"International Womb Cancer Awareness Day falls on my birthday. As a womb cancer survivor, I can view that as either very appropriate or as taking things just a tad too far... The jury’s still out, but I did have a good day so I’m not complaining. You might ask what I did that was so special – the answer is that I went to work.
Working is something I’ve done all my life; be it at my studies, at being a mum, at doing my job or at anything else I’ve put my mind to. So many things mesh together to make a person who they are and what I do is a big part of my identity. I guess it defines me in some way. So there I was at work, having a good day, and it reminded me just how very lucky I am.
As a womb cancer patient – and whether I like it or not, that’s officially what I am until the five year monitoring period is up and then, hopefully, never again although, “In this game we never say never,” to quote my surgeon – the one thing I soon got told was that I had to do as I was told.
Now, for a stubborn woman, that was not exactly music to my ears. I said I’d try, I’d do my best, but I wasn’t giving any guarantees. Or maybe the words ‘I’ll try’ came out of my mouth while ‘Yeah, right’ was going through my head. I can’t be totally certain, I don’t recall the exact details of the day I was given the news of the diagnosis, but if you know me well then you’ll draw your own conclusions I’m sure.
‘My Life In Their hands’ wasn’t exactly my favourite title at that point.
At my most ill before the cancer diagnosis, when I couldn’t breathe properly, I couldn’t walk properly and I was in almost constant pain, the one thing I wanted was normality. It was a psychological need that over-rode what my body was telling me and it’s where pushing myself to go to work came in. I got called stubborn – no surprises there! I got told to be kind to myself. I got asked what I was doing there when I should be at home in bed. All kindly meant and the answer was that I was trying to still be me. I needed the normality of doing the things I would usually do and I didn’t want to be beaten by a body I felt had let me down so badly. If that makes me stubborn, so be it. But it also makes me a fighter, it kept me sane and it gave me something to aim for, because I already ‘knew’ before the official diagnosis that I had cancer, I simply didn’t know what sort. And when I was finally told what sort, I’d never heard of it before. And that’s just plain wrong."