Lisa Ann Marie Stamps - Portrait of an AYA Cancer Survivor
Any cancer diagnosis is traumatic, but for Stamps the news as a newly married woman was particularly hard.
Lisa Ann Marie Stamps was 36 and home from her honeymoon just a few weeks when she was diagnosed with stage 3 cervical cancer. A former beauty queen, hula dancer and martial artist, the diagnosis slapped Stamps doubly hard because she has always taken impeccable care of her body. But as she knows now, cancer can strike indiscriminately.
Any cancer diagnosis is traumatic, but for Stamps the news as a newly married woman was particularly hard. "I wanted to have children," she says, and knew that the surgery and radiation treatments would leave her infertile.
Stamps’ cancer diagnosis brought out the fight in her.
"There were two things I could do," says Stamps. "I could live, or I could die." She chose to endure aggressive treatments, including internal and external radiation. Nearly six years later, she says she is "two years and two months cancer free."
She has grown accustomed to the idea that she cannot bear children. "We have a cat and dog, and they’re our kids," she says. "We also have a lot of nieces and nephews."
These days, Stamps works as a home health nurse and teaches water aerobics. She also is being trained as a peer navigator for others diagnosed with cancer. "As a martial artist, I learned how to fight," she says. "But I never knew this would be my fight."
The battle has brought rewards. One of those is gratitude. "I get up in the morning and I say, ‘I feel good. I feel great. I love life.’"