"A journey with cancer is a long, fearful one with all your concentration going on reaching the end. However, it really never ends. Cancer never leaves your mind. The fear of recurrence is ever present – a headache is a brain tumour, a cough is lung cancer, etc., etc. You are never the same person. Your outlook on life changes. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Your life is how you make it.
My journey started two years ago -about eight years after my last period. One day I started a “period” and it progressed just like the periods I remembered, lasting four/five days. However, I knew this was not a true period and that something could be seriously wrong. I made an urgent appointment with my GP and, given my history in that I had once had a polyp removed, she reassured me it was probably nothing but would refer me to a Gynaecologist. My appointment duly arrived and I was examined by a Senior McMillan Nurse. She talked to me during her examination and I got the gist of things in that it didn’t look good. The Gynaecologist then carried out a hysteroscopy and took a biopsy. My next appointment was to be told the bad news that indeed it was cancer and an aggressive one at that – carcinomasarcoma (a double whammy of two cancers). I would require a hysterectomy quite urgently and when “in there” they would discover what Stage I was at and may perform a radical hysterectomy. This was the case and my womb, ovaries, cervix and lymph nodes were removed. My diagnosis was Stage 1 (still contained within the walls of the uterus) Grade 3 because of the aggressiveness of the type of cancer. Inspection of the ovaries, cervix and lymph nodes confirmed the cancer had not yet spread. They could not rule out that stray cells may have escaped but I can just hope this wasn’t the case.
I was very lucky with my Gynaecologist, Dr McKenzie, and I healed very well. I was then passed on to an Oncologist six weeks after my op to see what further treatment would be required. Although I was Stage 1, because of the aggressiveness of the cancer, I was initially recommended to have chemotherapy and radiotherapy as a “belt and braces” measure. It was then decided chemotherapy alone would be enough. I had my first session of chemo and didn’t react very well to the two drugs I was given. My liver was being affected so they decided the next session I would only have one chemo drug. However, I had already started to lose my hair. I was very ill after my second bout of chemo and after discussions with the Oncologist it was decided it was doing me more harm than good and as I was Stage 1 they would discontinue the chemo. I would stress that not everybody gets such extreme reactions from chemotherapy as I did.
I am now two years down my journey and almost back to feeling normal. My hair has grown back and my energy has come back. I am very lucky my cancer was diagnosed early as due to the extreme aggressiveness of my type of cancer I was told within a few months it would have spread through the uterus wall and into my body.
I would, therefore, urge any woman who has any kind of unusual bleeding to please get it checked out quickly. Most of the time it will turn out to be nothing too serious but it is not worth taking the chance and risking your life – GET IT CHECKED! Many women put off as they do not like the intimate examination but please do not “die of embarrassment”!
Womb (uterine) cancer is not as well publicised as other cancers and the common belief is that it is an older, obese woman’s disease. This is not true and any woman of any age can get it. Womb Cancer Support UK is a very good organisation.. They have a private chat group on Facebook which has been very helpful to me."
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xx Kaz xx