Louise’s story – living with cervical cancer
"If I can make one person go to a screening test that could save their life, then this whole experience will have been worth it"
I had the odd abnormal smear result which sorted itself out, two pregnancies with no major issues in my thirties and then three years after my daughter was born, I was called back to attend another smear. I did and the result came back abnormal. I thought “no big deal” it will sort itself out. I re-tested 6 months later expecting a clear result. However, abnormalities were once again found, and I was scheduled an appointment for a colposcopy.
The doctor removed the abnormal cells saying she wasn’t concerned by what she had found but pathology would check it out, so I left feeling less worried. Two weeks later I received a call from the doctor explaining cancer cells had been found. The shock of that call was immense, I couldn’t believe it. I had no symptoms, not even the slightest idea that I may have cancer.
The following week I saw the consultant. When I saw him he explained the cancer was Large Cell (Nueroendocrine) Cancer of the Cervix, a very rare form of cervical cancer with the likely hood of staging 1a1 or 1a2, basically meaning it was confined to the Cervix as far as they could tell. However, they wouldn’t know or be sure until they did surgery in the weeks that followed.
I had scans, tests and eventually my hysterectomy and removal of my pelvic and abdominal lymph nodes. My pathology results came back that no cancer cells were found within any of the tissue removed including my lymph nodes, so therefore the staging was confirmed as 1a2. It’s been nearly 2 years since my diagnosis, and I have had no symptoms or recurrence found and I hope and pray that this will continue.
Every day I wake up worrying, the fear of recurrence never leaves me. Some days are worse than others and the battle continues every day, along with the side effects of the treatment – menopause and lymphodema.
I am giving back where I can, helping with charity fundraisers. I also took on a role to help people affected by cancer get fit again taking local exercise classes suited to cancer patients. And every day I watch my kids grow and learn, that is the greatest gift because I know if it had not been for those smear tests I would most likely not be here today. If I can make one person go to a screening test that could save their life, then this whole experience will have been worth it.
Listen to the audio version of this story on the Anchor FM webiste (this link will take you away from our website)
It is Cervical Cancer Prevention Week from the 20th to the 26th January 2020. You can find out more by visiting the Jo’s cervical cancer trust website (this link will take you away from our website).
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