Monday, February 9, 2009

Tia's Way by Guest Blogger Priscilla Wiggins

Hello everyone! This is my first guest blogger and it's heavy. I read this post on my friend Brooke's blog and damn near cried. Priscilla Wiggins lost her friend Tia at the age of 28 to cervical cancer. This cause is near and dear to me for a couple of reasons. I was spared. Yes that's right. I was a victim of HPV not once but twice! HPV is a leading cause of cervical STD that can hide for a long time and then unmask itself. At 20 and 26 I was spared and it was caught and I had to go through two not so comfortable procedures. So people get tested, make your partner get tested for any and all STD's and if they don't want too then he/she can step. Please learn from this blog and get educated. Now introducing Priscilla Wiggins blog called Tia's Way....

So now she’s dead.

Yep dead.

All the drugs, all the surgeries – still dead.

All our tears, all our memories – still dead.

One of my dearest friends of 15 years died of cervical cancer on September 25, 2008 at 2:30am. It was senseless, it was stupid, it was hurtful - it is hope.

It is hope because I’m determined to make it that way. So like many others who’ve lost a loved one, I’ve worked with her mother to create a foundation, Tia’s Way (
Tia's Way is dedicated to promoting awareness and education about cervical cancer. Another important part of our efforts will be providing assistance for women who are uninsured and under-insured. One trip to CVS to fill prescriptions for Tia was $700 with insurance! For YEARS Tia was told she had fibroids, when all along cancer was raging inside her body. By the time the cancer was discovered, it had metastasized to her lungs and left hip.

So what now... Cancer doesn’t strike 28 year old's right? At least not Stage IV, inoperable, incurable, "you have 6 months to live" cancer. I mean we hear stories all the time about people passing from this horrible disease, but it’s always in Utah or Wisconsin - not in my inner circle. Except this time, it was in my circle and it came hard. Radiation, Chemo, CyberKnife Surgery, Hypercalcemia, Pleural Effusions, DNR. A whole new language we had to learn.

Some days she felt like fighting; some days she felt like enough was enough. For so long we just accepted, “she had fibroids” - all the "what if's." What if we’d pushed for more testing? What if we didn’t just blindly listen to the doctors? What if we’d gotten a second opinion? I can't tell you how many times they sent Tia home just thinking she wanted pain meds when all along she was dying of cancer! But thinking about the end makes me think about the beginning.

Tia was FIERCE! You hear me? Put a pair of heels on that girl and she could walk Naomi Campbell off the runway. She loved clothes and fashion. I could send her to the mall for me, and she would come back with the perfect outfit with matching "this and that" and a way to switch it up for next time! lol.

You know that person who is everyone’s best friend? That was Tia. You know that person who is everyone’s big sister? That was Tia. With all that being said, she was taken to soon. We wanted to be the old chicks at the club together! So the only way to get over the pain has been to pour ourselves into making her fight mean something.

I have my own marketing company and totally donated all the design, domain name and server space to make this project work. It's a drop in the bucket compared to what I would like to do.

Did you know that caught early, cervical cancer is completely curable?

This means not another friend, daughter, sister or mother has to die.

Did you know that African American women die of cervical cancer at double that of other races? These stats are the same for almost every other cancer, shame on us. We are uninsured, under-insured and uneducated on our rights. We have got to get it right and soon.

Did you know that 95% of all cervical cancers start with HPV/genital warts?

This means it’s preventable.

Did you know you can still get genital warts even if you use a condom?

HPV/genital warts is a skin disease, so to put it plainly: all the skin down under that isn't covered– could be a transmittal of HPV.

So check out the website, learn about cervical cancer, see if the HPV Vaccine is right for you and tell a friend! If any of you are so inclined to purchase something from the Cafepress store, 100% of every penny goes to helping the cause – things like flyers, permit costs for events, helping needy women pay medical bills, etc.

I hope you all learned something today! If any of you would like more information or are interested in helping, (something as small as putting a post on your blog about it helps us) please contact me at

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