"It was 16 days before my wedding day and I was in City Hospital and the consultant said the words to me “you have endometrial cancer and need a full hysterectomy”. At 41, the thought that I would never have children with my new husband to be was a huge shock. Previously, for 6 months before this, I had been suffering with heavy vaginal bleeding but had no other symptoms. A trip to my GP was in order I thought to myself. He examined me and said he was going to refer me to Gynaecology for further investigations. I received a letter very quickly after and attended an appointment with a consultant who again examined me and took a swab and sample as they could see something. I was told that this would be sent away and the results would be back for my next appointment. At this point I was frightened and concerned about what was wrong and if I was so seriously ill that my wedding would have to be postponed.
I continued to bleed and the consultant tried several types of medication to slow the bleeding down and finally we found a combination that seemed to do the trick. I returned to the hospital for the results, D Day had arrived. Of course I had been on the internet and searched every possibility of what I could have and what the outcomes could be but nothing truly prepares you for the words “you have cancer”. I asked lots of questions and got lots of answers, but being a larger lady I did not fit into the scanners so no one really knew the true extent of where my cancer was and how far it had spread.
I spoke for hours with my husband in tears about the fact that I would never be able to have children or may even die of such a terrible illness. After speaking with the consultant again he advised me that egg harvesting for a surrogate option would not be appropriate due to my age and probable state of eggs. He advised me that I should have a hysterectomy as soon as possible but I was ok to get married. So on 16 November 2010 a month after we got married, I went under for the operation. I had never been in hospital before and was seriously frightened that I may never come round from the anaesthetic. The operation was going to be performed by two consultants and the plan was for it to be keyhole. When I came round I learnt that I had a bleed and a full cut had to be performed but at that point I didn’t really care. My concern was did you get it all and I’m alive!
After spending 3 days in hospital with all honesty no pain and the best support from nurses and consultants I returned home with a positive attitude that I was going to fight whatever came next. I couldn’t lift or do much around the house but in general I felt fine and in my opinion people had more trouble facing me not knowing what to say than I had telling them. I returned to hospital to have my staples out in the snow and ice of December and the results were back with the news that the cancer was contained within my womb but was coming down towards my cervix. That’s good news I thought, but still I had some fear that something would go wrong. The consultant told me that he thought I should have internal radiotherapy (brachytherapy) just in case there were any tiny cells floating about. So 2 months after my hysterectomy I travelled to Lincoln for my course of treatment as at that point Nottingham did not have the facilities.
The thought of radiotherapy filled me with dread and all the possible complications and side effects that it could leave me with, but in my case I need not have worried as the treatment did not hurt or cause me any complications. In fact on my first session, my family who all came with me sat in the waiting room fearing how I would come out didn’t even think I had anything done. We even stopped off at a fast food restaurant for a milk shake I craved. I continued to visit the hospital for regular checkups every 3 months, then every 6 months with the consultants and Oncology team staff and after 3 years I was discharged. The relief that my battle was finally over hit my emotions hard and it all did not seem real.
Life now nearly 5 years on all seems very different although cancer took away my womb it did not take away my life, I am a survivor. I am proud to be given the chance to share my story with others to promote awareness and raise the profile of Endometrial Cancer."
If you are willing to share your story to help raise awareness then please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
xx Kaz xx