Cancer Survivor School: Where are they now? Kadiana Vegee

Tell me about when you were first diagnosed with cervical cancer and how that experience was for you.

When I received my initial diagnosis, it was incredibly challenging to accept, particularly after losing both my parents to cancer. It was especially tough having to share the news with family, mainly because their past experiences had led them to view cancer as a death sentence. 

How did you get connected with the HPV Cancer Survivor School at St. Jude? How did you hear about it?

I was introduced to and heard about the HPV Cancer Survivor School at St. Jude through Cervivor.

Photo of Kadiana Vegee

Kadiana Vegee (left) participated in a panel discussion during HPV Cancer Survivor School at St. Jude. 

Tell us about your experience attending the HPV Cancer Survivor School.

Attending the HPV Cancer Survivor School at St. Jude was a transformative experience for me. It provided an invaluable opportunity to connect with others who shared similar journeys and challenges. The support and resources offered were beyond anything I could have imagined. From informative sessions on managing the physical and emotional aspects of survivorship to practical tips for navigating life after cancer, every aspect of the program was tailored to empower and uplift us. The sense of camaraderie and understanding among fellow survivors was truly uplifting, and it gave me a renewed sense of hope and resilience. Overall, the HPV Cancer Survivor School at St. Jude not only equipped me with the knowledge and tools to thrive post-cancer but also reminded me that I am not alone in this journey.

What has been the most significant change you have seen in yourself since you've started this journey?

The most significant change I have seen in myself since starting this journey is a profound shift in perspective and priorities. Prior to embarking on this path, I may have taken certain aspects of life for granted or been consumed by trivial concerns. However, facing the challenges and uncertainties of this journey has allowed me to reassess what truly matters. I've developed a deeper appreciation for the present moment, for the love and support of family and friends, and for the resilience of the human spirit. I've become more empathetic, compassionate, and grateful, cherishing each day as a precious gift. This journey has taught me to find strength in vulnerability, to embrace change with courage, and to cultivate resilience in the face of adversity. Overall, the most significant change I've experienced is a profound transformation of the heart and soul, leading me to live with greater authenticity, purpose, and gratitude.

What is your advice to women about cervical cancer?

To women everywhere, I cannot stress enough the importance of prioritizing your cervical health. Regular screenings, such as Pap smears and HPV tests, are vital for early detection and prevention of cervical cancer. Don't delay scheduling these appointments or dismiss any symptoms you may experience. Your health should always be a top priority. Additionally, vaccination against HPV is a powerful tool in the fight against cervical cancer. If you're eligible, consider getting vaccinated to reduce your risk of developing this type of cancer.

Lastly, don't hesitate to speak up and advocate for your health. If you have concerns or questions, discuss them openly with your healthcare provider. Remember, early detection and proactive care can make all the difference in preventing cervical cancer and preserving your health and vitality. Take charge of your cervical health today for a brighter, healthier tomorrow.