I am a 29yo with Cervical Cancer. The crazy part is I no longer have a cervix. On the eve of my 27th Birthday I was released from hospital after having undergone a radical hystorectomy and lymphoadectomy for cervical cancer. Following that I had 5 weeks of radiation therapy and was told the Dr's were confident we'd gotten it early enough and that it all appeared to be contained to the tumor that they had removed.
I went on with my life as normal, returning to work and apart from my visits to my gynaecologist and my oncology team in Sydney I tried to push Cancer to the back of my mind. I trained myself to stop thinking every ache and pain was the cancers return. I went on to get married to my wonderful man who stuck by me through it all, even when we realised we'd never have our own biological children. The scar tissue from my surgery and radiation had left me with ovarian cysts every time I ovulate, and no fertility specialist would risk IVF to attempt surrogacy which was our only option.
My husband and I had looked into adoption and foster care but decided to put it all on hold until our mid thirties as we no longer had the biological clock ticking to time when our family would start.
After my treatment, my health never really recovered. I developed lymphoadema in my left leg which I have been able to manage and don't really notice anymore. I caught any virus going around, some of them keeping me in bed for a week at at time. Then I started getting persistent back pain for which all scans showed negative for cancer. We put it down to a small amount of arthritis in my lower back and I cut my work hours back to part time to get a handle on my health. I soon developed high blood pressure and poor kidney function. Again... tests in no way indicated cancer. After being sick for 3months solid we did a Pap Test just in case. I wasn't due for another one but we thought since it was the only thing we hadn't checked, why not.
It was the only test I'd done in the past 6 months that I thought I'd pass with flying colors. How wrong I was.
My GP (that I worked for in my late teens for a few years) called to let me know he needed to see me for the test results his practice had done. The Dr he mentioned was the female Dr I saw to do the "female tests". I knew it was the Pap test and something was terribly wrong. I broke down and asked him to continue the conversation with my mum. I spent the next two minutes on the floor of the lounge room wailing into the carpet while my mum got the basic information from him. It was cancer. It was back.
I find out in two days what treatment for my cervical cancer will be this time round. The tumor is around the size of a golf ball, extending from the top of my vagina out toward the pelvic wall. There is no indication it has invaded anything else however it appears to have grown around one of my ureta. The tube connecting my bladder to my left kidney. Surgery is a must. We're not sure if I can have more radiation to that area and they have mentioned chemo. I'm so scared of what the future holds. Last time I had an overwhelming sense of loss as we dealt with becoming infertile so it was the main thing that worried me. This time it's not so much a loss as fear of never getting past this hurdle and the fear of how we are going to beat it this time, and hopefully for the last time.
I have a wonderful husband who has been so supportive through our journey with cancer so far. Last time we were living with my parents and all we had to worry about was taking care of each other. This time I am living with my parents and he lives 3 hours away for work. He had just moved up there and was staying with friends and looking for a rental property for us before I joined him and looked for work myself. The plan was for me to stay at work and continue to live with my parents until he had settled in, then move up with him and take a month or two off work to sort out my health before starting our married life together properly. Well, I got my time off work. I haven't been to my job in almost a month now as I can't even drive a car due to dizzy spells, poor balance, nausea and disturbed vision. Nothing to do with eye sight and according to all medical reports, unrelated to my cancer.
My parents have been wonderful too. Coming to each of my appointments to help me cope with the large amounts of information that need to be retained. My dad is good like that. Mum is pretty great too. Although tends to be a little more for emotional support than for information retention.
I just realised how long this is and I'm sure it will be a struggle for anyone who may have gotten this far so I think I'll take a break and write some more later. I have found that regardless of if anyone reads this, it has been therapeutic just writing it. I'm so glad I took the advice of a friend and started to document my journey on here.
Cancer Council NSW would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we live and work.We would also like to pay respect to elders past and present and extend that respect to all other Aboriginal people.