candice is a proud cancer survivor who uses her blog “The Unfading Beauty” to inform and educate women about ovarian cancer. In our interview she shares her story on how her experience brought her closer to God and family.
Amy Nicole: Cancer is not something that most young people have to worry about but you were diagnosed with cancer at only 24 years old! What were your initial thoughts when the doctor’s informed you about your diagnosis?
Candice J: Initially all I could think about was what had I done to cause it or not done to prevent it. It was one of the first things I discussed with my doctor. His response: it was “luck of the draw.” However, I can’t say I agree. I have always been a firm believer that every thing happens for a reason. So it wasn’t “luck of the draw” for me. Although the form of cancer is very rare in young women and girls, I’ve realized that there was purpose in that journey. Lessons to be learned and a testimony that needs to be shared.
Amy Nicole: You were diagnosed with ovarian cancer, which is a very rare form of cancer. What is some advice you can share with young women about getting cancer screenings and taking care of their health?
Candice J: Unfortunately, because the disease is so rare in younger women, there are no cancer screenings right now that detect ovarian cancer. Unlike cervical cancer, which women have a pap smear to dectect, ovarian cancer is not detected in the cells of the cervix. Therefore that test would be inadequate to dectect ovarian cancer in your annual checkups. Ovarian cancer can be detected by a specific blood test (CA-125) and by transvaginal ultrasound. These tests however are usually only conducted if certain symptoms of ovarian cancer are persistent. Many of which can be confused for normal female reproductive woes and are still only slightly recognizable in the late stages of the disease. The key is really in knowing your body, paying close attention to certain issues that are persistent, and knowing the symptoms of ovarian caner. Some of the symptoms are consant bloating, eating habits changing (loss of appetite), too frequent urination, and constant discomfort of the abdomen.
Amy Nicole: After reading about your story on your blog you seemed so upbeat and positive throughout your battle with cancer. How did you manage to keep such a positive attitude throughout the process?
Candice J: Lol. I wish I could say that was true! Positive? Maybe. On most days. Upbeat? Not at all. Having to go through chemo is something I wouldn’t even wish on my worst enemy. I was very sick the entire time and often very weak. But I had a positive outlook and faith! In the back of my mind I knew I would get throught it and my doctor gave me a great prognosis. In addition, I had a great support team! With God, great family, friends and prayer we can get through anything.
Amy Nicole: Did you ever get angry or question God about why this happened to you?
Candice J: Oooh you bet I did question God! At times I thought it was pay back for my rebellious streak and living outside of his will. But thats how you think when you dont fully understand that God is in control and our lives are planned for us. While we may take detours from the path he has for us (with all our crazy antics and shenanigans), God will put us back on the right track. Sometimes it takes something drastic. And for me it was cancer.
Amy Nicole: You launched your blog “The Unfading Beauty” over a year ago which discusses a lot about your battle with cancer. Discuss the name of your blog and your ultimate purpose for creating it.
Candice J: I launched my blog during the month of September last year which is the month of Ovarian Cancer Awareness. I wanted to dedicate that month to informing people about ovarian cancer and sharing my testimony. Up until that point, I didn’t speak in detail about it. I felt I needed to though and figured my blog would be the perfect outlet. The name of my blog, “The Unfading Beauty” was actually inspired by one of my favorite Bible verses. 1 Peter 3: 3-4. I knew for a few years that I wanted to blog. I just hadn’t figured out at the time what I wanted to blog about and the name. It wasn’t until I went through a rather painful break up that it all came to me! I went through a small state of depression after the break up. Like most women, i was left wondering what I had done wrong and was I good enough. The only thing that made me feel better was running to God about it. One night I was led to 1 Peter 3 and when I read through verse 3 & 4, something hit me! That was it! It helped me realize that validation from a relationship didn’t matter. What I did or did not do in that relationship didnt take away anything from the woman God was making me. He used that situation to grow me and and further prepare me to be a woman that was precious in his sight. From that moment forward I started my journey to becoming an Unfading Beauty. I wanted to produce something for women to know that in a society that “LIKES” us based on the pictures we post, how we dress, how beat our faces are, the relationships we so perfectly portray, and the jobs we have, we don’t have to be validated by any that. The purpose of my blog is to encourage women to work on and refine their inner beauty just as much as the outer beauty. I would love to see more woman who operate in Light and self-love rather than those willing to do anything for love, fame and a few LIKES.
Amy Nicole: How has your life changed/how have you changed after surviving cancer?
Candice J: Omg! I have a closer connection to God and my family. I learned the importance of both. I’m overall a more positive person and one less concerned about material things. It’s caused me to relinquish control of my life and walk in his will. After surviving cancer I learned that the things we go through are often not for us. Many times we are given a battle because we are strong enough to handle it. And our strength is needed to be seen by others so they they can know they can make it through too! Our stories encourage others. And I strive to encourage others daily!
Amy Nicole: Do you have any upcoming projects in the work and how can people contact you?
Candice J: I am currently in the works of revamping my blog. I have the desire to turn it from a hobby to a business. I have taken a hiatus from it in order to do a little more research and regain focus on the type of content I want to put out. In the meantime I can be contacted through my social media. Facebook Page : The Unfading Beauty; IG: @unfadingbeautyc
I really enjoyed learning about Candice’s story. Her perseverance and positivity is so admirable and we hope that her story inspires someone else who is currently enduring hardships.