Wings of Hope — Aquia Ware
Aquia Ware was diagnosed with small cell carcinoma of the cervix while pregnant.
Cancer. When that word stands alone it conjures up visions of uneasiness and anxiety. For those who have experienced its effects, it can bring up deep feelings of fear, sadness, or isolation. Our featured four women, however, have sought to redefine what cancer means. When faced with their own cancer diagnoses, these women reached through the darkness of the word “cancer” to find healing and a more constructive path for themselves. To define their journeys they’ve chosen new words that hold a curative power more motivating than they ever imagined — “support,” “appreciation,” “gratitude,” and “advocacy.”
Meet the first of four women who are . . . Emerging from the Darkness of Cancer and Flying into the Light of Hope.
Date of Diagnosis: June 2014
Age Diagnosed: 29 (now 35)
Type of Cancer: Small Cell Carcinoma of the cervix
Aquia Ware had noticed some abnormalities in her body and decided to discuss these with her doctor. After initial testing, at 29 years old and while pregnant, she was diagnosed with small cell carcinoma of the cervix. “I had a four-centimeter tumor on my cervix, and they were concerned because it was growing rapidly,” Aquia says.
Due to Aquia’s aggressive form of cancer, her medical care began while she was still carrying her baby and continued after her little one was born. She underwent chemotherapy, followed up by radiation treatments, but never once stopped being the mother her two-and-a-half-year-old and newborn needed. It was while juggling all of the responsibilities that medication and motherhood threw at her that she learned the importance of a positive outlook — because at first, she chose the opposite. “I learned how low my mindset can actually go, because I felt like I was going to go to a dark place,” Aquia says.
Seeing that dark place with all its twists and turns gave her the strength to reach for the light. “That bottom point helped me realize that I’m not the only person who’s ever been through this. And I’m not the only person who has been through this and has survived.” This was the boost Aquia needed to find her own inner positivity. She felt this outlook was a key component in supporting her through her cancer care. “I think that your mindset has a direct correlation on how you get through.”
Shifting her perception from the negative to positive also created room for her to see great support in the people closest to her — people like her husband. Aquia says he was constantly reminding her of her own inner strength. His encouragement gave her a new appreciation for their family and marriage. “I definitely have an understanding of what it truly means to have a marriage through sickness and health,” she says.
Aquia is now 35 years old and in remission. Listening to her body and then trusting her inner wisdom has helped Aquia make it through. Knowledge is power, and it’s this insight that she wants to share with those facing their own cancer diagnosis. “Just because you are diagnosed with cancer doesn’t mean you have been granted a death sentence. There will be obstacles to overcome, but you can come out a survivor.”