Today is Saturday 1st September 2012 - the first day of Womb Cancer Awareness Month.
Over the next month, we shall be featuring articles by various guest bloggers to help raise awareness of womb cancer.
Today, I want to share with you my story. This is my journey with womb cancer and how Womb Cancer Support UK came about.
I was diagnosed with womb cancer on 23rd Dec 2009. I had a hysterectomy, then chemo, then radiotherapy. My treatment ended in July 2010 - one week before my 47th Birthday!
To say I've been on a rollercoaster is an understatement and I`m still coming to terms with it all now, over two years later and truth is, my diagnosis came as a complete shock!
I was told that I had fibroids after an ultrasound scan picked them up however, a later MRI scan confirmed that it was cancer and my journey with womb cancer began!
To be honest, I`d had problems for years but never went to see a doctor! I was always scared that they`d find something serious – like cancer!! So I`d put up with things like very heavy bleeding, pain etc for over 30 years!!
Receiving the news was a complete blow and the fact that I received it over the phone (when I was in the house on my own) didn’t help!
Because my Consultant said he was 99.9% sure they could remove it all, I`d figured there was no need to worry my family about something that might not happen, so I decided not to tell anyone about ‘the cancer’ until after my hysterectomy (only my husband knew)
When the pathology results came back they showed there was a high probability cancer cells were still present, so I had to come clean and tell people! I live on a small island off the west coast of Scotland and rumours start quicker than the drop of a hat! So I decided to be completely open about having cancer so they didn’t have me dead and buried before I’d even started the treatment!
Telling my parents was very difficult. It was hard for them to come to terms with their eldest daughter having cancer – as they`d come from a generation where “cancer” meant death and explaining things was pretty difficult, especially as I was having problems finding accurate information about womb cancer!
I resorted to scouring the internet for information and devoured so much stuff that I felt like a walking library!
Time has passed and I still deal with various health issues: some as a result of severe anaemia that I`d had before the hysterectomy and some as a result of the treatment. I have been diagnosed with lymphoedema in both legs, and also an underactive thyroid; both as a result of the treatment. I also have bowels problems as a result of the radiotherapy.
However, life goes on!
I don’t dwell on what`s happened but now use my experience, to help other women, especially those with womb cancer!
I didn't want other people in a similar situation to experience the same loneliness I`d had when first diagnosed and in my seemingly never ending search for information and support, I came across an American Facebook group: My Fight against Uterine Cancer. This is where I met Debra!
We were bemoaning the fact that there didn’t appear to be any UK based womb cancer support groups around and Debra suggested I should one!
So I did!
20 minutes later, on the 11th April 2011, Womb Cancer Support UK made its first post on Facebook!
Debra helps me run the group, and we not only support each other, but raise awareness of womb cancer and support everyone in our group.
What started off as an online support page on Facebook for other women going through womb cancer, has now grown to not only include a private chat group, but a website, a blog, a twitter account, a petition calling for a dedicated womb cancer charity AND fundraising for a womb cancer research project!
I feel humbled by all the remarkable women in the group! They tell us they wouldn’t have been able to get through their own cancer ordeal, without WCSUK!
Doing something positive helps me… and if it helps others in even a small way then I'm happy!
Personally, it`s been a long 2 years and I’m still far from 100% but its good to see how WCSUK has grown and now encompasses awareness as well as support as its main aim.
xx Kaz xx