Hi there, I'm 29and was diagnosed with cervical cancer 4 months ago. I've completed 3 round of chemo, had surgery and unfortunately one of the removed lymph nodes tested positive for cancer. So my next option is intensive chemo/radio for 6 weeks to eliminate eall risk of it coming back OR I can do nothing and hope that I'm cancer free and monitor. I'm really struggling with the decision as the permanent side affects of pelvic radio are horrible (damaged vaginal tissue, damaged bowels/bladder, menopause etc. Can anyone who has experienced this at a young age share wh me what side affects they actually experienced? Desperately seeking your help and appreciate anyone's comments. Private message me if you'd prefer not to public blog. Many thanks, Chantelle xx
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Hi Chantelle, I was diagnosed with stage 3 cervical cancer at 36. I had a 3yr old and an 8 month old. At first I was told they would perform a hysterectomy but further scans showed it had got to my rectum area so I needed chemo/radiation and brachytherapy. I was ok with this and thought that the side effects couldn't possibly be worse than the cancer.... I finished treatment almost 2 years ago and I'm now 38. I always wanted 3 children but that isn't a possibility anymore. I have gone into premature menopause from the moment I started treatment. I was offered the chance to freeze eggs but I was never going to be able to carry them. My only option would be surrogacy. I discussed this with my partner and we decided that I didn't need the extra stress and we started with treatment. I do regret not saving some eggs, not for myself, but for the fact that I know some people who are having trouble to start a family and I could have helped... But in the end, I needed to do what was right for me at that time. The only side effects I now experience is those of menopause which is treated with HRT and because of my young age, my body still needs these hormones. Also, some very slight IBS symptoms which I just control through my diet. I still get tired, but I am also a mum of 2 young kids so that Is probably a big contributor. Vaginal atrophy was explained to me but I'm lucky that I haven't experienced any of that. I was given a 'cylinder ' to use which helps prevent it. I do however not feel as sensitive during intercourse but I am still able to be active. My hips do ache a bit in the cold and also when I've been in a seated position for too long, but staying active has helped. I feel that walking tends to ease the pain for me and the stronger my muscles in that area are, the less pain I have. Pilates has been a great help for me to strengthen the pelvic and buttocks muscle and I couldn't recommend it highly. Please bear in mind, it has been nearlY 2 years since I finished treatment and there were many times that these side effects were much worse. My bowels for example took almost a year to settled down and whenever I went out, I made sure I knew where the toilets were....especially if I had had a coffee. I did have osteoporosis and was on medication for 12 months to help my bones recover. As I never had had a bone scan before the cancer, there is no way of knowing if it was due to the treatment.....(I'm a chef and we are not known for having the most nutritious of diets...). I have been advised to have another scan in 12 months to see if they are still improving. Another factor I believe helped in my recovery was my naturopath who put me on some fantastic complimentary suplpliments. Good luck with your fight and I wish you a wonderful, happy future. You've got this!!! It's such a wirlwind time with so much to take in. I don't regret having all of the treatment I had, it's what has given me another chance at watching my kids grow up. I would suggest that you take the time to do some meditation as I found that helped me stay focused and not stress out about the 'C' word.
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